Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

In the summer of 2010 I participated in an internship at the local television station Fox 2 in Detroit. I was brought in to assist with web production for their site www.myfoxdetroit.com, produce content, and specialize in Politics, culminating with a candidate survey revolving around the Michigan Primary on August 3, 2010.

While at the station I worked on a variety of stories for the website. Below you will find links to all articles and clips or multimedia of different content I worked on. An in depth description detailing the Primary Candidate project for the television station can be found here.

Multimedia

All multimedia and their accompanied stories were written, recorded and edited by myself and other interns (whose names will be mentioned). Most of those stories were done with a deadline in mind as to when they must be up on the website. Some had a more serious element, while other pieces were light-hearted pieces.

Supporters of Israel Speak Their Mind

Written and Produced by Benjie Klein and Amelia Carpenter

West Bloomfield – A rally in support of Israel took place in West Bloomfield Township yesterday. Some in attendance held Israeli flags and American flags as a show of patriotism.

Signs with statements like: “We Americans Stand By Israel,” “Israel’s Blockade is Legal,” and “Israel Gave Up Gaza for Peace” could be seen by those passing by the southeast corner of Fifteen Mile and Orchard Lake Rd… The rest of the story can be found on the Fox 2 website here.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

Automotive X-Prize Gearing For Final Stages

By Benjie Klein, Amelia Carpenter, and Karen George

Brooklyn, MI – Michigan International Speedway had some fierce competition these past two weeks. Yet, it wasn’t a race.

Progressive Automotive Insurance has been holding it’s X-Prize competition right here in Michigan. The X-Prize was created with one goal in mind — build a safe, efficient car that gets at least 100 MPG in real world driving. At stake, $10 million…  The rest of the story can be found on the Fox 2 website here.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

X Prize, posted with vodpod

Links to additional non-political Multimedia:

World Cup 2010: American Football vs. World Futbol *by Benjie Klein and Amelia Carpenter

American Idol Fans Say Goodbye to Simon *by Benjie Klein and Karen George

Predict the Winner of American Idol *by Benjie Klein and Karen George

Political Article Example

Candidates Send the Wrong Message

By Benjie Klein

More Michigan jobs.This is the mantra we have been hearing for years across this state.  Yet, for some reason, candidates over look what’s right in front of them — an opportunity to start the process in the simplest way.

It is no secret anywhere in the country that during election time politicians are out for themselves. Because of that, they often miss the fundamentals that helped earn them the chance to run for office from the beginning. Start with the people at home. The rest of the story can be found on the Fox 2 website here.

Links to Additional Political Articles:

Mackinac Policy Conference

Mackinac 2010: Who Will Step Up

Politics and Technology: Time to Tear them Apart

Sound Off: What Does Michigan Want in a Governor?*By Benjie Klein and Amelia Carpenter

Sound Off: Kwame Kilpatrick Sentencing Reaction*By Benjie Klein and Amelia Carpenter

More Information about the Primary Candidate Project

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Wisconsin Sleep is located at 6001 Research Park Boulevard in Madison

In Madison, a trendy building boasting a glass façade stands tall inviting visitors to occupy vacancies in the 19 total rooms, some specialized for children. Walk through the doors and a spiral staircase leads a guest to the front desk to check in for the night, or even a daytime nap. Once led to led to the room a door opens to a room featuring a flat screen with satellite television, a DVD player, computer, bathroom and all the amenities one asks for when spending a night away from home appears. And all these deluxe amenities feature a price tag of $4,500 a night.

Now take a closer look and a camera beams down from the ceiling. Next to the bed wires dangle off a poll and strange machines lie inside a cabinet close by. This is no hotel, instead a place known as Wisconsin Sleep.

Opened on Sept. 10, 2007, the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation and Meriter Hospital closed their sleep centers and joined forces to create Wisconsin Sleep, doubling the size of both previous centers combined. Wisconsin Sleep joined a rapidly growing industry in the midst of a large upswing. In 1999, over 400 accredited sleep institutes existed in the country. Today that number exceeds 1,500 an increase from over 1,237 when Wisconsin Sleep opened just two years ago, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

According to Dr. William Kohler, medical director of the Florida Sleep Institute and former chairman of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine accreditation committee, an increase in the attentiveness to sleep contributed to this movement.

