Nicola Karasik's Writing Portfolio beat coverage, news stories, and blog posts

Volleyball stays winless in A-10 play, drops sixth straight match

Junior outside hitter Aaliya Davidson and senior middle blocker Chidima Osuchukwu combined for 20 kills and 25 points Friday night, but it was not enough as the Colonials fell to Fordham in three straight sets.

GW (6-10, 0-3 A-10) has now lost six consecutive matches and remains winless at the Smith Center this season. Set scores were 27-25, 25-22, 25-23 in the team’s Atlantic 10 home-opener.

“It’s not our skill, it’s not our athleticism, it’s our mental approach,” head coach Amanda Ault said. “In [Saint Louis], we lost two of the three sets by two points. Tonight, we lost every set by two points, so that’s a gut check.”

Fordham (9-9, 2-1 A-10) hit .181 for the night (34k-17e-94a) while GW swung .107 (37k-25e-112a), having three players record at least six kills.

The Colonials opened the match strong, battling the Rams in the first set through 10 ties and four lead changes. The teams were neck-and-neck until the end, when senior Maddie Brown committed a service error, forcing the Colonials to suffer a two point loss.

Davidson fueled a five-point run early in the second set, posting five kills (.667) and three digs, scoring a total of 6.5 points.

GW held a solid lead over the Rams for a majority of the set and saw kills from Davidson and freshman outside hitter Jordan Young, and a block from Osuchukwu, but consecutive service and attack errors from freshman setter Jaimeson Lee and and sophomore outside hitter Kelsey Clark fed Fordham’s ultimate 25-22 victory.

The Colonials trailed most of the third set after Fordham’s early 5-1 run, leading the visitor to a match-clinching 23-25 win.

“We’re inconsistent,” Davidson said. “We like to play with teams instead of ahead of teams. We just got a lot of work to do mentally.”

GW concludes its two-game homestand Saturday at 7 p.m. against Rhode Island, before competing in four straight road matches.

Climate Change: Why We Must Act Now

“There are very few scientists that would agree that climate change is a hoax. It’s just basic physics. We’re adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, we have the greenhouse effect, and temperatures are going up—it’s pretty simple. It’s 99.9 percent scientist approved,” GW’s Department of Geography Associate David Rain remarked when asked about the legitimacy of global warming.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, scientists are 95 percent certain that humans are a primary cause of climate change. The emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as carbon dioxide and methane, is largely caused by human activity due to fossil fuel use, deforestation, livestock cultivation, rice production, landfills, and gas pipelines. The rising concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere trap infrared heat (which would normally be lost to space), subsequently generating higher temperature levels.

Those who discount this scientific basis of global warming are most likely leveraged by politicians influenced by the status quo. “Oil and gas industry companies stand to lose if anything is put in place like a cap and trade, a carbon market, or any kind of reduction of greenhouse gases. Particularly things like the coal industry have some very powerful supporters on Capitol Hill,” Rain said.

Abiding by the factual evidence, however, has shown that the earth’s overall temperature has risen 1°C over the last century. The global mean temperature has seen a greater rate of change than any in more than 10,000 years with an increase of an average of 0.3°C per decade. At this rate, we must reduce GHG emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050 to avoid any further increase in surface temperatures. “If we can reduce the amount [of GHGs] we’re emitting now, that will make it much less painful to make the drastic cuts later,” Rain said.

Subsequently, Rain emphasized that “global warming is like a slate of numbers, but in it of itself, that’s not the problem. The problem is its rate of change. It’s driven by the concentration of carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and other greenhouse gases—and their concentrations are increasing at increasing rates. It’s going to be a problem that gets bigger and bigger as we get farther and farther into the century.”

Keeping in mind the factors that contribute to GHG emissions, like combustion from human activities such as cars, power plants, and wildfires, Rain strongly suggests that urban living is less harmful to the environment than suburban living for many reasons. “Climate change is about civilization. It’s a very broad change that’s going on that is a direct consequence of our own land use practices. We take out forests, we build up biomass, we run automobiles and factories. All of these things change the atmosphere. This has been going on for a long time, but it’s really gotten big now,” Rain said.

