The Spill Effect

Coast Guard Attempts Burning Off Oil Leaking From Sunken Rig
Source: CBS

On April 20, 2010 British Petroleum had a oil rig explode and sink, killing 11 people and leaked 3.19 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. Ever since then BP has done their part to try and clean up the Gulf of Mexico as well has become more eco friendly. In February 2013, almost three years after the incident, BP posted this video to show how far they have come and what the Gulf is like now. Along with soft earthly music in the video, a man fishing is shown, blue oceans, full beaches, a claim saying Gulf has seen its best tourism it has seen in years and men and women at work demonstrating the efforts BP is making to right what they have done. This was a smart video by BP. It is short, not too much is shown and it gives off the image that every wrong that was done has been righted.

According to BP’s website, in the studies that they have done it was concluded that in December of 2010 there was no Macondo oil remained in the water column or offshore sediments. In February of 2011 it was concluded that the oil remains in the shoreline area was diluted enough to be well below EPA standards and safe for human use. In May of 2014 it was determined that only isolated areas had oil submerged or burried. No where on their website however did BP mention the impact to wildlife. Nearly all 21 species of dolphins were effected by the oil spill and it will take about 100 years for the population to recover. 167,000 sea turtles were killed, between two and five million larval fish were killed and other fish species were also effected. Contrary to BP’s website, NWF states that it could take hundreds of years for the Gulf floor to recover.

Source: BBC

With their video and research they posted to their website BP tried their best to make it seem like the oil spill was not as big of a deal to the environment as it really was. Which is something not just BP, but many companies have done to try and keep their image up. Can you blame them? BP is a huge oil company in the United States and the spill already cost them billions, they cannot afford to lose more. The Gulf is recovering, people are starting to go back, wildlife is recovering. BP just pick and chose the stats that would make them look better. They understand that if people wanted every detail of the spill that it would not be hard to find. I do not think BP deliberately lied and posted false information on their website and in that video. If they did someone would have caught them and BP would be in more trouble than they would be if they posted every fact about the spill.

Regardless of if you could blame BP for padding their stats, the question is; was it ethical? Should they have done it? The answer to that question depends on what school of thought you believe. Some believe that you say what you need to say without lying, and others believe you say the truth knowing the consequences. Most people believe the latter of the two.


Less Liking, More Doing


We live in a world today where people “like” a sad image rather than act upon it. Volunteer rates among United States citizens have declined since 2011. More and more people however have continued to like sad images to show their support for whatever cause people are appeasing to. Crisis Relief Singapore has realized this and in 2013 they started their, “Liking isn’t helping” campaign. By posting pictures like the one above to demonstrate what it looks like when someone posts a picture of of any form of disaster or cruelty around the world. As Crisis Relief Singapore posted pictures similar to these around the internet, they also attached links to for people to go to if they wanted to volunteer. An instant like this where a share, could go a long way.


The image is quite powerful. In it there is one person tending to what appears to be a wounded child while there are twelve hands liking the cause. While it is easier to be a bystander, or a liker, that is not getting society and people in need anywhere. The one person helping is doing more than those twelve likes will ever do. And with the campaign that Crisis Relief Singapore posted, the majority of people who see it will like it. Maybe though there will be the select few that stand up and volunteer for the good of the cause. To help a kid like the on in the picture.

Like many people, I once thought that posting campaigns like these would not amount to anything. Then I reminded myself of the Ice Bucket Challenge. An act to raise awarness for ALS which went viral during the summer of 2014. The premise of it was to either to post a video of you getting ice water dumped on your head while challenging three other friends, or donate $100 to the ALS Association. While I saw the challenge explode over Facebook, I assumed that it was just people dumping water on their heads to avoid the $100 donation. One year later, 17 million participants later, 2.5 mllion donations and over $115 million raised; I quickly realized I was wrong. What seemed like an innocent thing to tag your friends in turned out to have incredible results.

Turn to the Liking isn’t helping campaign. While volunteering has declined in America since 2011, the rate of decline slowed since 2013. Between 2012 and 2013 1,898 fewer people volunteered. In 2014, 142 more people volunteered compared to 2013. So maybe the campaign has seen some results after all. With the power of social media, all it takes is one share. The ability of a share is more powerful than you think. Fifteen percent of people on Facebook have more than 500 friends. With every share, with every view of the image there is a person closer to volunteering.

Why Your Parents Were Wrong



“Don’t make that face, it will get stuck like that,” “Don’t go swimming until 30 minutes after you eat if you don’t want cramps,” “Don’t sit so close to the television or you will go blind,” “Don’t play video games all day, your brain will turn to mush.” These are all common phrases you have probably heard your parents say to you as you were a child. However as you grew up, you came to realize that most of these were not true. However the one about losing your eye sight, and the one about video games you never quite found an answer to, until now. It turns out, video games can be good for a person’s vision and ability to process information. According to this TED Talk, by Daphne Bavelier a brain scientist who studies the impact of video games on the brain. Bavelier states that those who play video games like Call of Duty, actually have better vision than the average person. It does not stop there either, those who play similar video games have scored better in the ability to multitask. She does this by performing various tests such as testing people’s ability to say the color font of a word, following multiple objects at once, or matching turned shapes. So as it turns out, those parents who did not let their children play video games may have left their children behind.

