6 Reasons Not to Trust the Media

Websites like Yahoo, MSN, Huffington Post, CNN, etc. do not really care if you are aware of domestic or international topics.

1. The media simply want more views for more revenue. The larger the traffic will result in a larger profit. They create intriguing titles and images so that many people will click on the link and go to the article.

2. The press is monopolized and few corporations control a large share of the mass media. This limits diversity and gives too much power to each of the large companies.

3. The government has strong ties with the media. We believe in freedom of the press, but fail to realize that the government is still able to monitor and object to content and this could affect what the citizens see.

4. Far too much of today’s media focuses on celebrity news and events. They think that writing a title that draws interest but is not based off of fact will attract a lot of views. For example, “Beyoncé’s dazzling, curve-hugging dress” or “Strangest Kate Middleton portrait we may ever see” or even articles about Justin Bieber’s recent DUI arrest all supposedly get a lot of traffic.

5. Facts are not always checked and reporters are not always accurate on the topics in which they speak about.

6 Too many articles are opinionated and with not enough facts. This includes speculation and it does not fulfill the need for unbiased information to be available to the general public.

-Daniel

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The Uncertainty of the Future

What do you think of when someone says “the future”.

There are countless novels about dystopian and utopian societies depicting a world that is much worse or much better than today.

Are you one to think of the future in a positive way and with hope (bottom left) or are you a bit more pessimistic about the future (as the top right picture suggests). Is it going to be a time when humanity increases in knowledge and the world becomes a happier place or a time like the dark ages when humanity wasn’t living in the best conditions?

In a book I have been reading called The Scorch Trials by James Dashner a group of kids are from a dystopian society where a disease called “The Flare” has wiped out most of the Earth’s population. All of the governments of the world have put their resources together to form a group called WICKED (World In Catastrophe Killzone Experiment Department) to find a cure to this devastating illness. Sun flares have also made most of the planet a dry empty space with few inhabitants.

I am curious as to what others’ opinions are of the future and how it will most likely look like.

Do Exams Really Measure Intelligence?

back48_testingIs the modern practice of test-taking ideal for gaining knowledge of topics? There is multiple choice, essays, true/false sections, etc. Are there better ways of learning topics and retaining them? 

Most high schools at this time use some form of multiple choice in tests, quizzes, and other exams. The students’ answers depend on the wording of the question rather than depending solely on knowing the topic completely. Sometimes, a guessed answer could be correct. These types of tests do not promote free thinking and do not work the brain enough. These tests require a type of memorization that is rarely long-term.

I think teachers should have students write essays connecting the majority of the concepts learned into one area. This could potentially increase the difficulty of the tests but will simultaneously help memory retention of the concepts.

Another aspect of this controversy relates to how multiple choice does not require students to think of concepts and relate them to other things.

Why Settle for Slow Progress?

slow-progressThere are many reasons to try to progress in a certain activity. Everyone wants to get better. Everyone thinks that to get better you must work really hard at that activity for long periods of time to get better. However, it is easy to think that change must be done quickly and difficultly. The more long-lasting change is done by making little changes everyday to get to where you want to be.

For example, one might want to improve their grades and shoot for straight A’s one semester. That person may think that it is necessary to drastically change his or her study habits to reach the goal. Extreme changes can be very unattainable and/or unsustainable. One must try to change one little thing at a time in order to be successful over time. This person should try to fix one thing at a time starting with time management, prioritization, procrastination, and ways to study.

Understanding this concept has changed my life for the better. Slowly easing out of a bad habit and into a good habit can be a slow process, yet very beneficial and long-lasting. One must see the big picture and not just today.

Is Money Really the Best Way of Helping the Poor?

At least 10% of the world’s population lives on less than $10.00 (in USD) per day according to globalissues.org. I would imagine that most people are aware of current poverty but only few know to what extent it exists.

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I understand that this sounds extremely cliché but I will come up with a different approach.

Here is an analogy to explain it simply:

Poverty is a large monster that, once associated with a person, damages their life and their family’s life. Here in first world countries we provide money to support these individuals while their lives are taking a turn for the worse. The monster goes and eats the money and leaves the individuals to live happier lives temporarily until he is done eating it. Then it only continues to worsen.

