Why Concussions Will Force the NFL Into Early Retirement

tyleraprea

The NFL is so big and deeply rooted in our culture that it’s invincible right?

Wrong.

Football is a multi-billion dollar industry, but with all the research being done on long term health issues over the past 14 years, the NFL will steadily decline in popularity.

Head injuries in the NFL are getting so much attention now that they even made a movie called “Concussion” about the discoveries of brain diseases caused by repeated blows to the head in ex-NFL players and the denial of the NFL to acknowledge those findings.

It wasn’t until April 11th, 2016, 14 years after Dr. Bennet Omalu posthumously diagnosed Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain condition known as CTE that the NFL finally admitted that there is a link between the two. “Until Miller’s testimony the official NFL policy…

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A win for Trump-A Loss for America..

Adventures Across The Pond

Being an American abroad has truly opened my eyes to the views an opinions Europeans (and people in general), have on us. Going into my study abroad program here in Florence, I was ready to emerge myself into the different cultures and customs that Europe has to offer, leaving all the stereotypes behind me. However, as I began traveling and interacting with different people it always seemed that I was asked the same stereotypical questions; “Do you guys always eat McDonalds?” and “Is everyone really fat?” and of course my favorite “You’re from New Jersey? Like MTV’s Jersey Shore?”….no not like the Jersey Shore. It just seemed that I was unable to break away from this negative views Europeans had on Americans. But one question left me stumped.

As I was eating dinner one night in Paris with a group of my friends, this adorable French couple next to us began…

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Study Abroad’s Seven Deadly Sins

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In this article, the author describes the “seven deadly sins” that students abroad often fall victim to. While I do agree that these threats due occur for some, I do not think it defines someone who is studying abroad nor does it negatively effect their experience drastically.

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My abroad experience was one of the most amazing opportunities that I could ever have imagined. I grew so much as a person and learned things I never imagined I would. From traveling every weekend, to meeting new people around the world and immersing in different cultures, I have become a more diverse, independent and considerate person. I do not know one person who didn’t come out of abroad with a new outlook on life with gained experience. Yes, I admit, I too have fallen victim to a few of the things mentioned in his article, but not to the extent and none of which…

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You shouldn’t (not) study abroad

acamhiabroad

As my time in the most amazing city, Florence, comes to an end, I am finding it hard to imagine my life had I not studied abroad. While not every university offers a study abroad option, I highly recommend taking the opportunity should it be available.

Recently, I came across an article about why it is not a good idea to study abroad. To be honest, I was shocked by what I was reading. The article that can be found here, describes five different reasons that college students should not study abroad. While feeling defensive about my experience, I could not disagree more with what the article had to say.

The first reason listed spoke about not being able to receive a good education overseas. Speaking from my own experience, I can verify that that statement is invalid. I have received a great education abroad and would even say that…

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The Addiction is Real

April 11, 2016

I’ll never forget the day I got my first cell phone. I was in fifth grade and finally convinced my parents after months of begging to get a pink razor flip phone. Although this is incredibly embarrassing, I have no shame in admitting I had spent many afternoons with friends after school in the Verizon store basically stalking the phone until I could finally say I had my own. The day I finally was able to share with everyone my new number is when the addiction began. I was forever changed by what I thought at the time was modern technology. Pressing my dial pad to text every three minutes, learning how symbols could translate into smiling and winking faces, new ringtones set custom to who called, the obsession was real.

The pink razor flip phone only lasted for two years. I still have it to this day and will forever cherish my first step into technology. Now that all smartphones have taken over the world my prehistoric flip phone doesn’t seem at all as impressive. I constantly see children, as young as third graders, with brand new IPhones; families out to dinner with their toddlers holding Ipads; girls walking through the streets with their heads down texting, not looking at the views around them; couples at restaurants not talking and faces locked in their emails or scrolling through social media. The exciting thrill of getting a new phone has now become a real addiction that is affecting us more than we can understand.

I feel completely hypocritical even criticizing this idea that we are too obsessed and reliant on technology. I am guilty of probably every point I am critiquing, however I am aware I am doing it and want to make the effort to stop. I am currently studying abroad in Florence, Italy. The other day I was walking with a friend down a street I have walked about one hundred times. Never once did I notice the frescos on the exterior of one of the buildings if my friend had not pointed it out. The painting were beautiful but I never noticed it because every time I walked that street I was on the phone, texting, or scrolling through some form of social media. That was one of the moments I had known my funny obsession might be a problem.

From research I did about the impacts technology is having over new generations I was immediately taken back. The following statistics stood out to me the most. The average young American will spend 10,000 hours playing video games before the age of 21. One study discovered that 88 percent of all Americans between the ages of 8 and 18 play video games, and that approximately four times as many boys are addicted to video games as girls are. In America today, many families allow the television to raise their children. In fact, the United States is tied with the U.K. for the most hours of television watched per person each week.

