[Pika!] Embarassing Favorites

Does anyone have any favorite books, TV shows, songs or movies that they are embarrassed to admit they like? For example I like a lot of Disney movies and I still like to reread some books I first read when I was a lot younger. There are a lot of popular songs that I’m ashamed to admit I like- stuff by Selena Gomez and Ke$ha. I can’t help it if it’s catchy! I just wondered if anyone else was ashamed to admit that they liked stuff that they know most people would disapprove of.

I’m attaching a picture of Tiana and Naveen, because The Princess and the Frog is one of my favorite movies.

[Pika!] Retirement

Am I the only one who has tons of ideas for what I want to do in my retirement? Traveling a lot will not only be enjoyable by itself, but it will also feed two other hobbies I plan to take up in my later years. I want to go metal-detecting on beaches and such. They actually sell really nice metal detectors that are expensive, and I will get one of those because I will be that serious about it. I don’t plan on actually finding anything worth money, but I bet I will find some interesting stuff. And it’s a nice active hobby to have as an old person. It will give me an excuse to travel as well, we (me and my husband) can go to places where there might be treasure washed up or something, I bet we could find tons of cool, unusual vacation spots this way. I also want to take up birdwatching. This also fits in with traveling, as we can travel the globe to sample the local culture, history, food, and see the local birds. I want to have this hobby because I love birds and I would love to be a birdwatcher.

Do any of you guys have plans for what you want to do when you are retired?

[Pika!] Free Speech

So I’ve been recently hearing more about people who are anti-vaccine and the ways that this is making kids more and more sick. It seems unfair that people can put things out there that misinform people, which then leads them to not get their kids vaccinated. The parent gets to make the decision for the child, a decision that in cases is a deadly one and also endangers other kids. It seems like people shouldn’t be allowed to publish articles about false scientific claims that put people in danger. But is publishing such articles protected under free speech? This issue can be expanded to include all kinds of pseudoscience that is accepted as truth by many people, with occasionally fatal results. For example, one of my mom’s high school friends has advanced cancer but is refusing all medical treatment and counting on alternative therapies to heal her. I know that it is her right to choose her treatment, but there is so much misinformation that is fueling her decision. She once posted a video on facebook titled “Cancer doesn’t kill, traditional treatments do!”

Should there be governmental restrictions on the publication of pseudoscience that endangers lives? Or would that be a slippery slope towards censorship?

[Pika!] Extremists

I was just thinking about how too much of anything is supposedly to be bad. For example, being studious is good, but being too studious is bad because you miss out on other opportunities. Knowing how to have fun is good, but if all you do is have fun you will end up with a crappy life and probably some health problems. Most positive character traits I can think of turn into negative ones if they are too pronounced in a person. Confidence becomes arrogance, kindness becomes weakness, funniness becomes flippancy.

But is life really all about staying in the middle of a spectrum? Is there anything that can’t be taken to a negative extreme?

[Pika!] The Old Debate

I’m a BCN major so I obviously think about psychology a lot. One of the most basic questions that psychologists try to answer is the power of nature vs. nurture. Are people the way they are because they were born that way, or because of the way they grew up? There have been brilliant psychologists who were on either side. John Watson was a behaviorist and thought that people were made who they were by their environment. A famous quote by him goes “Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select – doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors. ”

Do you think this is true? Is a person solely a product of their environment? Or is it all biologically determined and set at birth? And what are the potential repercussions of putting too much stock in the importance of nature OR nurture?

Debate article

This is a funny article from The Guardian. It isn’t specifically about the debate, but it i sfocused on comparing Obama and Romney. But most of it isn’t relevant to their campaigns. I think that this is a perfect picture of the debate because I believe the debate itself didn’t say much about what they believe, and everything they said probably isn’t what would happen if each of them became president. I think that the debate was so much more about who had prepared the most, who had the best public speaking skills, and who could interrupt the moderator the most. I don’t think that watching the debates taught me anything useful about the two candidates, just like this article taught me a bunch of stuff that shouldn’t really affect my voting decision.

You should check it out, it’s funny and interesting! I didn’t know most of the stuff the article mentions.


US Drones in Pakistan

I feel unprepared to form my own opinion on the drone strikes in Pakistan. Even if I had read the entire 182-page report I would still know less than the people who wrote it. For me to boldly state my opinion with any sort of confidence I would need to go to Pakistan and do my own research, to be sure of the truth of the current situation. I would talk to U.S. soldiers and Pakistani citizens to hear both sides. Once I was sure of the current situation, I could focus on predicting the future. I would need to educate myself about war strategies and what has worked and not worked in the past. I would have to hear all of the latest research about fatality projections and terrorist member growth projections and other relevant predictions. Even after I knew all this I would still seek the input of others to help me come to a decision. After seeing what currently was happening and what was likely to happen in the future if various paths were taken, I could begin to wrestle with the morality of the situation. If one innocent civilian dies, how many terrorists must also be killed for their loss of life to be “worth it”? Should anyone ever get to choose to sacrifice someone else’s life for the greater good? After all my hypothetical research and discussion, I would never be able to answer that question.

Guardian Article Response

My excuse for not checking the news on a daily basis is that most of it is bad news, and I’d rather not fill my life with unnecessary negativity. This was discussed in class as a common reason for not being vigilant about everyday news pieces. So I thought it would be interesting if I read this article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2012/sep/25/how-brain-filters-bad-news titled “How the Brain Filters Bad News.”

The article is about how a specific region of the brain has been located that is partly responsible for ignoring bad news. In an experiment, subjects had that part of their brain disrupted with magnetic pulses, and then asked to estimate how likely bad things would happen to them. Afterwards, they were shown the correct answers. Tested again slightly later, the people whose specific brain area had been disrupted adjusted their estimates better than the control group, who still retained more optimistic figures.

I find it very interesting that the scientists were able to isolate such a specific part of the brain that functions in that way. I wonder if permanent brain damage in that area could leave to a more pessimistic outlook on life or potentially develop into depression. I wonder if it has been tested whether people already exhibiting symptoms of depression have a defect in that brain area. I also wonder whether such a mechanism exists in any animal species.


A Doomed Career

The Russian model hopefuls are not only entangled in a system where they are sexualized at a young age, they are signing up for a career that will last them, at most, 5 years. During that time they will have missed out on all of their schooling, and when they are dumped on the street at 18 by the fashion industry, they will have little job prospects. In fact, the only way they will have learned to make money is by using their appearance, and that is why I see many of the ex-models becoming prostitutes. Once the modeling income stops coming, what else has the modeling world prepared them for? The people in charge of scouting and firing the girls must know this, and surely, on some level, the parents must realize this too. At the very least they must know that once modeling is over, their daughter will be ill-prepared and under-educated for the real world. This comes back to what we were talking about in class, where the mother was deceiving herself in saying that her daughter becoming a model was the best thing for her.