North Korea's Dictatorship: Blocked From the World (yatw blog post prt.1)

I am Ameer Holmes, I'm currently a 9th grader who is very concerned about the effects of dictatorship. I don't think the systematic properties of dictatorship is for the well being of people in general. It may run effective at times, but it usually becomes accommodating to the dictator to the point where everything done is for him, his fun, his wealth, or his ideals. North Korea is a dictatorship that is slightly on edge right now, and it's harming the people of North Korea, and the views of the children in it. 

North Korea has an area of 122,762 sq. km with  24.6 million people in it. That means 24.6 million people are affected by what their government (or dictatorship) does to them. In North Korea education is run by the state, and 8% of the learning is of communist morality and reverence to their dictators. North Korea is also a communistic dictatorship, like the soviet union. North Korea's current dictator, Kim Jong Un is 28 or 29 years old. Kim Jong Un is married to a pop-star (supposedly, because it's hard to get any news from North Korea), and is the dictator because the previous dictator was his father, and he died.

 This is what America has done to help the people of North  Korea according to Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

  • North Korea agreed to freeze its existing nuclear program and allow monitoring by the IAEA.
  •  Both sides agreed to cooperate to replace the D.P.R.K.'s graphite-moderated reactors with light water reactor (LWR) power plants, by a target date of 2003, to be financed and supplied by an international consortium (later identified as the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization or KEDO).
  •  As an interim measure, the United States agreed to provide North Korea with 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil annually until the first reactor was built.
  •  The United States and D.P.R.K. agreed to work together to store safely the spent fuel from the five-megawatt reactor and dispose of it in a safe manner that did not involve reprocessing in the D.P.R.K.
  •  The two sides agreed to move toward full normalization of political and economic relations.
  •  The two sides agreed to work together for peace and security on a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.
  •  The two sides agreed to work together to strengthen the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.
However this has been in affect since October 1994 according to Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Dictatorship in North Korea has spun out of control. North Korean citizens are not allowed to leave North Korea, only a few amount are allowed to enter North Korea, and North Koreans aren't allowed to even communicate with the outside world. People who have lived in North Korea for decades are arrested for speaking out on the dictator. Starvation to the point of death has effected a large number of North Korean citizens. Many things can be said about the affairs of North Korea, but one thing for sure, it isn't working (as a community). 

This is s CBS video -Does North Korea leader Kim Jong Un's marriage and fresh image mean change is coming?

Don't pay attention to the marriage, look at all of the other things going on with North Korea's dictatorship.
Pay attention to the
  • Nuclear missiles, Rockets
  • Food shortages
  • Being cut off from the world
  • People being unaware of who was leading them

(if there is no video above go here) 

The picture on the top of the page is from and shows how North and South Korea differ. It really shows how North Korea and everywhere differ.

For references look at
>> Bibliography 

Something Fun
>>"Kim Jong Un sexiest man alive"

World Hunger and Homelessness

The world’s population is approximately 7 billion and counting. About 5 people are born every second and approximately 2 people die each second. In addition to that, there are about 925 million people on the planet who go to bed hungry every night. And over one billion people are homeless, not having adequate housing. As part of the You and the World Project, I want to go on a crusade to seek an end to these epidemics. 

Hunger according to the Oxford English Dictionary 1971 is the want or scarcity of food by someone or some where.  People may associate the main cause of hunger with the shortage of food supplies, but the leading cause today of hunger is poverty. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), 3 billion people, almost half the world lives on less than $2.50 a day, and nearly 8 million people die each year because they can’t afford to stay alive. The largest poverty stricken regions of the world are Asia and the Pacific, then the Sub-Saharan Africa, next Latin America and the Caribbean, the near East and North Africa, and last other developing countries.

* Picture of a girl from Sudan trying to crawl towards the United Nations feeding center with a vulture waiting behind her for the right moment to attack.

Homelessness is the state of not having a constant and adequate home or nighttime residence. Homeless people may take refuge on the streets, in shelters, cars, abandoned buildings, or with friends or family. According to the National Alliance to End Hunger, roughly over 640,000 to 2.5 million people experience homelessness in the U.S., let alone 100 million and counting are homeless in the world. And of the U.S. of the homeless population, 40% are families with children, 1.37 million of the population are under the age of 18, 41% are single males, and 14% are single females. Shockingly, of the homeless population, veterans make up 40% it. The greatest cause of homelessness yet again is poverty. The other leading causes are lack of affordable housing, unemployment, substance abuse, and mental illness. In America, Alaska and California have the highest rates of homelessness. But in the world, India, Nigeria, and China have the largest homeless populations. 

* Everyday, more than 100 million people face the reality of being homeless.

