Will Trump trump Trump’s America?

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               Last November, America experienced an election that shook the world like never before. There were many new contestants running for the finish line but it was the two in the end that got the most attention. Today, one of those people made it across the finish line (aka the electoral vote barrier). That person is Donald J. Trump, or as we call him now, President Trump. President Trump and his administration have been put down ever since he came into office. The Trump administration has been criticized in the spotlight, being known for its wide circumlocutions, unacceptable lies, and immature decisions. But recently, the administration has released a questionable budget proposal to Congress that seems less like a strategic play for our nation and more like a desperate attempt to breathe some life into campaign promises. The budget plan essentially gives $54 billion to defense and security agencies. Now this may seem all nice and dandy because it will keep us safe, but hold your high horses. We must question, where does that money come from? Well it comes from severe cuts to many federal agencies, many of which provide critical services to millions of Americans. It takes away funding from necessary programs that work towards a better America and the improvement of the lives of its people. Many agencies even face extinction within the new plan! I find the plan to be outrageous because it takes away funding from valuable programs that protect our environment, will cause the extinction of almost 20 different agencies, and takes away money for the research in fields such as medicine and renewable energy, both of which we will definitely need in the years to come.

In an article by CNBC, the budget plan and its effects were analyzed thoroughly. The biggest takeaways apart from the increase in defense spending was a 28% cut to the State Department and a massive 31% cut to Environmental Protection Agency, or the EPA. This is very troubling as these percentages amount to be billions of dollars lost to the agencies. An emphasis is places on the EPA as it provides protection for wildlife throughout our nation and its importance grows everyday due to the dark path that our world seems to be following in terms of the environment. Pollution gets worse every day and we roughen our future a bit every time we litter or smoke or emit greenhouse gases. A massive cut to the EPA would result in a cut in staff and programs (over 50 of them!). This is a critical time for us to stand up as a nation and protect the beautiful world we live in rather than to take away the funds that propel the agencies that protect it. The budget also cuts funds for the renewable energy research programs at the Energy Department, which is detrimental to our path towards a sustainable future. In my opinion, these moves are flat out wrong because although they may not hurt us much now, they will come back to sting us in the future when we have rid the Earth of life and the ability to habitat living things. I think that it is going to be decisions in legislation today that will determine the path we follow tomorrow and the decisions that this budget will make will lead to a path of regret. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure and this can’t be applied more heavily than now. It is up to us not simply as a nation but as human beings who sometimes mistakenly take the resources of planet Earth for granted to work now towards a better future so that our children and their grandchildren don’t suffer in their lives from the decisions we make today. Thus, this budget is a destructive piece of legislation that will harm us both as a nation as well as a community of human beings, and that is one of the reasons that I am strongly opposed to it.

In addition to devastating effects to the agencies that help protect our wildlife as well as our sustainability in the future, Trump’s budget plan could possibly lead to a complete cut in funding for many agencies, or in other words, extinction. The plan would lead to an extinction of 19 different agencies. Many of these agencies play integral roles in our community that would affect us greatly, and not in a good way. In an article by the Washington Post, agencies and companies such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated. The CPB is very important in our nation as it helps to support many of the nation’s local broadcasters and local stations. Without the CPB, many of these channels and broadcasters would be shut down and this would even lead to dead zones in the U.S where there wouldn’t be a radio station or such to fill in news for the citizens living there. The CPB also funds popular show companies such as NPR and PBS. As a person who very recently retired from childhood, I can say that taking out the company that funds PBS is a very sad move because it provides not only a lot of fun and enjoyment for families throughout the nation but also helps to teach our future generations fundamental knowledge that they will need later on. In addition to the CPB, the endowments for the arts and the humanities would bring a historical dip in cultural and artistic involvement in our communities. Doing so would result in a massive reduction of such activities that are critical to our communities. The plan would also jeopardize the prominence of arts and humanities in our societies and even shun the dreams of many people who wish to succeed in said fields. The plan would also attack corporations such as the Corporation for National and Community Service, Legal Services Corporation, and Interagency Council on Homelessness. The CNCS helps veterans who need aid in their lives, whether it be medical, financial, or other. Removing such an important foundation would mean that we wouldn’t be able to take good care of our veterans, and that is unacceptable to me as a person because that shows absolutely no respect for the people who were willing to give up their lives in return for the freedom and peace that we enjoy. I think that our face as a nation would be stained if we are not able to take care of our finest mean and women. The Legal Services Corporation and the Interagency Council on Homelessness both help to provide legal services and federal aid to the poor and homelessness. Taking them away would result in more people living on the streets and increase the gap between the rich and the poor more than ever before. In fact, another agency that would face a cut in its budget (not necessarily extinction) is one that funds the renowned Meals on Wheels campaign, which delivers food to poor and homeless families across the nation. The cut would result in more people straining to live their lives in poverty and never being able to climb out of the hole dug by Donald trump’s budget plan.  These are only some of the agencies that would be brought to their knees because of President Trump’s proposed budget, and I think that they are elemental parts of our society that need to be preserved and not eradicated.

