Monday, November 3, 2014

Research Topic

For our data driven research assignment, I have chosen to talk about Death with Dignity and the voluntary termination of life for those who suffer a terminal illness. This topic interests me because of a recent woman who ended her life on November 1, and I want to see what other places agree with this act and which do not. My question will be, "What does the literature reveal about the pros and cons of doctor-prescribed suicide."

Monday, October 27, 2014

3 Potential Research Topics

1. Music- What does the literature reveal about how one's personality is affected by music preferences?
2. Death with Dignity- What does the literature say about the pros and cons of doctor-prescribed suicide?
3. Trauma- What does the literature say about how humans recover from traumatic experiences?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Can You Pick Up My Suicide Pills" By Beth Capriotti- Bias

Beth Capriotti, a writer for the Philadelphia Magazine, visited Boston in 2012 and learned about the "Death with Dignity" bill being placed in the ballot that November. The Death with Dignity Act allows patients who have approximately six months to live due to medical reasons, to be prescribed a lethal drug in which they can self administer and end their life. The patient must be acting voluntarily, have the ability to make decisions, and must have two witnesses present when the drug is prescribed, but not necessarily when the drug is administered. Capriotti has a biased opinion on this form of suicide, and voices her opinions, showing her bias, in her article.

One form of cognitive bias that Capriotti uses in the article is functional fixedness, or the limitation of an object or ideas and to only view your ideas. Capriotti sees "the role of the physician has been to provide care appropriate for the patient, not to assist in the manner of their death." She has known the idea of doctor to save someone's life. Instead, doctors would be handing over the medicine to end one's life. She doesn't change her views, or see that the world has evolved and trends have changed. She has her views, and will not let that idea go, which can be classified as functional fixedness, a form of cognitive biases.

The ostrich effect, the failure to see the negative outcome to a situation, is another form of cognitive biases used in Capriotti's article. Capriotti talks about how doctor's administering this lethal drug is suicide, homicide, murder. She says its wrong, and that doctors should be saving lives, not ending them. But these people are already dying, they know that their time is limited. They want to be able to die while they're still themselves, not someone plagued by symptoms, intoxicated by medicines, incapable of making decisions. They want to die with dignity, while they're still themselves. Capriotti only sees the side where people are killing themselves, taking their lives with the help of their physician, instead of seeing a positive side, that people are going they way they want. Her ability to only see a negative side, allows Capriotti's article to contain the ostrich effect, a form of cognitive biases.

Capritotti also displays the use of the pessimism bias, or the idea that actions will always result in a negative outcome. She often talks about how negative the possession of this lethal drug can be, and assumes the worst of the patients who plan to take it. She believes those who "suffer financial uncertainty might see this as an opportunity to alleviate burdensome financial obligations of loved ones." Or that a family member eyeing a big inheritance will convince them that the drug is the best option, when it may not be. Maybe the patient will "slip it in hubby’s coffee," says Capriotti. The author assumes the worst from people, and expects a negative outcome to the use of the drug. She believes it will be and issue for the patient, and maybe even the patients family and friends. Capriotti's inability to see a positive outcome, and only see the negative side of things, is an example of pessimism bias in the article.

"Death with Dignity," an act that allows patients with a terminal illness to be prescribed a lethal self-injected drug to end their life on their own terms. This topic creates lots of debate, and Beth Capriotti wrote hers for the Philadelphia Magazine. Her article used different forms of bias in it, including the ostrich effect, the pessimism bias, and functional fixedness. We all have our own opinions on topics, and Capriotti voiced hers with different types of bias.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Bucket List Completion

On my bucket list, I wrote as a short term goal that I would eat a dragon fruit, and this is what I decided to tackle for our assignment. It took a while to find, as the pitaya, nicknamed "dragon fruit", is a fruit most common during late winter/early spring, but we did find some of the exotic fruit at Whole Foods. The skin of the fruit is inedible, but the inside is bright and delicious. I was expecting the fruit to either be super sweet or extremely sour, but it was neither, almost even a little bland. The fruit was very good, and I would eat it again, maybe not everyday, but I'm glad I got to try it. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Semi-Structured Interveiw

