Tiresome Tabloids

Tabloids beating old stories to death  Photo from: http://www.servicenewsinc.com

Recently I have noticed the news has gotten out of hand with its offbeat stories. I have noticed public interest waning as newscasters and tabloids beat the same stories to death every day, and it needs to stop.

The Salahi's gate crashed the White House dinner party     Photo from: http://famespy.files.wordpress.com

Has anyone heard about the Tiger Woods car crash? Of course you have. Everyone has to have at least heard that it happened. I personally do not mind Tiger Woods; and I like golf, but I do not care about his car crash, why it happened or that he might have a mistress. All the public really cares to know is that he was in a car crash and he is going to be able to play golf again. What is the use of musing over the cause of his accident or whether or not he is seeing someone other than his wife? Perhaps this might make him a less than perfect role model, but I am sure we can all stand to stay out of his personal life.

Another story that has been irritating the masses is the one about Michaele and Tareq Salahi crashing the White House dinner. Yes, it is disheartening that security can prevent terrorists from attacking the United States, yet they cannot seem to prevent those sneaky socialites from getting into a high-profile dinner. Even so, we do not really care who manages to slip into the party (so long as they are not terrorists), but we definitely care why security did not manage to stop them. What is worse is that this pair is a part of the

Pokemon Diamond, Catch Them All

The latest additions to the Pokemon franchise is a bit of a disapointment. In this new addition they take advantage of the Nintendo DS’s touch screen; this opens a number of possibilities that were not available in the previous games. You set off in a new region of the world to discover its secrets and Pokemon.

Game Play

Pokemon Game box. image from, http://nintendods.guias-trucos-juegos.com/

Not much has changed here form the original games. You wander the world battling gym leaders and rivals as you continue/begin the age old quest to become the very best that there ever was. The touch screen is utilized a fair amount of the time. You get a watch like device from the PokeTch company. It comes with applications built in and you gain more throughout the game.These apps use the touch screen to be activated. The new bag makes use of the touch screen as well, allowing players to cycle throughthe numerous specialty pockets with ease. The games keeps the contest system which was introduced during the last generation of games. The contest system is similar to a fashion show for Pokemon. Another new features which not only takes advantage of the touch screen but also takes advantage of theNintendo DS’s wi-fi capabilities is the underground. In the underground, you have the opportunity to set up a secret base; not exactly a new concept to the Pokemon universe. What is different is the ability to not only visit friends’ bases but also steal certain items from them. The underground also gives you an opportunity to find fossils and other items that can either be redeemed for better stuff or used on its own. There isn’t much to say about the game play in the game. Its your standard, go places, do this go somewhere else do that-sort of play.

The Good

The upgraded graphics for the game really shine though during battle sequences. Each move has its own special animation, the vast majority of them looking awesome. Music is pretty much what you expect from a Pokemon game but is good for a nice nostalgic reminder of the past. Battle mechanics flow smoothly with the random encounters with wild Pokemon in the world. Underground is a definite plus to this game. It is fun to play alone and even more fun when playing within it against people as you try and find their secret base.

The Bad

There is plenty that isn’t bad but definitely could be improved upon, the chief thing among those is the graphics. The graphics, while an improvement from the previous game, could be improved more. Besides the attack sequences, the graphics for the battles and the majority of the game don’t look as though they have been upgraded since the last generation of games in the Pokemon franchise. The touch screen, while a nifty little addition to the game, could of been used much more often. Instead of it being used for accessories, it could have been used for movement, which would have opened an entirely new dimension to the game.

Final Thoughts

The game is a good play for nostalgia purposes and in general provides a solid amount of game play. The game has its fun moments as you destroy your rivals again and again. Battles are short but intense, especially the ones that aren’t won. Hours can be spent training up certain Pokemon just to face a particular gym leader or elite four. The game is worth getting, even with the developers apparent laziness.

Whim Rating: 3/5

Game Play, as shown from YouTube

Trailer: Video from youtube


Couples Retreat, a Retreat or Purgatory

I consider myself knowledgeable on a limited number of subjects. Film is one of them. All you moviegoers better know who the hell Vince Vaughn is. Old School and Wedding Crashers are two of my favorite movies, and Vaughn made his move into print by writing The Breakup and now Couples Retreat. This isn

Radford Ultimate Frisbee

You may or may not be familiar with the sport Ultimate Frisbee. Ultimate Frisbee is a fast paced game that is played with seven players on each team on the field at once. The objective of the game is to catch the disc in your end zone to score a point. You play to a pre-determined point total. You must advance the frisbee by throwing it only. You must keep at least one point of contact with the ground while you have the disc. If the disc hits the ground, it is a turnover and the defense gets to go on offense. It’s kind of like soccer, except you’re throwing a frisbee instead of kicking a soccer ball.

