Blog #6

Throughout the years, scientists have been trying to predict when natural disasters can strike.  Most forms of prediction have failed, especially with earthquakes.  Earthquakes commonly happen when faults or plates of earth slip.  In Kathryn Schulz’s article, she uses fear tactics to motivate the audience to find a way to predict earthquakes.

At the beginning of the article, Schulz brings in information about Goldfinger and the Japanese earthquake.  If there was not a subtitle to the article, one could assume that the big one was based off the Japanese earthquake.  For me, this incident happened because I did not read the subtitle.  In addition, the first part seems very casual for such a catastrophic event.  She provides details that Goldfinger cursed and thought the event was cool for a little bit.  After reading into the article, Schulz discusses how the Cascadia subduction zone will host the big one.  By providing a model based off a person’s hands, Schulz draws the readers more into the article because it allows for them to do a hands on demonstration.  People, especially me, enjoy doing something that involves not just reading but acting it out.  In addition to the demonstration, Schulz strikes fear into the audience.  By using the experience of the Japanese earthquake and then relating it to something that could happen in the United States, Schulz puts the event in our perspective because it is in our country which makes people concern about the topic.  Also by describing how the event will play out, Schulz uses scare tactics to promote her article which makes people want to fix problems.  Throughout the article, she utilizes these tactics to support her argument.  Because these natural disasters are deadly, I believe we should invest more time into finding a way to predict earthquakes.

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Blog #5

The use of chimpanzees for experiments has been going on for almost a hundred years, and Project Nim was among these experiments.  Through Columbia University, professors and students worked together to determine if a primate could actually communicate with humans by completing full sentences.  Even though the project had all the resources needed, it still had several flaws which led to the downfall of the project.

Several people in the project were in charge of taking care of Nim.  The first family did not treat the experiment seriously, allowing the chimpanzee to smoke weed and drink alcohol, which damaged the project from the start because he was supposed to be raised as a child.  Because Nim was constantly changing families, it affected the experiment negatively because he was not being raised like an average human lived.  He had several different “moms” and “dads.”  In addition, Nim was very spoiled and was mostly taught words of items and things he wanted.  These flaws did not make the experiment as successful as it could have been.

The whole story of Project Nim was very interesting.  By interviewing the people who worked with Nim, it gave the documentary credibility and showed how each person viewed the project.  When they interviewed the people, there was always a mood shift.  Some people would find Nim pleasant, and others would feel guilt and sorrow for the chimp.  For example, Dr.Terrace had a connection with Nim by working with him, but he didn’t feel too remorse when he had to cancel the experiment and send him away.  On the other hand, most of teachers were angered and frustrated with how they had to leave Nim in an enclosure.  Their viewpoints helped bring drama to the film because they loved Nim and when something bad happened to Nim, they would feel guilty.  Overall, the film was intriguing, but in my opinion, they should not have tried to humanize a chimpanzee because they were meant to live differently.

Blog #4

 

Curiosity is in human nature. It sparks new ideas, brings about innovation, and changes history.  Curiosity is what leads to scientific discoveries.  Because of this, I believe science and curiosity go hand-in-hand.   Science is the knowledge of the world based off of observational facts, and the only way to discover these facts is to search for them.  This strong desire to search for new ideas and things is curiosity.  Through her article, “Curious,” Kim Todd describes this spirit of inquiry and how it affects humans.

Kim Todd first starts off the article by giving a brief description of the Surinam toad.  She writes about how people have always found them interesting because of their exoticness, and then Todd compares these toads to curiosity.  By the use of her simile between the Surinam toads and curiosity, she pulls in the readers with something unique to make curiosity appear to be a more interesting topic.  If she started the article by just diving into the topic of curiosity, it probably would not have grabbed my attention, but because she compared it to something fascinating, I wanted to read more about it.  Through her use of descriptive phrases and words, such as “obsessive as hunger,” “strange beast,” and “fickle,” she provokes the idea that the concept of curiosity is very incredible and intense because she describes them with extreme words.  In addition, I enjoyed how she brought in history to support her claim of curiosity affecting people. She discussed how people now seem to satisfy their thirst for knowledge by researching and going to school while back then, religion was very against people looking for things that could threaten church.  As a Christian, I know what she is talking about because the church is against the theory of evolution and several other theories.  Overall, I enjoyed reading the article because her passion seeps through the words of what she writes which draws me into reading more about curiosity.

