The Man Who Fell from the Top of the World

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The Falling Man – Published by Associated Press photographer Richard Drew

Pictures really do tell a thousand words. September 11, 2001, is the day that America, our home, changed forever. This day, the world stood silent. People stopped what they were doing. People were brought to tears. People were left speechless. This day, life in America became extremely different. The attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City have since then become one of the most relevant events in our history. Osama Bin Laden, leader of the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda, coordinated four attacks on America, two in New York City, one at the Pentagon in Virginia and one in a field in Pennsylvania.America, which used to be seen as a safe country, became the most fragile and broken place in the world. The world began to think if this could happen to America, the superpower of the world, what would happen next.

The picture titled “The Falling Man” published by the Associated Press and taken by photographer Richard Drew is one picture that stunned people everywhere. In this photo, the photographer captured a man “jumping” to his death off of the top of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. This picture not only acknowledged the story of the people who were forced to jump but alone gave a true sense of the horror of that day. This picture single-handedly shows the trauma and agony people began to go through. The mix of emotions that all those people on the top floors of those buildings must have been feeling must have been unreal and the people must have felt helpless. The picture was thought to be the people trapped in the top floors of the towers knowing their lives were over and deciding that instead of suffering a long and agonizing death, they would just jump to save them that pain. This picture highlighted the decision this man and many just like him had to make in a split second that horrible day. 

 In the picture, a man is seen jumping from the top of the World Trade Center plummeting to his death. The man, to this day unidentified, is seen to be falling straight down after jumping out of a window. His body is facing straight down towards the ground. His body is tense, with his hands by his side, and one leg still. His body, even in the action of falling, seems to show a release of pain and horror for the man. The colors of this picture help the image develop the story as well. There is a sudden change of color of the building because of the way that the sun hits it. The picture begins with dark colors like black and dark grey. As soon as the man is seen in the picture, the background changes to lighter colors and reflections of the sun. This can be interpreted as the feelings of that day. If thinking in this man’s point of view, the day went from darkness and fear, horror and trauma to seeing an escape to his nightmare and a way out of the pain he must have been feeling. 

Before being published, the photo was seen by many people deciding whether it was honorable or not to put it out into the world. When the decision was made to go ahead with the publication of the picture, the intended target audience was the people of America and anyone who would see it around the world. The picture’s main purpose was to serve as the “ tomb of the unknown soldier”  for that horrible day in history. It forced the world to acknowledge and remember the terrible events of that day.

Animals are a Human’s Best Friend

Have you ever heard the saying “dogs are a man’s best friend” or “Be the person your dog thinks you are.”? These quotes along with many more show how important animals can be to our lives. Animals have been used for everything from food to clothing but also for companionship and have now been linked to positive effects on humans and their health. Also, animals have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, longer life expectancies and lower blood pressure. Lastly, service animals have become one of the most special jobs an animal can have. They have been used to treat people with both physical and mental disabilities.

For a more visual explanation of the pros of having a pet, watch this video!

One way animals help us in our lives is by affecting our physical health as well as mental heatlh. There have been many studies done to show how animals, specifically dogs, have been linked to decreased risk of heart disease, blood pressure and the increase in life expectancy. Increase in exercise also leads to a decrease in heart disease and lower blood pressure. According to an article by WebMD written by Lisa Fields, “dog owners walk more and have lower blood pressure than people who don’t have dogs.” showing that the increase of exercise and having a pet are related. One study that is infamous for supporting animals having an impact on human psychological health was a study done by Allen, K., Shykoff, B.E. and Izzo, J.L. In their study, they tested “a clinical trial in which hypertensive stockbrokers were randomly assigned to either pet or no-pet conditions. Six months later, when put in a stressful situation, subjects in the pet group showed lower increases in blood pressure than did those in the non-pet control condition.” These examples show the reader both mental and physical effects of an animal on their human.

The exact definition of a service animal as said by the Animal Welfare Institute, is any animal that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Service animals are used to help people with their physical and emotional struggles. The training of service animals has been traced back to the early 1900’s. During World War I, German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers began to be trained and used to help wounded vets. Today, the most common service animals are brace and mobility support dogs, autism assistance dogs, service seizure response dogs, hearing dogs and medical alert dogs [along with many others]. This goes to show the evolution of service animals and their many useful resources.

 In the end, animals are more important to our lives than we normally give them credit for. Besides being our top provider of food and clothing, animals serve as the great replacements and cure for some medications and diseases and the best companions and workers out there. Between helping people with health, both mental and physical, and helping us be better humans, it’s no wonder more people now than ever are moving towards owning animals in their own homes.

P3 Final Plan and Anxieties

My plan for my essay is to show how animals are beneficial to humans. I have decided to leave the final decision of my paper until the end because depending on the word count by the time I finish writing about animals, like the ones we have come to view as pets, I will write about how all animals are beneficial to us (i.e food and entertainment). My only anxiety about this paper is that I won’t be able to get my point across clearly. Even though my topic is something many people believe is true, I hope to be able to have my ideas come off as complete and persuasive thoughts.

