Biology Laundry Detergent Lab In New Zealand

Research Question:

Is there a difference in the effectiveness of New Zealand laundry detergents with or without enzymes when breaking down protein? 

 

 

 

 

 

Research Question: Is there a difference in the effectiveness of New Zealand laundry detergents with or without enzymes when breaking down protein? This is measured through the change in a 1.5 g  gelatin mass when exposed to three different laundry detergent brands (and their enzymes) over a period of 30 minutes.

Hypothesis: If the regular laundry detergents containing enzymes break down more gelatin mass (grams) than the organic detergent, then the regular laundry detergents are more effective. Today’s laundry detergents contain enzymes such as protease and amylase which break down proteins like that found in gelatin. This is because amylase found in enzyme-containing detergents catalyzes the breakdown of starch-based stains into smaller segments that make up the larger starch molecule. During the process of hydrolysis, protease catalyzes the breakdown of the peptide bonds that hold many amino acids together to form the protein molecule which is broken down into smaller polypeptides and amino acids. Therefore, regular detergents containing these enzymes is more likely to be more effective than the organic detergents which claim to contain no enzymes.

Background Information:

While THINK Global School spent a semester in Auckland, New Zealand, it was noticed that a there was a wide variety of laundry detergents available in the supermarkets. Mostly due to New Zealand’s popular, organic-consumer culture, several alternative detergents are sold in stores because these brands claim that their non-enzyme solution has the same—if not more— cleaning efficiency than that of its regular, competitor’s brands. Regular detergents contain organic surface-active, synthetic agents called surfactants. They minimize the surface tension of water, allowing the grease, dirt, smears to be acted upon by the enzymes thus removed[1].

Gelatin consists of protein chains that can be easily digested into amino acids. Gelatin is prepared from collagen, a protein found in animal skins and tendons (acquired during the meat collection process)[2]. When boiled, collagen decreases its mass and breaks its own protein bonds[3]. After being cooled, the collagen isn’t reverted back into its original state but becomes a gel, gelatin[4].

The purpose of this experiment is to observe and evaluate the effectiveness of organic and non-organic laundry detergents when breaking down protein through gelatin.

[1] Bajpai, Divya, and VK Tyagi. "Laundry detergents: an overview." Journal of oleo science 56 (2007): 327-40.

[2] "What is gelatin made of? | Frequently Asked Questions ..." 2013. 20 Feb. 2015 <http://www.peta.org/about-peta/faq/what-is-gelatin-made-of/>

[3] "What is gelatin made of? | Frequently Asked Questions ..." 2013. 20 Feb. 2015 <http://www.peta.org/about-peta/faq/what-is-gelatin-made-of/>

[4] "What is gelatin made of? | Frequently Asked Questions ..." 2013. 20 Feb. 2015 <http://www.peta.org/about-peta/faq/what-is-gelatin-made-of/>

Materials:

3x laundry detergents

         -1x organic (Earthwise ®)

         -2x regular (Fab ®, Persil ®)    

1x knife

1x chopping board

1x tweezers

Electronic balance (g)

5x 100ml (100cm3) beakers

Water (approximately 600 ml/ 200cm3  for each detergent solution)

Sheet of paper towels (as many as found necessary)

Pen

3x stirring rods

3x small, plastic kitchen bowls

1x 500cm3 beaker

Procedure:

1.      Separate the quantity Fab ® needed (approximately 5g of powder) by placing it in a plate.

2.      Measure detergent power’s mass on the electronic scale.

3.      Collect the 5 beakers (100cm3) and label them from 1 to 5,each according to which slice of gelatin will be placed within it later.

4.      In a kitchen bowl, pour the 5g of detergent together with 200ml of water using a 500cm3 beaker.

5.      Stir using the stirring rod until the detergent has dissolved into the water.

6.      Fill the 5 numbered beakers (100cm3), each with 50cm3of the solution. Make sure that the water measurement is accurate by bringing the beaker to eye level, as looking directly at the level of the water.

7.      Acquire the gelatin and cut 15 pieces, each with an approximate mass of 1.50g,  using the knife. Try to make the slices as accurate as possible and to do this cut the gelatin into several long and even rectangles. Then cut the rectangles into smaller pieces of similar width and length. Place them side by side to examine whether they are similar. 

8.      Separate the slices into group of 5 for each of the detergents.   

9.      Measure the mass of each individual gelatin slice. If there is excessive mass, use the kitchen knife to remove any additional pieces. Be sure to record the data on a table.

10.   Place 1 slice into each beaker and be sure to take note of which gelatin slice is in which beaker so that it is possible to accurately record the data. On a separate piece of paper, number the slice and place the paper underneath the beakers, lining up the data with the beaker.

11.   Allow the gelatin slices to soak in the solution for 30 minutes, to keep track of time use a stopwatch. Start the clock when the detergent solution is poured.

12.   Once the gelatin slices have soaked for 30 minutes, carefully remove each slice from their respective brakes one at a time using the tweezers. Do this with care, then dry the slice with the paper towel. Afterwards, place the slice on the electric balance and measure its mass. Record the data on the table. Repeat with each gelatin slice.

13.   Repeat this process for Persil ® and Earthwise ® detergents.

14.   Calculate the difference in mass of each gelatin slice before and after the 30 minute soak in the respected detergent solution. Record these calculations in the table.

