red round fruits in tilt shift lens

The Mystery Of Margo

Quentin and Margo used to be really close best friends, one day when they were younger they were on their way to the park when suddenly they found a dead man on their way.

The first three chapters of “Paper Towns” by John Green  might leave a reader feeling a bit confused because Quentin and Margo were really close friends and now they dont hang out as much and suddenly Margo climbs through his window wanting him to go with her somewhere. An example of this is on page 25.  “To what do I owe the pleasure? I asked. Margo and I were still friendly, I guess, but  we                                                          weren’t-meet-in-the-dead-of-night-wearing-black-face-paint- friendly. She had friends for that, I’m sure. I just wasn’t among them. I need your car, she explained.” This is related because  It shows how they were nice to each other but not close friends like before and it’s a bit confusing because if she has friends for that why not go to them.      A reader’s questions might start on page 26 where it says: “So like I said, I need a car. Also, I need you to drive it, because I have to do eleven things tonight, and at least five of them involve a getaway man .” This is important because it’s weird why ask someone who isn’t as close to you anymore why doesn’t Margo ask her boyfriend? Or even her friends?  The author seems to be making the point that maybe Margo trust Quentin more since she has known him longer or even she didn’t have much time so she went to the person closest to her 

After this part of the book, most readers probably will be looking forward to reading the rest of this book because we don’t know what Margo is planning and why she needs a getaway man there is so much we don’t know and want to figure out. What’s probably going to happen next is we find out what Margo is doing and see if Quentin goes through with it.

Is it worth giving Americans $1,000?

The US is debating on giving people $1,000 to help them support their family and to get bills and or necessities out of the way. Yes, this sounds great but where is it coming from? That money doesn’t just grow on trees that money will be taken out of the national bank, which just digs us deeper into the national debt. That will backfire with-in a couple years because all of us taxpayers will be the ones paying the debt. “We want to make sure that Americans get money in their pocket quickly,” ( The government should not be doing it, great depression 2…?

ok boomer

We have chosen to study why parents don’t like social media,video games, this issue is important to me because I deal with some of these issues for example my parents don’t like violent video games because they think it’s going to make me violent because what’s happening in the news right now.Many people are impacted by this issue because they cant use social media and play certain games because their parents think its bad,one example is that video games don’t cause violence because there’s been many scientific studies that debunked that issue it’s more about the person’s mental state and instead of blaming people they blame video games.In addition many people are impacted by this and in result of that they cant play online with there friends.

Skateboarding in the bay area

A place For Everyone    According to Huckmag K-Dub did hard work to build from the ground up skatepark in Oakland after there were only just a few and also a way to bring the community together. ( Based on the Research it is clear that K-Dub is changing Oakland Skate culture for the better, but the city still needs to do more to help out people.

Firstly, K-Dub is helping skate culture by building parks and bringing awareness. However, There is still a lot that needs to be done because some people like to block skaters.

In many public places in Oakland and the Bay Area, people screw metal rods in cement blocks where people sit on to prevent them from riding on top of them, but Oakland doesn’t do much or spend money on skateparks. That’s why people  skate around the city because they don’t have anywhere else to skate around, people see skateboarders all around the city there are almost no skateparks in Oakland. The city has nice places so people go there but also ban skateboarding so people don’t do it which is dumb because its a public area and people take items like backpacks purses and bicycles there so why would they not let people use skateboards there.

The plan for K-Dub all along was to make a place for everyone to bring a community together and anyone is welcome there, people have gone there also to do art because they get permission to do graffiti around the place so people don’t just go to the Town park to skate there are other reasons to go there some people go there to just hang out with friends so there is always new people there because of the area being so popular it could get Oakland to help by building more skateparks around the city for people as they see that it can give a positive effect it can be a thing where people go there to be comfortable also by restricting less the use of skateboards around the city because there will be more people at actual skateparks than the city causing less people to possibly trespass into a place just to do something with a skateboard. Skateparks are not just for skateboarders people who use scooters also go there because there are a lot of cool  you can do with a scooter.

In conclusion, Oakland can do a lot more to help out people a lot because they can always come out with positive outcomes like K-Dub did and also restrict less how much skateboarding gets used out in the city.

Annotated bibliography 

Perez Manuel and Jesus Ramirez “ Town Skatepark.” Dec 19

In this interview with Jesus he talked about how there are almost no skateparks and how it got to the point to where a man had to build one himself for other people to go there and Oakland needs to do more to help the community out. He mentions that he has been skating for a long time and has never had a good place to practice so like K-Dub building more skateparks would help a lot

Perez Manuel and Roberto Reyes “Oakland Help.” Dec 19

In this interview with Roberto he talked about how Oakland should do a lot more to help us out because if they want to bring the community together they should help everyone and over the years they haven’t done much. Roberto states he grew up skating and also never really went to skateparks because there were none.

Perez Manuel and Roberto Lozano “Skateblockers.” Dec 20

In this interview with Roberto he talked about how skateblockers shouldn’t be a thing because skateboards can go anywhere so the city should remove them from everywhere especially in the city because that is where a lot of skaters go

Journalist Bio

Immigration Impacts American Values.

America is one of the most diverse countries in the world and you cannot say that is has one belief or value. America can be described as a melting pot and is a mix of different cultures and lifestyles with people from different backgrounds. If you go to any major city and look around you are sure to find people from different ethnicities and cultures and that’s why diversity is one of America’s core beliefs. When we think of diversity we usually think of many people from different cultures and this only comes from one thing and that’s immigration. Immigration has impacted Americans from before this country was founded, and is an important principle in today’s society. 

Immigration in the United States has made this country very diverse and some people want to stop the flow of immigration. People coming to this country has helped shape America and open peoples eyes to different things around the globe. Immigration has contributed to our country in various ways. Coming from a different country it is known that they want a better life and coming here to America they are looking for one so they work harder than any of the people who are native. This causes many immigrants to create businesses and take risks creating jobs for many people. My grandpa is a great example of this, he moved to the U.S in search of a higher education and with not a lot of money but he worked really hard and made a name for himself.  My grandpa’s story is a prime example of the American Dream and how America’s ability to welcome immigrants has impacted so many lives. 

 People may ask, “What does it mean to you to be an American?.” and that is something that cannot be described in a few words. If you ask an immigrant that, most will say that it means freedom, equality, hard work, free enterprise and many other things. A main problem that we are facing in today’s society is about immigrants and people in Washington wanting less and less of them. Illegal immigrants on the other hand  should not be let in but there should definitely not be a stop to legal immigration. Over half of all fortune 500 companies founders are immigrants living in America or children from immigrants. We should think about that the next time we make a decision to stop the flow of immigrants, because one of these children who come from a rough background may grow up to be the next Elon Musk or Sergey Brin. 

Immigration has impacted this country tremendously and the U.S has been shaped around it. People need to be less ignorant around the topic and realize what immigration has done for this country. America has a variety of different cultures because of this reason, so there cannot be just one “American culture”. Everything mixes and that is why the U.S is the most diverse country and why many people come here to get a better life. Immigration is a very important part of our country and it impacts us everyday.

Cohen, Steve, and Steve Cohen. “Immigration and American Values.” State of the Planet, 6 July 2018,

Griswald, Daniel. “Immigrants Have Enriched American Culture and Enhanced Our Influence in the World.” Cato Institute, 7 Apr. 2016,

Prager, Dennis. “Immigration and Cultural Change.” National Review, National Review, 28 Mar. 2019,

Wharton. “The Effects of Immigration on the United States’ Economy.” Penn Wharton Budget Model, Penn Wharton Budget Model, 27 June 2016,

How Can We Better Our Attitudes Towards Foreigners?

In George Orwell’s book, 1984, he emphasizes the societal problem of people having a negative attitude towards foreigners, especially immigrants and refugees. I think this is a prediction of a problem we are seeing in the United States today, as immigration and diversity are increasingly growing. The problem is that society, as a whole, doesn’t treat foreigners and refugees with equal respect and compassion as people born and raised in America. This has become a serious issue because more and more people are coming to the US every day in search of better opportunities, and we should be helping them obtain these rather than pushing them away. Fortunately, we have the resources necessary to come up with a solution to fix this problem. As a community, we can initiate “welcoming movements” to promote positive relationships, and we can provide quality education to immigrant children so that they can set up a good foundation for future generations.

An article by David Bornstein talks about different cities that are working towards beginning “welcoming” movements by creating plans and committees to attract immigrants and to create healthy relationships between foreigners and those who take them in. He says that these solutions can be implemented in a variety of ways throughout the country. For example, “Welcoming Michigan” was started in 2012 to become more welcoming to immigrants by overcoming barriers. A way in which they did this was through the Hamtramck World’s Fair which consisted of performances, celebrations, food, and opportunities to become familiar with newcomers. Some people are afraid that these changes in their hometowns will replace the cities they grew up in, but in fact, they will enhance the community by including just a broader sect of people. Economic research also shows that immigrants and their children have created 40% of the United States greatest 500 companies. 

Another article, Why American Cities Are Fighting to Attract Immigrants by Ted Hesson, recognizes that immigrants boost the workforce and increase economic activity so much so that cities have tried to guide these people into mainstream society and economy as a solution to the prejudices that have been created. An example of this solution being implemented is in Nashville, Tennessee through the “Welcoming Tennessee” nonprofit organization. This group highlights the contributions of immigrants and the crucial role they could play in Nashville’s future by putting up billboards that portray immigrants in a positive light. An example of a saying put on one of these billboards is, “Welcome the Immigrant you once were”. They also directly help these newcomers adjust to life in the United States through education and work permits to find jobs. An objection to this is that there is a lack of resources, but by appealing to everyone, there could be an increased participation therefore leading to more contributions from both public and private sectors. For example, foreign-born residents currently make up 13% of America’s population which contributes drastically to the consumer market. 

In addition to these “welcoming initiatives”, there are also many other organizations that are working on creating programs and quality content so that refugee children can receive a fair and equal treatment, and cope with their trauma. In a youtube video published by “Sesame Street International Social Impact”, they announce that Sesame Street and the IRC (International Rescue Committee) are working together to help refugee children. They are implementing these solutions by making educational books and creating lessons taught by muppets that reach refugee children at a young age. This will encourage the kids to value learning and to spread this ideal to their peers as well. In addition to this, these two groups are also working together in the crisis setting to help these refugee children cope with their trauma. This will allow them to create good relationships with other people, especially with their parents. Although these implementations present a language barrier, it is easy to overcome with the help of a couple translators and a willingness to learn a new language.

Overall, these “welcoming” movements and educational programs can immensely help create a better attitude towards foreigners especially immigrants and refugees. Hopefully these efforts can create better relationships between the newcomers and those who take them in so that we can learn to merge the two cultures to create a more understanding and diverse society. If we take charge of this issue now, there will many possibilities of creating a future community where there are no longer any prejudices against these people, and instead we learn to accept their culture and incorporate it into ours.

 Why Is the Sky Blue?

Why Is the Sky Blue? (science, color, earth , planet ,    )

The sunlit sky is blue because air scatters short-wavelength light more than longer wavelengths. Since Blue light is at the short-wavelength end of the visible spectrum, it is more strongly scattered in the atmosphere than long-wavelength red light.

I would like to know  why in the morning the sky is blue but at night it’s become  black.

The sunlit sky is blue because air scatters short-wavelength light more than longer wavelengths. (The result is that when looking toward parts of the sky other than the sun,) the human eye perceives them to be blue.The color perceived is similar to that obtained by a monochromatic blue of (a wavelength of 474–476 nm mixed with white light, i.e.,) an unsaturated blue light. (Therefore, when looking at the sunset and sunrise, we see the color red more than the other colors.)


Blue Sky

Here, There and Everywhere

I often wonder to myself , if I did not come to the United States, what would have happened to me? Would everything be easier or more difficult? I came to the United States for my family and for a better future. The positive thing in my country is that there is a good atmosphere, culture, parties, food, and warm friendly people.The negative is that your objectives towards the future can’t be met quickly. The reasons why I would have stayed in my native country is for  my family and because I was more accustomed to the environment. The reasons why I left my native country was to be with my dad and to progress in my life. The education I’m getting in the United States is better than the education I would be receiving in the DR. My experience in the United States has been that you have to face challenges and overcome the obstacles in order to fulfill your goals in the future.

I still wonder about my future. Will I return to the DR after I’ve completed my studies in the United States? Will I adjust to the United States and end up staying here? Will my other family members come to the United States in the future? Will attending college in the United States make me want to stay in the US or return home? I wonder if my family will return to the DR without me, while I am studying. These are some things that only the future can tell me. One quote stands out to me come from Sandra Rodriguez Barron. She writes Always remember that with privilege comes responsibility. You must go to Casa Azul and see the place you came from. Only then will you be able to understand how far you’ve come.”

Forgotten Dreams

So many dreams, forgotten
This one comes true
I open my eyes and feel minuscule before the towering force of ancient, sleeping mountains
I take a deep breath in
Air, clean as a crisp, blank page fills my lungs
My ears perk up
Grass rustles, calling me, begging me to start writing
I question myself
What should I be?
How does my story start?
What should I write?
Time flies by
Fire soon cackles, lighting up the abyss of eternal black
I flop over
I can see one star
One star surrounded by clouds of helplessness
Silent fear takes over my body
I wonder:
Where do I start?
What do I say?
Am I where I am meant to be?
Dreams forgotten,
All because of reality
Forcing us to stay clear of fantasy
A haze that we can not touch
I want to touch it
It is an implicit rule
I have to stay in reality
In the moment
Where I am almost sure that I do not belong
I have realized what others can not
It is a curse
It is a gift
Why me?
What did I do?
I look up,
One star
Just that one
Clouds clear up a little
Another star: a shimmering ball of hope
Fighting the fear of clouds
Protecting their people
Protecting us
From the menace of greed
Hope, they must find each other
Find me
And slither through the evil and captivity the clouds have given us
Find me
Tell me;
Who I am,
I wish…
I question again:
Why did I realize, and no one else did?
What has this place brought on me?
Who am I?
What must I do?
Am I?
Can I be?
Do I want to be?
The black haze
I want to go
I want to go more than anything in the world
If I take the dive, then I’ll have to fly
I look up at the stars
They seem to flash at me
Something starts to beat inside of me
I know what I must do
I breathe in:
The cows,
The goats,
My teachers,
My classmates,
My friends,
All of it comes back to me
Every dream
I know what I must do:
I jump.

Othello reading

Othello act 3 scene 3 lines 121-134

Othello close read

First passage,



My noble father,

I do perceive here a divided duty:

To you I am bound for life and education;

My life and education both do learn me

How to respect you; you are the lord of duty;

I am hitherto your daughter: but here’s my husband,

And so much duty as my mother show’d

To you, preferring you before her father,

So much I challenge that I may profess

Due to the Moor my lord.

This passage is a confrontation of Desdemona to her father about her love for Othello, its a profession of love. Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, does not approve of her marriage with a Moor. She is not only professing her love but she also wants to ease her fathers anger because of his threat to Othello with the guards. Desdemona takes a soft approach to this; she basically is crediting her father for her actions. She says “To you I am bound for life and education; My life and education both do learn me”, in other words saying you’ve taught me and raised me to be the person I am. “But here’s my husband, And so much duty as my mother show’d To you”. then she compares herself to her mother and says her love is the as her mother’s was to her father. Desdemona was very smart about how she persuaded her father.




O good Iago,

What shall I do to win my lord again?

Good friend, go to him; for, by this light of heaven,

I know not how I lost him. Here I kneel:

If e’er my will did trespass ‘gainst his love,

Either in discourse of thought or actual deed,

Or that mine eyes, mine ears, or any sense,

Delighted them in any other form;

Or that I do not yet, and ever did.

And ever will–though he do shake me off

To beggarly divorcement–love him dearly,

Comfort forswear me!

In this scene Desdemona is talking with Iago after Othello told her to basically never talk to him again. She is confused on why he thinks that way, and wants to gain his love back. Most of the main characters are in this scene when Desdemona greets Othello but her love is returned with humiliation and hate from Othello. After Othello expresses his frustration with Desdemona she begs him to tell her whats going on but he remains silent and leaves. “I know not how I lost him. Here I kneel: If e’er my will did trespass ‘gainst his love…”, her ignorance in the matter plays an important role when delivering these lines. Its what gives the lines meaning and weight.


Genetic Engineering

The definition of human genetic modification is, “the direct manipulation of the genome using molecular engineering techniques.” There are several technologies that have advanced the science of genetic engineering to the point that this is now possible and occurring in human trials. Science is on the verge of solving some of the most vexing diseases that can occur in human beings. The possibility to eliminate diseases like cystic fibrosis, and disabilities like blindness are now closer to reality. The problem is that eliminating undesirable qualities like baldness or big ears are also possible with genetic engineering. Bruno Bodwen an investor thinks it’s time to start talking about how these decisions will be made, he says, “there’s always the fear that science will enable us to go too far, creating a race of tall, homogenized beauties—but there’s also the possibility we won’t go far enough. If we don’t understand the technology, we could panic and cut off the potential to save the lives of millions and improve the lives of billions.” While genetic modification has the potential to be abused, the societal benefit to cure genetic diseases makes this technology something that should be pursued by scientists.

The biggest fear about human genetic engineering is the possibility that modifying an embryo changes not only the person that it will become, but also it’s future offspring. This modification of the human germline is a concern to many people. This modification is said to cause risk to future generations, and because these future generations cannot provide consent, people suggest this is a reason in itself that we should not use gene editing. Some organizations go as far as saying that no modification of the genome should ever be introduced.  In Article 13 from the Oviedo Convention,  “An intervention seeking to modify the human genome may only be undertaken for preventive, diagnostic or therapeutic purposes and only if its aim is not to introduce any modification in the genome of any descendants.” This statement from NCBI, does not seem to make sense, but even if gene editing could not be done without affecting future generations, so is the case with natural reproduction, as 6% of all births in the world are born with serious genetically associated side effects. In reality, if the science community was so concerned about affecting future generations, perhaps they would have outlawed typical sexual reproduction.

The technology that now exists to modify human embryos is something that should be celebrated and exploited to improve the lives of people. While people have brought up valid concerns for using this technology, the benefits far outway the risks. Gene editing can be used to be cure disease that to date, have been incurable. A paper about the effects of Children with Cancer explained “Chronic illnesses can be devastating to a person at any age. During childhood, it can be especially destructive for the child’s psychological growth and development.” An influential group of scientists from the national academy of sciences have recently endorsed human gene editing. This advisory group has stated that alterations that are designed to prevent “serious diseases and disability” that have no “reasonable alternative” for treatment should be allowed. Because the technology is now available to make gene editing possible, an endorsement like this is allowing people to move this science forward. This opens the door for research that may provide cures for previous incurable diseases. The issue now will be to decide precisely how this technology should be used as the line between curing disease and enhancing human characteristics may still be a bit blurry.    

Particle Frenzy

The Large Hadron Collider

In 1998 the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) started the construction of the Large Hadron Collider. The LHC is a particle collider that uses superconducting magnets to accelerate particles to near the speed of light. In order to speed up particles that fast, the LHC needed to have two 16.6 mile loops for particles to whiz around in opposite directions until they were at the optimal smashing speed. Once accelerated, the two particles are collided together in intersecting parts of the loops, which have special detectors to observe the pieces of debris from the collision. The debris is what scientists are studying.

It allowed physicists to test theories that before were impossible to test. A big theory being tested was the Higgs mechanism. The A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS (ATLAS) is one of the seven particle collision experiments dedicated to studying the Higgs mechanism. The Higgs mechanism called for an elementary particle, called a Higgs Boson, of an extremely small mass, with no spin, and decays into normal standard model particles. On July 4th, in the year 2012, scientists sped up two particles to the speed of light, then smashed them together. This resulted in an explosion of elementary particles, but one of those particles had a mass of 125 GeV/c^2  (1 GeV/c^2 = 1.783×10−27 kg), the expected mass of a Higgs Boson.  Scientists at the LHC went ballistic and the search for more Higgs continued. This mysterious little thing – that may be responsible for unexplained phenomena in our universe – is being coined as “the God particle”, and people are paying the physicists at the LHC billions upon billions of dollars on this research.

CERN spent $6 billion dollars on the construction of the LHC, making it the third most expensive thing built. Yes, that does mean this machine cost more than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.  Each year the scientists at the LHC need to spend $1 billion dollars per year for operation costs. The completion of the LHC was one of the greatest accomplishments of human engineering and construction, taking  nearly 15 years to build. The Large Hadron Collider is proof that people care about physics. From the dawn of human life, curiosity has fueled innovation and discovery. From the cavemen using tools, all the way up humans building supermassive science machines, curiosity has been responsible for humankind’s grand existence. It is why we should never stop funding the experiments being conducted at the LHC.

Photo by Jim Downing

Exploring Nature Via Nurture

Countering this argument, there has been countless studies that oppose the findings of nature and nurture being separate entities. The discovery of how genes actually influence human behaviour, and how human behaviour influences genes, has transformed the debate entirely. No longer is it nature versus nurture, but nature via nurture. Genes are designed to take their cues from nurture. To elaborate, it was found that “genetical science has outgrown the false antithesis between heredity and environment productive of so much futile controversy in the past.”(New Scientist). In other words, it is interesting that everything we have learned since has only highlighted the fact that the entanglement of developmental processes is from the beginning incredibly intricate. Trying to determine how much of a trait is produced by nature and genes, and how much by nurture and environment was found to be superfluous and inconclusive in some instances.

On another note, it is interesting to note how much of monozygotic and polyzygotic twins compare as the argument of nature via nurture continues to advance. In fact, several recent studies now suggest that the presence of a girl twin in a mixed pair offers compelling evidence concerning the way biology shapes people before birth. There is evidence showing that “female co-twins have shifted toward the male end of the behavioral spectrum”(Science News). In fact, when looking at disorders that developed, it was found that female co-twins have a lower level of eating disorders than the male range. By contrast, the same-sex female twins had the highest level of all the twin sets questioned. It is interesting to note that opposite-sex twins “have not historically been a target for biological research,” says Dennis McFadden, a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, who has been studying male-pattern hearing in female co-twins. He also includes the idea that “for a long time, people just thought that all the learning could be done in same-sex twins.” Until recently, polyzygotic twins have been grossly understudied. As a consequence, there’s a new awareness of fraternal twins holding immense potential.

Likewise, the study of polyzygotic twins with a male and female pairing has led way to other significant discoveries that uncovers the importance of uterine fetus growth. The details can be very minute but still noticeable in certain instances. For example, hearing has played into the differences of a female twin accompanied by a male twin in the womb. The study concluded that the more sensitive the hearing is, the greater the frequency of “otoacoustic emissions,” in which vibrations within the ear create faint popping noises that can be registered on scientific instruments. Overall, women’s ears pop more while men’s ears pop less often; however, when McFadden tallied up his results across a range of population groups, he discovered that one group of women looked substantially different; females with a twin brother tended toward the male range of the tests.

Taking into account the opposing viewpoint, it was hypothesized that it would be a mistake to draw too many conclusions from existing opposite-sex twin research. After all, psychology professor and primate researcher Kim Wallen says, ‘humans have not shown the easily observable effects found in other species’(Science News). He speculated that human fetuses might be more shielded against each other’s hormone production. Therefore, Wallen argues that there is not sufficient evidence for or against the idea of nurture playing solely into the impact of human behavior. Conversely, after challenging such accusations, research ultimately proved that even if the male co-twin died within the first few months of a male and female twin birth, the female twin still held masculine attributes due to the testosterone levels passed to the female in the womb. Similarly, the study found that there was evidence for the conviction that a female child growing up and playing with a similar-aged brother will have a reasonably smaller effect on the subject’s behavior and attitudes than that of a polyzygotic female and male twin pair.
nature photo

Wonder – ISO Giovanni

i was young

when pink and white flowers

grew on the dogwood tree

in the front yard of the house

every spring

and they filled my heart with joy

and my eyes with wonder

as I wondered how such a dainty thing

could be so beautiful

and it’s existence could uplift me

Without Literature, the human mind enters the realm of insanity.

The process of my research thus far concerning human interaction and the way humans emulate, or try to emulate, emotions through literature is highly distressing. I have never had a harder time in my life trying to reason with the way we cope in understanding our daily operations of communication throughout time. This communication aspect involves history, and the plethora of concepts the human race has created over the course of our existence, and these concepts range from anything. For example, math, science, and language are all concepts humanity has created to keep the processes of the human mind written for reference. The area of language regarding literature has always been highly complex and influential since its first appearance in Mesopotamia: 3rd Millennium BC. Since then, the implementation of our thought processes has surged and continues to do so. Literature has now enveloped the human mind and soul for the reference of future generations.

