Tarantulas and Geckos and Snakes! Oh My!

Reptile and amphibian vendors from across the state have gathered at the Taylor Town Trade Center for the monthly Michigan Reptile Show, Saturday. This reptile expo comes into the town of Taylor, Mich. on the second Saturday of every month and features vendors from across the state and some from Ohio! It costs $5 for adults to get in and any child under 10-years-old can get in for free when accompanied by an adult.

The Michigan Reptile Show is a family-friendly educational event and is the largest reptile expo in the state. Their website states that they have the largest selection of reptiles, tarantulas, and amphibians than anywhere else in Michigan.

There are sixteen vendors listed on their website with contact information. However, there are more at the event itself. One of the vendors is Eileen Underwood with Herpetaium Herps from Bowling Green, Ohio. She has been working with reptiles and amphibians since 2002 and works with Bowling Green University. They had several animals featured on their tables including, Leopard Geckos, Crested Geckos, Veiled Chameleons, Kenyan Sand Boas, Monitor Lizards, and more. Underwood stated that they get their animals from a breeder who asks them if they want to be sent anything, to which they always say yes.

All of the vendors at the event are very knowledgeable about the animals they sell and tell customers what they will need to do to take care of their new pets. Any supplies that would be needed could also be found at the event. There were several vendors selling cages and decorations for the animals, along with heat lamps and food.

For the customer’s convenience, several of the tables provided different food options for the reptiles and amphibians. Food available ranges from Pangea Fruit Mix for crested geckos to full-grown rats for some snake species. There were also several species of caterpillars and beetles for smaller reptiles.

This event didn’t only feature reptiles, amphibians, and their food, it also features furry animals as well. Baby chicks, guinea pigs, rabbits, and puppies could also be found at the event.

However, the most unexpected animals found were a small monkey and baby kangaroo being carried around by a zoologist. The small monkey crawled on the man’s shoulders and head while being cooed at by people passing by. The baby kangaroo got to lay back and relax in a pouch around the man’s torso. He said that he has a zoo and brings the animals to school for educational purposes only. Needless to say, he was very popular with the kids.

The Michigan Reptile Show is a large and popular reptile expo held in the Taylor Town Trade Center on the second Saturday of every month. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and tickets cost $5. Animals at the event include frogs, axolotls, Kenyan sand boas, pythons, crested geckos, leopard geckos, scorpion geckos, blue-tongued skinks, rabbits, ducks, chicks, bearded dragons, monitor lizards, hedgehogs, chinchillas, puppies and much more. The next show will be held on April 14, 2018.



How the Media Decides What is News

Since the 2016 election, American citizens have become more concerned with how news is getting covered. This concern starts with President Donald Trump making claims that CNN is “fake news” and picking and choosing which news stations get to attend press conferences. His preferential treatment has many citizens wondering about how the news is being covered.

The expectation of journalists is to provide their citizens with unbiased information about what is going on in their local areas, in their country, and all around the world. However, many people believe that news organizations have become more concerned about their ratings and less concerned with telling the truth. And the President’s recent actions may only one factor in how news stations decide what gets covered and how. Let’s start with audience metrics.

News organizations have been keeping track of their ratings for many years through surveys and sales. However, the use of audience metrics for social media and their websites is a newer development. According to an article by Christoph Schlemmer on Media Shift, metrics allow news organizations to optimize their newsgathering resources by measuring interest from digital customers and audiences.

The American Press Institute (API) offers a deeper insight into how metrics are used through their project, Metrics for News. This is just one example of how a news organization might use analytics. According to the Metrics for News website, there are four major steps to data-driven journalism:

  1. Measure your content and readers more accurately
  2. Understand your community deeply
  3. Align journalism with the passions and interests of your audience
  4. Identify what topics your news organization should focus on

What this means is that a news station might look at what articles on their site are getting the most views and positive feedback and focus their resources on that type of content. The problem with this, of course,  is the content covered may not accurately represent what is really happening in the world. Which is why the Metrics for Media website states that using Metrics for News is not a replacement for human judgment:

“Metrics for News empowers editors to make better decisions and use data to guide improvements. It helps you get better at the coverage that is important to you — it does not replace your judgment of what is important.”

Schlemmer had the opportunity to interview the editor-in-chief of the Australian Associated Press, Tony Gillies, who stressed that it is important for news organizations to make data-informed decisions, not data-driven decisions. Gillies added that in addition to using metrics they use their own means of deciding what gets covered.

It’s important for news consumers to keep this in mind when reading the news. Be aware that news organizations may be sticking to a certain type of tone and content to maintain reader loyalty as well as attract new readers. It’s wise to get news from several sources to make ensure that you have a well-rounded opinion of what is going on in your country and all around the world.

I-275 Wrong Way Driver’s Blood Test Comes Back Negative

Police stated on Tuesday that the driver of the fatal crash on northbound I-275 back in December was sober at the time of the crash.

The driver was in a pickup truck and initially driving on southbound I-275 before driving over the median and re-entering traffic, heading the wrong direction in northbound traffic. The pickup truck continued driving against oncoming traffic for one mile before crashing into another vehicle, Michigan State Police say.The driver and the passenger of the vehicle hit were both killed.