 

 

Data Collection:

Table 1: Shows the changes in gelatin mass when a 1.5 g slice is exposed to regular laundry detergent, Fab ®.

Calculation example: Final mass of gelatin (g) - Initial mass of gelatin (g)= Difference between initial and final mass (g) 

Table 2: Shows the changes in gelatin mass when a 1.5 g slice exposed to regular laundry detergent, Persil ®.

Calculation example: Final mass of gelatin (g) - Initial mass of gelatin (g)= Difference between initial and final mass (g) 

Table 3:Shows the changes in gelatin mass when a 1.5 g slice exposed to organic laundry detergent, Earthwise ®.

Calculation example: Final mass of gelatin (g) - Initial mass of gelatin (g)= Difference between initial and final mass (g) 

Data Analysis:

Table 4: Shows the calculated mean difference of mass for the gelatin of Table 1, 2, and 3.

Graph 1: Shows the mean difference of efficiency for the three detergents by considering the mean differences of the final gelatin mass (g) after exposure to detergent solution .

Trends:

         In this experiment, it was notable that actually the organic detergent, Earthwise® was more efficient in the breakdown of the protein present in gelatin. It was also notable that the two non-organic detergents, Fab® and Persil®, were very similar in detergent efficiency. 

Comments:

The validity of the data and methodology can be questioned considering that the experiment was held in a high school laboratory, not a proper lab suited for complex experiments. A factor to take into consideration is water temperature which according to Laundry Temperature: Hot, Warm or Cold? is significant in the “cleaning process” and was an aspect that was not utilized in this experiment[1]. It was noticed that the larger amount of enzymes in a detergent , the more the gelatin’s mass decreased. This was a rule apart format he gelatin slice #1 in detergent 3, which seemed to decrease a significant amount, making it an anomalous result.

[1] "Laundry Temperature: Hot, Warm or Cold?." 2009. 20 Feb. 2015 <http://www.clean-organized-family-home.com/laundry-temperature.html>

Conclusion:

 

This experiment was an attempt to determine the effectiveness of laundry detergents containing enzymes and those without. It was expected that the laundry detergents containing enzymes would cause the gelatin in the beakers containing a regular detergent solution to have its protein broken down at a higher rate considering an average larger decrease in the gelatin’s mass after exposure, while the gelatin places in beakers containing organic/no enzyme detergent would have a smaller rate of protein breakdown considering an average smaller quantity of mass.

Three different groups of 5 gelatin slices were each submersed into different laundry detergents over a 30 minute time period. They were then removed from the solutions, re-weighed (grams) and the difference in mass was calculated.

The data showed, for the most part, that there were relatively small differences but no significant changes to the gelatin’s mass when under all three different laundry detergents. The larger amount of enzymes in a detergent , the more the gelatin’s mass decreased. This unclear trend between an in-differential protein breakdown between all three detergents (organic and non-organic) resulted because the conclusions of this experiment don’t support the claims of the manufacturer’s of these detergents.

The hypothesis of this experiment proved to be incorrect. The data clearly shows the gelatin masses activated in all three different detergents were not in accordance to the individual brands’ claims regarding the effectiveness of their products.

Evaluation: 

Questions for further research:

This lab work could be extended further by investigating the effect of different concentrations of the detergents on the rate of protein (gelatin) breakdown. This could enlighten one further as to if a higher concentration of enzymes results in an effective breakdown of gelatin in the same masses as in this experiment.

Another investigation could include the factors of water temperature together with detergents on gelatin. The exact same experiment would be conducted on another medium of analysis, showing the rate of protein breakdown brought on by enzymes to differentiate according to a variety of temperatures.

Works Cited

Bajpai, Divya, and V.k. Tyagi. "Laundry Detergents: An Overview." Journal of Oleo Science 56.7 (2007): 327-40. Print.

"Laundry Temperature: Hot, Warm or Cold?" Ms. Clean Jeans' Clean Organized Family Home. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. <http://www.clean-organized-family-home.com/laundry-temperature.html>.

"What Is Gelatin Made Of?" PETA. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. <http://www.peta.org/about-peta/faq/what-is-gelatin-made-of/>.

Woodrow Wilson's Letter

Despite the heat of Hyderabad, I'm surprised my brain still functions. Especially during my history lessons. Now we have covered the causes, practices, and effects of World War I and the League of Nations is our new topic. Controversial, the league and United State's President Woodrow Wilson's idealistic ideas of international diplomacy sparked skepticism in the USA. Wilson's political opponent, Henry Cabot Lodge publicly states his opinion regarding the League of Nations all while criticizing Wilson in this famous letter: (source: http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/lodge_leagueofnations.htm)

12 of August, 1919 

Mr. President:

The independence of the United States is not only more precious to ourselves but to the world than any single possession.  Look at the United States today.  We have made mistakes in the past.  We have had shortcomings.  We shall make mistakes in the future and fall short of our own best hopes.  But none the less is there any country today on the face of the earth which can compare with this in ordered liberty, in peace, and in the largest freedom?

I feel that I can say this without being accused of undue boastfulness, for it is the simple fact, and in making this treaty and taking on these obligations all that we do is in a spirit of unselfishness and in a desire for the good of mankind.  But it is well to remember that we are dealing with nations every one of which has a direct individual interest to serve, and there is grave danger in an unshared idealism.