Source: edutopia

They have currently been running tests to see if they can improve the vision and reaction of adults by having them play video games. By having the adults play 10 hours of video games in a span of two weeks, the people tested have seen improvements in vision and reaction time as far as five months in advance. So the question is, if video games can be so beneficial, why do the makers not come out with a video game that will improve everyone’s ability that people will enjoy. Bavelier compares this concept with chocolate and broccoli; the current video games being chocolate and the learning video games being chocolate. People enjoy chocolate more than broccoli, and combining the two is just weird and would not work. However they are working on creating a solution where broccoli dipped in fondue may be delicious.

Bavelier ends her talk by saying to remember the rule of moderation. Yes, video games can be a good thing for your brain. However too much of anything is never a good thing and you should moderate your video game play. She mentions how you would react differently if your child spent the same time playing video games as they did practicing math, or reading a book, but even in those fields too much is not a good thing. She relates video games to wine, the right amount is a good thing, too much can have negative effect on your body. Portion control is key, something many of us Americans struggle with.

Television Convergence

Source: allows fans to vote on who they believe to be the greatest athlete of all time

While I do not spend a whole lot of time watching television now, when I am watching television I find myself watching ESPN, and in particular SportsCenter. This has been a show that I have watched ever since I was a kid. I grew up always loving sports, whether that was playing or watching. Naturally, discovering SportsCenter amazed me in ways that I could never imagine. Prior, I would check the newspaper for the night before’s scores, or read about what happened in other games. With SportsCenter I was able to get scores, hgihlights and analysis all in one spot. SportsCenter made it okay to miss the game. And it also brought me closer to the players and teams because they would discuss the latest rumors, injuries, hirings, firings and playoff races. When I read the newspaper they only covered had articles for the local sports teams, and headline news. SportsCenter had all of that and more and fit it in an hour or two.

When digital media started advancing, SportsCenter took advantage of this by allowing the fans to vote online which play they believed was the best play from that particular night in sports. Later that night after the polling was closed they would put the play that was voted the best play as number one. This allowed the viewer to get that much closer to the making of the show and feel a part of it. Similar to what shows like American Idol did with voting for which contestant they believed was the best. A few years later when Twitter began to blow up SportsCenter brought the public even closer to the teams and show once again. They would use a hashtag for a game, people would tweet in and allow the audience to discuss what was going on. People from all over the world were now interacting as they watched the sporting event at the same time thousands of miles apart. Here, Mashable talks about the impact of SportsCenter bringing in tweet polling. Next they brought the hashtag to show related topics. Fans could tweet in their question using a specific hashtag and during the segment one of ESPN’s analysts would answer your question. Before, your question was only heard around the neighborhood, with your friends or others that you talked to. SportsCenter allowed for the whole viewing audience to hear your voice and then to have one of the professionals answer your question.

The final thing SportsCenter has done is allow the fan to be a star of the show. By tweeting in, or sending in your own home video of you or a friend performing an incredible athletic act. You have a chance of landing on SportsCenter’s famous Top 10 Plays. Letting the world see what you did. Now it is not only professional athletes getting all the fame for making great plays but everyone can have the fame for that.

Controversy in Music


Source: Then and now photos

Ever since 2012 Miley Cyrus has been a walking headline. With daring outfits, performances, and lyrics, she is not the same girl that many of us grew up with on Disney’s Hannah Montana. She has made countless provocative decisions highlighted by her dancing on Robin Thicke at the 2013 VMA’s. While some were shocked and outraged by her act, MTV realized the opportunity they had with her and decided to bring her back, this time to host the Video Music Awards in 2015. It was everything MTV could have asked for, millions tuned in to see what Miley Cyrus would wear, say and do. Here are just some of the events that took place during August 30, 2015 at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angelas, California.

While the Video Music Awards are certainly not the Oscars, or the Golden Globes, the Video Music Awards is a meaningful event for artists around the world and it is thought that a host should hold themselves to a high standard while generating some laughs and entertainment. Miley decided to completely avoid the standard part, cursing throughout the show multiple times without any regard to who some of the people watching at home would be. Now, this is certainly not the first time someone has cursed on live television, it may be the first time someone has cursed that much on live television. In a world where people look up to celebrities, Miley Cyrus used to be someone that parents could approve of if their child decided to look up to her. Now, parents have to hide Miley from their kids.