There are many organizations out there to help put end to the homeless epidemic, such as the National Alliance to End Homelessness. This organization is one of the leading alliances to committed to preventing and ending homelessness. Other organizations such as Project H.O.M.E., is a Philadelphia based organization that empowers communities to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty. The Just Life is another organization that aides the homeless. It is a Christian organization that is committed to being agents of social change by living out righteousness and justice in the world.

* Homeless shelters offer a warm place for the homeless.

An organization the have been founded to aid the hungry is the World Food Programme or the WFP, which was founded by the U.N. is the second largest humanitarian organization is the world that adresses world-wide hunger. The Hunger Project is also a charitable organization that is dedicated to an end in world hunger. And Bread For the World is a Christian organization that urges our nation’s decision makers to end hunger. 

* Organizations are available to feed the poor.

Homelessness and hunger are urgent issues that should be tackled. So make your voice known. Petition the Congress to pass legislation to aid the hunger and homeless, volunteer at local homeless shelters and food banks, donate to these causes, listen to the cries of the victims impacted by these issues, just do something to make a difference. They need your help.

They Need Your Help!

Food Deserts: Part 1

            The importance of eating well is an issue that resonates with me and is of importance to a big part of the world.  Whether it is because of how food tastes or because of the healthfulness of what we eat, but all of us take seriously what we eat and it concerns us that not everyone in America is able to do so.  This is why for my You and the World project I will focus on the problem of the lack of access to healthy foods experienced by different segments of our society based on socio-economic standing.  These areas of low access to healthy foods are called “food deserts.”  The US government defines food deserts as “a census tract that contains concentrations of low income people in which at least a third of the population lives more than a mile from a supermarket or large grocery store.” (Bornstein) Some people blame this lack of availability of good food for the obesity crisis in America especially in poorer urban neighborhoods, while others assert that this lack of accessibility is overstated. I will attempt to make sense of these arguments.

            People have been talking about the problem of “food deserts” in low-income, inner city neighborhoods for over a decade now. They are considered to be the byproduct of the abandonment of these neighborhoods by the major supermarket food stores in the later twentieth century and their replacement in these areas by the proliferation of fast food chains. For many people in these areas, it is simply too much of a burden to have to travel over a mile to the nearest grocery store to by fresh fruits and vegetables.  It is even more difficult considering that most of these people don’t own cars to transport their goods in, or are elderly, or have small children to look after. Instead of eating fruits and vegetables and in general eating well, people living in these “food deserts” are living off of processed foods high is sugar and fat and washing this stuff down with a soft drinks that are mostly sugar.  The problem is that junk food is extremely cheap and readily available, while healthy food is expensive and hard to find.  An additional factor complicating this issue is that while sweet and salty foods clearly taste good, they equally as clearly are destroying the health of people living in these areas.

            A major question, however, is how real is this concept that equates the relative poor health and high rate of obesity in poorer neighborhood due to the lack of accessibility?  Until recently it was accepted by most people that the presence of food deserts was the major contributing factor to the relative poorer health of inner city inhabitants, but recent studies have raised doubts about this correlation. (Bornstein)  Other issues, such as income, education, or culture may be even more important factors, but no study can deny the obvious importance that the scarcity of well-stocked supermarkets and other groceries has on the lack of healthy foods.

people affected by food deserts in chicago(1)
people affected by food deserts in chicago(1)

Graph of citizens affected by food deserts in Chicago here

That is why efforts to offer more food possibilities to these neighborhoods are so worthwhile.  Something has to be done to offer more choices other that expensive, hard to get healthy food and cheap deadly junk food.  One of the suggestions for reducing this problem was having “Mobile pantries”, which is when they open up a stand of boxes of different types of food. These foods are donated for this purpose and they are given out for free to everyone who is there with no proof of need being required.  Mobile pantries, however, have many faults. Since it is expensive to provide free food for so many people it takes a while to gather the amount of required donations, which leads to food distribution being less frequent than people need it to be. There are so many people in need at these mobile pantries that the line is tediously long leaving some wondering if it is even worth the wait.  

The perfect solution to this vexing problem of the limited availability of healthy food in poor neighborhoods is still waiting to be tried.  It will most likely take a combination of both public and private efforts, but what we need right now is the conviction that food deserts are a serious problem needing an immediate solution. 

Map of access to grocery stores here

    Annotated bibliography here

"You and the World" Teen Depression

Many of us as teens have heard the stereotype that all we care about is what we look like who we talk to and what is going to happen next for us. Essentially the adults in the world put us in one big box labeled teenagers and let us fight for ourselves through the 3 years of middle school and the 4 years of high school. These seven years in our lives are the ones that shape and mold us. We are transitioning in our lives from children to adults. We also are experiencing many new things that stick with us for the rest of our lives. Whether it is good or bad it stays with you and affects you in some way. Sometimes it affects you in the short term and you make some decisions that aren't the best for you or the people around you. Those decisions are made based on many things that happen in these seven years or even earlier. The decision may also be based on depression and teen depression is a little special compared to other depressions.