In turn, suburban footprints naturally tend to have a bigger footprint than urban areas. Heating and cooling a house is more costly than doing the same for an apartment or dormitory, for example.

“Students often have a pretty small [ecological] footprint since most of them don’t own cars. You probably have a bigger footprint at home living with your parents than you do here [at GW], depending on your background—maybe you live in a suburb and drive everywhere, or you live in a house that needs to be heated and cooled. If you’re living in a dormitory, generally your footprint is smaller, but that usually changes. As soon as students graduate, get a big job, and move someplace where they’re dependent on a car, air conditioning, etc., their footprint gets bigger,” Rain said.

Moreover, Rain added, “One of the points I make to students while they’re still here is that you can lock in this lifestyle: live in the city, walk everywhere, recycle, and keep your footprint small. That would be ideal.”

As for Sophomore Elijah Rivera, global warming is “the most dangerous threat to this planet.” A student at GWU, Rivera is a part-time dog walker in northeast DC who rides the metro to and from work daily. By taking public transportation and living in a dorm on a campus with increased walkability, Rivera generates minor GHG emissions which is indicative of a low carbon footprint.

And that is exactly what he intends. “If we’re not protecting our planet now, nothing else will matter because there will be nothing left. So to make sure that doesn’t happen, we have to fully invest ourselves in living as ‘green’ as possible,” Rivera said.

Rivera’s mentality of attempting to restrict further damages caused by global warming aligns with Rain’s views on the matter. Rain commented that “[climate change] is one of those long-term thinking issues. It’s easier to deal with the fires that have to be put out right away rather than dealing with the long-term things. So there’s a tendency as humans to want to put out the fires and be a little bit less proactive about things that seem a long way away.”

However, contrary to the ‘business as usual’ approach, the George Washington University (GWU) strives to embrace climate change’s obstacles by embodying both Rain and Rivera’s outlook. According to BestCollege’s 39 Greenest Universities of 2016, GWU lands 19th place. “Despite its metropolitan bent, the university emphasizes a future rich with well-managed resources that allows individuals and communities alike to thrive. GWU continues to build onto its green campus, which already houses bike-sharing resources, electric car-charging stations, solar thermal hot water, green roofs and stormwater capture,” BestColleges reported.

Additionally, BestColleges particularly applauded one of GWU’s many sustainable initiatives, Urban Food Task Force, which “intends to identify and implement scholarship and research of sustainable urban food policies, healthy eating and food preparation.”

Especially as the world’s population increases and as more and more countries are industrializing, global warming and the expanding effects of climate change impose an immense threat to our civilization that we must promptly and strategically act on.

“It’s a huge challenge and we’re not going to meet that by tightening our belts. We need to make it into more of a green, pro-business system by giving businesses incentives to become more efficient, and then I think the problem will take care of itself,” Rain concluded.

Jack Williams: Jack of All Trades

Jack Williams, founding weather editor of USA Today and member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), is a freelance writer with experience in journalism, aviation, meteorology, and much more. William’s involvement in news and other imposing interests has led him to author eight weather books and achieve many other freelance victories throughout his career. He attributes his greatest accomplishment to his AMS Weather Book, recognized by the AMS in 2009.

“The good thing about what I did is you can have a lot of fun doing it, you generally work with people where you don’t have to put up with a lot of BS that you do in a lot of other workplaces, and you also get to see fascinating things and talk to neat people,” Williams said.

Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, Williams was the first in his family, and one of few from his high school class, to attend college. After earning a degree from Jacksonville University, he procured his first copyboy job with the student newspaper at the Florida Times Union. Williams later transferred to report for the Jacksonville Journal for six months covering court cases. After attending the University of Rochester under the graduate philosophy program for almost two years, Williams quickly returned to the news scene.

In 1963, Williams began reporting suburban local government stories for the Rochester Times Union, an afternoon paper owned by the Gannett Corporation. He was promoted to reporting higher level education in 1968 during the peak of country-wide college campus rioting. While at Rochester Times, Williams was also dedicated to freelancing for auto-racing publications such as Competition Press and Autoweek, covering Formula One, the biggest international auto race in the US.