“We have become aware of the significant problems that can occur to our health if we do not get the proper sleep,” said Kohler.

At centers like Wisconsin Sleep, patients show up for issues like insomnia, narcolepsy or a rapidly growing problem, sleep apnea. Apnea obstructs an individual’s ability to breathe during sleep.

With these issues rising, the industry itself saw an average of 13 percent patient growth amongst centers in 2007, today that number hovers closer to 6 percent according to a Sept. 2009 study in Sleep Review.

With more people concerned about shuteye, Wisconsin Sleep entered the market with a unique approach.

Wisconsin Sleep Approach

From the beginning the $3.9 million facility wanted more than to just be another clinic.

“It was created to be able to offer the option to have research and clinical studies done,” said Linda Jelinek, Team Leader of Sleep Technicians at Wisconsin Sleep. “The dream of Dr. Ruth Benca how a lot of it all came together.” Dr. Benca is the Wisconsin Sleep medical director with a vision of helping patients and increasing learning in the field of sleep.

The profit driven center contains 16 clinical rooms and three additional rooms for research purposes. Inside the center 25 different sleep technicians, double the amount of the previous centers, help the building stay awake at various points of the 24-hour day, including a 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift. The workers focus on monitoring visiting patients and subjects.  On the research side, subjects are used for discovering advanced techniques in treatment and developing scholarship in the field.

By allowing both research and clinical work done in the same building, the two sides must maintain a working balance and still learn from each other.

“You see patients not only within that cocoon of this is a patient problem, but also how understanding the physiology and the problem of the patient can be reflective on overall sleep health for many other people,” said Dr. Cami Matthews, who focuses on pediatric sleep at the clinic.

But obstacles exist between the two as well. Complementing research with clinical work, in the same place, presents challenges.

By having so much happen in one place, the staff must remain organized and balance the two sides without overstepping boundaries.

“The staff has the interaction with both clinicians and researchers and that can be challenging at times,” said Matthews. “It’s hard to have a busy clinical practice and then if you have a busy research practice that can be difficult.”

But what happens on each side?

Clinical

When the lights go out, strange occurrences happen. From a sleep singer belting out happy birthday, a grandma talking about her grandson’s baseball achievements to a farmer simulating driving his John Deere or a man faking seizures for eight hours many stories have developed over the past couple years.

Unfortunately, many of these stories look at the lighter side of sleep health. As previously mentioned, awareness and issues in sleep health have flown to the forefront.

The most commonly seen issue, sleep apnea, is often accompanied with snoring throughout the night. Many look at snoring as an annoying habit of people, but it could be an indication that person is suffering from the illness.  Apnea affects all ages, but one of the prime reasons for an increase in patient visits is a growing problem in health in general.

“The obesity epidemic, I don’t like to always put it in those terms,” said Matthews. “But adults have increased weight gain and we are definitely seeing that in pediatrics as well.”

With obesity, sleep apnea may directly feel the effect by having excess body fat limit air passageways. Indirectly, sleep apnea may accompany illnesses like diabetes, which often form in overweight individuals.

The process a patient goes through to reach a sleep clinic varies. Some may receive recommendations from their personal physician while others contact the sleep center directly. Once approved for an overnight study the real testing begins.

The patients arrive at either 7 or 9 p.m. then proceed back to their room for the night. Once in the room a variety of objects are attached to the individual to measure brain waves, heartbeat, breathing, and body movements. Then the techs, usually assigned two patients each, monitor to see if a person requires a continuous positive air pressure device, or CPAP to help counteract the apnea.

“They have to meet certain criteria that’s been established by our guidelines and insurance guidelines too,” said Jelinek.

Wisconsin Sleep adheres to growing guidelines from the AASM, a very important piece of keeping the clinical side active in helping patients. While economic questions often enter into health decisions, many insurance companies refuse to deal with non-accredited institutions. These do not face the same guidelines like Wisconsin Sleep and may cost a patient more in the end.