As we can see, the budget plan isn’t beneficial to our nation. But even if we take into account the increase in defense spending that will increase our safety as a nation, we will pay a big price for it that I simply do not believe is worth paying. As you can see in the image below, many departments and agencies will experiences many losses while their losses will mean gains for the defense agencies.

 In my view, the plan calls for us to protect us from the outside world but starts killing us from the inside. Now you may be wondering why President Trump may have released such a plan in the first place? The reason is that it is simply a hollow act to seem as if he is fulfilling the promises he made during his campaign in the 2016 election. His promises of increased security became extremely popular among his votes, due largely to the terrorism crisis happening in today’s world. To seem like he is acting and to please his voters, he is taking away many of our core aspects that will harm in many more ways than his plan will benefit us. It is also reasonable considering that President trump has historically low approval ratings from the public and the decreasing approval has pushed President Trump to make desperate attempts at prevailing in the presidency, such as this budget plan. Regardless of the motives or the intentions, the budget plan in one that will harm us in many more ways than it will benefit us. It will take away essential parts of our community. I think that we should let the idea of this budget plan stay as an idea and nothing more, for if we do pass it as a piece of legislation, we will have set our downfall into stone.

 

 

Music: A Spice of Life

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When we think about how to “spice” up our lives, we often think of fun and exciting experiences that you haven’t had before and would wish to. One of the ways that we spice up our lives is music. Music is very core to modern society and to mankind in general. It’s been this humane thing that we like to keep for ourselves. But music isn’t a single category, blatant and blunt. No, music is extremely diverse. There are so many types of music, each with their own emotions, feelings, and cultural background. Today I want to talk about how I feel about different kinds of music. Let it be noted, these are my personal opinions on this matter and are not meant to be offensive. We all have our different tastes in music. In fact, if we didn’t all have different tastes, there likely wouldn’t be so many types of music.

Pop music is my favorite type of music. I like others, but I mainly listen to pop music because of the way it makes me feel. Before we go onto that however, what is pop music? What defines pop music from other types of music? Well, pop music is short for “popular music”. It was a term coined in Britain in the 1950s to describe the new rise of youth music. Pop music is a blend of many different types of music including rock and hip-hop. What defines it however is its specific blend. Pop music consists of medium-length songs following the verse-chorus method. Pop music tends to be popular because of its diversity compared to other genres. Pop music can be slow and meaningful or fast and thrilling. To me, I love pop music because it always seems to have the right mood for whatever situation I am in. There are pop songs to cheer me up, to motivate me, to make me feel good about myself, to make me feel optimistic. It can do whatever I wish for it to do and generally lifts my mood. But one of the biggest appeals that op music ha for me is that it often carries positive messages. Because it is so versatile compared to other genres, it is widely popular since it appeals to a much larger audience. Although it isn’t the most popular genre, it’s up there in the top 3 among the American public. To give a sense of pop music, you have probably heard it hundreds of times over. Pop artists include Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Beyoncé, One Direction, and Taylor Swift. Pop is a beautiful genre of music, bringing many different types together to form something truly brilliant.

Hip-hop is another form of music that’s seen as relatively new. Hip-hop blossomed in the 1970s, mainly among the black community. According to the Britannica, hip-hop is a cultural complex consisting of four elements: rapping, deejaying, graffiti painting, and B-boying. Now each of these things may sounds really confusing as to what they mean but they refer to things you have already noticed. Rapping and deejaying refers to the type of singing in hip-hop, to a certain emphasized beat. Graffiti painting and B-boying refer to the kind of attitude and dance found in hip-hop. Now moving on from all the scientific extra-long mind-boggling terms, what is hip-hop in “regular” terms? To me, hip-hop is essentially the type of music where artists talk in deep voices and rap to a really clear beat (often with a lot of bass). Hip-hop seems to be a low and deep emotion. It doesn’t make you feel all happy and cheerful like rainbows and sunshine. Instead, it feels empowering from deep within. As for my views on it, I think that hip-hop is awesome for feeling nice and “cool”. Hip-hop also seems to be the music of the rebels. It often displays ideals that contradict with those of society but have grown in recent generations. Hip-hop is conveyed as the music of the new generation and I think that this is an appeal to many who want to feel fresh and “up-to-date” with today’s generation. Personally, I disagree with many of the messages that hip-hop conveys and much of the language that it uses. The ones that don’t do such things are very nice to hear as they seem to sway you to the beat. Some hip-hop artists include 2 Chainz, Tupac, Snoop Dogg, and DJ Khaled. Hip-hop is the new music in town, and its growing fast.

