Building Block Blurbs

By Joe Polito, COMMENTARY
On September 20, 2011

Usually, the Montage page dives deep into one topic. Today, we're going to do things differently: offering snippets of headlines from hard news, pop culture and the Tampa area. You can view the information as random blurbs or pieces of a bigger picture. Consume every fragment for a broad perspective of the world around you, or just selectively read what interests you based on the heading. For "Drugs," head down and for "Technology" head to the right.

Drugs in the Museum

What do bongs, Uzis and Bentleys have in common? They are all on display at MOSI's newest drug-inspired exhibit, "Target America: Opening Eyes to the Damage Drugs Cause." According to the St. Petersburg Times, the exhibit has been lent to the museum by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for an entire year. The article stated that "Targeting America," which opened Sept. 16, will be on display in Florida longer than any other state because "the DEA considers Florida ground zero in the war on drugs."

Good drugs

The hope for an AIDS vaccine increased in 2009, when a two-shot combination was shown to reduce the risk of someone contracting HIV by almost a third, according to nature.com. Adding to this hope are reports from the AIDS Vaccine 2011 conference in Bangkok, Thailand last week that scientists had uncovered two "molecular clues" to better understand how this two-shot vaccine functions. Though there is still work to be done, these small steps will lead scientists to a better understanding of HIV.

Facebook creates jobs

Students spending the afternoon playing their favorite social networking games, such as Farmville and Mob Wars, are also employing American workers. Yesterday's "stat of the day," from The Atlantic, reports that Facebook apps have created 182,000 jobs in the U.S. economy. The article said these companies have paid out $12.2 billion in wages. The study to generate these findings was done in partnership with Facebook, causing skeptics to view these figures with a grain of salt. Though this provides a lot of jobs to a country that desperately needs them, the article cites a Bloomberg Businessweek article that shows how technology industries aren't providing as many U.S. jobs as they should.

VH1 Documentary about drugs in hip-hop

Sunday night, VH1 aired the documentary "Planet Rock: The Story of Hip Hop and the Crack Generation." Narrated by former rapper Ice-T, the film delves into the influence of the illegal drug trade on the hip-hop movement. Interviews with Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill and members of the Wu-Tang Clan show how up-and-coming rappers looking to escape drug dealing applied the same business principles employed on the streets to the music industry. The documentary's best quote comes from rapper Too $hort: "I literally pictured my cassettes as kilos of cocaine." The documentary is still airing on VH1.

The Emmys

Speaking of television, Sunday night the Primetime Emmy Awards were doled out to the best that television has to offer. The girls of comedy provided for some onstage humor and Charlie Sheen was unexpectedly polite in his presentation of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, which went to Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory." He even offered the cast and crew of his old show some words of encouragement: "I wish you nothing but the best for this upcoming season. We spent eight wonderful years together and I know you will continue to make great television." Outstanding Comedy Series went to "Modern Family" and Outstanding Drama Series went to "Mad Men." Melissa McCarthy of "Mike and Molly" took home Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series - adding to the momentum of her show-stealing performance in "Bridesmaids."

Hip-hopper to speak on campus

As the first lecturer of this year's University Lecture Series, hip-hop artist and actor Common will bring a twist to a series whose past visitors include Ben Stein, Tim Gunn and Bill Nye the Science Guy. Recently, Common released his memoir titled, "One Day It'll All Make Sense" - also the name of his 1997 rap album. Common will speak in the Marshall Student Center (MSC) Ballroom at 8 p.m. on Sept. 26. The doors will open at 7:30 p.m. and the event is free to the public.

App for USF students

While we're talking about apps, here's one that caters to students. Many local businesses display signs that say, "This is Bulls' country" - often signifying a student discount with a USF I.D. card. A new iPhone and Android app called "Vidappe" allows users to see which surrounding locations offer such discounts. By subscribing to the USF program, Vidappe users can receive alerts such as "10 percent off at Boston Market a block away thanks to your USF ID." The app is available at both the iTunes store and Android Market.

Hip-hop around the world

While the street-inspired genre might dominate pop culture in the U.S., elsewhere hip-hop serves as political protest. According to the New York Times, Senegalese rappers Fou Malade ("Crazy Sick Guy") and Thiat ("Junior") are at the forefront of revolts against the country's president, Abdoulaye Wade. Aside from the blunt criticism in their lyrics, the two rappers have led rallies in the streets of the African nation and "served as martyrs for the anti-government cause." They target the greed of Wade, who enjoys a $27 million monumental statue and presidential plane while the rest of the country remains poor, according to the Times.

Music on campus

Students can also look forward to classical music on campus. The School of Music at USF will welcome Grammy-nominated guest artist Rhonda Rider, who plays cello, Sept. 21. Rider, who received her Masters of Music from Yale School of Music, will perform in the Barness Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $8-12 in advance and $10-15 the day of the performance.

By Joe

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