“The tendency in many labs is to decrease the quality [for economic purposes],” said Kohler. “One of the things that an accredited center does, it insures that you have at least a minimum degree of quality present.”

With quality playing such an important role at Wisconsin Sleep, the research side helps the center remain on the brink of advancing techniques and technologies.

Research participant B139 being hooked up to the EEG

At Wisconsin Sleep a wide array of studies have already taken place. Some research involves drugs, connections between sleep and depression, or regular brain activity. The most important factor in all this research is brain measurement.

The research side boasts a high-density EEG monitoring system, making Wisconsin Sleep the first sleep laboratory to use such technology.

The high-density monitoring system involves a contraption with 256 suctions that must fit the subject’s head and each filled with gel before full attachment. According to Jelinek, depending on the staff putting the device in place, “it can take up to about two hours to get someone set up.”

But researchers and techs feel the tedious work is worth it with the new technology.  The technology allows researchers to look at sleep in a different light. New areas of the brain can be measured and more data gathered than ever before.

The University of Wisconsin seeks research subjects of all ages, often times posting the opening on the UW job board. Then a traditional job process takes place, interviewing subjects to see if they qualify for the particular study. The most recent study at Wisconsin Sleep received over 100 responses to the ad.

The sleep center compensates those who participate varying per project. Over the summer a drug study doled out $5,000 to participants who completed the 3-week period.

A current study looking at depression and sleep included a 23-year-old student known as subject B139*.

While at times the connected wires provided a nuisance to sleeping, the student found participating a beneficial experience. According to the B139, she discovered ideas not previously considered revolving around her sleep deprivation from questions asked by researchers in the process.

While monetary gain is motivation for many participants, B139 was not one of them.

“I am entering the [UW] counseling program for graduate school, so in order for me to help others I felt it was necessary for me to investigate my own problems,” said the research participant.

*The research participant asked if this article were ever published not to use their real name, but the identification used at the sleep facility. I observed her and the staff on November 24, 2009 from 7 p.m. prior to her arrival to approximately 12 a.m after the subject had gone to sleep.

Observational Documentary

Posted: December 8, 2010 in Multimedia, Technology

Here you’ll find a five minute observational documentary I created for a film production class at the University of Wisconsin. It revolves around the Madison, Wisconsin Home Products Show at the Alliant Energy Center that occurred in February 2010. The show featured products ranging from the Little Giant Ladder to garden and patio supplies. The video was edited using Final Cut Pro and filmed over a three day period.

As part of the Masters Program at the University of Wisconsin, I had to create two semester long blogs on separate topics.

The first blog looked at modern and unique technologies.

I dubbed this blog “The Swittle Monkey” after my small video production company known as Swittle Monkey Productions. Below you will find an entry about different technologies in sports.

With the NCAA tournament in full motion there is not a better time to discuss the way sports and technology merge to create some of the greatest spectacles in the world to be viewed at this point anywhere at anytime.  After the first day it was reported over 3.4 million hours of video/audio were streamed to watch parts of this event. And with an incredible first day, the numbers for the rest of the weekend can only be assumed to at least match that for the next three days.  Obviously on Thursday more people were working and sneaking in some viewing time, opposed to the weekend at home to enjoy the action on TV.  Coming into the tournament CBS projected over 10 million hours streamed, after the first day’s pace, I’m going to assume they won’t have much of a problem especially with this year’s tournament being a lot more exciting than last year’s tournament.  When NBC streamed winter olympics they only managed 3.5 million hours of streaming through the three weeks of coverage. In addition to streaming on computers, a $10 iphone app allows people to stream the games and companies like FLO TV were right in the mix both with heavy advertising and showing of the games on their portable digital TVs.

Gotta love seeing sports anywhere, anytime. Photo via Ron Sanford, LSJ

Within these events though, even more hidden nuances exist. While watching the NCAA tournament the Michigan State Spartans hit an incredible game winning shot, but the after analysis on ESPN helped show how far breaking down plays had become too. At the 1:20 point in the video here a feature known as ESPN Axis breaks down how close a ball is to hitting a players head on a pass by turning the view and zooming in.  These are just some techniques used that is helping sports evolve with changing times. Another analysis technique in the sport of basketball helps combine video games and styles of play to show what may happen or what previously happened on the basketball court with an analyst right in the thick of the virtual action.