In our modern era, literature impacts our world in ways we would have never believed. Ellen Dissanayake, an anthropologist and independent scholar, states that we have been exposed to such literary devices since birth, “the first kind of communication in which we engage, that between mother and infant, is a kind of speech that positively engages the infant in a dialogue with the mother by means of poetic devices”. This statement describes that we may have a basic desire to return to a state of simplicity with our mothers comforting us at birth. The true and peaceful nature of the relationship between a mother and a child is at its most serene. The exposure to this type of interaction stays with the human person and influences us to enact the same experience from our births. One of the most important reasons for our emotional engagement in literature is our empathy with others and our constant imagining and hypothesizing on possible developments in our interactions with them. Humans are social species and a species that cannot survive without the constant emission of our emotions to each other. If people cannot always emit their emotions to other people or feel the urgency of remembering emotions and experiences, people can record and reference these feelings which in turn, produces literature.

Without the referencing of knowledge and our mental processes, we would go insane. The word insane can carry a negative connotation, however, if a portion of the definition is studied in more depth, the notion of insanity is intriguing and provides a reason in predicting the absence of literature. The intriguing part of the definition of insanity is, “In a state of mind which prevents normal perception”. Something or lack of something would have to cause this prevented sense of perception like a blockage or an inconsistency. If literature ceased to exist and if humans survived this far without using literature, the human race would be in a state of animality or in a primal tribalistic state. This primal state would involve humans as defensive and uncooperative in their own beliefs and morals because no other human would understand them or reference to a material to help explain a belief or idea. Potential violence and confusion would also occur by the short-sighted mindset of humans if no one were to record knowledge in the form of literature. In other words, insanity would erupt as a result of the inconsistency and absence of recorded knowledge along with the absence of recorded epitomized human emotion. “The ability to convey oneself through creative means is a powerful device. During our short existence on earth all our experiences are fragmented: dispersed thoughts, hopes and dreams, making life (at times) isolating and bewildering. A creative outlet unifies all those solitary sentiments, encapsulating the essence of what it means to be human” -Lucinda Swain. The creative outlet refers to the idea of literature and its effect on human progress.

For the sake of affirming the importance of literature, there is one more quote by neurologist Antonio R. Damasio, which I feel further exemplifies the notion of how humans seek to dump our emotion onto a “creative outlet”, and how the continuing practice of doing so will keep us from the unknown void of insanity. “The brain constantly needs up-to-date information on the body’s state to regulate all the processes that keep it alive. This is the only way an organism can survive in an ever changing environment. Emotions alone—without conscious feelings—would not be enough. Adults would be as helpless as babies if they suddenly lost their self-image.”

My research provides an ominous sign for the future, and that is: If technology is progressing into the future in such a productive way, especially by eliminating ways of doing things to make tasks easier, will literature at one point become an irrelevancy? If so, what would replace Literature and all its aspects mirroring the human mind?


Gale Research

Sadly, Gale does not seem to have the most current scientific journals, which have only recently begun publishing research that would further my thesis. However, I did find one (see reference below) that illustrates the promising technology going into lie detectors — a type of mind reading device. My thesis, as you may recall, is that while most people firmly believe that every decision is their own, free will is little more than a biological afterthought.

The advent of fMRI technology and similar medical devices for imaging the brain provide more data as “sophisticated analysis techniques move toward the decoding of mental states from functional imaging data in humans.” The concept that a human’s “mental state” can be decoded like a computer signal implies a belief that not only is the brain everything to each person, from their personality to their memories to their elusive consciousness, but that it is understandable, not some special God-given organ that places humans above all else.

The Catholic Church (and several other religions of the world, for that matter) disagree. To Catholics, free will is described as:

Freedom characterizes properly human acts. It makes the human being responsible for acts of which he is the voluntary agent. His deliberate acts properly belong to him.


Human acts, that is, acts that are freely chosen in consequence of a judgment of conscience, can be morally evaluated. They are either good or evil.

This concept directly conflicts with the scientific approach. First, if the scientific approach is correct and the brain is nothing more than a biological computer of sorts, there will be no such thing as a “properly human act”. A sufficiently advanced computer made to emulate the brain may end up being what it mimics, that is, a machine may be “human”, but none of its actions would be voluntary because they are the direct and predicable result of the scientist’s methodology.

Second, the process of “conscience” may be no freer than a car responding to the impetus of something pushing down the gas pedal. It doesn’t matter to the car if that object is a brick or a foot, it shoots forward all the same. In that same thought, an action that can be predicted cannot be “free”, it is bound by the limits of the prediction so long as the prediction is correct. As psychology experiments are coming to show, when within a relatively simple “game” (push a button with either your left or right hand), a human’s action can be predicted up to seven seconds before the person herself is aware of it. The predictability of actions, although only starting in a relatively simple area, implies that they are set responses for each person according to a particular set of impulses. In other words, people may be fleshy computers with no more “judgement of conscience” than silicon ones; just with a more complex set of instructions than any we’ve managed to create thus far.



“What’s on your mind?” Nature Neuroscience, vol. 9, no. 8, 2006, p. 981. Science In Context Accessed 8 Feb. 2018.

“Man’s Freedom” Catechism of the Catholic Curch, Section 1, Chapter1, Articles 3 and 4. Accessed 13 Feb. 2018.

Identifying Epigenetics

Imagine a pair of identical twins coming into the world for the first time. Some may think they are exact replicas; however, studying Identical twins have cemented the idea that human behavior is determined by nurture. This means that the twins have already produced several differences from the time the egg split. The formal term for this occurrence is epigenetics, the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself, which has been flagged by the wholistic and minute studies of identical twins. For example, when epigenetics is put into perspective, it is understood that “an average twin pair carries 359 genetic differences that occurred early in development”(Live Science). Therefore, it is impossible to truly determine the factors of nature versus nurture using a true study of identical twins, even if there is a control group, since the practicality of a mother giving birth to two entirely similar beings is virtually impossible. On another note, the use of monozygotic twins allows individuals to study the role of epigenetics in disease by controlling for many potential confounders, such as genetic factors, age, gender, maternal effects, cohort effects, and environmental influences, which can be highly accurate if the study is replicated.

Interestingly, since identical twins have the same genetic build, they are much more likely to be exposed to the same diseases. In fact, if identical twins are more similar to each other with respect to an illness than fraternal twins are, then vulnerability to the disease is rooted at least in part in heredity. It is necessary to note that there is an “80% chance that twins will experience the same disease in their lifetimes”(‘Identical Strangers’ Explore Nature Vs. Nurture). In fact, the majority of the study of diseases that twins endure come from the study of epigenetics, which takes into account different lifestyle and genetic encounters to determine why identical twins would differ with respect to health more so than fraternal twins. Therefore, there is not a definitive answer about if one twin, or both, could develop the same disease.

In accordance with this finding, there is also a second discovery that in addition to identical genes, there is a second factor that plays into their likeness- “an additional level of molecular similarity that influences their biological characteristics”(Live Science). This means that twins are susceptible to the same cancerous diseases. In fact, it was found that epigenetically supersimilar genes are at a high risk of developing several types of cancer that include lung, prostate and colorectal. In fact, monozygotic twins are relatively often discordant for most common complex diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, autism, schizophrenia, and different types of cancer. This observation supports the finding that for many complex traits, genotype alone may not fully determine phenotypic variation, and the exchange between genes and environment needs to be considered. Epigenetics has been proposed to be one of the main mediators of this interaction.

Additionally, It is necessary to note that there are further factors that play into the accumulation of disease. In fact, it was found that twin pairs who were older, spent less time together, or had more dissimilar health or medical histories showed greater differences in both types of epigenetic marks. In 2009, Zachary Kaminsky, a psychiatric disease specialist at Johns Hopkins confirmed the presence of DNA methylation differences between identical twins “across three different tissues (white blood cells (WBCs), buccal epithelial cells, and gut biopsies in an age- and sex-matched twin sample”(Live Science). Interestingly, he also observed greater similarities between DNA methylation profiles within monozygotic twins than within dizygotic twins.

Genetic Engineering of Human Organisms is Good for Society

In recent years the government has banned funding for genetically modifying humans, but that hasn’t stopped scientists from pursuing their research with the funding from other places. There are several concerns about genetic engineering. Both moral arguments and those surrounding the fears of minimizing genetic variation and developing a monoculture that might be vulnerable to epidemics have been identified. The bioethical concern surrounding genetic modification raises awareness of scientists crossing the line from science for the good of eliminating disease, to the modification of humans developing something that isn’t even considered human anymore. The argument that minimizing genetic variation will lead to a species vulnerable to extinction from epidemics is supported by the study of agriculture. Neither is inevitable.The benefits of preventing diseases before people are born, requiring tampering with human DNA is worth it. Understanding more about this practice is important for not only congress, but the people. Like so many issues we know little about, gaining knowledge about this will make people more confident and ultimately able to make decisions that are best for the country.

In his paper, The Evolutionary Biological Implications of Human Genetic Engineering, Russell Powell, argues that genetic engineering has only a “negligible impact on human genetic diversity” and that it is “more likely to ensure rather than undermine the health and longevity of the human species”. Learning from experience with GMOs with crops, there are concerns about the lack of diversity in humans if genetic engineering is to be used. Although the paper argues that “the widespread use of GET (genetic engineering technology) is unlikely to reduce HGV (human genetic variability) and that even if it did, this would neither increase the human species’ susceptibility to disease nor prevent it from responding effectively to the shifting demands of selection,” This could be interpreted as the tampering of DNA not leading to the same issues as have occurred with GMOs with agriculture. Powell is convincing in his arguments that genetic engineering in humans is unlikely to cause major problems for the human race.

Modifying the genome of a baby in its mother’s womb is now possible with amazing new technology. Is this a way to eliminate terrible genetic diseases or a way to simply select desirable traits to breed into offspring? In this article, Redesigning nature: to be or not to be?, the authors argue that the practice of genetic engineering is “proving to be successful in fighting a host of genetic diseases, including cancer and has even made headway with HIV.” Since there is already success in this practice, the improved quality of life that results from fighting these diseases is evidence that this practice should be supported. For families with inherited diseases, this practice may be able to prevent suffering in future family members. This may also be a way to treat cancer in ways that we don’t yet know about. Scientists can even grow human organs in animals to transplant in humans. Genetic engineering provides a whole host of opportunities to treat human disease. The benefits for better health far outweighs the concern that adults may choose specific traits for their offspring – creating “designer babies”.

Even though this seems like a great idea, it’s also important that scientists should be careful and not take genetic engineering lightly. With careful consideration and appropriate regulations in place to prevent abusing the system, scientists will not be able to take this practice too far. There should always be variability in each person; this provides necessary protection of the human species. It should be recognized when genetic engineering or other technologies are appropriate to tamper with human DNA.  

When does a person become an adult?

Basically, there isn’t a whole lot of reasoning behind the ages put into place in America allowing certain privileges and taking away others. The legal age of adulthood is 18, yet the drinking age is 21, and you can’t rent a car until 25. These various ages are mainly results of different lobbying groups over time. The adult age of 18 came around when the Vietnam War protests were going on. The legal voting age was lowered due to the national unrest, but so was the age for being a legal adult. Young people felt that if they were old enough to to be sent off to war they were old enough to vote. The 26th amendment was passed, allowing citizens to vote at the age of 18.

Is 18 the right age? At 18 young people are expected to quickly gain a ton of independence, although there is a whole lot that they may still not know. For kids with subpar upbringings this can be an especially hard leap, as they may not have the same mentoring that a child with a more stable home could have. Kids raised in foster care systems for example are expected to care for themselves upon turning 18, and can no longer receive aid from the state. There is a time in each person’s life where they have to become self sufficient, but there is a range of ages for when a person will be prepared for this transition. High schools teach students many things, but often times real world subjects such as paying taxes, applying for jobs, and managing a budget are looked over, leaving students to either learn on their own or rely on their parents to continue to help them.

Another major consideration is the brain development of a young person. Today we know that the brain isn’t finished developing at 18, and that some parts aren’t finished developing until around 25. The areas of the brain involved with rational and long term thinking are still forming in teens, differing them from older adults. This relatively new information makes it hard to decide when the legal age of adulthood should lie, but it seems as if rental car companies are doing something right. So the question lies – should the age of becoming a legal adult change?

Oakland is Diverse

Oakland is Diverse

By Elizabeth Gonzalez Hinojosa


“Oakland is one of the most diverse metropolitan areas in the U.S. — it’s now 34 percent White, 28 percent Black, 25 percent Latino and 17 percent Asian” (NPR). This states how Oakland is one of the most diverse communities and as you continue to read you’ll find out what keeps Oakland diverse and unified. What are the events that divide or unite Oakland? To maintain a positive, diverse city it is important to continue having community events, and support for our teams and one another.


Dia De Los Muertos Festival

A really important festival that supports our diverse city is Dia De Los Muertos which  takes place in Fruitvale. The Fruitvale historically and currently is Oakland’s Latino neighborhood. This festival happens yearly on the Day of the Dead, and its purpose is to celebrate and honor those who have passed away. Many different people come to the festival to see how people from different cultures celebrate. The festival has  people who come perform folklorico dances, or aztec dances, and others set up altars for their loved ones who have passed away. Many people from the Oakland community, including myself, come and celebrate this day with everyone else. In a video from KTVU News they interviewed Chris Iglesias who is the CEO, The Unity Council from Oakland and he said, “Over 50,00 people from the community come out to celebrate” (Iglesias). Additionally in another article I read it stated, “Oakland was named the most diverse city in the country with a population less than 400,000” (Pulley). This illustrates that one fourth of the community comes together to celebrate this day. The  community takes the time and effort to be able to know each other and build community with everyone. Amid all the people I interviewed during my winter break, Moncerrat Gonzalez, who has lived in Oakland her whole life and has attended public schools in Oakland to receive her education, attends the Dia De Los Muertos festival every year in Fruitvale. She points out that, “Living in a diverse community is a positive thing because you are more aware of other cultures and can learn from them” (Gonzalez). Her statement connects to El Dia De Los Muertos Festival because the whole Oakland community is welcomed there and many people from different ethnicities and races come and learn different traditions from different cultures for this day. This proves how having festivals like the one from El Dia De Los Muertos brings the community together. Knowing that Gonzalez has attended this festival and said that being aware and learning from other cultures brought her more into the community and helped her build better relationships with people within her community no matter if they come from another culture.



 Additionally, sports teams also bring the Oakland community together. For example, the Warriors and the Raiders are the teams that bring the Oakland community together. In an article about the Warriors parade it states, “We have to come support, show our love to them” (Baldassari). This does not only show how the community was brought together through the Warriors parade, it also shows how our community shows support to one another. In an article about the Raiders by Jose Fermoso he wrote about the way he grew up in Oakland, he points out, “I grew up in church, which is segregated. [But being a Raiders fan] was transformative and beautiful in a way that stays with me” (Fermoso). This explains how because of the way Fermoso grew up he felt separated from the Oakland community but because he was a Raiders fan he felt more included into the Oakland family. Another interesting comment from Fermoso about the Raiders was, “the Raiders … I’ve never been a part of another entity that was as inclusive. Didn’t matter your age, economic status, or race. For three glorious hours, we’re family” (Fermoso). This does not only show that Fermoso felt part of the Oakland family, it also shows how inclusive Oakland is. The sentence that stood out to me from the quote was, “Didn’t matter your age, economic status, or race”. This sentence pointed out how inclusive and loving people are. Being a Raiders fan brought the community together and pushed away all the ageism, classism, and racism. Others may argue that the Raiders and Warriors are dividing the community since they are leaving Oakland. This might be the case because as Fermosos said he felt more part of the community because of the Raiders team, once they leave, the Oakland community might divide up since the Raiders and Warriors won’t be there anymore for them to go and support as a community.


First Friday

Another big unifying event that happens in Oakland is First Friday. It happens every friday of the month and it takes place on Telegraph Avenue from West Grand to 27th Street. In an article from NPR News where they talked about this event, Meraji said, “ I was, walking with hordes of people, eating food truck grub, popping in and out of hip bars and art galleries” (Meraji). This illustrates how this person was able to bond more with people from his community which is a positive outcome. The purpose of all these community events is for the community to build a stronger relationship or to even meet other people that come from other communities. Meraji has lived in Oakland for about 10 years. Which means that the Oakland community has shown improvement over the last 10 years because 10 years ago we would have events like these but now have these type of community events happening every first friday of the month.

Amongst, all the people I interviewed throughout my winter break was Rosario Gomez. She is a mother of 3 boys and has been living in Oakland for more than 13 years. During the interview Gomez said, “My diverse community would accept and support anyone, without any problems or issues ; we would have several events every year where everyone is welcome” (Gomez). This stood out to me because when I was creating the questions I thought to myself, “What is something important for a diverse community?’ and Gomez talked about community events, which I hadn’t thought about. Gomez’s response connects back to First Friday because this is an event that happens every first friday of the month. Community events are an important contribution for a diverse community because these events are what bring the community closer and through these events the community shows support to one another. Because of these events the community members are able to meet each other and create bonds with one another which are important.


In conclusion, to continue having a positive diverse city it is important to continue having community events, and support for our teams and one another as well. By having community events we will learn and create a bond with one another. Additionally, we need to continue showing support for each other and our teams because this will keep Oakland diverse and unified.



Annotated Bibliography


Baldassari, Erin. “Warriors Parade: Hundreds of Thousands Party in Downtown Oakland.” The Mercury News, The Mercury News, 16 June 2017,


This article shares different information about the Warriors parade in Oakland. For example it informed me about the parade’s population and the audiences reaction to the parade. This is a trustful source because this is a source that a very large amount of people look at which means it is more reliable source since it is more likely to be telling the truth to the people.


Fermoso, Jose. “The Raiders helped unite the divisions in Oakland. What happens when they leave?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 11 Aug. 2017,


Fermoso explains how because of the way he grew up he was separated from the Oakland community but because of being a raiders fan he was able to become more part of the Oakland community like the rest of the raiders fans. I believe this is a credible source because it contains first hand information. Also this evidence is credible because since the information is current it makes it more truthful.


Gonzalez, Moncerrat. “Diversity Interview .” 28 Dec. 2017.


This is a young person who has lived in Oakland and assisted a public school her whole life. She is a credible source because she has lived in Oakland which means she has experienced living in one of most diverse community. The interview was about their perspective in living in a diverse community.


Gomez, Rosario. “Diversity Interview .” 29 Dec. 2017.


Rosario has lived in Oakland for more than 15 years and has kids that are getting their education in an Oakland public school as well. She has moved houses several times but has chosen to stay in the Oakland community. She is a credible source because she would be telling the truth about her personal experiences because she would want t be heard so people can change their actions to make Oakland a better community for everyone to feel welcomed in.


Ktvu. “BAY AREA PEOPLE Oakland Dia de los Muertos Festival.” KTVU,


In this video it is shown how people from all across the united states celebrate this day and unite to honor those who have passed away. This is a credible source because it shows the interviews right there and it shows live videos from all the different celebrations. This is a trustful source because since many people look at this news they would not want to give their community false information.


Meraji, Shereen Marisol. “Seeking Oakland’s Soul In The ‘New Oakland’.” NPR, NPR, 17 Apr. 2013,


This article is about the First Friday Event that happens in Oakland and that everyone is welcomed to. In this source the author compares how Oakland use to be and how it is now. He explains all of the many different ways in which the Oakland community has improved. This is a trustworthy source because it is not from a very long time ago which means that the information is still very current.


Pulley, Anna. “Oakland Named the Most Diverse City in America.” East Bay Express, East Bay Express, 16 Jan. 2018,


This article informs the different benefits there is to living in a Oakland since it is the most diverse city. They use graphs, pictures and statics to prove their arguments. The evidence they use is from current events which is one of the reasons why this is a credible source.

Are We Setting Up Our Students for Success or Failure?

Nearly half (49%) of all students reported feeling ‘a great deal of stress’ on a daily basis and 31 percent reported feeling somewhat stressed. Females reported significantly higher levels of stress than males (60% vs. 41%)” (New York University). These statistics clearly show that stress is a real problem for students. High school students are now more stressed than ever in this time and age. The question is, why? What can possibly cause nearly half of high school students to be stressed? It’s because students are expected to do so much in limited time, they have to sit in classrooms for nearly 6 hours, and they sometimes procrastinate on the homework.

High school students are stressed because they get a plethora of homework every single day. In the article, “Students Spend More Time on Homework but Teachers Say It’s Worth It” by Allie Bidwell, it talks about Allie Bidwell notes, “…students nowadays are spending significantly more time on homework assignments – sometimes up to 17.5 hours each week” (Bidwell). This quote shows that students spend 3.5 hours a day doing homework. By overwhelming the student however, and though they have the intention of getting their work done, the stress may cause them to change their mind and not complete the task. One of the many reasons on why students are stressed; it’s because students have their mind focused on homework for nearly 3.5 hours each day. From personal experience, I get 2.5 to 3 hours of homework everyday, and even more hours if we have a certification or big paper due this week.  A student can decide to not do their homework and procrastinate because they want to distract themselves from school or they don’t just want to do homework in general. Overtime, this can build a poor habit for the students not choosing to do their work.

Furthermore, students also have stress because so much of their day is spent in a classroom. I wanted to find out more about what is actually going on inside a classroom, so I decided to interview a middle school/high school teacher, Eva Oliver. On January 8th, 2018, Oliver was explaining that she cares for her students academic achievements, and that she will try to gain her students attention by having pertinent lessons. She commented, “For example, in seventh and eighth grade, we’re learning about liberation and oppression. So that students who are experiencing oppression, feel like they have the agency to make change in the world… So I try and bring in things that I think kids might be curious about and interested about so that they care more about learning” (Oliver). The keywords that stand out the most are experiencing, make change, and interested because those are the words that are inside an inspired student who feel like they can face anything in front of them. Oliver is trying to wake up a deep desire of each and every single student to let them know that what they are studying, may be happening in your life without you noticing it. If a teacher is teaching students about a topic that relates or connect to them, the students will be interested in wanting to know more. Oliver wants her students to know all the positives and negatives that are happening in the world as we speak because she wants her students to see a new color that they haven’t seen before.


Who is supposed to be teaching in a classroom? A hundred percent of people would say that the teacher of course. Then let me ask this question, why do we still have textbooks? In the article, “Why textbooks don’t work and hurt schools” by Jay Mathews, stated that textbooks aren’t as helpful as they are supposed to be. The author wrote, “Textbooks don’t work well. Research shows that with rare exceptions they do not help improve student achievement much. They are not effective because effectiveness doesn’t sell” (Mathews). If research shows that textbooks aren’t efficient, then why do we have them? Textbooks aren’t working, and they are very expensive. Why pay thousands of dollars for a textbook if the students aren’t going to gain information from it? Life Academy is a school in Oakland and the teachers (that are supposed to teach with a textbook) don’t want to actually teach from a textbook because they despise it. They know that students will get bored from reading and that they won’t get gain the knowledge from the textbook. If a teacher is going to teach with a textbook, you might as well cover the students ears and eyes because they will not go anywhere with a textbook.

Some people might argue that textbooks are helpful in the classroom. In the article, “Textbooks: Advantages and Disadvantages” by TeacherVision, they talk about the positives and negatives of having textbooks in a classroom. TeacherVision have a list of bullet points on the positives of textbooks; they explain, “Textbooks are especially helpful for beginning teachers. The material to be covered and the design of each lesson are carefully spelled out in detail… Textbooks provide organized units of work. A textbook gives you all the plans and lessons you need to cover a topic in some detail” (TeacherVision). TeacherVision argues that textbooks help new/beginner teachers and help cover lessons, while being organized. However, textbooks can be quite expensive. The average cost of a high school textbook costs around 70$, according to the News Tribune. How many students are in high school exactly? Roughly around 15.1 million students, reported by the National Center for Educational Statistics. Take 70$ and multiply it by 15.1 million; every school combined will spend over 1 billion dollars on textbooks, which could’ve been used for other more, reliable sources.

To move along, schools are supposed to place knowledge into the students brain, otherwise students will be unsuccessful. When a student enjoys their education, they seem to understand that school is important and that everyone should be taking advantage of gaining knowledge. For example, Hugo Galvan, a student from MetWest High School, enjoys his education and he is what was described in the beginning of this paragraph. Hugo stated, “Yeah I believe students should be more engaged in school because school will take them like higher level and get them like jobs and stuff” (Galvan). This quote matters because when students care for each other, they want everyone to be successful. Having this mindset will lead to every student relying on each other and helping each other when someone is struggling. If students realize that school is important in an early stage, they will be  successful early in life.

In conclusion, students need to be taken care of because a majority of them are dealing with stress,  students need to be taught about topics where they can relate by a teacher, not a textbook. Finally, students can be successful when they see the opportunity of taking advantage of gaining knowledge, which will help them in the future.


Annotated Bibliography


Galvan, Hugo. “Student Education Interview.” 7 Jan. 2018.


