5 Minute Meditation, how is it so helpful?

Meditation has been proven to be a useful de-stresser but how useful is it when applied to schoolwork? This is the question I asked myself while choosing this topic, and I asked the class when I presented. Luckily for myself, a novice in the art of meditation, was surrounded by an experienced audience. Several of my classmates and teacher are actually very experienced and knowledgeable in the art of meditation. So naturally the first question I opened up with was; what is your opinion on meditation?

Nicole, a classmate of mine, stated that “she enjoyed meditation” and “did it all the time.”

Meditation is commonly used by some as a part of a spiritual journey and associates with how they experience life, some want to relax,  some want to reap the health benefits. Some of these health benefits are actually very surprising. They include inducing better sleep, lowering blood pressure, decreasing anxiety, and reduce the amount of stress hormones in the body. It has actually been proven that the reduction of epinephrine, a stress hormone, reduces the amount of cholesterol in the blood. This means that meditating before beginning a big project, or studying for a test can significantly improve the results. Dropping epinephrine hormones in your body, and decreasing blood pressure will lead to a much more enjoyable experience while working. I suggest that in college students take up meditation as a way to relax themselves and deal with the stress of being a student.

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Meditation is an essential skill and will benefit all highschool seniors going into college next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Prosthetic Limbs: Why are upper arm amputees not using their prosthetic limbs?

The replacement limb domestic industry has been booming for the last decade. When the United States goes to war soldiers lose limbs, it’s inevitable, so the question is will these advanced prosthetic limbs ever be widely available to these people and will they be advanced enough to replace a human limb? If veterans are turning down their $100,000 limbs to live without them what is the problem? Will these limbs ever be efficient enough to replace human limbs, or are soldiers and civilians better off not paying for expensive prosthesis?

A 2014 article written by NBC Mike Kacer, a soldier who lost his left hand and part of his left arm in Afganistan stated to a reporter that “[he] can actually tie his shoes faster without his prosthesis.” This statement sparked an interest in what kind of prosthetic limbs veterans were using in 2014. Kacer had a “sophisticated” device that cost the government over $100,000, yet he opted to tie his shoes one-handed because it was more efficient. He has to maneuver two silver pincers, which act as over sized tweezers which he has trouble controlling. When asked if he could pinpoint how often he uses his prosthesis throughout a 13 hour day he says “I probably wear the prosthesis for 4 or 5 hours.”

Mike Kacer with his girlfriend at their home in Yonkers, New York.

The question now becomes will advanced, and comfortable enough prosthetic limbs be widely available to these veterans in the near future? According to a 2012 study by the inspector general’s office “veterans with upper limb amputations only reported lower psycho-social adjustment, physical abilities, and prosthetic satisfaction than those with lower limb amputations,” according to the inspector general’s office the problem is in upper limb prostheses, not prostheses in general. So how do veterans go about getting more comfortable, advanced prosthetic limbs? Well, the answer isn’t that simple a reason that artificial arms do not have the same priority according to the VA inspector general is that veterans found that VA staff were unfamiliar with the arm prosthetic options, and had not kept up with the latest technologies.

The next largest obstacle in the way for veteran amputees is the fact that upper arm prostheses are actually not advanced as lower limb prostheses. Prosthetic arms must complete much more complex, fine motor skill intensive tasks than their lower limb counterparts. The materials have greatly improved over time according to Standford researcher Gary Berke, however the mechanics have not. This means that lower limb prostheses have gotten lighter and easier to operate, while upper arm prostheses have not made the same advancements, as they are more mechanically intensive.

Veterans who have lost a portion of, or their entire arm may have to wait several years until the prostheses offered to them are as advanced and functional as their lower limb amputee brothers. Researchers do believe however with more funding and emphasis put on these new arms in the future by the military they will eventually be on the same level as lower limb amputees. Mike Kacer should be seeing a more advancement prosthetic arm from the VA in the future, just not the near future.

