Monday, October 31, 2011

"Something Borrowed"

In the essay "Something Borrowed" by Malcolm Gladwell he looks into plagiarism and explains that plagiarism is when you steal ideas and words from other people, but that the more important thing is how much of their work you copied and why you copied it. He starts off by describing the story of Dorothy Lewis who felt like she had been robbed. She accused the writer of "Frozen" of plagiarizing many words and ideas from her book and her life. He learned that the writer of the play claims that she wrote the play incorporating ideas from many different sources, including the news, and did not realize that what she was doing was wrong. He also talks about how there is a fine line for plagiarism when it comes to music. Gladwell gives examples of many songs which have the same hook or series of notes. It is hard to say that one person owns the right to a series of notes or a certain sound. Plagiarism is such a hard thing to define and punish people for because there are so many people on this earth that it is hard to say that one person owns the right to a set or words or ideas. It is hard to know who actually thought of the idea first and who it belongs to.

I enjoyed reading this article because it gave me a lot of insight into just how complicated the whole topic of plagiarism can be. I used to think that plagiarism was simple and easy to define and punish but after reading this I realized that sometimes that line can be much more difficult to distinguish. I thought that the examples about the songs were particularly interesting. I agree with Gladwell in that plagiarism can be taken as a compliment but that it does get annoying. If people copy your work, it shows that you did something right and that other people enjoy what you have done. But at the same time, people shouldn't be able to act like something is theirs when another person worked so hard to create it. I got confused at times because I wasn't sure who he was talking about or who was copy who.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Night of the Living Dead

In chapter 6, Ronson travels to Shubuta, Mississippi, which used to be a thriving town but is now quite dead. Shubuta was home to a Sunbeam plant that made toasters, but Ronson learned that this company had many terrible CEOs. He was told that the company was run by madman after madman and the last CEO was Al Dunlap, who shut the plant down. Ronson wanted to learn more about Dunlap, and whether he really was a psychopath, so he met up with him at his lavish Florida mansion. When he gets to the house he discovers that it is filled with sculptures that are predators including lions, panthers, eagles, and hawks. During his visit Ronson is trying to discover whether Dunlap fits the characteristics that are listed on Hare's checklist. He finds that Dunlap fits many of these traits but is mainly missing the ones involving promiscuous sexual behavior. Dunlap denies that there is anything wrong with these traits and in fact calls them "Leadership Positives." Ronson briefs Hare on the visit with Dunlap, and Hare helps Ronson clear up a few points. He says at the end of the chapter that journalists love writing about eccentrics, so to get away with true, malevolent power, be boring.

I thought that chapter 6 was really interesting because it brought back the subject of psychopaths being in high positions such as a CEO. Dunlap seemed like a very weird and harsh guy. I agreed with Ronson, in that I think he is a psychopath. He was so mean and manipulative with the company and his employees, without feeling any remorse. Its scary to know that people like Dunlap are may be running huge companies and hold very high positions in our country. I also thought that chapter 7 was very intriguing. I thought it was really sad how they take advantage of people just so that they can be good entertainment on reality TV. I felt really bad for Deleese, the women who heard about how ugly her family thought she was but then ended up not getting her makeover.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Research Question

Why doesn't the U.S  have universal health care and how has going without it affected our country and the people who live in it?

The reason why I choose this topic is because I am genuinely interested in the topic and finding out the answer. I want to go into the nursing field, so health care is something that I should probably learn about and find more about. We have discussed universal health care in this class and also in my Nursing 105 course, so I have already had some exposure to the topic. Also, since this topic is such a big deal and hot issue in our society right now I feel like it would be fairly easy to find information about. If I did research on this topic I know that I would be able to find a ton of information both for and against universal health care. I would probably want to do research on other countries that do have universal health care and compare it to our own. I would want to find out if others countries with a system unlike ours are getting better results with their health care system than we are.

I think that the question of how it has affected our country might be fairly hard to answer. It might be hard to answer because everyone has such different opinions about universal health care. Some would say it has improve our society but others would say it has been very detrimental. Although, I do think that most sources of this topic would agree that our country does need some type of reform.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Psychopath Test

Ronson emails Rob Hare to ask if they could meet up so that he could learn more about his checklist. Ronson ends up going to a residential course taught by Rob that explained all about the checklist that he had invented. Through his own research, Rob had discovered that the brains of psychopaths were different. As the days pass Ronson becomes less skeptical of the checklist and becomes a Rob Hare devotee. Ronson discovers that many psychologists believe that there are a disproportionate number of psychopaths found in high places. He is told that he needs to be careful in his search and study of psychopaths because they can come in all shapes and sizes and be extremely dangerous.

I thought that this chapter was really interesting because it gave insight into research that had been done on psychopaths at the time. I didn't exactly understand why that when Rob presented his research, no one believed him. He should have gotten greater respect and praise for his research. I also enjoyed reading chapter 5 but I found it a little disturbing. I couldn't believe that our country would let a man who had done such horrible things live here without any consequences for his actions. I still wonder whether Toto is actually a psychopath or not.