Monday, April 26, 2010

Deals with my lifestyle

I would personally like to spend time with "How to End the War in Afghanistan". The major reason for my choice is because I am a Marine and I would just like to know about this topic for obvious reasons; I will probably end up very close to it some time before it is over. Another reason is because I have buddies over there, and a few who just came back safely. We all know the dangers of what we do but it is still in the back of your mind, that thought of "what if", what if that friend does not make it back. That is basically it, this article could have very useful information and it is pretty close to home.
The last New York Review of Books i've read had an arcitle that interested me, it was "The Underground War for Shanghai." The article itself talks about the conection of government to crime. That really interests me, i've always likes keeping up with the news and i'm sure everyone will agree with the fact that government does have connection with crime. Most politics say that they will make the world a better place right? What do they do instead? They fill up their pockets with money that should of gone to let's say rebuilding roads, or fixing up schools. How do you think someone can get to being a politician? I'm pretty sure going to college or being in the military are not the only ways... What about being high up in ranks with "real" criminals? If you have power than nothing is impossible so why not get to the very top and controll the government. The thing is that people believe in "right" but in reality the world is build on "i come before anything". So yes, i do believe that government is connected with crime and i do believe that there isnt much "right" left and that you either, quote; "Die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become a villain..."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

One More Time

A little late, here's that last blog prompt I promised you. I want you to grab the latest issue of The New York Review of Books somewhere on campus, skim through it, and tell me one article you would like to spend time with and why.

Friday, April 16, 2010


This is your last chance to get a blog post/comment in for the semester. Use it to tell me what literary text you would like to have taught in BENG 102. Keep in mind that it should be a text that gives students a way to talk about various literary devices (e.g. setting, characterization, theme, symbol, tone) and has thematic content that would facilitate interesting discussion and that people could successfully write about. Give me ideas and explain why you choose them.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The very first semester i had english was fun but the teacher really didnt teach us much... I'm not trying to say that the teacher was bad or that i slacked off, it's just that the course itself wasnt much of a challenge, nor fun. All we did pretty much was read "New York Review of Books" and read little stories from books hwich we were quizzed on later on. We had class discussions but i just felt like i was back in first grade... BENG102 actually feels like a college level class. Professor is more alive, more entertaining, and definitely keeps me busy. Not as far as giving us a lot of work but in class i'm not distracted or falling asleep, i'm actually7 partivipating and paying attention. Even though there are some hard contests to learn and i'm not doing the best i can, i trully think the class is worth my time, There were some books i didnt like and not going to lie, some that i barely red because i thought they were boring, but some things were interesting. I love class discussions and the fact that we get separated in to groups and analyze what ever the assignment is together. I like things that are challenging and not things like tests or long homeworks, but stuff like reading out loud in class and than having to anylyze and discuss the reading. The only thing that i missed having in 102 is movies! I believe we watched two movies in 101, maybe just one that we watched several days, but i think watching a movie in class that is interesting and has something to do with what we are learning is very entertaining and fun. I dont like the blog post assignments... Not because i think it's bad or anything but because i just forget about the online blogs during the weekends, it just totally fly's out of my head. Unfortunately it is a grade so i have to do it but i'd rather not have anything like online homewor's or papers that i have to do for a grade. Other than that i think 102 is way more fun and i definitely learned a lot more in here that i did in my 101 class. Just need to add a couple of movies, less papers, no online blog and more class discussions! Class is pretty chill though i'm looking forward to my 103, if i happend to take it...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Curriculum Reflection

As we get close to the end of another semester (it's really the best thing about semester, that they have a beginning, a middle, and an end), I always like to encourage students to think about the progress of the semester and to try to itemize the things they have learned from their coursework. For this post, I'm asking you to try to think about the skills you are learning in BENG 102 and compare them to the skills you learned in BENG 101. Do they seem like differently focused classes to you (not just in terms of content, but also in terms of method and goals)? Do they feel progressive or repetitive? Is this class providing ways for you to track your progress between the two?

As always, there is no right answer here that I am looking for, and I am definitely not interested in just reading that the class is great and you are learning so much. I am genuinely curious about your experience with these components of the curriculum.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

USCB's history

This is a big year for USCB, the jubilee year, which marks 50 yrs in the area. In some ways the celebration culminates on Tuesday with a medallion ceremony at which the president of the University of South Carolina system presents our chancellor, Jane Upshaw, with an official medallion with the school's seal. It is kind of a big deal.

