Category Archives: le débat

Failed Children

As shocking as it sounds, a 6-year-old boy was suspended from school and accused of sexual harassment when he kissed a girl on her hand. This little ridiculous incident happened in late 2013; experts argued that the zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment from the very school was the trigger attributing the cause of the whole event. However, the real question is how it is possible for brainy adults to be slaved by policies that are apparently not working.

Another similar case was a 6-year-old apraxic child in New Jersey suspended from the school due to his movement difficulties, which were said to be sexual, disturbing and dangerous to others by the school officials. Fortunately, the issue was resolved after his parents fought hard with the school district. The school accused the parents might have sexually abused the boy before suspended the boy; the school also ignored notes from doctors confirming the boy’s problems and refused to offer assistance to the boy . To the matter of the fact, the father of the boy is a renowned professor in Neuroscience at Princeton, which made the event more concerning.  The parents are highly educated and respected, but still, it was a nightmare.

The school system is rotten from inside out and filled with careless teachers and principals with no self-pity.

Meanwhile, a retired high school teacher wrote a warning to university professors about how unprepared those pupils are for higher education. I am myself an aspiring residential alien in the US working toward a PhD. My passion is not really to be an educator but a social scientist, but teaching is always an accessory coming along with working in academia. My limited background in teaching has already started to be troublesome. Students are brilliant, however, when they put their thoughts into words, they become utterly terrible. It might be my background in journalism in which writing is an important asset to be trained and improved (despite I have been bashing around how terrible journalists or editors write their stories since the first day I picked up the AP style guidebook).

In spite of being a powerhouse for higher education, is the American educational system failing young generations? Students are stigmatized and troubled with little to none useful knowledges on how to succeed. Educators are frustrated and giving up. What will the next step be? A total collapse of the most fundamental base?

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The Dark Side of Freedom of Speech

People often consider it is getting better as we enter the next phase of the Internet, aka big data, but, there are a significant amount of people trolling around and having fun being so-called Internet haters.

A freelance writer, Amanda Hess, recently wrote about how women were not welcome on the Internet. She shared her stories of being life-threatened by haters on Twitter. Meanwhile, female public figures like the Duchess of Cambridge, Hilary Mantel, and Mary Beard have been sharing similar terrifying experiences on the Internet. Life threats and sexual harassments can be easily circulated and accumulated because of the Internet, and they are as harmful and painful as physical abuses.

Most public figures are often attacked by haters, and women are not the center of the issue. However, behind those extreme examples, there are more to this event. Words that sound civil can also discriminate gender equality. Fix the Family, a religious online activist blog, posted an article arguing why women should not be sent to colleges. Despite how ridiculous it sounded like, Fix the Family certainly abused their privilege from Freedom of Speech. Their words did not involve life threats nor sexual harassments, but they have been stabbed on women just as hard. Neither is their pro gender inequality attitude humanitarian, nor is it Christian at all.

While hate speech is outlawed and starts to become more apparent and more of a social issue, how each individual cyber resident can police our online environment and create a healthy online society remains unanswered and needs urgent attentions.

How Can We Appreciate Our Lives if the Food Industry Keeps Pushing to Shorten Our Life Expectancies

While Chris Christie is guarding himself for the recent George Washington Bridge scandal, his bluntness will never save his pudding-like belly. Christie, the currently New Jersey State governor, has been under the radar for 2016 Presidential Election since…his name was broadcasted for the first time. However, let’s not talk about politics, and focus on obesity. Christie has been defensive and vocal about his weight problem; no one can blame him being fat, but shouldn’t he at least set up a model to fight with this so-called genetic disadvantage!

Speaking of this so-called genetic disadvantage, after all, it might be more mental than genetic. Jack in the Box has introduced their fat-packed munchie menu since late 2013. And they look disgustingly tempting. A healthy average size adult should eat about 2300 calories per day if he/she is moderately active. Let’s say 2k calories come from three big meals and 3 hundred for snacks. Each meal, he/she will probably eat around 650 calories. Ideally, 40% of those calories should come from carbs, 30% should come from protein and another 30% for fat, which means probably the fat intake per meal should be limited to 21 grams. Good luck to find anything below that number at any fast-food restaurants, or you could make your stomach suffer to consume fewer calories.

There are smarter options people can dig hard to find. However, when our stomachs are bleeding for food, how could it be possible to process tons of information before we  order that double quarter-pound beef burger with fried onion rings and cheese made from whole milk? Since the food industry has been greedy to pack food with addictive ingredients to make them more appealing to our taste buds, how could average consumers/eaters to self protect?

Moreover, media started to overtly criticize negative portrayals of fat people in the fashion industry. Should we love everyone despite how they look? Sure, definitely! However, should we appreciate fat so much? People have been criticizing how media portrayed a false image of that females should be thin, and we are winning the battle! In return, simply there will be more fat people as more fat people start to think being fat is ok. However, it is not ok! Medical bills, depression, shortened life expectancy, and many more are related to obesity! Meanwhile, will the action of people oking being fat encourage the food industry to stop cleaning out their horrid fat-exploding recipes? Life is short, should we do whatever we want so that we will not regret or should we guard our bodies like a temple to live a more fulfilled and fuller life?

I Though We Were Born Equal?

We were born equal is a Utopian thought, a hopeful ideology, and a unified determination supposedly of the entire human race. 

