August 10: The Morality of The Boston Photographs

I first saw the series of three photographs, commonly referred to as the Boston photographs, during my English class last Spring. The photos were intriguing because it divided our classroom into (1) The photo's are immoral (2) There is nothing wrong with reporting the news. It's been a while since my initial analysis of the photographs, shot around 1970, but it's an interesting argument. From what I recall, the photographs were taken during a failed rescue attempt in which a young woman, last name Bryant, and a young boy fell from a high fire escape landing. The photographer had no intention to capture the last moment's of the woman's life and boy's fall, but he did. What's so remarkable is that the photographer took the three photos on a motor-driven Nikon F. set at 1/250, f 5.6-s, capturing only 4 frames per second. Today's average phone captures anywhere around 240 photos a second, so to capture these life-changing instances with limited resources took the news by storm.
The photo was found from, ironically, Perilous Aesthetics

The images were published in more than 400 newspapers in the United States: The New York Times ran them on the 1st page of its second section; a paper in South Georgia gave them nineteen columns; the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post; the Washington Star dedicated half their front page; the Star under a somewhat redundant title: Sensational Photos of a Rescue Attempt that Failed. This instantaneously sparked the question: is this right? Was it right for Bryant's last moments to be exploited for the world to see? It really is a yes and no answer. In one sense the pictures are more than phenomenal, their a once in a lifetime opportunity and it also raised the question about the safety of fire escapes during the 70's. At the same time, however, having the Boston photographs published opened it up to harsh and foul critique: "I shall hide my disappointment that Miss Bryant wasn't wearing a skirt when she fell to her death. You could have had some award-winning photographs of her underpants as her skirt billowed over her head, you voyeurs," a reader wrote the Chicago Sun-Times. The Boston photographs are also not the only photos to challenge what should and should not be published. In June 8, 1972,  a photo was taken of Phan Thi Kim Phuc, informally referred to as the Napalm girl, as a young girl walking away from what seemed to be a tragic result of the Vietnam War with no clothes. The photos were widely distributed to show the all-to-true gruesome consequences of war, at the expense of Phan Thi Kim Phuc's privacy.
As much as you might think this is not a real problem, these are still some unanswered questions that have subdivided its constituents.
The question is: should major publishers, newspapers, and news sources be allowed to publish graphic, and to some immoral, images in the media?

August 9: Is Youtube Bad for Kids?

Absolutely. Anyone, especially parents, who shrug off Youtube and simply give their kids their phones as a distraction or to silence them, is toxic behavior. There is not yet statistical evidence that proposes that Youtube is a substandard excuse for parents who simple don't want to watch their kids. Especially sufficient evidence that does not supports the idea that perhaps Youtube is perpetuating the affects of developmental disorders, such as autism. Not to say that there are no educational channels or videos on Youtube, but parents use this to justify their children's over-use of this platform; when in actuality, watching hundreds and hundreds of hours of mindless content subsequently makes them absent-minded.

Youtube being a relatively new platform only being introduced in 2005, but only recently gaining momentum, is severely under-researched and has already profoundly effected the younger generation. Kids growing up with Youtube, particularly kids born around 2015, already have an unrealistic apprehension of the "world." We have fixated them to the impracticality of making a living online; having to base their always-fluctuating "salaries" on human idiosyncrasies.
 

People's choices and tendencies change on a daily basis, so, for example, one day, slime is the new "hot topic," and slime-youtube-creators are placed under this false understanding that perhaps their income will be like this: consistently high. But in actuality what needs to be understood, and can't yet be understood by children, is people who have dedicated their entire lives in front of a camera are under the false impression that maybe this "gig" is a long-term situation.

What is happening is kids ranging anywhere from one to thirteen years-old spend a preposterous amount of time on Youtube and become addicted. Jake Paul's careless and insensitive actions and career, to children, is the epitome of success because of his ridiculously-high wealth. But Youtube is not a sustainable career. Yes, you can perhaps make 100,00 dollars one year and think you have it made, but the succeeding year only make 25,000 and even less the year after. Because of Youtube, we have desensitized an entire generation to believe that the impracticality of Youtube is a way of a sustainable income. When that is unequivocally false. It is far more obvious to find a steady career with a dependable degree, despite the constant "money-hungry" idiots that demonize teachers and education for views: "Teachers said we couldn't make it, but we still do what we love, we heading for the hills, be watchin' from above."
What we need to do, as a society, is limit screen-time significantly and put some more understanding into our younger generation. It's also exceedingly crucial for us to introduce and implement laws that recognize excessive screen time and Youtube as a problem.