Williams then sought out an interview with the Rochester Democratic Chronicle (RDC), a morning newspaper owned by Gannett, whose managing editor coincidentally graduated from the same high school as Williams in Jacksonville. After meeting with the editor, reminiscing together for almost two hours, “and maybe three or four drinks each,” Williams received a copy editing job.

Once at the RDC, “For our supper break, the copy desk chief would go in the alley out back and smoke a couple of joints. The rest of us would go down the street and have a few beers. We actually managed to get the late editions of the paper out without any big errors after all that,” Williams said.

Meanwhile, Williams got his pilot’s license after taking flying lessons at a local airport, which soon interested him in weather. Still working for the Chronicle, Williams took on meteorology, physics, and calculus courses at a nearby college. With this education, Williams became Gannett’s only weather and science expert. Consequently, CEO of Gannett and founder of USA Today Albert Neuharth assigned him to assemble USA Today’s weather page. First developed in late 1981, the weather page, which included a full weather map of the US featuring daily high temperatures, launched at the beginning of 1982. “It was a breakthrough that made a national newspaper possible with satellite technology,” Williams said.

At USA Today, Williams collaborated with an artist to create interpretive weather graphics for his USA Today Weather Book, which profiled figures in atmospheric sciences, one of whom included National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist Susan Solomon, who encouraged Williams to report for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1997. Williams subsequently spent time in Antarctica and Greenland with the NSF reporting for USA Today’s print and online editions.

Williams later partnered with Bob Sheets, the director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, to write a book called Hurricane Watch. He also wrote the USA Today Weather Almanac and retired from USA Today in 2005. In January 2015, the AMS council induced Williams as one of 28 Fellows, 1 percent of its 14,000 members, for outstanding contribution to the atmospheric and hydrological related sciences.

Obituary Preparedness Profile

ADVANCE OBITUARY PREPAREDNESS MATERIAL. DO NOT USE UNTIL THERE IS CONFIRMATION OF THE PERSON’S DEATH.

Born on August 1, 1989 in Hickory, North Carolina, Madison Bumgarner was a left-handed Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher for the San Francisco Giants for seven years, recording three World Series Championships (2010, 2012, 2014), two Silver Slugger Awards (2014, 2015), and an All-Star appearance (2015). In his career, Bumgarner had an overall 2.99 earned run average (ERA) over 217 games with 1,381 strikeouts and 100 wins.

The legendary “MadBum” resided in a San Francisco condo during the regular season, and on a farm in North Carolina during the offseason with his wife Ali Saunders. His father, Kevin, works nights at a food distribution company, while his mother, Debbie, is an accountant for PepsiCo. In a 2013 Hickory Daily Record article, Debbie Bumgarner said, “I remember when the scouts were sitting in our home and were talking about the small percentage of players that are drafted that actually make it to the Major Leagues. He just got there so fast that it was like we were in shock.”

While attending South Caldwell High School in North Carolina, Bumgarner posted a 22–4 record with a 1.02 ERA and 263 strikeouts over 170 innings pitched. After receiving the most valuable player award (MVP) of the 2007 4A State Championship playoffs, Bumgarner committed to the University of North Carolina on a baseball scholarship.

Selected 10th overall in the first round by the San Francisco Giants in the 2007 MLB draft, Bumgarner launched his professional baseball career in 2008 with the Giants' Low-A South Atlantic League affiliate, earning the South Atlantic League pitchers' Triple Crown. He made his MLB debut on September 8, 2009.

Bumgarner posted a 1.80 ERA with 10 strikeouts over 10 innings in his first season as a Giant. He recorded his first major league win on July 6, 2010, going eight shutout innings in a 6–1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, urging manager Bruce Bochy to keep him in the starting rotation.

Bumgarner then lead the team to a National League Division Series (NLDS) victory, posting a 1.13 ERA in five starts. He also pitched eight shutout innings in Game 4 of the 2010 World Series (WS), leading the Giants to their first championship in 56 years. The youngest Giants’ franchise pitcher to win a postseason game, he was named a pitcher on Baseball America’s 2010 All-Rookie Team.