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Works Cited:

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/war-vets-cast-aside-costly-prosthetic-arms-citing-usability-n271211

Forensic Science: Worth the Price?

Is Forensic Evidence useful in today’s world with an evolving criminal psyches? This is a common question asked to Forensic experts throughout the United States today. Connie Fletcher does her best to explain this in the book “Every Contact Leaves A Trace” that I have been reading as my independent reading book. In these collections of stories Fletcher interviews many forensic specialists and allows them to tell stories that they deem to be important to themselves. Fletcher’s collection of stories can be used to show the actual value behind Forensic evidence.

The cost of building a full time crime lab can cost upwards of 8 million dollars. This may seem extreme to many but with evolving forensic technology this money will go to good use. Before we can determine if the extreme cost of a crime lab is worth it we first have to dive into what forensic science actually is. Forensic science is the application of sciences such as physics, chemistry, biology, computer science and engineering to matters of law. Forensic science plays a vital role in the criminal justice system by providing scientifically based information through the analysis of physical evidence. Evidence is brought from the crime scene to the crime lab to be analyzed and then used in court.


A crime lab ensures a feeling of safety in a community. Residents know that evidence will be properly analyzed quickly with a local facility. For example in New Jersey we have a Bergen County crime lab which analyzes evidence from our local areas. Analyzing this crime lab from a social perspective, it provides a blanket of comfort for residents in the county. Although a heavy cost a fully staffed crime lab can handle a large workload and hopefully not cause any backups with an overload of evidence and not enough space in a facility, or manpower to get the evidence analyzed. Forensic evidence has special value when it is fresh and unaltered.

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Forensic science is increasingly relied upon by law enforcement to assist in solving crime and gaining convictions. Why not allocate a little bit of the county, state, or federal budget to help get unsolved, and new crimes solved? Forensic science is the current, and future of Law Enforcement and any opportunity it has to be used should be taken advantage of. Criminals are ever evolving but so are our techniques and methods we can use to prevent them from committing crime and figuring out who they are.


Reading can be enjoyable.

The reading reason I presented to the class was that reading is fun  enjoyable. The article that I mentioned a study where 14 eighth graders were studied and asked if they thought reading was fun. These eighth graders gave three very persuasive methods that they used to enjoy themselves as they read. The first method given was the pleasure of play, or immersing yourself in the text. A student who was involved in this study remarked

I like to get away kind of when I read…I choose a lot of fantasy because it sparks your imagination and lets you go somewhere else.”

This was a powerful quote as it showed firsthand that immersing yourself in your literature is much more effective and enjoyable than not comprehending your book on a deeper level.


The second method was intellectual pleasure, a great example of this would be solving a mystery novel on your own, or putting the pieces of a book’s puzzle together. Another student from the study said

“[Reading’s] like being a detective almost. It’s taking the evidence and the information and everything that’s happened, taking all that and putting it together. This sensation of putting all of the pieces of a puzzle together and figuring out the outcome gave the students a sense of intellectual achievement and happiness.”

This quote doesn’t just apply to mystery novels however but any story, a reader can figure out what is happening in a fantasy novel and enjoy that process just as much as they would enjoy a mystery novel.


The third method was social pleasure. This, in my opinion, was the most important piece of the article and the quote that one of the studied students stated was just as powerful.

“I’m part of a cultural club that grew up with Harry Potter. It gave me a sense of belonging. I loved wondering what I thought was going to happen. Talking to my friends about that. Aligning myself with characters.  Waiting so impatiently for the next book. No other group of kids will have that experience again.”

This student said that a book series gave her a sense of belonging, this book series gave her a friend group, this series gave her an enjoyable path through high school. This book series changed this young girl’s life which I believe to be the most powerful impact books can have on their readers.


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This reading reason will have a beneficial impact on me throughout my life, especially later in my life. Reading is seen to be a chore by many but after hearing the impact that books can have on someone’s life, and how enjoyable reading a good book can actually be I will no longer view books in a negative light. Several of my classmates made very valid points on how reading can be applicable to later life, Noah stated

“Reading is enjoyable, so it is a good alternate than using your time on something counterproductive.”

