Rock Sculptor in 22,449

 

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Tyler Bohn building one of his rock sculptures outside of Towson University’s Union. (Photo by: Alex Silber/ TU Student).

Towson University students are constantly entering and exiting through the back of the University Union, attending to their busy college schedules. From taking phone calls, to picking up a scant Ron for that next test, the students and staff simply do not stop to take a breath.

Except Tyler Bohn, 21, a elementary education major at Towson University. However, Tyler does not just sit on a bench in the back of the Union, to stop and take a breath while gazing at the koi pond.

Bohn actually does something much more fascinating to relieve himself from a stressful day; he uses rocks to stack sculpture creations.

What Bohn exactly does is stack rocks, or other resources from nature such as mulch, flowers, sticks, etc. He carefully balances the big rocks on top of one another, designing essentially a statue.

Bohn does not get inspiration in particular from any art, but tackles his design whenever he gets a thought that usually pertains to his mood.

“Whenever I have an idea in my head I just go with it,” said Bohn. “You can just tell my mood when you look at what I made.”

Bohn started doing this around two years ago, as something that could help him cope with his ADHD. He first picked it up when he went to his friend’s Dad’s river, and has done it everyday since.

“It’s a way for me to calm myself down,” said Bohn. “I did this at my old school, Hartford Community College”.

He says it also helps him gain patience, which is a much-needed skill for an elementary education major.

Plus, Bohn describes himself as not a very social person, so this encourages him to be more outgoing and to get out in public.

Bohn usually works behind the University Union, but also goes into Towson University’s ponds or woodsy areas. However, he has to be careful when venturing off to avoid the poison ivy he detects.

Students pass by him with much curiosity, but Bohn says that rarely any students come to talk to him about what he is doing.

He sometimes does hear whispers and get stares, but it more so attracts positive attention. People take pictures of the final products and upload it to all forms of social media.

When not at Towson, he practices his unique skill at various different places, like rivers or in Ellicott City, MD.

No need for any place in particular, just somewhere with rocks. It can also be on any surface, for any rock can balance anywhere.

Bohn explains it quickly, as just needing a “tripod” to balance any rock, but stops himself saying it will be too hard to explain.

Bohn does not plan to continue his skill after college, for it is just something to get him through school and its stressors everyone knows all too well.

For now, “it’s just an everyday thing for me,” said Bohn as he takes a deep breath, and reaches for a pebble.

 

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Towson University Study Abroad

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Towson University’s study abroad website. (Photo by: Alex Silber/TU Student)

Towson University offers multiple study abroad programs to give students the opportunity to travel the world and study their majors. However, the unrest across the globe is posing a problem to this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Listen to this story about study abroad and student’s parent’s views about it.

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Looking at the media world through a “Periscope”

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Olivia Anstey watching one of her favorite users doing a live-stream. (Photo by Alex Silber/TU Student).

In today’s world, the Millenial generation looks for a quick and easy way out of attending college and suffering student loans up to their eyeballs. Lately, one way to do just this is by creating something worth millions in today’s society: a new social media app.

Kayvon Beykpour and Joe Bernstein, did just this when they founded the app known as Periscope, and then sold their company to Twitter for $100 million in 2015.

The app finally made its debut in the Apple app store on March 26, 2015. It has also now launched for Android smart phone users.

Periscope is an app where users can “live-stream” whatever they are doing, so followers can see what is going on and where. Followers are allowed to directly interact with the live-streamer by posting relevant comments to be responded to.

The idea was born while Beykpour was awaiting an abroad trip to Istanbul, Turkey, when protests were breaking out about urban development in Taksim Square in 2013.

There had to be some way that people can directly view and experience another place in the world. This elicited the idea to create an app where people can see what is going on, anytime, anywhere.

Periscope brings a unique and new form of social media communication; it allows for a synchronous channel between streamers and followers. Meaning, messages are being sent and received in real time.

Periscope already has competitors in the app market such as Meerkat, that features the very similar idea of live-streaming.

Even Facebook has acquired a live-streaming feature, which allows users to reach a following base of friends that they already have, instead of building a new one.

Other apps provide an asynchronous form of communication, like posting on friends walls or tweeting at others who are offline that will not receive the message until they see the notification.

People tend to like that they can interact immediately and at the same time to feel like they are really there with who they follow.

Reviews have also shown users love the easy-to-use interface and instructions. Its even accessible to the smart technology “challenged”.

However, when a live broadcast is ended it is still posted to the personal profile for users viewing later.

Periscope is not just limited to see what is going on in foreign countries; people of all ages and backgrounds live-stream their lives.

Even popular YouTube or Vine stars use it as another medium to gain a larger following base.

While thought to possibly be an exciting new way for news coverage, Mike Schuh, a reporter at WJZ, does not necessarily agree.

While he thinks of the app as “fascinating,” there are a few problems he finds with it that limit it to be a prevailing news source in the future.

The first problem is watching a story live may be exciting, but only when something exciting is happening and being captured.

A lot of the time, live things are left unfiltered, allowing distasteful language or coverage causing it to be unprofessional.

Live-streams can also lack a story with a beginning middle and end. Schuh is a “big fan” of the story, plus covering live leaves no room for “reflection or research”.

He adds that it has potential to have a spot in the news world, it is just a matter of how.

“Periscope is a look at what is newsworthy value versus scrolling entertainment value of what we can find on our phones,” said Schuh.

Towson University student Olivia Anstey uses it in the personal way Schuh refers to, just another platform for social media.

“I think it is so much fun. I live-stream my walk to and from class,” said Anstey. “It’s just a way to entertain myself while walking up a million flights of stairs.”

