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The Vox Box

Archive for February 2008

The Craziest Operation Ever

From Yahoo News:

I have heard some strange medical stories, but this is nothing less than staggering. Apparently, a blind man from Ireland can now see as a result of an operation where “doctors inserted his son’s tooth in his eye.”

Yes, you read that correctly. “The technique, pioneered in Italy in the 1960s, involves creating a support for an artificial cornea from the patient’s own tooth and the surrounding bone.”

More details after the jump.

Are you smarter than a 5th grader?

Also from the New York Times…

By SAM DILLON/Fewer than half of American teenagers who were asked basic questions about history and literature during a recent telephone survey knew when the Civil War was fought, and one-quarter thought that Christopher Columbus sailed to the New World sometime after 1750, not in 1492.

The results of the survey, released Tuesday, demonstrate that a significant proportion of American teenagers live in “stunning ignorance” of history and literature, according to the group that commissioned it. Known as Common Core, the organization describes itself as a new, nonpartisan research and advocacy organization that will press for more teaching of the liberal arts in American public schools.

The group argues that President Bush’s No Child Left Behind law has impoverished America’s public school curriculum by holding schools accountable for student scores on annual tests in reading and math but in no other subjects. Full article…


“In the survey, 1,200 17-year-olds were reached by telephone in January and asked to answer 33 multiple choice questions about history and literature, which were read aloud to them. The questions were drawn from a test administered by the federal government in 1986.”

A quarter of you were also unable to identify Hitler as the chancellor of Germany during World War II, instead identifying him as the Kaiser or a munitions maker.

Those who conducted the survey do “not directly blame the No Child law for the dismal survey results, but argued that the law has led schools to focus too narrowly on reading and math, thereby crowding time out of the school day for history, literature and other subjects.”

QUESTION: Are your schools focusing too much on math and science and passing the standardized exams, and forgetting the arts and history?

Inside the mind of the dating teenage boy

You’ve all watched the “American Pie” movies and are aware of the stereotypes. Boys are just after “one thing…”

However, according to a new report in The Journal of Adolescence, we might not be giving boys enough credit.

Psychology researchers from the State University of New York at Oswego recently examined data collected from 105 10th-grade boys, average age 16, who answered questions about a number of health behaviors. In questions put to them about girls (most of the boys self-identified as heterosexual), the teenagers were asked to note their reasons for pursuing a relationship. The top answer, marked by 80 percent of the boys? “I really liked the person.”

Physical attraction and wanting to get to know someone better were tied as the second-most-popular answers. Boys who were sexually active were as likely to say they pursued sex out of love as they were to say they simply wanted to know what sex feels like or to satisfy a physical desire. Wanting to lose their virginity barely registered, with just 14 percent of boys checking that answer.

Researchers said the findings show that teenage boys really are motivated by love and a desire for meaningful relationships.

But many people still don’t buy it, including, it seems, many former teenage boys.

“Based on my past experience as a teenage boy, this study just reinforces my view that teenage boys are horny liars,” wrote John, one of about 170 people who submitted comments about the study to The Times’s Well blog last week. Full article…

I sprayed soda on my keyboard laughing when I read that comment…

“This is only a surprise to women,” wrote Brad, another reader of the Well blog. “Any male knows that he was desperately in love at 15 in a way he never would be again.”

QUESTION: Boys, what do you think of the survey? Are you all a bunch of horny liars? Or are you the sensitive young men “Brad” describes?

Girls: What is your experience?

“When I was a kid, I had to sled to school. Both ways…”

From the New York Times…

Next time they have a rare snow day, think of the students of La Pointe, on Madeline Island on Lake Superior, the coldest of the Great Lakes…

During those times, the Bayfield School District turns to its windsled, locally designed, built and operated to glide over thin ice.

“I thought it was kind of strange at first,” said Emma Dalzell, 14, who recently moved to La Pointe from Madison, Wis., where she did not have to cross an icy bay to get to school. Now the commute has become routine.

Put aside all those romantic notions about surfing to school. Though the trip offers a breathtaking panorama in a winter-wonderland sort of way, with this part of Lake Superior taking on the look of the grandest, most pristine ice rink the imagination can conjure, the windsled is purely utilitarian.