[1]: I got this from the Dobre Brother's (senseless) music video, "You Know We Lit." I can assure you that no educator that went through the trouble to get a degree and proper accreditations to become a teacher, told you, a student, "you couldn't make it."

August 8: Should Schools Allow Free Lunch?

Good morning, today is the first day of the school year, and I thought it would be interesting to talk about whether schools should provide free lunches. This has been a rising topic,
especially with it getting so much media coverage. For example, most recently, when the young boy raised money to pay all of the school-lunch debt.
See the source imageI just learned that in some places students are "shamed" by their peers for not being able to afford lunches or even having excessive debt. I know at my school they posted the debt that students owed (with their student ID's) and there were some students that owed more than one hundred dollars! I didn't think much about schools providing free lunches until recently but I do think it's a problem.
Schools and the government should provide free lunches not only so that we can destigmatize students who can't afford lunches, but so that kids don't go without eating. Yes, it's only about a dollar or two per meal, but when there are 180 days in the school year, the true costs becomes increasingly clear.

I know that there are already programs implemented that help students from low-income households, but this should really be a universal privilege for all American students K-12. Nobody should ever have to worry about paying something that is a basic human right.

August 7: Should Low-Polling Candidates Drop Out?

QOTD: Should Low-polling Candidates for the President of the United States Drop Out of the Race?
Tulsi Gabbard

Yes and no. I am conflicted on this because I am rooting for a "low-polling" candidate, Tulsi Gabbard, but I also think anyone significantly low in the polls should drop out. Below is a picture of some of the most recent polls done by RealClearPolitics [1], where presidential candidates need to be polling at least a 2% in 3-4 national polls to qualify for the September debates, along with other factors.

I ultimately think that this upcoming debate will divide the field significantly. I think everyone polling below 1 or even 2 percent should consider dropping out of the already congested field of candidates. Yes, everyone has important ideas for the United States but not everyone can be President. And polling so far behind, I think some of the lowest polling candidates should consider leaving the race.

[1]: This will redirect you to the RealClearPolitics website that has recent updates about how democratic candidates for the President of the United States are polling within their party.

Book Analysis: Animal Farm

I recently read Animal Farm by George Orwell, and for anyone who doesn't know, it's a relatively short book. However, I thought Orwell's central idea about presenting fascism and communism through the lens of a totalitarian and dystopian society, or farm for that matter, of animals was profound. The satirical innuendoes about real-life communistic ideologies through the representation of animals was ingenious.
The book was much more than vegetarian and vegan rhetoric in that animals are treated gruesomely and abhorrently, although true.
I also just got the ironic connection between corrupt leaders and pigs.
It truly is a well-executed satirical fable representational of these totalitarian ways of ruling. The seemingly peaceful socialistic society quickly turned gruesome and corrupt. What is evident is that the pigs were overcome with corruption and greed, and took on this role and developed aspects that the other animals unanimously despised: humans.
It's unfortunate what happens by the end, but, in retrospect, the rise and then fall of the Animal Farm, later renamed the Manor Farm, truly covers the brevity of the toxicity of following communism and dictatorship ideologies.
It's been evident before that power can often lead to corruption and oppression, and this book is truly indicative of this dreadful nature. A Great Read.
RATING: 8

August 6, 2019: Is Water Wet?

QOTD: Is Water Wet?
This was a question that "took the internet" by storm a while back and subsequently divided the argument into two groups: A. Water is wet B. Water cannot be wet. I thought this was a seemingly easy decision: water is not wet. However, I was surprised to see so many people say that water is indeed wet. Water is simply a pure substance consisting merely of H*2O molecules connected by hydrogen bonds. I, much like other people, declare that water cannot be wet because it can only cause something, like wetness. However, I heard the argument that water is wet because the way that water molecules are "fixated." Something along the lines of, "Because water makes things wet by touching them, water molecules essentially touch one another, therefore water is wet." This is blatantly hypothetical and with no true premise, especially considering that water molecules are actually connected by intermolecular forces, or hydrogen bonds, not unsystematically placed to one another.