The things that influence our decisions in life can be from something so small like someone telling you that they think you should do this or that to something as a person who is very close to you dying. The decisions make us the way we are and when you are depressed your mind isn't in the correct mindset for you to be making big decisions. If you are depressed and you are a teen it can make your decisions a little more rash than one of an adult. The Facts say that self harm is most common in Girls From ages 15 to 24. Thats is what makes it interesting though because if you just search Anything with self harm in teens the search automatically goes to teen depression in girls and those are all the suggestions too. One statistic on teen suicide, I found that is very interesting is that boys are 4x more likely to die from suicide than girls. However, the girls are more likely to attempt suicide. So the boys are more likely to complete a “successful” suicide than girls but the girls attempt more times than the guys.

Screen Shot 2012-11-20 at 9.45.14 AM
Screen Shot 2012-11-20 at 9.45.14 AM

Some numbers for you to see how big of a problem this is becoming are:

  1. 20% of teens will experience depression before adulthood
  2. teens with depression usually will suffer from more than one episode within 2 years (episode can last up to 8 months)
  3. 70% of the teens will have more than one episode before adulthood.
  4. Dysthymia is type of depression that 2% of teens will go through. This type of depression is mild but long lasting.
  5. 15% of the teens with depression will develop the bipolar disorder
Screen Shot 2012-11-24 at 9.12.40 PM
Screen Shot 2012-11-24 at 9.12.40 PM
One Girl who committed suicide one month after this video was posted. This is a subject that is very close to my heart because I saw so many of my friends go through some of the self harming decisions and I saw how much they were upset afterwards when they realized what they had done. I have always wanted to make people happy and I hate to see people sad and this you and the world project gives me the opportunity to put a smile on people's face and help them realize that they can be happy if they look at their situation from another point of view. Some effects of depression in teens are pretty extreme for many of the causes. some of the causes can make you have the effects of harming yourself in a way like you can cut yourself you can make yourself throw up or not eating hurting yourself in any way have consequences to the people around you. choices this big will always affect the people you love and who love you. I think that when us teen are thinking about these decisions we only think of what relief it will get us. I don't think we think of the consequences for those around us. I think we are bit naive in that way and we need a little guidence from our elders in that way.
Screen Shot 2012-11-20 at 10.09.22 AM
Screen Shot 2012-11-20 at 10.09.22 AM
​Things people need to survive; for a good life many teens need to know these things so they know how much they have and what they need so they can get those things and make themselves content.

Entry #1 — Music Education

Blog Entry -- Wilson Biggs

Music education.

I bet you hear about that a lot. Whether it’s that a school your child goes to is getting rid of it, or a news article about a school district that’s fighting to keep music education alive, the question always stays the same: will it survive this era of budget cuts and bankrupt school districts, or will it ultimately get cut and wither away?

My name is Wilson Biggs. I’m a freshman at Science Leadership Academy. The contents of this article are not guaranteed to be bias-free, as I am an aspiring electronic musician. However, take everything I say seriously: I have experience in music education and growing up making music.

I, for one, can tell you that music education should begin when you are in preschool. One study conducted in 1997 showed that preschoolers, when taught how to play “Ode to Joy” on the piano, improved their spatial-temporal reasoning skills, which is the ability to mentally manipulate 2- and 3-dimensional objects. In addition, Richard Gill, in a TEDxSydney talk, made points as to why children should learn about music in their younger years.

Music is important for the following reasons. It is abstract. It doesn’t mean anything outside itself. [...] Music does not describe. Music does not tell stories. Music evokes. Music suggests. Music implies and opens up the mind of a child in an extraordinary way.

        That’s not the only point he makes during his talk, however. He believes that in order to get into the real deep and creative part of music, children must create their own, not just reproduce others’. He states that “the power of creative thought is transfreerd from music to all other areas of learning is hugely potent. [...] Music is worth teaching because it empowers children spectacularly.” From my own experience, when children get the opportunity to make music, they get particularly excited about it. Not because it’s music, but because it’s creating.

When kids are enthusiastic about learning something, they tend to excel in it. And that’s why, in order to cut music costs and to boost how well students do in music classes, technology should be implemented in music programs. In 2005, the International Journal of Education and the Arts published a paper outlining why technology is important in music education. The paper describes the current state of formal music education as “elitist”, and proposes an informal music education centered around computers.

“[A] cross-disciplinary or multimedia approach to musical composition may well engage and motivate pupils more successfully, as well as facilitate the development of their broader creative skills. I have certainly found this to be the case in the three case studies[.]”

