Should Humans be on Top of the World?

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Why would humans want to continue managing ecosystems when they see what happened when they removed grey wolves in Yellowstone? Humans must understand that they are not at the top of everything so they cannot manage everything either.

What I mean by this is that we cannot control everything in this world because we are a part of it and therefore, we should respect the others who are a part of this world as well. It is impossible for us to say that we will start controlling every ecosystem so that we can take advantage of it. If we would start doing this, there would be major repercussions in the long run for many different species.

The issue that is explored in this article, written by Emily Gertz, is a perfect example of how humans negatively change the environment for their personal advantage. The only reason we decided to start removing the wolves in Yellowstone was because they were starting to eat our livestock. But an even bigger problem arose; the elk population was growing too large which means that there was a decrease in the amount of willow trees that the elk feed on. This had an effect on many other species as well.

Sometimes, our population has a hard time to critically analyze their actions before they actually perform them. We do not take the proper amount of time to fully understand what we are dealing with before we just jump into it. For example, if I said, “I need to use the computer every Saturday for the whole day for the rest of the year.” By actually doing this, I would be preventing other people in my household from using the computer which could cause them problems. These could include; a deadline of a payment that couldn’t be made on time or an important research project that couldn’t be finished.        

All of this comes down to the fact that humans have a hard time to know the limit of their control on this world which unquestionably has impacts on every other species living in the same environment. Couldn’t we just force ourselves to fully analyze a situation before taking action so that we reduce the amount of damage on Earth?

 

The full article about wolves in Yellowstone can be viewed at:  http://www.popsci.com/article/science/have-wolves-really-saved-yellowstone?src=SOC&dom=tw

Different Ways of Thinking Bring Success!

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We have always thought about our occupations as separate things working for different purposes. But what if we were to combine them so that they can learn to work together? This is what John Steele writes in his article called “Flashback: Human Uniqueness”. Steele suggests a very interesting thought since physicists and philosophers have very different ways of thinking. Although, by making them work in a team, there is a greater range of ideas that can be produced.

A scientist usually reasons inductively in almost all of his theories since most of them are assumptions. For example, a physicist finds out that 200 people with a weight of 150 pounds fall off a ledge and land 1.5 seconds after. He could then assume that all people weighing 150 pounds will land 1.5 seconds after falling off the ledge. This is known as inductive reasoning. A philosopher might question this approach since he might state that the physicist cannot predict the future and therefore, is unable to state for certain that any person weighing 150 pounds will fall with that exact time.  

A philosopher might talk about a subject more in depth and find out all of the flaws that scientists could have left behind. In a way, we could state that the philosopher will double check the predictions and assumptions of the physicist, which is a great method to reduce any errors that could be made!

I could refer this to the multiple team projects I have performed in my years at school. I can say for a fact that anytime I was with one or more partners, we always came up with more inspiring ideas than if I would work alone. This is normal since we would be working with two brains instead of one and also because not all people think the same way.

Some of the ways of thinking include thinking creatively (such as people interested in art), realistically (anything that is real and supported by our senses), pragmatically (think about short-term objectives), and analytically (think about every detail and criticize it before finding an answer).

We can therefore state that different types of thinkers, such as physicists and philosophers, complement each other which unarguably mean that they both advantage one another. I think that any time we can work together to form strong teams, such as this one, we should do it. This leads me to ask: are there any other combinations of occupations that could form good teams in your opinion?  

 

This blog was inspired by the following article: http://nautil.us/issue/11/light/flashback-human-uniqueness 

Fear Used as a Tool Against Dementia

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I read an article posted on the New York Times about an ethical issue talking about how people affected with dementia should be treated since they are not always aware of their actions. Some nurses use dark spaces on the floors because people who have dementia are scared of falling into holes. Thinking about this issue, we could ask the question, should fear be used to keep dementia affected patients in a particular place?   

