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“I know that scuba diving has taught me a lot and it will be a huge affect through my whole life,” said Denise Caban, 18, of the South End. Recently back from a week of scuba diving in Bimini, Bahamas as part of the New England Aquarium Sea TURTLES program. Teen Underwater Research, Training and Learning Expedition sponsored 11 students in the Boston area including Caban.

After training in the MIT pool since February Caban’s transition to the saltwater of the Bahamas meant burning eyes whenever she had to clear her scuba mask.

Her original scuba training took place at the Blackstone Community Center, Caban explained, “I never knew you could scuba dive period,” until her lifeguard mentor Dewey Crespo gave her a brochure and helped train her for her original certification. She knew she wanted scuba in her life and kept herself open to options, “I didn’t want that to be the last time I dived.”

Down in the Bahamas the group continued to expand their knowledge of the marine life and scuba lingo. Buoyancy Compensators, known as BCs to divers, pump more or less air into vest to keep the diver floating at different depths. In the water it was as much about trusting the equipment as it was supporting a swim partner. Caban went through a daily routine from cleaning the equipment to, “Snorkeling and then learning how to breathe and BCs and tanks, then the fins. Make sure you learn how to breathe constantly and learn languages and signs for out of air,” she emphasized all divers must know the signs because, “You need a partner.”

She explained how important constant breathing was while underwater. “Once you put the regulator in your mouth… you cannot stop breathing,” the repercussions can be tight lungs and sickness when a diver surfaces.

Although the dives were memorable Caban enjoyed the freetime around 10 pm when the fellow divers were able to sit together on the dock and reminisce about the day’s experiences. Expressing her gratitude toward the aquarium program and instructors Caban said, “Thank the aquarium for giving me this opportunity to see what is out there, and see things I never believed in.”

Read some of the Sea TURTLE blogs here.

Here is the glitchy google map made to work in collaboration with the story, but it keeps repositioning the tabs:
View Scuba with the Sea TURTLES in a larger map

I say hello…

I don’t know why you say goodbye I say hello

As it nears the end of the semester I will be dedicating less time to this dear blog and putting more time into my online journalism portfolio. The Huffington Post will continue to be The Huffington Post, writing original, witty political stories and linking the rest of their stories from other sites.

The quirky homepage with slightly grainy and unflattering photos of politicians and large caps headlines will be sorely missed. Looking into a crystal ball I would say more and more stories will be told using multimedia, those long political rambles will be communicated with interactive infographics and short original film clips can be made same day by the ever-shrinking permanent staff.

I will sign off the best I can, with a Beatles song.

Feel the Cutback

For the past week many politico minions have been following the budget stalemate in Washington D.C. Finally it was agreed upon last Friday. Part of that budget concessions was Obama’s High-Speed Rail Project covered by The Huffington Post.  The ‘continuing resolution’ stipulates a $1.5 billion cut from the previously allocated funds to improve the nations transportation infrastructure.

This story was an interesting caveat of the budget cut backs, a way to drive home what is being taken away, taken back as the United States sinks further into debt. I also approved of the photo accompanying the article, simple and symmetrical of trains and the “black hole” in the middle with interesting composition.

Potential for Narcissism

The article written a few days ago by Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D. asks “Do Narcissists Know They are Narcissists?”By Placido Costanzi [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

On the little thumbnail there is a photo of a man looking into the mirror at his reflection and smiling. When you click you are transported to the article, which is quite lengthy for a web article considering there is no break except for advertisements.

That photo on the thumbnail? Nowhere to be seen. There are such visual possibilities for a loaded term like ‘narcissist’ there could be a photo gallery of people looking at their reflection self-appreciatively and it would be great fun. Not necessary, but fun and interactive which does not seem to be a priority in the LIVING section of The Huffington Post.

Along the earlier lines of Huffington’s “Predict the News” they now have a preliminary vote on 2012 presidential candidates that rightfully takes advantage of the networking capabilities of facebook. In the coverage they are calling 2012 Speculatron this is just one short article in the line up of political pieces talking about the indecision of politicians that said they would be running.

It is a nice interactive rating system, drag and drop can normally be operated by small children and is favored by the Mac computers. On top of that The Huffington Post employs a generous dose of self-depreciating humor about the whole 2012 candidates already getting so much face time from the media. Even blogging about the ridiculousness of it all for normal citizens waiting until 2012 actually rolls around.

Green Politics

The Huffington Post reported on the death of Knut, a four-year-old polar bear at Berlin Zoo and even had a ‘BIG SHOTS’ slideshow of the fans mourning his death in one of the original articles. While the photos did not posses a great variety, it was an interesting inclusion of multimedia as a form of expression for animal lovers.

In the follow up article reporting on the possibility of the polar bear being taxidermically preserved they posted a photo of Knut as a cub which seemed misleading, as though the zoo were stuffing a dead cub. At the bottom of the snippet there was a poll for readers to vote on weather the bear should be the subject of taxidermy and put in the Natural History Museum. This seemed like an appropriate use of the POLL multimedia and the readers seem to think so too with their outpouring of votes and contributions to the online memorial book and physical memorial book kept at the zoo.

Huff Politico, OLE

In a well-cited article on John McCain’s apparent amnesia about foreign relations with Libya Jason Linkins’ article relies heavily on Justin Elliot’s quotes and research on Salon. The visual aid for the article is a photo of McCain speaking, but he is facing towards the outside of the page instead of toward the text, which any editor with basic knowledge of layout will tell you will make readers look off the page instead of staying with the text.

The alternative is visible on Salon War Room page, a more relevant screen capture of his interview on CBS where he is faced straight forward. As previously stated the argument points of the article are valid and concise, however the lasting impression of a visual-centric reader will not be positive due to the photo subject looking off the page. It makes a difference, and then there is that unsightly advertisement that breaks up the block quote from the show transcript. That is another matter altogether, sigh.