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Margaret Swofford

Maggie Swofford is an English major with a concentration in Creative Writing currently studying at Gordon College in Massachusetts.

The Bachelorette's dramatic season finale

Desiree’s abrupt change of heart

I know I’m not the only one who gets a sour feeling in their stomach after watching the season finale of the show “The Bachelorette.” Desiree’s very sudden change of heart can’t help but make the audience pretty nervous about her future with Chris.

Let’s take a look back on the dramatic situation to try to make some sense out of it.

So first Desiree gets dumped by the man that she supposedly “loved all along.” As Brooks told her that he just didn’t love her the way that he felt he should, she confesses her love for him.

But even after spilling her guts to Brooks about how she truly felt about him, he stuck with his decision to leave and Desiree remained miserable and heart-broken.

Later in a confessional she makes an astonishing comment about the remaining two men, Chris and Drew, in comparison to her lost love Brooks.

“I just can’t love them as much,” she tearfully explained.

But low and behold, a few weeks later, after another painful but short break-up between her and Drew, she decides that she in fact does love Chris and is over Brooks enough to accept Chris’s proposal.

So… what happened?

On “The Bachelorette: Behind the Final Rose” show, she tells Chris Harrison, the show’s host, that she didn’t feel pressured to accept Chris’s proposal. But all that I remember hearing throughout the show was how she was going to meet the man she was going to marry and accept his proposal on the show… Sounds a little pressured to me.

My other question, though, is: does she REALLY love Chris as much as, or more than, she loved Brooks?

I personally am surprised that Chris didn’t seem hesitant to propose to her, even after their heart-to-heart during his proposal where she admitted to him her strong feelings for Brooks. He didn’t blink an eye to continue to propose to her even after she told him about how much she cared for Brooks. If it were me, I’d be concerned of the thought that she doesn’t really love me as much as she loved Brooks.

I guess we’ll never know how she truly feels.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I really do wish her the best. I hope she found the love of her life in Chris and gets married to him. But I just can’t seem to shake the thought that she is just using Chris as a rebound from Brooks.

But I suppose, for now at least, it’s “happily ever after.”

Spanish train crash kills 79, injures dozens more

Is Francisco Garzon, the train driver, to blame?

You would think that after driving the same route on a train you’d have all the speeds down and know exactly when to go what speed. But apparently this is not the case for 52-year-old Francisco Garzon. Garzon was driving a train in Spain on Wednesday when it crashed because he was going double the speed he was supposed to.

Seventy-nine people were killed and dozens more were injured because of Garzon’s mistake.

Normally the train was supposed to slow down to 50 mph 2.5 miles before the sharp curve where the train crashed. But Garzon apparently didn’t remember to do so.

According to Spanish media he didn’t make any excuses as to why the crash occurred, he just said that he tried to brake but it was too late.

What the judicial system will try to find out is whether his distraction came from methods of communication, such as a cell phone. So they have confiscated Garzon’s phone and have been searching his texts, calls and social networking to see if that was what distracted him from his duties.

The train’s records will also be looked at to see what may have contributed to the crash, such as the lack of an automatic breaking system or other issues.

He was recorded after the crash expressing his regrets.

“Poor travelers,” he said in Spanish. “I hope there are no dead because they will fall on my conscience.”

Garzon will not be allowed to drive a train for the next six months after Judge Luis Alaez took away his license away.

The casualties of the crash included travelers from several other countries including the U.S., Puerto Rico and a few other European countries.

Ariel Castro, Cleveland kidnapper, to spend life in jail

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight breathe sighs of relief

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were beyond relieved when they heard that Ariel Castro, the man who held all three women captive for up to 10 years in his home, pleaded guilty on Friday. This Thursday a judge will decide whether to accept his life sentence and an additional 1,000 years.

The three women escaped from Castro’s home on May 6 after being kidnapped, threatened and sexually assaulted. The women, while in captivity, were bound by chains or ropes for extended periods of time, endured starvation, being sexually assaulted and beatings.

He faces 977 charges against him, which include aggravated murder of a fetus one of the women was forced to miscarry, kidnapping and rape.

While Castro, 53, will spend the rest of his life in jail, he will not face the death penalty, despite keeping the women captive and a 6-year-old girl who, from DNA tests, is his child from one of the women.

The chains that Castro used to bind the women, a gun he threatened them with and the potties he forced the women to use will appear in court as evidence. The daily routine of the women while in captivity will also be talked about during the hearing on Thursday.

