Connected, but alone?

Here’s another TED talk video I thought you all might enjoy, it’s an interesting analysis of our growing dependence on technology. Find it here.

Here’s another interesting article on CNN about the recent release of Instagram in the Android marketplace. Many iPhone users (myself included) are pretty upset about this; Instragram now lacks its exclusivity which once made it so appealing. Is this an overreaction? I’d say definitely, but an interesting one nonetheless. The article quotes a CNET editor as saying “‘the most remarkable takeaway of this phenomenon, I think: that which smartphone we own has begun to inform our identities.'” Does your phone make up part of your identity?

-Jordan

Flour bombs and hand guns

Kim Kardashian and Trayvon Martin: In the eyes of the law, only one is the victim of a violent crime. Kind of old news by now, but Kim Kardashian had flour thrown on her by a PETA activist during a recent red carpet appearance. The woman who threw the “flour bomb” was arrested immediately following the incident. I’m just wondering why she didn’t claim it was in self-defense; it seems like she’d have gotten off much easier and would have been able to avoid the inconvenience of being arrested all together. What do you think? Anyone losing faith in our justice system?

-Jordan

Hans Zimmer v. Charlie Chaplin

To go hand in hand with Amelia’s shared reading for tomorrow, I have this video to share with you guys. It’s a mix of Chaplin’s speech from The Great Dictator and a Hans Zimmer score from Inception. The speech is awesome and the music in the background adds a bit of intensity. Check it out after you read the speech for tomorrow. 

-Tess

SAT

I hate the SATs. I ended up taking them twice my junior year. The first time, I just remember waking up so so early and sitting in a chair for what felt like ages, answering question after question. I remember them forcing you to go in order, no skipping ahead or behind. Every time I would finish a section early, I would get that nausea-inducing anxiety that I royally f-ed something up. Then, if I would finish too slow, I would get this panicky hate for the proctor writing the diminishing minutes on the board. Finally, after what felt like ages, I got to go home.

Except my friend’s car was dead. Like, dead dead. She had left the light on or something so not even a jump start would help. So after sitting for HOURS taking the worst test in existence, we sat for another two hours. TWO HOURS IN THE RAIN ON THE TOP OF HER CAR WAITING TO TRIPLE A TO COME. Then I ended up going straight to a five hour dance rehearsal, wet and brain fatigued from that awesome day. I don’t even remember the second time I took them. I probably blocked it out due to all the trauma I experienced the first time.

The point I’m getting at, is that I would never want to take them again. I read this article today about a 35 year old man who retook the SATs nearly 20 years later. He took it from a sample test from years passed. He goes through the test, section by section, describing what makes the SAT so tedious. 19 years later, the author ended up doing 190 points better, but not without explaining his distaste for everything about the test. The author is an interesting writer and it ended up being a pretty funny article to read. Unfortunately, it made me relive my terrible, terrible SAT experience.

-Tess

Cosmetic Procedures…for children

How do you all feel about having medical procedures done for nonmedical purposes? Check out this article and then let me know how you feel about children undergoing these unnecessary procedures. Are there any ethical dilemmas surrounding this issue? If so what are they?

-Laura

Trayvon Martin

Update: The Huffington Post has a dedicated page with the latest information on the tragedy and the nation’s response. Find it here.

His story has been all over the news lately, and I’m surprised it took so long for the incident to gain so much attention. Here’s an interesting piece in the NYTimes regarding the law that allows Mr. Zimmerman to get away with what he did (for now at least). Florida, among other states, has passed so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws in recent years. They allow someone to murder someone else, claim it was in self-defense, and not be held liable for their actions. Sounds like a very slippery slope to me. Does anyone else find this terrifying?

-Jordan

More ethical to eat meat?

Disclaimer: I am not advocating for one type of diet over another.

The debate between vegetarianism (veganism, pescatarianism, or what have you) and omnivorism among humans has been growing and getting a lot more press in the past few years. I think it largely has to do with the production of movies such as Super Size MeFood Inc., and Earthlings and books like Fast Food Nation and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. All involve many different arguments, but in my mind I think it essentially boils down to three main ones:

1. The impact of mass food production (“factory farming”) on the environment (more info here)

2. The benefits and disadvantages of vegetarian/vegan diets (Bill Clinton’s vegan diet, and well, things like this are just gross)

3. And, perhaps most obviously, the ethical dilemma of eating animals

Well, the Huffington Post has an interesting article regarding this last argument. It’s about the possibility of an “ethical omnivore” diet. Maybe, after all, eating meat can be more ethical than abstaining from animal products entirely? Find it here. It does present an interesting argument, one that even makes me reflect on my own dietary choices.

Here are some clips (if you are interested in watching) of the aforementioned documentaries:

Food, Inc. (a more light-hearted documentary, it’s available for streaming on Netflix)

EARTHLINGS

A very, very powerful and extremely graphic movie that will make you lose all faith in humanity. I have a friend that works for PETA in Los Angeles and they call this video the “vegan maker.” You can watch the trailer and full film online for free here.

-Jordan