Now, pop and hip-hop are great genres of music. But I want to talk about what music means to us as a society. Music is a way for us to appeal to our sense of hearing. Just as we cook to appeal to our taste and paint to appeal to our sight, we appeal to our hearing through music. When you think about it, music is simple a combination of notes of sounds occurring at different frequencies. But when we put them together we can come up with something beautiful. The ups and downs and hills of music not only appeal to our hearing but our emotions. We know music that makes us feel sad and makes us feel happy. That is the most important thing about music: it can carry a message across and strike a certain emotion within the listener. We can truly talk, learn, teach, and understand simply through music. What one cannot convey through science and logic can convey through music. Music is yet another form of the arts that defines humanity and is one of our greatest accomplishments.

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As we can see, there is enough music to go around. While I only discussed my views on pop and hip-hop, there are literally hundreds of genres of music. This means that there is one out there that is truly accustomed to your wants and needs, a music that fulfills your wishes. Music is a very integral part of life and it can really influence the kinds of decisions we make as individuals as well as a society. So, next time you put on some tunes or sway to a jam, remember the role that music plays in your life and appreciate it for its beauty as a work of art.

 

Does Homework Help or Need Help?

So today I’m going to be talking about a very sensitive topic that I have had much experience with in my life. In fact, I have been dealing with it for 12 years now, and I dare say the word, homework. Oh the memories of pain to late-nighters to procrastination panic attacks. Jokes (and experience) aside, there has been a long-lasting controversy over homework, and it has especially blown up in recent years. The controversy deals with the amount of homework that is given to students as well as how effective it really is on the performance of the students in school and their understanding of concepts. Many people believe that there is too much homework assigned and that it takes away a lot of valuable time from other important things, such as childhood fun and family time. Others believe there is too little and that students should be given more to fortify their understanding of concepts and improve their education. On the side of effectiveness, many people think that homework is ineffective and should be, at the very least, presented in different and diverse formats. Others think that it is very effective in the current style that it is, main consisting of a lot of practice of the concepts. In 2007, MetLife conducted a survey where they asked teachers, parents, and students if homework helped students to learn more in school?

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As we can clearly see from the data, students are likely biased towards the topic and their opinions can be less influential. However, 59% of parents and 55% of teachers strongly agree that homework does help students. Now, although that may seem like the majority, it’s just a little over half of the people that took the survey. This shows that there is a sharp schism in the parents and teachers which divides the for and the against. When you think about it, this is bad because there is not a concrete majority over such an important topic. After all, it regards the education of the children, the future generations, the leaders of tomorrow. Now, I myself have a stance upon the topic and that is for there to be a certain balance in how much homework is given to students.

First, let’s get down to the argument over the amount. Each side of the debate has evidence on its side to support its key points but each side also has its flaws. To start off, let’s talk about why many people think that there is too much homework. As expected, many students side with this argument because it is biased in their favor. However, when we beyond the students, we see many parents and teachers as siding with this as well. So, for the people who say there is too much homework, they mean to say that it takes too much time off their child’s time. Although they agree that it can be helpful, they argue that sometimes it is too much. Children, in addition to school, have their own lives that they need to develop. When we think about children we think about a lot of play and fun. Although in our older ages we regard them as privileges, studies have shown that such activities are crucial to the healthy development of the mind and mental processes. It also helps to establish the personality of a person, which they will likely carry on with them for the rest of their lives. Thus, it is just as important as it is to work as it is to play at these younger ages and increasing homework leads to decreasing time in such activities. It is also argued that homework takes away family time in addition to playing time. Children often stay up with their parents learning new concepts and miss out of many activities that the older generations considered normal. Like playtime, family time is also very crucial in establishing healthy in-home relationships, especially between the children and the parents. As homework, has increased, it has increasingly been reported that there is higher stress in households and there is often a tense atmosphere as the members cooperate less and less.

Now that we’ve seen that side, let’s move on to the other side of the fence. The parents and teachers here argue that the benefits of homework outweigh the costs. In exchange for some playing or family time, they argue that students are getting a deep understanding of the concepts that helps them perform better in school. By helping them improve in their learning, students are more likely to be successful. Getting good grades will help them get admittance into a good college. In the eyes of the people on this side, the loss of some playing and family time for more homework is a small price to pay in return for a treasure. A study by Duke studied the correlation between homework and students from 1987 to 2003. They found that there was a positive correlation between homework and performance with rare exceptions. So yes, it’s true that homework will help the child do better in school. It will help them to practice with the concepts and help them prepare for their future careers.