Studies have shown that blue-enriched light, which is emitted by gadgets like smartphones, tablets and laptops, can suppress the body’s release of melatonin at night. Melatonin is a key hormone that helps regulate your internal clock, telling your body when it is nighttime and when to feel sleepy. Blue light can disrupt that process, making it impossible for you to stick to a proper sleep schedule.

You don’t really need science to know this, but technology makes it much easier to get distracted, whether that’s stepping away from an important project to check your smartphone or flipping between multiple browser tabs without really focusing on any one. It has been proven that toggling between multiple tasks at once doesn’t actually work. In fact, we preform our duties even worse. We can’t remember as much information, are much more forgetful, cant concentrate as well, and now rely on the Internet, mainly Google, to give us all our answers. There is no more time for self-discovery or taking the harder way to retrieve information. We now need everything to be fast and efficient.

As a citizen fully participant in this new wave of modern technology I feel that it is important to limit how much our lives are spent in front of screens. Our smartphones are now an extension of our hands and news posts on social media are an indicator if we are still alive and well. Instead of being educated on all the ways technology is amazing and important, I think it should also be reinforced, especially to newer generations, the importance of a life outside technology and social media. We need to do things for our own human interests and pleasure, not for an Instagram photo of Snapchat story. Go to a restaurant to enjoy an amazing meal out and try not to only want to take a photo of your food. Talk to your friends in person, be in the moment, and don’t answer your phone or emails when out to lunch with someone. I know it is hard and something I have to get better myself, but as a society it is critical to recognize the impacts technology is ultimately creating.

Snyder, Michael. “40 signs that we have seriously messed up the next generation of Americans.” Infowars.com. Investment Watch, 3 Sept. 2012. Web.

Hiscott, Rebecca. “8 Ways Technology Makes You Stupid.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 25 July 2014. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.

visit Ariana’s personal blog at http://arianaspinogatti.wix.com/chasingnewyork#!about/cjg9

Top 4 Panini Places in Firenze

Firenze: The City of Molti Panini. With a vinaio on every corner and lampredotto as far as the eye can see, it can be difficult to weed out which sandwich spots are worth your time and euros.

Tuscany is famous for pecorino cheese, unsalted bread, and salami Tuscano, but the panini possibilities are truly endless at the fine establishments below. If you haven’t checked them out, go now, before it’s too late!

I Due Fratellini 

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Two Brothers? More like Too Delicious!!! Due Fratellini is definitely the best bang for your buck. For 3 euro and some change you can have a sandwich that will rock your gosh dang world! Add a nice takeaway cup of wine to the mix and you’ve got Italian street food at its best! Located right across from Chieso/Museo Orsanmichele and down the street from Piazza della Signora, this is the perfect pit stop for a quick and delicious sammys when you’re on-the-go!

All’Antico Vinaio

All'antico Vinaio en Firenze, Italia

via Flickr.com

 

 

All’Antico Vinaio is an absolute staple of Firenze.   Ordering a sandwich from All’Antico Vinaio is like buying a one-way ticket to Flavor Town, population: You. The thick focaccia bread and generous meat and cheese portions will fill you up without costing you the big bucks. Located right down the street from the famous Galleria degli Uffizi, All Antico Vinaio couldn’t be easier to find. Just look for the long line of hungry Italians waiting to get their hands on one of All’Antico’s savory sandoozles.

Salumeria Verdi (AKA Pino’s Sandwiches)

Pino's sandwiches
via thosewhowanderblog.com

It is absolutely bananas how delicious Pino’s sandwiches are. If you’re near Santa Croce, you’ve just gotta to stop by Pino’s. My favorite is the “The Best.” This magic combo of tender roast beef, eggplant, la bomba (or “spicy” as Pino calls it), pecorino, arugula, and fresh tomatoes truly earns this sandwich its name.  In addition to the excellent sandwiches, it doesn’t hurt that Pino may just be the friendliest man in Firenze. The warmth and excitement that Pino exhibits anytime someone walks through the door is just an added benefit to his delicious sandwiches.

Vinaino di Parte Guelfa

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via 10best.com

If you want a true, authentic Italian sandwich experience, look no further than Vinaino di Parte Guelfa. This hidden gem of Florence is run by the dynamic brother duo of Leonardo and Luca, who are happy to help you figure out which sandwich is best for you. Vinaino di Parte Guelfa is located behind the H&M on a side street of via Pellicerria and is frequented almost exclusively by locals, so it’s a great place to practice your Italiano! 