I always wonder the extent to which this sort of thing - not the ceremony explicitly, but the awareness of the school's history and its relationship to the community - matters to the student body. I wonder this particularly when it has to do with a school like USCB, which understands its education mission and goals as rooted to explicitly in the needs and strengths of the local community. If it is your week to post, I'd like you to reflect on what, if anything, the school's history means to you, or if you think there is some value in being aware of that history and/or relationship to the community. If you think there is some value, tell me what it is explicitly. I don't need you to fake thinking this is important if you never think about it, I am just genuinely curious about what these things mean from the students' point of view.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Tournament Time

Inspired by (and tired from) staying up too late to watch basketball, this prompt is about college sports. Lots of discussion goes on among college administrators about the role of sports in a college community. Your own college community has thought very consciously about what it means to develop the athletics program, ow that helps build school identity, what needs to be done to balance those needs against more academic needs. This year's NCAA tournament featured the (until last night) 'Cinderella story' or Cornell, which seemed such an unlikely contender because it is an Ivy league school, one that we associate with rigorous academics, not rigorous athletics.

Respond to this prompt with a post that explores the role of athletics in a college community, and in particular at USCB. What do you want them to be here? What role do they play, what concerns or hopes do you have?

Monday, March 22, 2010

What is college for?

I'm late on this and I apologize. I am thinking about Andrew Delbanco's upcoming talk "What is college for?" (3/24 7:15 Hargray 156) and wondering how you would answer that question. If this is your week for a blog post, write a bit about what you think college is for, both personally (why are you here) and on a broader societal level.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Scott Westerfeld; A Step Up From Stephenson (favorite writer response for 2/26/10)

I'm sure you're all getting bored hearing about Neal Stephenson's novel, The Diamond Age, by now. However, I have been constantly reminded during the course of my reading of The Diamond Age of a similar novel series, written by Scott Westerfeld. Westerfeld is among one of my favorite writers for his work in The Uglies series. His series is an action packed, science fiction tale full of excitement and suspense, as Stephenson's novel is also. Westerfeld's series includes the visions of hoverboards, ancient ruins, skin transformations, and intelligent programs which run most of the world. He also writes of supremely advanced technology as far as partial brain control of a generation, and turning humans into superhumans with incredible powers through installment surgeries. The similarity between Stephenson's and Westerfeld's futuristic ideas is obvious, yet I prefer Westerfeld's style of writing more. Westerfeld is more simple in his descriptions, yet still prevails at providing visual images for his reader. He focuses upon imagery, providing detailed description of people's physical characteristics, along with their personality. His writings allow the reader to feel as if they are living in the book. Westerfelds series, including the books Uglies, Pretties, and Specials, is so addicting that I not only couldn't put the books down, I couldn't even take a break throughout the series! I was entranced by his tale and his futuristic visionary elements. Westerfeld also seems to write in a more modern style, appealing to readers of all ages, youth to adult. I first came across Westerfeld's books in high school, and he has remained on my "to-read" list ever since. Although I've already finished the Uglies series, Scott Westerfeld has numerous other series that are all full of fantasy, romance, and sci-fi. For any of those who enjoyed Neal Stephenson, or even liked Stephenson's ides but had trouble following his style, I highly recommend Scott Westerfeld.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Blog prompt: personal favorites

For the blog posts this week, write a little about your favorite writer. Tell us why that authors is a favorite and in particular what about the style appeals to you. Perhaps include a quotation from her/his writing to give us an example of what you like.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Prompt: Writing Anxiety

If it's your turn to write a post this week, use the opportunity to write about you biggest source of writing anxiety. What is the part of the process that is most difficult or most hand-wringing for you and what do you do to combat that difficulty? IF this works the way it should, maybe some of your peers will add in the comments their own approaches to dealing with writing anxiety.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Trusting Science Response

Science has been one of many things that have helped America’s development. Science has helped in all fields and has made many breakthroughs. From the dawn of America, science has been there pushing for progress, but as we move forward many Americans have switched their views on the topic about science. According to the charts that are shown on Public Praises Science; Scientists Fault Public, Media, science has lost its value and Americans has lost confidence in scientists. I really don’t find it shocking on how people have lost their confidence in scientist because of two reasons: one, most of the time the American people are shut away from what goes on, and there is no communication between the scientist and the people. When scientist shut people away from all that is going on and don’t communicate everything, then people start looking for answers. In the article it talked about how, “A substantial percentage of scientists also say that the news media have done a poor job educating the public.” If the scientist knew that there was a poor education by the media, then why didn’t they come out and fix all the wrongs? Who better to teach the public than the scientist who are doing all the research projects? This is why many people hear and believe what the media tells them instead of trusting the scientist and we see this clearly in the charts the survey provides. As you can tell, the lack of communication between the people and the science has impacted the scientific world. I believe that science is a vital part of America and helps us progress to better things, but with advance there has to be some kind of relationship between the people and the science. Without it people will start to doubt more and more and could lead to a loss of care for science.

