Maps Maps Maps

I was waiting for Chrys Wu to respond to my e-mail but I haven’t gotten a response yet…so I’ll talk about the maps on 10,000 Words . The maps that were on the website were really effective.

As the economy deteriorates, jobs have been lost and it has taken a huge toll on people’s lives. The Geography of Jobs was the most powerful in my opinion. It showed where people have lost their jobs and where people have gotten jobs. If I looked at this map in 2004, I would immediately move to Southern California, Southern Florida or stay in the Baltimore area in order to find a job. But it’s interesting to see that in 2009 the places where you gained the most jobs, you’ve lost them. I think it’s smart to add a map into blogs because it makes the information more effective. It’s easier to imagine it rather than reading facts.

The H1N1 FluTracker is a great map to look at lately. Since the whole swine flu outbreak has happened, parents all over the world are freaking out about this epidemic. Where are the most outbreaks? Where do we need to stay away from. Since swine flu is a world-wide epidemic, everyone is curious to see where the flu has spread to. You can see on the map numbers of people who have gotten the flu. It’s an easier way to read data.

Track The Money is a great interactive map. I love this map because you can click on the different states and different data pops up for every state. On the data box there is a key so you can understand how much money the state has in grants, loans and contracts. It’s informative to those who are interested in the financial data of the states.

All in all the data on the maps are useful and it’s easier to understand the information. I think it’s a smart way to show your audience what your purpose is.

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Carrying Green For Less Green

I’ve noticed this trend on campus, where water is the new thirst quencher. I used to see soda and coffee all the time but now it’s water. Not only are students trying to stay healthy but the bottles they are holding are eco-friendly.

Towson University is a big commuter school and Deer Park water company happens to be in Maryland. Not only is it affordable to buy 24-packs but that 24-pack is helping the environment.

Shawna Sogluizzo, a student at Towson is an avid Deer Park drinker.
“I noticed that the bottle changed…maybe last year and on the back of the label it says that it is an Eco-Bottle. Not only is it cheap, I like the taste of Deer Park. It’s refreshing and it doesn’t have that weird after-taste like Nestle Water does,” Sogluizzo said.

Sarah Zuckerman, a student at University of Pennsylvania has a Sigg bottle that she had bought when she was a freshman.

“My mom has always been really eco-friendly and I guess I got that from her. The Sigg bottle is great. I bought a Brita and the bottle which cost me about $50. If I bought packs of water I’d be wasting a lot more. Not only am I helping the environment, I get a cool bottle to carry around,” Zuckerman said.

I am also a Deer Park drinker and I noticed myself that the bottle is light weight. I personally like Deer Park compared to other waters. It’s cheap and it’s from Maryland. I can be proud of carrying my green, recyclable refreshing water around.

Deer Park's Eco-Bottle of water

Green Water

When I think of green water, I think of the water in the Inner Harbor…however the water I’m talking about tastes a lot better than Inner Harbor gunk.

I’m talking about water that comes in a bottle. Since the world has noticed our earth deteriorating, we’ve started to make an effort to make a change. Companies that sell bottled water like Deer Park and Aquafina have decided to change the look of their bottles to make them more eco-friendly. So what does that mean exactly? Deer Park made their bottle easier to hold and lighter which means there was less energy used to create the bottle which reduced CO2 emissions. The label on the bottle is smaller, the bottle is recyclable and easier to crush and is made with 30% less plastic than the average bottle. Aquafina designed a bottle with 50% less plastic than their bottle in 2002. Their website makes people aware of their goal to go green. They have different pages to encourage people to recycle, to get invovled in the community and to feel the difference.

Besides buying bottled water, you can always opt for buying one bottle for your water and reusing it. There are new bottles every year, but sometimes the “green” bottle may cause a ruckus. Time Magazine had an article about the Sigg water bottle that is claimed to be one the most eco-friendly bottles. However the Sigg bottle was not bisphenol-A free. BPA is a chemical that hardens plastic but it is a controversial chemical that can be linked to diabetes and reducing sperm count in men. Although Sigg has promised to trade their bottles for BPA-free lined bottles, the “green” bottle has gotten a bad reputation.

High Heel Racing?

I know that there are weird races around the world like pig races, turtle races, running of the bulls…but high heel racing? The Tuesday before every Halloween, the people of 17th St. in Washington D.C. get dressed up and put on a nice pair of heels to get ready for their annual race.