Castro isn’t surprised by how serious the charges are against him.

“I knew I was going to get pretty much the book thrown at me,” Castro said.

He also talked about his own experience as a child, being a victim of sexual abuse himself.

“My addiction to pornography and my sexual problem has really taken a toll on my mind,” Castro told the judge on Friday. “I was also a victim as a child and it just kept going.”

Despite his interesting comments, the women are happy to hear that he’s taking charge of his actions, according to a statement released by the three’s law firm on Friday.

“Amanda, Gina, and Michelle are relieved by today’s plea,” the statement read. “They are satisfied by this resolution to the case, and are looking forward to having these legal proceedings draw to a final close in the near future.”

Hopefully in the upcoming months the three young women, DeJesus, 23, Knight, 32, and Berry, 27, will find some rest and comfort in finally being free from the horrifying situation they had to face.

Heart attacks and skipping breakfast

What do these have in common?

A study of older men done by Harvard researchers recently found that those who skipped breakfast had a 27 percent higher chance of having a heart attack than those who ate breakfast.

For all of the women out there, you may want to pay attention too. Because while the study was done for men, it’s likely they are not the only ones affected by waking up and not eating breakfast.

While experts aren’t 100 percent sure why skipping breakfast could have such detrimental effects, they do have some ideas why.

They believe that when you skip breakfast you get hungrier during the day, which causes you to eat larger meals. When you eat larger meals, the body has to digest and process a higher amount of calories in a shorter amount of time. Sometimes this can lead to spiked sugar levels in the blood and cause blocked arteries.

But what counts as a “breakfast”? Surely fatty foods like syrup on sugary pancakes, bacon, and salted-up eggs could also be the cause for heart problems.

Andrew Odegaard, a researcher from the University of Minnesota, studies the links between heart attacks and medical conditions such as obesity and high blood pressure.

“We don’t know whether it’s the timing or content of breakfast that’s important. It’s probably both. Generally, people who eat breakfast tend to eat a healthier diet,” Odegaard said.

Studies show that around 18 percent of adults in the U.S. skip breakfast, which could be a sign for trouble in the future. Breakfast doesn’t just correlate to this horrifying medical issue. Brushing over this important meal could also be linked to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and other significant health problems.

So pay attention to what you eat and just don’t skip breakfast.

Anthony Weiner: "sexter" and mayor of NYC?

“Enough is enough”

Now, it’s one thing to get caught texting nude photos of yourself to a half-dozen women while in Congress and, shortly after being caught, resign. But when you do it again to another woman two years later and then run for the position as mayor of New York City… That’s just not right.

But that is exactly what Anthony Weiner is attempting to do.

His congressional career ended two years ago in 2011 when he sent sexually explicit messages and pictures to around a half-dozen women. Once caught, he swiftly and eagerly resigned.

You would think Weiner learned his lesson from that sobering and embarrassing scandal, but this isn’t so.

New information has come out that shows that Weiner had been keeping in contact with another woman in July 2012 and August 2012 after first talking on Formspring a year after resigning from Congress. This was also only seven months after his wife, Huma Abedin, had their first child.

The other woman wrote on her blog that he offered to get a condo in Chicago where they could meet up, and she also had phone sex with him and sent each other nude photos. He sent pictures of his penis to her through a Yahoo email under the name “Carlos Danger.” Soon after, the pictures were posted on TheDirty.com.

With all of that out in the open, it isn’t a surprise that Abedin stood an arms-length away from him at a press conference for his mayoral campaign.

And it must have been an extremely awkward moment when he apologized again for his actions and admitted his vile actions caused “challenges” in his marriage.

“As I have said in the past, these things that I did were wrong and hurtful to my wife and caused us to go through challenges in our marriage that extended past my resignation from Congress. While some things that have been posted today are true and some are not, there is no question that what I did was wrong. This behavior is behind me,” he said.

While he promises that his actions are behind him, one of my concerns is that if he’s said all that before and yet he did it twice, the chances of him doing it again are pretty high…

The New York Times agrees that he should step down from the race for mayor.

They said that Weiner “should take his marital troubles and personal compulsions out of the public eye, away from cameras, off the Web and out of the race for mayor of New York City.”

It also isn’t a surprise that his rivals also urge him to reconsider his campaign. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and fellow campaigner is upfront with his distaste for Weiner.

“Enough is enough,” de Blasio said. “The sideshows of this election have gotten in the way of the debate we should be having about the future of this city.”