Contrast the United States with any country on the face of the earth today and ask yourself whether the situation of the United States is not the best to be found.  I will go as far as anyone in world service, but the first step to world service is the maintenance of the United States.

I have always loved one flag and I cannot share that devotion [with] a mongrel banner created for a League.

You may call me selfish if you will, conservative or reactionary, or use any other harsh adjective you see fit to apply, but an American I was born, an American I have remained all my life.  I can never be anything else but an American, and I must think of the United States first, and when I think of the United States first in an arrangement like this I am thinking of what is best for the world, for if the United States fails, the best hopes of mankind fail with it.

I have never had but one allegiance - I cannot divide it now.  I have loved but one flag and I cannot share that devotion and give affection to the mongrel banner invented for a league.  Internationalism, illustrated by the Bolshevik and by the men to whom all countries are alike provided they can make money out of them, is to me repulsive.

National I must remain, and in that way I like all other Americans can render the amplest service to the world.  The United States is the world's best hope, but if you fetter her in the interests and quarrels of other nations, if you tangle her in the intrigues of Europe, you will destroy her power for good and endanger her very existence.  Leave her to march freely through the centuries to come as in the years that have gone.

Strong, generous, and confident, she has nobly served mankind.  Beware how you trifle with your marvellous inheritance, this great land of ordered liberty, for if we stumble and fall freedom and civilization everywhere will go down in ruin.

We are told that we shall 'break the heart of the world' if we do not take this league just as it stands.  I fear that the hearts of the vast majority of mankind would beat on strongly and steadily and without any quickening if the league were to perish altogether.  If it should be effectively and beneficently changed the people who would lie awake in sorrow for a single night could be easily gathered in one not very large room but those who would draw a long breath of relief would reach to millions.

We hear much of visions and I trust we shall continue to have visions and dream dreams of a fairer future for the race.  But visions are one thing and visionaries are another, and the mechanical appliances of the rhetorician designed to give a picture of a present which does not exist and of a future which no man can predict are as unreal and short-lived as the steam or canvas clouds, the angels suspended on wires and the artificial lights of the stage.

They pass with the moment of effect and are shabby and tawdry in the daylight.  Let us at least be real.  Washington's entire honesty of mind and his fearless look into the face of all facts are qualities which can never go out of fashion and which we should all do well to imitate.

Ideals have been thrust upon us as an argument for the league until the healthy mind which rejects cant revolts from them.  Are ideals confined to this deformed experiment upon a noble purpose, tainted, as it is, with bargains and tied to a peace treaty which might have been disposed of long ago to the great benefit of the world if it had not been compelled to carry this rider on its back? 'Post equitem sedet atra cura,' Horace tells us, but no blacker care ever sat behind any rider than we shall find in this covenant of doubtful and disputed interpretation as it now perches upon the treaty of peace.

No doubt many excellent and patriotic people see a coming fulfilment of noble ideals in the words 'league for peace.' We all respect and share these aspirations and desires, but some of us see no hope, but rather defeat, for them in this murky covenant.  For we, too, have our ideals, even if we differ from those who have tried to establish a monopoly of idealism.

Our first ideal is our country, and we see her in the future, as in the past, giving service to all her people and to the world.  Our ideal of the future is that she should continue to render that service of her own free will.  She has great problems of her own to solve, very grim and perilous problems, and a right solution, if we can attain to it, would largely benefit mankind.

We would have our country strong to resist a peril from the West, as she has flung back the German menace from the East.  We would not have our politics distracted and embittered by the dissensions of other lands.  We would not have our country's vigour exhausted or her moral force abated, by everlasting meddling and muddling in every quarrel, great and small, which afflicts the world.

Our ideal is to make her ever stronger and better and finer, because in that way alone, as we believe, can she be of the greatest service to the world's peace and to the welfare of mankind.


After reading Lodge's letter, I was asked to write a fictional response letter from Wilson: 

 

Mr. Cabot:

I have read your previous address to me and have taken into consideration every point stated. Now, you should do the same.

I hope that you have not forgotten that I too, have always loved one flag. The American flag. I too, was born American, lived American, and can never be anything but American. I do all in my power to preserve and maintain America in her qualities of which make us emerge above all others. The ideas in which we believe in are not in question. These very ideas are what thrive us and even our neighbors across the oceans to participate in efforts of peace.

I do not ask to switch your devotions. It seems as though you are unable to see the bigger question at hand. You do not see that through our American beliefs, we can help heal and care for all. True you are that if we fail, others will crumble along with us. However, we shall not fail.

I think you will understand when I say I have seen the devastation and destruction that has forever tainted the lives of the people of Europe. We as Americans, should aid all those in need. If it must be through those you call mongrel banner, then through them it shall. For we do not have nor see any other way of achieving peace.

I thank you very cordially for your thoughtful courtesy in sending me this letter and I cannot express my happiness in knowing that we are true Americans. And as such, we cannot ignore the ideas for which we, as Americans, stand for.