I interviewed Galvan, a Junior at Metwest High School and his experience with his education at Metwest. Hugo explained that he is stressed in school, mainly his math and science classes. He likes his education because his teachers help him get to the place where he is accomplishing his goal, having acceptable grades. He sees a couple of students that need don’t like going to school or don’t do their work. He thinks that some students don’t engage in school because they probably dislike the way their teacher is teaching them or they don’t feel like putting in the effort to the work. Hugo believes that students should be more engaged in school because school will get them into a higher level and to help them look and obtain jobs. Hugo is enjoying his experience with his education because he is still learning and has one year to go until he goes to college. Hugo is a credible source because he is currently a student and a person who noticing the things that are happening in his own high school. He realizes that education is important and hopefully, he encourages his struggling peers to keep on pushing.


Mathews, Jay. “Why textbooks don’t work and hurt schools.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 25 Feb. 2012,


This article explains that textbooks don’t work with the student and don’t improve student achievement. Some textbooks might even give out false information, which happened in a Virginia textbook. But they also say that textbooks are helpful for students if they are part of a curriculum designed by educators who know what works in the classroom and what doesn’t. This source is credible because The Washington Post is a reliable source and the publish

er is an education columnist and a blogger for the Washington Post, for 40 years.


Oliver, Eva. “Student Engagement Interview.” 8 Jan. 2018.


I interviewed Oliver to talk about classroom struggles, classroom positives, and student problems as well. She explained that when students don’t care about the topic, they distance themselves from it and do not attempt at trying to learn something new. Eva tries to gain her students attention by having a diversity of what they are going to learn about for the next couple of weeks. Eva also teach her students about oppression and liberation so that they care more about learning. Eva commented that when a student doesn’t do his or her work, the class gets on them. When she sees that the class attempts to uphold each other, it tells her that these students are trying and be successful. Eva is a credible source because she is a teacher at Life Academy that has been here for 7 years. Additionally, she knows/understands her students very well and she actually tries to attempt at building a bond with her students, which a lot of other teachers, don’t try to do.


Communications, NYU Web. “NYU Study Examines Top High School Students’ Stress and Coping Mechanisms.” NYU,


“Textbooks: Advantages and Disadvantages (Advice for Teachers, Grades K-12).” TeacherVision, 25 Jan. 2007,

Bidwell, Allie. “Students Spend More Time on Homework but Teachers Say It’s Worth It.” U.S.                        News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report,

Depression And Ways To Avoid It

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This interview took place at East Tremont. I’m interviewing a man name Bless. With the help of my peer samson who goes to Pulse High School with me, we recorded Bless because we’re doing a project in a class called New Media Arts. The question I ask Bless was…

“Did you had any experience with depression in your life.”

“I got depressed… when my mother passed away it was ruff… I gotten incarcerated… I had no one to talk to cause the only person I trust was my mother.”

Hearing this quote just made me realize that my mom has help me through a lot.There was one time where I had a very bad asthma attack when I was little, I gotten really scared but my help me the whole time; She help me by keeping me calm and relax when going to the hospital.

Another quote that stuck out to me was when I ask Bless…

“Do you think theres anyway to avoid depression?”

“What I do is I pray… do yoga… and talk to positive people… we need more programs like this to address this issue.”

Hearing this quote again, I’m starting to understand that there are many ways to deal with depression. It opens my eyes because this quote is saying that there are always ways to fight depression, for Bless he has done yoga and prayed. Doing activities can help people with depression as it did for Bless.Now keeping this in mind, if you have depression in your life remember there are always ways for you to fight it, you should have positive people around you who will care and support you in your time of need and to look at the the positive things in life.

The most important person in my life

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My interview took place at Pulse High School where i’m currently attending to. The person who was interviewing me was a peer who is also attending Pulse High School named John Guzman. John recorded me because we’re in a class called New Media Arts and were doing a project. The question he ask was who was the most important person in my life.

“The most important in my life is my mother because I wouldn’t be here without her.”

Hearing this quote just made me realize that my mom has help me through good and bad times. There was one time where I had a very bad asthma attack when I was little, I gotten really scared but my help me the whole time; She help me by keeping me calm and relax when going to the hospital.


Another quote that stuck out to me was when my mom said:

“To never let anyone put you down when you trying your best.”

Seeing this quote again, I felt as I can take on anything that’s get in my way. It opens my eyes because this quote is saying that you should always believe in yourself no matter how many people try to stop you from attaching it. This means a lot to me because I had a lot people who said can’t do something but then i end up doing it and finishing it.Now keeping this in mind, you should  always believe in yourself.

All the Hype

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard about the hip new brand called Supreme. It has become the new pop-culture phenomenon and has every young adult and teenage kids are lining up to buy the latest supreme gear. Although Supreme was started in 1994 by James Jebbia, it has recently become a fashion craze after notable celebrities such as Drake, Kanye West, and Tyler the Creator have been seen in Supreme wear in public. To add to the hype, basketball players such as JR Smith and Kelly Oubre Jr have worn Supreme shooting sleeves and leg sleeve. With that being said, what is all the hype around Supreme?

To begin with, Supreme is made in limited quantities. So the demand for Supreme products will always be greater than the supply. This not only allows the prices to swell up, but it creates a sense of rarity. This makes people believe that by having Supreme, you also own something most people don’t have. In combination with the fact that the prices are very high, it creates a sense that only the wealthy can buy it. This is why Supreme is seen as a luxury brand such as Rolls Royce. Rolls Royce cars are not an extremely practical car such as a truck or a sports car, but it is expensive and rare. The appeal that made Rolls Royce a luxury car, is the same appeal that makes Supreme luxury apparel.

Next is the eye popping logo. It seems simple in nature, but slap it on to any object and it immediately looks cool (depending on who you ask). Its as simple as the Nike swoosh, or the Adidas bar’s. Certain styles can only work on certain people. When you have a simple and eye catching sweater, anyone can look fashionable in it.

The final ingredient to Supreme’s success is the celebrity backing. Almost any product that is endorsed by a celebrity is an instant success. Take for example the Yeezys by Kanye West. It is a fairly ordinary shoe yet extremely overpriced. If it weren’t for the backing of Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Lebron James, etc. the Yeezy’s probably wouldn’t have been as popular as they are now. We can compare this to the 80’s Adidas Superstar. Most kids today might not know what the Adidas Superstars are, but in the 1980’s they were practically the Yeezy’s of their time. This is because they were backed by the biggest rap group of the time, Run DMC. Everyone was rocking Adidas Superstars Brands, no matter what time in history, are instantly boosted in popularity with the endorsing of a celebrity.

I personally don’t believe in buying a hype brand like Supreme, yeezy, Gucci, etc. However, I do see the appeal to the products. What kid doesn’t want to be like their favorite celebrity? Its fashionable and its fun. So what are your opinions on brands like Supreme? Do you enjoy them? Do you dislike them? What’s the hype behind them?

Gun Control Inquiry

Gun Control has been a very controversial issue for many years, intensely debated in state and federal courts, supported and opposed by many citizens in the United States.  Ever since stated in the second amendment of the constitution, gun control has been a relevant topic. Gun Control is a broad term that covers any sort of restriction on what kinds of firearms can be sold and bought, who can possess or sell them, where and how they can be stored or carried.  Not only does the issue relate to regulations of guns but also includes background checks on buyers, registrations, allowing people to carry concealed weapons in public, and whether to allow the possession of assault rifles.

In the United States a majority of our citizens own guns.  It is said that out of one-hundred people; eighty-eight people have gun ownership. (ProCon, 2013)  We acquire more guns than any country on the entire Earth.  What’s to say why so many of our people own guns?  Many people believe in self assurance, and a possession of guns brings a sense of safety.   For many Americans, the gun represents the heart of their nation’s foundation and identity, a symbol of their freedom. (Drew, 2015) It has been our inherited right every since we fought back bravely against the British during the American revolution.  United we one stood as we were victorious against the notorious British.  We came about the victory with guns and sheer unity.  In the United States Constitution, citizens are granted the right to bear arms. The Second Amendment of the US Constitution reads, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” (ProCon, 2017)  Gun ownership by Americans has been a tradition older than our country itself.  Justice Antonin Scalia, LLB, in the June 26, 2008 District of Columbia et al. v. Heller US Supreme Court majority opinion syllabus stated, “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”(Supreme, 2007) Therefore we are allow to have guns.  These guns give us power as Americans, a sense of pride; army strong.  Many of us want to be prepared for another war so we stock up on weapons to be certain we’re prepared for whatever is thrown at us.  We also in our daily lives feel threatened by criminals and we feel the obligation to use guns in self-defense if attacked.  Americans are also very protective whether it is our home, our children, our ideals, our religion, or our rights.  As stated in the Second Amendment of the Constitution is is our right to bear such arms.  To ban these guns, would be an infringement on the rights of us Americans.  

Gun control is the one massive bone of contention in the United States.  It is a very controversial issue, and demands attention everyday.  As stated in the, “81% of Americans say that gun control will be an important issue in determining which Congressional candidate to vote for.  91% of Americans say that there should be at least minor restrictions on gun ownership; and another 57% of Americans say that there should be major restrictions or a ban.” (Issues, 2016)  

Ever since mass shootings have taken place, gun control issue has been an indefinite issue debated in politics and in homes.  Guns are a manifestation of violence. Studies show that a large number of people are killed in gun-based homicides each year: On average there are nearly twelve-thousand gun homicides a year in the U.S.. (Research, 2017) “Over one-hundred thousand people are shot each year in the U.S.;  and 72% of all violent killings use guns as the weapon.” (Issues,2016)  “Worldwide, the United States have the most homicidal rate by twenty-five times more than any other country.   Compared to Japan, where gun laws are very strict regarding both ownership and punishment, only 4 people were killed by guns in 2012. Japan has a smaller population, but even counting that, the per capita death rate is 1,000 times higher in the United States.” (Issues, 2016) With guns present, there is a much higher chance of violence occuring, and the severity of death to unfold.  As stated by the extremity of the statistics in the United States, gun control controls domestic violence, and we must see why it’s vital.  America remains one of the most countries with a high homicide rate.  We even allow the possession of concealed weapons.

Concealed weapons have been under debate for the past few decades.  To carry a concealed weapons, means to keep it hidden out of sight, concealed underneath clothing garments or tucked away on the body.  Concealed weapons bring  new complications to the already vast disputes on gun control.  Common questions include whether concealed weapons should be legal, if they actually help deter crime, and if they should be allowed to carry at public places like campus and church.  Carrying a handgun is allowed in all fifty states.  Some states require gun owners to obtain permits, while others have unrestricted carry, and do not require permits for concealed weapons.

Advocates of concealed weapons have many different claims to support their ideals. Supporters of concealed weapons say that criminals are less likely to attack someone they believe to be armed. They say the second amendment’s “right of the people to keep and bear arms” allows such possession of concealed weapons. Proponents also argue that most adults who legally carry a concealed gun are law-abiding and do not misuse their firearms.  Many citizens need a reassurance of safety, and to carry a concealed weapon brings that sense of security, especially disguised weapons.  It would be absurd for citizens to carry visible guns on a daily basis.  Concealed weapons allows for a stealthy, healthy way of protecting society.  We cannot always rely on police forces for protection, as they don’t always respond to emergency calls fast.  The majority of Americans are in favor of the concealed weapons cause because of these facts.  According to an Apr. 2012 poll conducted for Thomson Reuters, “75% of Americans support laws allowing law-abiding citizens to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon.” (Issues, 2016).  Advocates also strongly argue carrying a concealed handgun could prevent a serious crime, or mass shooting.  Having more easily accessible guns especially those concealed and under clothing ready for self defense, can prevent mass shootings.  According to John R. Lott Jr., PhD, “[w]hen states passed concealed carry laws during the 19 years we studied (1977 to 1995), the number of multiple-victim public shootings declined by 84%. Deaths from these shootings plummeted on average by 90%, injuries by 82%.” (ProCon, 2017)  Thus, the custody of concealed weapons positively correlates to deterring violence.  

The opposition to concealed weapons argue increased gun possession leads to more crime and unintended injuries, and state many concealed weapon laws are insecure.   They have reasonable evidence to support their claims. Opponents recite from the second amendment of the constitution that concealed weapons are never once mentioned.  Furthermore, in “[a] 1995 peer-reviewed study of five urban cities, published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, concluded that gun homicide rates increased on average by 4.5 per 100,000 persons following the enactment of ‘shall-issue’ law which requires police to issue concealed carry permits as long as the applicant meets certain minimum requirements such as a minimum age, no prior felony conviction, and no recent commitments to a mental institution.” (ProCon, 2017)  There are also a few states in the United States where an “unrestricted carry” is established.  In these states no permit is required to possess a concealed weapon.   Concealed carry application requirements and background checks also do not prevent dangerous people from acquiring weapons, especially in those with living in unrestricted carry states. Members of the public who carry guns risk the lives of those around them.  Not everyone is suitable to carry a concealed weapon, and many argue where concealed weapons should be allowed. Disagreements at popular places like bars, clubs, sporting events, traffic, and especially in open places can turn into public shootouts. Thus more bans should be placed on college campuses, large public places, and private areas.  Opponents say public safety should be left to professionally qualified police officers, not private citizens with little or no expert training who have concealed weapons.  

When it comes to gun control, four major components are vital to acknowledge;  concealed weapons, the interpretation of the second amendment, the effectivity of current gun control laws, and the two sides to gun control.  All four make up the the vast issue and debate surrounding gun control itself.  Now that I have discussed in detail why gun control is important, the violence guns induce, the meaning of concealed weapons, and the Second Amendment explanation, it’s time to dive full on into this frenzy of a debate.

Those in favor of gun control argue gun control laws directly correlate to a decrease in domestic violence and gun deaths annually.  Advocates say more gun control laws would reduce gun deaths.  “There were 464,033 total gun deaths between 1999 and 2013: 270,237 suicides (58.2% of total deaths); 174,773 homicides (37.7%); and 9,983 unintentional deaths (2.2%). Guns were the leading cause of death by homicide (66.6% of all homicides) and by suicide (52.2% of all suicides).” (CDC, 2017) They support gun control regulations on the possession of firearms, background checks, gun registration, and the size of ammunition clips.  Enacting gun control laws such as mandatory safety features reduces the number of accidental gun deaths.  Advocates of gun control laws argue the second amendment of constitution is not an unlimited right to own guns.  The second amendment says “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” (Patrick, 2001).  The interpretation of the second amendment has raised many questions about gun control laws and the constitutional limits on the right of individuals to bear arms.  Does the 2nd Amendment protect an individual’s right to bear arms and prohibit the government from making and enforcing more gun control laws?  Michael Waldman, JD, President of the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, stated “[t]here is nothing about an individual right to bear arms in the notes about the Second Amendment when it was being drafted, discussed, or ratified; the US Supreme Court declined to rule in favor of the individual right four times between 1876 and 1939; and all law articles on the Second Amendment from 1888 to 1959 stated that an individual right was not guaranteed.” (ProCon, 2017) The Second Amendment was intended to protect the right of militias to own guns, not the right of individuals, thus the second amendment doesn’t directly grant individuals the rights to bear arms.  Advocates of gun control support the fact that more laws lead to fewer suicides each year.   Guns are also rarely used in self defense.  “Of the 29,618,300 violent crimes committed between 2007 and 2011, 0.79% of victims (235,700) protected themselves with a threat of use or use of a firearm, the least-employed protective behavior.” (Pro Con, 2017)  Therefore, guns aren’t necessary for self-defense.  They have been proved helpful at times, but for the majority of situations, citizens don’t use guns for self defense or eve worse know how to. More gun control laws are needed to protect the citizens of the United States, especially women.  They are most prone to be murdered and used by criminals and stalkers who seek the opposite gender to use for their own benefits.  Women aren’t usually as physically strong as men and that makes them targets.  Gun control laws must be established to ban condemned stalkers from getting guns.  Gun control is the thin layer or laws that protects our country from sustained chaos.  With gun control laws set, mass shootings are less likely to happen, criminals have a harder time getting guns, and sale of certain kind of guns like assault rifles are limited.  Gun control advocates also support laws on concealed weapons.  Banning certain areas like campuses, schools, churches, and public places protects people from being exposed to the possibility of violence.

Those against gun control argue past laws have been ineffective and the second amendment of the constitution protects an individual’s right to own guns. Justice Antonin Scalia, LLB, in the June 26, 2008 District of Columbia et al. v. Heller US Supreme Court majority opinion syllabus stated, “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.” (ProCon, 2017).  Thus many support the ideal of the second amendment.  However, gun control laws infringe upon the right to self-defense and deny people a sense of safety that many feel is essential.  We never know when foreign invaders may intrude, and we feel obligated to take up arms and be prepared for the worst.  The main claim opponents make against gun control includes the fact that criminals, will always find their way around the law, even if a ban is placed on weapons.  With a ban on firearms, a black market would take place across the country for guns.  Guns would bring more power to criminals, and would threaten the safety of the public, creating an even more dire situation then before.

When it comes to gun ownership, gun regulations and laws are necessary but to an extent.  As stated in our national constitution, we shall not infringe upon the rights of citizens to bear arms.  Therefore we must not ban citizens from guns.  However, guns are high-risk, and dangerous weapons. After recent mass shootings at Las Vegas and the occurrence of death with the use of guns daily, certain gun control laws must be established in order to promote the safety for all Americans.  But what laws? Not many gun control laws have been proven to be effective in the past years.  Thousands of people are killed annually, mass shootings are still taking place even with gun control laws established.  What can be done?  Three laws are most strongly associated with reductions in overall gun-related mortality, “Laws requiring firearm identification through ballistic imprinting or microstamping were found to reduce the projected mortality risk by 84 percent; ammunition background checks, by 82 percent; and universal background checks for all gun purchases, by 61 percent.” (Sciencedaily, 2016).  These three laws, background checks, ammunition background checks, and firearm identification have been proven to be the most effective out of the hundreds of laws already passed.  These three laws must be imposed, along with a stricter age requirement of age twenty-five and a limitation on ownership of concealed weapons.  Only those professional trained in the field should be able to possess such concealed weapons, and can be allowed to go anywhere with concealed weapons to keep all citizens safe.  The age requirement shall also be set for twenty-five, for the brain doesn’t fully develop until age twenty-five.  If I were the leader of any other country, I would ban the possession, sales, and uses of guns for all citizens expect those currently in the military. But this is America, we have fundamentally grown up as country with the ownership of guns, it’s part of who we are.  We are the most stubborn and prideful country on the planet.  Even with a ban on guns people, especially criminals, will always find ways around the law.  A ban on guns would also cause a black market on guns and would go against the rights of citizens.  We cannot predict when tragedies will happen, but it’s in our best interest to set small gun control laws in place.  Step by step, acknowledging which laws are working, and what can be done in the future to preserve peace for all American citizens.  There isn’t a simple solution for gun control.  Gun control has been heavily debated in court for years.   It’s a process, one we must pay much more attention to.  One we must work towards together as a country.  


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Why professional Athletes go broke.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be making millions of dollars every year? Have you ever dreamt of being one of the greatest athletes in the world with thousands of people and little kids looking up to you? This is a reality for thousands of people competing across our country. In 2012, there were around 5,000 athletes in the four largest sports (baseball, basketball, football, and hockey) and many of them pull six figure salaries every year (NGPF). But the secret that is not commonly talked about amongst sports viewers is how many of these great athletes end up with nothing after they retire. A study done by sports illustrated found that 78 percent of National Football League players were broke or in financial ruin after only two years of retirement, and that 60 percent of MLB players went broke after five years (TORRE, 2015). Professional athletes make millions of dollars every year, yet so many end up going broke and with nothing left, but it can all be prevented.

These great athletes bring in so much money but because they live such ravish lifestyles, many of them run out of money within a very short amount of time after retiring. And because they wasted their college careers by only focusing their time on their respective sports, they do not have any type of education to be able to go out and find another job to start making money again.


With billions of dollars being brought in between the four biggest US sports leagues, millions of people look up to these athletes, yet so few realize how frequently these idles run out of money when they are making so much more than their average viewer does. If so many people who watch these people on TV can make it by with a fraction of the money that the people they are watching are making, then why do these athletes go broke?

Many people see these great athletes as role models because of their high level of play. All across the country, kids of all ages compete in many different sports, so naturally they would look up to the best athletes in their sport. Because so many youth look up to these athletes, these pro’s should be more careful with how they spend their money and make their investments. When millions of eyes are watching you every second of your career, you have to make sure to set a good example.

The loss these players face could easily be prevented by simply saving their money. Many of the players who do lose it all are normally the ones making six figure salaries. That is, the more money a player makes, the better chance of them running out. These athletes are drawn in  more more money in ten years or so than most people will ever have in their entire life. They would never have to work another day in their life if they could just find a way to set the money aside and continue to live their life the way they have been. Also, many of the high salary sports players decide to invest in a financial advisor to help them keep track of their money.

Professional athletes face an odd financial situation; they make a lot of money right out of college and then make less money for the rest of their lives. This is almost exactly the opposite of practically every other college graduate. Most people would start by making small amounts of money but then slowly start making more money for the rest of their career. Another way pros differ from their college graduates is in that they only have a much shorter amount of time to produce a living. Where a regular job career may last up to 50 years, a professional athlete generally plays for less than ten years. Also, most athletes do not make it to the age of 40 before retiring, but an average person generally will not be able to retire until after the age of 60. Because of this, professional athletes tend to run out of money after only a few years of retirement. Along with short careers, these great athletes can make more money than an average college graduate will make in a lifetime. The average pay for an NFL player with an average length career will earn 3.2 million dollars (Nisen, 2015). The average American citizen in 2013 makes approximately 54,000 a year (Average, 2015). So the question is, how can these athletes with such a high income run out of money, when the rest of the country can make do with what they earn?

On average 34 percent of NBA player come from a family in poverty (Keating, 2011). As you could imagine, it could be very difficult to come from a family with very little money and then start making millions. This is the problem with many athletes. They were raised with very little, so when they start making so much, they have no money discipline and they spend it all instead of saving it.Along with this idea, many players feel that they need to provide for their family. This seems like a great idea at first, but in actuality, many players will end up with no money left over after trying to provide for an entire family.

An example of a player who came from a family with very little is Lebron James. Lebron is one of the best players in the NBA and some even say he is the greatest to ever play. Lebron James could easily be considered an idol for many youth basketball players but what many people do not know about him is he grew up in an inner city and in poverty. He is a good example of how players can come from nothing, but can also keep ahold of his money. In 2013, Lebron James won the NBA finals MVP and in his speech he stated “I’m LeBron James. From Akron, Ohio. From the inner city. I am not even supposed to be here,” (Manfred, 2013). It is great that someone who is such a big role model to so many people can be a good example, but that is not the case for all.

Even athletes who do not have a grim financial background can find themselves in money trouble simply because of wasting every penny they own. In the case of Vince Young, a retired NFL player, he was signed to a 58 million dollar contract and played for 6 years in the league. After retiring he was known for spending 5,000 dollars a week at the cheesecake factory and buying 120 seats on a commercial airline.  After only a few years out of the league, Young is completely out of money and has no way of making more (Murray, 2012).

Many of the high paid athletes are so good in college, many will leave before they have even graduated. This is obviously an issue because after they retire they are left with no means of making money other than with brand deals. This just progresses the issue even further. The athletes who do have large prospects in a professional career also tend to spend more time focussing on their sport rather than their school work, so when the sports life falls out, they are left with no education to carry them through the rest of their life.

Athletes also have a high risk of losing their career in a split second. While playing a sport such as football on such a high level, it is not uncommon for players to have injuries, and many of them can put them out of the game forever. If this is the case, and the player has not set money aside for the unknowns of tomorrow, they could be left in a situation where they have to find a new way of obtaining money. Besides injuries, there is always a chance that a player could lose a contract or not have their current one renewed. If this happens and another team does not pick them up, then they are out of a job with nothing they can do about it.

Professional athletes can also lose a lot of money in legal situations such as divorce. Everyone knows that legal fees can drain a ton of money, so it is not surprising that many players can end up growing broke after getting divorced. Along with divorce, child care payments can add up to huge amounts of money that these professional athletes were probably never expecting to have to set aside money for.

One of the biggest ways that professional athletes lose money is through taxes. Nicknamed the “Jock Tax”, players from the three largest sports in the US are subjected to paying income taxes in every state they play (Callahan, 2015). For the NFL, which has the fewest amount of games a season, a team will normally play at least 6 games at an away stadium. But for the other three sports, an NBA and NHL team both play around 82 games a season, and the MLb plays around 162 games, so if you figure about half are away games, and there are stadiums in nearly every state, this income tax could be gigantic.

Hundreds of these great athletes have endorsement deals with  companies such as Adidas, Nike, or Wilson, which could bring in even more money for these players, but once an athlete retires, if they are not truly one of the greatest in their sport, their deal is probably going to die. Also, as stated above, players can find their careers ending at any minute between injuries and expired contracts. So just as quickly, their brand deals can end right along with their career.