While Weiner never outwardly confirmed what the reports said from his most recent fling with the other woman, the rumors may still affect the polls for voting, or even whether he makes it to the polls. New York City is waiting to hear what comes out of Weiner’s mouth next.

Is there water on Mars?

Martian ocean remains discovered; John Carter fantasy comes to life

The world can now indulge in more outer-space fantasies about life on Mars, such as the movie John Carter, which was released in 2012, that told the story of a Civil War veteran that found himself on Mars to aid a Martian princess.

On July 21, 2013 Science Recorder confirmed that Caltech scientists believe that they have found signs that there was water on Mars.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is circling the planet, took pictures that seem to confirm that theory.

Mike Lamb, the study’s co-author and an assistant professor at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) talked of the possibility before it was confirmed.

“Scientists have long hypothesized that the northern lowlands of Mars are a dried-up ocean bottom, but no one yet has found the smoking gun,” Lamb said.

The images that were received by the Reconnaissance Orbiter showed an ancient delta that seems to have emptied into a massive ocean. One-third of the planet is thought to have once been covered by water.

Roman DiBiase, the lead author and a post-doctoral scholar at Caltech, has high hopes for the findings and believes that they will soon have enough evidence to confirm the hypothesis.

“This is probably one of the most convincing pieces of evidence of a delta in an unconfined region — and a delta points to the existence of a large body of water in the northern hemisphere of Mars,” DiBiase said.

But, of course, no “smoking gun” has been found quite yet. While the findings are highly suggestive of the idea that there used to be life on Mars, John Carter has yet to find his real-life home on Mars.

Despite that, there is hope.

“In our work and that of others — including the Curiosity rover — scientists are finding a rich sedimentary record on Mars that is revealing its past environments, which include rain, flowing water, rivers, deltas and potentially oceans,” Lamb said. “Both the ancient environments on Mars and the planet’s sedimentary archive of these environments are turning out to be surprisingly Earth-like.”

Within the next few years I’m certain that the mystery will be solved and Lamb’s suspicions confirmed.

Royal baby's birth this week

David Beckham’s interesting remarks on the baby’s name

The whole world is officially holding their breath with the new speculation that the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton is due this week.

This information was first released by Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, who said that the baby is due by “the end of the week.”

Unfortunately there are others who are disagreeing to that prediction. NBC News’ Royal Contributor Camilla Tominey suggests a different due date.

Because Kate spent this last weekend with her parents in Bucklebury, which is far from St. Mary’s hospital where the baby will be birthed, “that would suggest that she’s at least not expecting her baby to come until next week,” Tominey said.

As the due date of the newest addition to the royal household nears, it’s hard not to fondly remember the day in December when the news that Catherine Middleton was pregnant first came out. She was released into the hospital with morning sickness, which gave away her pregnancy.

As to the official announcement regarding the royal birth? The public might have to wait longer than they would like, as Queen Elizabeth II, British Prime Minister David Cameron, several governor generals of the commonwealth nations and both sides of the royal family will be given the exciting news first.

The birth document signifying the baby’s arrival will be signed by medical officials and driven back to Buckingham Palace (with police escort, of course) where it will reach the first of the many to know of the baby’s birth.

With the baby’s near arrival many celebrities have been commenting on baby names they predict. David Beckham joined in that conversation with a very… interesting suggestion to Sky News. Eyebrows were raised when others heard of the soccer star’s input.

“David’s not bad. I think they should go for David,” Beckham said.

Of course, that isn’t vain or anything…

Despite that curious remark, Beckham didn’t hesitate to congratulate and praise the royal couple regarding their upcoming journey of raising a child and becoming parents.

Kate and William are “going to be amazing parents, because they are so loving towards children,” he said.

He praised William in particular when he bestowed him a very thoughtful compliment.

“William has been in all of our lives for so many years. We have seen William grow from that young boy into an unbelievable gentleman. That’s an amazing quality. And that as a father is so important.”

While the odds of the couple naming their child “David” are slim, there isn’t any doubt when it comes to the expectation that the William and Kate will make great parents.

Motorcycle racer crashes at 285 mph

Bill Warner dies soon after crash

On Saturday Bill Warner, 44, was trying to top his record of going 300 mph on his racing motorcycle. But before he could reach that speed he veered off the paved runway and crashed, leaving him in gruesome condition. He died a day later.

The motorcycle racer was from Wimauma, Fla. and had previously hit 311 mph on the very same 1.5 mile-long paved area in 2011. That speed was considered the world record land-speed for a motorcycle.

