Medical Marijuana: Alternative methods of consumption must be allowed

•October 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I wrote an article for The Concordian – one of the universities student run newspapers – about the regulations currently enforced by the government concerning the public’s access to medical marijuana in different forms. I will not post the whole article here, but it can be viewed through the link below.

Link: Current medical marijuana regulations discriminate against non-smokers

Post any comments on the article here, or on the newspapers website.

 

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LMAO the English Language is my BFF

•September 21, 2010 • 5 Comments

Is the English language open to additions and alterations? Or, is the language fine the way it is? Where can we draw the line between acceptable changes and alterations that are not be beneficial to the language?

If you pick up a new edition of the Oxford American Dictionary, and actually open it (or use it), you might be surprised by some recent changes and additions. Here are few of the recent changes:

BFF n. (pl. BFFs) informal a girl’s best friend: my BFF’s boyfriend is cheating on her.
– ORIGIN 1996: from the initial letters of best friend forever.

bromance n. informal a close but nonsexual relationship between two men.
– ORIGIN early 21st cent.: blend of brother and romance.

defriend v. another term for unfriend.

green-collar adj. denoting or relating to employment concerned with products and services designed to improve the quality of the environment: green-collar jobs.
– ORIGIN on the pattern of white-collar and blue-collar.

LMAO abbr. vulgar slang laughing my ass off.

Now that these terms and abbreviations are officially accepted as part of the English language, should we expect to see a new era of teenagers justifying their use of these terms in everyday conversation. Additionally, should teachers be worried about receiving essays and assignments filled with compounded words like ‘bromance’.

When sending a text message, email, or other forms of electronic communications where writing space is limited, it is understandable that one would use abbreviations, and/or other terms invented to shorten electronic communication messages. In my opinion, I do not see any harm resulting from these changes. Though it is true in many countries that the overall writing skills of younger populations is decreasing (not in all circumstances). The cause of this issue is not only that younger generations are using ‘internet verbiage’ ‘too often’,  it could also be attributed to a failure of the educational systems in those particular countries. It could be that students are not being graded critically on their writing skills. How many times have you heard teachers saying “I will not be grading your grammar. This is not an English class, so just make sure to do your best.” I would prefer it if all teachers, across all disciplines (except maybe math and science), took the time to properly grade grammar, sentence structure, and spelling.

Do you have an opinion on Oxford Dictionaries addition of these terms? (more additions are available here) If so, please post a comment below.

Untitled

•September 13, 2010 • 6 Comments

I hardly kept my promise to post every few days, but now that classes have actually started (the first week is no more than simple introductions to the Prof. and course material) I imagine I will have plenty to write about. And, that is why I am writing today. My Ethics conference this afternoon was interesting to say the least. It was our first conference of the year, and since we have not covered any theories in our lectures, the T.A (Teachers Assistant) brought in a case for us to examine, namely, the Baby Theresa case.

The case began in Florida (1992) when an anencephalic baby named Theresa was born. Infants born with this condition are missing the majority of their brain (in most cases). Children born without the main  parts of the cerebral cortex, which includes the neocortex (the ‘thinking’ part of our brain), lack most of the senses that most other homo-sapiens have at birth. Additionally it is claimed that such babies cannot feel pain, and are unconscious beings. After Theresa was born, her parents were explained the particular condition Theresa had and they were then given the choice as to whether they wanted to donate Theresa’s organs to the hospital so that the doctors could save the lives of other infants that were awaiting transplants. The parents made a decision to donate the organs, but the laws in Florida state that organ donations could only be carried out after the death of the body. Therefore the parents had to wait until Theresa’s body died for the doctors to take her organs. Nine days after the birth Theresa died, although her organs were not removed because they had deteriorated too much and were no longer acceptable for transplantation.

Without a doubt the law is there in order to prevent the misapplication of transplantation procedures. An example of a misapplication would be a doctor cutting up an individual who has been in a coma for a month for the sake of saving someone else. In this example the person has the possibility to wake up, whereas Theresa’s death was inevitable (Most babies with the before mentioned condition die within a few days to a week). The law protects individuals from having their organs removed before their death – which is obviously the correct approach to such matters. Though in Theresa’s case her outcome had already been decided by unknown forces. It is unfortunate to say, but her outcome had already been decided. She was able to breathe on her own because she had a developed brain stem (something that is not often seen in cases like these), but she would never be able to experience anything of the world, ever.

Had the state of Florida reviewed the case independently of other cases, such as mutilating bodies that are in a coma, they might have seen that there is a greater good to be achieved in these cases. Namely, saving the lives of an unknown number of infants. Instead the laws rigidity froze the events so that Theresa’s organs were wasted. It would be unfair to say that the law caused the death of an unknown number of other infants, but we should consider the outcome if the law had been reviewed for this particular case.

I would never ask for the law to be removed from legislation (because it does protect and save lives), but I would ask that the law be applied in a different manner for particular cases; in such a fashion that particular cases, such as this one, are examined in order to see if there is a greater good to be achieved, and if there is a life saving benefit that can come from bending the law than this is the choice we ought to make.

Please let me know what you think. It is a sensitive topic, but one that should be discussed.

I

Would you want to know?

•August 21, 2010 • 2 Comments

If you knew that you could live for a whole century, would it change your immediate perspective of life? Would you slow things down, or speed things up? Would you do less, do more, or do the same?

A research team from Boston University studied over one-thousand 100 year old people, they discovered the presence of 150 genetic variants in the elderly people being studied. The research found that the variants were common among those centenarians, and these particular genetic variants are hereditary.