Essentially, I think the argument that "water is wet" is unfounded and that water can only make things wet.

Update: School Starting

With school beginning again and taking a long break from uploading, I wanted to start daily blog posts. I think it is exceedingly crucial to exercise writing and thought-invoking practices for intellectual vitality. Therefore, I want to post every day, starting August 6, starting off with one common question and perhaps going on to talk about something more pertinent and daily updates. As stated in my introduction, this blog's central focus is not on how many views this generates or even the eloquence of it, but to exercise my amateur passion for philosophy and publishing other miscellaneous posts like book reviews and political insights. Boring I know! But not for me, so feel free to hop off or join me on this thought-invoking adventure.

Dan Brown - The Da Vinci Code

I recently finished reading The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, after looking for something to read and remembering the episode where Angela, from The Office, vehemently despises the book:
Season 2 Episode 4 "The Fire"
Jim: "OK, so, three books on a desert island. Angela."
Angela: " the Bible... Purpose Driven Life..."
...
"Phyllis: "The Da Vinci Code"
Angela: "The Da Vinci Code. I would take The Da Vinci Code, so I could burn the The Da Vinci Code."
So essentially this is what drew my curiosity to read the book. I read the book not having any pre-knowledge of what it was about, except for the short summaries included on all books. I am not a huge reader but this book kept me interested and exceeded my low expectations.
I was instantaneously drawn in from the beginning and could not put the book down. Without going into too much detail about the book, and without giving anything away, I thought this book exceptionally delivered the message it seemed to want to deliver. Spoilers. Some people might be underwhelmed by the ending, thinking that the holy grail perhaps was documents and historical records that show that Jesus was indeed married and had a child. But when it was not that I was immediately disappointed because I didn't get the satisfaction to find what Langdon had searched for the entire book, but I began to understand the true meaning of what it perhaps meant.
The holy grail is not documents or a chalice, but, rather, the idea of what is unknown is what drives the curiosity of people to figure out what exactly is unknown, therefore keeping Mary Magdalene's truth alive.
Overall, I thought the book, as aforementioned, accomplished what it sought out to do in a well-executed manner. I found out after reading the book that this is actually the second book from a series from the author, Dan Brown. I was wondering why Langdon would mention he was so scared of tight spaces, or claustrophobic, but never landed in a situation that pushed his trepidation of enclosed spaces. The "plot-twist" wasn't anything revolutionary but what was revolutionary were the ideas that Brown introduced main-stream.
There have been many books that say the same cliches "Book of the year," "A must read," and even in the introduction to Stephen King's Pet Sematary "This [book] crossed the line," but none of them "lived up to the hype" or high expectations. However, this book did just that. It challenged a thousand year old idea, and did it in such a way that was mind-boggling. When Langdon and Sophie were learning the "truth" about Jesus Christ, I was astonished. I had never heard or learned anything about this, but to read it was incredibly intriguing and thought-invoking, to say the least. Ultimately, the book was an amazing read, nothing too terribly difficult and Brown seemed to hit all the points he sought out to hit in this book: the truth about Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene being the focal point
purposefully shadowing the ending, bordering bathetic.

BOOK RATING: 7.5

Dorian Electra - Flamboyant

Dorian Electra (pronouns them/theirs!) has released their debut album Flamboyant, and to say the least, it precedes the name — electric! Electra's music knows no boundaries, incorporating musical fluctuations from heavy metal beats to eerie pitches in the same line(!), such as on the track "Musical Genius."
Dorian is no stranger to obliterating boundaries. They make no effort to hide their androgynous looks — in fact, amplifying this narrative in their favor — to project their idiosyncratic nature through tunes.
Laden throughout their LP, are countless witty innuendos that point out the daily challenges and realities they face as a queer woman: "Emasculate me. Cut the man right out of me;" "I know I ain't straight, but Imma say it straight to you;" "God made me and Adam and Steve. And he loves me."
Most importantly, Dorian's album pays homage to the upcoming genre of Hyper Pop, and is doing so profoundly. 

