Tag Archives: Blog Post 2 – Connected Writing

Land Development Leads to Increased Flooding?

With all the news about all the hurricanes causing so much flooding this season, I keep hearing a lot of hype about climate change and end-of-days scenarios. I think maybe we should sit down and think about this from a more practical view point: land development.

I know what you’re thinking: “what does land development have to do with hurricanes?”

Hurricanes happen. Maybe they happen more regularly, or more powerfully due to increased ocean temperatures, right? Yes, both of those things are true.

But why do we really have all this record flooding all over the place? It doesn’t even have to be caused by a hurricane. Houston has been experiencing increased flooding in recent history. With devastating and costly effects.

Houston has always been an area known for flooding, so why has it just recently began to see increased rates and severity of flood? Even major flooding outside of the areas of Houston designated as flood zones.

Well, my somewhat-educated-guess is that it has a lot to do with urban development and poor city planning. They have paved over much of their prairie region, which would normally absorb much of the water that is now sitting on the concrete and asphalt with nowhere to drain. I mean, there’s a reason it’s called a “flood plain.”

https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2017/09/11/houston-flood-maps-were-struggling-to-predict.html#i1
Houston flood maps were struggling to predict damage before Harvey, study says

Prairie and grasslands allow for a lot of water to be absorbed, in both the land itself and in the bodies of water found in these regions. Having grasslands and prairies in tact and in range of the flood zones could have greatly reduced the amount of water left standing in the city. And while it would not likely reduce the frequency or strength of the storms, it could reduce the frequency and severity of the flooding they cause.

This could reduce the damage and costs associated with the storms, and even the fatalities cause by them.

 

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Sugar High(s) + Lows

Initially, when the class was given the choice between food, culture, and gender topics for our projects, I was drawn to food. Not for the obvious reasons (although I am a self-proclaimed foodie), but because I was recently inspired by a documentary called ‘That Sugar Film”.

This is how it always starts, right? You watch a documentary that turns your life upside-down, and next thing you know, you’re buying into a whole new lifestyle? Well, that’s exactly what happened to me, go-figure.

“That Sugar Film” is about one man’s journey to discover the bitter truth about sugar. As it turns out, humans were never meant to consume this sticky substance in any form, including ‘healthy food’. Now I don’t want to kill the film, but I promise it will forever change the way you think about everything from salad dressing to juicing an apple.

Bonus! This film is not only wickedly entertaining, but it is also free to view for Amazon Prime subscribers.

You do realize that as a student you’re entitled to a free 6-month trial of Amazon Prime, right? I guess that means you’ll be spending Memorial Day weekend educating yourself on the dangers of sugar and rolling in all the free two-day shipping you can afford.

You’re welcome.

#blogpost2 #connectedwriting

The Manchester Attack and Different Approaches To News Storytelling

Hi everyone,
Like many people, I’ve been walking around with a heavy heart because of the horrifying suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena on Monday. My Facebook news feed has been filled with an endless supply of articles about the attack — breaking updates, recaps, biographies of the victims and opinion pieces. All of this reading has really demonstrated the difference in news storytelling between the more “traditional” news outlets and newer, Millenial-focused publications. The former is still focused on long-form, newspaper-like articles and the latter uses more images, multimedia and information shared in tweet-like tidbits.
Take this article from The New York Times. It’s a great piece that both updates the reader on the increased terror levels as well as give a recap of everything that’s happened since the attack occurred. The voice is formal and professional — it definitely feels like a global newspaper. Moreover, the paragraphs are long and the language is fairly academic. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this style, as the Times is often considered the best newspaper in the world.
In contrast, there’s this BuzzFeed article. For one thing, it’s a “developing story” type article, which acts more of a social feed. As updates are created by the editorial team, they’ll get pushed to that link. This is nice, because it can be a one-stop-shop for all info on the attack, including the latest updates. There’s also no need to hunt down a bunch of links. But the different tone and style is what is so different from the Times. Beautiful images, embedded social posts and links fill the page. The paragraphs are short, bite-sized and succinct. There doesn’t seem to be a single wasted word. The language also feels like it’s catered for younger, social media-savvy readers.
In conclusion, I am not trying to make a judgement over which style is “better” — although I do appreciate the highly visual, succinct style of the Buzzfeed article — but rather demonstrate how journalism and storytelling are advancing and changing. The Times is sticking with its tried-and-true style, which originated in their newspaper, while Buzzfeed is taking advantage of digital and social media to its full capacity.
Thoughts? Thanks!
Norka

Clutter = Weight Gain, Who Knew??

OK I’ll admit it; I’m a bit of a control freak.

I like rules and order they give me balance and a sense of place to exist within.  StressGenerally this translates to multiple areas of my life but since starting school I was finding myself just feeling out of control.

Within the last few years my grandmother passed away and while it wasn’t unexpected the sheer volume of stuff we as a family had to go through and make sense of was voluminous.

Continue reading Clutter = Weight Gain, Who Knew??

Wanderlust and the American Dream

Wikipedia definition: Wanderlust is a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.

I’ve been bitten by the wanderlust bug. This isn’t a recent development; I’ve always been a wanderer, dreaming of exploring distant lands, meeting new people, and trying new things. Part of the reason I write is because I can create those places, people, and ideas on the page. It opens up a new world, an escapism, for others to enjoy.

