Blogs

Why Does It Kill the Cat?

Curiosity. It is a very curious thing that exists within the human mindset. As Kim Todd’s article Curiosity questions, why can’t we look away at something that may be disgusting or weird or out of the ordinary? It is because we want to know what happens next; it is part of what makes us human that we cannot simply look away when encountered with something different or out of the ordinary. I have also wondered how some people have told me about how addicted they are to some shows that they do not even like. How are you going to watch a show day in and day out and not like it? It literally made no sense to me until reading Curiosity. To me, it shed light on why all of those weird, gross medical videos exist online, or more specifically, why people continue to watch them. It is all about wanting to know what happens next and seeing something we have never seen before. Curiosity is also the reason that we know as much as we do about space and about the planet we live on. Without curiosity, we would have no information about how we live, why we live, etc.because it took a few very curious, intelligent people to begin figuring out questions like that. It is also curiosity that really kept me interested in finishing this short story. It left open so many loose ends, it drove me mad, but I really wanted to know if my questions would be answered and how the story would tie everything together. The ending made me very happy and truly satisfied me. She also left the reader with a bit of a cliff hanger at the end to continue to exploit the curiosity of the reader to really make it more interesting. The final paragraph of just the answers to all my questions was unbelievable satisfying and made the whole story worth reading and gave some very cool insight into some cool things going on around us. So in conclusion, curiosity is a very important part of our lives, and it is really a lot of the reason why we continue to live, so we can see what happens next or what happens in the end.

Project Nim

The movie Project Nim is a documentary about a science experiment that was meant to see if a group of scientists could get a chimpanzee named Nim to be able to communicate with people in full sentences. The argument that the film makes is that the project was a failed experiment because of the inconsistency throughout Nim’s life caused by all of the drama created by the humans surrounding Nim no matter where Nim was. The movie also showed to the viewer the real difference between humans and animals and why we are not just another animal. It shows this by telling all of the horrible things that Nim had to go through told first-hand by all of the many people who worked with Nim. They told of how they failed to control Nim, how they failed to actually teach him, how people walked out of the operation because of the way others were acting. Then, the man in charge of the whole experiment explains that the experiment was a failure because he was unable to teach the chimpanzee how to form sentences, even though, it seemed like they had huge success in the end, at least as far as I am concerned, because they were able to get a chimpanzee to easily and effectively communicate with humans. The other scientists involved also saw it as a more of a success because if they watched Nim’s decisions and communications, they were always deliberate, and meant to influence people into giving him what he wanted. They started noticing that Nim was actually very deceptive and witty when it came to down to getting what he wanted. According to the film, the Nim experiment taught us that there really is a distinct difference between humans and animals. Although the people around Nim really wanted to help him out and teach him things, Nim would still viciously attack them and be very mean to them for no given reason. Nim really proved that animals are meant to live separately from humans because they do not work in unison.

Science in The Martian

The movie The Martian is about a man who gets stranded on Mars after a failed attempt for humans to colonize mars. Against all odds, the man on Mars finds a way to survive the storm that made the rest of the colony flee the planet, and then he has to try and figure out a way to survive on the planet until the next Mars mission lands or until he gets a food supply drop. The Martian’s first concern is figuring out a way to have enough food and water to survive until the next Mars landing would occur in ta few years. He uses the science he knows  as a botanist to find a way to farm potatoes and have drinkable water on the desolate planet to keep him alive. Science acts as salvation throughout the movie, providing the isolated man a purpose. Without having to struggle through and figure out how all of the technology works, the man would have gone insane with no purpose and no reason to keep on living. After figuring out a way to generate food and water to live, the man begins to focus his efforts towards communicating with Earth and getting back home. These projects begin to consume all of his time, and he must cleverly figure out how all of the technology stranded on the planet from previous missions or for previous missions functions and how he can make them work and do things that he needs them to do. Science is portray to the viewer as a critical part of life by showing how the man would not have lived if he had not known enough about the science of everything around him. Science is also shown as something that is “cool” to a younger audience by having a funny, cool guy be a science genius who knows about all of this extremely high level science material. Also, the man on Mars attempts to explain the science of everything he is doing in the most understandable way possible which also makes a lot of the crazy things that he is doing throughout the film seem attainable and doable by the general audience.

John Toon vs. Samantha Cole

John Toon is a scientific writer for Georgia Tech, so whenever he writes for an article, he has a clear bias towards Georgia Tech. This is apparent in his article titled “Robot Helps Study How First Land Animals Moved 360 Million Years Ago” from the Georgia Tech News. Toon talks a ton about how a bunch of Tech people participated in the creation of this robot to try and appeal to the Georgia Tech audience who is reading his article. Samantha Cole’s shorter “Robot Replicates How Our Ancestors First Walked on Land” gives a short mention of Georgia Tech to quickly say that they were involved in the experiment, but does not focus on that bit like Toon does. Cole’s article is pretty much just a quick, non-scientific summary of Toon’s article which makes it lose a significant amount of credibility in my book. It honestly looks like Cole’s article was actually created from a summary of Toon’s with the intention of dulling it down and shortening it for the audience of Popular Science. This is great example of a transformation and a translation. It is a translation because it is taking a very similar text and adapting it to what the writer wants it to become. It is a transformation because it takes the original article and changes the scope and moves it to a different place on the internet.

 

My question for John Toon: Do you actually go through the whole press release yourself and determine what is going to be important to have in your article or does someone else do that for you?

Union of Concerned Scientists

The Union for Concerned Scientists website is very interesting, and there are a lot of cool things on the site. However, there are some bad parts of the site as well. First of all, the website does very well to inform the viewers of different environmental concerns with the Earth. It does so in a very comprehensible, approachable manner. Because the website is meant to educate people on a lot of the environmental issues of the world, it has to dumb down a lot of the heavy science material the website could otherwise be filled with. On top of that, the website provides many different options as far as articles. There are a lot of different posts that are very informative and spread over an eclectic range of subjects. Although this website has all of those, the main drawback is that it is desperate for donations. They are constantly trying to get people to give money. I know that this is the point of the website, but to me, they are just too in-your-face about the whole donation thing. If I was reading their website and really wanted to support them, I would donate on my own time. I do not need the constant reminders. It really is not that big of a deal, but it just gets in the way of good content to me. Other than that minor detail, the website looks really good and works exactly like I want it to and like they want it to.

Photo Essays

Surprisingly, I actually really enjoy the idea of the photo essay genre. I am not really much of an “artsy” person. I do not usually see myself into the use of pictures because I am a very logical person that likes to have everything easily laid out in front of me for when I am reading because I hate having to go out of my way to interpret things. However, I am more of a thinker than a writer, so I prefer to think about my work for a long time before actually beginning to write anything. In this way, it makes sense for me to want to think about what I want for my photos and spend more time on picking the right pictures rather than slave over my wording or how to express a certain idea in words. This form also intrigues me with the creative ways that someone can come up with to express certain ideas to other people through pictures. For example, instead of actually talking about the horrors of poverty in a written text, a photo essayist can display the horrid scenes of poverty through their pictures that they take or choose to use. For a reader, this is much more touching and scarier than using words to describe some of the things they have to do. This is a very simple example of how photo essays can speak to the reader in different ways. As the old adage goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”