Many of the issues that cause these great athletes to run out of money can be solved by one simple investment, a financial advisor. These advisors have helped many athletes across all sports save money and watch out for bad deals. Many financial advisors will assist players in looking out for what decisions will have to be made, and what the best path is for them to follow (Who Is Qualified, 2015). Since many professional athletes were raised in poverty and have poor money handling skills, having a financial advisor could help steer their investments and make sure to put money away too have for later in life.

Some have argued that financial advisors are only focused on making themselves money and not actually protecting the interests of their clients. Although this is rare, it can happen, which is why athletes with high incomes need to make sure that they are investing in a reputable advisor. Along with that, they should not be sitting back and letting their advisor do all the work, but they should be apart of what is going on with their money.

Another way professional athletes could prevent losing their wealth is by simply saving it. Many high level players will be making more money than an average person will ever make in their entire lives. If they simply put aside some money to save and have for the rest of their lives, they could easily never work another day in their lives. There are many instances where a professional athlete such as Curt Schilling, a MLB pitcher, who made over 112 million dollars find themselves bankrupt in a matter of years after retiring because of wasteful spending (Callahan, 2015).

A problem with many professional athletes and their money comes into play with their ego. Many professional athletes feel the need to prove to their teammates and all their followers that they have so much money and they can spend it on whatever they want. This, of course, just furthers the issue of them not saving money. If these players could let their ego go and just focus on the long term and not what everyone thinks of them, they would be much better off in the future.

If professional athletes could find ways to set up brand deals with popular companies and keep themselves in  good light, it is possible for the athletes to hold on to their deals even beyond their retirement. For instance, Michael Jordan retired in 2003 from the NBA, but because he was such a good athlete and had very few problems, he has been able to continue his brand even to this day with Nike.

Athletes often find themselves in a situation where they have to sell all of their belongings just to be able to pay off their debt. So not only will they have no money, they also will not have anything else left in their life. In the case of Shilling, he had to sell “all that stuff to pay the banks back” and had nothing left, “It sucks” he remarked to boston Globe (Callahan, 2015).

So many professional athletes go broke a year and so much of it can be prevented by simply saving money and investing in smarter things. With theses players having such a following, they should do a better job of keeping everything in line and setting a better example. It is not hard to imagine how easy it would be to live a life with that much money, yet so many who do, cannot hold onto it.


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Research Reflection

The research paper was a great learning experience as a whole. Working on a piece at college level writing helps with the perspective of a high school student and what writing will be like in the future.

The research part of the essay was more difficult than I expected. I would have improved the way I found information if I would have created my outline before I started looking at sources. When I started looking at sources I was not sure how I was going to write my paper in general. When it came to write the paper I had to write and research at the same time. The only issue with this was just the time consuming process. Otherwise, the beginning process of research was not a problem and helped a lot with the writing of the paper.

I began writing the paper with an outline, this helped organize my ideas into what would soon be a full fledged paper. Little by little, I added paragraphs and ideas into the paper like flesh on a skeleton. Eventually the paper turned into what I wanted, however it came with a difficult lesson. I had the misconception I could estimate how long it takes to finish something, when realistically it takes twice as long to finish whatever you’re thinking of.

The revising process is always a great way to show off your writing skills to your peers and improve off of their different perspectives. Sometimes there is a lack of trust between writing partners so the revising doesn’t work as well. However, when our group went to work at reviewing each other’s papers it helped substantially. Next time, I would hope to expect a bit more coming from my peers because when one person takes away from the group it hurts the entire process. As a recipient of feedback I was underwhelmed at the comments from peers because of the amount I gave. Everyone peer reviews differently, but maybe it would be easier if there was more peer reviewing in class? That way it’s face to face rather than letters on a screen.

The idea of an eight page research essay seemed intimidating, but getting engulfed into the paper made it easier to write. I enjoyed the beginning of the essay because of how independent it was, but once it started to get hard and into the grind it was less enjoyable. There will be more research essays to come in college years, therefore this essay was a great learning experience to have!

Response to Growth Mindset Survey

When starting my research, I wanted to get a true understanding of how students around me feel about their learning experience. I created a survey that would get a basic idea of the feelings within my school, the results were compelling and provided evidence to the claim that our school system does not do enough to help its students. 124 highschool students responded to my survey in the past month. The most concerning response was to the question “Do you often get stressed about the grade expectations at your school?”, only 6 people or 4.8% of students gave the answer no. This statistic from my own research made me curious about the mental health issues associated with high school in particular. In an article by Alexandra Ossola, a science writer for The Atlantic found in her research that, “49 percent of students reported feeling ‘a great deal of stress’ on a daily basis. Half reported doing three or more hours of homework per night, and 26 percent noted that they had been diagnosed with depression.” (Ossola, para 6.) She continues to discuss that the students mentioned their main points of stress were caused by grades, homework, and getting accepted into college. In my survey I made the final question a place where students could leave final comments, an anonymous students mentioned, ”Trying to balance all of the things colleges want to see: good grades, music, language, sports, and clubs is near to impossible and the stress is starting to get to all of us.” He/she brings up the point that school is not our entire life and there are great expectations for all other aspects in life.  The largest issue in schools relating to a fixed mindset is the desire for good grades more than understanding what they are learning. My survey showed that only about 8% of students value learning more than grades. Connecting to this is the aspect of cheating on tests and homework. 82 students admitted to cheating or cutting corners while working on homework, and 39 claimed they cheated on a test or quiz. While seeing this data I was astonished by the amount of people. The reason stated in the comments was because they felt as though there was pressure on them to achieve a certain grade. Not only is the fixed mindset of the education system creating stress and unhealthy tendencies but also creating dishonest and morally corrupt students.

Ossola, Alexandra. “High-Stress High School.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 9 Oct. 2015,    

Stress, Depressed, but Impressed

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I was at Hostos Community College when a professor at the college, Ms. Katherine Boehm gave my New Media Arts peers a tour around the college. While on the tour, a student named Matthew Benvenutti who was apart of the tour with me was recording and gave me an idea. Rather than just stopping someone in the middle of the street, why not ask a common person involved with the college who has a task on their hands about stress, anxiety, and depression. So time flew by and midway in the tour, I was observing people and checking to see who I should interview when I ran into these two young men who were students at the college the college.

I first stopped them in the most polite way possible and asked if I could talk to them for a few minutes. They said, “Sure.” Then I went on to say my name and that I have a video project for my New Media Arts class about Depression, Anxiety, and Stress. After that, I asked if they would be willing to do an interview, and they seemed to like the idea and decided to do it. Their names were Hanzel and Adrian. The interview overall was great, but there were a few key ideas that really stuck out to me.

One quote that Adrian said was:

“When I think of depression I-I feel like it’s- it’s a state of mind it’s a state of being, right. So sometimes I know like one of my friends he goes through depression and sometimes he wakes up and he says he feels perfectly fine; he’s just, the energy is not there. The day doesn’t work for him.”

This quote really stuck out because it goes to show that we are all people. We all have issues, and we have to get through them. Your mind might not be in the same place, but then again it is YOUR mind. You have to find a way to control it. Some days may be tougher than others, but you will somehow find a way to get through it.

Another quote that stood out to me–said by Hanzel this time around–was:

“Stress is something that everyone has to deal with because if you think about inanimate objects, even they deal with stress. Stress is basically an overload of something; like if something is too heavy for an object it’s going to break. So say like you’re compiling work on top of each other like, you keep putting more work on top of something that’s basically your form of stress.”

This quote actually stood out the most because he was actually very accurate or on point with the topic. He knew that stress is basically a load in your mind that can cause you to overthink.

And last but not least, the final quote by Hanzel was:

“So the more that someone has to deal with, that reflects how much stress they are having to hold up. So stress is a big component of; is it depression? Is that the question? Is stress a big component of depression? [Yeah] Yeah, so stress is definitely your component of depression because it exhausts you and when you are getting exhausted you slow down.”

This quote was actually the tip of the iceberg because it shows how both stress and depression tie in with each other and still cause you to overthink more than you’re actually supposed to.

Aging Issues

The average life expectancy of an American is 77 years. In the years leading up to 1800, it was only about 40. Despite billions of dollars spent and countless research hours spent, it is rare that science can extend a life beyond 100 years old. However, there isn’t actually a scientific principle as to why we age. There are several theories, but nobody has discovered a definitive reason for the aging process. All other aspects of life aim towards increasing it, so why do we die? One theory is that there is a gene that determines how long we live. This gene would be heritable, which would explain why members of the same family have similar lifespans. However, this similar lifespan among families could also be due to similarity in behavior. Another theory is that as we age, our DNA becomes too damaged to continue replicating, resulting in death. Some evidence of this has been found, and these damages usually occur in genes responsible for energy consumption, stress resistance, or regulation of the insulin.. One would think that the repairing of these damaged genes would extend the lifespan of the organism, but so far experiments in this area have not been effective. When scientists edited these genes in mice and worms, occasionally they would live longer, but they would always show defects like infertility, inactivity, and stunted growth.

There are several theories on the reason we age as well, not just the causes behind it. One theory is that the ‘defects’ that occur later in an organism’s life are hereditary, and therefore capable of being passed down. Normally, natural selection weeds out such defects, but because these only occur late on in the life of the organism, it can still reproduce and produce healthy offspring which are also capable of reproduction. Thus the chain of life would continue and the species would continue to thrive as a whole. Any defects that contributed to agong would remain present, and continue to cause members of the species to grow old. However, if this theory were the only one that applied, it would not explain the fact that there has never been an organism without these defects, an ageless creature. One would assume that there would be an exception to aging if it was caused entirely by mere defects.

Whatever the reason and the cause, continued research in this area has profound implications for society. If we can come to a definitive conclusion, then it would be possible to slow the aging process, or even stop it entirely. Ultimately it has the potential to transform the human race as we know it.

The average life expectancy of an American is 77 years. In the years leading up to 1800, it was only about 40. Despite billions of dollars spent and countless research hours spent, it is rare that science can extend a life beyond 100 years old. However, there isn’t actually a scientific principle as to why we age. There are several theories, but nobody has discovered a definitive reason for the aging process. All other aspects of life aim towards increasing it, so why do we die? One theory is that there is a gene that determines how long we live. This gene would be heritable, which would explain why members of the same family have similar lifespans. However, this similar lifespan among families could also be due to similarity in behavior. Another theory is that as we age, our DNA becomes too damaged to continue replicating, resulting in death. Some evidence of this has been found, and these damages usually occur in genes responsible for energy consumption, stress resistance, or regulation of the insulin.. One would think that the repairing of these damaged genes would extend the lifespan of the organism, but so far experiments in this area have not been effective. When scientists edited these genes in mice and worms, occasionally they would live longer, but they would always show defects like infertility, inactivity, and stunted growth.

There are several theories on the reason we age as well, not just the causes behind it. One theory is that the ‘defects’ that occur later in an organism’s life are hereditary, and therefore capable of being passed down. Normally, natural selection weeds out such defects, but because these only occur late on in the life of the organism, it can still reproduce and produce healthy offspring which are also capable of reproduction. Thus the chain of life would continue and the species would continue to thrive as a whole. Any defects that contributed to agong would remain present, and continue to cause members of the species to grow old. However, if this theory were the only one that applied, it would not explain the fact that there has never been an organism without these defects, an ageless creature. One would assume that there would be an exception to aging if it was caused entirely by mere defects.

Whatever the reason and the cause, continued research in this area has profound implications for society. If we can come to a definitive conclusion, then it would be possible to slow the aging process, or even stop it entirely. Ultimately it has the potential to transform the human race as we know it.

Can suppressing information and knowledge hinder society in the way it progresses into the future?

     1984 and Brave New World contain key attributes that define the way each society behaves. These attributes manifest throughout the way the government treats its people, and how people treat others with regard to societal standards. Brave New World depicts a society by which readily available information makes the minds of individuals less willing to comprehend emotion and knowledge. 1984 depicts a world and society by which all information is contrived, people are under constant surveillance, and absolute loyalty from citizens resides with Big Brother. Both novels exert ominous traits that describe a future which is inescapable, even if someone is independent with their thought and action from society, therefore, death or zombification results from the desperate clawing for independence.

   In Brave New World, the appearance of a conglomerated society which lives off the values of “Everyone lives for everyone” is made an example of zombification and emptiness that is subservient toward superior power. World Controllers monitor and control this superior power that lies in the blindness which fuels the everyday life of monotonous labor in a seemingly infinite caste system. Most everyone in Brave New World—except one of the main characters, the Savage—is created by science in incubator tubes. Science reached a point of Godlike capacity which made the arts and “Old Knowledge,” like Shakespeare, irrelevant. Without the wonder and inspiration to learn—the bases for combating boredom—people resort to drugs or soma, to keep them happy and ignorant along with the overemphasized permission to result in sexual interactions on a disturbingly frivolous scale. In addition to the drugs and frivolity, death in this story is a concept which correlates in indifference. Since everyone lives for everyone, death is viewed as a discarded importance long forgotten, just as the importance of “Old Knowledge” is discarded. One of the World Controllers sparks a conversation with the savage where he reveals the true nature of how people maintain unanimity in their ideals of life, “They’re well off; they’re safe; they’re never ill; they’re not afraid of death; they’re blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; they’re plagued with no mothers or fathers; they’ve got no wives, or children, or lovers to feel strongly about … And if anything should go wrong, there’s soma” (Huxley 220). The Savage, under much agony, after witnessing the horror of such an unsettling society, hangs himself. His desperation for an independent life resulted in the destruction of his own; “Only those moments count, when the desire to remain by yourself is so powerful that you’d prefer to blow your brains out than exchange a word with someone” – Emil M. Cioran.

    The unsurpassed claustrophobic world of Oceania in 1984, illustrates a society where information goes beyond the common suppressiveness of voice. Knowledge and ideas are fundamental operations in the human mind that are monitored and suppressed too. The voice of the public is suppressed and altered to a point where news is only complementary to the government and Big Brother. The main character, Winston, works for the government in a position where he rewrites articles and news publications so that the information he changes is in perspective of making his government look good. However, he becomes aware of the dishonest and flawed life he’s been living. He finds a notebook and begins to write in it about his life and his mental processes relating to the world around him. Unfortunately, he is terrified when he writes in this notebook in fear of him being arrested or killed by the Thought Police. The brutal force of the Thought Police is an aspect that defines the might of Big Brother along with the government’s persuasive power. These police will eliminate anyone with independent thought, especially in reaction to a possible threat to Big Brother. Winston becomes a thought criminal and one whose capacity for freedom and truth is hindered forever. He is beaten almost every day as his will and hope break down, his desire to pursue independent thought is diminished. “He seemed to have lost the power of intellectual effort, now that the stimulus of pain had been removed” (Orwell, 275). Winston, in the end, is beaten down to the point where his soul, body, and mind are in submission to the only source of power he has left, Big Brother. “ … everything was alright, the struggle was finished … He loved Big Brother” (Orwell, 298).

   Both Huxley’s novel and Orwell’s novel depict the tragedy and folly of societies that are controlled by those who rule with absolute power. As John F. Kennedy once said, “The men who create power make an indispensable contribution to the Nation’s greatness, but the men who question power make a contribution just as indispensable, especially when that questioning is disinterested, for they determine whether we use power or power uses us”. The contribution to Literature that these works bring contain truth by which power should not be used by those who hinder the independent minds of humankind.   

Does us think lesser because internet?

Every second, the internet transfers over 51 thousand gigabytes of data, and each day Google processes over 3.5 billion searches. These are mind-boggling statistics from this internet statistics website, but what is less well understood is the effect that massive data flow is having on the mind. As The Atlantic writer Nicholas Carr puts it, “what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation.”

But is that the only effect? With so much information readily available and easily referenced, cross-referenced, and double-cross-referenced, the scientific and engineering communities have seen massive booms in nearly every field of study. An experiment or invention could be completed and replicated within a day nearly anywhere else on the globe – and results could be shared in real time. Global events and politics have been impacted in unimaginable ways – with a quick search, one can glean the most important information for the day, the week, or a hundred years past. The issue comes in how that information is organized, and why it became that way.

The concept of gleaning information quickly is a relatively new one, and it is economically incentivized for internet-based corporations. The way it works is relatively simple: advertising pays per view, which generates a push for quick flitting from hyperlink to hyperlink for websites. The way to get people to move is relatively simple as well: spread out information, and give “digests” or “summaries” that are enough for a cursory glance but won’t satisfy an avid reader. The result? Webpages are designed to push the reader from link to link, moving like a caffeine-frenzied monkey from address to address. The system is training people to skim information, fidget around for a bit, and zip along to the next one because that is how the system makes more money.

This invention of ten- or two-second repositories inevitably simplifies text. Although people are reading more to take full advantage of those pockets, the language used is simpler. According to an n-gram search provided by FiveThirtyEight of Reddit, words like “complex”, “language”, “that” and “phrase” have declined in use rates while others have stayed more or less constant (“crazy”), and a few have experienced rocketing growth – including abbreviations such as “lol”. Even “the” and “that” have declined in use. While Reddit is not necessarily indicative of the internet at large, the trend is noticeable elsewhere. (If you take a look at Google’s n-gram engine and compare words like “hippopotamus” and “hippo”, you will notice that the abbreviation tends to climb while the lengthier word declines, particularly in the mid- to late-1900s and 2000s—coinciding nicely with the advent of the internet).

Just because there is a correlation does not imply causation, an important distinction to make, but one of the most noticeable features of dystopian literature is a simplification or stripping of language (from Newspeak in 1984 to book burning in Fahrenheit 451 and the more modern simplified vocabulary of Brave New World). Although the world is not heading to unthinkington as these novels may have you believe, the language we use is changing because of the influence of the internet. In the end, it is up to each person to keep thinking and challenging themselves and those around them, against the negative influences of humanity’s most esteemed tools.

Native American Research Help

At first I had too vague of an idea for my topic. I was going to research the effects of reservations on Native Americans and see where the people stood in general. But the more I looked at research databases the more I saw the poverty levels and how the health care policies have affected them. I eventually changed my topic to how health care has affected Native Americans throughout the years. I want to show my reader how Native Americans still are struggling in today’s world just like they were hundreds of years ago (maybe not to the same degree, but they aren’t doing well). This wasn’t a preconceived idea either, I had come to understand it after seeing facts and studies throughout the years and development of looking through sources.

I can look at the opposite point of view as well. There are reasons these laws were put into effect, however I’m still looking up why they were. I can speculate the reasons. Maybe money was an issue and the health care or general support for Native Americans became too expensive, or the Native American people aren’t working hard enough to improve their own situation. There has to be hard evidence on the reasons of the lack of health care and overall down spiral of these people.

I’m open to more parts of research, there’s a lot more to look up. I could do the idea of Native Americans not doing well in general rather than only health care. This is a long paper so more facts and ideas are better than less. If you think I should include a wider range of ideas like I did at the beginning say so. While writing this reflective essay I am starting to think I might need more because what I have doesn’t seem like enough to write a full paper.

No matter what I write I’m thinking about putting up a survey for Youth Voices or interviewing other students throughout the school. This would help with research and give an idea of what the educated public feels about Native Americans. I selfishly think it would be fun too. Which would be more helpful: survey on Youth Voices or interviewing random students throughout the school? What about both?

All input is helpful! Thanks!

Adoption Inquiry 12/01

For the past few weeks, I have been gradually compiling research on adoption into an annotated bibliography for a school assignment. I began by trying to find every article on a school-supplied database, but I soon found that it was very difficult to find current research from many of them. After I began looking in various places for information, I discovered much more to be available. I have also found that, in annotating as I read, I tend to pick out too much of the writing. I now prefer spot reading, summarizing, and then rereading for the full content, in that order.

To say that creating an annotated bibliography was counter-intuitive to my natural writing process sounds unreasonable, but it is true. It would seem logical that I would be inspired and full of ideas regarding adoption by now, but the only thing I had been thinking about was the deadline for the annotated bibliography. To be honest, I feel almost as lost as when I began the process. Now is where my writing begins. I can research more and find articles as I please, knowing that I do not have to remember every detail and analyze every passage. I do not have to recheck my sources for revered authors and publishers (although I should definitely stay cautious). I can just read.

However, this is not to say that I have not learned or developed any new ideas over the past few weeks. Despite my feelings on the process thus far, my reading has caused me to understand how complicated and problematic adoption can be. When beginning reading on the topic, I had the notion that the adoption system contained various issues that required only some empathy and a couple laws to solve. Now, I understand that the issues span far greater than our government. There are issues internally. In addition to missing price caps on adoption, there are international problems, problems that are caused from mental health ignorance, and problems from lack of education. I have a great deal more of reading to do to find the root of all these issues and to address how to solve them, but for now, my thinking has been elevated.

mage Credit:

No More English Only Education

While researching the topic of Bilingual education I have learned a lot about both bilingual education now and the history of bilingual education. The first thing I learned while researching was that there is actually a lot of push for bilingual education. Not just minorities that want bilingual education parent too they realize that currently its very helpful to know two languages rather than one due to the growing immigrant population. Surprisingly Delaware and Utah are the states that have the most money going into bilingual education (Adamy).  In Houston, they started a bilingual education program and within a month the elementary students know simple commands and food in Spanish (Gross). It’s crazy how quickly kids are to new languages which is why it better to start and language young than the 2 years of a language in high school that is required (at least where I live it is). While people use the counter-argument that is if English learners are enrolled in bilingual education they take a longer time to be completely fluent in English. Though studies have shown that in high school those who were taught in a bilingual education system do better than those who were only taught in English (Learning to Assimilate: Bilingual Education). One of the states with the largest immigrant population is California, who actually passed a provision to make the majority of learning to be in English (Mendoza). Where Californias has more than 1/2 of its students are Latinos yet they don’t have as many bilingual schools as you would expect. Castellanos brings up the argument that some Latinos don’t have a high enough education to get good jobs affecting the economy since Californias population is mainly Latinos. Castellanos also states that if people feel more confident in school they also do better, maybe if those latinos felt more confident in school by speaking Spanish both at school and home a greater percentage of them would go into college. I think that its true if you are more confident in yourself in your school work then you might wanna go to college. Most people think that bilingual education started recently as if what a trend but really there have been traces of bilingual education since the 17th century with the increasing amount of polish settlers (Goldenberg). Sadly, right after WW1, there was a decline due to the nativist strong opposition of non-english languages. Thankfully now there has been an increase in the number of people that want a bilingual education.

Bilingual Education

Here in America, I feel that kids who speak a different language at home have a harder time in school. I know for me that English class was always the worst class for me since I speak Spanish at home. Maybe if we had a bilingual education system, it would help the minorities in school and increase the likely hood of them going to college. Bilingual education doesn’t always have to be in Spanish it can be whatever language is most common in that area other than English. In Ohio, there’s a school that teaches their students in both English and German. Which helps the German students in school and to learn English, it also helps the English students learn German as they also learn other information required by the state standards. What do you think? Should we have bilingual education system or should we stick with the core education?

The Effect My Dad Has On Me

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My interview took place at P.U.L.S.E high school, my current school which i will  be finishing late June. One of my peers named Matthew decided to interview me for a project which is involved in our New Media Arts p.m class. The topic of the interview was “Who is the most important person in my life and why?” I picked my father because he has been a big inspiration in my life for many reasons. But after watching the video i noticed three quotes that actually stood out to me and here are the reasons why.

The first quote is: “He would always tell me don’t mess up his family name.” This quote actually stood out the most because he always repeats this on a regular basis. He always tells me this to me to reassure that i am always on the right track and not in the wrong crowd. And this quote also stands out to me because he told me that his parents would repeat the same thing to him 24/7.”

Another quote that surprised me was the part when I said: “Be successful”. This is another thing that he would repetitively tell me because the last thing that he would want to happen to me and my brother is to be homeless and broke. On top of that success is literally his favorite word, he is always saying it. With that being said I guess him saying actually stayed in my mindset.

And finally, the last quote was kind of trimmed out of the video, but: “I love him”. This quote is one of the greatest because to have some always by my side helping me when I make a downfall and picking back up is actually very helpful. He is always making sure I am okay, doing what I have to do to get my education and always keeping me on the right track. Which is why I really appreciate him being by my side throughout this journey.

Photo by dreamsjung

The Juvenile Justice System: Deeply Flawed

In privileged communities across America, the phrase “kids are the future” is sung to remind children that they matter. But when we put juveniles in prison, it becomes clear that our justice system does not treat every kid, teen or young adult as important to our country’s success, growth and change. If we want ideas that will bring life to worn down towns, voices that will unite, and true equality, we must give juveniles convicted of petty crimes or misdemeanors another chance. We must put more money into the future success of each child in America than we do in punishing those who make mistakes and we must be equal, humane and just in how we punish juveniles.

According to research done by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Program, in October of 2015 there were 48,043 juveniles incarcerated in residential facilities across the United States. About ⅓ of these children are in state facilities, ⅓ are in local facilities and ⅓ are in private facilities. While these numbers are large, since 1995 that rate of juvenile incarceration as of 2010 has dropped 41%, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation. There is hope for us to continue this trend, but without drastic change in the mindsets and legislation surrounding juvenile incarceration, we will not be able to take a significant step forward.