Photos by Heidi Chantry

Ultimate Frisbee is a club sport here at Radford. The team this year holds a record of 8-10 for the Fall, and will play more games in the Spring. The team was founded in 2002 and each year has grown and gotten better. Their goal this year is to make it to their regional tournament, which they’ve never done before. The team’s captains, Taylor Brooks, Bernie Medrano, Paul Parisi and Eric Horrocks have contributed a lot to the team. Recently, Radford hosted a tournament that was down by the Dedmon Center. The team went 4-3 in the tournament and defeated the alumni team. The team that won the tournament, Shippensburg, defeated Radford 13-2. Another one of Radford’s opponents, VMI, was beat pretty solidly when they faced the Scoundrels, the club team name.

One of the team’s struggles this year that cost them three losses was that one of the tournaments they went to, only eight people showed up. This means that for the duration of the game they could only have one substitution, causing all of their players to be exhausted by the end of game. Some other challenges the team has been faced with this year is the fact that not enough people can move the frisbee up the field. There have also been issues with some of the players not being in the best shape. The biggest problem for the team is dedication and consistently getting the players to come to practice.

The team does have good chemistry. What that means is that a lot of the players on the team have been playing together for a really long time. The players understand each other, and each of them knows what the others will do in a game. Most of the guys on the team also have a good understanding of the game and where to be at what times, which is really helpful for the team. The team finished their season for the Fall, and will play in three more tournaments in the Spring. The most important of those three tournaments is the sectional tournament in April. The team’s goal is to finish in the top four to advance to the regionals.

The team has four players graduating this year. Three of them are main throwers and three of them are team captains. Replacing them won’t be easy, but the team has a lot of talented freshmen this year. If you like frisbee and have fun throwing one around on the campus with your friends, consider signing up for the Radford Ultimate frisbee team. The Fall season has finished and will continue in the Spring semester.

Move To Recharge Your Portable Life

Aaron Lexis may very well be on the fore front of green energy. While this is probably not a name you think of or have even heard, it is one you may become familiar with. He is the inventor of the personal energy generator (PEG). While this gadget won’t power your homes in the foreseeable future, it will power things that to some people are just as important: their mobile devices.

This device is nine inches long and has a one inch diameter. The central part of the PEG has a 1.5 inch diameter. While the device is a bit on the big size, it is still portable. PEG works on the Michale Faraday’s principle if magnetic induction. Inside the cylinder there are magnets, and as you walk they pass coils of wires which induces an electrical charge. What makes PEG work so well is a set of springs inside which limit the wasted kinetic energy, getting the most out of it possible. According to Lexis’ website for his startup company, Tremont Electronics, in roughly an hour for most electronic devices it is possible to charge up to 8o precent of battery. The figure is based on the person walking for that entire hour.

With interchangeable cords it is possible to charge, 90 precent of all electronic devices, such as cameras, mp3 players and cell phones, just to name a few. There is an assortment of armbands and belt clips in the work to make it more convenient to charge your devices on the go.

The PEG is pretty much ideal for those who can’t be separated from their devices. Just imagine how useful such a device would be on a camping trip where outlets are few and far between and the majority of time is spent moving around as it is. Keep one stowed away in the car. The battery goes dead in your car and your phone, well no problem. Maybe one just wants to lesson their carbon foot print and exercise there is no better way to do both at once. And if you are feeling extremely environmentally conscious you will be glad to hear just about every part of the device is recyclable. The device itself is constructed out of recycled materials, making it a clean device all around.

Tremont Electronics plans to have the device ready to pre-order and ship in time for the Holiday season, but with a price tag of $149 it’s definitely not the cheapest gadget. However it is though among the most environmentally portable chargers out there, lacking the usual internal battery. In many ways this makes it more ideal; no need to worry about having a charge when you are the one making it. While this device might not make it to the mainstream for quite sometime, there is already talk of shrinking down the PEG and having it pre-built into future mobile devices.