                                            Cordially Yours,

                                          Woodrow Wilson

 

Theory of Knowledge

Theory of Knowledge (aka ToK), is a necessary course for any student taking the IB Diploma Program. Students are provoked to question ethical matters originating from philosophical and moral concepts that can be reflected in practically everyday life. As the student's time with the course comes to an end, a presentation and an essay is required to be sent into the program. 


While in New Zealand, I studied a real life situations and incorporated knowledge issues and scopes to analyze the matter at hand. I chose to evaluate the draught in Sao Paulo, Brazil and how several aspects of the country such as politics (2014 Presidential Elections), deforestation, dry seasons, and the FIFA 2014 World Cup impacted the people's misconception of the draught. 

My real life situation is the drought in Brazil's largest city and region, Sao Paulo (2014). Being a Brazilian myself, this topic has personally affected me and the other 20 million people in Sao Paulo. The drought in the state's reservoirs is due to, primarily, climate change, a distribution and management issue, water supply availability problem, and the combination of the FIFA 2014 World Cup and presidential elections. 

Is it ethical for a government to distract a people from a crises?

The drought in the reservoirs, such as the Cantareira System, is primarily brought on by climate change. However there is an issue with water management and distribution which depends on Sao Paulo's water supply availability which since the summer of 2013 has been at a record breaking low. However, this is more than just a drought. It is the ignorance of a people who are misguided by their own perception of Brazil's resources and are manipulated by the government through the media. The presidential candidates refrained from mentioning the drought during presidential debates because if they were to suggest imputing rations on the people, they'd loose votes. Thus, the matter was kept in the dark. Prior to this, there was the FIFA World Cup in Brazil and the people did not take notice of the secret rationing because they were told that it was due to constructions for the event. There's a Brazilian mind set of "no worries", even now when there is a visible drought. One of my ways of knowing was memory, and here Brazilian's are seeking out their memory of Brazil's abundant resources in order to overlook the present. Also, reasoning can be based on historical information; however, memory can bend reasoning. Reason may be applied to some observation in the past, thus changing the way we may perceive current event resulting in ignorance as seen in Sao Paulo.  Across the media, the government has distracted Brazilians by reinforcing and repeating their memories of Sao Paulo thus further misguiding them from accepting the reality. 

I intend to take on three different perspectives: that of the Brazilian people, the Brazilian Government, and the international community. This allows me to further challenge my knowledge question by analyzing facts from databases and media that is made public to the world in regards to the drought. In every section of the perspectives, I intend to show quotes from Brazilian government officials stating that there is no drought then follow that with an image, chart, or statistic of some sort to contradict what they said. This will help me further prove that the government has manipulated the view of not only Brazilians but also the world. To make my presentation interactive with my audience, I intend to ask them in the beginning if they were aware that a drought was occurring. My subsidiary knowledge question are whether a people once recognizing their ignorance should they act? The arguments following this would be whether the government is incapable of managing the drought or are they willingly allowing it to happen for their own benefit, especially when considering that there are various political parties. Another argument would be that the media releases commercial campaigns on television in suburban areas outside of Sao Paulo; however, it is interesting to consider that these commercials are being sent to the only people who are actually being rationed. The argument there is that the majority of the ruling political party in Brazil dominates in Sao Paulo, so it wouldn't be to their benefit to ration the city that gave them the most votes which they needed for elections. Then I intend to contrast, suburban areas with cities to further challenge my knowledge question. 

My conclusions are practical, that most Brazilians are ignorant towards the very issue affecting them and this is because they believe that climate change only affects other nations because they have yet to accept the drought because the government through the media impedes them to doing so. I reached the conclusion that the government probably want its people to be ignorant. Then again, considering that it is Brazil's government in question, I thought it interesting to point out that maybe they are just incompetent considering the statistics previously shown regarding climate change and reservoir management. I also want to point out how other places around the world, like in Colorado, a similar process is occurring: climate change, government misconceptions, advertisement, and above all an unaware people.  I intend to finish clearly by stating that the reality is that Sao Paulo is near collapse if not already in it and that is my real life situation of the drought in Sao Paulo and its region.


Essay question:  There are only two ways in which humankind can produce knowledge: through passive observation or through active experiment.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

       The question of whether we only produce knowledge through passive observation or active experiment became of significance to me after a community service project during my semester in India. Every week, my classmates and I would go to a neighboring village to paint their school; however, I never even touched a paint brush. The children’s excitement disrupted the worksite, and that’s how I found myself on “kid patrol”. Hand gestures and facial expressions were our means of communication; this exercise made me more aware of the different interpretations we’d deduce from each other. Initially, we misunderstood what the other meant to say, but I realized that to understand them, I’d have to consider their customs or else “let’s go play over there” could just as easily mean “let’s run to the next village”. Over time, we had accumulated infinite interpretations of one another, and this led me to question whether or not we choose how we choose to produce knowledge or its entirety inevitable. This essay tries to determine whether there  actually are only two ways in which humankind can produce knowledge by evaluating how knowledge is gathered and “studied” in natural sciences and to what extent  passive and active methods impact knowledge. Considering this, passive observation suggests that the knower doesn’t impact the event which they are studying whose knowledge produces is acquired through discovery but exists nevertheless. On the other hand, knowledge can be manipulated by the knower and maybe even guide the study’s outcome through active experimentation where knowledge needs to be constructed. However, are we really limited to only these two ways of producing knowledge?