Blog #3

For years, there has been research on how the first living creatures moved from water to land.  After several studies, a group of researchers discovered how the first land creatures ended up on the land. They proclaim that is very similar to the African mudskipper, and to prove this finding, they created a robot to simulate how it could travel over sand dunes.  Like most things discovered, authors collect the data and write articles about these findings.  Samantha Cole of Popular Science and John Toon of Georgia Tech wrote articles covering this material, and the articles are different by their length and website.

In Toon’s article, he goes into depth of the research project including how the robot supports evidence of early land-living life.  Because it is on the Georgia Tech website, it convinces the audience to read the article because it has credibility or ethos from a prestigious STEM school.  In addition, the article provides a video which appeals to audience because it is a visual that goes along with the project.  Because of the formal tone and works cited, the article brings in more people who want to learn more about this research and are willing to read something that seems boring and basic.  On the other hand, Cole’s article is very short and to the point.  It is more of a summary of what researchers at Georgia Tech have found.  By the use of advertisement and the “subscribe” button, the website wants to real people in with interesting subjects and then try to convince them to buy into the website and other supportive companies.  Also because of the layout of the website and the length of the article, it can be assumed it is for the common person who just so happened to stumble across the article.  On a side note, Cole’s article may not bring in a lot of religious people to read the article.  Evolution has always been a hot topic between scientist and religious people, and by finding evidence to support evolution could turn these people away. I believe Cole’s article grabs the attention of the common person, but only if that person has some interest in science while the Georgia Tech article is for the person who is very interested and wants to learn more about this research project.

Blog #2

Animals, such as rats and mice, have fallen victim to testing and experimentation through organizations trying to find cures and medications for human illnesses and diseases.   By using scientific evidence and research, organizations like The Jackson Laboratory and the National Anti-Vivisection Society try to persuade the public why we should or should not exploit mice and rats for our own personal gains.

The Jackson Laboratory performs experiments on these rodents in order to complete medical research.  Through their use of scientific evidence, especially the bullet points at the bottom of the article, the researchers convince the public that these animals are great specimen because they have very similar DNA compositions compared to humans.  The organization also brings in a professor with a doctorate which gives the article credibility which then convinces the public even more.  In addition, the image grabs the audience’s attention because it a cartoon of a mouse and a human with similar genes which summarizes the article in a visual way. The purpose of this article is to convince the public that it is acceptable and beneficial to do research on mice.

On the other hand, the National Anti-Vivisection Society produced an article that promotes fighting against the use of rodents for experiments.  Their utilization of data from federal law surveys provides the audience an understanding that rodents are experimented on much more than they have been.  With a mixture of morality, the society tries to touch the public that these animals are not meant for these experiments and are in pain which causes the public to feel sympathy.  By having the logo at the top of the website, it gives a feeling of respect and trust because they are a national society meaning they are most likely important.  The purpose of this article is to convince the public that rodents should not be used for medical experiments.

After looking at both websites, I found that it is hard to pick sides.  My family history includes a decent amount of illnesses and disease like most families, so looking at the Jackson Laboratory article, I respect that they are trying to find cures for these problems.  On the other hand, I used to have a pet mouse that I loved dearly, and the thought of it being experimented on, does not please me one bit.  Overall, it is hard to decide which way is right, but if the public saw only one of the articles, the article could heavily impact their belief on the controversy.

UCS Blog #1

Throughout the website of the Union of Concerned Scientists, the creators persuade the public to donate money, get involved, and learn more about what they have to offer.  The Union of Concerned Scientists is a group of experts and researchers in the realm of science that want to promote knowledge and involvement in environmental problems like climate change.  The designers of the website wanted the public to notice a few important items on the website by repetition and color.  By constantly repeating the “join or renew” and “ways to give,” the organization tries to persuade the people to donate their time and money in order to keep the organization effective (“Union of Concerned Scientists”).  In addition, they attract the readers through the highlighted and colored wording that is significant to the website.  In one of the drop boxes, the last set is “Center for Science and Democracy” in bright green which draws the audience to click on it (“Union of Concerned Scientists”).  Through this set-up, the website takes the user to an equation, “Engaged scientists + an informed public = a stronger democracy,” which reinforces the concept that the public can make a difference by joining the organization (“Union of Concerned Scientists”).  Words such as democracy, citizen, and empowering give off the perception that the public can have a greater say in the government which convinces the audience to join the organization.  This website is a prime example of nonverbal and electronic communication through the layout, pictures, and colors.  Through these modes of communication, the Union of Concerned Scientists informs the public about global problems and persuades them to come together and donate their time and money.

Works Cited

“Union of Concerned Scientists.” Union of Concerned Scientists. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Sept. 2016.