Now that we have looked upon both sides of the argument, we can see that there really are two sides to this coin. However, my position is that there should be a strict balance between the two. Instead of being on either the heads or tails of the coin, I am the third side, the edge that runs perfectly between the two. I think that homework does help students, but only to a certain extent. For example, the graph shown here shows various amounts of homework assigned to elementary students and then their performances not test. Homework does help to increase performance, but too much results in a decrease in test scores.

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In the Duke study mentioned earlier, the team also found that too much homework would have no correlation between the academic performance ND the workload assigned. I have mentioned too little or too much homework, but such descriptions are subjective. Where do we draw the line between too much, too little and just right? Well, our education system promotes the use of the ten-minute rule, where each grade the student progresses, the workload that is assigned to them increases by 10 minutes. So, a 4th grader would receive 40 minutes of homework while a senior will receive 120 minutes, or two hours. Going past this region often shows no correlation or even a negative correlation.

Because of the reasons mentioned above, I really do think that we need a certain balance. Despite being a student, I am a part of the relative third that agrees that homework helps students learn in school. I think that with too little homework, students are often under-prepared for tests and exams and most students often won’t learn unless they must. However, too much homework often results in them pulling countless late-nighters as they move into high school. There, they face procrastination, perseverance, and a large workload. The workload itself may lead to sleep deprivation, which downgrades the student’s ability to concentrate, think, and focus. This can be especially bad when the student has tests or exams. It can also increase the stress that students feel. With extremely large workloads, students face large amounts of stress that they shouldn’t have to face in such young ages. For example, here is an extremely detailed, statistical, data plot of what I believe the correlation between stress and homework is.

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So, in a nutshell, I personally believe that we should get somewhat less homework. I also believe that the type of homework we are given should change. I think that homework needs to be more interactive. Homework has increasingly become more monotonous, simply giving more and more problems. I think that this takes away the interest of the student in the topic and makes doing homework seem more and more like a bleak, meaningless journey.

This is my opinion on homework. And regardless of your views on its effectiveness or its sheer amount, I think that we can all agree to have one purpose: to better the education of our future generations. I personally think hat although there is a controversy over homework, it is a healthy debate whose resolution will help to further our society. Debates such as these helps to blossom creative ideas and plans that can help many of the issues we have. I believe that we should always be having healthy, beneficial debate like these because they are for the better of the people. It helps us more than simply accepting our current methods. By questioning what we have, we can bring out many new things to help us progress. And to all my fellow students, I would just like to say that whatever teachers and educators assign you for homework, for projects, for tests, all of it is done with you in mind. It is all done with the goal of helping you do better and I believe that everyone should take this into account before they start criticizing anything. Thank you for your time. Well, now that I have that off my head, I guess I better get back to my own mountain of homework. Have a nice day!

 

Small is the next Big Thing.

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A billionth of a meter. That’s the size of nanotechnology that is used around the world today. Nanotechnology has been a recently growing field as new technologies and methods are increasing its potential as a solution to many of the problems the world faces in the modern age. Nanotechnology is any use of particles or organisms which operate on a scale of 10-9 scale. Although this may seem small and ineffective, it can actually be extremely effective because of the fact that it is so small. Nanotechnology can operate at not only the scale of molecules, but even closely to atoms themselves. Since atoms are one of the fundamental particles as they make up literally everything, having the ability to manipulate them with nanotechnology can have very promising effects. I believe that we should spend more time and money on nanotechnology as I think it will yield many benefits in many fields.

Nanotechnology can be especially effective in medicine as it can penetrate our bodies efficiently and effectively remove any disease or such. For example, specific nanotechnology is being used to mark and/or eliminate cancer cells. The cancer cells often give off a unique signature or mark. The nanotechnology compounds would be able to locate the cancer cells and enter them by using the channels on the cell’s membrane. Once inside, the compound could seriously screw up some of the DNA. The compound could also cause the cell to perform apoptosis, in which the cell essentially commits suicide. Nanotechnology could also be used to remove plague from the arteries. Due to things such as cholesterol or plaque build-ups, blood flow can be limited and can lead to many critical health states. The nanotech would be able to break it apart. Still not convinced that we cant use nanotechnology for stuff like this and that we should use drugs instead? Well, look at one of the biggest issues the world faces today: the effects of smoking. The smoke inhaled by cigarette users includes over 4800 chemicals, including nicotine, benzene, arsenic, and carcinogens. In addition, the tar caused by the burning of the tobacco coats the inside of the lungs, killing the cilia there. Cilia are tiny hairs in the lungs which deflect harmful particles, however when they are paralyzed by the tar, they can no longer do their job and dangerous chemicals can go deeper into the lungs. These conditions can often lead to diseases such as lung cancer and chronic bronchitis. Nanotechnology can provide a ray of sunshine into this dark place. Research is being conducted on special compounds or even bacteria which can decompose the tar via metabolic processes. The decomposed tar would be relatively low damage compounds which would then be adsorbed into the bloodstream and taken out the immune system and the liver. The lungs would then be able to heal on their own. Nanotechnology, with this single solution, can save millions of lives.