This isn’t the only paper that suggests that technology in music education is beneficial; another paper, written by Takako Mato, describes that “there was a significant increase of basic knowledge of  the note writing and reading skills necessary for composition in class A [with computers] over class B [without them].” It later describes the results of a test conducted by the Yamaha Corporation, which found that “Long and short term music achievement is significantly increased when compared to traditional approaches and methods.”

For new music programs, incorporating technology shouldn’t be a huge challenge, as either the teacher usually owns a computer or the school district provides computers to the school. A computer, a projector, a small keyboard, and some kind of MIDI sequencing software are all that are needed to implement technology into music programs. I intend to bring music education and technology to schools throughout the school district and possibly to surrounding districts.

Image-Line, the company that publishes FL Studio, might give discount prices for their software for schools that use PCs. All Macs come with the free software Garageband, which works well enough for schools.

To see my bibliography, click here. I hope you will support me as I fight to bring music education and technology to the school district.

Animal Vehicle Collisions

My name is Des O’Donovan and I am a freshman at Science Leadership Academy. For English class we had to do a you and the world project. For this project we had to pick an issue that we cared about. Then we had to create a blog post about the issue. Then we have to actually do something about the issue.

My issue is Animals getting hit my motor vehicles. I want to try to prevent animal getting hit by vehicles. Many animals are struck and injured or killed by cars in the United States. I want to try to make it safer for animals, and try to prevent animal vehicle collisions.

I am interested in this issue because I think that it is tragic that innocent animals are hit by cars. These are car accidents that happen all the time. I live in north west Mount Airy near the Wissahickon valley park. There are a lot of animals that live there, including an over population of white tailed deer. There are some busy roads near the park and animal vehicle collisions are common. Animals are struck by cars and often killed. Within less than half a mile of my house I have seen many animals that have been killed by cars. These animals include grey squirrels, toads, frogs, snakes, songbirds, birds of prey, small rodents, opossums, raccoons, and deer. Seeing this is what got me interested in this issue.

This year near in the park near my house an unidentified hiker was walking in the woods with their dog. The dog was not on a leash, which is against park regulations. Many hikers in the wissahickon do not obey leash laws. The leash laws are put in place so that dogs don’t destroy plants, erode trails, and harass hikers and wildlife. This dog got away from it’s owner and chased a full grown male white tailed deer across the busy road of Wissahikon avenue where the deer was hit by a car. It is unknown if this deer is still alive. Dog's harassing wildlife is one of the reasons that they run across roads and get hit by cars. click here to view article

In the united states many busy highways go right through areas of wilderness. animals that live in these areas need to cross these roads. but with so many cars going at speeds of 60 miles an hour or more it is very difficult for them to make it across without getting struck by a car. Most animals just get run over when they get hit and die. Others manage to make it off of the roads and then die from internal injuries. Some animals may go for days, weeks, or months of suffering from injuries before they finally die. Some people may ask who is to blame for all of this. Well it depends on a number things. Sometimes it’s because drivers are careless, and don’t pay attention when  they see an animal crossing sign. But most of the time it’s simply because there are too many busy roads going right through animal habitat, and the animals have no way of getting across without risking injury.

Some species that get hit by cars are endangered. In 1998 in the Florida Key Islands a recorded 134 endangered Florida key deer ( an endangered white tailed deer subspecies) were killed by cars. Also endangered Florida panthers ( a critically endangered Florida mountain lion subspecies) are often hit by cars on highways going through the everglades. These endangered cats are disappearing quickly, so the Florida department of transportation built passages under highways for animals to safely go under. Panthers, along with many other Florida species have been recorded using these passages. These passages are also being used in Arizona. Migratory animals such as pronghorn antelope are often hit by cars in Arizona. So the Arizona department of fish and game built these highway passags for animals. If more of these passages were built there would be less road accidents with animals.


Endangered Florida panther using passage under highway in Florida

to learn more about animal crossing passages click here

Animal vehicle collisions are dangerous for animals, but they are also dangerous to people. When larger animals are hit by cars they can cause serious damage to them. These accidents can injure and even kill people. There are an average of 1.5 million collisions with deer and elk in the u.S each year. One year in Arizona there were 10,00 injuries resulting in 150 deaths. White tailed deer are often hit in Pennsylvania. They are found all over the state and they can weigh three hundred pounds. In more northern areas collisions with moose are common. This often can result in serious injury or death of the driver. Moose, and elk have been known to actually charge at cars. moose can weigh 1,800 pounds and elk can weigh 1,100. Animal vehicle collisions are dangerous for both people and animals.

for information about deer collisions in PA

Pennsylvania is ranked third in the nation in collisions with deer. Due to the lack of natural predators, and ideal deer habitat the state has an over population of white tailed deer. And the population is growing. The collision risk rose 14.975 between 2002 and 2007. The risk of deer collisions is three times higher in fall because fall is deer hunting, and mating season. Deer are traveling more to escape hunters, and to breed. They are more focussed on breeding then safety, and are more likely to carelessly walk across roads. Most accidents happen in the evening because thats when deer are most active. Drivers should be especially careful when driving in areas where there are deer.