I interviewed Brian Holmes, born and learned some interesting things about his life, his interests, and his personality. Brian Holmes was born in Boston on "October 23, 1998, at 12:08 am." He has a twin sister but they "have different birthdays due to the time of birth." He also has a dog, which he describes as "very old," being 14 years of age (in people years). When he was younger, Brian was "afraid of the dark," but got over his fear when he "matured, and became a heavier, less frightened sleeper." Brian also has a fear of heights. "My friends force me on roller coasters all the time," exclaims Brian in our interview, "but I don't like them, or anything that goes up high" When asked the question about what he would do with only one month left to live, Brian stated he would "climb Mount Everest, then attempt to ski down it." He would then "move to Japan and live out the rest of his life in a bonsai tree garden, making sure to visit plenty of aquariums," which he enjoys very much due to the "brightness and colorfulness." Brian's worst memory he can remember was playing soccer, when he let in "multiple goals while playing keeper." While he doesn't enjoy soccer, he does enjoy "watching football, hockey, and baseball; and also playing baseball practically year-round." With sports often come injuries, but the only injury Brian has ever had was a "sprained pinky toe." Brian has witnessed a major injury though, while outside a KFC. "I saw a guy get hit by a car head on," exclaimed Brian, "as he was crossing the street, a car just came and hit him. There were ambulances everywhere, I'm not quite sure he lived!" My interview with Brian taught me many things about him and what type of person is.

Friday, September 26, 2014


A.) Incentives are rewards or actions that motivate a person to complete a problem or task. Incentives are the reasons almost everyone works, and does or completes a task. Everyone has something that they except to get in return for their efforts. The most common incentive: money. Everyone wants money, no matter your age, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity. Money is a common incentive that everyone wants, because while money can't buy you happiness, it's not going to make you sad either. Money is a successful incentive because it's common and a necessary thing to survive in the world. While it seems sad that we often do things in exchange for money, what other ways are there to put food on the table, put a roof over your head. Incentives control what people do around the world, bribing people to do tasks using something they need or want, and this bribery works, making incentives like money successful.
B.) An aesthetic experience I once experienced, when all your sense are awakened, is whenever I go to concerts, You're listening to live music and dancing and singing along, and watching the performers. For me, all your senses are heightened and you're just in the moment, having the time of your life. (If you couldn't tell already, I really enjoy concerts.) Concerts, for me, are when all my sense are awake, and I'm having an aesthetic experience.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Short Term Bucket List:
  1. Eat a dragon fruit. It's bright colors and exotic appearance are intriguing to me, and I really want to try one.
  2. Sit front row at a concert. Concerts are one of my favorite things, I love listening to live music, singing along with thousands of strangers who are all so different yet all have a common love and interest. Sitting front row at a concert would be a dream come true. Even if it was someone I hated, I would probably still have the time of my life.
  3. Ski the Moguls. I want to ski the moguls one time this winter. I've done jumps and turns, but never tried to ski down the constant bumps and twists that make up the moguls, and it's something I will do once winter time comes.
  4. Meet a celebrity. There are tons of celebrities all around the world, and they world always cares about what they are doing, who they're dating, where they went on vacation. To be able to see them in a tabloid or on the news, and say "Hey I've met them!" would be kind of a cool thing. 
  5. Fly in a helicopter. My family and I went to Florida last year, and everywhere we went there were helicopters and helicopter rides. I think that its would exciting to get up in a helicopter and see everything.
  6. Learn to surf. I've wanted to learn how to surf for a while now, and I was supposed to this summer, but didn't have time. It's definitely on my to-do list this summer. 

