Movies

This weekend I watched two very different movies. I saw La La Land and The Founder, both of which I think were very well made and I think the actors and actresses did a fantastic job, but one of them I enjoyed significantly more. The one I enjoyed more was La La Land because its story was so full of compassion and the power of dreams. In this movie people were able to achieve what they wanted, and although not everything went perfectly, it showed that things in life can work out for you if you try hard enough. On the other hand, there was The Founder which was about the “founder” of McDonald’s who stepped all over other people just to get money. I know it’s based on a true story but I don’t know why a movie was made about it, because all it showed was how terrible people can truly be and how if you try to be the “good guy” you’re going to be the one getting stepped on. So, both of these movies showed that life is never perfect, but one portrayed that in a fun way while the other just threw down the cold hard facts and almost made me feel bad for watching it. The main reason I preferred La La Land is that it provides hope for the good guys and although it was a bit sad at times, I was happy that I watched it, while The Founder was a bit too long, boring, and soul crushing for my own taste. But the point of a movie is to tell as story and both movies did just that, and having both lets people choose to learn this message in different ways instead of forcing everyone to learn that life is hard through a musical.

Why?

As I was reading this article titled “Notes on the Upper Muddle” the same question kept popping up in my mind: Why did Rosenfeld decide to write this? With many articles there is a clear reason for why it is being written or there is an even clearer point it is trying to make, but this seemed to just be a summary of someone’s life that served no other purpose than to tell that story. On one hand that is kind of enjoyable since it leaves more interpretation for the reader to do and distinguishes itself from other articles. It also may seem like that would make the article more fun to read, but instead it makes the article frustrating as you wonder why you’re reading it in the first place (the length of it doesn’t help either). Maybe this story meant a lot to the author but I can’t personally see why she decided to share this story. Since I did mention it leaves some interpretation for the reader, it is possible that I just didn’t get the point it was trying to make, but still it wasn’t really the article for me. On top of that, I didn’t entirely understand how she was trying to connect her story to the class system. Again, it’s possible I missed something, but it’s hard not to with such a long and, I have to say, boring article.

Distraction

When I think of news a negative image usually pops in my head, maybe it’s a headline of a shooting somewhere or maybe even a tornado. And then when I actually go through a news site and look at all of the different stories, a majority of them either provide a picture of a bleak society right now, or speak of the hopelessness of the future. Even when looking in a section I enjoy, the science section, of news sites, I often see articles talking about extinction or global warming. However, every once in a while I come across an article that doesn’t make my insides hurt and that gives me hope for the future, an article that acts as a distraction from all of the problems in this world.

Last week I came across one such article that talked about a female zebra shark that after years of living alone reproduced asexually. Zebra sharks are currently endangered, and this could potentially help the species on top of just being a crazy scientific thing. This sexually reproducing zebra shark was able to switch to asexual reproduction to suit her needs. I think there’s actually some humor in the fact that it happened so closely to the women’s marches that have been going on around the world. The president of the US may seem to be against the rights of women, but recently women and even nature, crazily enough, have been fighting against that disrespect from Trump. Things like these provide hope for the future even in the bleakest of times, and like I said earlier, they are the distractions from the pain of everyday life that keep us going, heading straight for the future, a more hopeful future.

Protection

Today I went to the Balboa Peninsula to help build a fence that will hopefully protect the threatened bird known as the Western Snowy Plover. While I was there working, many of the locals came up and asked why we were doing it and complained that their view was being ruined by the fence. What they don’t realize is that the smallest change in the environment can have devastating effects, so saving this bird is essentially saving the beach.

One example of this idea that one species can change the entire environment has to do with sea otters. Sea otters in some areas are one of the few species that eat sea urchins, acting as a natural restraint on the number of sea urchins in an area. However, sea otters also have the softest, thickest, and warmest fur of any mammal since they live in cold water and don’t have any fat for warmth and therefore rely entirely on their fur which led to many people hunting them for their coats.Eventually sea otters were eradicated from many different places and the results were drastic. Sea urchins started taking over, with nothing limiting their growth they would cover entire ocean floors in some areas and devour everything in their path. This went as far as leading to the death of birds since the seaweed where the fish they ate were was all gone thanks to the urchins. When one animal has such a big impact like this one it is known as a keystone species.

Although keystone species affect an environment the most when they are gone, every change in nature has an impact. Like Newton said, every action has an equal and opposite reaction which really reigns true in environments. And that’s why I helped build the fence out on the balboa peninsula. I don’t live there so I can’t understand exactly how the people that were upset felt, but I do know that a small fence is definitely worth the price for the protection of the environment.

Too Much Information?

With smartphones and internet being things almost every person in the world has, information can spread faster than ever before. You can hear about events within the seconds that they happen and have more details than ever before. Many would consider this great for the world, and in many ways it is but it also has its downsides. People can now stay in touch with loved ones from anywhere in the world, share their art and ideas with everyone, and the world is more globally connected because of the internet. But, for every good thing that is spread through social media and the internet, a fake news article is shared and these fake news articles are causing many problems.

In this article Camila Domonoske talks about how many students are unable to distinguish real news from fake news according to a new study from Stanford. This is a big problem for the world, because if people go around believing everything they read the truth will mean nothing. The world could soon just be full of lies and become a place where people actually believe that unicorns are real and provide the cure to cancer (that’s probably a bit of an exaggeration I’ll admit). And why? Just so people can make some money from sharing all of this fake news?

But, we can’t blame the fake news sites for all of this, it’s our fault as the public too. We need to be able to distinguish real from fake news so we don’t get a false sense of the world. In the article it is said that there could be classes taken in school that helps students distinguish fake news from real news and learn how to use social media responsibly. It may seem crazy to have a class dedicated to using your phone, but in this day and age it might crazily be the best way to make sure the public is able to tell the truth from a lie.