Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Interim Assignment

Omar al-Bashir arrest charges

Who?- Omar al-Bashir

What?- He is wanted for arrest for crimes against humanity including murder, rape, extermination, forcible transfer, and torture as well as war crimes including targetting civilians purposely and pillaging.

Where?- The Hague, Netherlands

When?- April 2003- July 14, 2008

Why?- He is a terrorist

How?- He is wanted for arrest for crimes against humanity including murder, rape, extermination, forcible transfer, and torture as well as war crimes including targetting civilians purposely and pillaging.

Barbie at 50

Who?- Barbie

What?- Barbie has been around for 50 years

Where?- America

When?- March 5, 2009

Why?- It is the most popular doll since 1959

How?- It constantly came out with new models to attract new customers

Morgan Tsvangirai accident

Who?- Morgan Tsvangirai

What?- He was in a horrible car accident

Where?- Harare, Zimbabwe 

When?- March 7, 2009

Why?- Its supposed to be an accidental crash but it is suspected that the lack of security and protection may have caused it

How?- He was in a car crash

North Korean satellite

Who?- North Koreans

What?- They threatened that any attempt to stop satellite launch will lead to war

WHere?- To space from North Korea

When?- March 2009

Why?- The US does not know the purpose of the satellite and North Korea will not reveal it

How?- The US was planning on thwarting the launch for national security. 

Iraq troop withdrawal

Who?- Iraqi troops and President Obama

What?- The troops may be withdrawn

Where?- Iraq

When?- August 31, 2010

Why?- Obama feels the combat mission will be finished by then

How?- The US troops stationed in Iraq are supposed to come home

Friday, January 23, 2009

Midterm Essay

Ryan Bissonnette

Mr. Twining


January 21, 2008

Dangers in Journalism

When first asked to list off some of the most dangerous careers one can take in their life, people will list off occupations such as soldier, police officer, fire fighter, detective, etc. What they do not realize is that they are completely overlooking maybe the most dangerous of them all: Journalist. Now I am not talking about the regular sports reporter or a reporter that writes about the bake sale down the street. They are not making any sacrifices and are not in any danger whatsoever. I am talking about the reporters that report on rampant and meaningful issues around the world that will affect the course the Earth takes in the future. These events are usually, but not limited to wars. There is not a war going on in China but it is still extremely dangerous to report there because of the horrible relationship between the US and China. Three of the most dangerous places on Earth for a reporter to report in are Iraq, The Philippines, and Russia.

For the past few years, a war has been raging in Iraq and since it is so far away, the citizens of the US will never know what is going on without any reporters reporting on the events of the war. Luckily, there were several reporters willing to risk themselves to report the news. Over in Iraq, it is not safe whatsoever for any reporter. They often get shot, taken hostage, or worse. Just in 2008, 41 journalists were killed in Iraq. This is in 2008, a few years past the prime of the war when it was the worst. To keep safe, reporters travel with battalions of US soldiers. However, what happens if that troop does not return safely? The reporter goes with them. Reporting in a war zone is almost like being a part of the army itself.

The next area that it is extremely dangerous to report in is not a war-torn country, but the relationship between them and the US is not so great. I am talking about the Philippines. Over the past decade, 51 journalists have been murdered on the streets. That is just the number of deaths reported. Who knows how many the Filipinos are covering up and keeping away from the US government? In the past 2 years alone, 15 have been brutally murdered and even more have received death threats on the streets from below average citizens. Most of the killings occur in the provinces, especially in the conflict-ridden south where criminal gangs and rebel groups operate. Life here is cheap, abject poverty makes it easy to find someone willing to kill for as little as $100. That is not good at all. It is almost like there is a huge Vigilante movement against the Americans reporting across the Pacific. Most of the journalists killed were covering government issues, which in the provinces are complicated by corruption. Many victims have been radio commentators, who have been brave enough to challenge the system, so much so, that popular presenters such as Mr. Elmidulan have become the last resort for those desperate for help. Those seeking protection from abusive or corrupt public officials, or looking for help in filing legal cases against officials and those seeking justice for relatives in jail often call their local station to seek aid. For these reasons, traveling to the Philippines to report the news is definitely an enormous risk.