The 9,000-pound vehicle, propelled by its twin fans and steered by a driver much the way a regular bus would be, is heated and has padded benches with room for about 20 students. Beyond that, there are no luxuries. Loud and bumping along at 18 miles an hour, it hardly qualifies as a thrill ride.

The island’s population is small. Cold weather (they often go days with a wind chill below zero) and snow and ice don’t get snow days, here. It’s also expensive to run—the school has to pay for it since it isn’t an “official school bus route.” Ha!

QUESTION: What was the hardest time you ever had getting to school?

Should Hillary Throw in the Towel?

Courtesy of

I noticed a poll on MSNBC’s website the other day, and at last check 65% of people believe Hillary Clinton should concede the nomination to Barack Obama.

You can see the poll here .

Is it really too late for Sen. Clinton, or should she keep fighting?

And This

A plane landed on a highway. yup. pretty cool.


Who else saw it coming?

Lohan’s movie “I know who killed me” earned a record 8 Razzies!!!

That’s bad.

The best part is that Lohan tied herself for worst actress, since she played two identical people in the movie.

Anyone watch it? Was it really this bad?

here’s some more words about it.

I thought this was interesting…

(From the NY Times)

Apparently the net isn’t owned by the geeky male, anymore. Research has shown that most internet users and contributors are teenage girls.

“Most guys don’t have patience for this kind of thing,” said Nicole Dominguez, 13, of Miramar, Fla., whose hobbies include designing free icons, layouts and “glitters” (shimmering animations) for the Web and MySpace pages of other teenagers. “It’s really hard.”

It would seem that in the past few years, teenage blogging has risen a ton, most of the bloggers being of the feminine persuasion.

Indeed, a study published in December by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that among Web users ages 12 to 17, significantly more girls than boys blog (35 percent of girls compared with 20 percent of boys) and create or work on their own Web pages (32 percent of girls compared with 22 percent of boys).

Girls also eclipse boys when it comes to building or working on Web sites for other people and creating profiles on social networking sites (70 percent of girls 15 to 17 have one, versus 57 percent of boys 15 to 17). Video posting was the sole area in which boys outdid girls: boys are almost twice as likely as girls to post video files.

Explanations for the gender imbalance are nearly as wide-ranging as cybergirls themselves. The girls include bloggers who pontificate on timeless teenage matters such as “evil teachers” and being “grounded for life,” to would-be Martha Stewarts — entrepreneurs whose online pursuits generate more money than a summer’s worth of baby-sitting.

Read the rest here.

Do you agree with this article? How many of us here at the VOX BOX are male or female?

Question: Girl-On-Girl Bullying

Item: Cruel intentions: Girls bully each other too/Virginia de Leon, Spokesman-Review

More Info: It’s not as obvious as the bullying between boys – the kind with telltale signs of black eyes, bumps and bruises. Instead, girl-on-girl cruelty can feel more like psychological warfare. Experts say it often involves a social network of girls leaving a particular individual out – by not inviting her to a party; by spreading rumors; by singling her out for her clothes or hairstyle; by giving her the silent treatment whenever she tries to join the group.

Question: Have you ever been bullied?

A Big-Time Injury Striking Little Players’ Knees

Collin Link wears a brace on the knee he hurt last year. Michael Stravato for The New York Times

“Although there are no complete or official numbers, orthopedists at leading medical centers estimate that several thousand children and young adolescents are getting A.C.L. tears each year, with the number being diagnosed soaring recently.”

By Gina Kolata
Last year, when Collin Link was 11 years old, he was tackled as he went in for a touchdown in pee-wee football. (Full article…)

“He didn’t get up,” his mother, Crystal Link, said. “He kept saying his knee hurt real bad.” But Mrs. Link was not overly concerned, thinking it was just a sprain.

But the next morning when the family was getting ready to go to church near their home in The Woodlands, Tex., Collin said he could not walk. That Monday, a doctor told the Links what was wrong.

Collin had an injury that doctors used to think almost never occurred in children. He had torn the anterior cruciate ligament, or A.C.L., in his left knee, the main ligament that stabilizes the joint.

The standard and effective treatment for such an injury in adults is surgery. But the operation poses a greater risk for children and adolescents who have not finished growing because it involves drilling into a growth plate, an area of still-developing tissue at the end of the leg bone.

The article goes on to say that the best athletes “are more or less constantly at risk. They play year-round and on multiple teams with frequent games, in which the risk of injury is higher than in practice because of the intensity of play.”