After the crash he was said to have been talking just before 10 a.m. on Sunday, but died an hour and a half later.

The Loring Timing Association hosted “the Maine Event” at Loring Air Force Base where Kelly attempted to top his record. They use the 14,200-foot-long runway to race on, since the base closed in 1994. They use 2.5 miles of runway for the events, not including the additional 2,000 feet just in case, according to Kelly.

With Warner’s attempt, however, he tried to breach 300 mph in just one mile of runway. Just after reaching the one mile mark he veered to the right before leaving the runway and crashing. After crashing, the rest of the events were cancelled for the day.

Tim Kelly, race director at the Loring Timing Association, holds Warner’s achievements very highly and admires the racer.

“No one will touch Bill’s achievements or be the type of racer he was. He was a personal friend and the land-racing community is less for his loss,” Kelly said.

Very few people can say that they’ve driven at 300 mph. Warner will be remembered for his incredible feat and courageous attitude that brought him his successes.

iPhone electrocutes woman, is killed

Death by technology

I mean, it was bound to happen someday…

On July 11 a Chinese woman was electrocuted by her charging iPhone and died.

The body of the 23-year-old woman by the name of Ma Ailun was found that day with signs of electrocution. Her family claims that she died as a result of the charging time bomb of a phone. She was taking a bath and got up to answer her phone when she was supposedly electrocuted.

A woman who claims to be her sister posted on a social media website saying that it was the iPhone’s fault and cautions her audience when it comes to charging their phones.

“I hope that Apple Inc. can give us an explanation,” she wrote. “I also hope that all you will refrain from using your mobile devices while charging.”

While it isn’t certain that the iPhone or the fact that it was charging was what caused Ailun’s death, Apple released a statement encouraging the investigation of the incident.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of this tragic incident and offer our condolences to the Ma family,” Apple said. “We will fully investigate and cooperate with authorities in this matter.”

It isn’t known whether the phone was an iPhone 5 or an older model. Along with that, a slew of uncertified chargers have recently taken to the market, so it is unknown as to whether Ailun was using a certified charger. Her family claims that she was using genuine Apple parts.

A few years ago, however, there were a few incidents of iPhones simultaneously exploding. Three iPhone users from Australia, France and Brazil claimed their phones began to smoke and emit sparks. While the battery was put to blame for those incidents, who knows what could be the cause of this tragedy.

Until the mystery is resolved, I’d say don’t use your electronic, charging phone right after you get out of a wet, highly charged bathtub full of water.

Thailand university apologizes for Hitler banner

Hitler painted alongside superheroes

I don’t know what’s more embarrassing, the fact that the students at Thailand’s premier university are ignorant of Hitler or the fact that they painted him alongside superheroes in a mural that said “Congratulations” to the graduating class.

The billboard was placed outside of Chulalongkorn University, one of Thailand’s best universities, as a tribute to the graduating class this year. The huge mural showed Hitler with his arm raised in a Nazi salute next to superheroes such as Iron Man, Captain America and Superman with “Congratulations” written across the top.

The art school dean Suppakorn Disatapundhu apologized in a statement released Monday.

“(We) would like to formally express our sincere apology for our students’ ‘Superhero’ mural,” Disatapundhu said. “I can assure you we are taking this matter very seriously.”

After questioning the students that created the poster, he said that their excuse to the painting was that they wanted to show that good and bad coexist in the world.

“They told me the concept was to paint a picture of superheroes who protect the world,” the dean said. “Hitler was supposed to serve as a conceptual paradox to the superheroes. This kind of thoughtless display will not happen again.”

While Hitler was painted in subdued hues compared to the other brightly colored superheroes, projecting Hitler next to these heroes is just a little too controversial and offensive.

The banner has already made its mark though, as an international Jewish human rights group, The Simon Wiesenthal Center, spoke against it on Friday.

“Hitler as a superhero? Is he an appropriate role model for Thailand’s younger generation — a genocidal hate monger who mass murdered Jews and Gypsies and who considered people of color as racially inferior,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the group, said. “The Simon Wiesenthal Center is outraged and disgusted by this public display at Thailand’s leading school of higher education.”

With further investigation it was found that the university focused primarily on Thailand’s own history and barely goes over world history. Now hopefully they’re taking the matter seriously enough to the point where they’ll educate their students on the horrors of the Holocaust and the genocide that Hitler supported and pursued.