I was looking through these pictures and I could not stop laughing. It kind of reminded me of “Hon Fest” in Baltimore with all the crazy outfits. Men and women both dressed up for the occasion and it is hysterical. The pictures make the event so much more effective than just reading an article about it. The costumes wouldn’t be as entertaining if I were reading a description in print rather than seeing it in a picture. Even though it was raining this past Tuesday, the people drew crowds and entertained them. You can see the crowds laughing and smiling, you can see the people participating with hysterical expressions and you can really feel the vibe of the night through the photographs.

It’s important in media these days to add pictures into their text so that the audience has a better understanding of the event. It makes people want to stay and click on the next photo instead of clicking to another website. It’s a smart way to keep people enticed.

Wouldn’t you want to click on the next picture after seeing this?

High Heel Race

Men and women racing in heels.

Vroom vroom, or is it zip zip?

Towson University is one of many universities within the country that is using the new car sharing system called the Zipcar . There are four simple steps to borrowing the Zipcar and they are: join, reserve, unlock and drive. When you go onto their website you can sign up and then the process is simple from there. Not only is the process simple but for Towson students it’s only $35 a year!

Zipcar parked in front of Richmond and Newell HallsI always walk by the two hybrid Zipcars that are parked in front of Richmond and Newell Halls and I always see them available. I think that this brilliant idea isn’t really being utilized by the students and I asked a couple of freshmen why.

Sarah Kaewsowatana said that she knew that the cars were there but she was afraid that it would be such a hassle.

“I know it’s really convenient because it’s right there and it’s pretty cheap, but I don’t really trust that kind of a program. Really it’s only $35…well what’s the catch? I don’t buy it,” Kaewsowatana said.

Another freshmen, Alexa Demski wasn’t even aware of such a program at our campus.

“I love the idea, I’m surprised I never heard of it. It’s great because it’s hard for us [freshmen] to have cars on campus. I wish someone had told me about it,” Demski said.

It’s obvious that the students aren’t aware of the smart idea of sharing cars, so why isn’t Towson making a bigger effort to make it known?

It’s smart and it’s savvy. It’s environmentally healthy to be sharing cars especially hybrid cars. There’s less gas in the air, less money for gas and it’s a free parking spot. Why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of such a smart idea?

Check out my ride…

Hybrids are the new hip cars. Not only are they stylish but they are helping the earth. So what exactly is a hybrid car? A hybrid car uses two or more different kinds of power sources to get the car moving. So how does that save our environment? It achieves greater fuel economy and releases less harmful gases into the air. But why else are hybrid cars great? Well, they are cheap! Now that the year 2009 is coming to an end, 2010 brings more eco-friendly cars. The top 10 eco-friendly cars of 2010 were listed. Among the top 10 is the Toyota Prius which has been a reoccurring contestant on the environmentally friendly list for cars. A model starts around $22,000, making it a very affordable car… meaning less green for the green car. The Prius is one of the most popular cars when you think of green cars, however the number one eco-friendly car is one that many people don’t think of. The Chevy Volt 230 is the best green car of 2010. Why did it get the number one spot? The 230 in the name stands for the amount of miles the car gets per gallon. It is one of the most technically advanced cars because the electric engines in the car can go up to 40 miles without a charge which means if you drive 40 miles you might not use up any gas. Although this model is about $40,000 making it pricier than most eco-friendly cars, the cost of using gas less definitely evens out.

Living on a Dollar a Day in Malawi

Wow. There is nothing more moving that reading an article like Living on a Dollar a Day in Malawi.

The story is so touching, it’s so sad and it makes a struggle for me seem like nothing. It’s incredible how these people survive on a dollar. Sometimes they’ll eat and other days they won’t. Their daily lives deal with so many chores including carrying gallons of water on their heads, getting fertilizer for their soil and try to limit their spending as much as possible. Martha’s journey is someone to look up to, she wants to be a journalist, but she and her family don’t have enough money to get a proper education to become a news reporter.

The sound clip really makes you understand what the Phiri family is going through. You can hear the water, the animals you hear the family talking to you. Even with all the struggle you still hear them laughing and that is something that I really appreciate. I think I often forget about how blessed I am to have all these things and I sometimes take my life for granted, but listening to their story is so touching and it makes me realize that I have more than enough.

The pictures are also really moving. You can see how skinny the family is from the lack of food. You see what they have to do every day, you see where they live and you see that they’re still smiling.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to live with only a dollar a day, I do know that I should never take my life for granted.