For countless years, the US has been having problems with Russia. The nation just seems to always want to cause violence throughout the world for the hell of it. That is what makes it one of the most dangerous places on Earth to report in. Russia has long suffered from the reputation of being among the world's most dangerous countries for journalists. The perception has been built over time by various international press-freedom monitors who, year after year, find Russia overrepresented among the world's developed nations and even among the Community of Democracies in terms of murdered reporters. Their colleagues in Russia have even longer lists of reporters allegedly killed for journalism. Though not as bad as the Philippines in terms of being a journalist, many of the same actions occur in Russia. Killings of journalists are widely used by analysts to measure the level of press freedom in a country. To be sure, if few or no media workers are killed, it can mean that there is so little freedom that no reporter ever sticks his neck out far enough to be killed. If many reporters are killed, it can be explained by a war zone or rampant crime and settling of scores. Still, regardless of these sliding parameters, when year after year a country produces a death list of journalists, it is a highly troubling indicator of an absence of press freedom. This lack of press freedom can be blamed on the fact that Russia has recently invaded Georgia and that maybe the government does not want any of the operations or events going on within the nation to reach outside nations so that it may arouse conflict with other nations around the world and potentially start a World War 3. These press restrictions tend to repel journalists from reporting on events in Russia.

In today’s society, being a journalist is definitely one the most dangerous occupations one can undertake in life. When reporting on harsh issues or reporting in harsh places, journalists are risking their lives just to report the facts to the average US citizen so we know what is going on across the ocean. Three of the most dangerous regions to report in are Iraq, the Philippines, and Russia because pf the lack of journalistic freedom and tension between them and the US government. So next time you are asked about heroes at the workplace, do not overlook the journalists, for they are making the ultimate risk to provide something many people throw off as nonsense or balderdash. They are the heroes of today’s society.

Friday, January 9, 2009


NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl

Who?- Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers, Indianapolis Colts. Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers.

What?- Championship of the NFL

Where?- Super Bowl: Tampa, Florida. Playoffs: Arizona, San Diego, Miami, Minnesota, Tennessee, New York, Pittsburgh

When?: January 3, 2009 to February 1, 2009

Why?: To see who the best football team is this season

How?: 12 teams play each other for the top two spots in tyhe NFL that will face each other in the super bowl.

January 20, 2009

Who: Barrack Obama and George W. Bush

What: Obama is taking over the White House

Where: Washington DC

When: January 20, 2009

Why: George Bush is no longer the president and Obama is taking over.

How: Obama gives and inaugural speech and is admitted into the White House.

ObamaMobile, The president-elect's new wheels

Who: Barrack Obama

What: He is getting a new car

Where: Washington DC

When: Late 2011 to early 2012

Why: His old car was not environment efficient at all

How: He is buying a new, more environment friendly vehicle so he is not looked at as a hypocrite.

New Harry Potter release?

Who? J.K. Rowling

What? The release date of the new book

When? July 17, 2009

Where? The World

Why? It was pushed back 8 months

How? It was done in a public speech to the press

Jett Travolta

Who: Jett Travolta

What: Died

Where: Bahamas

When: January 2, 2009

Why: He had Kawasaki Disease

How: Of a seizure

Article 5

Top 10 Games This Holiday

By Ryan Bissonnette

Are you doing some Christmas shopping for a gamer and just can’t seem to figure out what game to get? Or are you yourself a gamer and can’t decide what to put on your Christmas list this year? Fortunately, there’s no need to worry for the following ten listed games are among the best hitting the markets before this Christmas all across the world. (Listed in no particular order)

Rock Band 2 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2)

Rock Band 2, the sequel to the highly acclaimed Rock Band game, further extends the amazing experience brought on by the its predecessor. The game features the same layout and game play as the first; making some tweaks and improvements to some aspects that were flawed as well as adds new features to experience such as a completely revamped single player career, battle of the bands challenges, and a drum trainer. With a song catalog now consisting of over 500 tracks, this game is a must buy for any music lover.

Guitar Hero World Tour (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2)

For years, the Guitar Hero series has never failed to entertain the masses even through its massive evolutions. The latest installment, Guitar Hero World Tour, features game play as a full band instead of the classic guitar. With a stellar track list, great visuals, a 4 VS 4 online Battle of the Bands mode, an incredibly in depth character creator, tons of unlockable music icons such as Sting, Ozzy, Billy Corrigan, and Ted Nugent, as well as the revolutionary Music Studio that actually allows the player to completely create their own track for the game, the game fails to disappoint and will probably be found on millions of Christmas Lists around the world.