“The kids are playing at really highly competitive levels at earlier and earlier ages,” said Dr. Mininder S. Kocher, the associate director of the division of sports medicine at Children’s Hospital in Boston.

QUESTION: Do you know someone who had torn their ACL? Is playing the game hard worth the injury?

School stops female from officiating a boys game

I saw this clip this morning on Good Morning America.

St Mary’s Academy in Topeka, a private Catholic School, wouldn’t allow a female rep to work a boys game because putting a woman in position of authority over boys is contrary to their religious teachings.

In this clip, Michelle Campbell, the ref in question, doesn’t seem too heartbroken about it. But it brings up an interesting topic.

QUESTION: Is it ok for this school to condone gender discrimination if it is a part of their religious beliefs?

Libraries hold video game competitions to attract teens

Video game events at public libraries are drawing crowds of teens, including about 100 competing monthly at “Guitar Hero” at the Rochester Hills Public Library.

“Getting teens to come to the library is right up there with getting them to go to church: It’s not exactly the first place they want to go,” Christine Lind Hage, library director, told the Detroit Free Press for a story Sunday.

Hage stocked the shelves with 1,823 games. And the games are hot items, with an average of 1,300 checked out daily. Full story…

Some libraries are even holding competitions:

Nearly 30 teens play “Guitar Hero” or “Dance Dance Revolution” every few weeks at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library, which offers 300 video games in its collection.

“It’s a big social event,” said Stephanie Jaczkowski, 17. “I’ve met a lot of friends there, and they’re really good friends.”

QUESTION: Do you regularly visit a public library? Would you be more likely to if they held competitions such at these?

Do you think it’s reasonable for schools to search your lockers?

I think most already know that it is legal for school officials to do locker searches. They have to have probable cause, but they can search.

But is is fair?

I have a colleague whose daughter is doing a research paper on the topic and asked if I would survey you all what you think.

QUESTION: “Do you think schools should be required to have a warrant to search your locker? Why or why not?”

Attacks, and Attacks, and Attacks…

All this attacking is getting tiring.

Hillary Attacks

Obama Attacks

McCain Attacks

This is already getting to be more than I want to hear. I just want a candidate that can come and say what they will do, stand by it, and not need to pull others down. Instead of fighting one half of America, why not embrace the half you can? Negative news may sell, but I’m not looking to buy problems, I want someone capable and optomistic enough to solve problems.

Maybe they just need a hug.

Can I just say…

I find it funny that I post a question asking if 17-year-olds who will be old enough to vote in the general election should be allowed to vote in their states’ primaries and we get no responses.

I post “Who would win in a fight? Superman or a Jedi?” and we get responses.

You all disgrace me. I’m going to go have a drink…

Who would win in a fight? Superman or a Jedi?

Would a Jedi be fast enough to sense Superman’s approach? Could the Jedi manipulate Superman in mid-air? Could a lightsaber be made from kryptonite?

If these and similar questions keep you awake at night, see here…

QUESTION: Who would win?

Should teens old enough to vote in the general election be able to vote in primaries?

Sarah Boltuck and her father, Richard, fought to restore the right for Maryland 17-year-olds to vote in primaries if they turn 18 by the general election. (By Lois Raimondo — The Washington Post)

By Daniel de Vise/Washington Post Staff Writer
Sarah Boltuck’s senior year at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda was transformed by a rejection letter — not from a college, but from the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

It said she could not vote in the February primary because she was not yet 18. Boltuck thought differently. She fought it all the way to the state elections board and the attorney general’s office, and she won.

Last month, Boltuck, along with her father and a sympathetic state senator, persuaded Maryland’s top legal minds to restore the right of suffrage to at least 50,000 teens who will turn 18 between the Feb. 12 primary and the Nov. 4 election.

“I thought that was one of my rights as a citizen of Maryland,” said Boltuck, who will be 18 in July. “I had assumed that when I registered to vote, it’d be no problem.”

She called attention to a little-noticed change in interpretation of state law. Maryland was one of nine states, including Virginia, that allowed 17-year-olds to vote in primaries if they reached 18 by the general election. (The District does not.) But the Maryland State Board of Elections quietly halted the practice in December 2006 in response to a state court ruling.

Full article…

QUESTION: Should 17-year-olds who will be old enough to vote in the general election be allowed to vote in their states’ primaries?