Anstey does not have a large following base, but her friends love to watch what she is up to, especially her friends from home who attend different universities.

Periscope provides a great way to communicate with others, it is just a matter of how it can be taken from a personal level to a professional level.

Just when it seems as though all forms of social media have been covered and created, there is always a new idea out there waiting to be discovered to earn an extra buck or two.

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TUJDay 2016 panelists believe media is a cause of social injustice

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Kwame Rose, Mark Puente, Kenneth Burns, and Jared Ball (from left to right), sit on a panel amongst Towson University students and staff for TU J Day 2016. (Photo by Alex Silber/TU Student)

Flames engulf local liquor stores and pharmacies. Stolen clothing leaves stores to be thrown in trunks of cars. White bystanders are beaten to the ground.

These were just a few horrific pictures the media painted for society during the Baltimore riots. The distorted and uncovered stories led people to fear Baltimore and its locals.

Towson University hosted a panel of respected journalists in “Reporting Unrest: Journalism’s Role in Social Justice Movements”, to discuss how the media covers social justice movements. Special guests included Mark Puente, Baltimore Sun reporter, Kenneth Burns, WYPR reporter, Kwame Rose, Black EXCELLence founder, and Jared Ball, Morgan State University Professor.

Kwame is a Baltimore local, and is disgusted with how the media portrayed his home-town during this crucial movement. “I’m from Baltimore, hanging in the same hood, seeing people doing nothing outside is normal for me,” Kwame began. “Only thing that wasn’t normal was white people in black people’s faces with cameras.”

The media was not reporting full accounts of what was happening. News stations would cover Baltimore police spraying looters with pepper spray, but not shooting innocent bystanders with rubber bullets.

A Towson University mass communications student Tori Wolfgang was intrigued by the event and the arguments the panelists made. “I couldn’t imagine that the media would not accurately cover such an important and historical social justice movement,” said Wolfgang. “That’ll be a reason why white supremacy will rule, and social inequality continues to occur.”

Kwame and Puente specifically argued about the Baltimore Sun, a local newspaper in the heart of the city, and how it was criminalizing its own citizens. Baltimore is 65 percent Black, yet their own newspaper is trying to reach a White audience.

Puente disagreed, and argued he is an investigative reporter, not a beat reporter.

But what does it take for these issues to be covered? Previous Black arrests and deaths have warranted somewhat of an uprising, but Freddie Gray’s death was the last straw.

Then when these riots break out, that is when the story becomes newsworthy. People ignore the inequality these people unfortunately face every day of their lives.

Even during Freddie Gray’s funeral, the media was covering the government and police actions, rather than the sad day for family and friends.

Editors may just be the true problem, they are the ones who take the reporters story and twist it to send a bias message to sell headlines.

 

 

 

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Blogging of a Better Night’s Sleep

Rest in peace, Prince…

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Last week the music world lost an inspiring icon, Prince. The symbol died at age 57 due to unknown causes, and the autopsy results were inconclusive and will not be known for another couple of weeks.

However, reports are claiming that Prince had worked “154 hours straight prior to his fatality.”

Prince’s brother-in-law was the one with the revelation, that his sleep deprivation could have correlated to his early death. He also claimed that he was addicted to sleep-induced painkillers.

The star’s health had to be called into question, where suicide or any trauma was present on the singer’s body.

Apparently he was anxiety ridden, and he turned to drugs for help and comfort.

When considering a good night’s sleep, you would think to try and get in bed as early as you can. However, some people have trouble actually falling asleep once they are in bed.

This is a scary situation, because people at times feel as if they have to turn to drugs for help. Especially in a college community, where drugs can be present in social situations.

There are many other ways to get help with sleeping pattern troubles, starting with simple things just like melatonin (supplements).

Even if drugs are not in the equation, sleep deprivation is correlated to health issues that can become present later on in life. It is important to give your body that rest in time for it to repair itself after a long day.

It is scary to think that something like sleep that we take for granted, could have taken a soul that was special and known to the whole world.

If you need help or know someone who needs help, please go to https://www.drugabuse.gov/children-and-teens, or call 1-800-662-HELP.

 

 

 

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Blogging of a Better Night’s Sleep

Say what?

What if someone told you that sleeping more will help you get more work done? Ironic, right? Less hours of productivity, would normally result in less work done…

Well, according to recent studies this just may not be the case. It certainly caught businessman William Vanderbloemen’s attention.

According to the article, more sleep can not only prevent critical health problems later on, but evidently “leads to higher creativity, problem solving, and productivity”.

If this comes from Forbes, the successful business magazine, it has to be true right?

Even Brian Halligan, the CEO of Hubspot, says he has the best ideas upon drifting to bed or waking up.

This definitely makes sense. I can attest to the fact that when I am falling asleep or wake up at any time of the night, I will suddenly have a brilliant idea.

However, I am currently not a multi-milllionaire (yet, anyways) because I always forget what I thought of and never have anything near my bed to write it down on. Someday.

Also, waking up feeling rested is a guaranteed way to set you up for a productive and successful day.

Vanderbloemen suggests two ways to go about getting those extra hours of sleep: put away the technology, and sleep in 90 minute cycles.

In relation to earlier blog posts, yes, get rid of the technology right before bed. However, 90 minute sleep cycles?

I most certainly do not want to be woken up by a blaring alarm, and since I share a room with my best friend I can assure you she doesn’t either.

I am sure that college students (especially those with roommates) would be in agreement.

Also, what if you cannot fall back asleep once you’re woken up? Doesn’t this also impede on REM (rapid eye movement stage) sleep ruining dreams?

I don’t have much to dream about when I am awake, so I most certainly do not want to ruin where my mind wanders at night.

 

 

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