Miley Cyrus also ate a marijuana brownie with Snoop Dogg, an American rapper famous for smoking marijuana. California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, however has not legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Marijuana is also still federally illegal, so while there was no concrete proof that the brownie had marijuana in it, for Miley Cyrus to say that she was eating a marijuana brownie with Snoop Dogg on national television was bold to say the least. Marijuana is still frowned upon in society even if some states have legalized it, the marijuana taboo still exists. Even though cigarettes are looked down on in America after the marketing campaign that took place in the early 2000s, cigarettes have less of a stigma than marijuana does. Marijuana is looked at as a gateway drug and something that bad people do. For Miley to admit that she was smoking marijuana on national television was either a huge stunt by MTV to get people talking, something to try and loosen the stigma on marijuana or just Miley being Miley and doing whatever she wants to do to try and further herself from the Disney, can do no wrong, innocent little girl Miley.

2015 had a lot of controversial instances in the music industry. There were plenty of feuds, controversial lyrics and people doing whatever they wanted to get their name out. It goes to show than in that industry, people believe that regardless of the story, publicity is publicity and it can help their career.


Fighting the Online Age

Page One: Inside the New York Times” is a documentary about how the New York times has been able to survive through the digital age. A time where advertising in newspapers has disappeared resulting in many papers going bankrupt. Also, people want information yesterday and they want it for free. The documentary shows the process a story goes through to make it in the New York Times and compares that to how quickly a story can be posted online. Online, someone hears about something headline worthy, types it up and posts it for everyone to see. As compared to the New York Times, the story has to be heard, all the correct facts need to be collected, the story then needs to be typed properly, it then gets edited and re-edited. Then finally the story goes to the a meeting where the heads from each section debate on which stories will be put on the next day’s paper. This method has pros and cons. A pro would be that for a reputable paper like the New York Times, it should be a garuantee that all the facts are correct and  the story is properly reported. However this is not always the case; before the war in Iraq, Judy Miller wrongly reported the details about Iraq having weapons of mass distruction as well as other misreportings. A con to this method is that not every story that someone would want to read is published. However this also works adversely for online media. Due to the volume of stories published online, many are lost in the feed and not seen by the public.

The documentary then talks about why print media like the New York Times is so vital. People who work for the Times were filmed talking about how they will never see a media outlet like the Huffington Post publish an article about a town board meeting. Media is now being dominated by a few giant places or individual,independent journalists; neither of which would care about a town board meeting. However there are readers who want to know what happened in that meeting and without the local papers, there is a chance that information like that may be lost.

The film then shows the impact of Wikileaks, a website that leaks government information for the good of the public. They showed how Wikileaks has manipulated information to better fit their agenda. They showed a video of the United States attacking in Iraq and framing so it looked like the United States was in the wrong. This could be described as dirty journalism, something the New York Times stays away from however the public see the story and react. They have a low media literacy and because of that, they do not make the right judgements about what they are seeeing and reading.

Online media has brought us closer than ever to events worldwide. However it is also removing us from what is close to that, and people who work for companies like the New York Times are trying to keep that preserved.

Media Literacy

Source: Business Insider

Media literacy is something that every person should understand, but very few even know about. As defined by the book, media literacy is, “The process of interacting with media content and analyzing it critically by considering its particular presentation, its underlying political or social messages, and ownership and regulation issues that may affect what is presented and in what form.” Being media literate allows you, the reader to answer the question, “why.” Why did they post this article, why is is relevant, is this worth stressing over. Too many times do people see a headline, read the article and then verbally vomit the information back up without even thinking about what they just read.

Take Donald Trump for instace, the man who is running for President of the United States almost completely off headlines and is currently a front runner. He has said brash things, avoided a lot of actually political talk and still has Americans convinced to vote for him. Part of the reason why, a lack of media literacy in America. People are seeing what he says but they are not listening to what he actually talks about. Similarly to what happened in the Nixon Kennedy debate. Those who watched the debate on televison believed that John F. Kennedy had won. However those who listened to the debate on the radio believed that Richard Nixon had won the debate. The reason, people who saw the debate looked at Kennedy, the more confident person and believed it sounded better than what Nixon was sayiing, who was sweaty and worse in front of the camera than Kennedy. While the people who only listened to the debate only got to hear the words both candidates were saying. This played into Nixon’s hand because his politics that night were better than Kennedy’s. However the people who watched the debate were more influential than those who only listened to the debate, as Kennedy eventually went on to become President.

Now, I am not arguing who should have been President after the 1960 election. And I am also not here to talk about whether Donald Trump should be President or not. What I am here to talk about however is the importance of being able to disect a headline or an article. Nowadays the vast majority of people living in America, can read. But is that enough. Is it enough to be able to read an article and summarize its main points. We are in a time where we have access to far more information at any given moment than ever imagined. This can be a blessing, and it can also be a curse. It is a great thing when the next biggest storm is rapidly approaching and you now have a few days to be able to prepare for it and take precautionary measure to make sure you are safe. However when you believed a non-reliable source for this storm and you bought protection from the storm without keeping the receipt, then it becomes a curse.