Anne Frank… the musical???

All is quiet on the blog front as all the good little students who got a week off of school scramble to get their belated finals done… Awwww…

When you have a homework break, this is my big “ewwwww” for the week. Someone is making “The Diary of Anne Frank” into a musical.

Rafael Alvero, the director and developer of “The Diary of Anne Frank: A Song to Life,” scheduled to open on Feb. 28 at the Calderón Theater in Madrid, insisted that the show was “very faithful” to the diary. He had support from the Anne Frank Foundation, which operates the museum in the building where the Frank family and others hid, and said the show would spread a message of tolerance. Mr. Alvero also pointed to musicals like “Les Misérables” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” that have dealt with serious subjects. “I do not think we have trivialized this story in any way,” he said. full story

Anne’s last living relative is less than thrilled about the upcoming performance: “We are very much against it. The Holocaust is not a theme to be made into a musical,” Buddy Elias, Frank’s 82-year-old cousin, who is chairman of the Anne Frank-Fonds, a Swiss-based charitable organization that holds the copyright to “The Diary of a Young Girl,” said.

QUESTION: Is the holocaust not a theme to be made into a musical?

The Education System

In an editorial by Andrea Chapin in our latest issue of The Vox, the issue was raised about how useless so much of our education has become. Arguing experience over theory with such conclusions as

analyzing a textbook definition of Islam is worthless compared to being taught how to pray by a practicing Sunni.

Many of these points are valid, but I couldn’t help but hear Professor Umbridge talking. Yes, the demon lady from Harry Potter.

Much of the editorial seemed like a prettier version of Prof. Umbridge’s speech essentially saying “stop doing things that are deemed ‘useless.’ Especially defense against the dark arts.”

Now there is no doubt that practical applications are much preferred when possible, and that no one really need the Unit Circle, but there’s more to education than that.

All these things we learn are parts to a whole. Higher math would be very difficult to fully comprehend without things like the Unit Circle. Accepted universal definitions, even when not congruent to what an insider would say, are necessary to understand and function in a universal world.

So yes, not everyone will be a mathematical theorist, and yes computers do much of our math right now, but if we don’t understand what’s going on, progression will be eliminated. Even if each step doesn’t yeiled a product, it is a necessary intermediate to the whole.

In other words, yes kids are just going to memorize the facts and forget after the test, and yes much of what we learn will only be applicable to the 20 or 30 hardcore theorists of the generation, but without a broad understanding of life, and the self motivation to gain it, modern society wouldn’t work.

Besides, learning by experience is not always better than in theory. If some one doesn’t have a desire to actually understand the material, but would rather make the grade, they will learn little more from a Sunni than a textbook.

I may regret posting this…

But I can’t help myself…

QUESTION: Some say it is a generational thing, so how do you feel about swearing in public? Do people make too big a deal out of it, or is it rude?

The internet— too pushy?

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but does it seem that the mainstream… everything… is trying to shove you onto high-speed internet? I had dial-up for years, and hated it, because all the best games and software required a high-speed connection, which I couldn’t have. It was sad. Of course, I eventually found a way around it in buying a wireless receiver for my desktop and tapping into the neighbor’s ‘net. But I digress.

Has anyone else had problems like this? Are Microsoft and Apple making shoves toward a broadband-centered humanity?

Microsoft has made a bid on Yahoo…

Microsoft bought lots of shares of Yahoo, causing share value to go up to $28.38.

Although actually just a blurb here, because I thought it was interesting, the article below details the history of the buy. Which is also interesting.

I spotted this in the New York Times. Here’s the actual article.

Could this arrangement be good for either company, or will they both pay a price for such an endeavor?

Do people really buy this stuff?

I just stumbled across this ad. Wow! Do people really believe this sort of thing? (The actual ad says those are before and after shots. My screen capture didn’t capture them.)

QUESTION: What is your favorite far-fetched ad right now?

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About this blog

In 2006, then-editor Steve Smith of The Spokesman-Review had the idea of starting a publication for an often forgotten audience: teenagers. The Vox Box was a continuation of the Vox, an all-student staffed newspaper published by The Spokesman-Review. High school student journalists who staffed the Vox made all content decisions as they learn about the trade of journalism. This blog's mission was to give students an opportunity to publish their voices. The Vox Box and the Vox wrapped up in June 2009, but you can follow former staffers' new blog at

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