A Retrospective Look

In this my last 15 weeks of my writing 150 class I have learned what it means to truly think critically. Critical thinking means a lot of different things depending on who you ask. However, I have learned that for me, critical thinking is the ability to think past common perception of what something is or isn’t and to take what you are thinking about and compare it to other types of thought and topics that may relate immediately or take some time and several steps of thought. Critical thinking is essential for not only essays or academic settings, but imperative for situations in daily life that require you to be able to think such as in situations of problem solving or ethical debate. Our last essay pertaining to the ethical dilemmas of a certain disruptive technology has really prepared me in terms of know how to decipher different ethical situations and their moral outcomes.

In terms of the collaborative learning that we have done by doing workshops and blogs, I have felt that they have helped me in becoming a more well-rounded thinker. Gaining different options from different people is always essential in growing as a person. Having a very strong art background, I know from experience that you can’t get better without the help of others. Something that I would like to carry with me after this class involves taking many steps to reach a final goal. All of the drafting really makes a difference in the in how the final product really turn out.

Virtual Reality (Reposted)

For my final essay on the topic of a disruptive technology I have chosen to focus my research on the advancement of virtual reality and how it will affect the way different people must change their lives to accommodate this change. This technology while relatively new, has seen a large rise within the video gaming community. Currently one of the most popular VR headsets would have to be the new Sony head set which has sold over one million units within the first six months. The VR market is projected to have sales reach 70 billion by 2020.vr-refresh-tech-set Some challenges; however, that stand in the way from a societal VR acceptance have to do with the potential ethical violations that the technology can potentially cross and/or promote people to do so. One of the largest debates in VR has to do with who can create content for VR and what are they allowed to create? This is a very tricky situation, for it is important that VR be allowed to be used by many people, hence there being a need for many different types of virtual realities to be created. Some people call for an overall freedom of use such as the ability to post any content they desire, while others wish for a more regulated posting system such as youtube where there are a certain set of rules a poster must abide by.  Although what probably makes the most sense would just to have the VR posting ability exclusive to certain production companies that will create quality and safe content for all kinds of people. When looking at this technology it is easy to see all the different kinds of positive affects that it could have on people, for example VR allows for people who either have mobility issues or the inability to spend money to travel to far away places to virtually transport themselves though virtual reality. To give someone with out the ability to walk since birth the sensation of running would alone be a great reason to promote the innovation and production of virtual reality.


Virtual Reality 2

While it proved difficult to find many scholarly articles on the topic of VR considering how new of a technology it is, I did however find two interesting articles relating to technologies affect of children and growing adolescents. In the first article, Virtual Reality and “Virtual Welters”: A Note on the Commerce Clause Implications of Regulating Cyberporn by Glenn Harlan Reynolds, it discusses the impact of  certain laws that target certain obscenities such as internet porn. It also discusses that complying with state obscenity standards could be taxing enough to force these companies to often try producing many more films under the table (lacking regulations). One very interesting concept that this article also discusses involves the First Amendment doctrine and how it calls for the freedom of speech, which can be applied to this industry. The reason I chose this article had to do with a deep concern that many people have about VR pertaining to the increased used and illegality of cyber porn. Hopefully with the rise of VR there will not have to be a task force to ensure that certain industries such as this one do not get any wrong ideas and feel as if they can go above the law.

This next article, Virtual Reality and Social Skills Training for Students with Behavioral Disorders: Applications, Challenges and Promising Practices, by Howard S. Muscott and Timothy Gifford, describes the intricate details of virtual reality (VR) technology and discusses how it has many potential applications to aid in the teaching of social skills to many different kind of children and young adults the have behavior disorders. This  behavioral teaching is taught by using many  interactive role plays that help the patients practice and learn in a safe space. However, due to limitations of the current status of VR and certain difficulties inherent by modeling human behavioral simulations this research has hit a few snags. This article was very helpful for me what writing about how VR impacts the lives of children at home and at school.

Muscott, Howard S., and Timothy Gifford. Virtual Reality and Social Skills Training for Students with Behavioral Disorders: Applications, Challenges and Promising Practices 17.4 (1994): 417-44. JSTOR [JSTOR]. Web.

Reynolds, Glenn Harlan. “Virtual Reality and “Virtual Welters”: A Note on the Commerce Clause Implications of Regulating Cyberporn.” Virginia Law Review 82.3 (1996): 535. Web.