First, let’s describe what this syndrome is. People who have the dementia are people who have a loss of cognitive ability due to aging or a brain injury. The affected areas in the brain could be memory, attention, language and more.  

I think that fear should not be used because it is ethically incorrect to do so. We are taking advantage of the people who are disabled which is wrong in my opinion. How would these people actually want to be treated if they were aware of everything that is going on? If they had all of their conscience, I don’t think they would want to be taken advantage of in this way. What we should do is place ourselves in their position. Would you want to be enclosed by walls of snakes (if this is your fear)?  

Some people might argue that if you don’t use fear you have to hold the affected people in enclosed areas like prisoners. But this is just a safe way of keeping patients with dementia from causing harm to anyone else. This goal should be the one in priority. By using dark floors, the family of the person with dementia will feel pain for their relative who is feeling afraid all the time. I think this is another aspect that could be avoided.

By using this unethical method, we are using the fear of the patient to get what we want in a way that is as easy as possible. Sometimes, the easiest way isn’t always the best way.

Finally, if people think that enclosed areas are so bad, then why don’t they start thinking about all of our animals who are kept in them?

To read the article about this issue visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/02/magazine/nursing-home-pitfalls.html?ref=ethics&_r=1

 

A Bad Reading Challenge?

 Image            People have to read every day whether they realize it or not. It can be either to get information in the newspaper, for pleasure reading or simply read a sign to know which store you are entering. Every person has a different reading efficiency depending on their language skill. The debate on whether speed reading should be used or not is discussed in an article posted on The Atlantic called “Is Speed Reading Possible?”.

            The answer to this question is yes, speed reading is possible but the question is if it has enough benefits to be used regularly. It was hard to decide a final decision about whether to stand for or against this issue because there are plausible arguments that support it but also some that reject it. In the end, I think that there are more arguments against the idea of speed reading.

            The basic principle of speed reading is that words appear one at a time on a screen at a fast pace.  But how can someone get the full meaning of a text they are reading if they fly through it? The answer is that they will register a lot less about what they are reading. In my opinion, it is more important to eat a whole, delicious piece of pie and relish it, rather than only eat the creaming fast without truly enjoying it.

            Some people may have a different way of thinking especially those who always want to be efficient all the time. But we must remember that details are always important even if sometimes they appear not to be.

            Furthermore, this method of reading would require adjustments from the readers since this is an app meaning that it must be done on an electronic device. Reading on a screen is very tiring for our eyes; therefore, we shouldn’t read for long periods of time on our tablets or laptops. Also, these technologies are not all accessible for the people who are in financial difficulties.

            Lastly, I agree with the article and the points it conveyed because I think we should remain with the system of reading that is already established. Why make our lives that much more complicated?

 

To read the article on The Atlantic, visit: http://translate.google.com/#fr/en/et%20le%20savourer

 

Diets: How Bad are They Really?

Any diet, whether it is high protein, high carbohydrates or abstaining from proteins, these diets are just an inequality of a person’s required portions of food. Sometimes, a person may be placed under a diet to satisfy a physical limitation and this is perfectly acceptable. But for people with a normal metabolism, these diets, although advertised in a positive manner, are actually bad for our bodies.

In an article called “High-Protein Diets in Midlife Linked to High Risk Of Premature Death, Study Says” written by ….., it is stated that being on a high-protein diet is as bad as smoking. This is because they both approximately have the same amount of health risks as proven by the study.

But a diet in general is just a word that means a regulated amount of food that a person consumes to either lose weight or for medical reasons. But actually, when people want to lose weight with these diets, it isn’t good for their health even though they might look skinnier afterwards. Many of the women who decide to go through these diets are trying to change their body which tells us that they aren’t comfortable in their bodies. I think all these women need is reassurance which would help to build their self-esteem and confidence. I am not saying that everyone on these diets fits these criteria but a big part of them do.