Images from:

http://www.greennpower.com

http://www.windpowerbbs.com

The Devaluing of the American Woman

Breast cancer is scary. There is no getting around the fact that no one wants to find they might need surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. However, it is commonly accepted that it is necessary to screen for this cancer.

Sure touch, Photo from: medicletactile.com

Recently, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has reevaluated its stance on what age it is necessary to have a mammography, and with what frequency. The USPSTF is a panel of doctors that is government funded.

According to their new conclusions, it is not necessary for most women below the age of 50 to get a mammogram, and once a woman is in her 50s she should only be screened biannually. After the age of 75, the risks of breast cancer are uncertain, so no assessments have been made for this age group. Also, they have deemed self breast examinations to be unhelpful and therefore not worth teaching.

However, the American Cancer Society does not accept these new standards and still recommend women to start getting mammograms annually by the age of 40. Their statement in response to the new guidelines set by the USPSTF states that the ACS stands behind their own standards because they have data that the USPSTF did not consider during their review.

Breast cancer survivors are among the most upset by the USPSTF

Black Friday Tech Survival Tips

Black Friday is the best time of the year for one to get gadgets and devices at discount prices. There are some key things that are required if one hopes to get what they want. With prices on some key items already dropping, compounded with the normal Black Friday sales, competition will be intense.

Crowds waiting to check out on Black Friday. Image from: http://www.insidesocal.com/

The first key thing is to find the sales. Not all stores will be having sales on items that a consumer may want. It is important for you to find where the sales are and what the best deals are. This can be achieved through a number of different ways. The easiest is by going the classic route of ads in the newspaper. The other and sometimes more rewarding option is to check Web sites of various retail stores. Sometimes on their Web sites they have specials that are not always advertised in the newspaper ads.

Prioritize what is most desirable. One has to be willing to accept that it will be hard to get everything. Instead just focus on what is wanted the most and allow the rest to be a nice bonus. Having a primary and secondary sale item that you focus on allows you to avoid getting distracted by other lesser items which will be on sale as well. With thousands of people crammed into a store fighting for the same few sale items it is not a bad idea to plan out ahead of time the fastest path to the desired product. It may be ideal to shop in groups, that way buyers can be certain to at least get a few items on their list.

Get there ahead of time. Not just a few hours ahead of time a day or so ahead of time, would be ideal. It is certain that buyers will be at the front of the line when the store opens for its sales. That way it is key during this period to stay in place no matter what unless, there with a group. Leaving a spot forfeits that spot unless someone is willing to save it. This is why groups are ideal, allowing a great deal of mobility to make bathroom and food runs.

Keep yourself entertained. This one is key. People can only stave off boredom for so long. Handheld gaming systems can help one hold out during the long haul. Hours can be passed in what seems to be minutes when playing some of the more difficult games offered on many handhelds. These don’t have to be recent handheld systems; one can go retro. In fact, that may be preferred. No need to recharge batteries, just pop in some more double AA’s and away you go. Battery powered portable DVD players can also help kill the time. Laptops are good not only for wasting time, but also for keeping an eye on opening times as well as any last minute online.

Follow the tips above and buyers can be certain to get the sale items they want. There are probably plenty more tips and tricks to surviving Black Friday. The ones above are just basic ones. Feel free to share any of your own survival tips in the comment section.

Panick at a store opening on Black Friday

Thanksgiving Break Reminders

Thanksgiving break is almost here! For most students, this means a long trip home, some last minute assignments and a complicated packing routine. Everybody has a rough time knowing what needs to be accomplished before the first break of the school year. However, after this first experience, wrapping up school assignments and figuring out what to pack becomes easier.

Before leaving the residence hall, the first thing to consider is whether or not your room and bathroom is clean enough. The RAs in every hall will hold a meeting about this, and it is important to attend this meeting so that they can explain to everybody what type of mess they will hold residents accountable for. It is usually best just to have everything as neat as possible. Also, anything that is not supposed to be in a dorm room should be removed.

Another critical thing to look out for is what is left plugged in during the break. Typically RAs will say that only refrigerators and fish tanks may be left in. It is especially important to leave the refrigerator plugged in to avoid a meltdown, which could lead to water damage or mold.