Museum Exhibit Proposal

For my museum proposal I am pitching would either be one large exhibit or series of smaller exhibits that will promote biological and environmental learning of the Earth’s ecosystems thus promoting more young people to pursue it as a career. This exhibit will also bring 484453ce8395ef766079b63597722c19personal experience and enjoyment to the exhibit goers with the goal that their opinion about the environment will change thus promoting them to take more ecological friendly actions throughout daily life.

So much about what a person does with their life has to do with the career they decide to pursue; however, recently so many people are left uninspired at a young age about their futures, that when asking what they want to do they just say that they want a job that makes a lot of money. While a job that makes a lot of money does sound nice, is it really worth doing the job if it doesn’t make you feel happy and inspired every day you are working. OnSchool-Tours-and-Group-Visits-2e of the main goals of this museum is to begin promoting at a young age the wonders behind bioscience learning. While this may seem like an odd field as most college campuses are filled with life science majors, in reality majority of these life science majors are in the pursuit of a medical degrees, not ones that works with the environment and the animals within it.

The main type of exhibit at this museum would be one spherical dome that is able to recreate a certain biome. For example, one biome could be a dessert where there could be the different Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 10.23.29 PMplants and fauna spread out. There could also be reptiles in smaller cases to be viewed along with birds being able to fly you and land in the trees. While I will not go into
every exact detail the basic goal for this exhibit is to in a sense recreate an envir
onment with all of its plants and animals in a controlled setting. This will essentially allow people to be in a biome that they would normally never get a chance to go, such as a rain forest setting for the museum goers of California.

San Francisco Exploratorium


IMG_7576The San Francisco Exploratorium located on pier 15 is an amazing attraction and museum for any person of all ages. It is a very unique experience that I have not seen at any other kinds of exhibits or museums. The Exploratorium heavily relies on the use of hands on interactive displays as majority of the information in the Exploratorium relates towards certain invention
s, technologies and concepts that have either real life application or can be expressed in a simplified manner which allows for interaction. One of my favorite exhibits in the Exploratorium was the section on simple machin
es for the displays were the actual simple machines that people could touch and use. I am a firm believer in the idea that one of the best ways to understand how something works is to be able to use and experience it first-hand. In The Journal of Philosophy by Paul M. Churchland he discusses the thought experiment that was originally proposed by Frank Jackson about a brilliant scientist Mary who is forced to investigate the world IMG_7588from a black and white room, she is an expert on everything there is to know about color as she has done years of research on her black and white computer. The question then goes what will happen when Mary is released from her black and white room and actually sees color for the first time? Will she learn anything new or not? Frank Jackson claims that she does and Paul Churchland answers it as follows.IMG_7587

  1. “Mary knows everything there is to know about brain states and their properties.
  2. It is not the case that Mary knows everything there is to know about sensations and their properties.
  3. Therefore, sensations and their properties are not the same (≠) as the brain states and their properties.”

This is why I believe that the San Francisco Exploratorium should be an inspiration for other museums, for it allows for the knowledge of experience rather than just the knowledge of information. Lastly, while the museum is mainly targeted towards young people ranging from the ages of four to thirteen, the museum is still able to capture the attention of many older people. For many adults this museum has been around since they were children and it brings back many nostalgic memories; however, it is not only the memories that keep bringing adults back, it also has to do with the extensive nightlife at the Exploratorium. The night events at the Exploratorium range from evUntitled-1erything to the science of food, titanium and cannabis. I highly recommend that if any of you happen to be in San Francisco that you go and visit the Exploratorium for not only an educational experience, but a fun one as well.


Feeling Represented

In the article Persistence of women and minorities in STEM field majors: Is it the school that matters? author Amanda L. Griffith claims that one of the main reasons women are not very well represented in fields of STEM has to do with the lack of role models they see on a daily basis while in undergraduate education. Many schools go out of t
eir way to attract and recruit talented and bright young women into their schools and STEM majors; however, that effort goes to waste if the student feels discouraged and drops her STEM major. One of the most effect ways the author found in keeping students in 6a3375d-kingston-university-a9f0ea7-stemteachernetworkSTEM was by having some of their TA be female. By having a Female TA it shows the young female undergraduate students that not only is it possible to graduate like that TAs have, but also to go to graduate school like they are currently doing. This article is very important to include in our upcoming essays about underrepresented
groups in STEM,  for it shows the importance and impact of one feeling represented within a group where they are the minority.