One, among many problems, in the way we punish juveniles is that the justice system overcorrects. The juvenile prison population has become full of children whose records are clear of homicide and assault, but who are too severely sentenced. In 2010, only one in four incarcerated juveniles had committed a violent offense such as sexual assault, robbery, homicide or aggravated assault, says a report by the Annie E Casey Foundation. Six years later, data collected in 2016 by the Prison Policy Initiative shows that across the country, a total of 40% of all juvenile detentions are due to drug possession, violation of probations, minor offenses of public order or offenses such as trespassing. These kids are not a threat to public safety, yet the systems treatment of them does not, for the most part, differentiate by intent or surrounding circumstances. In 2015, the population of incarcerated youth for “person offenses” such as rape, homicide, assault or robbery was 50% or more of the incarcerated population in only six states, 12% of the country, including the District of Columbia as shown by data collected by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Program.

In the United States, we also face a problem in that minority juveniles are vastly overrepresented across the country among all types of correctional facilities. While 38% of the juvenile population is minorities, according to data collected by the Prison Policy Initiative, from 2015, 69% of the national juvenile residential placement population were minorities. Minorities are more often victims of sexual assault. In 2012, 64% of juveniles who reported being sexually victimized by either staff or other juveniles were minorities according to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Program. The problem of mistreatment of minority juveniles does not stop in the courtroom, but is perpetuated in juvenile facilities of all kinds.

There are two great disparities in the structure of social services and the justice system in the United States when it comes to racial and ethnic inequalities. The first is that minority juveniles have decreased access to high quality public education and support networks which have both been proven to play a large role in keeping juveniles out of prison. The second is that the criminal justice system continues to convict and sentence minorities at the harshest rate. In order to create a more just justice system, work must be done in communities across America to ensure that all children have equal access to the educational and social systems which will give them tools to reach success.

Emma Widra recently wrote an article entitled “Incarceration Shortens Life Expectancy” in which she explains that every year spent incarcerated decreases life expectancy by two years. Nationally, our country’s life expectancy has fallen five years due to the sheer size of the population of incarcerated adults in America. If we continue to put juveniles behind bars, we are continuing to devalue the lives of each individual while also negatively affecting the health of the American population as a whole.

While in many ways, it seems unimaginable to treat juveniles as anything but kids who are growing up and making mistakes, people across the country hold on to the criminal justice system as the answer to public safety and punishment. In many ways, it is easier to lock people up without second thought than it is so invest emotion, passion and time into mentoring, educating, supporting and protecting juveniles who have made mistakes. This is the reason that we spend more on the incarceration of juveniles per individual in many states across the country than we do on the education of minors. For some people, states and systems, there is no way to abolish detention centers and prisons. Many people fail to put themselves in the shoes of those imprisoned, cannot comprehend the pain that life without parole brings and believe that some people truly are “bad.” If politics get in the way,

If we can’t find a way to put an end to juvenile imprisonment as a whole, we should at least work towards what is called “the Missouri Method” in juvenile residential centers across the country. Of the state’s 32 residential facilities, only three of them have more than 33 beds according to a report called “The Costs of Confinement” done by The Justice Policy Institute. The recidivism rate is around 8.7 percent which proves that the low juvenile to employee ratio, high educational standards and intentionally low-population system is not only effective but perhaps even beneficial for juveniles and their communities. Even more impressive is the way in which the Missouri Department of Youth Services has configured their finances. According to Youth First, the state spends about $89,170 per juvenile per year, only 9.7 times more than it spends per student per year in the public school system. $89,170 is not an insignificant number, but in the context of the country as a whole, it is among the lowest.

The United States criminal justice system can no longer operate as the catch-all for kids have made mistakes within the legal realm. Anybody who spends time with teenagers knows how hard it is to create a balance between tough and understanding, but can also knows how necessary it is to support teenagers as they grow up. While the American public education system is constantly working to improve the academic and social lives of teens, it is clear that the same is not being done by the criminal justice system. In order to continue to grow and improve as a country, we have to start with the way we treat those at the bottom of the social, economic or racial hierarchy which is so deeply, and unfortunately, engrained in our country.

Virtual Schooling Inquiry

I’ve been going to a traditional school all my life, and have wondered for a while if online schooling would provide a better learning experience. I find the topic interesting because there are clear pros and cons for both forms of education. Online schooling provides a much more personalized experience, but doesn’t facilitate very much social interaction. Traditional schools generally provide the opposite experiences. A downside of online schooling would be a lot of teachers out of jobs, and the possibility for a difficult transition from traditional to online. Could these side effects be worth it? That is exactly what I hope to answer through my research. In order to stay fair, I will actively search for each side’s arguments. Actively avoiding misconstruing the opinions of any side will also be a priority of mine. What’s your opinion on the topic? Do you have any good articles for me to read on the topic?

Same-Sex Parents Research Inquiry

Original Prospectus: My research would be on kids who are raised by same-sex parents. The question I intend to answer is how does growing up with same-sex parents affect the child. This to me is very interesting because I’ve heard from certain people who oppose this that it will harm a child to be raised with same-sex parents. I’ve always heard this but never actually saw them make any statements backed up with facts and research. This is significant because it is involving a child and rights of same-sex couples being able to have kids or even the pursuit of happiness. Also adoption could come up too. It is problematic because human nature is very complex and there are always different situations and how couples raise children. There will be no black and white involved.  What I can add to the conversation is harder facts and proof that kids who are raised by same-sex couples are able to just grow up as any other kid that isn’t. I also am able to have an anecdote or first hand view on the issue because my friend has grown up with two moms. To make sure though I was covering all perspectives I would use resources such as psychology websites and even child development sites and then more religious based places to see what they actually have to say on the matter because some are the ones who are most likely to be very opposed to same-sex couples having and raising kids.

New: I was thinking of also comparing data I find also to not just households with a mother and father but maybe even with households with one parent or even a guardian. That could show  that it isn’t the people who are raising the kids but what kind of parenting style the individual(s) implement. I also want to find out more reasons why people actually harm is coming to the kids. What is there background reason for making this claim. What are the main reasons people think same-sex parents cause harm to children growing up?

Photo by torbakhopper

How does sexual assault affect the brain?

In my expository writing class, we have been assigned a research paper. It was hard to pick a topic I wanted to write about, so I asked myself, what interests you? So I started thinking, and I decided I want to research how trauma affects the brain. So then I had to ask myself; what trauma? Then I decided that I want to research how sexual assault affects the brain. And even the question, does sexual assault affect the brain?  And if it does, how does it affect the brain? Another question that I was have to consider in my essay is, what defines sexual assault? Overall my essay is going to be centered around the affects of sexual assault on the brain.



Effectiveness of the EU

The European Union is a partnership between the 28 member nations. Its goals include freedom, peace, technological advancements and sustainable development. The question is whether the EU actually promotes democracy and strengths unity. Seeing multiple nations come together to achieve common goals is fascinating, especially considering their diverse backgrounds. I think it’s incredible how countries have gone from mortal enemies to friends in a matter of decades. The problem of the effectiveness of the EU is that it can’t actually be measured, there is no definitive answer. But, the issue is significant. If the EU is deemed ineffective, then why would it still exist; but if it is effective, then it should continue and achieve its goals. I feel as though an adolescent from a non-EU member nation, like myself, that I bring a unique perspective to the conversation. My stance would be more unbiased because EU actions don’t directly affect me as much as opposed to a student from France. During my research, I plan to read as many sources as I can from many different perspectives by using databases and expert opinions. While annotating my sources, I will create a list of perspectives and cross them off when I have researched them.

Adoption Inquiry

I am beginning to write a paper on the flaws of the adoption system in the U.S., and I would love some fresh ideas or contributions of sources.

I have several ideas regarding the specific topics I’ll be researching, including the issues of foster care, the length of the adoption process, cost, mental health affects on the children, and the inconsistent rates of adoption between varying ages. Hundreds of thousands of children are currently in the foster care system, and everyone deserves a loving home. However, the process to get there is not always easy, and I want to raise awareness in my classroom and on Youth Voices of the problems involved in the adoption system. I am interested in interviewing a family friend who has adopted many children at different times in her life, but I am also looking for some articles or research reports that cover a variety of viewpoints on this topic.

Please feel free to add any comments!

Native American Treatment Today

I want to research the amount of Native Americans living on reservations and how well they are doing, or if their health is improving or declining. This would have ranging information depending on each state so I could choose whether to do the country as a whole or just by states. This is interesting to me because it has to do with the treatment of my ancestors and if it’s getting worse or better. For as long as we can remember the Native Americans have been mistreated, and if that goes on today no one is doing anything about it. I can add my own opinion and possible solutions to the conversation taking place. Information won’t be an issue regarding this subject. I can access my own tribe’s history for facts (Sault St. Marie Tribe of Chippewa), I can compare the findings to the rest of the reservations/tribes in Michigan, and maybe even compare them to the rest of the United States as a whole. It would be interesting to see how the history of the Native Americans has played out today.

Native American reservations are difficult to understand, one would think the issue of poor treatment is over because the country has left them to their own devices. However, due to the lack of health care and low food security explains the substandard health of their people. A once cultured people are spiralling downwards from increasing suicide rates and poverty. How are Native Americans fairing in today’s economic climate compared to years ago?

Could I have some feedback on my thesis and whether or not it covers enough ground?

Growth Mindset in Education: Survey

An issue surrounding our education system contains the skewed mindset of educators and students, I am researching the effects of fixed mindset in education and why growth mindset is more valuable. This is interesting to me because I am going into education as my major as well as I see myself as a person who has gone from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. I do not think many people understand the difference and that it is an issue that needs to be addressed and taught to kids from a young age. To have a fixed mindset is to focus on recording our learning and not developing it, valuing grades more than education, and that talent creates success not hard work. This is something that schools have trained us to focus on and educators are realizing that is unhealthy for the students. I plan on reading sources about the good things about growth mindset as well as the negative effects of fixed mindsets. I also feel that I need to research what it means to have natural intelligence as well as how that affects your education, as well read articles that have the argument of fixed mindset is not negative.

For my research I have crested a survey to get students opinions and feedback. Please be as honest as possible so the results are accurate! Thank you so much!

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Depression: How it affects a person

For my research project I am researching how depression affects a person. I intend to look into both the emotional and physical effects. This topic interested me because I read Shadows in the Sun by Gayathri Ramprasad. In the book Gayathri tells the story of her struggle with depression and how she overcomes it. She also talks about the social stigma surrounding mental illness in India. Her story interested me very much a made me want to learn more about depression. Many people do not understand the seriousness of depression and do not acknowledge it as a legitimate disease. By researching depression I hope to learn more about the seriousness of depression as well as how to help people with depression. I also hope to inform the public about it so that we can all take depression seriously.

Self-driving Cars: A Big Leap Forward?

In my Expository Writing class, we are working on a research paper that will help create discussions over a variety of different topics. For my paper, I chose to research about the technology of self-driving cars and their effects on our society. This topic interests me because over the past few years, self-driving cars have been a very controversial topic, with many people either strongly supporting the idea or completely against it. However, the future implementation of autonomous cars is imminent due to many companies such as Uber already implementing it into their business. In addition, many engineers and scientists claim that self-driving cars can greatly reduce accidents, CO2 emission, and pollution in general. In other words, these cars are very significant because they could be safer than actual human drivers, and they could be the transportation of the future. Even with a lot all the upside autonomous cars provide, there are still a lot of questions regarding how well our society can adapt to this change. We haven’t had a big transportation breakthrough like this since the airplane, so how will we respond to “driverless” cars on our streets, and how long will it take for us to adapt? My goal for this paper is to inform my audience about both the positive and negative aspects of this innovation, and hopefully I will be able to create a lot of interesting discussion with my essay.

Additionally, if anyone has any advice, suggestions, or comments, I would love to hear them!


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The Benefits of Learning a Language

I’m planning on writing a paper on the benefits of learning a new language. This topic is relevant to me because languages have influenced me throughout my entire life. I was introduced to languages right away. My mom is a French teacher so she spoke to my brother and I in French when we were little. Immediately, I discovered a passion for learning new languages. I started taking French as soon as I could, which was seventh grade. Then, freshmen year I decided to take Spanish as well. So I chose to test out of Spanish 1 over the summer and enroll in Spanish 2 my junior year. At first, taking both languages at the same time was difficult, but overtime it became much easier and a lot of fun. In addition to the enjoyment of learning a language it is extremely beneficial. From challenging your brain to improving your native language there are several reasons why learning another language is important. Throughout my research I want to discover all of the advantages of being bilingual. I also hope that I spread awareness and encourage people to begin to learn another language.

What do you think about the benefits of learning a new language? Do you enjoy learning languages? Do you think we should be required to take two years of a language in order to graduate? Please add any other thoughts you have.


My favorite word is ‘reasonable’. For starters, the word is applicable in nearly all situations, and it is what everyone should expect from one another. Let’s say, for example, you sit down and accidentally spill some water on the floor. You might take offense if somebody started belligerently screaming at you for spilling the water, and you would be right in taking offense as it is an unreasonable response. What the word represents easily changes from situation to situation; it is one of the most fluid words in the English dictionary. What is reasonable in one situation, may not be as reasonable in the next.

Beyond the fact that the word rolls brilliantly off of the tongue, I always try to incorporate the word into my everyday life. It is one of the best words to bring into an argument because it is truly difficult to not know what is reasonable. It is easy to argue back when one talks in extremes, but when someone approaches an argument with rational expectations and a reasonable demeanor, it is extremely easy to compromise. In my opinion, it’s unreasonable to never find a compromise.

Whenever I make a big decision, I make sure to ponder the reasonability of my actions. “Would a reasonable person do this?” is the question I find myself most often asking. Through constantly answering this question honestly, and fixing my actions accordingly, I am proud to say that I have become a much more reasonable person. It is through simple words, like reasonable, that we not only affect change in our daily lives, but on a worldwide scale.

Emotional Health


The topic we are most interested in is youth dealing with mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. It would be good to make a website on this topic because it is a very serious issue that is not addressed enough. 10 to 15 percent of teens in the U.S. deal or have dealt with depression, 30 percent of teenagers with depression develop a substance abuse problem, and anxiety affects 25 percent of all teens. Depression also increases a teens risk for attempting suicide by 12 times. Making a website on this issue where teenagers who deal with mental illnesses can turn to for help, will help bring down those numbers and help save a lot of teenagers altogether.

One of the videos we feel we would be able to remix and use clips from in our video is “Teen Suicide: No Way Out (1987).”  We think this video would be good because we could get a lot of different perspectives on depression from many different teens and what causes them to get to the point of wanting to commit suicide. Another video that we think we could use is “Stress: The Documentary (2004).” We feel like this is also a good video because stress can lead to depression so there is a connection between the two

This topic is very important to us and actually touches home. This issue personally affects us because one of us is a teenager who struggles with both depression and anxiety. Anxiety and depression problems developed when Anais was 14 years old. Depression and anxiety affects us teens in a lot of ways, for example it’s two of the reasons why Anais hasn’t been able to finish high school on time. If you aren’t getting any help, depression and anxiety can take over your life for long periods at a time, like it’s happened to Anais before. In these time periods of depression and anxiety she used to become consumed by it and her life would completely cause her to stop going to school, work, and from other responsibilities. Depression isn’t something that you can just get rid of. She had to get help and learn how to fight through her depression phases and strong anxiety. Even so, Anais is now 19 years old and is still dealing with depression and anxiety, but she is now aware of how she can get through these phases. If we could get other teens the help that Anais got, we would love to help.

We would like to ask a variety of teens what causes and brings on their depression or anxiety. We would like to ask what emotions they feel in these times of depression or anxiety. We would also like to ask what specifically can people do to help, what helps alleviate their depression and anxiety.

Teenagers who are dealing with any type of stress or are feeling depressed and anxious or feeling alone would be interested in using a website like this. This way they would know that they aren’t alone and that there are other people dealing with these issues as well. They’d be interested because it’s a way they can get help and get insightful information on ways they can get through it.

We could interview people who battle with depression. We could also interview students who go to our school and are dealing with these issues. We could also interview people who are comfortable with sharing their stories who have tried to commit suicide in the past or have gone through hard times with depression.

There are many organizations that support teens going through anxiety and depression, or even substance abuse, for example, Expert DBT/CBT care in the Upper East Side for Teens and Adults. There is also a SPTSUSA  (Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide) , nonprofit organizations trying to help teens build themselves up and become better people.

Being that topic is based on teens, middle schools, and high schools or even colleges would be good places to video tape to get strong images. We can speak to counselors and or teachers, parents, and siblings that have lost someone to a suicide . Another place would be a group counseling for people who have actually tried committing suicide or are going through anxiety and depression.

Poetry would be a great way to describe ideas to express feelings on this topic. Poetry always has keys and clues to the hurt behind it all. Poetry is a different way to express yourself. it could bring out a new way to explain yourself. Poetry has more emotion being able to let it out or make a scene of it with words is something different.

A good domain for this project might be


People’s experiences with police misconduct


The social issue that we are most interested in is police misconduct because it has to be stopped. Police Misconduct is the best for our website because we are going to address how the police officers are abusing their power. The video would show the police officers abusing people and would be asking people about their experiences with police misconduct.

The video that would be good for us to remix is called “Policing The Times (Remastered) because people are talking about their lives when they were exposed to police misconduct.

One of us, John, is personally interested in this topic because in the future he wants to be a detective and doesn’t plan on abusing his power like this because he doesn’t agree with their actions. Also, he wants the people of the U.S. to be able to rely on him.

Some questions we have about this topic are: Why do police officers treat their own people like this? How often does this happen throughout the year? How long has police misconduct been going on?

Everybody would be interested in this Web site because people would like to put an end police misconduct especially if they know someone who experienced it or if they experienced it themselves. Police misconduct is important because police are not supposed to abuse their power.

We could interview people who experience this police misconduct first-hand or bystanders who witnessed the misconduct. A person who might be a good interviewee to give us factual information is someone who went through stop and frisk.

Some places where we can go videotape are high-crime neighborhoods and ask about police misconduct. One creative idea for what we can do is we can act out a scenario and see how people think cops would react to it.

A good domain name for this social issue is:


Make Better Choices


Nowadays people talk about having abortions so that teenage mothers would not have to take care of their babies. This topic is best for building a website because there are a lot of teenagers getting pregnant at an early age and not knowing what they’re really getting into.

This topic affects many people because their are many lives being ended at young ages. Some questions for this topic would have to be: Have the group conferences actually helped the teenagers with having abortions or just giving them up for adoption? How many websites are there about abortions? And why is this important topic ignored?

Probably teens with children feel as if they aren’t ready, but their mistakes shouldn’t lead to things that major. On this type of topic we would try to interview women who already have children or had to go through having abortions.That way you can get a better understanding of what they had to go through.

You can’t just ask someone how does it feel to skydive if the person has never actually skydived. For this type of situations you should mainly contact a doctor. That way they would have a better explanation as to why teens decide to go for abortions for the only answer. They have a choice such as adoption which at least would not lead to the child being killed.

For a better understanding of the process you can go to women’s health center and take photos of the steps to have an abortion. With these steps it can show how heinous abortions are. Some terms for this topic would have to be sad, horrible, gruesome, curious.

Good website names would have to be:,,, or


What is happening to America?

What is happening to America? In the past few decades, our country and all of its inhabitants have made monumental leaps and strides to move on from our past, and to obtain a land of freedom and equality. It feels as though recently we have taken many steps backwards. This is beyond disappointing.

It all begins with our President, Donald Trump. I am deeply saddened that the American People chose him to be the leader of our country. His childish remarks are rude and offensive, and he doesn’t consider the consequences of our words and actions. I love America, I really do. But recently I have been disgusted by how we are presenting ourselves.

How could we let this happen? How could we let one man reverse all of the incredible progress that our country has made over the past years? We need to do something about this, and if we simply sit around and wait for change, it will never happen. We need to be the change. We cannot let America fall apart.

Nano Wrimo – is it just an event?

NANO Wrimo is on – what is that?

We highly recommend signing up for NaNoWriMo. Young writers (0-18) can sign up on, and those 13 or older who want to take on the 50,000-word challenge can do so at Why do it?

For 30 crazy, exciting, surprising days, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create!

Aside from being a November think for writers – it is a chance to explore what you have in your head and write with abandon.  This is freedom to take ideas that have been stewing and let them out in a form you need to grow as a writer.  With several projects on the horizon like creating a photo journal of how a state in the U.S. appears to someone who has never visited the states compared to those from outside the U.S who have been living here awhile (did you get that?) to creating a children’s book about areas of the world that are unknown except for their stereotypes, there are many possibilities to grow with your voice and ideas! We’d like to hear from you if you are interested!  🙂   NanoWrimo is just one chance to go wild with imagination, we hope to create more!

  • Harry Brake . Repentino. advisor and advocate of all things that break boundaries.




Afterlife is a common curiosity among the living. Many have different opinions about what happens after you die. Most of the ideas I have heard are related to the religion you believe in. There are ideas of going to Heaven or being reincarnated into a better life.

Scientifically, I have found that many people who have died and come back to life expressed their death as sleeping with no dreams. Most just see black and don’t recall much else. Currently, scientists are trying to understand what happens after we pass so we can fulfill our curiosity.

On the other hand is the religious aspect. The Jehovas Witness Bible says that “when a person dies, he ceases to exist”. This means they can’t think, feel, or act any longer. The way Jesus described Lazarus when he died was that he had fallen asleep. In mass, they pray “for all those who have fallen asleep in hope of the Resurrection”. Their ultimate idea is that you will be with God, but no longer feel.

Buddhists have a different belief of what happens after you pass. Once you die they believe you will be reincarnated from one soul into another. “Karma” is your moral or immoral acts that play a large factor in determining what life you will go into next. Depending on what Buddhism you believe in, there can be up to six realms you would fall into. The ultimate place you want to reach is Nirvana which allows you to let go of all suffering.

Overall, I think afterlife is a very interesting topic. I don’t have a specific belief of what happens, but I would love to hear others opinions.


Feeling Blue?

What if the energy we emit has a color? Psychic’s and Physicists alike claim that the energy we are composed of ultimately sheds a hue. It’s like a mood ring, but bigger, better, and more accurate . However, the types of auras these experts discuss vary greatly. One depends on our personality, while the other relies on science.
According to Psychic’s one’s aura is made up of multiple layers and has a variety of different color options, to list a few: Gold for wisdom, red for passion, yellow for creativity, blue for sensitivity, and violet for enlightenment. The color and personality combinations are practically endless. There are a variety of hues along with emotional descriptions that make our aura possibilities overwhelming. It is argued that the excessive amount of aura options along with the allegation of being able to see one’s aura with the human eye, make this skill less than likely.
While many doubt the authenticity of the human aura, Physicist’s may have discovered a process that will eliminate these suspicions. The fact that all things in the Universe emit energy is probable cause to look into the credibility of our very own energy based “mood rings”. According to bioelectric technology, our auras can now be captured. It is through a quantum physics based process, Kirlian Photography, that energy can be recorded in the form of light patterns. Thus, providing us proof of our individual auras. However, are these auras merely a demonstration of temperature/light/energy compounds being released from our body’s, or are they accurate descriptions of our current emotional state?

A world without plastic, would it be fantastic?

Things change every day, but one thing that seems to remain constant is plastic.  It’s found in a lot of different places for a variety of purposes, take for example the aglet on your shoelace, or the microwave in your kitchen, chances are even the mechanical pencils you keep in your back pack are made of plastic, and that’s not all that’s made out of plastic, it’s practically everywhere in some way or another. 

As most people know, plastic is damaging our environment, one of the main culprits being plastic straws.  In the United States, 500 million single use plastic straws are being used once then thrown away per day.  Straws aren’t even a necessity, they’re a luxury that was created so we wouldn’t have to pick up a glass to drink from it, we would just have to lean over and suck in through a straw.  If we look at the ocean we can see some of the damage that plastic really does.  Right now there are about 165 million tons of plastic in the ocean, to put that in perspective, it’s about 25 times the weight of the Great Pyramid of Giza, and by 2050 it’s estimated that there’s going to be more plastic in the ocean than fish.  

This is only a fraction of the effects that plastic has on us, some of these effects, like the plastic in the ocean is negative.  Some of it however can be positive, like medical equipment with plastic parts, some winter jackets have plastic in them to help provide insulation and style, and computers have plenty of parts that are made out of plastic.  However, plastic didn’t always play as big a part in our day to day lives as it does right now.  The “Plastic Revolution” began around the seventies, that’s when it took off, but like most things it didn’t take off immediately.  There was a gradual increase in plastic use, and that was only about 40 years ago, but in those forty years plastic pretty much found it’s way into every corner of our lives.  This leads me to my question, if in 2017 plastic had never been made popular, how would the world be different?  