After a rocky 2011 season, Bumgarner agreed to a six-year, $35.56 million contract in April 2012, with additional $12 million options for 2018 and 2019. He pitched seven scoreless innings in Game 2 of the 2012 WS, striking out eight. Bumgarner set career bests during his 2013 season, going 13–9 with a 2.77 ERA and 199 strikeouts in 31 starts.

In 2014, Bumgarner elevated his career bests, posting an 18–10 record with a 2.98 ERA and 219 strikeouts. While tying the all-time MLB record for most grand slams in a career and in a single season by a pitcher, he set another all-time MLB record for pitching the most postseason consecutive shutout innings on the road. With one of the most dominant pitching performances in modern MLB history, Bumgarner was named both the 2014 NLCS and WS MVP with a whopping 0.29 WS ERA. He additionally received the Babe Ruth Award and was named Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year and Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. In a 2014 ESPN interview, Bochy remarked, "It's historic what this kid has done. Really, truly amazing."

“It's extremely humbling. You hear a lot, 'It hasn't sunk in yet.' I don't know if this one ever will sink in. It truly is special. Just to be considered for an award like this is an honor in itself, let alone to win it," Bumgarner said in a 2014 MLB News article.

The new AR craze: What PokemonGo and REVEALiO share in common

The latest craze that has been taking the internet and the gaming scene by storm: Nintendo’s new PokemonGo. If you have not heard of it yet, it is probably because you have been living under a rock. In just a week, PokemonGo has acquired more daily active users than Snapchat and made SONY approximately $4.9 million on the first day alone. So what really makes this game stand out from all other games out there? The answer is simple, yet ingenious: Augmented Reality.

So what exactly is augmented reality, or AR? AR is an emerging technology that overlays computer-generated imaging content with the real world, leading to a composite view of both realms through your smartphone. The digital world and real world collide. Apart from gaming, AR is being integrated into multiple commercial industries, such as designing, business and electronics as a whole. AR is nothing new, but this game put the concept under a universal spotlight.

PokemonGo’s concept requires users to be physically active by going outside and interacting with the community they live in, either by attempting to catch Pokemon, or by battling another player at a nearby Poke Stop. Whatever the case may be, AR enhances the way we connect with others through its engaging components. In just a few days, users are already releasing claims about how the game has single-handedly helped to alleviate social anxiety and depression symptoms, solely by motivating them to explore their environment and collaborate with others.

Signal Magazine’s Ryan Kenny discusses AR’s ability to increase situational awareness and emotional intelligence, which is what this society is in dire need of. That, paired with the scientific evidence found in the mental health benefits of gaming, exponentially improves individuals’ wellbeing, as well as the world we live in. Watch this TedTalk to learn more about how a few minutes of gaming a day can make you a happier person.

REVEALiO was created with this exact idea in mind. In this digital age where more and more tech pushes us further apart, ours aims to spark connection, bringing us closer together, despite the distance. We wanted to create something meaningful that pulls on people’s heartstrings. And we have done just that! Dubbed as #ARfortheHeart by ARToolKit, an AR software library, our app uses AR to send a heartfelt message to loved ones, deeply impacting those who receive them. REVEALiO grants anyone the opportunity to create and send friends and family a personal greeting card, that “comes alive” with video and call-to-action buttons when scanned with a mobile device.

“It made me feel as if they were right there with me,” said Seaman 4th class Rashaan Jeffery, who received a REVEALiO from his wife and child while stationed at Widbey Island Naval Station, WA. Jeffery continues by saying, “You get to keep it close by, you get to see it everyday. It’s nice always having family by your side, seeing their smiling faces and hearing their voices. It’s a good positive impact on a person.” No matter how far away your loved one is, REVEALiO makes your family feel loved and supported even if you’re not together.

In fact, if you download the REVEALiO app, you can create your first card for FREE! So try it! Now that you’ve learned how incredibly stunning AR is, amaze a friend or family member. Send them something they can keep close, replay, and hold onto forever.

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Created By
Nicola Karasik
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Created with images by dcJohn - "gw" • nebulazed - "flower essential oils climate change" • bingzhenzhen - "aerospace aviation science and technology" • HarshLight - "San Francisco Giants" • blickpixel - "board electronics computer"

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