Tuesday, September 30, 2014

President Obama Underestimated Terrorist Groups

In the past month, America has been at odds with a jihad terrorist group, ISIS. The president had said that his administration, along with himself, didn't see ISIS as a threat to the American people. In the past week, the president has suddenly changed his mind. He said that he has "underestimated" the threat of the terrorist group and he overestimated the power of the Iranian government to handle the situation before it got out of hand. The president has stated that he is going to take military action as well as a more political appraoch to the problem. He wants to start with the Iranian and Syrian youth to build a better society.
This intrigued me because I do not think the president had the country's welfare and well-being in mind when making the first decision to kind of brush off the terrorist group. I believe that they are fully capable of doing something to hurt the country and the president and Secretary of State should be doing everything in their power to be protecting the American people. Especially around the time of the anniversary of the September 11th attacks, we were vulnerable as a nation and their should have been an increased interest in protecting the people to prevent an accident like this again.

To read more on this: http://www.msnbc.com/the-last-word/obama-america-underestimated-isis-boehner-doubts-strategy

Saturday, September 27, 2014

How Standardized Testing Fails You

         If you were to walk into a classroom right now and ask students to raise their hands if they dislike standardized testing, I'd bet you my last week's paycheck that at least eighty percent raise their hands. The fact is that the majority of students dislike standardized testing, but their opinion if often dismissed because they are the ones who have to take the exams so of course they would like it if they didn't have to take them because it'd be "easier" for them. When you ask parents, people know they will just agree with their kids because they think it is unnecessary too and they know their kids would be happier if they didn't have the pressure of taking them. The only two groups of people left to have their opinion is the general public, who often weighs in with an opinion of indifference and school staff and faculty, board of education members, etc. who obviously advocate for standardized testing. Standardized testing continues because people most often don't provide valid reasons for why it is not beneficial. Saying it's "easier" to not take a test isn't valid.
          So what are the pros of standardized testing? It allows students to be compared with one another around the country and world. It supposedly tells a lot about an area's education and how good the teachers are.
          Is that paragraph short or what? I'll answer that for you, yes it is. That's because that's the only truly positive benefit of standardized testing. Now, what are the cons? Well there are an overwhelming majority so I'll try to sum the most important ones up for you. First and foremost, teachers are teaching to the test. Many teachers literally teach only exactly what will be on the test because they believe anything else is a waste of time, simply because all that matters is your standardized test results. In this way, teachers are failing to teach things that will truly help students when they become adults. You no longer learn skills and life lessons and helpful tools to use in adulthood, but rather the order of the 44 presidents, their party, and their election year. It's memorization. It's information you'll probably never use again. Standardized testing also takes away from teaching time. Some schools, such as high schools in Tennessee spend six weeks of testing a year. Six weeks of stress to be able to compare yourself to other students, rather than six weeks of learning new and more useful material. We can't become more intelligent as a nation if we are using up more and more time of the school year to see how intelligent we are! Due to the high stakes of the results, there have been numerous cases all over the nation where teachers have been caught cheating so they look better. The results of standardized tests are also used to evaluate teachers so there is clearly an incentive to cheat for their students (and for themselves) as a teacher. They change answers, give answers, give more time, etc. Therefore, with cheating occurring, the testing doesn't accurately measure students' intelligence anyway. The list goes on and on and in depth as well, of the top reasons why standardized testing is bad, so these were just a few but certainly worth considering.
          Visit Jasmine Evans' article for more reasons and in-depth explanations: Problems With Standardized Testing
          Watch this short video about Atlanta teachers cheating: Atlanta Standardized Testing Cheating Scandal
           Standardized testing, therefore, is negative for reasons beyond it just being "easier" to not take. There are very, very valid reasons why standardized testing holds you back. Even better, there is an alternate! We can compare students based on their grades and/or GPA! What a novel idea?! Teachers can still have standards to aim to reach and obviously a curriculum to follow, but they are able to teach in their own way. They can go in depth in certain fields and not as much in others. They can add additional information when they want. Maybe some day I'll make millions for this idea, because sometimes all it takes is looking at the obvious to find a solution.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Quantum Physics Update

On September 21, 2014 a science update was released giving information on newly discovered data. Physicists at the University of Geneva teleported the quantum state of a photon to a crystal over 25 kilometers.

Ten years ago by the same team of physicists, the quantum state of a photon was teleported to a crystal only 6 kilometers. Many things have been newly discovered including the fact that in quantum physics, it isn't the composition of the particle that is important, it is the state of that particle that is important. Basically what was actually accomplished was, taking two photons that were entangled (considered inseparable), and transporting one along a optical fiber, and the other into the crystal. This experiment as a whole demonstrates the teleportation of light into matter. With further study and investigation, the impossible may become possible. Perhaps, even teleporting every Reese in the world into my possession, but that is just a personal preference.