How Much do our Early Years Affect who we are as Humans Now?

We can see how our early years like once we are talking and walking are important to our growth as humans but the very early years like our first months to 3 years old have been found to also have profound affects on our lives perhaps an even stronger connection then some of the more traditional formative years like 4-12 and our teenage years.  a study done on child development discovered that the types of emotional support received until the age of 3 has a strong affect on the way that we connect with education, how we do socially and how we form romantic relationships even though these things will come up 20 to 30 years later.  Children raised in supportive homes tend to do better on tests like the ACT and the SAT and that support has to be found in the first 3 years of life.  Social skills that we build as children can also have a profound affect on how we act when we get into the professional world, in a study done over 20 years proved that children that are used to being around and working with other children early on tend to led into how well you do getting jobs and things of that nature.  These situations and surely other things we go through from the our earliest years can help build us into the unique and interesting people we are today and can affect who we all are in our later lives.

Ethics of Metal, Glass, and Plastic

A little while ago, I visited the Moral Machines website. It’s a study put out by MIT to see how people would respond to a machine having to choose between lives. Turns out, I prefer hoomans a lot more than pets, if forced to choose between them. Some scenarios are distinctly uncomfortable – how do you choose between two doctors on one hand and two obese parents and their child on the other? Or the owner of a vehicle, and a poor sod on the street? While you will likely not see the same scenarios I did, I am curious to see how you would respond if you were a Moral Machine.

Let me take a step back. Isaac Asimov, a famous science-fiction writer, came up with three laws to govern self-aware robots:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the first law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the first or second laws.

These laws are quite sound, but they effectively consign robots to forced labor in human-free environments. No robot warfare, no robot police, and no robot self-driving vehicles would be allowed because, as New York Times writer Gary Marcus said in his post Moral Machines, “an automated car that aimed to minimize harm would never leave the driveway.” That same car may even smash human-free vehicles parked in their driveways to stop those from leaving!

While computer algorithms are nowhere near “comprehending” abstract ethics like good and evil, or even predicting what would happen if a water balloon is tossed at a wall, robots are even today making choices. Self-driving vehicles are legal in several states, but are they ethical? Can they be held responsible for making a choice, or does responsibility fall to the programmer(s)? The consumer who purchased the car? If we are aiming to entrust more and more of our lives to different sized boxes of plastic, metal, and glass, how do we know they would make the choices we would, or correct us when we are wrong? In years to come, politicians, engineers, and moral leaders will have to gather and sweep aside ideological boundaries to confront the progress of technology together for the betterment of society. Who knows? A computer might be one of them…

Coffee causing Acne?

If caffeine is presently found in most drinks like espresso drinks and sugary drinks, do these drinks cause acne-prone skin, let alone breakouts?


Coffee, like gluten and alcohol, is one of those things that health professional flip-flop on. Some say it’s good some say it’s bad, some say its best in moderation — no can really agree here. Coffee contains antioxidant everyone is always talking about, as well as lignans, and a few of that other good-for-you. Studies have shown coffee can be beneficial for your heart and brain function, but more interesting, coffee is apparently good for battling depression.

“As anecdotal evidence goes, there are women out there who swear that giving up coffee helped their skin. It’s hard to use this as concrete proof, however, especially as we can’t say for sure what type of coffee these ladies were drinking regularly. Obviously, if you add lots of milk and sugar to coffee (or order a sugar-laden coffee drink at your local coffee shop), your skin is going to pay for it – we’ve already established here on the blog that milk and sugar can be triggers for acne.” – Seppo

So here is the low-down on coffee, and why it can clog up your face: Coffee stresses out your body. High doses of acidic caffeine activate your sympathetic nervous system — or stress hormones — according to nutritionist Paula Simpson. It triggers that fight-or-flight response, firing up your adrenal glands, thus pumping out excess stress hormones, called catecholamines. This is bad news for your skin, especially if you’re acne prone. The stress hormones that prep for your fight-or-flight (like cortisol) also triggers acne by causing your skin’s oil production to go into hyperdrive, producing more sebum (oil) which makes you shiny and further clogs your pores. Additionally, coffee heightens your body’s inflammation levels, which makes existing acne more red and swollen.


Coffee messes with your blood sugar levels. “Elevated stress hormones offset insulin sensitivity and balance,” explained Simpson. According to Simpson, excess insulin can cause excess sebum production, interrupt skin cell renewal cycles and trigger inflammation in the body. All three factors can increase acne. Coffee messes with your gut. Coffee can cause this nasty thing called “leaky gut syndrome,” a terrible-sounding condition that occurs when the junctions in your intestinal lining weaken and break, disrupting important nutrient absorption. Coffee is one of these disruptors. What happens here is that the high acidity in coffee annihilates your happy tummy flora and allows bad bacteria to fester. This inflames your gut, which not only leads to gut leakage but also causes inflammation, which heightens the blotchy, red look of any pre-existing acne.


“My breakouts finally cleared up in week three, and I have to admit, my skin looked smoother and more healed than normal. The little breakouts that tend to linger all but disappeared, and the pores that always give me trouble looked less congested than usual. I’m not going to say my skin looked J.Lo glowy, but I wasn’t hating the experiment as much I was early on.

The other change I observed was in my skin’s moisture level. I almost always have a few dry patches around my nose and chin, but by week three my skin was far less parched, leading me to believe that perhaps I wasn’t exempt from the dehydrating effects of coffee.” –  DEVEN HOPP

LDS Influence on Utah.

Utah is perhaps best know for the young men and women it sends out in white oxfords and names tags called missionaries. These religious missions are partially responsible for nineteen percent of Utah residents speaking a second language compared to the national fifteen percent. As well only seven percent of Utahns are not proficient in english while twenty one percent of the national populations fails in english proficiency. Missionaries sent overseas learn the language of the country where they serve.  Over one hundred and twenty languages are spoken in u\Utah and one in twelve Utahns is an immigrant. One of the largest growing populations and languages in Utah is Tongan. This may be accredited to the large number of missions sent to Tonga-Samoa. No doubt the LDS church has an huge influence on the demographics and culture of Utah. Still only sixty three percent of Utahns are mormon of that forty three are considered active members. However republicans hold a eighty six to eighteen majority in the Utah legislator, eighty eight of the representatives are active members of the church and only one of the vast majority of republicans is not mormon. It’s clear that this is not a proportional representation of Utah’s population. The church has taken strong stances on a number of controversial issues and the politicians in Utah are greatly influenced by their faith. Sen. Jim Dabakis was recorded saying “I find a lot of my colleagues perceive that their church would act this way, and therefore they would need to act this way,”  It appears even on issues that the church does not involve itself  the values and opinions of the church still influence law makers. When the church does become involved it can make a big difference. Dabakis remembers struggling to pass a law preventing housing discrimination to the LGBTQ community until the LDS church publicly backed it. Utah legislature has remained predominantly republican and LDS over the years even as numbers of churchgoers and republicans has declined. Whether you find yourself on the same side of the isle as the church or not it cannot be denied that the LDS church an influence over Utah politics that greatly misrepresents its residence.

How Will Utah’s Political Views Change Over Time?

When travelling to other states, almost always, the first question people ask me after I tell them I’m from Utah is if I’m mormon. After I tell them that I am in fact not mormon, people usually look extremely surprised. When people think of Utah, they usually picture that almost everybody is LDS and that we see missionaries in white oxford shirts with a Book of Mormon in their front pocket on a day to day basis. While there are an extremely high number of mormons in Utah, we have been seeing more diversity over the last couple years.

According to Sperling’s Best Places, about 82% of Utahns are religious and of that 82%, 72% are mormon. Most mormons are extremely conservative, but there are arguments that Utah is actually becoming more liberal. In an article titled Utah: Very Republican, but Not Quite as Conservative as It Appears, they say “Salt Lake City has become more diverse, and Salt Lake County is now a swing county in some elections. Liberal pockets can be found, of all places, right around the L.D.S. headquarters in Salt Lake City, where many professional, non-Mormon migrants have settled. To the east, Park City, home to the Sundance Film Festival, is also fairly liberal.” Our mormon majority has began to shrink over the last couple years as well, giving way to a slight shift in political views.

Personally, I have definitely noticed a shift. Most of my friends are liberal and even some of my mormon friends are liberal as well. While the vast majority of Utah is still mormon and conservative, the demographics are beginning to become a little more diverse. With more out of state people moving into Utah, specifically Salt Lake City, it should be interesting to see how our political views change over the next decade or so, especially after our most recent presidency.

A Question of Choice

I’m sure you’ve heard someone say, “You decide!” But are you actually making a choice? A choice is something that is decided upon after deliberation between alternatives. In that sense, even computers make choices, but the question is whether or not the choice was free; whether or not people have free will. A computer may choose to display one result over another after a google search, but that was defined very clearly by an algorithm of set laws and boundaries, and every similar search will produce similar results until the algorithm or the data changes. In that sense, it is not free at all, the same way in which a flytrap closes around an unfortunate insect, purely the result of some natural laws being employed in a single specific circumstance. Particles don’t make choices, even on the quantum scale, no scientist has ever displayed a particle with any semblance of choice, only probability: this is where it is likely to go, or unlikely, but it’s going somewhere because of these laws. Religions are mixed on the subject as well. Predestination in Christianity is an example of no, or limited, free will, as well as any example of an omniscient God in religion, but this is countered by the metaphysical argument that knowing all futures simply involves knowing every possible branch in time after every possible choice – thereby leaving the choice intact, and the theological omniscience. As the Catholic Church puts it in their Catechism, “Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one’s own responsibility. By free will one shapes one’s own life.”

The The Atlantic’s writer Stephen Cave eloquently argues,

“It was already known that electrical activity builds up in a person’s brain before she, for example, moves her hand; Libet showed that this buildup occurs before the person consciously makes a decision to move. The conscious experience of deciding to act, which we usually associate with free will, appears to be an add-on, a post hoc reconstruction of events that occurs after the brain has already set the act in motion. If moral responsibility depends on faith in our own agency, then as belief in determinism spreads, will we become morally irresponsible? And if we increasingly see belief in free will as a delusion, what will happen to all those institutions that are based on it? It seems that when people stop believing they are free agents, they stop seeing themselves as blameworthy for their actions. Consequently, they act less responsibly and give in to their baser instincts.”

Even if all said above is true, is deliberation free in itself? The capacity to deliberate to such an immense degree is unique to humanity among all (discovered) life forms, and the act of deliberation and choice may well be ‘free enough’, even if choices can be predicted. In other words, simply proving that a prediction based on measured symptoms is true does not mean that what caused those symptoms was any more deterministic than a proper prediction of the movements of a quantum particle. The issue seems to fall on responsibility, the perception that just because your choice can be predicted means you are that much less responsible for it is fallacious. Your decision is your responsibility, even if you were coerced by your own brain into making it. We can also alter a human’s behaviour by cutting off a limb, and change the probabilities of a particle by hitting it with another particle. Humanity may be little more than the most complex computer in the world, but the choices behind them are still as real as they ever have been. Even if they can be predicted.


There’s a word that helped me many instances in my life. It assisted in pursuing dreams, looking forward into the future, and making a comeback after a fiasco. Whenever someone said “no” or rejected what I had, thought, created, or performed, this helped me rise and give me determination to reclaim my shattered goal. Can you believe in the power of one such word?

Optimism, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means “hopeful of the future or the successful outcome of something.” To me, it’s more than that. I’ve always been a kid meticulous with time, thinking about what I needed to do for my life ahead of me. Being hopeful of certain outcomes helped me predict my time management and establish goals and pursue them without a doubt. I could expand my imagination onto many things past what was expected and bound by reality because I was optimistic. I worked hard for every step in my path, receiving accomplishments in order to obtain employment I’ve always wanted to have.

At times, though, I would fall short. I would get an atrocious grade on a test. My proposals would be rejected. Stage fright would make me look terrible as I performed for an audience or I would get hurt as I played on the field. Despite these blunders, optimism helped carry me through, helping me see the mistake I made, so I wouldn’t need to repeat it again.

It’s amazing that one word could give a great impact in my life.

Are Ghosts Real?

 ghost photoI already know that ghosts are scientifically not proven to exist, but there’s been millions of stories about encounters with beings of the third dimension. I believe ghosts are real because of the way people say things like, “my dead mother visited me last night.” I believe they exist because I have always felt as though something was with me in certain moments. For example a friend who unexpectedly passed away visits me when I’m playing soccer. I think that if a spirit hasn’t accomplished their purpose in life by the time they pass away, they don’t go on to heaven and stay until they consider the job done.

Do other people feel the same way as I do? I know lots of people who do, but they’re apart of my community. I want to know if there’s a common belief that ghosts exist on a global scale. I also want to know if it could be related to extraterrestrials, because there are also many accounts of an otherworldly being.


Live Science – Are Ghosts Real?

“2013 Harris Poll found that 43 percent of Americans believe in ghosts.”

“Ghost experiencers, “did not see something that approximated the conventional image of a ‘ghost.’ Instead, many of [the] respondents were simply convinced that they had experienced something uncanny — something inexplicable, extraordinary, mysterious, or eerie.”

“Albert Einstein suggested a scientific basis for the reality of ghosts, based on the First Law of Thermodynamics: if energy cannot be created or destroyed but only change form, so what happens to our body’s energy when we die?”


UFOs, Cryptids & Ghosts: Branches of the Same Tree?

“Trans-personal psychology and theoretical physics, most of today’s experts are still married to the same assumptions in their respective fields.” 

“Quantum mechanics all pointed to a single explanation: multiple parallel worlds, an open system with relatively free exchanges of energy and, at times, inhabitants.”

“‘Ghosts’ weren’t dead people but actual people living in parallel worlds that happened to intersect ours at certain times, places and states.”

After research, I’ve concluded that ghosts are in fact real, but only if you choose to believe so. Since there is no physical proof that ghosts or aliens exist, we can not scientifically prove anything about them. But, by using logical thinking, it gives us strong “hopes” that they do in fact exist. They may not exist in the traditional view of them being a white mystifying being, but maybe they’re an exchange of energy between particles that exist in different parallel universes. Many people who have lost loved ones swear on the presence of that loved one as a “ghost” or being. I like to think that ghosts are real, because then maybe I won’t be as scared of them.
Photo by Sabrina Campagna Live Music Photographer

Should Fidget Spinners Be Banned?

Fidget spinners have been the trend for the last few months. It has been so popular and many children and adults have bought them. However these toys were made specifically for people with ADD and ADHD, and some people use that to their advantage by using it during class and distracting everyone and the teachers don’t like them anyway.

People have taken these fidget toys with them and that has caused the teachers and DOE to get annoyed at them and now they are banned in public schools. Accidents have happened with these toys such as a boy getting hurt in the eye with one of these, but that was only a part of the reason it became banned. These toys may be fun and all but playing with it during class and getting caught just makes it worse. Why can’t people just play at home and never bring it to school? Some people just are like that, they want to do something for their sake but that causes the whole lot to get tagged along.

Fidget spinners may be fun but they should be left at home and not taken to school. All fidget spinners deserve to be banned.

Coconut Lime Breeze

It’s the smell of mother

The spell of months

It’s the smell of stillness

The smell of sickness

It’s the smell of money

The smell of medicine

It’s It’s the smell of living

The smell of loathing  

It’s the smell of time lost

The smell of tremendous gains

Huck Finn Dialectic Journal

May 1, 2017

Chapters 17-18

P. 105 “We said there warn’t no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don’t. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft.” (Irony)


 This passage shows immense irony. During these two chapters, Huck and Jim encounter a Shakespearean cliche story between the Grangerfords and the Sheperdsons. Those families were fighting for a long time for unknown reasons, kind of hinting an allegory to Romeo and Juliet in my opinion. These families were both rich and went to church, making Huck admiring these “civilized” families. However, upon finding the violence, he noticed that big homes and “civilized” families were brutal reality and not as good as the raft.
 Through his experience, he faces great amounts of irony. These families followed most rules Miss Watson taught Huck, but the violence and bloodshed among each other for unknown reasons. This made him doubt humanity and what he learned from Miss Watson. Also, people viewed him as not civilized, travelling in the southern Mississippi River on a raft with an African American. However, in my opinion, Huck thought that civilization was on the raft, where it was tranquil and safe, and the riverbank and land represented danger, showing another part of irony. Using irony, I can see how Huck develops as a character throughout the story. I feel really bad for Huck right now. Poor kid.

Just to let You Know

Poem in the style of Williams

Just to let you know

I did not return

the change from

the groceries which

you had me buy


i know you

may have wanted to


it for something


but I bought

some fries

so salty

they were golden brown

and satisfying

The Running Shoe Debate: Maximalist vs. Minimalist (Part 2)

running photo

In the Gale Research Database I found various articles and research about different types of running shoes.

In a study published by Reuters Health Medical News, runners reported higher rates of injury and pain with minimal (less structured) shoes. After three months of  switching from a traditional shoe to a variety of minimalist shoes, runners participating in the study had 2-3 times as many injuries compared to the runners who stuck with traditional shoes.

All Things Considered published an article called Minimalist Shoes Smacked With Lawsuit, As Health Claims Get The Boot. This article reflects on the false claims that  the company Vibram FiveFingers  (a minimalist shoe company) made in it’s marketing. They claimed their minimalist shoes could prevent injuries better than traditional running shoes. Not only did they loose credibility because of their false claims, but they also settled a class-action lawsuit for more than $3.5 million. 

Forget Barefoot; New Trendsetter, if Not Pacesetter, Is Cushioning was published in the New York Times in 2015. The piece talks about how the minimalist running shoe trend has completely flipped and now maximal shoes are taking over. The article highlights how Leo Manzano’s (Olympic medalist in the 1,500m) plantar fasciitis disappeared in just a week after switching to Hoka One Ones  (maximal shoe).  Even though Manzano swears by Hokas he still runs his short speed workouts barefoot or in light trainers to keep his feet strong. Manzano felt that the higher cushioning of his Hokas suited his higher mileage. In July, he became the fifth fastest American in the 1,500m. Rich Mendelowitz (experienced runner) started wearing Hokas while training for the Boston Marathon at age 55.  He stated that ” I’m convinced that these are the shoes that will extend your running life”. Lastly the article highlights Dicharry (a biomechanist,) who suggested that extreme shoes like the Hokas might be best used in moderation. “They could be good for easy runs,” he said. ”But when you’re doing a speed workout, you want to go back to firmer footwear that helps your body explode off the ground.”


Raiders or Traders?

Vikings are commonly known as the vicious marauders of the time period from about 750 to 1000 AD. Once they developed their longboats, they were free to travel about the Atlantic Ocean with no interruption from other peoples. Although they are more known for their vicious fighting, back in that time, they were more commonly traders.

The first account of a Viking raid was on the island of Lindisfarne, in 793. These raiders were based out of Norway. This was the beginning of the Viking influence on the rest of Europe. After this raid, the Vikings began to raid continuously. Within 50 years, the Vikings controlled the Atlantic, and could travel wherever they wanted without any interruption. In the 800’s, Danes were the ones attacking the coast of England, and at one point controlled much of Scotland and Ireland.

Intelligence Gale Research

The media, especially movies, can be very misleading when portraying the life of a spy and the intelligence community as a whole. A very significant example of this would obviously be seen in almost every James Bond film, like Skyfall per se. Believe it or not, the film Skyfall actually shows, to a point, a somewhat accurate representation of the issues they could be facing. These could include cyber threats and all of the information the internet can possess, government accountability when it comes to their intelligence services, and many other conflicts actually being faced in the modern world. This specific movie serves as a precursor to the works of Edward Snowden, with leaks within MI6, and references to Wikileaks. So the threats portrayed in these films can be more than real, but it’s the process by which these threats are taken down that are drastically exaggerated. The point is, if you want to watch one of the more accurate films, Skyfall is the one, as it offers prominent rendering of areas such as cryptography, surveillance, cyber warfare, and signals intelligence.

Smith, James. “‘How safe do you feel?’: James Bond, Skyfall, and the politics of the secret agent in an age of ubiquitous threat.” College Literature, vol. 43, no. 1, 2016, p. 145+. Literature Resource Center, Accessed 10 Feb. 2017.


“Miller, Scott: AGENT 110.” Kirkus Reviews, 1 Feb. 2017. Literature Resource Center, Accessed 10 Feb. 2017.

Are emotions good or bad?

How will the world react when there is further increase of people that live their lives in autopilot? Autopilot being a state at which one does not see their surroundings, when one makes choices subconsciously with no effort to thinking about it, and when only a few emotions are required. This is what the overall goal is but to fully understand the outcome of selective emotions in daily life, I had to find out what emotions are and how they might’ve helped us throughout history.

Emotions are overall accepted as natural but the function can be argued in two ways. First argument is that they contribute to our well being, helps us continue our moral behaviour, and motivates us to progress. The English naturalist and geologist, Charles Darwin, known best for “survival of the fittest” argued in his theory of evolution that emotions play a great part of the continuation of evolution. Over time we’ve  only accepted the “survival of the fittest” part of his theory, which he only said twice in his book, and ignored the “love” part when he said it 95 times. He tried to say that emotions have helped us progress in the changing world, from survival to adaption of our surroundings.

The Second argument is that emotions have been passed down by our ancestors and are a residue of our animal nature, they are a distraction and even obstacle to civilized life. The American philosopher and psychologist, William James, believed emotions were sensations caused by physiological disruptions. In other words emotions can be simply put as two main things. One being pleasure and the second being discomfort.

This is only the beginning of my research about emotions but so far we can infer that emotions do play a great part in life in a good or bad way. But it is still unknown if limiting emotions could be beneficial or harmful in daily life. Could it be that feeling less emotions help us progress and achieve a greater world for all?  


Solomon, Robert C. “Emotions.” New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, edited by Maryanne Cline Horowitz, vol. 2, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2005, pp. 649-651. Student Resources in Accessed 13 Feb. 2017.

Early Christianity Gale Research Sources

For my research project on the Early Christian Church, I have obtained a few sources from the Gale Research Center. One is based off an essay on “Bede’s Ecclesiastical History” which contains much of the history of the church in the Roman Empire. The next provides an explanation of the Council of Nicaea which was a turning point in Christianity under Emperor Constantine’s provision.  The last speaks of the Sabbath commanded by God and it’s significance. I will use these sources in my research paper in order to address the topic of the early church changing in history.

Stephens, J. N. “Bede’s Ecclesiastical History.” Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism, edited by Jelena O. Krstovic and Daniel G. Marowski, vol. 20, Gale, 1997. Literature Resource Center, Accessed 10 Feb. 2017. Originally published in History: The Journal of the Historical Association, vol. 62, no. 204, Feb. 1977, p. 114.


“The First Council of Nicaea Codifies Christianity: 325.” Global Events: Milestone Events Throughout History, edited by Jennifer Stock, vol. 5: Middle East, Gale, 2014. Student Resources in Context, Accessed 10 Feb. 2017.


Ringe, Sharon H. “‘Holy, as the Lord your God commanded you’: Sabbath in the new testament.” Interpretation, vol. 59, no. 1, 2005, p. 17+. Student Resources in Context, Accessed 10 Feb. 2017.

Photo by Monika Kostera (urbanlegend)


The Aztecs believed that every 52 years, one full cycle of their solar year, the world would end and in order to prevent that from happening they preformed Toxhiuhmolpilia, the New Fire Ceremony. They considered fire to be one of the essential elements of the universe and their god of fire, Xiuhtecuhtli, was the generative force for the ceremony. 

To prepare for Toxhiuhmolpilia, all fires were extinguished, the city was cleaned, pregnant women were locked away and their faces were painted blue so they wouldn’t turn into monsters, and children’s faces were also painted and they were kept from falling asleep in order to keep them from turning into mice. Then all commotion was stopped and people climbed onto their roofs to wait for the new fire.

The priests who conducted the ceremony would lead a war captive to the peak of the volcanic mountain, Mt. Uixachtecatl, just outside the main city. The priests were extravagantly dressed as their gods wearing intricate masks, feathers, and cloaks. When the the Pleiades constellation reached it’s zenith, and the Yohualtecuhtli star was shined bright in the middle of the sky, the human sacrifice began. The High Priest, dressed as Xiuhtecuhtli, cut out the war captive’s heart then started a fire in his chest cavity. If the fire did not die, then Xiuhtecuhtli was reborn and the sun would be renewed. The new fire was carried across the empire signaling the world/universe had not ended. On the other hand, if the fire failed to light in the sacrifice, then the Tzitzimime (star demons) would come down to earth and slaughter every human, ending the Aztec Empire and destroying the world.

Info from



Photo by Mr.Thomas

How Social Media can Spread Outdoor Awareness

Since my last post, I have done more research about how social media can and cannot positively influence people and their use of the outdoors.

