Inexpensive, but just as addictive: D&D
Sep28

Inexpensive, but just as addictive: D&D

The times, they are a changing. One of the greatest things humanity has seen is the past few years in the leaps and bounds made by technology. One of the most changed areas of technology is the current state of video games. In 1972, Pong was released, a game that bounced a white ball back and forth across a screen. Boring, but addictive. But now we are given gorgeous cinematic experiences with games such as Bioshock 2 and Final Fantasy XIII. For college students, there is just one problem. Money. A new game will typically run around $60, far over the average entertainment budget for a college-going person. Instead of picking the latest and greatest game, he is left to ogle the store windows in the rain while his friends huddle around the warm glow of a PS3 power light. Luckily, there are a plethora of great free-to-play games out there, as long as you know where to look. That’s where I come in. One MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game) should sound familiar. Dungeons and Dragons Online was originally a pay-to-play game, but the creators switched to a free method of play in June 2010. Set in the D&D universe, the gameplay feels very familiar to long-time fans of the dice and paper game, yet it remains friendly to first time adventurers and gamers alike. Six different character classes are available right out of the gate. There is the hardy fighter, the devout cleric and the sneaky rogue, just to name a few. The options don’t end there, either. Like classic D&D, the player can also select a race for his character to be. Options include old favorites like the human or elf, with some new ones  such as the metallic warforged thrown in. The story begins with the chosen character washing up on the shore of the island of Korthos after a white dragon destroyed the ship the player was traveling in. For a free online game, the scenery is gorgeous to look at. Textured waves lap at the shore of the beach, and character facial expressions convey a wide range of emotions. Birds flit through the air, and the starting zone actually feels like an island jungle ripe for exploring. If the scenery stands out as a contender with online games, the combat brings home the gold. While typical online games are just one-button hack-and-slashers, a lot of thought went into DDO to make it feel like the source material. Each class has their own set of skills that they can use in a wide variety of situations, and they each gain more as they...

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Stop, think morals first

Eighty-seven days. That’s how long crude oil gushed endlessly into the Gulf of Mexico before BP (British Petroleum) finally managed to cap the hole caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on April 20. After six failed efforts to stop the escape of oil, BP managed to fashion a cap to stop the leak. Eleven lives were lost in the initial explosion, and more than 205.8 million gallons of oil flooded into the Gulf, according to reports by the Flow Rate Technical Group. No one wants to discuss the Gulf oil spill anymore. For two months the nation watched in horror as oil flooded the ocean, disrupting or destroying entire ecosystems. It was painful to watch, and now that the leak is finally plugged no one wants to remember the weeks of suffering. But there is a larger, glaring issue that many people have avoided discussing or only mentioned in passing. It’s because everyone is to blame for this issue, not just BP. The problem, at its core, is technology itself, and how ethics and morals play into science. When BP first began deep-sea drilling, they were required to have contingency plans in case any problems arose. Problems such as oil rigs exploding, or oil gushing out into the ocean. If it takes 87 days to cap a leak, contingency plans have obviously failed. So why is technology allowed to progress at a break-neck pace without ethical checks and balances in place to save people from their own half-formed ideas and shoddy work ethics? Because people are so concerned with the “next big thing” and having the newest device or a gadget more powerful than their friend. If people can make it faster, they will. Stronger? Of course. Bigger? You betcha. But safer? That little word never crosses anyone’s mind until at least 100 people get hurt. BP drilled a hole into the earth’s crust deep in the middle of the ocean knowing their failsafe plans were unlikely at best to work. That’s not even the worst of the technological advances people are making without thought for the consequences. Everyone remembers Dolly, right? The first mammal successfully cloned by humans? Dolly was a sheep that lived for six years and birthed six lambs before being put down because she had lung cancer. It has never been truer to say that someone has played at being God than at the moment of Dolly’s creation. Dolly was a triumph of modern science. Humanity had actually created life outside of biological reproduction. It is amazing. But is it ethical? Scientists are now actively attempting to clone human beings. Where...

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Traumatic event proves Christ as lifeline
Sep15