If you want to know if you could live up to 100 years old all it takes it a genetic scan, but would you want to know? I definitively don’t. Information about potentially living up to a century can be dangerous as much as it could have positive effects too. Nonetheless it would give people a feeling of security, some will likely develop ideas such as – “Well my gene scan says I’ll live until I am 100, so this unhealthy food, and no exercise for a week is fine with me.” –  which is not a good outcome. Although, this does not necessarily apply to everyone, some will likely recognize the possibility to screw up their chances at living a century and take great care of themselves. If it would ever become trendy to know if you have what it takes to live until you’re 100 than I imagine both sorts of people will surface.

We already see both types of people, those take take care of their health, and those that do not. While it is not my responsibility to tell someone that they should take care of their own health if they want to live a longer life, surely I can suggest it : ) The idea is simple, knowing that you have a chance to live until you are 100 will change the way you look at your own life. Not knowing leaves you exactly the same as you are now, ambiguously living your life, trying to make a meaning for yourself in the finite time you have. Knowing will of course leave you ambiguously living your life trying to create meaning in a finite amount of time, but that piece of knowledge would tickle in the back of your mind from time to time.

I get  a sense of power from not knowing. It gives off a feeling that every moment you experience is immediately, and irreducibly important to who you are now -not who you were yesterday, or who you will be tomorrow but for who you are at this moment-. Knowing would sit with you for your entire life, and I think it would actually prove to be a useless piece of information for many people.

Another Day Served, And Another Book Finished

•August 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I worked a morning shift today and, as usual, it was a positive day. Customer complaints were non-existent and everyone in general was in a great mood. Some other good news is, my store won the previous months incentive contest for the most used movie units sold, and because we won each employee is receiving one hundred dollars worth of gift cards for a couple of different stores (I.E: Itunes)

Although one little hiccup did surface throughout the day, which was not being able to figure out why I could not make an outgoing phone call. After attempting a dozen phone calls to different stores and different people, frustrated and confused I pick up my cell phone and called the store on Sources Blvd. and find out that we no longer have to dial 9 before the telephone number. The manager at the store explained to me that we recently switched over to Bell Canada and no longer have to dial 9 to make outgoing calls. For a moment during my confusion I thought that we might not have paid our bill, but it turns out it was a internal communication problem. Though obviously not the end of the world, and otherwise a great day.

I finished reading S.E Frost, Jr’s book Basic Ideas of the Great Philosophers yesterday. I am now starting to read Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel which is so far seems thoroughly, and well written so that anyone can learn something from reading it. Frost’s book was a good read too, it explains the ideas of the greatest Western philosophers over 10 distinct chapters, and therefore 10 seperate philosophical problems (I.E: Man and Education, Nature of God, Man and State). Each chapter builds on the others, the book could be read in any order, starting with chapter 8 and still work as a whole and be an accurate explanation of the change and differences in philosophy from the Pre-Socratics to modern-day philosophers.

Guns, Germs, and Steel examines the reason that different people in different places throughout human history adapted to different environments due to the particular biological needs imposed by drastically different circumstances. It is so far very interesting, once I read further into the book I will post about what Diamond talks about.

Conservative Generalization of Muslim Extremism: Ground Zero Mosque

•August 19, 2010 • 3 Comments

Should the United States consider and approve the idea of building a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero to promote religious tolerance? Or should the nation solidify it’s decision and strictly oppose the idea and further promote the hate-mongoring notion of ‘Us’ vs. ‘Them’? The debate has spread around the world, many writers, politicians, political/social experts, and the general public have started voicing their opinion on the matter.

The arguments on either side of the debate have been interesting in the least, but it is clear that a simple solution will not suffice.

 

Continue reading ‘Conservative Generalization of Muslim Extremism: Ground Zero Mosque’

School’s Out for the Summ…almost-Fall

•August 16, 2010 • Leave a Comment

It has been a few months since my last post. Also, it seems that I have been a bit short on creativity and motivation, but I am posting today in hopes of provoking new ideas. I do not have anything in particular to discuss, although writing just about anything down seems to be a productive method of generating new thoughts. Nonetheless, I have come to realize that I should resist from only posting blogs on specific topics brought up in class, and instead I should just post anything that comes to mind. Not to say that I will never write about my autonomous thoughts concerning class discussions, but I will start including regular posts about the different things happening to me through my day to day experience. Will you find this interesting? Maybe not. Though I imagine that I will write about current events more often, especially those events happening locally.

All that aside, today was my last day of summer courses. To be more precise, the last day of classes (for me) was last Thursday. Early this morning I went in to school to complete my Inferential Statistics exam, and I believe it went well! I was the first one to finish the exam, but I did take enough time to go over all my work before handing it in and it looked correct. I’m expecting a B+, at least.

After the exam I made my way up seven flights of escalators to the Sociology/Anthropology study room so that I could read the article that was held on reserve for our class. We had to read two articles in order to finish two of the questions on our take-home final exam for Race/Ethnic Relations, so I read the one I had not found anywhere online and finished my exam, printed it out, and went to hand it in. That concluded my summer studies. Woo hoo!

I am glad I took the courses over the summer, because if I did not take them, the total time it would take me to complete my degree would be extended by one whole semester. Ergo, it was a good decision on my part, and great academic counseling on the school’s part. Thanks Concordia 😛

Would I spend my whole summer in courses again? Definitely not, but I would suggest any other student who can take both Statistics courses over one summer to do so. It was quick, well taught, and you complete both courses in one semester instead of two!

Next summer I think I might focus on an independent research interest, and also on a vacation.

That’s it for now. Let’s see if I keep my word and post something in a couple of days!