How might we help poverty-stricken nations other than providing money which only lasts for so long?

We need to help them to find work for themselves such as teaching them how to perform certain trades like carpenters, construction worker, etc. The possibilities are endless, but the resources are limited. We should provide certain programs to teach them how to make a living according to their environment and assets.

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You could make sure to find a legitimate charity that supports these types of programs and carries them out with proven success.

Here are some pretty interesting ted talks on poverty.

The Unfortunate Truth About Health Industries

In this day and age, pharmaceutical companies claim to help patients’ conditions, food companies claim to provide “healthy” food to individuals, and nutritionists and licensed dietitians give out-of-date information to needy patients.

1. Pharmaceutical Companies

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Companies like Pfizer and AstraZeneca are very powerful. They have the resources to influence the food industry to use more foods that are more likely to cause medical conditions that these pharmaceuticals treat. The more patients suffering from a cardiovascular illness, for example, means more people taking medications for these illnesses, resulting in more money for these companies.

2. Food companies

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Innumerable amounts of foods contain deceptive marketing leading people to believe that certain products are healthier than they really are. The reality is that processed food should not be trusted, no matter what the label leads you to believe. Some of the chemicals used in these foods are not very safe for human consumption, let alone healthy. There are additives in processed foods that are not listed in the ingredients list nor any part of the packaging.

3. Nutritionists

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Nutritionists often use the incorrect and out-dated “food pyramid” guide as advice for patients. Especially when one suffers from illnesses derived from obesity, the last thing a physician should recommend is grains, bread, pasta, and other forms of carbohydrates. These carbohydrates drive up insulin levels which in turn drive up fat storage and is counter-productive in weight loss. This increases the amount of nutrients that reach fat cells. This weight gain is a recipe for all kinds of metabolic disorders from diabetes to heart disease to atherosclerosis.

-Daniel

Sugar’s Effect on Brain Health and Behavior

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sugar-addictionYou would be surprised to see the number of foods that have added sugars. Barbecue sauce, ketchup, white bread, fat-free salad dressings, and microwavable foods (burritos, hot pockets, etc.) among thousands upon thousands of other items you would not expect. The Coca-Cola Company argues that calories from sugar are equal to any other calorie and can be burned off as such.

There are different types of calories and each affect the body in a different way. Sugar affects brain receptors similar to cocaine and nicotine. It gives a sense of pleasure, releases hormones that induce a sensation of pleasure and later cause you to want more of it. It leads to an overall increase in food consumption.

Wieight_Gain_insulin_resistanceAnd that is just the start of it. The digestion of sugar requires large amounts of a hormone called insulin. Insulin makes the body much more likely to store calories as fat and cause the person to feel hungry even when they have already eaten enough. The hormone responsible for making us feel full, leptin, is produced in smaller quantities when so much insulin is present. Worst of all, insulin makes it harder for fat to be burned off. This is why a diet high in sugar will not benefit as much from exercise as a diet without sugar.

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Sugar increases blood triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are fats that build up in the blood stream and cause strokes and other complications. It also affects LDL cholesterol levels, the bad cholesterol which also cause a buildup in the bloodstream. This is due to the breakdown of sugar into glucose and fructose. The fructose is digested in the liver and results in your LDL-cholesterol becoming smaller and denser, making it more likely to puncture the artery’s wall, which can cause a plaque.

Not only is sugar extremely hazardous to health and causes many metabolic disorders like diabetes type 2 and strokes, it is very cheap and is subsidized by the government to help American agriculture. I hope that the general public is made aware of ALL of the extremely harmful effects of sugar and that the government regulates sugar as it does any other brain-altering consumption like alcohol and tobacco. It is often downplayed to just be empty calories.

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“The behavior isn’t the problem. The biochemistry is.” -Dr. Robert Lustig, Pediatrician from UCSF, talking about obese patients

Links for further study:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/13/sugar-industry-tobacco-industry_n_6855786.html

http://authoritynutrition.com/11-biggest-lies-of-mainstream-nutrition/

-Daniel