This is a very debatable issue. Why do people decide to actually follow a diet? Are they pressured by peers or is it a personal decision? The answers to these questions rest with every individual who has decided to start a diet. If these people would be informed of all the information that was found about these supposedly “good” diets, I think some of them would change their mind.

 

For people thinking of starting a diet, I recommend reading the article mentioned above: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/04/high-protein-diet-risks_n_4896501.html?&ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067

The Importance of Emotions

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Many people wish that there would be no sadness, no desperation, and only positive emotions, such as happiness, in their lives. This way of thinking is comprehensible because everyone tries to have an enjoyable life. But without all of our negative emotions, we would be losing a part of ourselves which would undoubtedly transform human beings. The consequences of deleting these emotions from our bodies would be hard to predict and could cause serious problems.

I think that negative emotions are a part of us that we should deal with since they are the ones who make us learn the most about our actions. For example, when a person is aggressive (which is a negative emotion), they might hurt another person without realising it. The wounded person might then decide to avoid the aggressor which would in turn cause the aggressor to be sad and confused. The aggressor would then have to reflect on his actions because it is the source of why the victim decided to go away.

In this situation, both the aggressor and the victim will have learned something valuable. The aggressor will learn his limits of how violent he can be around other people. Also, how easily he can lose a friend with one action that can change everything. The victim will question whether this person is worth talking to again even if there is a risk that he will be violent again. “Am I hanging out with the people I really want to be around with?” this person might ask.

Furthermore, both the victim and the aggressor will learn more about who they are. The aggressor will now know that he is more aggressive than he originally thought. The victim will now know the reaction he has toward an attack which is to avoid confronting it. Both of these individuals have something they should work on and they now know that when another situation similar to this one occurs, one will be more reserved and the other will be stronger.  

Emotions, which are different state of minds that result from diverse circumstances and events, are a part of us, even if we don’t always realise it. For the well-being of our society, I firmly think that all emotions, whether they are good or bad, should remain a part of humans.

 

Homework with Music: A Big Debate

              Every one works in a different way even when they are doing the same things. One of the things humans perform differently is homework. An individual’s preference will determine whether or not this person will decide to listen to music while doing homework. Although, we also have to consider how the brain works.

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              William Farnos-Wilker suggested in his blog entitled “When Doing Work: Music or No Music?” that there are two types of homework. Depending on what type of homework you are doing, this will determine whether it is beneficial to listen to music or not.

             The first category is when someone is doing repetitive assignments or question and answer homework. The second is when you are getting ready for an exam and you must learn things by heart. For the first category, Farnos-Wilker thinks it is best to do it while listening to music. Furthermore, for the second category, the blogger stated that no music should be listened to since it would reduce the productivity of the studying. The writer was basically agreeing with the CNN article which explained a study they had performed which proved these two points.

            I think Farnos-Wilker is right in supporting the CNN point of view because I have tested this many times. The only music that could possibly be used to study, if ever someone was really desperate not to be in silence, would be classical music without a singer. In my opinion this is less efficient then in complete silence but everyone can do as they wish.

           On the other hand, who wants to do their boring homework alone in complete silence? There are probably no takers. So, whenever you can do your homework with music, I highly suggest it. If you think of it, it’s kind of like sports. When you have no music, you aren’t motivated and it is much harder to run that 30 minute jog. But with music, your feet get moving and it becomes a lot easier.

            So people should listen to music when they are doing homework but not all the time. I hope this has helped some people decide on whether to listen to music or not. But one way or another, that homework has to get done anyways!

 

To read William Farnos-Wilker’s blog, which includes many interesting comments, go to: http://www.personal.psu.edu/afr3/blogs/SIOW/2011/10/school-work-and-studying-music-or-no-music.html

Always Stick to the Mission!