According to several articles, including one by the Africa News Service and another by the Scotsman, social media has become a major distraction. Our person to person contact is now very limited. Our senses are being diluted because of our constant and accessible screen time. Social media has also upped the teen depression, cyberbullying, and loss of self confidence. Although this has less to do with the outdoors, the New York Times discusses how troubled teens and youths are  leaving their social media and technology behind and heading out to the Utah Wilderness as a therapeutic treatment. This is another way we can use the outdoors to free ourselves from technology, go ‘unplugged’. We need too stop exploiting the outdoors and fully appreciate nature.

Another way we can use media, as discussed on NPR’s Morning Edition, is by making accessible to the youth, and creating healthy competition. Britain’s National Trust created a list with 50 Things every child should do before they reach 11 3/4 . They promoted this list using social media, to get more ideas and create a longer list for kids to accomplish. They did this program in order to get kids outside and off technology/social media, which seems a bit hypocritical, but the list worked. We need to promote nature, National Parks, and outdoor recreation, without exploiting and abusing the natural landscape. 

People need to be aware of what is out there, and to go and enjoy it, but they must also be aware of the risks and how we must be careful of our impact and choices.

Big Oil and Politics: Continued Research

Big oil and politics have a close relationship. This combination of money and policy influence many key factors of the global economy. For example, the automotive and aeronautical industry are completely reliant on petroleum fuels, and policy helps shape these industries. The clean energy sector struggles as a result of big oil and politics. Big oil companies like Exxon make enormous campaign contributions and interest groups donations. This buys the support of the politician upon their victory. Top lobbyists put even more pressure on politicians to satisfy the oil companies. Tax breaks and unlimited access to politicians are two of the biggest resources the oil companies have at their disposal. Lobbyists for companies like Ford, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Toyota also must also comply with big oil desires so their products can have fuel. These companies also receive most of their money from the government and military contracts, meaning big oil is inherently necessary to their funding and construction. These relationships are not only present in the US government, but of nations across the globe that contribute to the global economy

The potential for clean energy conversion is in humanity’s grasp. However, clean energy companies and researchers have access to nowhere near the amount of resources big oil can use. By working their way into politics, oil companies can easily suppress clean energy conversion efforts. For example, the Trump Administration’s cabinet has several big oil CEO’s, including Rex Tillerson of Exxon being appointed to Secretary of State. Policy, foreign and domestic, is being influenced by a man who is naturally biased toward oil development and sale. The same situation has presented itself in Australia. Clean energy investments went down 70% in 2016 and the nation’s government tried to get a foothold in energy sectors. This further highlights the deep roots of global oil power over politics.






Slocum, Tyson. “Offshore Drilling Will Enrich Big Oil Companies and Hurt the Middle Class.” Offshore Drilling, edited by Margaret Haerens, Greenhaven Press, 2010. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 7 Feb. 2017. Originally published as “Oil Companies Escape Billions in Royalty Payments to Americans,”, 30 July 2008.

“U.S. Foreign Policy and the Axis of Oil.” Weekend Edition Sunday, 14 Jan. 2007. Global Issues in Context, Accessed 7 Feb. 2017.

“Trump entrusts foreign policy to Texas oil man.” EFE World News Service, 13 Dec. 2016. Global Issues in Context, Accessed 7 Feb. 2017.

“Move to clean energy requires smart policy.” Age [Melbourne, Australia], 24 Sept. 2016, p. 28. Global Issues in Context, Accessed 12 Feb. 2017.

“Dirty or clean, politics drive energy deals.” Globe & Mail [Toronto, Canada], 4 July 2016, p. A9. Global Issues in Context, Accessed 12 Feb. 2017.

Causes of Violent Outbursts in Youth, A Research Paper

I chose for my research paper topic to study the causes of violent outbursts in youth. I chose this topic because I work as a Promise Prevention Specialist. In my work, myself and other prevention specialists work with highly troubled children. Often they are immigrants, refugees, have experienced homelessness at least once in their lives, or are moving through the foster program. Because of this and a myriad of histories and backgrounds the students I work with have to offer, many are considered to be “troubled”. The most common symptom is this is the seemingly inexplicable outbursts of brief violence that a child in normal development should’ve outgrown already. Many students enter a near tantrum like state, or incommunicable rage, becoming violent for a short period of time, or simply act in a way that contradicts their normal character. Often after this period has ended, many students feel immediate remorse and shame for their actions. Yet, over time, these episodes become repeating, with the students having little control, or will to control themselves. My theory is that student’s act this way because they are reflecting upon social experience/inexperience they have seen or been apart of second hand. This narrows it down to exclusively their interactions with other people, family, friends, and their teachers. I believe this is a more likely explanation than violence in news & media as a causation along with other theories.

The American Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders believes many children experience aggression waves because of a mental disorder known as Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED), they justify this through their research of abnormal brain growth. According to their studies they found individuals with abnormal brain growth in the serotoninergic system. This is the area that controls seratonin , which in turn controls our inhibition and as well as some of our muscle and motor control. Also, they found that some individuals with IED had lower glucose and blood sugar levels of metabolism than those who didn’t experience systems. They also found some patients had higher amplitudes of brain waves. However, much of their research is still underway but these are the most likely theories at this point. According to The American Journal of Psychology,  causes of aggression may be from a form of PTSD that directly affects undeveloped brains, making youth the most likely hosts of the disorder. After a study of  100 inner city kids of ages 3-18 the scientists found that 59 had experienced trauma as a percipient to PTSD. Of those 59, 39 were young men.  While trauma doesn’t equal PTSD, it can easily develop post trauma. The majority of trauma originated from cases of domestic violence within the household. I think that after reading these two studies, IED and PTSD could easily be present in children with unexplained violent outbursts, and in some cases could help to prove my theory of social experiences to be true, however I need more definitive research.

Fermi Paradox Pt.2

One possible solution to the paradox I talked about in my last post is the so-called “Great Filter Theory”. The Great Filter Theory states that there’s a wall that all or nearly all attempts at life hit. There’s some stage in the long evolutionary process of life that is extremely unlikely or impossible for life to get beyond. That stage is The Great Filter. For example, this barrier could be the original jump from a eukaryote to a prokaryote. It could also be the jump from chimps to man. An even scarier thought is that the filter could not have happened yet, and the human race is still waiting to be filtered out.

There is a way to find out if that scary thought could possibly come true, and that way is the search for life, even if minuscule, on the planets in just our solar system. The discovery of even simple life on Mars would be devastating because it would cut out a number of potential Great Filters behind us. And if we were to find fossilized complex life on Mars, Oxford University’s philosopher Nick Bostrom says, “it would be by far the worst news ever printed on a newspaper cover,” because it would mean The Great Filter is almost definitely ahead of us—ultimately dooming the species. Bostrom believes that when it comes to The Fermi Paradox, “the silence of the night sky is golden.”

This led me to read some articles about Mars and the potential of life on its surface.

To be honest, the material I read was fairly boring and did not point to any space creatures of sorts, or even the potential of them. It did, in fact, point out the reasons that all Planets in our solar system couldn’t host life, at least not life with the basics of biology that we know. If aliens were living next to us, they’d have to look and maneuver like something we can’t even imagine.

Gale Reference



Mars Mission

I decided to do my research paper on the Mars mission because I have always been interested in space travel, and in the news it has been said that this is going to be a death mission. Why though? Is it due to a lack of resources? Is this mission to find extraterrestrial life? Will humans be living on Mar in the future due to the ongoing catastrophes happening on earth? These are of the many questions I am trying to answer. I also speculate that the government his hiding information on why this mission is so important. Another interesting thing to see is the conspiracies to come with the mission. Just like Apollo mission, people believe it never happened, or the missions that were successful encountered extraterrestrial life on the moon. Space is a big mystery, being trapped in our own world, who knows what goes on outside of earth. Besides, maybe the government.

NASA states that the journey to mars will take place in the 2030’s. Because of previous missions like the curiosity rover, the safety of the astronauts have increased due to the information being relayed back to NASA. Plus they are sending another rover in 2020 which will give scientist an idea of Martian resources, especially oxygen. Upon doing some research on the Mars mission. I came across key information on the mars one website. The website stated that this was a one way trip to in fact colonize the planet. This establishment is not planning on being on the planet temporarily, scientist hope for this establishment to be permanent. This website also gives you background on the selection process for who gets to go to Mars, and the finalist too. mars photo

Why the US dropped the bomb

Through my research on the topic of dropping the bombs on Japan, I have found many unique perspectives on the issue. In e research for this post I focused on the perspective of members of the US military. Below are two sources written by or for members of the US military from their perspectives.

In the first source, I found a very interesting take on the US role in the war. He started by pointing out that Japan was the aggressor in this situation. Many people see the US as bullies in this situation, but really in the end our role in the war was self defense. While the execution may be controversial, the reason for dropping the bomb was to end the conflict, and prevent furor loss of US lives. Above all, the focus of this perspective was that Japan brought this upon themselves, and should be willing to deal with the consequences of a conflict they started.

The second source takes a different stand on this issue, yet still in support of the dropping of the bomb. This source took the position that the net loss of lives in dropping the bomb was fewer than had a mainland invasion of Japan occurred. In specific, he stated that the estimate death toll of he invasions was 1 million, and that the conflict would have persist led for many more months. This perspective makes a very reasonable argument that dropping the bomb limited the death toll and time of the war.


i choose teleportation

every now and then one of you teachers ask you what superpower you would want to have  like say if a person asked you what would you prefer if they said what bool you would write about there are endless possibilities but you know all about them and if you don’t know then you could infer what the book (aka power) was about so would you choose

flying,super speed,controlling things with your mind,controlling elements,teleportation (wink wink nudge nudge),laser eyes,super strength

any super power you want but that’s not what i an trying to say here i’m telling you what super power i would choose i would choose teleportation because there are many things you could do with teleportation like go through time go any where you want in a matter of milliseconds and you can get out of many bad situations with it teleportation its what i would choose and if i could choose a second power it would be to control all the elements but that is the power is the one i will always choose

so i choose teleportation


An algorithm, in its most basic form is an equation that given inputs, outputs a value. Algorithms are everywhere along with advanced machine learning. Google uses algorithms, so does Netflix and Amazon. The remarkable thing that happened last year with algorithms and machine learning was when a computer program beat one of the best Go players in the world. Go is the pinnacle of human invented games. There are more Go board configurations than there are atoms in the universe, so the computer could not simply calculate every possible move like in chess. What is the next step for machines? Turing theorized that a machine could eventually be capable of answer or solving any problem. This is what I would like to research for my research project, but there is a problem. Algorithms in machine learning is not simple.   It usually is graduate level. Anyone know where I can get good information on algorithms. I haven’t read a periodical that I have understood well.

What does it mean to be disabled?

The subject I am focusing on for my Curious Researcher project is disability. I’ve been looking at how the disabled are treated and viewed upon. I’ve been researching what exactly is means to be disabled. I also have been looking at their success rate, by that I mean how many people whom are disabled are given the resources to be Successful.
I found that there are levels of dibalilities. For example there are (upper and lower) body disabilities classifications. Another classification of disabilities is head injuries. These are just some of the classifications. I have found that as time goes on, the better the disabled are treated. John F. Kennedy worked on support of the autistic and supported the scientific research on autism and the causes. I have also found that the success rate depends on the level of severity of the disability but there are lots of researches and medical advances for the disabled. How do you treat the disabled?

Women in the Victorian Era-Main Ideas

Virtually no rights-rights given to husband at time of marriage
Bodily ownership became husband’s
“Representations of ideal wives were abundant in Victorian culture, providing women with their role models. The Victorian ideal of the tirelessly patient, sacrificing wife is depicted in The Angel in the House, a popular poem by Coventry Patmore, published in 1854:
Man must be pleased; but him to please
Is woman’s pleasure; down the gulf
Of his condoled necessities
She casts her best, she flings herself […]
She loves with love that cannot tire;
And when, ah woe, she loves alone,
Through passionate duty love springs higher,
As grass grows taller round a stone”
“The poem became such a touchstone of British culture that in a lecture to the Women’s Service League in 1942, Virginia Woolf said “killing the Angel in the House was part of the occupation of a woman writer.” Woolf described the angel as: immensely sympathetic, immensely charming, utterly unselfish. She excelled in the difficult arts of family life. She sacrificed herself daily … in short, she was so constituted that she never had a mind but preferred to sympathize always with the minds and wishes of others. Above all … she was pure. Her purity was supposed to be her chief beauty.”
“Mistress of household=leader of army”-The Household General’ is a term coined in 1861 by Isabella Beeton in her manual Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management.
Domestic violence towards wives was given increasing attention by social and legal reformers as the 19th century continued. The first animal-cruelty legislation in Sudan was passed in 1824, however, legal protection from domestic violence was not granted to women until 1853 with the Act for the Better Prevention and Punishment of Aggravated Assaults upon Women and Children. Even this law did not outright ban violence by a man against his wife and children; it imposed legal limits on the amount of force that was permitted.
A strong deterrent to middle-class or aristocratic wives seeking legal recourse, or divorce, was the social stigma and shunning that would follow such revelations in a public trial.
Equestrian riding was an exerting pastime that became popular as a leisure activity among the growing middle classes. Many etiquette manuals for riding were published for this new market. For women, preserving modesty while riding was crucial. Breeches and riding trousers for women were introduced, for the practical reason of preventing chafing, yet these were worn under the dress. Riding clothes for women were made at the same tailors that made men’s riding apparel, rather than at a dressmaker, so female assistants were hired to help with fittings.
Travel writer Isabella Bird (1831–1904) was instrumental in challenging this taboo. At age 42, she travelled abroad on a doctor’s recommendation. In Hawaii, she determined that seeing the islands riding sidesaddle was impractical, and switched to riding astride.
To discourage pre-marital sexual relations the New Poor Law argued that “women bear financial responsibilities for out-of-wedlock pregnancies”. In 1834 women were made legally and financially supportive of their illegitimate children
The situation of women perceived as unclean was worsened through the Contagious Diseases Acts, the first of which became law in 1864. Women suspected of being unclean were subjected to an involuntary genital examination. Refusal was punishable by imprisonment; diagnosis with an illness was punishable by involuntary confinement to hospital until perceived as cured.
The outlook for education-seeking women improved when Queen’s College in Harley Street, London was founded in 1848 – the goal of this college was to provide governesses with a marketable education. Later, the Cheltenham Ladies’ College and other girls’ public schools were founded, increasing educational opportunities for women’s education and leading eventually to the development of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies in 1897.
Working-class women often had occupations to make ends meet, and to ensure family income in the event that a husband became sick, injured, or died. There was no workers’ compensation until late in the Victorian era, and a husband too ill or injured to work often meant an inability to pay the rent and a stay at the dreaded Victorian workhouse.
Throughout the Victorian era, some women were employed in heavy industry such as coal mines and the steel industry. Although they were employed in fewer numbers as the Victorian era continued and employment laws changed, they could still be found in certain roles. Before the Mines and Collieries Act 1842, women (and children) worked underground as “hurriers” who carted tubs of coal up through the narrow mine shafts. Women also traditionally did “all the chief tasks in agriculture” in all counties of England, as a government inquiry found in 1843. By the late 1860s, agricultural work was not paying well, and women turned to industrial employment. In areas with industrial factories, women could find employment on assembly lines for items ranging from locks to canned food. Industrial laundry services employed many women (including inmates of Magdalene asylums who did not receive wages for their work). Women were also commonly employed in the textile mills that sprang up during the industrial revolution in such cities as Manchester, Leeds, and Birmingham.Working for a wage was often done from the home in London, although many women worked as “hawkers” or street vendors, who sold such things as watercress, lavender, flowers or herbs that they would collect at the Spitalfields fruit and vegetable market. Many working-class women worked as washerwomen, taking in laundry for a fee. Animal-breeding in slum flats was common, such as dogs, geese, rabbits and birds, to be sold at animal and bird markets. Housing inspectors often found livestock in slum cellars, including cows and donkeys. Spinning and winding wool, silk, and other types of piecework were a common way of earning income by working from home, but wages were very low, and hours were long; often 14 hours per day were needed to earn enough to survive. Furniture-assembling and -finishing were common piecework jobs in working-class households in London that paid relatively well.
Needlework was the single largest paid occupation for women working from home, but the work paid little, and women often had to rent sewing machines that they could not afford to buy.
Pregnant women worked up until the day they gave birth and returned to work as soon as they were physically able. In 1891, a law was passed requiring women to take four weeks away from factory work after giving birth, but many women could not afford this unpaid leave, and the law was unenforceable.
Three medical professions were opened to women in the 19th century: nursing, midwifery, and doctoring. However, it was only in nursing, the one most subject to the supervision and authority of male doctors, that women were widely accepted.
By the late Victorian era, the leisure industry had emerged in all cities with many women in attendance. It provided scheduled entertainment of suitable length at convenient locales at inexpensive prices. These included sporting events, music halls, and popular theater. Women were now allowed in some sports, such as archery, tennis, badminton and gymnastics.


The Aztec were an ancient Mesoamerican civilization in today’s central Mexico. They lived in the 14th to 16th century. They called themselves the Mexica. Their capital was called Tenochtitlan. Much of their culture came from the Toltec. Early settlers entered Mexico valley to start the empire. They were very poor people and they filled rafts with dirt and tree seeds and put them in the marshy land in order to create more land to build on. From small beginnings the Aztecs developed the largest civilization in the Americas at the time. They developed “an intricate social, political, religious and commercial organization that brought many of the region’s city-states under their control.” ( Hernando Cortez, a spanish conquistador, and his army conquered the Aztec ending their great civilization.

I’m having a tough time narrowing my topic into something research paper worthy. The Aztecs are very intersection to me and I would love to find more about them but I don’t know what angle to take for my paper. I was thinking maybe something along the lines of their spiritual beliefs (sacrifice, gods, apocalypse, etc.) or their end (could relate it to Native Americans). I could also contrast their relation to nature and agriculture to our modern ideals, practices, and beliefs. I’m open to any suggestions and would love to hear about any similar interests.
Info from &

Photo by ikarusmedia

How did Vikings have an Influence in Medieval Europe, and in the World Today?

Vikings aren’t necessarily believed to be the most influential group to have roamed this Earth, and were more known for the sagas of their short-lived “empire”. Vikings were known for their brute force, and somewhat dull intellect/mercy. The more direct influence that they had was that thousands of people were killed in their wake, and their brutality led to a bit of a dark age. Many of the Europeans thought that their raids were the apocalypse, because they believed that God was going to punish them for their actions. They decimated communities, and even sacked kingdoms and large cities such as Paris.

The more important of the contributions, is their expansion onto seafaring, military strategy, and navigational technologies. They were some of the first people to sail over the open ocean, and land in the spot that they intended to. They also had coveted boats that could sail both up rivers, and over the ocean.

The Triggers and Layers of Domestic Violence

Did you know 2 out of 3 children are exposed to trauma and violence                


Do you think that domestic violence is a  problem?             



Background: Have you wondered what is  domestic violence? Domestic violence is when someone has a partner would get mad at you and sometimes they would call you names or hit you or threaten you if you don’t do what they say.also they would have a short fuse and they can’t control their anger and sometimes.Also they don’t mean to hit their partner and sometimes after they have hiten or abuse their partner and they have some space then they would say that they are sorry and say that they would never do what they did ever again but then a few days later they would do what they said that they were not going to do. I got this information from Domestic and thay also tell you what typs of Domestic violence,And here are some,  there’s a lot of different  kinds of domestic violence there is emotional abuse,sexual abuse,financial abuse,psychological abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, mental abuse,&( extra)  these are the most important ones. My argument is children are most affected by violence because children who see or might think it’s okay.


Firstly children who see domestic violence might think it’s okay to do what their parents are doing to each other and maybe when they grow up they would think it’s okay to treat their girlfriend or boyfriend like that. In my research I interviewed an oakland mother because she has been through alot and what I mean is that mother has been abused before and she hasn’t been abused for awhile now so she has been good and the reason why I asked to interview her was because I want people to know her story and how she handled it and to know its not your fault and you just have to be strong and have hope and faith that it would be alright. And one of the questions that I asked was have you ever experienced domestic violence? And my mother answered my question  and her response was “yes I have “and I went back with a follow up question and that was ,if you are causing the violence or was it your partner? And what she also said that it was a mixture of both depending on the reason for the problem” that is what she said about the question that i asked her.also I feel that the reason why people think it’s okay to treat people with so much hurt I just don’t get why they feel so much power that not alright and know some women  really love their boyfriend, or girlfriend but if they really loved you they wouldn’t do that to you because if you really love someone you would not want to hurt them because you love them. If children are seeing this violence happen to their mom or dad regularly, then they might not know right from wrong and think that it’s alright to do what their parents are doing to their future partner.  Also there is another questions that I asked my mother was how would you feel about your  child seeing or hearing the abuse.and my mother said that she would not feel To good about her child seeing that happen to her child and did you know that 2 out of 3 are exposed to trauma and violence. And I think that we should do something about how kids are seeing this.

What We Can Do To Stop Gangs?

Gangs in the United States


“Criminals gang membership increased as much as 40% in the United States during the past three years, according to the FBI report released friday. An estimated 1.4 million people are active in more than 33,000 streets, prison, and outlaw motorcycle gangs across the country”(Freidon). Gangs are really an issue in the United States and we cannot let them cause any more violence or let them involve the younger generation.

Gangs create more violence in a community and do not protect a community because of their desire for power and control which is why we need programs in order to prevent young children from joining gangs.

Adolescents usually join a gang for respect, money, and protection. We cannot let minors join gangs because some usually end up going to juvenile hall, prison, or end up getting killed and we don’t want this to occur.

In order to prevent this, people of all ages usually join gang prevention communities to stop gangs from spreading violence into our streets and our youths. Gang prevention usually target adolescents since they’re more likely to join gangs. My uncle Sang, who’s 25 years old, has been living in Oakland ever since he was born and has seen his friends who are affiliated with gangs. So when the question was asked, “Do you believe gangs will stop spreading violence?” Sang replied, “No because the younger generation will learn from the older generation”(Saephan). Children learn from adults to prepare them for the outside world. The more gangs there are the less chance of children succeeding in life and society. The older generations must keep the younger generations occupied with family activities, schoolwork, after school programs and other things to keep them away from gangs and other bad decisions. There will be times where people young or old will make bad decisions but will learn from their mistakes.

To further prove this, parents have to keep watch on their child all the time to keep them off the streets. “Parents can help prevent them from being involved in gangs by:

  • Closely monitoring where their child is and what they are doing.
  • Involving them in extracurricular activities such as after school programs, or athletics, art, community organization or religious groups.
  • Meeting their children’s friends and their parents.
  • Not allowing children to wear, write, or gesture any gang-associated graffiti, markings, signs, or symbols.
  • Educating your child about the potential negative consequences of gang involvement and criminal behavior.
  • Letting your child know that gang members can end up injured, dead or in jail.

“(AACAP). This is important because if parents follow these risk factors, chances of their offsprings joining a gang will be low and they can have a better future and education. Youths with better monitoring usually end up succeeding in life better than others without it.

One can argue that youths only join gangs for popularity and identity. In “Why Young People Join Gangs and What You Can Do” by General Reasons for Gang Membership, “The primary age group of gang members ranges generally from 13 to 21 years” and continues “Interviews of gang members indicate that joining a gang is seldom understood by the gang members themselves, but can vary from brotherhood to self-preservation as identity, protection, fellowship, and intimidation” (Violence Prevention Institute). This is important because youth needs the attention from their parents, and protection from friends and family. Even though this talks about gangs, this is weak because it only talks about how adolescents join gangs but doesn’t tell us the reason of why they’ll join.

In conclusion, gangs in our community needs to stop because they affecting the younger generation and we don’t want that to happen. Which is why we need more communities and keep them off the streets. After school keeps children away from the streets, supervised, and educated.




Child Development and Behavior: Broken Homes, Hopes, and Dreams

Child development/ behavior can be affected by a number of things, but a big factor may be the parents. Depending on the severity of a broken home, the parent’s relationship with each other, as well as their children, can affect how their children behave and may even develop. This doesn’t mean that a parent’s divorce can make it so a child can never climb steps or hop on one foot, but it can make it harder for children to develop social skills and may even set back their achievements. Depending on a child’s age, the separation of their parents may cause extreme stress and, in the worst case, even depression. However, keeping the parent’s married might not be in the best interest either, depending on the family’s situation. In my experience of coming from a broken home, I have never suffered from developmental or behavioral problems. However, this may be due to my parents living in the same house after the divorce, the age I was when my parents got divorced, and also the relationship I had with both of my parents, as well as the relationship they had with each other. Parents have an impact on their children, married or not. However, on average, broken homes have a significant impact on children and may even continue throughout their life.

