News Analysis 2: New Element

More and more discoveries are being made everyday, whether its discoveries about animals, or discoveries about science, the world is growing in terms of knowledge. Just recently, scientists have discovered the 118th element in the periodic table. It has 115 protons, and has not been named yet, but “until they do, it has a temporary name: “Ununpentium.” That may be harder to memorize than “element 115,” but it is a scientific term made from Latin and Greek that basically means 1-1-5.” It was formed as a result of the union of two different elements. “Researchers from Lund University in Sweden created it by slamming atoms of one element, calcium, into atoms of another called americium.” The Swedish scientists were actually the second group to discover this element’s existence. Russian scientists discovered this element in 2004, but the new experiment confirmed Ununpentium’s existence. The reason that scientists try to create new elements is to discover more than what’s presented in front of us. Just like some of the other elements, when they were formed, they disappeared immediately. “More than two dozen of all the known elements were artificially created.” Some people ask scientists, “why create elements that disappear in a flash?” Most people view this procedure as a waste of time, but scientists believe that there are more to elements than just the number of protons it has. They would like to discover what physical properties and how it behaves in different atmospheres. So far, scientists have only been able to make one conclusion about its properties, which is because of its atomic number. “The more protons an atom has, the higher its number on the periodic table. And with 115 protons, this new element earns the moniker ‘super-heavy element’.” Some people may think that this is just a prediction, but it actually is more of a fact. They proved this by even comparing Ununpentium with gold and lead. “For the sake of comparison, an atom of lead only has 82 protons. Gold has just 79.” This article proves that we, humans, are still making brand new discoveries everyday. There is so much out there, in the world, that we haven’t discovered yet. “Scientists hope one day to make one that doesn’t, thus creating a brand new lasting element.” Until this day, science is just going to keep on growing as it is, developing new things that will help us closer to our ideal utopian society.


Journal 1: The Omnivore’s Dilemma Part 1

For me personally, I like corn quite a bit. It’s tasty, fun to eat, and healthy. However, one thing that I did not know about corn was that it was the main source of food before. The reason I did not know this was because I found it a bit irrelevant to my life, it’s not like knowing what kinds of food the people in the olden ages ate would affect my life today. After reading the book, I did a bit of research and found out that corn kind of acted as the main base of a meal. Nowadays, most people still eat corn, but they use rice, noodles, bread, and or mash potatoes as their base. Unlike corn, most of these bases only provide carbohydrates for our body function properly with energy. Corn provides protein and several vitamins for our body. I think that the main reason people eat more rice, and bread rather than corn is because it’s cheaper. For me personally, I like the plain taste of rice and bread. With the combination of meat and vegetables, a plain base actually enhances the taste for me. Another reason is because I’m Asian and I grew up eating a lot of rice.

The author seems to have taken a rather documentary approach. He explains the history of corn, and how it developed throughout the ages. He explains on how the economy affected the growth rate of corn, and how it affected people’s diets. I guess it could be stronger in a way. For me personally, I found the book a bit boring due to it’s tone, also reading is not my favorite thing to do, and the book just didn’t seem to interest me. I personally like horror and or mysterious books. Back to the book, I do believe that he should have added a bit more references to things that people from a variety of ages would appreciate and have an interest in. For example, I really found an interest in the corn sex section, simply because I found the title hilarious. This brings in a sense of sex appeal, which expects a reaction from the audience. I feel that if he did more of this, then more people would find an interest in reading the book, or at least I would.

I think that the author’s message is pretty clear. He is trying to say that evolution occurs in every single situation in the world. When most people hear the word evolution, they would think about animals or how technology has advanced over the years. I think that Michael Pollan was trying to tell us, in a sense, that change is inevitable. Whatever we do, we are striving towards a different outcome and swaying away from our past, our original methods. The author explains how corn has evolved over the years, and how it goes from the ground and into your food. I think that the author is missing the fact that change doesn’t have to be bad. The author explained that the process of supersizing food eventually led to obesity. Other people can easily say that the process of supersizing eventually led to the end of starvation in many families. The author is overlooking the argument that change is bad. Evolution may be inevitable, but you should see it as a strive towards a different goal, to discover new things and improve our knowledge and understanding of the world in general.

Writer’s Log 1: Is Google Making us Dumb?