The Russian anti-gay bill passed through last year, yes, 2013, the last year. Not only was it an event generated global debates, but also was it a solid divider to separate Russia farther from  the land of European advancements. Meanwhile, the anti-gay sex law in India is still under serious conflicts, and similar laws have been put into execution in many more countries.

Many might like me wonder how it can be possible for anti-gay laws to be even considered at the first place. They can read us a few scriptures from the Bible, the Quran, or just make-up personal morality. Away from those unfortunate examples, there are hopes in equality. 

People can get wed soon starting in 2014 in England and Wales. Most recently, Judge Robert Shelby lifted the ban on same-sex marriage in the State of Utah. However, as how conservative Utah sounds, people in Utah stroke back and asked the Supreme Court to block same-sex marriages. Are we losing the battle for equality?

Blue eyes, blond, tall and slender, all those to be said beautiful humans, but we came so long into the journey. We start to be less colored, and blue eyes become hazel eyes, and blond hair becomes brown hair, and fair skin becomes a gold-sheered olive healthy looking. We are simply all earthlings, nothing belongs to one individual, one group, or one nation; we are made to share and grow together. But why can’t we do what we are supposed to be doing. 

Someone Loves Stinky Things, a Very Mecreational New Year

Without diving into the fairy tales behind how Colorado could legalize marijuana for recreation while the federal government is still holding back, many Coloradans will queue up for some good time on January 1, 2014.

As one of the top three drugs consumed in the US, or I prefer to use the word”substance”, marijuana aka cannabis, or better-known as weed, has been quite a trading business underground. As medicine, marijuana use is proven to help with some medical diseases, such as cancer and AIDS. However, will recreational use of marijuana disturb our society? The answer is really simple- no one really knows.

Most countries on this planet have strong policies toward marijuana use. In China, a death penalty will frequently fall upon people who abuse drugs. In the US, people who possess a super huge amount of the drug can also be sentenced to death, but the US Supreme Court only carries out a death sentence to murder and treason. Harsh policies somehow prevent people from drug abuse, however, the marijuana use rate in the US is quite similar to Netherlands despite how loosely the  Dutch government regulates the use of marijuana. We also have to consider the fact how many more people are living in the US than in Netherlands.

Personally, I have never smoked weed. I quit smoking recently, and I am allergic to alcohol. How can I have a life?! I do not have a strong say on how marijuana affects human bodies. But let’s go back in time when tattooing was once banned by NYC, women could not vote, and gay marriages were unthinkable. Without much evidence approving how marijuana is related to mental illness, negative health impacts and potential traffic threats, it might be just a not-so-right-perception of marijuana use due to concerns of drug abuse by the public. Marijuana is a business worth millions of dollars, and as the President of Medicine Man commented “someone just loves stinky things”. This might be the start of a marijuana revolution.

A Brief Talk about American Education

A couple of weeks ago, CNN brought up a discussion over how the US has been slacking behind countries like South Korea, Finland, and even Poland on education. Very interesting, weird, and interesting again.

 

 

 

Reportedly, high school students from countries like South Korea and Finland did much better on math than those from the US. I could remember during the last year, my undergraduate university in the Southern US lowered the requirements on math so that more people could graduate. However, the school where I am currently working on my master’s in the Midwest is trying to bar it up on math. Both are public institutions, however, quiet different policies despite the mere 6-hour-drive from one to the other.

The battle over math really moved on to a debate over if sports could escalate the quality of education or oppress it. Finland and South Korea topped on students’ performances, and neither country focused as much on sports as American schools have been doing. A reasonable argument was that high-profile schools would sacrifice students’ academic performances  in order to recruit those who were physically gifted. However, many have also argued that sports could coach students to be responsible and hardworking.

No matter how bad American students have been doing on math, America has the most best brains based on the total number of Nobel Prizes winners since 1901. (I do concern that American schools do not care enough about English and world literatures.) Did the American education start getting worse? Should math be seen as more important? Is this a crisis?

Freedom of Hate Speech?

As the Internet becomes the chief information intelligence in the 21 Century, many have debated how the Internet can be vicious and harmful at the time, for example, to our dignity.

How easily people can get hurt on the Internet? What a tricky question! People have different tolerances, don’t we. Recently, a PR Executive from IAC was fired due to her reckless and stupid tweet about her trip to South Africa.

No matter if the tweet was a sloppy joke that was not funny at the first place, the vast majority of media covered the story with criticism. IAC fired her even before her airplane landed in South Africa, good for this lightening-speed PR move. If the First Amendment granted people to express what they want, the Internet certainly amplified this privilege. Sacco’s trip to South Africa was to visit her family, which was not affiliated with IAC. If IAC fired Sacco based on her little silly tweet, where was her Freedom of Speech?

However, what the Freedom of Speech really prevents is the censorship. And the censorship is the act of restricting considerably harmful materials to be released. Sacco posted the tweet, people saw the tweet, and she apologized for the tweet. So there is not really much to say about the Freedom of Speech, which is the problem. Can people imagine how many other Saccos are out there tweeting silly jokes that might hurt people? And there are even Internet surfers intentionally publishing hateful speeches! The problems are really about cyber bullying and how a 10-word-comment can destroy a person, especially those who are vulnerable in nature but frequent Internet users, teenagers.

PIPA, SOPA, or whatever PA are not the final resorts, but really, what is the solution?