       During the service project, I questioned if my presence had any impact on the way the children acted. This question has provoked my previous perception of my experience. Was I a passive observer or active participant in the village? According to my memory, I was welcomed into their homes, but we tend to perceive everything on a personal level because our past knowledge from experiences are nature subjective. Our five senses, allow the brain to create a picture that it tries to reason through memories. Arthur M. Schleisinger suggests that “science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition and myth frame our response” and we can deduce that he argues that our knowledge originates from our perceptions molded by the constant culmination of past recollections.[1] Then again,  my opinion doesn’t affect the temperature it takes for water to boil. In science, our intuition and memory disrupt methodologies that would challenge theories and laws that are fundamental in understanding our existence.

       Now, are scientists and researchers passive observers or active participants in their own experiments? Active experiments are usually linked to natural sciences and don’t tend to study humans. The Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century led thinkers throughout Europe to question traditional authority and perceive that humanity could advance through Rationalism by which they produced numerous inventions, theories, and scientific discoveries still relevant today.[2] The natural sciences became the source of knowledge. Sociologist, Auguste Comte’s theory of Positivism argues that “constant social viewpoint cannot include any notion of rights, for such notion always rests on individuality”.[3] Positivism’s basic principle refers to philosophical positions that emphasize empirical data, or knowledge acquired from experimentation or observation, and scientific methods which suggest that there are detectable regularities that can be reliably observed.[4] So I guess Comte wouldn’t have thought highly of my experience. Functionalist belief is that the world is simple, structured, and predictable. For example, we can see that opposite poles attract. Comte and scientists alike have observed this and conducted thousands of experiments searching for consistency to conclude that opposite poles do in fact attract. Firstly, we can say that a fact like this one is “positive”, as methodologies such as data collection produced a reliable conclusion. However, people mistake the relationship between methods of producing knowledge and knowledge itself. The how and why opposites attract is knowledge. William Lawrence Bragg supports that “the important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them”.[5] If that’s the case, then what are we making of observations and active experiments but not exploring knowledge in a particular way. Why did Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton become famous? When the apple fell from the tree and a car passed by, knowledge was produced. People like Newton and Einstein have been passively observing events, however they recognized the knowledge present in all phenomenons. Mathematics isn’t observed or even physically represented because its an inductive epistemology.[6] Inductively developed, Einstein’s Special Relativity theory was only scientifically certified when other scientists observed it was reliable through repetition. Biologists, physicists, chemists, and countless others’ work depend on reliable data and as much control over their variables as they possibly can. Essentially, they argue that observation would be useless, unless  the observer analyses the data and produces meaningful knowledge. However, Indian writer, Jiddu Krishnamurti claims that “the ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.”[7] So I guess that explains why Einstein and Newton are so famous.

       As humans, we do not like to consider ourselves as objects; it’s in our nature to believe that we are subject to the circumstantial. This idea was strongly supported in 1970s United States where university students reacted against positivism. Striking against the claims that observation was needed to produce “positive” knowledge about humans. In short, we perceive ourselves as an exception to the rule of natural science’s methodology. In the social and natural sciences, there are considered to be two types of observation: covert and overt. Passive observation suggests covert research. As seen Mcintyre’s infiltration into the Chelsea Headhunters gang, keeping an active identity as a member taking part in regular gang activity such as fights and tattoos so that he may have observed variable without outside biased. Despite his breaching of ethical guideline, this type of observational research not passive but active. On the other hand, overt observation bases itself on honesty between subject and researcher. These variables do not become involved with one another; however when researching humans the knowledge produced is circumstantially manipulated, thus false. When Eileen Barker observed a religious cult in Chicago known as the Moonies; she was transparent about her research to her variable. However, the knowledge produced from this overt observation was most likely skewed. Very similar to my experience in the village in India, contrasting physical or established identities deviate the study’s variable which in this case is a person towards intimidation. The potential mistake people may make when understanding this emotion in overt observation is that the person under study is not so much as intimidated by the unknown, but more like hesitant towards acting naturally because of the consequences of judgment. According to this, my previous perception of actively emerging myself was passive observation. Both the people under study and the researcher’s emotions’ effect on the observation is subject of much debate. An argument could be made with Stockholm Syndrome when the hostage feels empathetic toward the captor despite the physical and mental aggressions.  occurs during an experiment like that of the Stanford Prison. A group of consenting college student were “arrested” and placed into a fake prison where they’d be treated like real prisoners. After a few days, the prisoners obeyed the guard’s rules regardless of its morality. This is because people are naturally empathetic; however this allows us to conform because our brains try to rationalize illogical situations, like that of the prison, in order to survive through conforming to authoritative figures.

       To answer the question, it may also be of importance to consider other approaches to acquiring knowledge. Let’s say I invented a new machine, a person could gain knowledge by simple asking me what I understood; however that allows for biased and the knowledge is then subjective to my opinion. In order for someone to formulate his own knowledge, he’d have to go through the experiment himself. Interestingly, most of us try to understand previously discovered knowledge through our own endeavors and we ignore the simple method of inquiry. For example, you perform 50 experiments trying to know if your mother will allow you to eat ice-cream for breakfast and have a conclusion. Still, despite the numerous experiments conducted, the conclusions reached are not reliable until you actually ask her. Supporting the idea that if there is an exception to the rule, then there is no rule at all.