Long Term Bucket List:

  1. Study a Year Abroad. I really want to be able, during college, to travel to another country, live with a (trustworthy) stranger, and get to exist in a totally new environment. I want to learn how other people in other countries live their lives, and get to be apart of their experience.
  2. Get arrested. Not for anything major, like murder or arson, but for some misdemeanor. Something silly, something that would only keep me in jail for a brief amount of time. While this probably isn't the best thing to have on my record, I feel like the experience of being in jail would be interesting, and I'm curious as to what would happen.
  3. Be in a Movie. Not as the starring lead or anything like that, but as an extra. Being in a movie seems like such a cool and rare opportunity, but it is really fun experience.
  4. Attend the Grammys or MTV Music Awards. This kind of correlates with my love for concerts. The Grammys and MTV Music Awards is a giant concert full of different artists who all have different styles and play different genres, all together in one giant awards show. Going to the one of these award shows for music would be a dream of mine, and I would kill to go.
  5. Crash a Wedding. A little odd, but I've always just wanted to show up at a wedding, not know a single person, and just have a blast dancing and partying. 
  6. See the Northern Lights. I've always wanted to see the Northern Lights, ever since I was about 5. The are beautiful in pictures, and I can imagine that they're even more so in person.                      

Sunday, September 21, 2014

               In her article, The Case Against High-School Sports, Amanda Ripley discusses her ideas on the removable of sports from the high school curriculum. As a student in high school, who plays sports, having sports as a part of the high school experience is essential, and I don't feel that removing sports would be a good decision. Sports are a huge part of attending high school, Koebler's article shows that "more than 7.6 million students played sports during the 2010-2011 school year." While Ripley makes good points in her article in describing why sports should be removed, there are many rebuttals to her argument, and I disagree with her opinion.

               In today's era, obesity is a large problem for our country. In the United States in 2011, "31.3 percent of children ages 10-17" were obese. High school sports are a great way for students to stay active and stay fit, preventing child and teen obesity. Sports force adolescents to get out on the field and be active, run around, and get in shape. Sports allow people to get healthy while doing something they love. People can make the argument that teenagers don't need to play sports in order to get exercise, that they can throw on a pair of sneakers and just go run around outside. But with homework, and tests, and any other stress inducers that could be occurring in a teen's life, exercise isn't usually the first thing on their mind. Going to practices and having games put exercise into your life automatically. I know that if I didn't have practices and games after school, I wouldn't get the same amount of exercise I do now. High school sports are a great way to incorporate exercise into the busy everyday life of a teen, helping keep kids healthy, and preventing child obesity.

               One point Ripley makes in her article is that when sports were eliminating in Premont, Texas, "It was calm. There was a level of energy devoted to planning lessons." Ripley attempts to convey the idea that without sports, students were completely devoted to school and were so much more focused. I, for one, do not believe that ports are necessarily the main reason teens are not focused during class time. Now I'm sure that some of the time, we can blame sports for our distractions. You could be excited about your game later that night, or instead of memorizing flashcards, you're memorizing the playbook. But sports are not the only reason a student might not be focused. Other school work, relationships, family drama, work; all are things that can distract students in the classroom. The removal of sports won't make the focus level magically go to 100 percent. There is always going to be another distraction, something consuming your brain. While sports can sometimes be to blame for poor focus levels in the classroom, getting rid of sports won't fix the problem. So why do it?

               During the season of whatever sport you may play, how you perform academically correlates with what you do on the field. If you don't acquire good grades, and do well in classes, you don't play. The threat of sitting on the bench instead of being able to play in the game often can be motivation for athletes to keep their grades up. Athletes want to play, that's why they signed up, and not being able to play because you're failing isn't something someone would want. Many may argue that the standard in how must you perform are low, therefore not providing tons of motivation. But for some students, not failing is a huge achievement. While the standards may be low for some students, for others, it's a huge achievement if they make it. Arguing that the standard are too low may be a good argument for you, but for others, having D's an improvement, Ripley makes good points and has a strong argument as to why the removal of sports in high schools seems like a good idea. But there are many of counter-arguments that can be made, showing benefits to the athletic programs in school, which is why I believe that high school sports school remain in high schools. 
Koebler, Jason. U.S. News & World Report. N.p., 2 Sept. 2011. Web. 18 Sept. 2014

"Percent of Children (ages 10-17) Who Are Overweight Or Obese." The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 2011. Web. 18 Sept. 2014.