According to the Detroit Free Press the driver of the pickup truck was taken to a local hospital and a bottle of open alcohol was found in the vehicle. Police have not yet released the names of the drivers or passenger involved in the crash.

Michigan State Police announced that the blood test of the pickup truck driver that they conducted came back negative for both drugs and alcohol. The investigation has been closed and sent to be reviewed by the Wayne County Prosecutor.


How VR is Changing the World

The concept of virtual reality has been around for decades, however, it did not see much success until recently. In the past few years, we have been seeing 360-degree videos and pictures that can be seen on smartphones. We have seen companies release VR headsets for video games, like Oculus Rift.

While prices for VR headsets started off high, with the Oculus Rift at $399, other options are starting to be released and sold at lower prices, VR headsets for video games can be found for $30 or less on Amazon.

In the video game industry, VR allows the player to be completely submerged into an alternate universe using their sense of sight and hearing. Furthermore, it allows users to interact with an alternate reality using controllers like they would with a typical gaming console.

However, the benefits of VR are not just limited to the video game industry to create alternate realities. Some companies and news organizations are using VR to submerge their viewers in places that actually exist. News organizations like The New York Times and USA Today are using VR to allow their audience to not only learn about what is happening in the world but experience it as well.

Both NYT and USA Today have created apps for smartphones that give audiences access to 360-degree films of places they would otherwise not be able to go and experiences they wouldn’t be able to have. USA Today has created several VR stories including a Bernie Sanders rally, and a walk through Cuba. The NYT has created a short film placing the viewer in the middle of a battle of Iraqi forces to retake the city Falluja.

This side of VR will allow people, like senior citizens to still feel included in events and experience amazing things like NASCAR races and skydiving without being put in harm’s way.

The next steps of VR are to incorporate more of the senses, like touch and smell to make the alternate realities more realistic and to give consumers the most realistic experience possible. Advancements in VR could one day lead to people being able to work from home, go places in virtual worlds with friends and family who live far away. The possibilities with VR are endless.

The Best Jelly Bean Flavor: Black Licorice Dethroned

With Easter and National Jelly Bean Day on the horizon, sales of jelly beans have been rising. This had Candystore.com wondering what jelly bean flavor is the most popular this year. The answer may surprise you!

Earlier this month Candystore.com released an article which discusses the favorite jelly bean flavors. The article features a diagram organizing the favorite flavors by state, which can be seen here.

They used over ten years worth of sales records and surveyed more than 12 thousand people to get the answer to the question: What is America’s favorite jelly bean flavor?

Since the 1970’s black licorice has always taken the throne and is one of the original jelly bean flavors. However, this year a new flavor has taken the crown. Buttered popcorn has come in first place as America’s favorite jelly bean flavor for 2018.

This result is polarizing. Several people have taken to Twitter to express their thoughts. One user tweeted: “Petition to remove Buttered Popcorn as a jelly bean flavor from existence.” Another user jokingly states that since their state’s favorite is buttered popcorn, they need to move.  Other users are thrilled with the results, “If you’re not buttered popcorn do you even jelly bean?”

Other less polarizing finalists include cinnamon, watermelon, cherry, orange, lemon, green apple, red apple, chocolate, and roasted marshmallow. Here’s how many states voted for each flavor:

  • Buttered Popcorn: 11
  • Black Licorice: 8
  • Watermelon: 5
  • Cherry: 5
  • Cinnamon: 4
  • Blueberry: 4
  • Green Apple: 3
  • Juicy Pear: 3
  • Orange: 2
  • Pink Strawberry: 2
  • Cotton Candy: 1
  • Chocolate: 1
  • Coconut: 1

To see which the favorite jelly bean flavor broke down by state, click here. Here you will get an interactive map of the state’s favorite jelly beans along with a list of the top 30 jelly bean flavors in America. Candystore.com also gives some information on each of the favorites. download




Deputy Officer Rescues 18-Year-Old Man From Vehicle Engulfed in Flames

An 18-year-old man was pulled from his burning vehicle early Sunday morning after losing control of his vehicle during a police chase.

At 2:30 a.m. an Oakland County Sheriff’s Deputy was assigned to the Orion Township Substation when he was passed by the speeding vehicle. The vehicle lost control while heading West on Maybee Road, flipping on to its side in a wooded area and caught fire.

The Deputy officer broke open the sunroof on the vehicle with his ASP baton and pulled the man out of the burning vehicle. Additional deputies arrived on the scene shortly after and helped pull the young man away from the vehicle, engulfed in flames.

Deputies responding to the incident reported that they could smell marijuana and alcohol on the man. A search warrant has been obtained for the blood results which are currently pending.

Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard stated that incidents like this one are encountered by Deputies every day. He added, “If not for the quick action of our Deputies, this individual may have not survived this incident.”

The Orion Township Fire Department and paramedics arrived on the scene, extinguishing the flames and treating the driver for a broken femur and several lacerations.

The young 18-year-old man was taken to McLaren Hospital for additional medical treatment following the accident. The man has been released from custody and is currently pending further investigation.

Front of Burned Car