I want to find out what people in our state are doing to prevent this. I want to learn more about animal collisions in Philadelphia. I want to focus on deer because collisions with them seem to be a major problem. I want to find out what we can do to prevent these collisions.

Josh Berg Blog Post #1 Alienation of the Elderly

Hello, I am Josh. I am doing a project on alienation of the elderly, especially those who are in personal care facilities and nursing homes.
The reason why I view this as an important issue is because of the fact that it is often overlooked. We as a society have this unfair mentality that when people reach this state in their lives they are not worth paying attention to anymore. We view them as often having already lived their lives and greedy to want to live more to their fullest extent. Everyone should be entitled to living their life to the extent to the want to for however long they live.
People need to be able to look upon the elderly, and be somewhat sympathetic to the fact that they have experienced the majority of what they will experience. Studies show that in general, many elderly people are not 100% happy with the life that they have lived. It is hard to imagine that this is not one of the worst feelings. This can only be made worse by the alienation many elderly people suffer. Some people feel even worse when neglected by people they are close with, this is especially hard-hitting and is referred to as the caregiver trap 
The concept of alienation goes back a long time as it is an emotion all people feel at one time or another. Alienation was and is used as a tactic by higher-ups in the business world in places where labor laws are more lenient. People in alienated situations are less likely to rebel against the higher-ups oppressing them for the most greedy of reasons. Someone alone is weak, they say there is strength in numbers. Marx
In general, there is not a substantial difference in male and female lack of satisfaction in the elderly, however researchers say that there was a slightly higher lack of satisfaction among the elderly female as opposed the elderly male. (About a 1-5% difference in most specific factors) Full Study
We are obligated to provide the best service possible, especially for people paying for it. This is but another reason why the elderly are entitled to the attention they need to be happy and live in a comfortable manner. Even those who are in other personal care facilities that they do not pay for are entitled to as many provisions and as much attention as they need.
It is just common sense and common decency to pay attention to those who are in need of attention, they may have started to feel out of touch with society as it is much different for the majority of their lives, or have fallen from grace and lost touch with their religion because they wonder how such things could happen to people they loved. It may seem that everyone goes through these emotions, alienation and loneliness, however we must be aware of how people are feeling and seek ways for them to recover.


A local home

Immigration Reform

All freshmen students in Ms. Dunn’s English class have a new engaging and fascinating project called “You and the World”. For my “You and the World” topic, I chose immigration laws and reform. Why, you ask? I have been interested in immigration for a very long time. Firstly, my whole entire family immigrated to the United States from Russia before I was born. Including all of my siblings and cousins. That had me curious about the process of moving to a new country.

I went to a Jewish middle and elementary school. At school we learned a lot about the Holocaust and that sparked questions about where Jews and other groups of people went when they were persecuted in their hometowns. Surely they would not stay, but they also could not legally immigrate to most surrounding countries because Hitler had such a powerful influence. I started wondering about immigration and restrictions for those two reasons. Now onto to modern day USA immigration laws! Hoorah!

For several years now, the United States has had many disagreeing opinions about immigrants coming into the States; mostly feuds about Mexican immigrants crossing over the borders and living here illegally. There seem to be three major sides to the arguments about immigrants.

            The first being typically one of more conservative working-class citizens. These people believe that we need to act harshly and immediately take action towards removing illegal immigrants that are here already as well as enforcing very strict border protection. These people are mostly worried that there will not be enough job opportunities because these immigrants are taking all of the jobs.

            The next opinion is one of the most liberal kinds of people. They believe that it is cruel and inhumane to deport people from a country. This include not letting people in or out as well. They support the arguments that people have certain rights that they are always entitled to and to kick one out of a country would violate those intrinsic rights.

            Finally, there is a medium opinion. This side of the argument actually has Obama on their side as well! These people think we ought to apply the existing laws to all of the illegal immigrants that are here today, yet secure our borders as well. They want to keep the 12 million Mexican immigrants here, but not let any more in illegally. 


This image shows a sign that is by the Mexican/North American border. It is really unpleasant and cold. Though I am not particularly fond of it, I think it is quite necessary. 

In his first term president Barack Obama did not make many changes towards immigration reform. Yet this was not completely his fault. President Obama had tried to pass new laws yet congress would not pass them. However, this term President Obama really tried his best to appeal to Mexican and Hispanic voters. We still do not know whether he will stay true to his word, yet we all hope he will.