       The ways in which we produce knowledge are insignificant when you consider we don’t even know 1% of our universe’s mysteries. Since our beginning, we have tried to understand our reality through countless theories. Everything we do be it experimentation, observation, or sleeping, unless we were to remove our brain, observation is an active way of producing knowledge because “I think, therefor I am” suggests Socrates.[8] Yet, we don’t know the absoluteness of our reality, so whether we like it or not, everything we know and have not yet come to understand are subjective. For now, what is important in not so much as how we produce knowledge but more of how we try to understand it. Our deductive reasoning has surpassed the boundaries of experimentation and has allowed us to unveil truths. As humans, we focus too much on methodology and process, whereas there are unimaginable infinite perspectives, approaches and understandings of knowledge which has been and always will be there.

 

Works Cited

"Arthur M. Schlesinger Quotes (2 Quotes)." Arthur M. Schlesinger Quotes. Web. 26 Feb. 2015. <http://www.inspirationalstories.com/quotes/t/arthur-m-schlesinger/>.

"Enlightenment." History.com. A&E Television Networks. Web. 11 Feb. 2015. <http://www.history.com/topics/enlightenment>.

"Mathematical Platonism and the Nature of Infinity." Mathematical Platonism and the Nature of Infinity. Web. 26 Feb. 2015. <http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=35369>.

"Positivism." Positivism. Web. 26 Feb. 2015. <http://changingminds.org/explanations/research/philosophies/positivism.htm>.

"Today in Science History." Sir Lawrence Bragg Quotes. Web. 26 Feb. 2015. <http://todayinsci.com/B/Bragg_Lawrence/BraggLawrence-Quotations.htm>.

Ward, L. F. "The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte." Science 19.479 (1904): 376-80. Print.

"A Quote by Jiddu Krishnamurti." Goodreads. Web. 26 Feb. 2015. <http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/148155-the-ability-to-observe-without-evaluating-is-th

 

[1] "Arthur M. Schlesinger Quotes - Inspirational Stories." 2011. 26 Feb. 2015 <http://www.inspirationalstories.com/quotes/t/arthur-m-schlesinger/>

[2] "Enlightenment - Facts & Summary - HISTORY.com." 2010. 26 Feb. 2015 <http://www.history.com/topics/enlightenment>

[3] Comte, Auguste. The positive philosophy of Auguste Comte. W. Gowans, 1868.

[4] "Positivism - Changing Minds." 2004. 26 Feb. 2015 <http://changingminds.org/explanations/research/philosophies/positivism.htm>

[5] "Sir Lawrence Bragg Quotes - Today In Science History." 2012. 26 Feb. 2015 <http://todayinsci.com/B/Bragg_Lawrence/BraggLawrence-Quotations.htm>

[6] Côté, GB. "Mathematical Platonism and the Nature of Infinity." 2013. <http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=35369>

[7] "The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form ..." 2013. 26 Feb. 2015 <http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/148155-the-ability-to-observe-without-evaluating-is-the-highest-form>

[8] "I think, therefore I am in need of Socrates - The Independent." 2013. 26 Feb. 2015 <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/i-think-therefore-i-am-in-need-of-socrates-316600.html>


Go On Mr.

Here's a little something I had to write for my Language and Literature Course with the IB while in India.

Rationale 

This written task relates to my study of identity, gender, in particular, the evaluation of how language molds the tone and mood of a text bringing out certain feelings in the reader.  

In addition, my written task originates from studying sex slavery, rape, and human trafficking in India. This part of the course, was considering the cultural impacts and its affects on society through studying ranges of contexts where identity and gender roles were questioned. Being it that India is known for such events, I have learned that they are brushed aside by society thus adding to the circulation of bribes within authority.

Consequently, I understand that everyone has a voice that cannot be ignored for it finds its way through people, literature, media, etc., until it affects society with its cultural values and even economic life.

Determined to set my work apart from the repeated perspective of women/victims, instead, I prioritized me undertaking a challenge that would test my creative capacity in creating a plot tackling a fresh perspective: that of the man. To do so, I evaluated social and cultural structures described in Patricia McCormick’s work Sold, a novel that adopts the perspective of young, Nepali girl who becomes a victim of sex slavery told through vignettes.  The chapter called An Accidental Kindness, allowed me to question the unspoken perspective of the man. Keeping in mind that this perspective is rare to come across due to the lack of sympathy towards people that participate in these horrendous acts. The structure of short stories allows for a descriptive plot that can challenge gender roles where characterization was used to portray how the personage felt and dealt with society’s expectations. My goal with this written task was to create a situation where the reader could sympathize with the man. 

 

Go On Mr. 

“You’re fired.”

Shantanu’s breathing remained steady even though he sensed the air grow thick and heavy. Still, he could not ignore the sensation that his consciousness was drawing with his every breath. Yet, his face remained intact, not letting the slightest twitch take place on his lower lip. Shantanu, now in his late fifties, has had a lifetime of training that made him always control himself. From the day he was born, the nest in which God chose him to hatch only had room for the maintenance of the family’s highly spoken of reputation. 