Although sometimes sports can become overkill at times with the stories they choose to constantly harp on, at least advancing technology helps make the moments you just can’t get enough of a little more interesting into the 72nd time viewing the same thing.

The second school blog, known as The Meaty Matters, looks at the meat industry, its relationship with restaurants, and uses of unique meats around the world.

Let’s get the basics out of the way. At some point in your life, you’ve eaten some form of fast food meat. In fact, you probably sneak a taco, roast beef, or bacon double cheeseburger every once in a while. But, there’s also been that point where you’ve questioned what exactly you are eating. I’ll come out and admit, I used to be a bottom-tier fast food junkie*(see below for details). In my undergrad days of college I’d have McDonalds breakfast at 4 a.m daily. Luckily, after I graduated I quit that habit and shy away from fast food. If I’m going to eat unhealthy food, I’d much rather do it at one of those places on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives or unique to the city I’m in.

Before I go any further, let me say: this is not an attempt to turn you off from fast food. If you want to eat it, more power to you. In recent times, movies that attempt to exploit the fast food world and the occasional story documenting the ill health effects have been the craze. I’m just taking the simple approach of looking at the meat (to determine how much is actual meat), how they get their meat, and some regulations out there. Some of this stuff might be tough to digest (both literally and figuratively.)

First, fast food meat is legal and edible. For example rumors of Arby’s roast beef being liquid or gelatin are not true. The packaging the meat arrives in has a gelatin type broth/preservative that helps maintain freshness and flavor, causing confusion to those looking to take out the industry. These companies do stringent testing on the meats. Whether places like Mcdonalds and Burger King do so to avoid insane lawsuits or out of caring for their customer base is up for debate. The biggest problems, however, stem from animal care, production, and a low-grade quality product. These are the areas where things begin going downhill.

The question of “where does this meat come from?” is perhaps the most legitimate question surrounding these chains. And the truth is, they couldn’t tell you specifically. Fast food chains have their meat factories and suppliers they use, but in the ground beef they create dozens of different cows may be used. There aren’t farms used to produce the meats, these are in fact factories. Many are just feeding lots where the cows stay in one spot eating as much corn/grain mixed with antibiotics and hormones as possible. It sounds bad, and it probably is, but it still produces an acceptable quality of meat if the production methods go correctly.

Within the production is where the problems lie. Because these animals are essentially living in one solitary spot, and constantly eating, they can get quite dirty. A combination of food, fecal matter, and any other excess waste might end up on or around them. That’s where the debate begins when addressing poop making it into hamburgers. Does it happen? Yes. Very rarely and that’s when E.coli comes into play. Is it as common as some people like to make it seem? No.  Check out these interviews from Frontline to see both sides of the safety argument.

The process of cleaning these animals and retrieving the meat can be very difficult and must be done thoroughly. In an industry that produces obscene tonnage of meat that is expected to be processed extremely fast, mistakes can be made. The fast food meat factories have to supply so many places around the world that almost 400 cattle an hour are slaughtered. The number itself is crazy, but to think workers must wash every animal, clean out intestines and other body parts, plus be careful enough not to hurt yourself with these machines and knives, it’s a difficult task. Since 1993, when there was a huge outbreak almost ending the Jack in the Box franchises, companies and the country are a little more strict in the way they go about the process before and after. Jack in the Box went bankrupt at the time and are just now expanding nationally, a plan that may have been set back by 20 years.

The company most attacked now for their process isn’t Mcdonalds or Burger King. The fast food chain: Kentucky Fried Chicken. Led by those crazy folks at PETA (just watch the video and you’ll see), a site called Kentucky Fried Cruelty has led undercover investigations to see how this company treats their chicken and the quality that comes after. While they tend to overdramatize some of the stuff, it has been found workers at these plants abuse these animals beyond their ultimate fate of slaughter. Chickens have been found in cages that are unsafe causing them to get stuck and break wings or legs. The chickens are also shocked, cut and dumped into boiling water. The chickens that are used have gained weight in double the amount of time of a normal life span.