Although no one will be allowed in or out of the residence halls during the break, one can never be too careful with their valuables. To avoid any unwelcome surprises, it is always advised that students lock any important items in a closet or a safe. If that doesn

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We Need a Break

Radford University needs to consider giving us some breaks every now and then. Other schools get at least one three or four day weekend between the beginning of fall semester and Thanksgiving break.

I have just returned from my first visit home since the beginning of the semester. It took me eight weeks to finally get home because of a lack of transportation, and the fact that my boyfriend and I need a lot of motivation to go home for a day and some hours. I feel even worse for those who are out of state. My four to five hour drive home doesn

More Badass Than A Badass Skag Borderlands

Borderlands opens with a story, about treasure, women, guns, money and all that good stuff. How does one obtain this untold wealth? The hidden vault of alien technology, which is stored somewhere on the planet of Pandora. You get your choice of four characters to play and seek out the treasure that awaits you on Pandora.

Game Play

Borderlands is sort of difficult to explain. At its most basic level it is a first person shooter that incorporates the loot based and mission aspect of a role playing game. At times, though, Borderlands seems as though it could branch off into its own entirely separate genre. The intense fast game play mixes well with the slow moments in the game, though slow moments are far and few between. The graphic style of the game and its cell shading tends to lure players into a false sense of security, only to be moments later attacked by a random enemy. Towns are no safe haven from attack, as your enemies will follow you right into town and continue attacking. This just adds to the fast and sometimes panicked game play, which adds to the experience.

Players get to choose one of four characters to start the game. These characters are each members of a different job class. The classes are Hunter, Siren, Solider, and Berserker each class offers players a different and unique way to play the game. Hunter class specializes in snipers and magnums as such the hunter skill tree reflects that. The Siren class focuses more on increasing the chance of inflicting specialized effects such as corrosion and burn. The Solider is more of an utility class though it does have some specialization with automatic weapons and shotguns. The majority of the Solider’s skill tree is devoted to its special ability. Berserker class is the final and most powerful of the classes available in the game. Its skills focus on both its special ability and increasing the damage it does with explosives.

Along with their built-in specialized focus, each class has a special ability. These abilities are extremely useful in a pinch. The Hunter class’ ability is to call upon Bloodwing, a pet falcon that attacks your enemies from afar. The skill upgrades for this ability increase the amount of damage Bloodwing does or increases the drop rates on weapons and money for an enemy killed by Bloodwing. Sirens have the ability to phase walk. The phase walk ability allows Sirens to turn invisible and sneak up on enemies. When you come out of phase walk an elemental blast is let off creating a radius of damage around your character. The skill tree ties into this ability by decreasing cool-down time between its usage and other odds and ends to tweak this ability. Soldier class’ ability is to throw out a portable automated gun turret. The turret provides cover fire as well as a built-in shield, allowing players to hide behind while their own shields recharge. The skill tree works with the turret ability, giving players the option to have the turret regenerate health or ammo while nearby. Also one branch of the skill tree focuses on making the turret more powerful.

The controls for the game are fairly basic and feel rather natural to pick up. There is a bit of a learning curve but not much of one. The game takes time to make an obvious effort to explain the controls and other information to the player, forcing you read the information by not allowing you to exit out of those information boxes immediately.

Co-op mode truly transforms this game into a different sort of beast. Outside of co-op the game is a rather decent shooter, fun but a bit of a grinder. In co-op mode the game really opens up, allowing players to push the envelope as the game adapts to enemies becoming harder and the drops becoming better. Co-op mode allows for players to try out different tactics to accomplish missions that otherwise would be extremely difficult to manage alone.

The Good

The game developers half way through production decided to go back and change their graphics. This usually spells disaster for a game. That is not the case with borderlands. Developers displeased with how they had strayed from the concept art went back to the original style and it was a great choice. The art for the game has a definite graphic novel feel that is only enhanced by the choice to use cell shading. In the process, they created one of the more visually stunning games of the year, while it does not have photo-realistic graphics it doesn’t need it. The game’s current almost cartoon-like graphics fit amazingly well with the story, not taking away from game play at all.

Dialogue in the game is amazingly funny. In co-op mode characters will talk to each other, often times complaining if you take too much time to heal or shouting out warnings. Some of the bandits will shout phrases such as, “I’ll make you sorry you ever came here,” usually as they are being shredded to pieces with machine gun fire. It’s not what one would call the most in-depth dialogue, and in truth it does little to add to the overall story, but it is still a rather amusing plus.