            In the past, Mexico and North America did not have such a great relationship. They could not communicate well and there were many disputes and they sparked much unpleasant publicity. However, the new president in Mexico is willing to take a different approach to compromising and the future seems bright.

            In my blogs to come, I will inform all of you about how immigrants will be affected and have been affected by immigration reform. I also hope to educate you about ways you can make a change. We will go through this process together, and I hope you enjoy learning about this crucial topic with me. 



Hello, my name is Michaela. I am in 9th grade, and for my English class I'm doing a project to improve our world. Everyone in my class is doing this, and we are each just trying to do some good through writing a blog, and going out to do something we think will help our topic. I have chosen the topic of fracking.

Screen Shot 2012-11-27 at 7.05.47 PM
{Fracking site from a birds-eye view
         To see the colection I got this from go here}

First of all fracking is just a nickname, the real name is Hydraulic Fracturing, but that is a mouthful, so people have shortened it down. Fracking is a very important subject, that affects many peoples lives and health, for those of you who are not familiar with it, let me introduce the two of you. Fracking is the process of drilling into the ground to extract natural gas. Natural gas is grate! Why? well because it is cheaper, and comes from U.S. so we don't have to rely on other countries for our gas. Sowhat's the problem? fracking is good, not bad... silly Michaela. NOT TRUE. I haven't even gotten started yet.
Fracking is not our friend because the the only way to extract the natural gas is to send lots of stuff down there to get it. What sort of stuff? Terrible stuff. 600 different chemicals to be exact, one of which is known to cause cancer, but we don’t now most of them because the Gorge Bush let the companies bypass the clean water act, and they don’t have t tell us what they are pumping into the ground. And not only are these toxic chemicals being put into the ground, but 40,000 gallons worth of chemicals are being put into the ground. After the chemicals are forced into the ground, they supposedly don’t do anything to affect peoples tap water, but yet it lights on fire.
Screen Shot 2012-11-27 at 6.05.05 PM                Screen Shot 2012-11-27 at 6.08.24 PM
{These are pictures I took, from videos of people lighting thee tap water}

Now these chemicals don’t go down by themselves, they have sand and 1-8 million gallons of water accompany them so that the well can be properly fracked. All these materials don’t just appear at the fracking wells, they are transported by trucks or tanks. It takes 400 tanks to transport all of the materials to the fracking sites. So that is 600 chemicals, 1-8 million gallons of water, and 400 tanks, for each time a well is racked, and each well can be freaked 18 times. Not to mention the tons of wells all over the U.S.

I think I have made it obvious that Fracking is an enemy to the environment, but let me tell you how fracking is affecting people. All the chemicals from fracking get into peoples water wells, and is unhealthy to drink. Some people have even been told that they can’t use their water for anything at all because of how dangerous it is.Even worse than this is that the companies won't acknowledge any of this as a cause of fracking. They say that it is just natural methane wells that are leaking, even though people have had no problem with their water before. And people are having lots of health problems from drinking the water, thinking it is perfectly healthy, and breathing the toxic gas that is given off by fracking.
So that is fracking. I don’t really know what else to tell you. to give you some hope if all this brings you down, there are people protesting fracking, organisations doing what they can to spread awareness, and politicians doing the best to ban it. And then there is you and me. I have already stated that I am going to do what I can, not just for a grade, but for the environment, the health of those living in areas of fracking, and future generations to come.

To see my annotated bibliography click here
To see some pros and cons, and take a poll of what you think, you can go here

Media Manipulation: A Growing Threat to National Safety

My name is Mitchell, and I am here to introduce my "You in the World" project. The “You in the World” project is an effort to gain an interest in a world issue, and educate others about said issue. While research is an important part of the project, the main goal is to educate others about your issue, in order to make a change for the better. You will attempt to broadcast your research and ideas to a wider audience than just the classroom.

The media is thought of as a way of getting news, current events, and facts to everyone, so that everyone can know what is going on in the world. Now, however, media is being used as a tool. No longer is the news essential fact. We have come to a time when the news is used to control people into supporting political views, or persuade them into buying unnecessary goods.

Almost all of our major news sources fall under one of six companies: The Wall Street Journal and all of the Fox news channels fall under Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. ABC is owned by Disney. All CBS groups fall under the CBS corporation. NBC, all of its subdivisions, and the Weather Channel are all under NBC Universal. Even Time Inc, the publisher of Time magazine and several other magazines, such as People, is owned by Time Warner.

These corporations own publishers, newspapers, news channels, entertainment channels, and even news websites. Now, you may be thinking: What could be so bad about this. Why should we care about who owns these stations? It doesn’t affect what gets to us, does it? The problem is, it does. We live in a world of what Ryan Holiday, head of marketing for American Apparel, calls “media manipulation” a skill in which he is a master. Media manipulation is a way for companies and government agencies to exaggerate stories and make things better or worse than they really are.