Lips (Xbox 360)

Is the full band experience just not your thing? Do you want to play literally any song ever created? Well, maybe Lips is more suited to you than Rock Band or Guitar Hero. Lips is much like the acclaimed Karaoke Revolution series which consists of the player singing a song on the game while trying to match the pitch and correct words to score more points. The most outstanding feature of Lips is that, if connected to Xbox Live, one can connect their mp3 player the Xbox and literally play every single song on it in the game perfectly. Lips is surely on of the biggest titles for parties this holiday season.

Wii Music (Wii)

Since the launch of the Wii, fans have been avidly waiting the arrival of the game the introduced the Wii; Wii Music. Wii Music features a cascade of playable instruments, a number greater than 60, that the player can completely and accurately play using their Wii controller. The game is highly addicting and music lovers around the world will be found creating their own orchestral masterpiece using the incredible music-making abilities of Wii Music.

Gears of War 2 (Xbox 360)

Music games not your thing? Are you looking for a fast-paced, action-packed, thrill-arousing shooter? Gears of War 2 will definitely deliver. Fans of the original game will not be disappointed one bit. The campaign is just as exhilarating, the multiplayer is just as intense, and the graphics are just beautiful. Gears is more than likely the best looking game out on any system by far. With many of the same aspects from the original with nothing getting taken away, just improvements and additions, Gears of War 2 is a must buy for any hardcore gamer.

Call of Duty: World at War (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, DS, PC, PSP)

Almost every single self-respecting gamer has heard of the Call of Duty series. The newest installment to the critically acclaimed shooter franchise is World at War, which takes the game back home: World War 2. Being the sequel to last years game of the year, the hype alone for this game is enough to sell millions of copies. Luckily, the game play does not disappoint one bit.

Fallout 3 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

Some gamers, much like myself, have never heard of the Fallout series until the newest installment was announced. Developed by Bethesda, the game plays much like the phenomenal Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion except it is set in modern-day day following a nuclear war. With the perfect mixture of a shooter and a strategic RPG, this game is sure to sell millions this December.

Shaun White Snowboarding (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2)

For many years, games featuring skating pro, Tony Hawk, have dominated the gaming market. Unfortunately, it seems as if Tony has become old and overused. The developers answer to this, is Shaun White. Much like the Tony Hawk games, Shaun White’s new game is the first in depth, great snowboarding game that has hit the market in awhile. The console that the game is outstanding on though is the Wii. Because of the technology used with the sensor bar and Wii Balance Board, the player feels right in the action. They use the Board as the snowboard and hold the Wiimote and Nunchuck controllers out beside them and directly control their character. Because of this, this snowboarding game will surely be one the most popular experiences this holiday.

Little Big Plant (PS3)

Unlike every other game listed, Little Big Planet is an immensely huge and inventive platformer, not a shooter or rhythm based game. Unlike most platformers gamers are familiar with, Little Big Planet Is completely multiplayer with up to 4 players, online and offline. The game play is highly addictive but the outstanding feature is the limitless combinations able to be used to create your own levels. Little Big Planet just may be the best game released for the PS3 since its launch.

Chrono Trigger (DS)

Though just a remake of the original version for the SNES, Chrono Trigger is a timeless adventure that never gets old. It was once considered the greatest RPG of all time and after playing through it once again, one will be able to see why it got this title. It had an innovative combat system, a compelling story, and some of the most lovable characters at the time. Though quite aged, the game is extremely nostalgic and the remake will definitely reach a wider audience and a new generation of gamers. Chrono Trigger is seems to be best RPG experience offered on the DS.

Article 4

From Connery to Craig: The Evolution of Bond
by Ryan Bissonnette

On October 5, 1962, director Terence Young released the first ever
James Bond movie throughout the world to entertain the masses with
it's high-tech gadgets, and nail-biting suspense. Little did Young
know, this one movie release would lead to a worldwide phenomena and
become the largest spy sensation to ever hit the world. Audiences were
so captivated by these films because they depicted a secret agent, an
occupation every child dreams of being at one point, performing
death-defying stunts, foiling evil villains' plots, and wooing a
beautiful woman while working in witty humor and intense story-telling
techniques. The franchise, as of now, consists of 23 films with two
more already in the planning stages. It's been a matter of debate just
who played the best Bond and which film was the best of the bunch.
Throughout the 23 films thus far, the actor playing bond has changed
and the different gadgets Bond used have changed greatly as well.