The Media: Women in STEM

Two shows that come to mind that female scientist stereotypes are both reinforced and challenged. In the TV show “Big Bang Theory” currently there are two female scientists that reinforced typical stereotypes. Both women are white and are in the life science fields (often called the soft sciences) while their love interests are scientist in the physical sciences (hard sciences) who have achieved great recognition and accolades career wise, the women are portrayed plugging away in their respective labs with little recognition.

One character named Amy is a Neurobiologist who is portrayed as someone who never before had a “real” boyfriend. Her current paramour is a narcissistic man-child who loves trains and video games but is a world-renowned physicist who video chats with Stephen Hawkins. Her character reinforces one of the main stereotypes of the frumpy unattractive 576nerdy girl who has chosen science as a career and is willing to settle for a less than suitable mate out of desperation.

The other Character is Bernadette, who is cute tiny but extremely bossy scientist specializing in Pharmaceuticals development. She is brash and sometimes unfiltered and nags and bosses her husband around, although she has a high pitched squeaky voice she radiates masculine energy pretty much scaring everyone around her. The scientific work of either women is never shown to be important or groundbreaking, just merely mentioned as a side joke or used for a gag for the show.

In another show called “Lucifer” currently there is a character who challenges typical stereo is named Ella Lopez who is a smart, attractive and tough Latina forensic scientist. Although a supporting character, her character is growing in presence because she continues to surprise the entire cast with a very complex and realistic portrayal of a scientist that is both cool, street smart, thoroughly knowledgeable about popular culture and multiple fielucifer-sdcc-ellalds of sciences other than just Forensics Science which makes her such an asset to the police department. She is logical but is also spiritual and willing to accept the things she cannot explain based on faith. In this way, she is more realistic since so many scientists are devout while being faithful to scientific methodology.

Reflection: First Paper

One of the main problems that was present throughout majority of my first draft involved not being able to stay on point. It would occur quite often that I would be discussing one topic and then go off into a tangent on another. In order to fix this for the next draft I made a better outline as to stay within the guidelines and on topic. While most of the tangents I wrote were on the topic of technology they however, proved to be entirely different points that would have needed a separate paragraph.  As I move into the final draft of the paper I am now more conscience of this issue and know that I will have to reread the final paper a couple of times to ensure that the flow of thought makes sense. Involving the topic above I also proved to have issues about choosing and narrowing down the topics I wanted to discuss within the paper. While it is nice to have a very broad topic like technology to write on, it can prove very difficult to pick something specific and chose the best points to help backup your argument.

The Internet: Time Not Well Spent

In the Atlantic article, Is Google Making Us Stupid?, author Nicholas Carr fails to take into account the idea of how the average person with a smartphone and an internet connection has access to a wealth of knowledge that is greater in content than any other source in the history of the planet. Thus, in this sense to ask the question of whether or not Google is making us stupid is irrelevant for obtaining access vast amounts of knowledge has never been quicker and easier; however, where the real question lies pertains to the thought of whether the internet is increasing laziness; and how said laziness is changing the way we think. Carr makes a few interesting points relating to the idea of to our decreasing attention spans; however, The New York Times article by Tomothy Egan, The Eight-Second Attention Span, truly conveys the issues of the four second loss of the human attention span. Amusingly enough the article expresse3536-cat-and-goldfishs the irony of how our attention span is officially lower than that of a goldfish. This by no means conveys that we are now dumber than a goldfish, what Carr may have us believe, but rather it means we have grown accustomed to the new phenomena of instant gratification. While many of the critical examples in both articles may seem minor to those of younger generations, it gets troubling when thinking about how our new sense of instant gratification changes the way we live out our daily lives. When thinking instant gratification on the internet two topics immediately come to mind; information and entertainment. In terms information it seems pretty bleak in that according to USA Today the most searched terms of 2016 were Pokémon followed by the IPhone 7 and thirdly Donald Trump. This seems quite alarming that a videogame and the new IPhone seem to have more importance than information on the new leader of the United States. Additional worry should also stem from how many hours is spent watching online entertainment. It is estimated that each month over 11 billion hours of Netflix is watched, over 100 billion YouTube videos are viewed and 2.5% of all internet uses visit the single most popular adult site on the internet. The conclusion that I have to reach when looking at this information is not that we are becoming stupid, but rather that due to the internet’s ability to grant instant gratification whenever we so choose, has led us to grow lazy and take for granted the great access to important information we have.