Trusting Science

While it is hardly surprising to me that the bulk of the public opinion isn't on board with scientific fact, I also wouldn't find it surprising if within the next few years Team Science's numbers increased.  The fact that only 32% of the public believes in natural evolution alone can almost pinpoint the exact nexus of these public opinions; religion.  The same thing could be said for the percentage of the public that believes in stem cell research.  It is no doubt that religion is a force to be reckoned with, even in this day and age, and boy, do people love their creation myths.  However, this is just one example, but the reluctancy to trust in science partially stems from that.   People don't like being wrong, and when science challenges their beliefs, well, they tend to hold grudges.  It may also be because science is coming from an unfamiliar party, such as the news or other media outlets.   This is where certain biases come into play as well.  Another reason for science being so untrusted in today's world, is that the public seems to have a hard time accepting change and science and technology are always making strides to improve our world.  However, despite all this, with new religions and more and more advances being made in science, it is my personal opinion that science will eventually overwrite the power of religious beliefs and follow the anthropological time line.  First there was magic, which evolved into religion and the next logical step forward is science.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Trusting Science

We have been talking, a bit, about the difference between human and computer intelligence and the way humans learn and connect. Today I want to ask you to look at a study that is about what we learn and what we believe, even when it comes from human experts. This study is about the public's perception of science and scientists (how much do we respect and trust science), but also about the difference in beliefs held by scientists (e.g. experts) and by the general public. If you scroll down, you will see tables showing data like 87% of scientists believe in totally natural evolution (that is, evolution that doesn't *need* help from a higher power) while only 32% of the public does. 84% of scientists believe in human caused global warming, while only 49% of people do. 93% believe in stem cell research, only 58% of the public does. What is your reaction to this data? Can you say anything about why the public seems to be vastly distrustful of science and scientific experts (compare this, for example, to how distrustful (or not) people are of other experts who have been trained in their field - what percentage of people disagree with the findings of the car mechanic or the MD or the dentist or the English teacher or the translator)?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I believe that none of the books, dictionaries or any sort of reading should be banded... People get so scared if their child finds something out about things like "sex" and/or violence. Children are growing, they have far more interesting things to do rather than look up words in a dictionary. Even if somehow they did head or read something about sex and violence, let's face it. this is the world we live in. You can protect them all you want but eventually they will face those things whether you want them too or not. I do agree on "drawing the line" for children, by that I mean that shildren "should not" be exposed to such things at an age that's too young, but isolating them from those things is like cutting them off from the world around them. It's inevitable and if they do somehow read up on something that the parents should not deny it or say those things are bad but instead they should sit down and explain those things to their child. A lot of parents might disagree with me on my opinion but i know from my own childhood, I've faced those things at an early age. I grew up in a country where all i saw on the news was violence and so on, that didnt mess me up but instead it made me mature faster. People afraid that if their children are exposed to those things it might mess them up in the future, but maybe the problem is in how the parents handle the situation. Guarding their kids too much and being overprotectice. Dont get me the wrong way i do not want the parents to go ahead and show their kid all those things. A parent should be cautious not overprotective, sex is something most kids experience sround the age of fitreen. Youngsters should be guided to make the right decisions, and maybe they should know about those things and they should be told the consequences that will follow if those things are done. Some things children should learn on their own, if they are taught of what's wrong and what's right, when they face the situation they will make the right decision.

Removal of Dictionaries in Schools

It is absolutely ridiculous and unheard of to pull a dictionary from the shelves of a school just because parents’ attention is brought to one controversial word. ‘Oral sex’, whether approved of or not, is a set of words used to describe a verb in the human language. I’m 100% in agreement with the parent, Jason Rodgers. He asked, “What are they going to do next? Take the encyclopedia books out because the mention of the words penis and vagina?” You do have to draw the line somewhere. If every book or text segment that had something vulgar or controversial was taken away from us, what would we learn from? Books wouldn’t exist! For God’s sake, even Where’s Waldo is on the list of books deemed challenged. I do agree with the fact that it may not be “age appropriate”, but it’s a dictionary! A dictionary is purposely made to define and explain words in the human language for all ages. No one ever said that Merriam Webster’s Dictionary was a children’s book! Also, you can’t penalize an entire group of kids who are willing to learn just because one child wants to be ‘cute’ and look up words which are frowned upon. If I had a child in school that chose to look up these words, I wouldn’t mind one bit. At least he/she would be getting the correct information on what the word really means instead referring to their amateurish friends on the matter. At one time or another, a child will be exposed to things we don’t believe they should at the age, or to at all. The television shows that are shown these days aren’t screened like they used to be. People in public are a lot less courteous with the language they use. Not to mention the internet is available to everyone and holds anything you could ever imagine. Schools in California and anywhere else for that matter really need to put things into consideration before discontinuing a dictionary in middle school classrooms.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dictionary Being Removed From School