Traumatic event proves Christ as lifeline

Since the day of the catastrophe, the university has held a memorial service in Walton Chapel for the lives lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “The chapel was filled with faculty, staff and students,” George Loutherback said of the original 2001 service at the opening of Friday’s chapel. “Our lives were changed that day. We will not forget those families that lost loved ones, or those people that lost their lives.” Tom Bowen was the guest speaker for this year’s Friday service. Bowen was one of the first New York firefighters to respond to the attacks on the World Trade Center. After doing what he could that first day, Bowen joined up with the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue team, for which he had received training a few years previously. “Everything that happened those first few days – the initial attack, the threat of another strike, the collapse of the New York command center – none of that impacted our willingness to jump in and help out and do everything we could,” Bowen said. Bowen’s talk was accompanied with a slideshow depicting some of the massive destruction that accompanied the collapse of the Twin Towers. Cars were covered in dirt and grime, dust was billowing down the streets in overwhelming clouds, and people were frantically seeking some sort of shelter. But Bowen said he didn’t want to use the photos and memories to upset anyone. “We are not here to relive a difficult day,” he said. “I’m here to praise God for his sovereignty in helping us get through the tragedy of that day.” Many of the photos were heart wrenching, however. One showed Spray-painted tagging of pieces of rubble to mark where bodies were located because “so many people died that day that we didn’t have time to stop and dig them out because the dogs were already moving on to the next body,” Bowen said. One photo showed an image that haunted Bowen for years after the disaster. The photograph looked simple; a staircase had fallen over and collapsed into the ground. Then Bowen explained the story behind the image. “When we found this staircase, we realized it had pushed into the ground like an accordion, and that it had run several stories up,” he said. “As we opened it up, we … we found people. People that had been on the staircase when it was pushed into the ground. One of them was a fireman who had gone into the building to help people get out. “His coffin was the one this flag was covering,” he said, gesturing toward the flag he had brought with him,...

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Cloggers train for performance debut
Apr13

Cloggers train for performance debut

Two students from the beginning clogging class at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor will be showcasing their talents at a performance at the Bell County Museum Saturday, April 17. Sophomore athletic training major Keishla Maldonado and freshman pre-pharmacy major Alayne Cockrell are both looking forward to the opportunity. “I am a bit nervous about this performance, but I am also really excited to get a chance to do this,” Maldonado said. “It has been a lot of work so far, but I really think it will all be worth it,” Cockrell said. Their instructor, adjunct professor Garland Bullock, has been clogging for a number of years, and has been vital in helping the women prepare for the performance. Bullock will also participate in the show. “I have been teaching clogging here (UMHB) for three years, and I have also been teaching adult classes in Georgetown on Saturdays for about the past eight years,” Bullock said. All told, he has been doing serious clogging for close to 10 years. Bullock found out about the performance opportunity due to a letter he sent the museum more than a year ago. He wrote the museum to find out if any of their special events could incorporate clogging. “I didn’t hear back from them for almost a year until (a museum employee) e-mailed me back to see if we were still able to dance for one of their … programs. It was a pleasant surprise to hear back from them this fall. “Alayne progressed very quickly from beginning to intermediate clogging in the fall and Keishla was willing to pick up clogging again in order to practice for the program, so this has turned out to be the right time to make this happen,” he said. Cockrell and Maldonado have been putting a lot of effort into preparing for this performance. They practice with Bullock every Thursday night after their clogging class ends, and then try to practice often outside of the classroom as well. “When my roommates go home for the weekend, I practice for a while in my dorm,” Maldonado said. “I try to practice at least once or twice a week outside of the class.” “We have a wooden deck at my house, so whenever I get the chance to go home, I try to practice clogging on that,” Cockrell said. This is not Cockrell’s first clogging performance. She participated in a talent show on the last Saturday of spring break with Bullock and one of the members of his adult clogging class. “There must have been 50 people there, but I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would...

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Students expand fitness horizons in Alaska
Jan26

Students expand fitness horizons in Alaska

In order to give students a memorable and rewarding experience for two exercise and sports science courses, the department is offering a unique opportunity for people wanting to take courses in angling and advanced aerobic fitness in the summer. The classes are going to be taught over a nine-day trip in the Alaskan wilderness. “We had six students attend last year,” exercise and sport science associate professor Dr. Mickey Kerr said. “We anticipate from the reports from those students that the interest will be good for this year’s trip.” Last year was the first time that the trip was offered, and Kerr and exercise and sport science professor Dr. Jamey Plunk each taught one of the courses that the experience was designed for. Kerr was in charge of the fishing portion of the trip, while Plunk led the canoeing section. However, instead of canoeing, this year Plunk will be teaching advanced aerobic fitness. Ample time is given to both activities each day of the trip. “Everyone will run at least 10 hours while we are there,” Plunk said, “and a lot of that time will be spent going to places to fish or just experience nature, so every day will have a good portion of both activities in it.” For many people, just visiting Alaska is an overwhelming experience. The students who attended the trip last year had trouble picking just one part of it as the section they enjoyed the most. “I really enjoyed the fishing and the sites,” senior business administration major Ashley Grizzard said. “(Alaska) was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. The fishing was so much fun because everyone caught something, and we all learned how to bring up a large fish in the deep sea. Our halibut fishing trip was fun and exhausting.” Student must complete a few physical prerequisites before going on the trip. “At this point you have to be able to swim 100 meters in a pool, and you have to be able to hike about four miles in an hour while carrying 16 pounds of weight,” Plunk said. “Those are skills tests that you must pass before you can go.” While that may or may not seem like too much to ask to some people, students should not let it dissuade them from participating in the trip. “I really learned that I could survive in Alaska since I am kind of a girlie-girl,” Grizzard said. “I think I showed that anyone can do this trip and have a blast doing it. I plan on going back soon and fishing more and learning more about the great...

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