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P2 Final

For my essay, I am sticking to my original plan of arguing the fact that pets have a positive impact on a human life. Whether it is just a house pet or service animal, studies have shown that animals, especially dogs, have shown to lead to improved mental and physical health. These studies have shown that along with increased life expectancies and lowered risk of heart attack animals give social support to those who need it.

Animals are a Man’s Best Friend

My essay will serve to advocate for the effectiveness of having pets to a person’s health, both physical and mental. Though it is not proven that all pets are able to improve a person’s health, dogs especially have shown to make significant differences in people. There have been many studies done that show that having a pet such as a dog is linked to people having a lower risk of heart disease, longer life expectancies, and lowered blood pressure. Pets have also been linked with people increasing their owner’s exercise and reaching the government’s recommended amount. Along with physical health impacts, pets are also linked to decreased stress and people having better moods. Pets have also been trained to help people perform everyday tasks that may be too challenging for them to do themselves. Guide dogs are used by people who are blind to help them stop at curbs, cross the street and have the smarts to keep their human safe. This shows there have been many uses for pets, not just for our own desires.

Transhumanism: Creation of Carbon Copies

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As said by the one and only Coco Chanel, “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.”, but as long as transhumanism,an international philosophical movement that advocates for the transformation of the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies to greatly enhance human intellect and physiology(1),  becomes a reality in our world, people will be replaceable and then uniqueness will essentially dissipate. People are born the way they are for a reason and transhumanism would just make people in our world lose their special qualities and talents that make them who they are. Though this movement may have positive contributions to society such as Lasik eye surgery and hearing aids, it also has many drawbacks such as making all of humankind carbon copies of the same person. 

Most things in life are not as good as they seem and transhumanism is one of those things. There are many unforeseeable complications to this practice, but many people overlook those because the payoffs, if it works, are huge. When looking at transhumanism from an outside point of view, one would see technologies that would allow people access to improve their genetic code to “be able to transform themselves into different beings with abilities so greatly expanded…” (1) from their natural state. This means that people would try and use this technology, normally meant for enhancing genetics for certain scenarios, just for their own pleasure. People will be able to change their physical appearance to make themselves more attractive and desirable. This shows how if transhumanism becomes a reality, it will become quickly and easily taken advantage of. 

All humans are born with specific traits and talents that make them who they are. Transhumanism and the technologies allow for people to not only alter their genes to have a better physical appearance, but also people will be able to alter their biological make up. There will be increased usage of this technology “in an attempt to overcome universal human limitations, such as vulnerability to aging, maximum life expectancy, and biological constraints on physical and cognitive ability.”(1). This would lead to people thinking that human life is not as special anymore and eventually, there will be a “blurring of the boundary between human and artifact”(1) because everyone will be so similar so it will be hard to tell what’s a real train and what’s not. 

Though there are very positive outcomes when dealing with transhumanism, there are more dangers to it than meets the eye. From the outside, it may seem that it is something that will benefit the human race, but in the end, it could be dangerous to the human race. People will use the technology to their own advantage and enhance themselves.

1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transhumanism 

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Adaptation of “Social Life Suicide: A Review of ‘To Meme or Not to Meme'”

In the article To Meme or Not to Meme, the author, Maya Walker, uses her own experiences in life to show how detrimental social media can be to a person if used negatively. She uses a personal account of how social media endangered her but also shares how she was able to block out the things that made her feel less than important.  Social media has gone from a place that people go to to vent and feel better about themselves to a place that people are afraid to be themselves. 

The author argues throughout the article that social media is the ruination of mental health. Social media has become a staple of so many people’s lives over the past decade. Everywhere you look, people are posting about their latest vacation, the newest addition to their shoe collection or the fight they just had with their friend. People have turned to social media as a friend more than they would an actual person. While some people may try and inflict pain on someone on purpose with their posts, others may not realize how hurtful a post can be to someone and accidentally trigger someone’s unstable mental health. The world has become so numb to such important subjects like mental health that it is a topic that is too often overlooked. 

The main mode of persuasion shown in this essay was kairos. The way the author was able to establish kairos is by talking about social media, a huge part of many people’s everyday lives. By talking about such a common and popular topic, she was able to appeal to such a large audience. There have been many people who have been questioning their life. They have been in a horrible place in life and turn to social media to try and save them and sometimes that just isn’t the case. Brutal people and those who do not care about the mental health could very well be the reason people lean towards ending their lives. Seeing people make fun of your pain could be tough and seeing that when you’re so hurt can be deadly. Making something this well-known something you talk about is an important part of awareness.