Nanotechnology cannot only save millions of lives but also help millions more. With the use of photovoltaic cells and piezocrystals, new materials can be made which would generate electricity by contact with sunlight or simply by movement. The material would depend on solar cells and thermoelectric fibers. The contact with the photovoltaic cells and piezocrystals would cause a flow of electrons to run across the thermoelectric fibers. Now a material that generates electricity may seem a bit weird and you may question its use, especially with the number of solar panels already replacing clay roof tiles. However, such a material would be priceless in providing electricity to poor areas, especially developing countries. The material could be sewn into clothes. As people walk around in the sun or simply move, they will be able to generate electricity which they can store in a battery. Doing so would provide electricity to poor areas with great efficiency and effectiveness. It would also provide a valuable and renewable source of energy for the entire world.

Now, I have only skimmed the surface of what nanotechnology can do. I dipped your toe into the ocean of opportunities that nanotech presents. Thus, this is why I believe that we should focus a bigger portion of our resources towards the progression of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology can solve so many of the world’s problems. As a society, we obscure nanotechnology behind other things such as the exploration of Mars or the effects of drug on diseases or the victory of a dumbnut as president, an office he isn’t qualified for. But those are all stories for another day. Just remember, as you remember the many problems that we face as a society, also remember the many ways in which nanotechnology can help to resolve them, one billionth of a meter at a time.

The Before, the Now, and the After.

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Time. It is the light at the end of the tunnel that we can never seem to approach. We cannot control it as it passes right on with no care for anyone and leaves anyone behind. Time has never stopped for anyone and probably never will. Time is one of the things that mankind will never be able to truly wrap its head around. Time is infinite and it is difficult to comprehend that time will infinitely go on and has likely been going for an infinite amount of time. We as humans have divided into 3 categories, the past, present, and future. This divides time into the before, the now, and the after. Yet we don’t think much about the deeper meaning behind each of these things It is important to truly understand time to understand its true value and the role it plays throughout our entire lives.

The past is the time that has already happened or whatever occurred before the present. No one knows has far the past goes. If time is infinite, then perhaps the past is infinite as well. Infinite things have happened before us. We tend to look on the past as a place where he have created memories that we can look back on in the present. It is where everything that we have ever done is filed and locked into the cabinet of history. To truly understand the past, we must see it in its entirety. The past isn’t the years of your life but its every single second of it. The past is what you did a few seconds ago. The past is also the actions of organisms millions of years ago. The past is the thing that we carry with us forever. We may forget about many things along the wy, like what you ate for breakfast this morning. But regardless of whether one remembers it or not it has happened. Those memories and events and fixed into history and we cannot change it. This brings me to my central point. If time were a book, the past is the chapters that have already been written. It’s the words written on those pages to stay there forever and ever. They will never change but the past is something we can look back on to help us with the present and the future.

The present is yet another section of time. The present, like the past, is also hard to comprehend. One day, a friend came up to me and asked me a very interesting question. He asked, “How long is a moment?” After thinking about it for a little while, I was boggled to think of what a moment is. I came to a conclusion. A moment is not an elapsed length of time, like a second or even a nanosecond. A moment is instantaneous. A moment is the smallest amount of time that one can imagine because there is no time elapsed. No time goes by in a moment but rather a moment is a still point in time that is infinitely slim to the point where it is 0. This is one of the reasons that the present is hard yet important to comprehend. The present is the now, and the now is a moment. The present is the line where the future switches to the past. Think of it like this. You have a stream of water. If you were to put a filter into that stream of water, the water that is about to go into the filter is the future the water that has already passed through it is the past. The present is the filter, the place where the change occurs from the anticipated future to the history of the past. Like I said before, if the past is the chapters of a book that have already been written, then the present is the tip of then pen that continues to add on.