Cinque Terre: Just a Train Ride Away

Looking to fit in a quick last-minute day trip this weekend? Definitely check out Cinque Terre! Explore these five towns and enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery the Italian Riviera has to offer. 

Transportation:

  • Take a train early morning from Firenze SMN or Campo Di Marte Stations to La Spezia.
  • From there, take a train to any of the 5 towns: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
  • Be careful about catching your train home: trains back to Firenze will only run so late!
  • Plan your whole train itinerary on the Trenitalia or ItaliaRail websites. The cost of the entire train itinerary should only be about 45 euros.
  • For traveling from town to town, buy a day pass train ticket at any of the train stations in the 5 towns, or they are sold at the booths on the mountains where they sell hiking passes.

What to do:

  • Hike! The five towns of Cinque Terre are built into the mountains of the coast, and most times of the year, you are able to actually hike from town to town! It costs around 8 euros for a day pass to hike between any of the towns, but the views are so worth it!
    • I highly recommend the hike from Vernazza to Monterosso as it is the most famous, or go off the beaten path and try your hiking skills from Vernazza to Corniglia! 984076_1315696511780909_5547079171934619031_n
    • Refresh yourself with a delicious granita drink from vendors throughout the hike! 12987198_1315696441780916_7471731645547527469_n
  • Eat! Cinque Terre is most well known for its pesto and its focaccia. You will see pesto dishes on the menu of every trattoria. For a quick bite, enjoy some focaccia (a thicker type of Italian bread) often topped with cheese or veggies! Oh, and don’t forget to save some room for gelato!12993560_1315695995114294_2926444372913198651_n
  • Shop! Cinque Terre underratedly has some amazing shopping! I recommend the first few towns (Riomaggiore, Manarola). If you’re lucky, you’ll run into some artisans selling their jewelry and art ON the mountains while you’re hiking!

I highly recommend making the trip to Cinque Terre before heading back to the states, you won’t regret it!!

 

The Pre-Departure Feels: Advice from a Study Abroad Student

As our study abroad experience here in Florence, Italy comes to an end, emotions are running high. There is excitement about sipping on the first Dunkin Iced Coffee you’ve had in four months. There is sadness about tasting an All’Antico sandwich for the last time. There is pure joy when the thought of crossing the street becomes safe again.

Basically, an emotional roller coaster has ensued and it cannot be stopped.

Something I’ve noticed that happens a lot here is people often try to justify how they are feeling. For example, conversations usually go like this:

P1: “How are you feeling about leaving?”

P2: “Oh my god I am so excited to see my friends and family and to be back in America again, I am so ready”

….

P2: “But not in like an ungrateful way, Florence is amazing I am so happy to be here because it is such an unreal experience and I feel very lucky to be a part of this”

 

The Feels #1: Excitement

In my opinion, people often feel really bad about saying they’re excited to go home. I noticed that as soon as people are honest to others about their excitement, they often try to explain themselves and prove that although excited they “are so happy to be here and feel very lucky everyday”

Guess what! Allow yourself to be wholeheartedly excited. You’re going back to you’re home. You’re going back to a part of you. Your excitement does not discredit what this trip means to you.

 

The Feels #2: Relief

Studying abroad is extremely difficult and definitely very brave. For someone to submerge themselves in a completely different culture for four months takes guts so first things first take a minute and be proud of what you’ve done here. Similar to excitement, I think that people feel guilty about relief, but there is so much comfort in going back to what you know. There is so much comfort in knowing that it isn’t going to be difficult to communicate with others anymore. Let yourself have this feeling. No matter what you are so brave, and you have every right to feel complete content toward going home because to put it simply, you’re ready.

 

The Feels #3: Anxiety

Um how am I going to fit all of these new purchases in my suitcase? Should I get another suitcase? I have to go souvenir shopping UGH but if I get one person this then I have to buy someone else something. Wait!! I haven’t climbed the Duomo yet oh my god I am so crunched for time and I still have so much to do.

Guess What! Relax. Bask in your last few moments. It’s easy to get caught up in the “last time’s” and “I still need to’s” but take a minute. Breathe. Don’t go through the motions because you feel like you have to. If it is more meaningful for you to sit in Michelangelo for 3 hours than it is for you to see the David, climb the duomo and the bell tower, and go to the Uffizi Gallery all in one day…always choose what will mean more to you. This is your experience, you do not have to live it the way you feel like others think you should. You know yourself and what means the most to you. Listen to that these next few days. You own experience.

 

Lastly, the Feels #4: Sadness

I believe that sadness stems from the realness of departure. Departure is so much more than leaving Florence. It’s leaving one of a kind people and you truly don’t know if you’ll see them again. It’s discovering something in Florence that you know you can’t find back home. It’s dealing with some of the toughest goodbyes you’ll experience in your life time.