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Veracode Infographic "The Story That Destroyed a 168 Year Old Newspaper"

Think about the applications of this so called “media manipulation”. The government can use it to spread support for candidates, or to spread negative propaganda about their opponents. Companies can use it to spread advertisement for a product, so that it is almost constantly on peoples minds. Media manipulation can be spread like wildfire because of the synergy between the corrupt news agencies and the internet blogosphere. Ryan states that “Today, with our blog and web driven media cycle, nothing can escape exaggeration, distortion, fabrication and simplification.” If you want uncontrolled information, you have to look on the internet. However, once you get there, you are met with a constantly growing group of blogs. With all of this open content, you are liable to come across false information. There is no practical way to fact check these blogs.
With these controlled sources of information, and these untrustworthy sources of information, you really have no way to escape the propaganda. If you do just a little bit of research, you could see that, for instance, according to The American Dream website: “Our politicians know exactly what they are doing and they have a plan for getting getting US debt under control.” whereas the truth is that “When Ronald Reagan took office, the U.S. national debt was less than one trillion dollars. Today, the U.S. national debt is over fifteen trillion dollars.” We need to find a way to stop being fooled by such outrageous media inaccuracy.
Annotated Bibliography Here

blog #1

blog post #1

I think that music is an important thing and should be appreciated by all but sadly is not. I can do literally nothing to change that, people have different tastes and move along on different paths. I like to think that I will make music in the future, however all of my failed attempts linger in my head and almost prevent me from progressing because I never think what I have is good. I am constantly belittled by friends who can see with a fresh slate and just do whatever they want to do. I would like to help kids out with music at my old school where there is a very strong after school program.

I walk through Rittenhouse square quite often and have met some pretty interesting people that deserve some recognition. Not to be pessimistic but there is really nothing I can do to enact the individual success or happiness of each of these people. If I were trying to make money playing music, I would not rely on the assistance of a high school student for my revenue.

The main focus of my idea was to help homeless people make some money. I will expand on that before getting into my current idea; I see homeless musicians much better than myself on the street all the time and most people don’t even turn to look. I know some good samaritans would stop and donate a dollar or so, but most people walk blindly by. I think that some of these musicians deserve better. I researched the laws and regulations on what I could do in a public space and many of them are restricting to my plan which was to busk with the musicians in a more organized way. After toying with this idea I found two main flaws: The first being, I could insult some performers by offering my “help” when they believe that it is not needed, secondly I could get in trouble for creating a commotion or the like.

I think that I will do more behind the scenes work such as raising awareness in the form of videos that I will find/compile and using the after school club with the little kids, because maybe they will be able to offer more to society when they are my age are older. I will be teaching the kids about music and it’s affect and hopefully get a few of them excited to help these musicians on the streets.

here is my bibliography:


Every Animals Deserves a Home

I am a girl named Ava from Science Leadership Academy, working on a project for English class called “You and the World.” I’m here to prove that just because I’m a kid, that doesn’t stop me from trying to make a change on the planet we live in. Children can make a difference in this world or ours, and I plan to do that through this service project.

The definition of “world” is The earth, together with all of its countries, peoples, and natural features. Animals are part of this world, fitting into the category “natural features” and yet some shelters are not exactly fair when it comes to a subject that happens to everyone eventually. The sad part is, some animal’s fate comes too soon. Animals are euthanized every single day as a result of overpopulation or careless mistakes.

Can you possibly believe that 56% of all dogs accepted into shelters are killed? It was estimated that approximately 3.7 million animals in total are euthanized every year. Look at it this way: There are roughly 315,000,000 people in the United States alone. If 56% of humans were euthanized every year, we would be killing 16,800,000 people. That’s a lot of people with individual lives and personalities and experiences. Dogs are alike in that way. Each dog has a special life worth saving. Each dog has a personality that you can come to love. Each dog has a different experience in their life that shapes who they are as an animal.

I’m not trying to convince you that dogs and humans are identical. I’m trying to convince you that dogs are animals, just like humans, and there are too many similarities to be euthanizing them at alarming rates. The following is a photo of the conditions at a shelter with a high kill-rate.

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This is a photo of a high kill-rate shelter. The conditions are cramped, and there are many animals in one place. It's not very sanitary, either. Credit goes to the website for this photograph. Click here for the website.

Many animals in shelters are fortunate enough to be adopted into a loving home and receive affection and care. Unfortunately, accidents happen. Pets are lost, and families become devastated. There was a reported story that a man needed to leave home for business and asked his friend to watch his litter of puppies for him. To his surprise, when he came back, the friend had accidentally let the puppies escape and they had been brought to their local shelter. They called the shelter many times without getting an appropriate response. The puppies were euthanized, and the shelter’s spokesperson gave misleading information to the press regaurding the situation. The owner was so devastated that he was admitted to the hospital for symptoms of a heart attack.