The first Bond film, Dr. No, stared Sean Connery as the spy. Connery
played Bond in Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball,
You Only Live Twice, and Diamonds Are Forever. The next Bond was
played by George Lazenby who only starred in Her Majesty's Secret
Service. Following Lazenby was Roger Moore who starred in, Live or Let
Die, The Man With the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For
Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, and A View To Kill. Next was Timothy Dalton
who starred in The Living Daylights and License to Kill. Following him
was Pierce Brosnon who starred in Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The
World Is Not Enough, and Die Another Day. The most recent Bond is
played by Daniel Craig. He's starred in Casino Royale and Quantum of
Solace thus far. Many critics find Connery to be the best Bond because
he was the original, but personally, I find Brosnon to be the best
Bond so far. He had witty dialogue, looked the part, and starred in my
favorite of the Bond films, Goldeneye.

Back in 1962, that gadgets Bond used were revolutionary and completely
awe-inspiring to audiences. They were nothing anyone had ever seen
before. Unfortunately, with the enormous advances in technology, the
wonder of Bond's gadgets is completely lost and they seem to have lost
their charm over the years. Though for awhile, the plots of the films
varied between each other, one can tell that writers are running out
of ideas. Don't get me wrong, I love the Bond movies, but it seems
like almost every film involves Bond foiling the plot of a terrorist
or mastermind trying to take over the world. Many viewers love this
and enjoy the fact that it has not changed over the years. But what
many viewers love, is what makes the films do somewhat poorly in
critical reviews as of recent. They do amazing in the Box Office
because Bond is a household name and has been around for over 40

In many ways across the 40 years Bond has existed, he has remained
more or less the same. He's still a witty British spy who always gets
the girl and saves the world from an evil terrorist plot. He has,
however, also changed greatly over the years. He has been played by
six actors, his venue is commonly different and he has been getting
new gadgets that, unfortunately, no longer impress. I'm not in any
way, bashing the series because I am a huge fan. I expect the series
to continue for at least 3 more films in the coming years, so the
producers are able to utilize Daniel Craig to his full potential.

Article 3

Xbox 360 Dashboard Gets a New Look
Ryan Bissonnette

Since the Xbox 360 was released on November 22, 2005 by Microsoft Corporation, the systems firmware had been constantly receiving updates via the Xbox Live service. These updates seemed to be very minimal and didn't have any noticable changes for the average gamer for they would either just update the systems ability to run new software and changed what items were availabe for purchase in the marketplace. At the world-famous, E3, Microsoft held a press conference to show how they would use their console to compete with their rivals in the near future. Their visionary plan consisted of a firmware update like no other that would revolutionize the Xbox 360 experience forever. It is scheduled to be released on November 19, 2008 and is called NXE 2.0.7356.0.

This new firmware update for the Xbox 360's dashboard completely re-creates the original dashboard interface; making it much easier to navigate as well as adding some awesome new features. The first, most noticeable improvement, is the inclusion of the ability to create avatars for one's gamer profile. Much like Nintendo's Miis or the Playstation 3's Home Avatars, these characters can be created to depict the player and be used as a "profile picture" for their Gamertag. As expected from Microsoft, this avatar system is far from shallow. There are hundreds of different options for ones avatar in all of the different categories. These avatars can be substituted for the previously used Gamer Pictures that are tied to Gamertags and will appear on your friends list to symbolize ones online friends.

Though the avatars can add some level of entertainment to the Xbox 360 experience, the most outstanding feature is definitely the Party system. This newly implemented system consists of allowing the player and up to 8 friends enter a chat room of sorts together and talk to each other as well as share photos. While in a party, the players can all play certain Xbox Live Arcade games together and even watch movies through the newly licensed Netflix Channel. So basically, if the leader of the party wants to watch Goodburger, he can choose to and the rest of the party will see the movie launch on their own tv screen even if they are across the world. With the new party system, online multiplayer has been taken to a completely different level.

A more extensive list of added and improved features with the update can be viewed below in the following chart.

