Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Something Borrowed" Blog

In 'Something Borrowed,' Gladwell questions what is considered crossing the line when it comes to plagiarism.  There are many different types of plagiarism such as in music, peoples' ideas, and peoples' specific work.  The copyright law doesn't punish those just for copying someone's work.  It punishes individuals for what they copied specifically and how much they copied.  It is hard to tell by this how much is too much, however.  There are many exceptions for copyrighting.  For example, in songs one can not copy a large portion of someone else's song.  However, you can use some of the same notes in the same sequence and it not be considered plagiarism.  There is also a time limit on ideas and discoveries related to science and art because there is the possibility for the public to benefit from further development of these ideas.  It is hard to define a clear line for plagiarism.  Many incidences need to be analyzed individually because there are so many different types of plagiarism, rules, and exceptions.

I thought that this piece was really eye-opening to all of the different types of plagiarism that are out there. I really enjoyed the comparisons of the different songs that had similar riffs or verses.  It never really occurred to me that that many songs sound so much like one another.  Plagiarism, even though it sounds like its easily definable, actually is quite difficult.  There are so many different exceptions and rules that need to be taken into consideration.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ronson, Chapters 6 and 7

In chapter 7, Jon Ronson talks with his documentary maker friend Adam Curtis, who criticizes Ronson's journalistic style.  Adam said, "You're like a medical monk, stitching together a tapestry of people's craziness.  You take a little bit of craziness from up there and then a little craziness from over there and then you stitch it all together."  Ronson is upset by this statement and tells himself that he's not going to listen to his Adam because he's a known contrarian.  During this chapter, Ronson also converses with Charlotte Scott who used to be a TV producer.  Charlotte talked about her career and how it was her job to find the people with the "right sort of madness" to be guests on the TV show.  To find the right crazy people, Charlotte would ask the caller what medications they were on.  She would then look up what those medicines treated on a medical website to see if the person was too mad (schizophrenics) or just mad enough.  If they weren't on any medication, then they probably weren't crazy enough.  Because Charlotte and her colleagues made these mad individuals the punch-line of their jokes for years, she has decided to never go back.

The story about Kellie McGee being cut last minute for the show Extreme Makeover, made me realize how much words can hurt someone.  Kellie having to hear her families suppressed thoughts about her ugliness, was truly aweful.  Kellie had thought over the years that her family loved her for who she really was, but in truth, they were just like everyone else.  This situation was terrible and no one should have to go through shame like this.  Kellie later overdosed on pills and alcohol and died because she could no longer live being the 'ugly duckling'.  These types of situations happen all the time and could easily be avoided if people kept their inappropriate and hurtful thoughts to themselves.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Blog #3 Research Topic

Question: Is animal testing an effective way to test products before human medical use?
                  At which point is testing on animals unnecessary?

I chose this topic because I love animals and i feel strongly that inhumane testing on animals it wrong.  In this research paper I am looking for scientific evidence that supports my view.  There is both data that supports animal testing and data that opposes it.  I think in certain cases the links between animals side-effects and human side-effects will be similar and in others will be weak.  I would also like to observe data that shows if certain types of animal testing for humans is acceptable.  For example, for human health versus human beauty.  I think it may be difficult to answer this question fully due to the possible exceptions and personal beliefs. I think when i start researching information about animal testing, a clear question will reveal itself.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Psychopath Test-Chapters 4 and 5

In chapter four, Jon Ronson attends a three-day residential course lead by Bob Hare, the founder of the PCL-R Checklist.  This checklist was a psychopath test that helped reveal characteristics that identified psychopaths.  Throughout this course Ronson was trained to be able to pick out psychopaths that he may run into throughout his life.  Having this ability that many others didn't have, made Ronson feel a sense of power.  After analyzing many case studies and identifying psychopaths for three days, Ronson often found himself questioning whether he himself could be a psychopath.

Chapters four and five both freaked me out.  Learning about the checklist made me realize how many different characteristic psychopaths can take on.  I found myself checking myself with the checklist just to make sure that I wasn't a psychopath myself.  Reading about Ronson's encounters with Toto also interested me in the fact that Toto always seemed to scan the scene making sure that people "liked" him.  In this moment of Toto's observations, Ronson saw a flip of a switch in Toto's presentation of himself.  At a quick glance he appeared to be staring at Ronson (looking right through him), then once he realized that Ronson was saw him he snapped out of it .  It was like a switch had been flipped.  If psychopaths can switch their external personality that fast, imagine how many psychopaths there can be out there without you even knowing it!