Ripley, Amanda. "The Case Against High-School Sports." Oct. 2013: 72-78. Print.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ethos, Pathos, and Logos

Caffeine May Boost Long Term Memory

In the article "Caffeine May Boost Long-Term Memory" ethos, pathos, and logos are used to persuade the reader into believing their articles, and agree with their ideas. Logos uses logic and statistics to sway the reader towards their idea. Pathos uses techniques to make the reader feel something, and uses the readers emotions to draw them in and persuade them. Ethos is the authority and integrity of the author, which makes the article more persuasive knowing its written by someone who knows what they are talking about.

Pathos- An example of pathos in the article is reading about the author. Honor's "main interests lie within new medical diagnostics, neurology, stem cell research and cancer research. Honor has strong journalism experience and, prior to joining the Medical News Today team, she worked within a number of financial publications covering both consumer and trade finance." They make it sound like she has enough experience to be writing a good article. When "by Daniel Borota of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore" is stated, it shows that a smart, qualified professor backs up this knowledge and that this article can be trusted.

Logos- A very good portion of the article uses logos to make its point. Throughout the article, the author describes the experiments people underwent to prove that caffeine can help long term memory. They explained the experiment, and used the amounts of caffeine and other m=numbers to persuade the argument. They included their conclusion, stating "that a dose of at least 200 mg is required to observe the enhancing effect of caffeine on consolidation of memory." Using logos is a good way to help persuade an argument of piece of writing.

Ethos- In my opinion, the article itself uses ethos as a tactic. How many people wouldn't want a good long term memory? How many people would just be like, "Eh, who really cares about remembering things." Very few, and the idea of remembering things longer, and being able to remember happy times can definitely affect your emotions.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pet Peeves.

In no particular order:

1.    Mimicking. I have a younger sister, who is eleven years old. Whenever she gets annoyed with me, or is in the mood to drive me insane, she transforms her voice into a high pitched annoyance of a sound, and will mimic every single word I say. And it drives me insane. Please Madeline, I would like to be able to have a conversation without hearing an echo that makes my ears bleed. Be mature, talk like an eleven year old, and leave me alone.

2.    Replace the roll. We all go to the bathroom, and if you don’t, I advise that you see a doctor about that because that’s unnatural. But when you go to the bathroom, you need to use toilet paper. One of my pet peeves is when someone goes to the bathroom, uses up all of the toilet paper, and then doesn’t replace the empty roll. My younger siblings do it all the time, but then the next person to use the bathroom either a.) has to replace the roll themselves, making their wait to use the bathroom longer, or b.) gets stuck in the bathroom without any toilet paper, but I’d rather we not discuss what you do in that situation.

3.    Morgana. I’m actually cringing as I read the name. I hate hate hate hate when people add an ‘a’ to the end of my name and call me Morgana. Someone first called me that in second grade, and I’ve hated it ever since the first time that extra syllable escaped someone’s mouth. It reminds me of some evil witch in a movie, and the name makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry. Please, I beg you, never call me that.

4.    People who judge something you enjoy. By this, I mean, music, television, anything that makes you happy. Everyone has different tastes and interests, so most likely your music taste or favorite sport will be different from somebody else. Who cares? Enjoy what you like, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about something that makes you happy.

5.    Captain Obvious. Another one of my pet peeves is when people make stupid and obvious comments, that essentially don’t further the conversation, and aren't really helpful in anyway. For instance, saying the sky is blue when talking about something completely un-sky related is in no way helping a conversation move forward. It also is common knowledge, so is there an actual point to your comment?

6.    “You look just like your sister!” No, I don’t. Yes, I have a sister, and yes, she could be my twin, but I do not look like her. She looks like me. I was born first, therefore she looks like me. I have no clue why, but it drives me up a wall when people tell me I look like her. I came first bud, she looks like me.