To Meme or Not to Meme

By: Maya Walker

THESIS:

The thesis of this article is located in the first paragraph. At the end of her introduction, Maya Walker includes how the internet and people’s use of memes were the main source of her depression. She would see offensive jokes made to be funny online. She would see the internet inciting pain, violence or even suicide and shared how these posts began to make her feel the same way about herself. She wrote about her personal pain and mental illness and how the internet contributed to it.

TARGETED AUDIENCE: 

  • Teens/ tweens
  • Younger people with social median
  • Anyone with social media/ especially beginners

ETHOS:

  • Different ways of communicating with people over the internet (tweeting, reposting, instagramming) cause people to mask their emotions so no one knows their true feelings
  • Normalizing memes makes people become more inclined to joke or lie about their emotions 
  • People have learned to put a face on for everyone else 
  • Author uses personal stories to establish her credibility

PATHOS:

  • People have begun to rely too much on the internet and have turned away from face to face contact with other human beings
  • Author uses personal stories and experiences and tells how social media made everything even worse for her

LOGOS:

  • The author includes examples using actual memes to help her story
  • she allows the reader to feel what she means when she says they’re offensive 
  • Stats → back up her side of the story with facts 

KAIROS:

  • Author speaks about social media, a HUGE part of our life today
  • Main way people now communicate with each other 
  • many people on the fence about suicide have been pushed over because of suicide so its not an uncommon thing

The Man with the Matches

Epilepsy, Keppra, seizures, grand mal, aura, EEG. These words and many more are terms you wouldn’t hear unless you or a family member suffered from a neurological disorder. During the summer of 2011, life for my family was changed forever. It all began with a knock on my little brothers crib that woke my whole family. Inside the crib, my brother was seizing violently and no one knew how to help him. His look was scary. He was shaking, foaming at the mouth and his eyes were rolled so far back that you could see only white. At only eleven years old, experiencing this happen to my three-year-old brother was traumatic. After countless visits to doctors and hospitals, we were finally told that my brother had epilepsy. Though this information was life altering, it was also eye opening.  

From a young age, science, especially learning about the human body, has been my favorite. I always wanted to work in medicine but I was never sure what kind until this happened to my brother. After being introduced to Michael’s diagnosis, which turned into my family’s diagnosis, my fascination with the brain began and I knew that I wanted to end my baby brother’s suffering. Instead of watching him wear his preschool graduation cap, he was wearing wires and cotton around his head for countless EEG’s. When you experience something like this, you realize how much is still unknown about something that controls our life. Since I was introduced to epilepsy, I have researched and became educated to see if its possible to understand this larger than life idea.

As my family adapted to dealing with Michael’s life changing diagnosis, we met Doctors Steven Wolf and Patricia McGoldrick, both heads of neurology at hospitals in New York City. To most, they’re just doctors, but to my family and me they’re superheroes. In a time of crisis, they gave us comfort and knew how to help us every step of the way. After the initial diagnosis, we practically lived in the hospitals and doctor’s offices. Spending so much time with the doctors, we began to grow relationships with them. Though they were my brother’s doctors, they willingly became our teachers and helped us understand this complicated transition. Having doctors to rely on made the adjustment so much easier. They were able to turn even the hardest, most scientific expressions into layman’s terms, helping even Michael understand. They simplified epilepsy into this story: 

A man is in the woods with a box of matches. The woods represent your brain and the matches represent your chances of having a seizure. Nine out of every ten times the man strikes a match, it doesn’t light, and the fire burns out representing a jerk, tremor or “spike” on your EEG. The other one out of ten times the match is lit, the fire ignites and spreads burning down the woods symbolizing a grand mal seizure ripping through your brain and therefore leading to epilepsy. 

Though these words were hard to hear, they strengthened our knowledge of something we knew so little of in the beginning. Along with making it easier to understand, Doctors Wolf and McGoldrick noticed my budding interest in following their footsteps in learning about my brothers disease. They would let me sit in on appointments and answered all my questions. They aided me in making one of the biggest decisions of my school career, committing to studying neuroscience.

Today, Michael is eleven-years-old and doing as well as any other 6th grade student in his class. We are closer than ever and we share a bond that most siblings will never experience. His progress has not only been remarkable but has given my family the hope we originally lost when we first found out about his disorder. Seeing him thrive regardless of the challenges he has faced has pushed me to not only study to help him but also help other children so that their families feel the same way mine does everyday.

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This is me

Hey everyone! I’m Maria Birrittella from Yonkers, NY (five minutes from the start of NYC) and I am a neuroscience major. My little brother was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was around three years old and ever since then I have wanted to know what causes this horrible disorder. I only have one brother but I also have a jack russel named Sofie who is treated just as well as a human in my house. I used to be very athletic and played soccer and danced competitively until I partially tore all of the ligaments in my knee and tore up all the cartilege (fun!!!!). Now I spend my time volunteering at my church, watching Netflix and going on little adventures with my friends and family. I am very excited to be at UD and can’t wait to see where this semester takes us!