Want to learn more daily science? Click the link below!



Trash in California

This is a link to a news article about fifty five tons of trash being found in California.  This topic interested me because it made me want to better the world hearing disgusting things like this.  Our world is becoming a big junk yard little by little.  People don't think this is serious, but it really is!  It may not affect our lives but our future generations will be affected by things like this if we don't start changing our world now.  We are killing the world and all the life on it.  The article shows that there has been 100,000 pounds of trash in rivers.  All of this trash will start killing all the animals living in these waters.  It disgusts me how much people liter.  We need to start cleaning up our world before it is to late!

Here is just a little bit of the trash found.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Food Going Extinct?

As weird as the title says it, food cannot really go extinct. But it can disappear. I am talking about foods that we used to love back when we were kids. What actually happened to those foods? Why would they go out of business or stop producing such a wonderful item?
Wonder Ball:
Maybe it was just me that enjoyed these wonder filled creations. But they made me feel like everyone wanted them and it was cool to have these. Foods like this also send a great memory back into the brain and literally remembering that event like it was yesterday. It is like a part of you that can never go away that is for sure,
Want to check out more of these long and forgotten foods? Just click the link below to see another 34 foods that have disappeared right before our eyes!

Probably the best cafes that will ever exist

Nothing is more calming than sitting down to a small circular table with a hot drink while you read, talk or check your computer or phone in your local cafe. But what is the one thing that could make that even better? Cats!

That's right, cat cafes. These places of business are unique and rare to find, but when I first heard about them I was entranced, and they are growing, around the world people hear about these cafes and yearn to be surrounded by these playful and therapeutic felines. Thats right, these cats are a calming and soothing addition to the already peaceful and pleasant cafes.

A cat cafe opened recently in September 2013 in Paris France!


Cat cafes are also extremely popular, so booking a visit to these places can mean waiting months! But it would definitely be worth it. Not only are cats calming and fun to be around, you can enjoy your favorite cafe drinks, read, relax, or just talk all while you are in the company of furry little animals. Here are just a few cat cafes that are worth being on anyone's bucket list.

Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium in London England
Cat Cafe Melbourne in Melbourne Australia
Nyafe Melange in Tokyo Japan

If you are interested in this particular subject, here is a link!

Water that is older than the Sun?

              Earlier this morning, a science article came out online that peaked my interest. It was titled, "Half of Earth's water may be older than the Sun." At first, I was skeptical... I mean, how would they know how old water was? But now looking more into it, it's much more interesting.  I learned that as research continues, it may help settle a debate about the formation of water, and also bring a new hope to the table of finding water in other solar systems. There was one theory that water formed from ice, that then condenced out as the planets moved into their place around the Sun, approximately 4.6 billions years ago. It's amazing to think about water that's older than the sun and is still here today on our planet. Come to think of it, some of our tap water is probably older than the Sun, maybe even the solar system! Discoveries like these really make you stop and reflect upon the little things we take for granted everyday.

Here's the link to the article if you're interested: http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2014/09/26/4094794.htm

Science Has Amazed Me Once Again

              I was reading an article recently online. In the article it listed all the new things scientists have learned in the past year, 2013. The article is called "17 Important Things Scientists Taught us in 2013' by Kelly Oakes. Some of the facts listed I never have heard of. I found most very interesting and possibly sharing them could intrigue others. The first fact that jumped out and grabbed my attention was there are over 1,000 expolanets that almost definitely exist. How crazy is it to think that there is a possible different race on a different planet? I find facts about space mind blowing. Well mostly because I feel it is so hard to envision yet it is real. Another interesting fact given in the article is the Milky Way does not have two arms like previously thought, but instead it has four. Space is such an interesting topic. I feel there is so much unknown about it. The facts we do know I wonder how do scientists come to these realizations?
The Milky Way
               On another note, there wasn't only space facts included in the article. Animals were also featured widely. An interesting fact to me was that scientists have found that someone could tell a whale's life story by it's earwax. The significance of the ear wax is very similar to what we all learned in middle school. Similar to the layers and levels of the ground identifying age and phases of the Earth, earwax of a whale has a similar purpose. The earwax builds up over the years, within the earwax it holds on to certain hormones. This lets scientists identify what the whale has been through. Another animal fact given was they discovered a new mammal. The mammal is called an Olinguito. The species is found in Columbia. It is crazy to think there is still new life forms that haven't been discovered. 