Then comes the future. The future that never comes. It is the time that is everything after the present that has yet to occur. The future is arguably the most important section of time. That is because it is the most fluid of the 3. The past is recorded down in solid form. The present affects the past but is caused by the future. The future is what varies the most and it depends on every single choice and every single little thing that happens in the present. The future can change entirely if a bomb goes off and kills many, or it may change entirely because you decided to put your right leg down before your left when getting out of bed in the morning. You may end up with entirely different futures depending on which leg you decide to start your day off with. Not only does this explain the importance of the present but we can see the true nature of the future. The future can be what you want it to be, but you can never truly anticipate it. You can try to comfort it to your container but it is like a fluid that never stays still. Thus, it is important to recognize the future and what we want in it but to never put our complete trust in something in the future. We must also realize how important it is to make choices in the present carefully to the best of our ability so that perhaps we can lead the future along the trail we wish for it to follow.  The future is like tomorrow. Tomorrow never truly comes because when it does, it changes to today. The future is the horizon that we always walk towards but will never reach. In the book that I spoke of earlier, the future is the chapters that still need to be written, that wait for the ink of the present to make it emerge into existence and then allow it to be a part of the past.

Truly understanding the past, present, and the future can truly help us understand time and its value. We can see why time is so precious, because it keeps going on whether you follow it or not. The future will always await and will be decided by the present and the choices that are made in the moment, so that they can be solidified and eternally engraved in history. Whatever choices we make today will decide what will happen in the future and what will be written in your past. As the saying goes, time is of the essence and we must take some time to appreciate time and its preciousness.

 

Does Our Civilization Have An Expiration Date?

Just a few months ago, I was selected to participate in an internship over the summer The internship was at a sewage treatment plant where I learned the engineering behind the machines as well as the chemistry and other sciences behind the processes. Although I learned much from that internship, one thing stood out to me. My experiences at the internship got me thinking about our planet and how pollution is affecting it. This led me to realize that we are causing the destruction of Earth and its resources at a rapid rate. I researched this topic and found many articles talking about pollution and climate change, including one from Reuters and one from Scientific American. As I built upon this topic, I began to ask myself some questions that many of us likely have. Are we leading ourselves to our own downfall and is it too late to stop it?

One of the main topics dealing with our interaction with our environment is the pollution around. There is pollution in the land, air, and sea. I have done much research and I have found a plethora of information. Millions of innocent animals have died and the Earth’s environment continues to decline as pollution treads on. The most polluted areas are the oceans and the atmosphere. Water pollution has gotten to be extremely dangerous. There is trash everywhere in the oceans and the water supplies around the world. One of the reasons for this is people littering on the streets where the trash is washed away into the gutters and eventually ends up in our beautiful oceans. Not only does the trash take away the blue from the ocean, but also poses a serious threat to the ocean’s environments. Thousands to millions of animals die from pollution in the water where plastics and chemicals seep through their vulnerable systems. There are 14 billion pounds of garbage dumped into the oceans every year. Polluted water also contains plagues and diseases killing thousands every year. Nearly 15 million children merely under the age of 5 die every year from diseases in their water supply. Our oceans are becoming puddles full of dangerous material and our drinking water supply is also declining.

In addition to the dangers of water pollution, air pollution causes many issues as well. Pollutants that are released into the air are the most harmful compared to those in water or land. This is due to extreme ease of spreading through the air. Similar to water, air is polluted due to thousands of reasons. One of the main reasons is due to the output of pollution by automobiles throughout the world. The smog and smoke caused by automobiles pollutes the air that is used by humans and even links to many fatalities. Air pollution is also caused by the output of pollutants by factories as well as airplanes soaring through the skies. All of this pollution and its widespread effects lead to many consequences. Similar to water, many diseases thrive through the air and can even cause some diseases to emerge. For example, the city of Beijing was and currently is extremely polluted to the point where the air is like a fog. The people in Beijing even wear masks and take many measures to shield themselves from the surrounding pollutants. The extreme pollution in Beijing even led to the emergence of a new disease, the Beijing cough. In addition to spreading diseases and causing deaths, air pollution also affects the planet as a whole. Air pollution has led to such issues as the degradation of the ozone layer and global warming. The ozone layer is a layer in the atmosphere which shields us from many types of harmful radiation. Pollution has caused many parts of it to fade away, allowing the harmful radiation into our atmosphere and directly at the organisms on the planet. Air pollution has also led to global warming, where carbon emissions trap heat within our atmospheres. Due to global warming, the entire world is affected, and not in a positive manner. Both water pollution and air pollution have led to the many deaths of organisms around the world and are causing the decline of Earth in its beautiful entirety.