Noah’s quote shows that reading is a good outlet to spend your time on, when free time may be very limited later in life.

Tom also said the bond created by reading is

“Different than the bond that the football team has, but it is just as important.”

Andrew Zayas followed up with

“I agree, a different kind of bond isn’t a bad bond.”

These quotes show how much you can bond over a piece of literature and truly make connections with other people which might be the most important part of this article. Networking is a huge piece of today’s society and using books as another resource to gain a larger network is a huge advantage in today’s society, and the future.


 

Works Cited

The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2016.

 

Virtual Reality and Us.

In English class we watched a video about Virtual reality. I think that Virtual reality in itself is an amazing advancement of technology and something that should be taken very seriously.

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Wearing a VR mask makes you think of a space movie, or something that takes place in the future. In the past however we thought that Virtual Reality would be an isolating experience, most of the time requiring the subject to wear clunky glasses and big earphones but Zuckerberg dispels this notion in his presentation. Facebook has focused much more on the social aspects of VR with increasing detail to facial expressions and other human characteristics. Zuckerberg even says

“Once you’re in there, you can do anything you want together — travel to Mars, play games, fight with swords, watch movies or teleport home to see your family. You have an environment where you can experience anything.”

We could very well be on the forefront of the most influential, and groundbreaking advancement of technology ever along with Facebook and their CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

 

Are Military History books telling the whole story?

For my Independent reading book I chose to read Steven J. Zaloga’s “D-day 1944, Omaha Beach.” Throughout my reading of this book I understood that Zaloga was an expert in the field of World War 2 and an accomplished military consultant. However I still wondered was he biased?

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Steven Zaloga, an accomplished historian and author on Military History.

I first began to think Zaloga looked at the German Commanders unfairly when the first sentence of his book read “The Byzantine dynamics of the Nazi political leadership undermined German capabilities to defeat the forthcoming invasion.” This seemed like a very biased perception of the german defense, which he later explains were undermanned and underequipped.

Zaloga is a very accomplished author who obviously knows what he’s talking about but he seems like he is unintentionally very biased in some of his analyses.

 

 

My Evolution as a learner

football-clipart-cliparti1_football-clipart_05Writing my knowledge journey was an interesting way to look at what I wanted to know and what I already know.

What I want to know:

  • Self Motivation
  • Being more detail oriented

What I already know:

  • Football
  • An interest in history.

These might seem like some strange things to want to learn or know but they all have a deep meaning to me. Self motivation is a big time thing for a future college student to learn. Self motivation is what will get you through college when you have no one looking out for you but yourself. Becoming more self motivated will help me in the long term and in the short term. Being more detail oriented is also a big skill that I hope to develop this year during English class. Being able to learn about things in more detail instead of glancing over them will help me become an expert in some areas. I hope to be able to pick apart big events and look at the small details that make them important.

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Writing about the section of things I already know was easier than the what I want to know section of this project. Football has meant a lot to me throughout my childhood and young adulthood, teaching me many life lessons I would not understand unless I played this sport. Football has developed me as a teammate and person and I appreciate, and would like to play the game at the next level. I also have always had an interest in history throughout my youth. I’ve always enjoyed learning about wars, past presidencies, and the development of countries. History is my favorite subject because nothing is subjective, it has either happened or not happened, I like seeing the past from more than one perspective it’s very interesting.

Article Response

I believe that cellphones and technology in school distracts students from their goals. When students don’t use technology in class they’re proven to be more successful and retain information longer. I think with all the statistics and teachers proving that technology is more of a hindering than helpful we should re-evaluate our school policy. I agree that with the ability to instantly have all of our questions answered we lose our desire to search for answers that might not be available from one click on a device. We lose the desire to search for things when we can have our questions answered instantly. This professor does a great job explaining why technology is a distraction.