Guess what! Come back. I think that people have sadness because they can’t imagine coming back anytime soon. Give it 2 years, 8 years, 34 years..whatever it takes, but remember Florence is not going anywhere and it will always be waiting for your return.

 

You could be feeling a combination of these as well. It’s difficult to stay consistent when you’re so excited to go back home to your friends and loved ones, but you’re so sad about saying goodbye to the new friends that have been created. Embrace it. Florence has impacted us all so differently, allow yourself to accept these changes and how they make you feel.

 

Positively in Love with Positano

You’re lost in your thoughts as the salty ocean wind blows through your hair and the sun shines bright on your shoulders… But suddenly your boat slows. You turn around in your seat away from the endless ocean vista and instead see layers upon layers of pastel buildings, stacked upon each other until they reach the mountains and clouds above. Welcome to Positano.

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A couple weeks ago, I spent a weekend in Positano, a small seaside town on the Amalfi Coast known best for its proximity to both the ocean and the mountains, its numerous varieties of lemons and citrons, and of course, its colorful pastel buildings. I didn’t need an entire weekend to know that I was absolutely, positively in love with Positano!

Most of our days in Positano were spent exploring the town. There’s only one main road that goes through the town, which makes walking the main means of transportation. The town can be difficult to navigate at times – almost all the “streets” are actually staircases and any streets you do find are winding and twisting – but we found that getting lost in Positano is as much fun as reaching a destination. We also religiously followed a rule told to us by the locals: all staircases and main roads that slope down eventually lead to the beach, which is also where the town center is located!

IMGP2391The beach in Positano is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. First of all, the water is an incredibly vibrant shade of turquoise blue. The “sand” is actually made up of pebbles (which hurts to walk across barefoot, but is fun to sit and lay out on). However, my favorite thing about the beaches in Positano is the vast amount of sea glass that covers them. Varying from shades of dark and almost-opaque green to light and transparent turquoise to bright and vibrant shades of royal blue, you won’t be able to resist pocketing a few (or many, in my case) pieces of sea glass.

FullSizeRender-1Positano is also known for its lemons and citrons. They vary in size from small lemons to giant and inedible citrons. If you get the chance, definitely stop by a grocery or a fruttivendolo and pick up one of the citron plants (pictured to the right)! They’re made of mostly rind and there’s actually very little fruit inside, but their size is seriously impressive! Almost all the shops and boutiques sell some form of a lemon product – we saw everything from lemon-scented soaps and candles to lemon-printed aprons and makeup bags! They take their lemons very seriously in Positano.

My weekend in Positano was one of my most relaxing (and therefore favorite) trips since being abroad. From hiking in the mountains to laying out on the beach to shopping in the various boutiques, there is truly something in Positano for everyone!

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Post and photos: Joy Fan

 

What to do in Florence

April 20-30

Gelato Festival

Where: Piazzale Michelangelo      When: April 21-25

Enjoy gelato? Assuming the answer is yes, head on up to Piazzale Michelangelo from April 21-25 to eat some (or a lot).  Gelaterias from across Italy will bring their product to the festival, where they will be judged professionally as well as by the public.  The festival will also feature workshops and gelato-making events.  The event runs daily from noon to 10pm, so be sure to head over!12986923_1073517949335221_1337293330843547962_n

La Notte Bianca

Where: Piazza Signoria and surrounding areas     When: April 30

On the night of April 30th, the piazzas of Florence will come to life on “The White Night.”  Looked forward to by the locals, shops and museums will stay open through the night and the piazzas and streets will be filled with festivities.  Street performers, food stands, and cultural talks will take over the city throughout the night, not ending until the sun rises the next morning.  The next day is May Day- a national holiday- so you can spend all day catching up on your lost sleep then.

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Fiorentina v. Juventus Soccer Match

Where: Stadio Artemio Franchi     When: Sunday, April 24, 8:45 pm

Have you had the chance to catch a Fiorentina match this semester?  Chances are this will be your last chance before heading home, so take full advantage.  The game is sure to be packed with energy, as Fiorentina takes on the best team in the Italian A League- Juventus.  Tickets usually cost around €20, and can be purchased either online or at the door.

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Catch a Movie at the Odeon Theater

Where: Piazza Strozzi, 2, 50123 Firenze     When: Check posted schedule

Rainy day in the future? Check out a movie over at the Odeon Theater near Piazza della Republica.  The theater is beautiful, and even features a bar with snacks and drinks.  If the movie is one made in America, the theater will play the movie in English with Italian subtitles!  Depending on the length of the film, the theatre also has small intermissions- a tradition long lost in most American theaters.  Over the next 10 days, the theatre will be showing the newly released Jungle Book film.  Head on over to the link below to find specific showings.

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