Although air pollution and water pollution are not the sole reasons for the Earth’s decline, they are some of the many that are held accountable. Many steps are being taken to attempt to reduce the pollution in or planet in hope of a sunnier, brighter future where everyone lives happily ever after. However, as sad as I am to say this, I don’t believe that there are solutions to help resolve these issues. I do strongly believe that there are solutions to help resolve these issues but I also believe that we have gone past the point where we have the option to turn things around. I think that as technology grew and pollution started to rise, the people thought that it was such a large planet and just a little bit wouldn’t hurt, right? At first this was true. There was an extent to where we could release such pollutants and still keep the environment safe. However, this was continuously used and when it reached the point where people knew it was getting out of hand, they told themselves the same lie that such a seemingly small amount won’t make a difference. People have been lying to themselves ever since. I believe that because we have been lying to ourselves, we have let the issues grow and grow until we realize that they loom over us and we are in the darkness of their shadow. I think that human civilization’s end will not come in the form of alien life or a giant meteor. I think that we know how civilization will likely meet its end but we are not strong enough to accept it. Many people also say that it doesn’t matter as we will inhabit other planets. But we are extremely far away from creating a sustainable civilization on another planet. There are no Earth-like planets around us for to inhabit and the ones that we can try to inhabit are simply being observed as of current times. As hard as it may be to accept, I think that human civilization has crossed the line and there is no turning away from the waterfall at the end of the river. The current is simply too strong.

When we think of our homes and or societies, we perceive ourselves as something of the much, much bigger Earth that we live upon. But I have come to see another perspective. I see a beautiful planet but one that is lonely and is millions of miles away from any other planets. When we see the Earth from an astronomical point of view, we are simply a spherical little rock orbiting one of the billions of stars which lies in one of billions of galaxies. This has led me to see how inferior we are despite us thinking we are advanced, but it has also helped me realize something much more deep. It has helped me to realize just how precious Earth is, and how precious it is simply too great to be explained in words. It is thus important for us to preserve our planet in any way that we can, despite the efforts and time that need to be dedicated.

 

Are We Alone?

One day, I was merely sleeping on the couch doing everyday things lie breathing, relaxing, and procrastinating on 4 hours of homework. Nothing special. All of a sudden, I have an epiphany as I realize how big the universe really is and the first question to appear in my mind was whether or not aliens exist. I stayed there thinking of how I used to think that the journey to the moon was huge but then realized that not only have we not gone outside our solar system, but we haven’t even gone, as humans, past the rock spinning around the Earth. There are so many possibilities out there, maybe even an infinite amount, and thus I believed that alien life must be out there somewhere. I based some of my beliefs on evidence from an article by Time titled “Are Aliens Real? Is There Life on Other Planets?”. While much of the article deals with equations, the sheer numbers are jaw-dropping and are one of the reasons I believe that alien life does exist.

The strong reason I think that alien life does exist is because of the sheer number of possibilities that can be true within just the visible universe. We think of distance on Earth as large but when compared to the universe, it stands absolutely no chance. For comparison, the sun alone can encompass the volume of 1 MILLION Earths. That right there is already hard to imagine and truly grasp as a concept. Following that, the sun is only one of billions in the Milky Way Galaxy. Also keep in mind that each of these stars will have hundreds, thousands, or possibly even millions of celestial objects such as planets, moon, and asteroids in their solar systems. The number of possibilities is too large to count. Lastly, we take into account that there are thousands of other galaxies, each with their own stars, which then have their own solar systems filled with thousands to millions of more celestial objects. And it is possible that each of those celestial objects such as planets or moon has the possibility of alien life. The concept of the universe is too great for our minds to grasp. Here on Earth, some people even have trouble with math as simple as 1 times 1! The number of possibilities seems infinite in our minds and if the universe is infinitely large, then the possibilities are truly infinite. And with so many possibilities, it seems almost 100% likely that alien life exists out there. This is why I strongly believe that there is alien life out there in the vast dark space dotted with galaxies we know as the universe.

The possibility of alien life being out there is but only one side of the coin of extraterrestrial life. There also remains the follow up question that if alien life is truly out there, what is it like? What are aliens like? What are they made of? What do they do? Are they a civilization? The list goes on and on and nobody knows the answers to these questions. But this uncertainty sparks imagination and every individual has their own concept of what extraterrestrial life may look like. Some picture E.T. while others picture something similar to a green Martian. In my personal opinion, I feel as if the civilization will not be humanoid but in some form similar to a humanoid. However, this involves me assuming that they are complex organisms. For all we know about them, or pretty much nothing at all, they could be giants capable of supernatural things to simple bacteria. Also, I believe that if extraterrestrial civilization has not yet reached an advanced state as we have from apes, then it will happen sooner or later.

As we can see, our minds cannot truly get a grasp on the concept of the size of the universe and the infinite number of possibilities that alien life is out there. It is also difficult to imagine what alien life will be like, how they will do things, what they will be made of, etc. And although these questions are yet to be answered, for many of us we have already answer them within our own conscience. Just keep in mind that perhaps aliens are looking for us right now from planet billions of lightyears away or, perhaps, they’ve found us already.

