Wednesday, October 29, 2014


For my project, I'm going to be researching the emotional and psychological effects of a Disney theme park visit. I go with my family to Disney World at least once a year, and it's something that we all love and look forward to. Visiting these parks makes almost everyone happy, but I've always wondered about the deeper effects of going. My research question is; What does the literature say about the psychological and emotional effects of visiting a Disney theme park?

Monday, October 27, 2014

3 Possible Research Topics

Topic 1) What does the literature say about the psychological and emotional effects of visiting a Disney theme park?

Topic 2) What does the literature say about British bands from the UK becoming a successful part of the American music scene?

Topic 3) What does the literature say about how a supportive and loyal fan base be an economically-positive thing for an unsuccessful MLB team?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Author's Bias in an Article

In the article "Hard Lesson in Sleep for Teenagers" by Jane E. Brody, there are several examples of biased comments. The article describes how most teenagers are deprived of sleep and the risks that come with it. She says that adolescents themselves are partially responsible for lack of sleep, because they are the ones who manage their own time. However, she also holds parents responsible for not taking away smartphones and computers, and high schools for setting the school day to start too early. While the article proves a point, it also contains bias.

The first example of bias is the Functional Fixedness bias, which "limits a person to using an object only in the way it is traditionally used." The author uses this bias when she explains how electronics are a main cause of loss of sleep. She writes, "Adding to the adolescent shift in circadian rhythm are myriad electronic distractions that cut further into sleep time, like smartphones, iPods, computers and televisions. A stream of text messages, tweets, and postings on Facebook and Instagram keep many awake long into the night.", but she doesn't account for the many other reasons why teenagers may need to have access to these devices at night. They're not just for texting; they also work as an alarm clock, calendar, display the weather, and allow you to set reminders. Teenagers can use these in order to plan for success the next day by getting up early, writing down test dates, reminding them of homework assignments, and learning what kind of weather they will be walking home in. 

The next bias used is the Observation Selection Bias, which is "the effect of suddenly noticing things that were not noticed previously." This bias is used many times in the article when the author acknowledges what can happen if we don't get sufficient amounts of sleep. However, these arguments have been around for a while and just not brought to our attention. Brody states that, "Insufficient sleep in adolescence increases the risks of high blood pressure and heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and obesity, said Dr. Owens, pediatric sleep specialist at Children’s National Health System in Washington. Sleeplessness is also linked to risk-taking behavior, depression and suicidal ideation, and car accidents." These have always been effects of not getting enough sleep, but they have only become well-known through news and media over the last few years. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Checked something off my bucket list!

One thing on my bucket list was to do a walk or race for a charity. I was able to accomplish this when my friend invited me to do the Jimmy Fund Walk with her in Boston. It was such an incredible experience and I had so much fun. It was even better knowing that all the money I raised was going to help people suffering from cancer. Overall, it was a great day and I would definitely do this again.

I got the "1st Year" sticker after I signed up for the walk. The Jimmy Fund also mailed me my race number, my race t-shirt and hat, and a handbook that told you all about the walk and what to do on the day of the walk. One page said when my walk start time was and when to arrive. 

But my favorite part of the walk was getting to cross the finish line and get my medal surrounded by such amazing people. I had one of my best friends with me and cancer survivors all around me. Listening to their stories and hearing how passionate they were about the walk and what it stood for changed the way I think. It was an amazing day, and one I'll never forget. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Peer Interview

For my interview, I got to talk to Liam L. and Kristin L.

Liam L.

Liam said his favorite TV show is "The Office" and his favorite sport is "basketball". If he was stuck on an island, Liam said he would bring "my dog , food, and stuff to start a fire with." He also said the most random thing about him is "probably my middle name." If he could listen to only one song for the rest of his life, it would be "a Jack Johnson song." Finally, Liam's scariest moment was when "I got lost trick-or-treating and it took me a while to find my way home."

Kristin L.

Kristin's middle name is "Ashley" and her favorite sport is "soccer."  A random thing about her is that she's "still scared of the dark." The scariest thing that happened to her was "almost drowning in a pool."  One song she could listen to forever would be "Animals by Maroon 5." Finally, Kristin would take "a boat, food, and a friend" with her if she was stuck on an island.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Incentives and Aesthetics

a) Incentives motivate people to do jobs better and faster than before.  The best incentive for motivation is money. This is because people can use the money to buy things that they really want, instead of a general incentive that some people might not use or want.

b) One aesthetic experience I had was going to an Ed Sheeran concert. I went last year with my cousin and some of my friends. It affected me because I had a lot of fun and I felt more connected to his music and song lyrics after the concert.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Bucket List

Short Term

  • Get accepted to a good college- This is really important for me because I want to have a successful career in the future. One way to make sure that happens is to go to a good school.
  • Spend more time with friends and family- Sometimes I spend so much time on homework that I forget to spend as much time with my friends and family. My goal is to get my homework done earlier and quicker so that I still have time to be with them.
  • Get an A in math- Math has always been a class that's difficult for me. I put in a lot of effort but sometimes I still don't understand what we're learning. My goal is to do really well in high school and get an A in math.
  • Speak French and Spanish fluently- I've been taking French since I was in 6th grade. Eventually, I want to be able to speak it fluently and use it in the world. I'd like to be able to speak Spanish fluently too someday soon.
Long Term