            Some people in the world believe that progress and change is a good thing, but some people think otherwise. Some people think that as long as the progress or change is innovative, it is seen as a step closer to the utopian society that everyone is striving towards. Some people believe that we shouldn’t change, and that change brings us further away from our true originality. For me, personally, I don’t really care if there is any progress or any change, as long as what we’re doing is the right thing to do. I see no point is striving towards change if your current methods work perfectly fine for you. Some inventions such as the Internet are seen to some as positive progress or negative progress. The main thing that most people seem to think is making us dumber is Google.

            I truly think that Google is only one of the many factors that are causing us to think that we are dumb. In actual fact, Google isn’t making anyone less smart or more stupid. Google is just a faster way to gain access to information that otherwise would be retrieved through countless hours of continuous reading. I think that Google isn’t making us dumb, but just making us lazier. The only way a person can get smarter is through learning, whether it’s from other people, books, and or the Internet. If you think about it, the Internet is actually just a huge source of information. People who need to figure out something would just go online and search it up on Google. It’s faster and in a way, it’s teaching us something. If we were to have the same situation but instead 50 years ago, people would have to go to the library, find the appropriate book and start reading in order to learn. The main reason people think that Google and other search engines are making us dumber is because society is used to having everyone read books in order to learn, but now that the Internet is here, “research that once required days in the stacks or periodical rooms of libraries can now be done in minutes.” I actually don’t think that the Internet is making anyone dumber in any way. The same information can be found on the Internet and in the library. It is just much faster to search the Internet. I don’t see the Internet as a step back in terms of education; I see it as an evolutionary way to save time.

            Some people may argue that if everyone stops reading books and instead surfs the web more often, then everyone’s English will dramatically worsen. This is because people believe that by reading books, your sense of sentence structure and grammar will naturally improve. I completely agree with this fact, but I think that people also have to take in mind that people can also read things on their Internet. Parents may be worried that because kids spend too much time on the computer, that their eyes might spoil. I actually think that it wouldn’t make a difference. A lot of kids have had to wear glasses due to the computer, but many kids have also had to wear glasses due to excessive reading. I do think that the Internet and all of the search engines do more good than harm, and that parents are just too paranoid about this fact. Honestly, I just think that parents are jealous because they didn’t have this type of technology back when they were young.

News Analysis 1: Is Pluto a Planet?

The paradigm that most astronomers are debating about today is the question concerning Pluto being a planet or not. The reason this argument is still present today is because astronomers do not know how to categorize Pluto due to it’s traits. First of all, Pluto is a very very small object in space. It has it’s own gravitational pull and it’s mass is “0.0021Earths”, which is 0.0021 of Earth’s size. “Pluto is tiny, but it was considered larger than anything else past the orbit of Neptune.” Pluto has it’s own moons, and they are known to be just a large example of a collection of objects called the Kuiper Belt. This region extends from the orbit of Neptune out to 55 astronomical units (55 times the distance of the Earth to the Sun).” However, due to it’s miniature size, the main question that they ask themselves is, what defines a planet? Pluto has some of the characteristics that most planets have, but it does not have all. There are three rules to determine whether or not an object in space is in fact a planet. The first rule being that “it needs to be in orbit around the Sun”, and Pluto does in fact orbit around the sun. The second rule is that “it needs to have enough gravity to pull itself into a spherical shape”, and yes, pluto does in fact maintain a spherical shape. The third and final rule is that “it needs to have “cleared the neighborhood” of its orbit”, which means that pluto has to be the biggest object in its orbit. Unfortunately, pluto does not follow this rule. According to this, Pluto is considered a dwarf planet. Dwarf plants are not considered official planets, therefore some astronomers have already came to their conclusion, but other astronomers believe that Pluto still needs to undergo more studies. “NASA has sent their New Horizons spacecraft off to visit it. New Horizons will reach Pluto in July 2015, and capture the first close-up images of the (dwarf) planet’s surface.” I do believe that Pluto is a planet mainly because of the second rule, the fact that a planet has to maintain a spherical shape. A planet has to have a gravitational force of some kind, so to be able to maintain a spherical shape means that Pluto is indeed just a tiny planet. Pluto being a planet or not will not really affect me in any way, it will affect every astronomers in the world. They will have a deeper understanding on our solar system which will lead to more discoveries. Despite everything, we still have to wait for the results from NASA in July 2015.