Monday, August 13, 2012

This will only hurt for a second...

After reviewing a classmate of mine's blog on the infamous meningitis vaccination, I was left with a few thoughts. One of which, is why are we forced to have the shot in the first place? Like Mindy said, there should be a "tweak in the law." This tweak would be a change that would make sure everyone knew the risks of refusing the vaccine, as well as the ability to sign a statement refusing the vaccine altogether.
This topic hits very close to home for me, because I'm not exactly a huge fan for shots. While yes, they are necessary, I still get a pit in my stomach when the doctor mouths the word. The reason I find this topic very relate-able is because I was forced into getting one for basically no reason. I got my meningitis shot when I was 13 years old, and the requirement for ACC states that you must have had it no less than 6 years ago. Mind you, I am a student at the University of Texas, and was not required to have the shot, because I didn't stay in the dorms as a freshman. Instead, i passed on the opportunity and went on my merry way until I came across the requirements to pass my registration bar for ACC. The shot was the only thing standing in my way. Now, why would I need this shot if I'm only taking one class...and that class happens to be an online course? That, I may never know. This is why I feel that the requirement needs some revisiting. 
Mindy makes another good point, which I believe has already been done. She goes on and states how people should be able to refuse the vaccine based on philosophical reasons or religious reasons (not just cause they are a wimp like me.) In revisiting the proof of the shot I had done, I did happen to see that there was an option to opt out of it, but the paperwork was gruesome. Those that have religious/philosophical reasons not to get the shot should not be punished with an exorbitant amount of paperwork. 
All this being said, this shot really is a necessity. Of the people that contracted meningitis and treated, 15% died and a enormous 20% of survivors were left with long term diseases like seizures, deafness, mental retardation, and even nervous system disorders.
So, the next time the doctor mentions a necessary shot, cowboy up, and take it like a man. In all reality, a little discomfort could save your life, and keep your risks for these serious disorders at bay.

That's the way Scott sees it

Friday, August 10, 2012

Affordable? No. Necessary? Yes.

Just about everyone's favorite subject to gripe about...gas prices.  Whether you loathe them, or accept them, the truth is, you're going to have to face them if you plan on driving.  Over the past weekend, gas prices in Texas have jumped a stout 13 cents a gallon.  This jump is considered a "plateau" (meaning prices aren't expected to rise any further for a little.)  But, "the real truth is, no one knows...there are so many variables at play." (  I know not a more sinking feeling than visually seeing the dollar amount climb 3-4 times as fast as the gallon input.  But hey, doesn't this beat the 4-5 dollars per gallon some experts predicted by the end of summer 2012?  It sure doesn't feel like it.  But who are we to complain?  Experts claimed that gas prices could have reached 6 dollars a gallon by election season, and thus become a huge national debate.  Instead, shouldn't we feel lucky that gas is a little more than half of what was proposed?
Well, I for one, don't feel lucky at all.  The Middle East and the oil trading companies have such a strong hold and monopoly on the oil business, that no one can drive their price down.  If we could somehow manage to produce more appealing and better running electric/alternative fueled cars, we could possibly force the gas companies hand at lowering prices.  Heck, any attempt is better than no attempt.  Another method we could maybe attempt is seen in fracking.  It's not exactly a new-age technology, but if we could incorporate it into an engine, it could possibly be even more efficient and environmentally stable.  
Basically, this all comes down to one thing.  Oil companies' monopoly on the reserves in the Middle East will continue to fluctuate the price for a barrel of oil as they see fit.  There will be nothing that gets in their way, provided we don't have a better way to break the monopoly.  
While this is an issue across the nation, Texas should actually consider itself lucky.  The national average as of this weekend for a gallon of gasoline was $3.66 while the Texas average was $3.49.  But, there is no guarantee that we won't surpass that national average.  Who cares that we own the lion's share of oil that is manufactured here in the states?  Obviously not the Middle East.  Their prices will continue to fluctuate until we tap into our "rainy day" reservoir.  But let's be honest, that won't be happening anytime in the near future. There are only two things that would cause that.  One, being a depletion of the oil in the Middle East, and the other would be a world war.  While neither of those seem appealing, we are stuck at relying on the gas lords for prices and will continue to be that way until someone (or some new technology) breaks that monopoly.  Till then, I'll see you at the pump, draining your wallet, like the rest of the nation.

That's the way Scott sees it

Friday, August 3, 2012

With great speed comes great responsibility...

Texas' constantly rising speed limits are becoming becoming a national topic as of late. There are two sides to the coin. There are the "pepokes" as you call yourself in your article, and the speed demons. While I am more of a speed demon myself and (admit-tingly) drive about 5 over in that "buffer zone," I don't necessarily feel more dangerous than any other person on the road. In an article on slate it is confirmed that driving faster doesn't equal more accidents at all. New York raised its state-wide speed limits in 1995, to find out that this increase actually dropped the crash rate by 4%. A similar study was conducted in California, and found the same results. How is this so, you may ask? It all has to do with the driver's comfort zone and the conditions that day. Studies have shown that drivers rarely ever drive over their speed "comfort zone" as this article calls it. Even with legal encouragement that they can drive faster, a driver won't. This simple explanation could be the reason why you feel as if you're a "pepoke" on the streets, while there are people flying past you. They just may have a higher comfort zone than you. The perception of hazard on the freeway (the insane speed) actually has been shown to boost safety by heightening drivers' caution.
The other topic, provoked by your motherly instincts, is the chances for fatal accidents. While I stated that increased speeds don't result in more accidents, they do result in more fatalities...This is what could be perturbing to you as a mother. Realistically, any accident at 60+ miles per hour has the easy possibility of being fatal, an accident around 80+ does seem to make that risk for death worse. With "pepokes" and speed demons on the road at the same time, this becomes even more of a problem. That's a whole other topic of discussion. What should the range of the speed minimum/maximum be? The greater the range, the more dangerous the two types of drivers become for each other. The age old feud lives on. Fast drivers will always despise the slow drivers, and slow drivers will always feel at risk when a fast driver zooms by. The question is, who is to say that their isn't a way to make everyone feel safer on the roads? Maybe we should look into a fast and slow lane, so drivers don't feel endangered by the other "species." That may be a bit of a stretch, but at least it's a step in the right direction. Both parties would be catered to, and maybe there'd be less interaction between the two species of drivers...thus equaling less accidents and more importantly less fatalities.

That's the way Scott sees it...