  • Go parasailing-  I've always wanted to go parasailing since I was little. It just seems like a fun thing to do with friends. 
  • Go bungee jumping/skydiving- Someday, I'd like to do at least one of these things. They're on a lot of bucket lists for a good reason: they're exciting and the memories are priceless. 
  • Visit every state in America- When I go on vacation, I tend to always go to the same places, like Florida and New Hampshire. I have so much fun there, and I'd like to keep going back; but there are so many states and places I've never seen. One day, I'd like to go to all of those places. 
  • Go to another country-  Once I've been to every state in my own country, I'd like to visit a different one. My first choices would be France, because I've been learning French, or Ireland because I'm Irish and I have relatives there. 
  • Do a charity walk/race- One thing I've always wanted to do is a walk for a charity with friends.  The charity would probably be a cancer charity, because it's a disease that's affected both my family and our friends. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Benefits of Sports in Schools

For years, sports have been an integral part of the high school experience. Amanda Ripley, the author of "The Case Against High-School Sports", argues that sports have a negative effect on students. However, sports can be beneficial and a motivation for high schoolers.

Denying students the right to play on a high school sports team is denying them one of the best  experiences of their life. The article states, "American kids expect to participate in school sports as a kind of rite of passage." This is true because most kids grow up thinking about being the star quarterback or captain of a team.  They often carry this dream with them until they get to high school; then they try to make it a reality. By taking away high school sports, you're taking away someone's opportunity to realize a lifelong goal. Also, most kids build valuable friendships with their high school teammates. This strong bond is formed through hours of practices and games spent together. Without these teams, these types of friendships may not happen.

Also, sports can help students feel more connected to their school. A former Tennessee principal was quoted in the article saying: "I've seen truancy issues completely turned around once students begin playing sports. When students have a sense of belonging, when they feel tied to the school, they feel more part of the process." It's important for students to feel like they're a part of their school. When they do, they perform better academically and aren't absent or tardy as often. It can also make everyone feel like they are involved in decision-making and school activities. This can result in kids staying out of trouble outside of school. As shown by this graph, kids who are on a sports team like track and field smoke less frequently than kids who don't play a sport. In fact, the majority of the students on the team never smoke at all.

Finally, the benefits of exercise from team sports are good for everyone. The more that students are out playing sports, the more they are being active and burning calories. This can lower risks of obesity and certain diseases in these students more than those who do not participate in school sports. High school sports should be an option for every student because of how it can positively affect their lives.

Citation: Ripley, Amanda. "The Case Against High-School Sports." The Atlantic Oct. 2013: 72-78. Print.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ethos, Pathos, and Logos

In the article "Your Assignment for Today: Chew Gum", there were many examples of ethos, pathos, and logos. Here are some of these examples: 


  1. The article is by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, who is described asan oncologist and former White House adviser, is a vice provost and professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times on a range of topics including health and health policy."  This shows that the author is a credible source to talk about benefits of gum in schools because he has his own experiences and knowledge as a doctor. In addition, he has written about health before, so this also proves that he would know how gum would affect students at school in a positive way.


  1. The author uses pathos to convince parents that chewing gum in school would make their child a better student. He states, " Not only will it improve their health and school attendance; but they might actually enjoy it." In other words, children who chew gum in class see improved health and are less likely to miss time from school for sickness. They also might like gum, which is good because of its health benefits. Parents might see this statement and want these effects of gum chewing for their child. This is caused by the emotional connection created by the author's use of pathos.

Logos: The use of powerful statistics in this article helps strengthen the author's argument. 

For example, the first statistic he uses is "In the 1980s, a high-quality, randomized trial in Finland found that children who chewed xylitol-sweetened gum had as much as 60 percent fewer cavities compared with children who didn’t. A 1989-93 randomized study of children around age 10 in Belize showed an even greater benefit; chewing xylitol-sweetened gum decreased the risk of cavities by up to 70 percent, and a follow-up study showed that the benefit lasted for up to five years." 

 Another fact used by the author is, "Because the strep bacteria is passed from mothers to 
newborns, mothers who chew xylitol gum are less likely to transmit these bacteria to their children, and cavities among these children are reduced by up to 70 percent. " 

The last statistic is, "Approximately 17 million children in this country do not get basic dental care. 
More than 50 million hours of school are missed every year because of dental problems..."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My Pet Peeves

Here are my pet peeves, in a random order.

1) Your and You're:
  Although some people think so, these words are NOT interchangeable! They DON'T mean the same thing! The worst thing is reading signs for stores or restaurants with the wrong "your" on the sign. Learn proper grammar! Beyond elementary school, there's no excuse for not knowing the difference.

2) Styrofoam: The noise of Styrofoam is like nails on a chalkboard for me. It's terrible, and it freaks me out just thinking about it.

3) Loud Gum Chewing: I feel like this one bothers a lot of people, which is understandable. It's always awful to be near that one person in public who is being obnoxious and chewing their gum WAY too loud. It gets even more annoying after you've been stuck listening to it for a few minutes.

4) One-Word Texts: Nothing kills a conversation like someone texting you back "K." or "Okay". I know you might be really busy, but did you ever think that I might be busy too? If I took 5 minutes of my time to text you something really important, show that you appreciate it by texting me a longer response.

5) People That Can't Handle Different Opinions: You're entitled to your opinion, and I respect that. But I also have my own opinion. It may be different than yours, and that's okay. You don't need to yell at me or criticize me if I disagree with you. Respect that we might think different things and calm down.

6) Cutting in Line:  Whether I've been waiting for an hour or for five minutes, this is my place in line. We will all get to the front eventually. It's not okay to cut in front of me. You're basically just telling everybody in line that you don't care about them or how long they've been here. Get in line and wait like the rest of us.