 

Writing, though, isn’t a replacement for the desire to travel. In fact, I’ve realized my impulse to just go somewhere gets stronger every day. I find myself checking airline prices and reading travel blogs, daydreaming about when I might be able to stop living vicariously through other peoples’ pictures, stories, and happiness. Wouldn’t it be great to just get up, hop on a plane, and fly to Japan? Or backpack through the countryside of France and sip wine with the locals? I would, in a heartbeat, snap up a ticket to Thailand to visit a place that has different thoughts, experiences, and attitudes than my own.

Continue reading Wanderlust and the American Dream

Political Flip Floppers Anonymous

Do you trust these people?

A post shared by Mark Rangen (@super.important) on

Its election season again and just like every other American you’ve seen enough politics to be done for the next 4 years and its not even November yet. one of the things you’ve surely seen is at least one circumstance of a candidate attacking another candidate. Often times they can get quite personal with their attacks. In this cycle, I feel like the presidential debates were more insults than politics.

Continue reading Political Flip Floppers Anonymous

Intergenerational Friendship

Intergenerational friendship

Delayed Adulthood. Social scientist have developed this term to describe the slow progression Millennials are making towards achieving the same marks of maturity (buying a house, getting married, having children, and settling on a career) that were set by generations before them. In this article We millennials lack a roadmap to adulthood, Stafford talks about the struggle Millennials face in finding their purpose and direction.

Much to my Mother’s dismay, I can strongly relate. At the age of 25, I’m nowhere near where my grandparents were at my age decades ago. I don’t own a home, I’m currently single, I have no desire for children, and I’m still searching of what I want to do with my life. While I have a great hopes and dreams for the journey ahead, I don’t necessarily aspire for the same ideals of the generations before me. Even more frustrating is the societal judgment disseminating from generations who have chosen a more traditional path that isn’t for me. However, I think there is a simple solution for building generational competence. Continue reading Intergenerational Friendship

Communication: Consider the User

As a technical communication major, I am more aware of the importance of good document design and creating user-centered content. Whether writing instructions on how to assemble a table or writing content for the web, the information needs to reflect the user-experience. Letting Go of the Words, by Ginny Redish was my go-to book for the “Writing & Designing for the Web I & II” courses. The book helped me to create more purposeful content.

Effective Communication

User-experience applies to verbal communication, too. The exchange of information needs to be clear, so the listener understands the way the message was intended. It’s never to late to work on  improving communication. You can start by:

  • Actively listening
  • Paying attention to nonverbal cues
  • Keeping stress in check
  • Asserting yourself

Effective communication is important in all areas of our lives—even when the topic is uncomfortable.

 Communicating your Wishes

After I shared the news about my car accident with one of our daughters, the conversation turned to an uncomfortable topic (for me)—end-of-life wishes. As a medical resident, she has seen her fair share of families that were forced to make difficult decisions in the midst of their profound grief.
When our kids were young, my husband and I got a will and advanced directive. The main purpose was to ensure our four children were taken care of, in the event something happened to us. As a young parent, I didn’t want to think about not being around to watch our children grow-up, get married, and have children of their own. We had to answer if we wanted to be resuscitated, put on a mechanical ventilator, and donate our organs—not fun stuff to think about.

Completing the directive was an emotional experience. I was so freaked out that I wrote I had to be “REALLY, REALLY, REALLY DEAD” (in all caps) before anyone removes my organs. Our lawyer laughed when she saw my note. She understood most people felt that way about donations, but no one had ever listed their request the way I did.

Twenty years later, I’m still uneasy when people bring up the end-of-life topic. However, I saw firsthand how the benefits of communicating the wishes eliminated added stress on the family, when my mother-in-law became ill.

The conversation with my daughter made me realize that it’s time for us to update our documents. Time will tell if I’m ready to remove my special request.

Have you communicated your end-of-life wishes with your family?

Anxiety is Serious

Have you ever felt as though you may have an anxiety disorder? Do you get so easily overwhelmed and scared that you can’t help but shut down?

Anxiety is a creature of sorts. For many individuals, it creeps into every area it can get its hands on. It grabs your brain; it clenches your emotions. Many people can experience anxiety and stress from time to time. Most of the time, it can be a good thing because it drives us to complete various tasks on our to-do lists. However, for some individuals, anxiety is very real and it can be completely debilitating.

 

Anxiety is difficult to define because people experience various levels of it so differently and at various times in life. If I wanted to define the mental illness level of anxiety, I would say that it is simply uncontrollable and unexpected. Now, that doesn’t explain anything having to do with the feelings an individual feels when he/she experiences anxiety—that can vary so much (as I said at the beginning of this paragraph).

My point in saying this is to shed light on the fact that those who actually experience real, daily anxiety that is uncontrollable (perhaps an anxiety disorder) should not be told not to stress out or not to be nervous. Because anxiety that is debilitating is really a psychological and neurological illness, it is far beyond the control of the inflicted individual.

That being said, this does not mean that people with uncontrollable anxiety should sit in a well of self-pity their whole lives. It would be damaging on many levels (emotionally, relationally, etc.) to live this way and not deal with the overwhelming anxiety. People who think that their anxiety is a real issue should go to their doctor and/or see a therapist and take the necessary action steps to begin conquering their anxiety because there is help out there.

 

In the process, individuals around the person who is experiencing uncontrollable anxiety should be gracious and supportive. It’s important to understand that, though you may not experience anxiety as intensely as so-and-so, that doesn’t mean that you should tell them, “Just be happy.” I guarantee that is the last thing he/she will want to hear amidst the daily battle between the head (the anxiety) and the heart (not wanting to feel/think the anxious thoughts that are occurring).