So now that the processing is complete, how bout the meat itself?  This is where things get interesting. In Europe, the meat is better quality. They have more restrictions and better regulations. It tastes better and smells better.  In America most the meat used is commercial grade. It’s nothing spectacular, but it’s also not really graded. In fact, meat goes by 8 different categories: Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter, and Canner. Within these categories, there can be grades of “1-5” placed on the meat. But this is not a requirement. Thus, majority of the commercial grade meat just makes it through USDA inspection so it won’t kill you and it goes from there.  Once again, the meat itself is edible. Poultry uses different grades as well. For the whole grading scale and to learn more check out the whole grading scale and regulations of all meats and poultry.

So you’re thinking I didn’t really explain how the meat truly is. But, thanks to an article published last December in USA Today, fast-food standards for meat both safety and quality are actually better than those in the Educational system. Who said our country didn’t care? The truth is, commercial grade meat is exactly as it sounds. Of course, don’t be fooled by Angus Beef either. The newest trick for fast food restaurants has been the “Angus Beef” craze. It’s “higher quality” than other meats they serve. It’s juicy and has more to it. Certified Angus Beef brings on the illusion, as Joe’s Butcher Shop explains, that this means high quality. He also shows a solid comparison of what each meat grade means. While that is more based on steaks, it still helps show the difference.

Finally, once the actual meat must preserved to reach these places, this is where the true problem lies. If there was a way for McDonalds to constantly process cows in a magical basement of everyone of their restaurants, the quality of the meat might actually be better. Unfortunately, because of the amount there is and the distance each little strip of beef must travel to join with it’s little beef strip friends, stuff must be added. For many chicken products, sodium phosphate seems to be popular. Throw in some MSG, Oils, Disodium Guanylate and Disodium Inosinate, and you’re almost halfway to what they give you. For a great list of added chemicals to all foods, beyond meats click here.

So… I won’t deny, I’ll still eat fast food every once in a while. The process is bad and what they add after is bad. It’s even worse that the government isn’t as strict as they should be. That might be even more alarming than the fast food chains themselves. Some of them do it the right way. Five Guys, In-n-Out Burger, and so on have healthier operations. Even Chipotle, once owned by Mcdonalds, does it in a way that isn’t cruel and even a bit healthier. The prices might be a little bit more expensive, but there are at least options out there.

Don’t worry, I will soon be looking at fancier meats from high quality restaurants. As well as more parts of the body for you to enjoy. If you have any suggestions or comments, feel free as always…

*To make myself feel better in life, I have separated different styles of fast food into “tiers.” McDonalds, Taco Bell, Burger King, Arby’s, KFC, and so on in my mind are example of bottom-tier fast food. Restaurants like Pancheros, Potbellys, Five Guys, and Pei Wei are second-tier and thus acceptable in my world.

The final blog included is not school related, but a blog I felt I should mention with a link. It is known as Benjie Off the Leash (named after the hit movie about a dog “Benji: Off the Leash”). This blog was used to chronicled my travels throughout Europe and the United States.

Picture courtesy of George Frey/Getty Images and Discovery Tech

 

An article I wrote, titled Five Apps to Succeed in College, was published on Discovery Tech’s website on February 8, 2010. Below is the introduction to this article.

On a college campus, anything goes. Late-night partying, day-time studying, maybe a protest at the student union and perhaps the most common linking all three: students playing on their Smartphones.

While these gadgets have their academic downside — disrupting the flow of class with an awkward ringtone or distracting students from actual work — they also present opportunities. Smartphones give students access to a wide array of apps, many geared to help their owners study and learn.

According to Danny Tu, iPhone product manager of Smartphone app Documents to Go, an increase in organizational tools, productive tools, and communication capabilities continue to advance the industry. “It’s incredible how far this stuff has gone,” said Tu.

After talking with students, friends, classmates, scouring message boards, reading reviews and personally test-driving a bevy of applications, I chose five apps under $20 that will help a student succeed in college.

The five apps included were:

iStudiez Pro

Evernote

Documents to Go

Dictionary.com

Papers for iPhone