Events that are easily preventable should be avoided, because the lives of so many innocent animals are lost every year. It’s up to the people at this point. Should we be helping? Of course! Animals need help from humans. After all, using the words of the ASPCA, “We are their voice.” Only humans can speak for the animals that deserve homes and shelter non-permanently until they are able to find an adoring and devoted family that the animals deserve. The PSPCA helps with animals from Pennsylvania.

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Below are animals at a shelter that are waiting to be taken home by a person like you. Credit goes to the website for this photograph. Click here for the website.

There are three types of shelters for animals: Municipal animal control agencies, which are run by more local sources. Private non-profit, which have a board of directors and do not keep any of the profit. Private non-profit agencies, which have a permit from the government to supply animal control services. Through the help and association from these three types, animals can at least get a temporary home to shield them from the cold and provide them with food and water.

You can easily be involved. Adopt an animal at your local shelter today.

For a copy of my bibliography, please click here.

You and the World- Teen athletes and Eating Disorders.

My name is Naomi Fecher-Davis, I am a freshman at Science Leadership Academy. This year in English class we have all chosen topics we think are important issues in the world we would like to be agents of change for. The topic I choose is Teen Athlete Health. Mostly to do with the body image problems that come along with it and how the ideal body image for athletes usually isn’t what you get. This is a problem in both male and female athletes but it is 10x more  likely in females.

(A picture in an article about the weight loss this athlete has to make to be able to compete in a wrestling match.)
It has to do with the pressure of being judged. In many sports where girls are judged it is always a pressure many have to deal with to look like the ideal person for that sport. But the truth is that everyone can’t be the ideal person. It doesn’t then make you less of a good athlete or anything it just means you don’t have the picturesque body type. The normal athlete is meant to eat 2,000 to 5,000 calories a day.

Even people who are world class athletes are worried about body image and it isn’t just how people are going to look at them. If you go to the Olympic website, you will see that Olympic athletes have gone through the same thing. But how you look at your self, but how you think it affects your performance. I’m not saying that it isn’t peer pressure or judge pressure because it definitely is aswell but it you are happy in your own body there isn’t much anyone else can say because you will be able to brush it off.

(This picture was featured in an article about teens with eating disorders.)

There are obviously positive effects from being an athlete, for example it leads to better coordination in the body. As shown in the Health Guidance website. There is also always the effect of the pressure of being picturesque that turns some to eating disorders. It is common it society for both female and male athletes to have eating disorders, but is more likely for women to have them oppose to men. It isn’t that sports lead to eating disorders but the ideas behind sports/athletes go along the same lines as people with eating disorders. For example, excessive exercise, focus on body shape and size, and diet restrictions.

In many cases the trainer should be the one to help with the positive body image re-enforcement, but that isn’t always to say they are. It shouldn’t be the trainer, who is always supposed to be on your side to put you down. I understand there are some body restrictions for certain sports and those should be met,but they should never get in the way of your health. That is not saying that if someone is obese they shouldn’t became more healthy, but if it is someone who has a heavier body type their coaches/trainers should not be the ones giving them a hard time about it.  

As I go on with this project I wish to learn more about what drives people to do this, what are the reasons they do it, and what they wish to accomplish. I think as an athlete myself this is a problem we should try and direct but not the way that it has already been done, by the famous person who had an eating disorder went to some million dollar rehabilitation center and has got back on the right track. No I think we should address it from a peer standpoint. I have seen trainers/coaches tell their athletes that they should loose weight I have seen the affect and I think it needs to change.

( This picture is the front cover of a movie that has to do with people with eating disorders.)

To see my annotated bibliography, please click here.

Homelessness and Poverty in Philadelphia

Hello, my name is Aaron. I am a student at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia. In English class, we have a project called “You and the World”. For the project, we have to choose an issue that matters to us. Then, we have to blog about it and do something active for our issue. The issue I chose for this project is poverty and homelessness in Philadelphia.
People waiting to be fed at a shelter in Philadelphia.

I chose this topic because in recent years I had observed poverty around where I lived going up and the homeless population rising. Turns out, I was not just seeing things. Poverty and homelessness in Philadelphia are on the rise and have been since around 2009 or 2010. How about some statistics? When taking the twenty-five biggest cities in the U.S and averaging out their incomes, Philadelphia has the second lowest income. ⅓ of the children and ¼ of the entire population in Philadelphia live below the poverty line. The poverty line means that a family of four has an income of $22,050 or less. To see more statistics click here. This poverty is very centralized in certain areas of Philadelphia. This makes the situation even worse because it means that people who do not live in those areas or people who do not ever travel through there may not even know there is such a big poverty problem in Philadelphia.

To look at my bibliography
click here.