In front of Shantanu’s large, hand-carved, imported, Amazonian wooden desk, stood the puny, bald, shrimp-looking man who just so happened to be a new member of the board, Mr. Armadán. Staring at this fool who dared say such to him, Shantanu reclined himself into such a comfortable position in his, also hand-carved, sandalwood chair –more like a throne- that it even came off as threatening. Seeming at ease, Shantanu’s large fingers lingered on his regal mustache while staring, with a defiantly questionable glance at this frail Mr. Armadán with his awkward eyeglasses that had now dripped to the bridge of his nose and tugged at his color where a red polka dotted bow tie seemed to be strangling him.

“Fired am I?” said Shantanu. “Go on Mr.,” taking a further glance at the man’s face, “Armadán.”

Sweat trickled down Mr. Armadán’s brow. Hustling through his shirt for his handkerchief he went on to say, trying to control the shake in his voice, “Well, Mr. Kakkar…” Taking out a brown, stained piece of cloth from his jacket’s inner pocket, Mr. Armadán finally wiped the droplet dangling from his nose and used to opportunity to wipe his glasses for they had become foggy already from his body’s temperature rise. Now, Shantanu had begun tapping his long strong fingers on the desk waiting for the rest of this futile explanation. The rhythmic beat of the fingers upon the desk only escalated Mr. Armadán’s nerves.

Drawing in a deep breath, the gibberish words began to tumble out of this puny man’s mouth. “Rumors, Mr. Kakkar, have reached the ears of the other members of the board. Bad rumors and I’m afraid that the company’s charter clearly states that-“ suddenly the pounding sound of Shantanu’s fist upon the desk shocked Mr. Armadán into silence.

Now sitting upright and firm on his chair, Shantanu went on to say, “Rumors. Ha! What may I say are these rumors in regards to?” Caught off guard, Mr. Armadán found himself to be completely unprepared for his chairman’s reaction but found that the demanding gaze that was shooting at him demanded an answer.

“Pictures have been taken of you entering and participating in the brothels of the red light district. Eyewitnesses have shared what they have seen. People are talking…talking a lot. Even the company’s value has seemed to drop because of…well sir, your reputation. Also, seven years have passed and you have not seemed to cope with the passing of your wife’s death. Your state has become unhealthy for the company and the responsibilities of being chairman have seemed to take a large toll on your health as well. Taking this in mind, the charter states that if the chairman has been seen as unfit to lead the company, then his removal is necessary. I’m sorry.” These last few words seemed to have gagged Mr. Armadán.

Calmly seated, Shantanu reached for a small picture frame that seemed to be the only personal artifact present on this large, wide desk. He held the frame that contained a picture of his beautiful, deceased wife, and let one hand slide through his scalp and latter ruffled his patch of full, thick, black locks. He then removes his gaze from the picture and directs it towards the silent Mr. Armadán.

“You’re right.”

 

Hands on the wheel of his BMW, Shantanu’s conscience is steaming with effort as he tries to overcome his sorrow and understand how he keeps giving into temptation. He had once been a happy man before Abha died, yet the memories that they shared were not enough to keep him away from his carnal desires. Shacking his head as if to ward off the memories, Shantanu brings himself to consider how he has been blind. Even if the facts were only considered rumors, he had still disgraced his family’s good name. He had let years of effort and studies build his reputation and quickly let it crumble at a simple whim of temptation.

Droplets of rain began to fall from the sky and the annoyingly rhythmic “swish-swash” of the window wiper did not affect his thoughts. Shantanu considered the fact that maybe he was in search of Abda’s face, of her smooth body and kind, comforting words. Maybe, unconsciously he was driven to brothels in search of a resembling spirit that could be present amongst the glamoured girls. Trying to revive the memories of so many years ago.

Suddenly, his peripheral view caught the view of a red light district. He thought, “This will be the last time. Maybe, just maybe she could be found there. What more have I to loose? My job is done for and my name is shamed. Why deny myself the pleasures of which I’m already accused of.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liberty

Life gives me the liberty

and the only person who can deny it from me
is myself.
When it is taken away, it wont be by the spite of rulers or the aching
chains at my flesh, but by Life.
The crown she wears and the flames she bares are of her own liberty
but not mine.
Define me for the differences you see for they are your own conceptions of

my liberty.
Define yourself without influence from the next.
These inquiries on our souls denies the natural for we
have grown fearful of liberties that are not our own.
You cannot understand them for your own liberty constrains you from
the freedom of knowing the next.
Now, defy your liberty and

set yourself free.

A Ballad of Brazilian Skeletons

Studying American poetic extraordinaire, Allen Ginsberg, in Hiroshima, Japan is probably a sentence I would have never have been able to say a year ago.  However, I can say that now...which is nice. 

In my first year of Language and Literature, I've been immersed into several authors and genres; however, my all time favorite is Allen Ginsberg. Why? Well my classmates would probably say that I like his character: "american, jewish, gay, and a communist." How much more interesting can you get?  

In class, we were asked to emulate one of his poems. I chose "A Ballad of American Skeletons" because I specifically like how he criticizes the stereotypes and functioning of the US through "true" humor. Also, he performed the poem alongside the musical stylings of Paul McCartney, another figure I like a lot. 