RATING: 8/10

Analysis: A Rulebook for Arguments - Ch. 6

In Weston’s sixth chapter, Deductive Arguments, he explains that “deductive arguments differ from the sorts of arguments so far considered, in which even a large number of true premises does not guarantee the truth of the conclusion (although sometimes they make it very likely).” [5]

In Weston’s first point of chapter six, Modus ponens, he deciphers what exactly is the structure of a traditional deductive argument:

“Using the letters p and q to stand for declarative sentences, the simplest valid deductive form is

If [sentence p] then [sentence q].
[sentence p].
Therefore, [sentence q].


Or, more briefly:
If p then q.
P.
Therefore, q.”

This form is called modus ponens, and it’s important to note this specific structure because it can be used to develop deductive arguments. For example, we can use this structure or guide to create an argument of our own:

If drinking while driving causes more accidents, then drivers should be prohibited from being drunk, or being intoxicated, while driving. 

Drivers who are intoxicated while driving do cause more accidents.
Therefore, drivers should be prohibited from driving while intoxicated.

This form of argument allows us to see the two premises differently and separately to evaluate them clearly.


In the authors next point, Modus tollens, he wants to explain a second structure for deductive arguments:

If p then q.
Not q.
Therefore, not p.”

Essentially it is the same as the previous example of modus ponens, but this one, instead of being simply p or q, they’re not p etc.

In Weston’s twenty-fourth point introduces a third deductive form: “hypothetical syllogism.” This one is different from the other two because it has three factors and goes as follows:

If p then q.
If q then r.
Therefore, if p then r.

In this one, if p and q are equal, and q and the third variable are equal than that must mean that p and the third variable, r, are equal. An example can be, if I am getting really bad allergies then the pollen in the air must be high. If the pollen in the air is higher than usual, then it must be Spring. Therefore, if I am having worse-than-usual allergies then it must be Spring-time.

The next deductive form that the author introduces is “disjunctive syllogism”:

P or q
Not p.
Therefore, q.

Disjunctive syllogism, like the other deductive forms, is self-explanatory; it implies that if there are two options but if one is not the answer then it must be the other. Right? Well, Weston actually introduces the idea that, in the English language, there are actually two different interpretations of the word “or.” “Or” can either mean that at least one of p or q is true, and possibly both. In this sense, however, we are using “or” as an “exclusive” term, in which there must be one true between whether p or q is true.

Another valid deductive form is the “dilemma.” In which,

P or q
If p then r.
If q then s.
Therefore, r or s.

“Rhetorically, a dilemma is a choice between two options both of which have unappealing consequences.” [6] This is important to note because the “dilemma” deductive form demonstrates a situation in which a dilemma is proposed, so to speak. A simplified argument that Weston introduces in reference to Arthur Schopenhauer’s “Hedgehog’s Dilemma”:

“Either we become close to other or we stand apart.
If we become close to others, we suffer conflict and pain.
If we stand apart, we’ll be lonely.
Therefore, either we suffer conflict and pain or we’ll be lonely.” [7]

Although the example may be simple and brief, it truly covers the breadth the importance and central point of the “dilemma” deductive form.

In Weston’s twenty-seventh point, he introduces a traditional deductive strategy that is fundamentally apart of the modus tollens deductive form: reductio ad absurdum. In this one, however, instead of simply disproving the second option consequentially, we need to show that q is indeed false. “Arguments by reductio (or “indirect proof,” as they’re sometimes called) establish their conclusions by showing that assuming the opposite leads to absurdity: to a contradictory or silly result. Nothing is left to do, the argument suggests, but to accept the conclusion.” [8] This is important to note because the argument is fundamentally proving one variable correct, that there is no other conclusion other than that variable must be correct. The reductio ad absurdum form:

To prove: p.
Assume the opposite: Not p
Argue that from the assumption we’d have to conclude: q.
Show that q is false (contradictory, “absurd” morally or practically unacceptable...)
Conclude: p must be true after all.

Weston’s last point of chapter six is deductive arguments in several steps, “many valid deductive arguments are combinations of the basic forms introduced in Rules 22-27.” [9] Essentially, Weston introduces some methods of deciphering a larger argument into smaller increments to “decode” an argument more efficiently.

Side note: Sorry the format is extremely messed-up, but the fixing the deductive formats was becoming very tedious.

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