To understand how a broken home affects child development/ behavior, it is important to understand how children should normally develop/ behave. Although a child may behave and develop at their own rate, there are guidelines for a child’s development, as well as behavior, when it comes to their mental ability. The image above shows the developmental skills that a child should have at the given ages, many of which have to do with motor and social skills. As seen in the diagram, children need to develop things they can do to help them do simple tasks, like brushing their teeth and walking heel to toe. Developing motor skills will make a child become more independent, seeing how they will be moving and grasping things on their own. So this is a no-brainer: children need to develop motor skills. But another thing a child needs to develop, also shown by the chart, is social skills. This would include naming things and understanding words. Barbara Solomon, a social worker with a Bachelor of science degree in psychology and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, comments how “a lack of social abilities could signal a medical or developmental problem” (Solomon, 2004). So not only are a lack of motor skills an issue at a young age but so are social skills. Lastly, there are three types of behavior that parents should understand when it comes to their children. First, there is a behavior that is approved. This includes behavior such as being kind to other people, being understanding, and listening to others. The second type of behavior is one that is not necessarily wanted at all times but is tolerated. This behavior can be caused by the child being stressed or sick and is understood in context, and, depending on the family, different types of behavior are tolerated. The last type of behavior is one that should not be tolerated. This type can be troublesome for a child’s intellectual development and may even cause harm to the “physical, emotional, or social well-being of the child” (Normal Child Behavior, 2015). This type of behavior can also be caused by the parent, depending on how they act emotionally. Children may start to copy their parent’s behavior because of how closely they follow them for the normal emotional reactions of society. This may get troublesome, depending if the parent is aggressive and acting upon anger. In this case, when a child starts to mimic their parent, they develop the third type of behavior.

(I couldn’t copy the image because it is in a pdf and screen shots are not working at the moment, so if you’d like to see the image click here. It is the only image in the pdf.)

A study to show cognitive testing in teenagers is shown in the image above. This study was done by Anna Sanz-de-Galdeano and Daniela Vuri along with IZA, The Institute for the Study of Labor, in 2004. This was a study to see if the cognitive development of adolescents were changed based on the fact of their current family situation. This data shows the families that are intact has a higher cognitive ability than families that are not intact. However, the research that was also conducted showed the same children having lower cognitive ability before their parents got divorce. The research in this study shows that teenager’s cognitive ability will not necessarily decrease, but that does not say anything about the effect on younger children. This study concludes that in the short run, adolescents with divorced families may have a lower cognitive ability, even if they have a lower cognitive ability before their parents are divorced. In the long run, this is the same. This study is consistent with was Cherlin et al. (1995) said, as far as the timing of a parental divorce, the age that divorce occurs “(ages 7 to 11 versus ages 11 to 16) in a child’s life does not make a difference for young adult outcomes” (Sanz-de-Galdeano and Vuri, 2004). So whether a child is younger versus older when their parents divorce, that does not necessarily mean it will affect them as an adult: the child will have the same cognitive ability before divorce, as shown in this study, as well as after the divorce.

Another study suggests that a parent has a big outcome on their child’s emotional development. Being physically present may not be enough for a child, and all that matters is their parent’s emotional attachment to them (Volling cited in Moges and Weber, 2014). If the parent is not emotionally connected to their child, “the child will struggle to learn how to regulate his emotions and interact with others appropriately” (Moges and Weber, 2014). With my personal experience with divorce, my mother was physically there, but she was never emotionally there. I would say that I suffered from irregular emotions when it came to my mother. Sometimes, I would be really happy with her because she was there with me. Other times, and perhaps most of the time, I was angry with her because of how little she seemed to care about my life. Because I was so negative towards my mother’s negative attitude, it shows that this can “often [lead] to even more behavioral problems” (Moges and Weber, 2014). This is problematic when raising a child to become a well-adjusted adult because it may lead to further complications when interacting with others normally. There is no one way to raise a perfectly well-adjusted child, but parents can take a few precautions when taking care of them emotionally. It is important to give them “supportive environment, positive feedback, role models of healthy behavior and interactions, and someone to talk to about their emotional reactions to their experiences” (Morges and Weber, 2014). This will assure that the child will be alright emotionally when growing up, and not having any problems when it comes to regulating emotions and interacting with others.

A study in 1971 showed 60 divorced families along with 131 children. After five years, two-thirds of the children “were clinically depressed, were doing poorly in school, had difficulty maintaining friendships, [and] experienced chronic problems such as sleep disturbances” (Amato, 2005). As supported by the study, these children may have started acting aggressive and “engaging in bullying behavior, both of which can negatively affect peer relationships” (Green). However, another study, done in 1970, showed how after two years of their parent’s divorce, preschoolers did not show emotional and behavioral problems like they did the year before. So why does one group of children show more severe symptoms than the other group? The answer is this: research shows that the second most vulnerable group to divorce is young teenagers, represented by the group of children in the study done in 1971 (Blakeslee and Wallerstein, 2006).  The first group to be the most affected by divorce are young children before they enter school. So, in this case, preschoolers will not be as affected as much as young adolescents would. At this age, young adolescents are being nudged slightly into the world, thinking about future jobs, school, sports and clubs, romantic relationships, and the list goes on. With all of this, divorce might add to the list to make it more stressful for the child resulting in emotional and behavioral issues. However, if a parent did not want a divorce because of this reason, the outcome might not be as well aspected as one might think. If a child’s parents are always fighting, this will add more stress to the family and also may emotionally damage a child. As stated previously, parents have some say in how a child is emotionally. A child will also see how their parents interact and their imitate behavior, as well as negative energy (Moges and Weber, 2014). Fighting parents that stay together because of their child may end up doing more harm than none. Broken homes may not harm a child developmentally or cognitively but instead may have an important role within their education, behavior, social skills, and emotional skills depending on their age.

Compared to a child being from a divorced family, a child that is born outside of marriage or only has one parent may “reach adulthood with less education, earn less income, … are more likely to have a nonmarital birth, … and report more symptoms of depression” than a divorced child would (Amato, 2005). The single parent is also at a loss financially, making it harder to buy their child things for school they will need to succeed. When it comes to education, children with broken homes may experience a lack of academic progress. This may “stem from a number of factors, including instability in the home environment, inadequate financial resources and inconsistent routines” (Green). Education is generally linked with the type of job a person receives, which in turn predicts their income. A survey done on average income based on the level of education in 1996 showed a high school graduate having $7,143 more annually than a high school dropout. Continuing, someone with a bachelor’s degree shows to have $23,101 more annually than a high school dropout, and an advanced degree shows $46,306 more (Fagan, 1999). The story is the same with divorced parents: earning annually $29,500 less than a married family would, says a study was done in 1995 (Fagan, 1999). A child with only one parent is two times more likely to drop out of school, making it more difficult for them to earn a higher annual income than someone who had graduated high school. Research shows “that children do better at school and exhibit fewer behavioral problems when nonresident fathers pay child support”(King cited in Amato, 2005). With more money coming into the household, children are more likely to receive things that will help them in school as well as outside of school, building their academic progress, and making them stay in school.

I conducted a survey asking teens the marital status of parents and also behavior they have shown previously in their life. Although I only got thirteen responses, they were responses I was not intending to get. Out of the eight people who said their parents were married, five of them said they have suffered from aggressive and depressive behavior. Out of the four people who said they had divorced parents, none of them suffered from aggressive/ depressive behavior. It’s already been confirmed with research that, on average, children will be better off growing up in a home where there are two biological parents that maintain a safe environment for their children. As far as depression goes, depression can be triggered by a lot of things including grief, stress, major life changes, and even side effects of medication (Tandoc, 2016).  Depression and aggressive behavior cannot always be directly connected to a child’s parent’s relationship, but on average it has a big impact on the child’s life. However, if a child is experiencing this type of behavior and it is directly linked to the married parents, it may be because of fighting. E. Mark Cummings, a psychologist at the University of Notre Dame, explains how “[k]ids pay close attention to their parents’ emotions for information about how safe they are in the family” (Cummings cited in Divecha, 2014). Children go home for a place to feel safe, not attacked. Understanding how close children follow their parent’s emotions will make parents think differently about what they are saying when around their children. Cummings goes on to say “[w]hen parents are destructive, the collateral damage to kids can last a lifetime” (Cummings cited in Divecha, 2014). Parents have an impact on their children directly, but also collaterally, meaning they do not know what ways their parents have impacted them. When I was growing up, I remembered a fight my parents had that I could not remember until something triggered it. After remembering the memory, I realized why I feel the way I do towards aggressive behavior. This has impacted me, and most likely will throughout my life, because of a fight my parents had when I was younger. This continues to show the effect that parents have on their children, even if they are still married. But in the end, several studies still show children who have divorced parents may experience struggles such as these and many others that will hinder their life in the future.

It is hard to pinpoint what makes a child behave a certain way, or do things the way that they do. But it has been shown over and over through research that broken homes affect children, depending on their age emotional standpoint with their parents, more than married families do. There is never one way that a child can be raised, and just because one may be brought up in a broken home does not mean they will suffer from depression or emotional problems. Broken homes will not necessarily hinder a child’s development or cognitive ability, however, it may cause a problem with their education or behavior. On average, a single parent or divorced parents earn less money than a married family does, making it harder to pursue things that their children might need for education or other needs, causing further problems in the future. It is important for families to understand how to provide a stable and safe home for children to grow up in to limit problems, such as these. In the long run, a child that grows up in a safe environment will grow into a well-adjusted adult and will pay off in the generations to come.

Works Cited

Amato, P. (2005).  – The Future of Children -. Retrieved December 8, 2016, from§ionid=692

Divecha, D. (2014). What Happens to Children When Parents Fight. Retrieved December 15, 2016, from

Green, A. The Effect of a Broken Family on Development. Retrieved December 2, 2016, from

Fagan, P. (1999). How Broken Families Rob Children of Their Chances for Future Prosperity. Retrieved December 12, 2016, from

Fowler, K. How Does Divorce Affect Girls and Boys Differently? | Your Divorce Questions. Retrieved December 5, 2016, from

Moges, B., & Weber, K. (2014). Parental Influence on the Emotional Development of Children | Developmental Psychology at Vanderbilt. Retrieved December 12, 2016, from

Normal Child Behavior (2015, November 21). 4, 2016, from

Sanz de Galdeano, A., & Vuri, D. (2004). Does Parental Divorce Affect Adolescents’ Cognitive Development? Evidence from Longitudinal Data. Retrieved from

Solomon, B. (2004). Why Isn’t My Child Reaching His Milestones? Retrieved December 12, 2016, from

Tandoc, D. (2016) Lecture on Depression                                                                         Personal Collection of D. Tandoc, Okemos High School, Okemos MI

Wallerstein, J., & Blakeslee, S. (2006). What Is the Best Time to Divorce? Retrieved December 12, 2016, from

Welton, R. (2016). The Effect of Divorce on Early Childhood Development. Retrieved December 8, 2016, from


The Fox and the Wolf (Remixed)

This project is based on a moral “The Fox and the Wolf” by the Brothers Grimm which was adapted by me. The story’s moral was that you should not betray anyone.

I first chose my story, then did a quick script, then later did a storyboard and then I coded it to make an actual story.

Here is a link to my script that I made:

Here are my storyboards:



Stepping Up Out of the Armchair

I have been looking into income inequality as of late. I actually posted about it earlier, and you can find it here. And the information I’ve found now has definitely surprised me. For example, one news article I read, “The Real Causes of Income Inequality” from the Wall Street Journal, cited a statistic that “the United States doesn’t tax its poor as much as in European countries, and . . . if the U.S. spent and taxed like France and Sweden, it would hardly affect the top 10%, who would pay about what they pay now, but the bottom 90% would see their taxes double.”

This is the kind of stuff I never would have expected to discover. A couple articles shared one point that I didn’t know I’d find beforehand: there was a dramatic increase in reported income inequality in the ’80s, but this was the result of rich people like doctors or lawyers incorporating to change the way their income was taxed. One article, “Inequality and Taxes”, stated that “between 1979 and 1988 is that marginal tax rates on individuals stopped being higher than tax rates on corporations” and that “pre-1981…many doctors, lawyers and consultants incorporated to escape the high personal tax rate.” When people stopped this practice, “shifting income from the corporate tax to the individual tax created an illusory increase in top incomes.” In other words, income inequality never took off at all.

Seeing how income inequality was a hot-topic this election cycle, I wish that more nontraditional viewpoints like these became known to most people, instead of, say, whether or not Donald Trump eats KFC with a knife-and-fork or drinks Diet Coke.

This has been my process researching income inequality. I took this topic and did flat searches and have read the basic articles condemning successful people. Then I did searches about their specific points. As I’ve read these reports and news articles, my view has drastically shifted. Partway through this piece, I hit a database and the articles I started reading not only took blame from the successful, but placed it in the hands of the government. It turned into a matter of policy: what the government does and how it handles our taxes holds the biggest effect on inequality, outside of the economy.

Did you know that recessions and depressions are the greatest reducing factor for inequality? I didn’t. In all honesty, I came into this topic looking to justify my biases and am disappointed to say that they’ve been cast away. If you hold yourself as something of an armchair expert on anything subjective, I implore you to do the research. Step up and leave the armchair. I’m working on mine and loving it.

Two World Collide

Here is my Project:


Here are some steps to create an awesome Animation like this.

  1. Brainstarm for ideas
  2. Turn those ideas into scripts
  3. Animate it
  4. Revise everything
  5. Show to friend and ask for tips
  6. Use those tips
  7. Repeat steps 5-6 3 times
  8. Publish
  9. Show to teacher
  10. Get Praised!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Act I

Jarvis: Hello, I am Jarvis. I am Tony Stark’s personal assistant other than Miss Pepper Potts. Today, I am going to show you a story that many of you will not know about.

Jarvis: The unforetold story of Iron Man and Optimus Prime and the Alien of Disgustingness.

Jarvis: Here are some interesting facts you should know about them.

[Portfolio pops up and shows you Tony Stark’s picture. 2 seconds later, his info pops up underneath.]

[Portfolio Closes]

[Red and blue briefcase comes in and opens up]

[Optimus Prime’s picture shows up. 2 seconds later, his info pops up underneath]

[Briefcase disappears]

[Alien Corpse shows up with a big hole in the middle.]

[Info pops up in green font.]

[2 seconds later, a bunch of kids say ewwww at the same time]

Jarvis: But before we begin, if you are under the age of 12 than don’t watch this animation. Thank you and enjoy the story.

In A Galaxy far, far, Away

(Needle Scratches)

Right here on Earth

Act 2

Jarvis: Sir, incoming message from Optimus Prime.

Stark: (Groggily) What time is it Jarvis?

Jarvis: It is currently 2 AM 56°F outside right now. It is partly clou(Starks cuts him of)

Stark: I don’t care right now what the weather is like. Where is he?

Jarvis: He is actually right outside.

Stark: (Suddenly sits up) (Suddenly awake) WHAT!!! Assemble the Iron Legion!

Jarvis: Sir, can’t you confront him yourself?

Stark: Yes, but if history repeats itself, I’ll need another arc reactor. And they don’t grow on trees.

Jarvis: Sir, you have a room filled with emergency arc reactors.

Stark: Fine, Get my suit.

<5 minutes later>

Prime: Well, hello again Tony.

Stark: Hello Prime. What do you need from me right now.

Prime: There is a species of aliens coming here to destroy Earth.

Stark: What did I tell you about bringing your stupid Decepticons here to Earth.

Prime: First of all, they are not Decepticons. Second, they are an intellectual alien species that have stolen and wrecked havoc in the solar system.

Stark: So they are technically space pirates.

Prime: Yes, they have asked us to call them the ΘΗ ΙΔΙΟΤΣ.

Stark: English please.

Prime: The Idiots.

Stark: Ok. So when are they coming?

Prime: On the eclipse.

Stark: So about 2 days.

Prime: Yes.

Jarvis: Sir, if I may interrupt. In two days, you have a date with Miss Potts.

Stark: Oh yeah. Sorry Prime, but you remember last time when I accidentally skipped date night.

Prime: Yes, that was painful to watch. So are you in?

Stark: Yes, I am in. But after that, be sure to stay out of a 50 mile radius of her. I assume you have a team ready.

Prime: Yes, me, Bumblebee, Ratchet, Arcee, Sideswipe, Skids and Mudflap, Leadfoot, Topspin and Roadbuster.

Stark: So you basically just named all the Transformers still alive.

Prime: So what is your team?

Stark: The usual. Capt. America, Falcon, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Thor, Hulk, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Black Panther, War Machine, Spider Man, Spider Girl, She-Hulk and Winter Soldier.

Prime: –zzzz– Hmm. Ok that is quite a team there.

Stark: You weren’t even listening.

Prime: No, but we will probably kick some buttock in 2 days.

Stark: It’s butt, not buttock, grandma. Who says that?

End of Act 2

Act 3

Stark: Here is my team.

Stark: Say hello to Capt. America, Falcon, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Thor, Hulk, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Black Panther, War Machine, Spider Man, Spider Girl, She-Hulk and Winter Soldier.

Prime: So here is my team.

Prime: Bumblebee, Ratchet, Arcee, Sideswipe, Skids and Mudflap, Leadfoot, Topspin and Roadbuster.

<Ominous music plays>

[They feel a blast coming from space and there is a dot coming]

Stark: Everybody, suit up!

Rodgers: That’s my line Stark!

Prime: Don’t argue about this now or else there won’t be a tomorrow to fight about it.

<6 hours later>

[The spaceship has landed on the moon]

Rodgers: How are we suppost to get up there?

Stark: That, Cap. is why I am leader. We fly!

Rodgers: With what? It’s not like we have suits to to fly us up there and can fight in them in space.

Stark: Jarvis. I’ll lead you to tell them about their suits.

Jarvis: Ladies and gentlemen. Your Battle Alien Reinforced FlowerPower. Or B.A.R.F for short. Sorry about the name but Mr. Stark insisted that, that was going to be the name because he would find that in the suit after this so called “saving the world”.

T’Challa: Are they specialized in our abilities and powers?

Jarvis: Yes. For instance, Hawkeye has a built in quiver with rocket propelled arrows specially designed for space. Hulk has a stretch suit with rockets at the elbows to deliver more powerful punches. Capt. America has rockets on his shield so that he can control it flight pattern in space. Shall I go on?

Romanoff: (in a bored tone) No, please keep going. Wake me up when he gets to my suit.

Jarvis: Black Widow has Tesla guns that shoot massive amounts of electricity. Since bullets won’t cut it in space against aliens with bulletproof skin.

Romanoff: Nice.

Jarvis: Black Panther has a r

<20 minutes later>

Stark: Wow, even I got bored listening to all that.

Wilson: —zzz—

Romanoff: —zzz—

T’Challa: —zzz—

Thor: —zzz—

Rodger: —zzz—

Maximoff: —zzz—

Rhodes: —zzz—

T’Challa: —zzz—

Branner: —zzz—





Bucky: —zzz—



[Everyone wakes up]

Stark: We go to space!!!

<10 minutes later>

[You see 25 dots rising from Malibu, California]

Jarvis: Distance to destination 100,000 miles.

[Land on moon]

[Alien mob waiting for them]

[The fight starts]

[Zooms in on specific people fighting]

<20 minutes later>

Stark: That was easy and hilarious. Capt cot hit in the face 3 times

[Instant Replay]

[Massive thumbs up pops up]

The End

I feel _________ now that Donald Trump is President


I’m not sure if this news has sunk in yet… I’m still in shock that Donald Trump is now the President for the next four years. From all of the predictions and talks, I thought that Clinton would have won by a landslide. Yet, I woke up this morning and I was faced with the news that Donald Trump is the new President.

When I was watching the election, Trump was always ahead of Clinton. I wondered why since all of the people were talking against him. When he won Florida and it was almost 100% sure that he was going to be president, I started thinking about all of the outcomes.

Obviously, the rest of the world sees this man as a un-filtered man who isn’t fit to run America. Maybe he isn’t, but I hope he can pull it together for the next 4 years. One of the plus sides is that he isn’t influenced by money (he has enough of that) so maybe all of the cabinet members he chooses will be picked because they are the best fit for the job.

Even though Trump is going to be the face of America, there will still be a lot of people who are keeping him in check. So, I don’t think that he can ruin America as much as people think he can. Hopefully, I’m right.

I still don’t know how I feel about Trump being the President of America yet. That’s why it’s blank. Comment down below and share how you feel about the 2016 Presidential Election!



Will she return?

The book that I am currently reading is called 12 again by Sue Corbett. This book is about very hard-working parents who rarely have time to spend with their three boys.

This book involves great mystery because Bernadette, the mother disappears one night. Her family is worried because they know she doesn’t usually leave without letting them know. Bernadette has returned to her childhood. She also has no explanation for this, she believes it’s “only a dream.”

Throughout her time home, she believes this dream is an opportunity for her to fix many of her mistakes, such as speaking to her mother. The first thing she does is hugs and kisses her, then she goes off for her first day of school. There she faces many obstacles that she as an adult considered “silly.” She had forgotten how dealing with mean 7th graders was. Bernadette is happy that she got to finally see her mother but she does miss her own family.

Will she be home by dinner?



Photo by Veronique Debord

Are We Alone?

Well, I don’t believe there are crazy large-headed, green-eyed Aliens trying to abduct us. But I do believe there are other life forms somewhere in the universe. We just haven’t found them yet.

When I say life forms I don’t mean Red-eyed blue-skinned aliens. Like those “Are we Alone” shows! Can’t do it. Nope.

But what I mean by life forms is other, human or animal-like creatures. Maybe way more advanced than us. Maybe starting out as early Neanderthals.

I mean, who knows what’s out there! Something amazing could be waiting.

Photo by DeveionPhotography

Law Enforcement in America

The history of Law Enforcement dates back to the beginning of this country’s history. When the signing of the constitution took place, the founders made a set of rights and laws in which the American people would follow for an orderly society. Now in 2016, many of those laws are still in place, and law enforcement still enforces these laws making America a safe place for us all to live.

With this said, the news has flooded the headlines with the epidemic of Police involved shootings, diminishing the reputation Police Officers have in this country. The real question is, how do we avoid these situations but also protect of Police Officers. Every day these Officers put on a uniform and head out the door to protect the American people.

Recently, I was able to take part in a Ride-Along with the local police and found that many citizens would yell rude remarks or criticize the Officers whom I was patrolling with. I was shocked by the public view of Law Enforcement, and even more shocked at how calm the Officers remained. These Police Officers are amazing people who I thank for everything they do, and without them, this world would be much scarier than it is.

Back to the real question, which is the solution to the Police Involved shootings, I believe that action needs to be taken in order to assure the safety of every innocent individual, but for the Police Officers following what they have been trained, I believe that we as Americans need to tip our caps to the men and women in blue and remember that these people risk their lives every day to protect us. Thank you Law Enforcement agencies across America.

Can solar lanterns change girls’ lives in Sierra Leone?

I’m a co-founder of Connected. United. 4Change, and Bumpe, Sierra Leone, is C.U.4C‘s first international partner school. The school in Bumpe had a lot of amenities and was a very integral part of the community until the rebel war (1991-2002) destroyed it. Now the school has a lack of electricity, technology, bathrooms, staff, and general resources. Currently, the school is running off of a diesel power generator which is very difficult and costly to use. The Bumpe people’s two biggest concerns are the lack of sustainable power and the high early marriage and teenage pregnancy rates.

Hindo Kposowa, from Bumpe, Sierra Leone, explains the issue and the root cause,

“Poverty, especially in rural Sierra Leone, has caused many girls to drop out of school as a result of teenage pregnancy and early marriage. Children in our local communities are obliged to join their parents in the farms after school to help with farm work. Hence, the only time for students to study and do their homework is at night. Bumpe is without electricity supply! Only 1% of the population (mostly business centers) own generators. Many families can only afford one flashlight for the entire household – powered with non-rechargeable batteries which are not sustainable and at times difficult for parents to purchase. During exams, students go out unwillingly to study by business centers powered with a generator. Girls in such situation are many times sexually abused – leading to teenage pregnancy and trauma.”

Hindo came up with a solution that encompasses both issues,

“One solar lantern will help a girl to study at home. This will prevent sexual abuses against girls going out at night in search of generator power supply to study or sexually trade their body to afford candles or non-rechargeable batteries for solar lanterns.” Additionally, there are countless studies that link high early marriage and teen pregnancy rates to a lack of education. If we can keep girls in school, we can help them receive a higher education and decrease the need for them to marry early- whether it’s because they feel the need to have someone to provide for them or because they get pregnant early and have no choice. While the whole infrastructure of the school won’t have electricity, the solar lanterns benefit the school immensely. They give each individual student the ability to study at their home, instead of the school having to use a generator on nights before a big test. The school can then save their generators and money for emergencies.

Our project will have a long lasting impact. Hindo explains, “One solar lantern will serve a girl throughout her secondary school education. Helping or capacitating the girls in this situation will prevent and reduce girl’s vulnerability from teenage pregnancy and sexual harassment. Many girls will make it to college and after college, it will help boost a nation’s economy, increase life expectancy rate, provide room for healthy families and lavage gender equality.”

Help us raise money at our gofundme “Connected. United. 4 Change.” There are lots of other ways to get involved as well. Check out our Call to Action on the menu bar.