If you would like to learn more interesting facts here's the link to the article, there is a lot to learn. 17 Important Things Science Taught us in 2013

The Music of Erich Zann

Horror in literature is one of the hardest genres to pull off effectively. Unlike horror movies or video games, books have one certain disadvantage- the lack of sound. Sounds amplify and create much of the suspense found in horror movies, from strange sound effects to subtle, unsettling music. H. P. Lovecraft, a master of horror, takes this disadvantage, however, and works with it to make one of the most effective horror pieces ever created.
“The Music of Erich Zann” tells the tale of a university student who, short on cash, rented an apartment in a run down, practically vacant building. One of the few tenants of this building is Erich Zann, an introverted, hunched over, bald man, who happens to be the only resident on the highest floor. Our curious protagonist hears the man, late one night, expertly playing a viol. When morning came, the college student asked if he could watch Zann play his music one night, and the old man reluctantly agreed. They met in the old man's room as night fell, and the student watched mesmerized as Erich Zann played. At the end of the piece, Zann shook the hand of the student and made a point that his music should, from then on, be played in private. The two never spoke from that moment on, until one night our protagonist overheard Zann shouting while he erratically played his instrument. Compelled to help the man, the student rushed to his apartment. Here he witnessed a battle between Zann and a mysterious supernatural entity that Zann was barely able to over power using his masterful skills on the viol.

H. P. Lovecraft uses perfect word choice to bring out the eerie sights and sound portrayed int the story.

"Then one night as I listened at the door, I heard the shrieking viol swell into a chaotic babel of sound; a pandemonium which would have led me to doubt my own shaking sanity had there not come from behind that barred portal a piteous proof that the horror was real - the awful, inarticulate cry which only a mute can utter, and which rises only in moments of terrible fear or anguish."

With such effective word choice and imagery, the author manages to create an almost perfect horror story in fewer than ten pages.

Oath of the Horatii and Roman Influence

This painting is called The Oath of the Horatii and is painted by Louis David. Behind the painting is a story; During a period of fighting between two areas, Alba and Rome, two sets of triplets were set up to battle each other and end the widespread fighting. After fighting against the Curatii brothers, the last Horatii brother won victory for Rome. All else had died.
The three Horatii brothers are on the left, their father is in the middle, and their wives and children on the left. The brothers look physically very strong and determined; even their faces are very seriously detailed. The way that the middle brother's hand grabs onto the nearest brother's side shows that the Horatii brothers are going to have each others back's.
The women on the right are lamenting and one reason is very important. These women link together the Horatii and Curatii brothers because one of the Horatii sisters is married to a Curatii brother and one of the Curatii sisters is married to a Horatii brother. Either way this battle ends, these women will be at loss. When Horatius comes back with the good news of victory, the sister, Camilla, who was married to one of the Curatii, is frustrated. Horatius kills her because he thinks she is being selfish and not thinking of her country first.
The central point of the painting is the swords. The Horatii brothers are swearing their lives to the swords, and in that essence, the battle. Victory is their main priority because to them, their country comes first.
Now getting to the painter, David. Why would this Frenchman be painting an event that happened in Ancient Rome? What significance does The Oath of the Horatii hold to David? Well, the time period that this was painted is the French Revolution. David painted this in particular because of its message of nationalism. David wanted victory for France and the French people, to the point where he even did jail time for participating in the beheading of the King. Just as the Horatii brothers were willing to sacrifice their lives and loved ones, David also sacrificed for the better of the country.
This painting not only shows that nationalism was very influential in Ancient Rome, but also in France and many other places. In fact, many events, ideas, and places today are very influenced or have ties to Ancient Rome or anything originating from Rome and/or Greece.
Roman architecture is even shown in the painting. Columns and arches can be seen in the background which are two staples of Roman architecture. Today, we see columns especially in so many places. Take a look at any political building in America and I can bet that somewhere you will see columns.

The Massachusetts State House not only has columns and arches, but it even has a dome, which is another aspect of Roman Architecture. These columns are a good example too, because a porch is also involved. The type of column is called Corinthian because of the design at the tops of them. The reason these political buildings have Roman influence is because of the system of government in America. We based our politics mainly off the Roman Republic. If you study deep enough into Roman design, you can also see the impact of early Roman layouts and modern day cities. If you look at a map of Manhattan, you can see very straight roads that intersect. This layout comes from early Roman military camp layouts. Everywhere we turn, there is always a link to Rome.

American Troops in Foreign Affairs

                So I decided to blog about American Troops being involved in foreign affairs. This topic peaked my interest due to the recent Isis situation. Troops are already deployed in places all over the world, many of them in Iraq and Afghanistan. I don't believe we should be getting involved in other people's wars. If they want to kill each other and go to war, I say let them. Our troops shouldn't have to sacrifice their lives protecting other countries. I understand all the alliance stuff and all that, the political reasons. I just don't think deploying more troops is going to solve anything. People will keep getting killed, it's like a vicious cycle. My other problem is that the president says he wants to bring most if not all of the troops home. How is deploying more of them going to help accomplish that goal?
"I will not commit you and the rest of our Armed Forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq. After a decade of massive ground deployments, it is more effective to use our unique capabilities in support of partners on the ground so they can secure their own countries’ futures. And that’s the only solution that will succeed over the long term."(1)