User Interface changes

* Completely redefined GUI (Similar to Windows Media Center).
o New pop-up/in-game Live Guide, using a redesigned version of the blades interface
o New sound effects
o Ability to preview your own themes before setting them.
* Support for 1440x900 and 1680x1050 16:10 resolutions (displays with black bars) over VGA and HDMI (when using DVI)

Xbox Live changes

* Xbox Live Party allowing for 8 person chat and image sharing.
* Fully customizable Avatars for use in upcoming games and on Xbox Live. (Some current games will also receive an update on November 19th to support the new Avatars)

* Access Xbox Live Marketplace on a PC via with the ability to queue downloads to the xbox.
* Ability to watch Netflix movies on your Xbox 360. (You must be in the US, a Gold Xbox Live member, and a Netflix Subscriber)

Game changes

* Option to install games to hard drive in order to decrease load times and to make the hardware quieter. The disc must still be present for the game to load.
* Information from Xbox Live regarding the game in your disc tray.
* Quick Launch for launching games on your console
* Ability to remove games with 0 gamerscore from your profiles played games list
* Auto Start - Option to set whether you want the disc to run/or stay idle when the disc tray closes with a game or media disc inside, by default its set to run

This list of new features is enough to get any 360 owner excited for the upcoming week. Be sure to look for the update on November 19, 2008.

Article 2

Fable: The Revolutionizing of Role-Playing Games

By Ryan Bissonnette

Five years ago, an Englishman named Peter Molyneux had a vision of the greatest and most in-depth role-playing game ever to appear on a gaming console. This vision became an idea and later evolved in a full-fledged project. He titled his creation "Fable." With his company, Lionhead Studios working with him, he was able to make his dream a reality and "Fable" was released to markets all around the world available for the Microsoft Xbox and later Microsoft Windows. The basis of the game was simple; the player takes control of a hero who had to avenge the death of his family by defeating an ultimate boss. It was an Action RPG, meaning the player directly controlled their hero and all of their actions. This wasn't what made the game so legendary through. Being the genius he is, Molyneux incorporated an in-depth alignment system that allowed to player to make his hero either insidiously evil or heartwarmingly good based on the choices they make throughout the course of their adventure. It was like world of "Fable" was its own little world the player basically created based on what they wanted to do with the game. This ingenious system turned a game that would've only lasted nearly 15 hours to last for hundreds, with limitless possibilities of evolving the world and ways to play through the story. The game was a hit, and it was time for Peter to meet with Lionhead studios again to tackle a sequel.

This sequel was aptly named "Fable II" and was released in markets around the world on October 21, 2008. The sequel had the same systems incorporated that were present in the original but it built upon them and expanded them. Molyneux made the game much more interactive than the first; allowing the player to interact with every single NPC (Non-playable character), buy real estate, have jobs, and most importantly, start a family. Players wholeheartedly welcomed these additions and improvements and "Fable II" became one of the most anticipated fall releases alongside legendary greats like "Prince of Persia" and "Fallout 3." The five year wait for the sequel was definitely worth it.

The story of "Fable II" involves you, the hero, and his journey to avenge his sister's death. Though the story was more or less the same, it was told completely differently and progressed at a different rate so to they player it seemed almost completely different from the story of the original game. Thankfully, Molyneux didn't "dumb down" or trash any concepts from the original game. He only built upon the first game, making improvements where he thought they needed to be made. Just the like the original game, the main story only lasts about 15 hours but the player can and will most likely spend about one-hundred hours playing as one hero. There are countless side quests, collectables to collect, and most importantly, achievements. Most games for the Xbox 360 are elongated due to their achievements. Achievements are just basically goals that are usually uninvolved with story that if the player reaches, they are awarded an allocated amount of Gamerscore for their profile. Hardcore players are obsessed with achievements and will not be disappointed with the ones incorporated into "Fable II."

Once again, Molyneux has succeeded in revolutionizing the local RPG genre. The man is a pure genius and has limitless ideas for his games., When he wants something made in a game, he does whatever he can to get it in the game and he continues to please fans. The one point many players argue that could've improved the game is making it an MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) game like World of Warcraft. Personally, I don't think this should ever be done with "Fable." There needs to be some great local RPG games and let's just hope Molyneux delivers once again in the future.