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Posted by J.L. Wells on February 13, 2009

The Ancient Game

It’s sort of like checkers. Some would consider it similar to chess. Most families have a set in their home, but don’t know it. This is the game of backgammon, a simple, yet strategic game that was once the choice past-time of the royal class. Michigan State students have enough activities to keep them busy throughout the day. But in her downtime, freshman Elena Dunckel enjoys the historic game, perhaps more than most MSU students.

Students Play Backgammon?

“If someone doesn’t stop me, I’ll just keep playing”, the Residential College of Arts and Humanities student says.”My sister and I once played five out of nine (games)”. The Harrisville native couldn’t remember who won. She hopes to gain a liberal arts degree, to teach English as a second language in China. Her family has been playing backgammon for many years, starting with her father’s parents.

“There was never a time I remember not knowing how to play,” she says. While the exact origins of the game are unknown, it can be said that Backgammon is the oldest game known to man at this point, according to Michael Crane, the author of History of Backgammon on the Mind Sports Worldwide website.

A Brief History

Some sources say that the earliest form of Backgammon has been found in modern day Iran. China or India are other possible suspects, Crane says. It was first played among the royal classes of society and later by everyone else. Though the pieces of it’s history are scattered, the object of this dice game has remained the same:  get all your pieces “home” before your opponent.

One couple of dice is used for each player, and another, larger die is used for upping the ante. While Backgammon can be a gambling game, Dunckel says she’s never played for money, nor does she feel Backgammon making a comeback anytime soon.

Online Back-Gaming

“A lot of people (from China and Germany) play Backgammon online,” she says. “(I like this game) because I like strategy…also because it’s kind of a habit…whenever I was grumpy at home (I’d play)…because you don’t have to think except about the strategy.”

Though technology thrives in this day and age, Backgammon still remains as a reminder of a simpler gaming past. Like it or not Halo Wars is somehow descended from a game of dice shaking and disk pushing.


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Flood in Snyder Phillips

Posted by J.L. Wells on February 6, 2009

February 5, 2009

At approximately 7:30pm, the fire alarm in Phillips hall on MSU’s campus went off. The rest of the fire alarms through the Phillips/Snyder hall complex shortly followed. There was no smell of smoke, nor heat coming from the doors. Instead, there was a waterfall. At least, this is what residents called the gaping hole found in the ceiling of the Gallery, the complex’s cafeteria. Close to the middle of the eatery, about two to three inches of water floods the floor, leaving workers to bring mops and anything else they had to soak up the mess. Both the local police and fire departments were called shortly during the incident, as students rushed to the second floor to view the apparent water main leak up close and personal.

While information has not been released at this time, some residents believe that the water main break was caused by decreased temperatures in the air. The temperature inside the cafeteria was similar, if not the same, as outside. The incident has students wondering where they will eat breakfast when the morning comes. Pictures of the incident can be found on my personal blog.

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Listening and Learning

Posted by J.L. Wells on January 30, 2009

Hello everyone. You’re about to listen to my first experience of uploading sound files to the internet. It’s merely a few people who talk about the weather. Very exciting


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MSU Environmental Stewardship brings Green to new heights

Posted by J.L. Wells on January 30, 2009

Michigan State University’s school colors may bring a more powerful meaning in the near future. Throughout the campus, posters that challenge passersby to “Be Spartan Green” are also found on recycling bins in most buildings on the campus. It’s all part of a campus wide environmental stewardship (also known as the “Be Spartan Green campaign”), inspired by university President Lou Anna K. Simon’s Boldness by Design initiatives.

Since early 2007, efforts have been made to raise student and staff consciousness on environmental issues. The most obvious are the various recycling bins found in every dorm at MSU, but Jennifer Sowa, the communications team leader for the Be spartan green campaign, says that there is far more going on behind the scenes that few people are aware of.

“A lot of people don’t know about what we’re doing on the energy side, which is equally as important,” she said. Sowa, a former spartan undergrad, explained that the efforts made in energy conversion include heating and cooling schedules for buildings, consolidation of classrooms, even legal matters.

“We participate in the Chicago Climate exchange which is a legally binding agreement that we have to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” she said.

Maya Fischoff, who’s been with the campaign for a year and a half, works on both the Communications and Environmental Systems team. She believes that these environmental efforts will bring more unity to the campus.

“I think…the Be Spartan Green initiative benefit both the local environment and the global environment that connects to MSU’s commitment to the State of Michigan and identity as a global land grant as well.” In the current U.S. economy, initiatives like these are important since they will ultimately save the campus lots of money, Fischoff said.

The Be Spartan Green campaign has its own website, which will soon be remodeled on February 2, creating an easy access to information about events and studies.

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J.L. Wells: Life

Posted by J.L. Wells on January 28, 2009

My name is Jonathan Wells and I am a Journalism Senior at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. I am currently 21 years of age and eagerly awaiting my graduation date. In the past four years, I have learned an immense amount of information that can be placed into two categories: Self Knowledge, and Knowledge of the world.

The Bookish Type

Through my studies, I have been able to take a magnifying glass to different aspects of the history of humanity. there have been some interesting trends. One in particular is that, on some level, everyone wants to know what the heck is going on in the world around them. It’s in our nature to yearn for the truth. It was that awareness that lead me to aspirations of a career in journalism. This, coupled with my love of writing, has brought me to this point. But along the way, a few goals changed.

Man in the Mirror

Through self analysis, I realized that I love writing far more than gathering information. In fact, the same odds of getting a camel through the eye of a needle is about the same as me writing a riveing piece on a subject of my complete disinterest. I’m getting better at the task, but I need a lot of work. That, however led me to the goal of pursuing a doctorate degree in English Literature at New York University. I’d like to teach in a college setting, write books (novels perhaps), and show people the importance of literature in the development of character. But it’s only a goal; nothing’s set in stone, right?

I find that I have a greater ability to present my true self on paper than I do in person. Therefore, my hope is that when others see this on the website they will read my post before visiting the video. If they do not, then I extend my heartfelt apologies (just kidding). But seriously, I anticipate that the work done on this project will not only entertain, but–far more importantly–make clear that my first obligation is to the truth. Enjoy.

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J. L. Wells’ Video Biography

Posted by J.L. Wells on January 28, 2009

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