I believe that it is very unnecessary to remove the dictionary from the school in California. Like the parent in the article stated "you have to draw the line somewhere..." and I fully agree with him. Just because there is one definition the parent does not like, is not a good enough reason for them to ban the dictionary. Not every child is going to read the whole dictionary. And if your child looks up the word it is more than likely because they have heard it from one of there friends or from the television. So, if someones child has a curiosity of the word then their parent should step up and explain it to their child. They need to realize its part of parenting and they cannot shelter their kids their whole life. They are going to learn of the word some how and in my opinion I would want to explain it to my child myself, not them learning it from a friend.
Parents should quit banning their children from everyday ordinary books just because of one simple little thing. Children are going to learn from everywhere outside of their homes and if their parent bans something from them, they are more than likely going to want to pursue it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Blog prompt

If you are scheduled for this week, give me your thoughts on this story.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

RIP JDS Response: Influential Reading

There have been a lot of books that have been influential to me in some way. The book that I think has been most influential is Where the Red Fern Grows. If you have never read the book, it is a child's novel about a boy and his determination to earn and train two coonhounds. Raised in the Ozark Mountains, he comes from an extremely poor yet loving farming family. Late at night he hears the distant cries of neighboring hunters chasing their hounds and desperately aches for a pair of his own. He saves his change for two years and finally comes up with the money to buy them. Long story short; he prays and prays for these dogs and, miraculously, ends up getting the two best coonhounds in the country. The bond that grows between the boy and his hounds becomes sacred and is as if they are angels created and sent just for him.

It is a very emotional story that has affected me personally and one that I have carried with me since elementary school. This novel may be one for children, but it holds a lot of values that will always be meaningful to me. It possesses morals of respect, love, discipline, hard work and motivation. It has taught me to cherish my family and to trust my faith in God and nature.

Friday, January 29, 2010


The reclusive and iconic author JD Salinger died yesterday. Salinger's best-known novel, The Catcher in the Rye, has become one of the most frequently discussed books in any conversation about censorship and book banning. It would be difficult to overstate the impact of the novel. It's protagonist, Holden Caulfield, is so well and distinctly developed that The Onion is able to write a fake obituary that uses Holden's voice. You don't often get a voice that recognizable emerging from a novel.

If you read Catcher, either in school or on your own, use your blog post to write about your thoughts on it, your reactions to it. If you've not read it, use your post to write about a book you read in a class, any book, that was the most influential one you can remember.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Google and China

I think that Google would make a good decision to not censor anymore and pull out all together with China. I think i would be really upset if the government tried to censor what i was trying to learn and look up, though it does make sense that a communist country would attempt to keep their people ignorant to knowledge regarding the world in general, especially things as large as those mentioned.

Google obviously went against their ethics, doing a favor (if you will) for China for what I can only assume to be a large sum of money. Google had apparently realized that it was unbecoming to continue keeping a country ignorant of this knowledge, and will perhaps lose China's enormous market as a result. Even though China is a business customer Google should never bend their policies and ethics to pacify a market, Especially when its something like hiding information from a population.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Google in China Response

I respect Google's decision about not filtering any more results even if it means losing business in China. The fact that Google agreed to censor results in the first place shows great compromise on their part. This is because America is a democratic country where freedom of speech has far less limitations than in communist China. I believe China should have been content with the initial agreement. Furthermore, as always, it is human nature to want more, they were not just pleased with the limitations already in place and hacked accounts of human rights advocates. Curiosity or just greed for knowledge about what these advocates are doing to have more human rights may have been the reason why China did this. Nevertheless, America respected their request to censor certain information because of their type of government and China should not have violated our privacy by hacking Gmail accounts. There might have been a balance between freedom of information and respecting other governments but not anymore. China did not respect our freedoms when we respected theirs.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Google in China

In the spirit of our conversations about censorship:
For several years now, Google has been complying with demands from the Chinese gov't that they censor - remove from results - certain pages while operating in China. For example, a search run on a Chinese server would turn up no hits about this or this or this.
Now Google is changing its policy.
In response to a series of cyber attacks on google servers (which Google implies were launched from people w/in the Chinese gov't], many of which were apparently targeted at the Gmail accounts of human rights advocates, Google has decided to no longer censore results in China. They claim that if this means the Chinese gov't forces them to pull out of doing business in China - an ENORMOUS market - they are willing.

In an organized way, write a response to this situation. What do you think of Google's decision? How about the decision to filter results in the first place? What do you think about why things changed? What is the balance (if any) between freedom of information and respecting the sovereignty/authority of foreign governments/cultures?

*If it is your Friday to respond to this, please remember to have your post up [create a NEW post, do not just post a comment in reply to this] by NOON on Sunday].