The Bad

Weapons. It doesn’t seem that the game can even be mentioned without talking about its massive amount of weapons. For many people this was a major selling point for the game and it was what was pushed the hardest, but while there are plenty of different weapons there isn’t much variety in actual design. The majority of the weapons look similar, just having different status effects or colors. So for those who were looking forward to seeing millions of different styles of gun, this a definite downside.

Bugs. The game on its release is and was one of the buggiest games. There are plenty of bugs which are exploited to the benefit of the players and just as many that are extremely detrimental to the players. Co-op mode, truly the shinning gem of this game, suffers the worst of the bugs. There are occasions where players lose their skill points upon logging out of the game. Gearbox is currently working on a solution.

Final Thoughts

Borderlands is an example of what games can be. It is very much a rejection of the more and more realistic games. The cartoonish art style and the comical interchanges between yourself and the other people of Pandora both build an interesting web that keeps you trapped within this game. It is among one of the most addictive and entrancing games of the 2009 year. It is a game I would definitely suggest to those who savor and enjoy co-op play, as this is when the game shines its brightest. While the game falls somewhat short in its variety of weapon designs there are still plenty of weapons, many of which will have you giggling like a madman as you watch them destroy your enemies. You have to love a game that labels the strongest of the normal enemies as badass. It is a definite must-have.

Whim Rating 4.5

Check out the intense trailer:

Game Play

Images from:

inglorio.us/

www.incgamers.com/

gawker.com

www.borderlandsthegame.com/

video from outside source.

The Art of Drinking

Being a student here at Radford, this is something you may know all too well, or maybe you don’t drink. Either way, if you sit down and think about it, there are lots of different ways that people like to get drunk when they go to parties. There are so many different creative ways to get drunk that we even make various competitions out of it. Here are some of the things you can expect to see at a Radford party, or really any party.

Keg Stands

Keg stands are a very popular thing to do at Radford parties, and they’re one of the things that people compete over to see who can get the best time. In a keg stand, two people lift you into the air by your feet while you hang on to the keg, and one person pumps the keg and puts the tap into your mouth. You drink for as long as you can, and everyone around counts the seconds that it takes. Wimpy keg stands are usually about five to 15 seconds long. Decent keg stands are about 20-40 seconds long, and really good keg stands are anything longer than that. Doing a kegstand will get you drunk pretty quickly.

Beer Bongs

Beer Bongs are also really popular at Radford parties. A beer bong is a funnel with a plastic tube attached to the bottom. You fill it up by pouring a full can or cup of beer into it, and then you drink from the plastic tube at the end of the funnel. Because air is able to pass through both sides of the beer bong, the beer rushes down your throat really quickly, and taking beer bongs all night at a party is another really quick and easy way to get drunk. People make competitions out of it by seeing who can drink a beer bong faster. What’s really sad is that if you think about the science behind a beer bong, somebody smart had to figure that out.

Kings

There are many different popular card games you’ll see at parties that involve drinking. Of all these games however, kings is the most popular. The rules for kings are probably complicated to figure out when you play for the first time, but you learn pretty quickly. What you do is, you put out the entire deck of cards in a circle, and then one by one each person turns over a card. Every card ends up forcing somebody to drink in a different way, and you play until all 52 cards have been turned over. After having played a game of kings, you’re guaranteed to be pretty drunk.

Quarters

Quarters is a game that involves liquor. You play against a single opponent who sits across from you at a table. The two opponents put a shot glass in the middle of the table and fill it with any kind of liquor. Then you take a quarter and attempt to bounce it off your side of the table and into the shot glass. If you make it in, your opponent has to drink the shot of liquor, and if your oppent makes it in, you have to drink the shot of liquor. This is a game that can get you drunk quickly if your opponent is really good at getting the quarter in, but it’s pretty tricky to do.

So in a way, it’s almost like drinking has become so popular for college students that we’ve made an art out of it. So practice bouncing quarters, or taking a bong, and you’ll be set when the weekends roll around. Don’t get too good though, because your liver will not be happy with you. When it comes to drinking responsibly however, there are some people who just couldn’t care less. There are many more things you can expect to see at parties. Beer Pong, Flip Cup, Jello Shots, and more. It’s important to know your limits though, because too much alcohol can get get kicked out of school.

Grandma Does Keg Stand

Pictures from: collegedrinkingprevention.gov

Video From Schmeila on Youtube