The Truth Shall Burn You Free

I think John was the one who nearly burned down the cabin. Here are my reasons why:

Exibit A: Elijah seemed to be feeding off of the information John kept giving. For example he only said there was smoke damage to the cabin AFTER John had said so.

Exibit B: No one just leaves a steak to cook itself, however you can leave hashbrowns pretty much anywhere but a freezer and they’ll cook themselves.

Exibit C: Elijah blows at lying. He kept looking around like he was searching his brain for things to fabricate.

Exibit D: It was just announced in class that John was the one who did it.

Another open and shut case. Thanks detective Mike.

Chapter 5, Mundane At Best

Wanna know what chapter five inspires in me? A desire to go to the next chapter. Let me explain my grievance.

The first half of this chapter is basically trying to tell you that you can’t make a factual statement based solely on an idea that popped into your head. Of course I agree with everything it’s saying, but I’d rather skip the “Valuable Lessons for Idiots” section of any book and actually learn something. One of my favorite (yeah right) quotes from this section is “So you shouldn’t make a causal claim lightly, and you should qualify it carefully or perhaps offer your thesis tentatively.”

Dude, have you ever watched the news?

The second half of the chapter reminds me of an ex girlfriend’s marketing text book I once browsed through, describing the processes of understanding your (target?) audience and the process of interpreting (platforming?) and designing (selling?) your thesis (product?) so that it finally makes sense (profit!).

I don’t mean to be such a nit picker, and I would never make the claim that I know everything about research and interpretation. I will say, however that I have had the ability to think long enough to understand the process of cause and effect, and that too many subjects are full of “relative potholes” that could derail the argument faster than it was conceived.

Mock Research Topic

For my mock research topic I decide to go with just as goofy a subject as any: forks are dangerous. I picked this topic when the worst thing that could ever happened to me happened for the first time in months. I was enjoying some maruchan noodles with a fork, and as I was about to put the noodles in my mouth, they slid off of the fork and I ended up with a disgusting mouth full of four plastic tongs. Fuck my life.

If you’re asking yourself “is this guy serious?” the answer is a resounding yes. I absolutely hate when this happens to me and when it does I feel nearly suicidal. I have no idea why it affects me so much, I guess it’s the same way some people wouldn’t pick up a silver dollar on the street if it were heads down.

Anyways I totally attacked this subject in a matter of two hours, coming at it from more angels than a poorly coordinated airstrike. I went with a sort of fox news approach. That is, I totally made the claim that it’s the most dangerous thing in the world and everyone should be afraid of it because I said so. Don’t get me wrong, I threw some support in there, but seriously, I sold fear better than every news network combined.

By the way, if it’s a “mock research paper” what the hell information would there be to support the idea? We’re using fake sources right? Maybe that was a joke. In

Virtues

Benjamin Franklin’s Thirteen Virtues read something like a modernized version of the Ten Commandments. It’s kind of just a laundry list of ways to keep your life in order and stay out of trouble. To me, much like the Ten Commandments, these virtues are just points of common sense that no one in particular really had to write down to figure out. Of course I see value in keeping track of my life this way, I’m not an idiot. It seems, however, that a life lead strictly by these rules would be boring. Fortunately for me I barely follow most of these and because of this oppositional lifestyle my life is a little spicier than it would be if I were to become a slave to a set of rules.

For me all of these virtues exploit both strength and weakness. The first one is kind of ironic “1. Temperance. Eat not to dullness, drink not to elevation.” Last time I checked that’s the way most Americans are living. Good call Franklin. The second virtue, “Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.” is also a contradiction. We live in a democracy, arguing is how our politics work. Duh. For me this virtue would be especially crippling because I LOVE to play devil’s advocate and stir things up.

I suppose my most strongest displayed virtue would be the Seventh. “Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.” I do put a high value on truth and reason and I think these are the things that Ben was trying to get at here when he jotted these down. I am as blatantly honest as I can be. While this might sometimes seem hurtful to other, I feel as though I’d be doing more damage if I were to lie.

Naturalization Application

Have you read this thing?!

http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/n-400.pdf

It’s so ridiculous. I feel kind of shitty for immigrants that barely speak English but are required to fill this application out anyways. Parts of this application that caught my attention include but are not limited to:

The questions that ask whether  you’ve ever been a member of a communist, totalitarian, or nazi party.

The question asking if you’ve ever committed a crime that you haven’t been arrested for.

The question asking if you’ve even been a habitual drunkard (like most Americans aren’t)

The questions asking you to admit to any crime you have committed.

The requirement for you to pledge that you will fight on behalf of the United States if the country requires it.

Immigrants are so eager to become American citizens that I’m sure they’re willing to agree to anything this application requires, but first I’m sure they lie about the crimes they’ve commited. So basically this application could be scaring criminals into lying, then making them pledge to fight for the country. Smart.

I couldn’t begin to tell you the best way to screen immigrants, but I’d like to think that our government could come up with a more effective way of doing it that using what could be considered little more than a glorified honor system. I don’t even understand why so many people still want to immigrate here anyways.

 

Mandatory HIV Testing

The article I chose to write about is titled “Mandatory HIV Testing” by Ricky Patel. It focuses on pointing out the spread of HIV among college students and the proposition of having mandatory HIV testing for first-year college students to prevent the spread. A certain line in the essay stuck out to me;

“According to a recent survey of a group of students performed by AVERT, a charity for AIDS victims, 38% falsely thought the HIV virus could transmitted by kissing, 25% believed the virus could be transmitted by sharing a glass of wine, and 18% thought the infection could spread by touching a toilet seat.” (Patel)

This passage stuck out to me for a few reasons. The first being the depressing thought that these people are going to college believing this crap, showing once again that high school educations are pathetic at best. The second reason is that I think it’s strange that the article is focusing more on mandatory HIV testing that the actual education of people about HIV and being tested for it. According to a publication by the Guttmacher Institute, Only 33 states are mandated to provide HIV education. (Guttmacher)

While I agree that it might be helpful to have mandatory HIV testing, I cannot condone such a test because I believe it violates certain rights of people. It’s kind of a double edged sword I guess. Either you protect the rights of of the people, or forfeit some of those rights in favor of protecting the people’s safety.

The article mentions the Patriot Act which I also feel is a certain violation to Americans’ rights to their privacy. It was a decent analogy, but I feel like that’s a whole other issue that I could write about.

Guttmacher Institute. “State Policies In Brief.” Guttmacher..org. Guttmacher Institute, 1 Nov. 2011. Web. 3 Nov. 2011. <http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_SE.pdf>.

Blog 1 – The Foreigner

“Since we’re discussing citizenship, let’s think about the opposite, too.  When have you been somewhere that you felt that you didn’t quite belong?  For your first Blog entry, write about a time that you travelled somewhere different from what you’re used to, or a time when you felt out of place even though you weren’t very far from home.”

I’m afraid I don’t feel out of place very often as I am a very social person. I guess if I’ve ever felt a little out of place it’s when a friend of mine invited me to spend time with his or her friends and I discover that I have nearly nothing in common with them. Usually this is a Christian crowd. Being an atheist I find myself bewildered by most religious practices. I can stand to be in church, but I feel as though I’m the only person without an invisible friend.

For example, once a few years ago I was asked to attend a Christmas program at a co-worker’s church. The way these people chanted in unison reminded me more of a cult meeting than anything. Needless to say, I left pretty fastwhen the whole this was over.