Theories Which Can Alter Your Perception of the Universe and Everything in it.

Our world is filled with many things, including life. We see, feel, touch, and interact with so many things. We hold so much information of ourselves and everything around us. However, there are some theories presented that can truly change our perception of the universe and everything in it. Some of these theories and listed and explained in a webpage in stumble.com titled “10 Mind-Blowing Theories That Will Change Your Perception of the World”. Although there are 10 theories, I will only be going over a few. In addition to those on this webpage, there is another theory that I have a strong position on and that is the simulation theory presented by Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrum. The basis of the theory is explained in an article by Scientific American which was published in April 2016.

Within the webpage is a theory called solipsism. Solipsism is the theory that nothing exists except your consciousness and you can be certain is something is real or not beyond your own consciousness. Therefore, you will be certain that you are thinking but you cannot prove that the Earth, the universe, and everything else in it actually exists. Everything is just a perception or visualization by your consciousness. If you were to suppose that the theory was true, it would truly change your view on everything around you. Everything that you have seen, touched, felt, or done has all been but a trick. Your own body may be an illusion and there may not even be a brain but just your thoughts floating or in some other state that have created this universe before you. I have a position where I do not believe that solipsism is true. I believe that everything around us is in fact real. However, solipsism cannot yet be proven or disproven as everything, and literally everything, can be a trick of the mind and, as helpless it may sound, there isnt much we can do about it. Similar to solipsism is the theory of a “brain in a jar”. This theory, also on the list on stumble.com, says that we may be just a brain in a jar run by an advanced species or aliens or some higher being and everything is but an illusion. I believe that this could definitely be true, and the reason being that as our civilization continues on its path of technological advancement, that we will be able to reach a point where we can create an imagination within a single brain. We would be able to manipulate the brain and that that brain could possibly be one or even all of us at this very moment.

Another theory that has been presented is the multiverse theory. The multiverse theory states that there is not one but an infinite number of universes, each with an infinite number of possibilities. Think of everything that has happened to you until this moment. Every single moment that has led up to this one has affected you and made you the person you are. My opinion is that if a single moment were to change in your past, your future would not be the same. For example, what if 10 years ago, you had not tripped on the banana peel and gone to the hospital but rather went to a beautiful park where you met your soulmate. As we can see, a signal event or moment has completely turned around the path your life will follow. What I am saying connects to the multiverse theory in the sense that as there are infinite universes and that if only a single moment changed in your life, it would lead to a whole new life. Therefore, there are infinite ways in which your life could have gone and each of those could be happening right now in their own universe. While you may be poor in one, you may rule the planet in another. While you may have a PhD in one universe you may have never gotten an education in another. This is the basis of the multiverse theory and it is also the reason why I believe it is true. On a side note, seeing the world in this way has also given me the view of how precious a single moment can be. A single moment can change your life and that is one thing that I have taken from the multiverse theory.

Lastly, the simulation theory presents the case that an advanced civilization has reached a point of such advancement that they are capable of simulating consciousness, from the senses to emotions to the universe itself. So if the simulation were able to encompass all of these things, this presents the case that the very reality we live in today is not real at all. Similar to the previously stated theories, it is difficult and possibly impossible to dispute this theory because one cannot prove whether or not something or someone is actually real as it will always be their perception of reality. For example, if you were to look at yourself or at your own body, what if it wasn’t real and nothing I except for the thoughts that flow through your brain that may tell you that it is real. While this may be the basis of the simulation theory, what it actually states that one of three things must be true. The first is that civilization will not reach a point where it will be able to create such simulations. The second is that creating such simulations is physically impossible. Lastly, the third statement is the one that has been explained, that everything in our universe and the universe itself is but a simulation. I personally believe that the simulation theory is quite possibly true in the fact that an advanced civilization can and/or is simulating us right now. However, although it may seem contradictory, I also believe that it is unlikely that we will reach such an advanced state if we were to say that humans were to be the advanced civilization. I believe that we are using up our resources too fast and, as the human race, we are running out of time and thus will not be able to reach such an advanced state.

As we can see, these theories and many others can truly change your perception of the everything around you, the world, and the universe itself. Each of these theories presents its own case and there are many debates of the truth or validity of these statements. Some believe they are true while others don’t and some only believe in some key parts and disagree with others. While these theories can seem mind-boggling and they have not yet been proven, it is also important to keep in mind that they have not been disproven.

Sources

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/9qDp9V/:IKn7$+j$:aLgxEiA9/www.learning-mind.com/10-mind-blowing-theories-that-will-change-your-perception-of-the-world/

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/are-we-living-in-a-computer-simulation/