The art of medicine has always been very important in our society. Without our doctors and surgeons, many people would suffer and die from illnesses or diseases. Their mission, as stated in William Cayley’s article called “Muddling “margin” and “mission””, is to do no harm, always benefit the sick and cure the people who need it. This means that their mission focuses on helping others without thinking about themselves. This makes me think about an ethical way of reasoning called “Utilitarian Ethics”. This way of thinking obeys the following statement: The greatest good for the greatest number.

This relates to the above situation since health care practitioners should always treat patients with all of the resources they have even though some might be more costly. They must always do what is best for the patient first and foremost. By doing this for ever patient, they will be benefiting the society, as a whole, the most.

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Health care specialists should not be concerned by money. This matter should be dealt with by people who have studied for this job. These people have a different mission then the doctors and surgeons. They will make sure that the health consultants will have enough resources that are needed for all of their patients.

If workers start to alter their original objective, then the system that we our dependant on will not function properly anymore. Here is where problems may occur. Situations like this are already occurring today and we should try to fix them for the sake of the well-being of our population.   

Here is a video you should listen to that talks about a passionate doctor describing her job: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46UArj0_qE4 

DNA Will Change Our Future

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The article posted by Rose Eveleth called “Your Genetic Privacy Is Probably a Lost Cause”, really makes you think about a futuristic world that is not too far away and that will probably happen because of our already existing technology. We already see people taking precautions if ever the idea suggested by this article about DNA were ever to occur in real life. But without rules regulating every person’s DNA, how will the population be safe?

It could be possible that someone decides to duplicate who you are and they would have no consequence because it was only from “garbage” you left behind. This would mean that our DNA would not be unique anymore and human beings wouldn’t truly own their DNA.

This knowledge could be considered as a form of cloning of humans. This is a powerful tool which, in my opinion, is too dangerous for the use of humans. For example, one man could create a whole new population only by using strands of hair found in the bathrooms.

Our society would forever be changed if this were to happen. I think that many laws would have to be passed to prevent humanity from entering a state of chaos. How would we know whether our president is the real one? Someone could recreate Steven Harper, assassinate the real one, and replace him! This may seem like an extreme idea at the moment, but if we wait a few decades, we might see this behaviour submerging.

Sometimes I wonder how humans have evolved so quickly. In a way, it is beneficial for us because we now have more resources, such as energy from hydro-electric dams and we can do more things. But this leads to the desire to always be able to achieve more, in other words, to have power. As depicted in multiple movies, power can lead to many bad decisions. Therefore, we should think about whether we really want this for our society or not.   

 

To read the full article go to: http://nautil.us/blog/your-genetic-privacy-is-probably-a-lost-cause

Cooking is Science!

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“The science and magic of pastry” written by Andy Connelly is an article which explains in detail the reactions that are happening when we make pastry. After reading this article, we realise all the things that could go wrong when we cook. The slightest difference in concentration of a certain ingredient may lead to a big difference in the product. Therefore, when we cook, we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves if something goes wrong.

Surprisingly, cooking involves many scientific methods that we are unaware of. For example, the diffusion of water particles and the relaxation of gluten in dough while it is kept in the fridge. Many of these methods relate to chemistry such as the way we measure out of a liquid measuring cup and how we mix different ingredients together. The definition of chemistry, as written by the Merriam-Webster dictionary online, is:

“a science that deals with the structure and properties of substances and with the changes that they go through.”   

In a way, this is basically what we do when we cook. We follow a recipe which has a list of ingredients and the steps that go with it. In chemistry labs, we practically do the same since there is a list of materials and a procedure to follow. Although, the materials aren’t the same since in cooking we use more common substances such as sugar, flour and water. But in chemistry (with the exception of water that is the same) we use hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide and ammonia only to name a few.

I think that this is a very interesting subject about the transformation and manipulation of our food. To all the cooks who are reading, next time you have to cook, just think that you are actually performing a type of science and you could be considered as a cooking scientist!

To read the detailed article on how to make pastry, visit: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/feb/20/recipe-fat-flour-water-science-pastry?CMP=twt_gu