Anyways, here is my piece: 

Commentary: This poem imitates that of Allen Ginsberg in idea but in different context. It has similar intentions to criticize a nation and its stereotypes, which in my case would be Brazil  especially now that the FIFA 2014 World Cup is coming up. 

A Ballad of Brazilian Skeletons

 

Said the Favela skeleton

Lets go to the streets

Said the Lesbo President skeleton

Go back to sleep!

 

Said the Revolutionary skeleton

The vinegar’s for my rice

Said the Minimum Wage skeleton

It was overpriced!

Said the Housemaid skeleton

I want my kids to go to school

Said the teacher skeleton

Not if I’m making less than you! 

 

 

Said the Engineer skeleton

We have no fear

Said the FIFA skeleton

We gave you seven fucking years!

 

Said the Bandit skeleton

I’ll steal all the bills

Said the Homeless skeleton

Oh I wish I had that skill

 

 Said the Naturalist skeleton

Think of the trees, the grass!

Said the Corporate skeleton

Oh shove it up your ass 

 

 

 Said the Dope skeleton

I need another hit

Said the Parent skeleton

You’ll just end up in’a pit  

Said the Macho skeleton

Women in the kitchen

Said the Female Skeleton

But you’re the one who’s bitchin’

 

Said the Police skeleton

Move out all the cracks

Said the Moral Majority skeleton

No way, you’ll never take’em back!

 

Cracolandia 

Said the Ignorant skeleton

Let’s go eat a cow

Said the Radio skeleton

That’s it Tchau 

 

Look at some more Allen Ginsberg

Jay Heinrichs & "Thank You For Arguing"

While spending a semester in Hiroshima, Japan , I had the opportunity to interview the author of "Thank You For Arguing" which I had previously read for my Language and Literature course back in Hyderabad, India. The author, Jay Heinrichs, explains the different types of rhetoric while taking the reader through various scenarios showing how to actually use them. 

Like most things nowadays, it started with an email. Below you'll find both of the interviews/discussions. 

A Questionable Sponge

Traveling through northern India made me question myself and my relationship with the very essence of time. There were endless things to see, to smell, to touch, but there wasn't enough time to do everything. I battled between absorbing everything while simultaneously questioning my surroundings. Time only allows for so much.

  

I am a sponge whose absorbing abilities were put to the test. Acceptedly soaking up my surroundings, my questioning voice hushed. 

However, as the days passed, deceit clouded my conscious as I realized the raw trick life plays on me. On all of us. Time can only allow for so much. 

Ticking me in every direction to only find myself able to have a blink of a moment worth keeping from this exotic India where I live. 

A wall painted in yellow piss drinking from 

A slender man washing

A shirt in the crooked sidewalk's grime water where

A family strutted by with crying babies and needy toddlers desperately pointing at 

A whistling puppet of finely tattered silks telling tales of old of 

A wall in a far off temple concentrated with tourist-polution who bare

A pale, tantalizing shoulders that slip into the gaze of 

A heavily bearded sikh man sheathing his blade as 

A dividing line strikes boarders into the bonds of families who belonged to 

A once unified land of brothers, sisters, mothers and 

A father wearing robes and glasses taught new ways of living to 

A people who know suffering far to well by the unwelcome fist of

A distant dominance now gone leaving 

An infinite gash in the hearts that beat to the thriving rhythm of buzzing rickshaws driving past 

A face of an outside like many of the other faces dwelling another's home 

A face to stare at

A face that never grows old

A stranger's face found in my own 

And why do I stare back? 

 

World War I

Alone and Afraid. 

While studying World War I, it is always important to understand the psychological effects on the men who truly experienced it. 

Visual Commentary: This man represents every man in such a horrific situation in World War I. The emotional and physical stress is evident and the events taken place obviously set in place a permanent scare in soldier's lives. Death was in the air that they breathed as they constantly suffocated at the thought that it would soon take them too. 

Vignette

I read Patricia's McCormick's "Sold" while living in Hyderabad, India for my Language and Literature course. The novel tells a series of stories based off of real life issues like arranged marriages, sex slavery, and limited eduacation affecting women in vulnerable countries like India, Nepal, and various countries in Africa. One of the stories depicted showed how a mother's advice to a daughter can impact their future. The vignette below is my own take on a Brazilian mother telling her daughter that she must make the choice to either play the game or to be played. 

Are You Going to Play? 

Before today, Mãe says, you are too young and unknowing to understand, let alone play, the games of grownups.

Now, she says, you must calculate every moment, observe every move, and predict future plays on the board.

Never loose your temper.

Never allow yourself to be underestimated.

And never speak profanely or let your tongue curse when in the presence of someone of high status.

Otherwise they will underestimate the validity of your voice.

Once you are married, she says, you must be smart like an owl, as sleek as a fox, and as unnoticed as a whisper on a breeze.

If he is too quiet, it is a sign that he is doing something that he shouldn’t.

If you dream of purple, life’s many incidents have brought him to betray you.

If he decides to cook for a special occasion to display his culinary “skills”, you must clean up after him. 

If he miraculously decides to help, he is either very sick or has hopes of having a treat later on.

If you have a daughter, do not name her after his mother. Nobody wants a second dosage of that.

I ask Mãe why, “Why must I play so?”

“You can either choose to let the struggles life gives drag you down or you can use them to make your life more entertaining”, she says, “So, are you going to play?”