Two weeks ago a Kroger open 5 miles away from my residence, up till now the only grocery stores available in my area were Walmart and Food Lion. The new Kroger appeared to be a dream come true, the grand opening was immaculate. This wasn’t your average Kroger grocery store, the franchise decided to create a new concept for the now 130 year old chain. During the grand opening I observe all kinds of wonders, this store defined “class”. A wine and beer café was quaintly constructed on the furthest most end of the store. The wine and beer café granted aged glasses of wine and bold pints of beer. Kroger’s deli is unrivaled in comparison to Walmart and Food Lion, the included cheese counter was a personal first. Firm fruit and vegetables look as if they were pulled immediately from the ground, rinsed and slightly chilled for sale. Organic labels frequently speckled the store while Grade A beef laid heavily on refrigerated shelves. The dream mutated into a freakish nightmare, Kroger noticeably put a grotesque strain on my food budget. My $250 budget permitted a months’ worth of food from Walmart or Food Lion, at Kroger it allowed two weeks the most. I live 2 minutes from a quality food oasis but because of income I cannot afford to eat or enjoy the same services of those financially inclined. I must revert back to consuming limp and unappealing food because less quality food is better than no food.
Tonya Samuel, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Public Health stated this passage, it increase my understanding of the cause and effect relationship of inequality and health.
“Economic inequality, lack of access to food because of incomes and household budgets for food just simply aren’t enough to afford the products that are out there. Food desserts, a one mile radius that don’t have supermarkets or stores that has fresh produce available. You may have convenient stores or corner stores but they don’t have the range of choices, specifically healthy choices.”
This research will strengthen my stand on food inequality in America. The study provides supportive evidence and testimonials that Americans eating healthier foods spend more at stores and how location effect consumer choice.
Decades ago pesticide-free vegetables/fruits, farm raised meats and wild caught fish was not out of the ordinary it was something in grain as usual and unconsciously taken for granted. Commercially produced blueberry pie, lemon cakes and sugary foods were mainly consumed by the upper class, while middle and lower class made due with natural and homemade treats like an orange or homemade apple pie.
Times have changed inversely, the upper class easily obtains organic vegetables/fruits, farmed raised antibiotic-steroid free poultry/pork/beef and wild caught fish. The middle and lower class is left with GMO(see link) altered and pesticide exposed vegetables, grains and fruits. “A whopping 90% of Americans” state they can freely choose what they want to eat, income constrains people by what and how often food is consumed. I would eat lobster everyday of the week if I could afford it but I and most Americans cannot. On social media I see people boast about the food their eating, steak, ribs, fish and shrimp. These popular dishes represents a lavish lifestyle in our culture but underneath lies deceit. Cattle are now efficiently mass produced, the bulk are fed GMO corn for their diet because its cheap and inexpensive which lowers company cost. Cattle are meant to roam ranges but scores are inadequately housed with grazing in nonexistent. Increasing product capacity with little regard for cattle individual space. Steroids are utilize to increase growth rate. Antibiotics increase illness survival rate, all increase productivity and lower company cost. I was in Walmart a few days ago and I picked up a packet of tiliapia. I was astounded by the “fish” advertisement. The background portrayed a fishermen pulling a fish out of a shimmering blue lake, with the sun sitting upon the horizon. Green Italic letters strategically written under the portrait “Fresh Caught Fish”. Deceit, a great number of food companies falsely deliver this visual cue, that this natural fish was reeled in from one of American’s great lakes. For the most part the average Americans can’t see beyond the illusion. Flip the packet over and scan the small print and you’ll find the veil “farm raised fish” , even this is a clever ploy. Most “farm raised fish”, are overpopulated in a restricted container and fed cheap feed. Multiple companies use a GMO corn diet that isn’t beneficial as naturally acquired nutrients. The great American lake is brown not blue.
Yum, sounds delicious right? Hmmm, have you ever wonder why theirs now a surprisingly amount of buffets and restaurants offering…”All You can eat Shrimp, right now for $8.99!”. Supermarkets offer frozen and steamed packaged quantities of shrimp, flip the packet over “Farm raised”. 20 fillets of Alaskan salmon and catfish, what a deal? Potentially, farm raised.
These products are all subjected to contained tight quarters, steroids/antibiotics and poor diet. That portrayed blue lake or crystal ocean is not looking so homely now, its a well disguised truth. A truth that many less educated and lower income Americans consume everyday. Income inequality is everywhere, flip food packages over when visiting Martin’s or Save Alot (lower income grocery store). Witness distinctive food quality differences from whats being offered to customers.
Being completely honest, following and fully understanding this article was slightly difficult for me. This may be because of the diction used in the article, or the lack of fluidity between the ideas expressed in the article, I am not too sure. However, there were a few ideas discussed in the article that were intriguing enough to stand out to me. One of them was this idea here:
“There is, of course, provision for consultation of the record by the usual scheme of indexing. If the user wishes to consult a certain book, he taps its code on the keyboard, and the title page of the book promptly appears before him, projected onto one of his viewing positions. Frequently-used codes are mnemonic, so that he seldom consults his code book; but when he does, a single tap of a key projects it for his use. Moreover, he has supplemental levers. On deflecting one of these levers to the right he runs through the book before him, each page in turn being projected at a speed which just allows a recognizing glance at each. If he deflects it further to the right, he steps through the book 10 pages at a time; still further at 100 pages at a time. Deflection to the left gives him the same control backwards.”
The reason why I found this so interesting was because I still did not fully understand it. What I took from it was that Bush has this idea of where humans could have a “desk” in their brain where he/she organizes every idea, thought, piece of knowledge, memory, etc. that exists in their mind. The idea is that the desk makes it much easier for the person to access the information he/she needs at a given moment. Not only that, but the desk allows the person to perform tasks much faster, such as reading, and when he/she needs to remember something from the reading the desk allows easy access to that. Almost as if the person has a photographic memory (for those of us who read the Cam Jansen series as a child).
Here is a quick video on photographic memory:
From what I understand, this is a great concept. If it was real, it would allow us to study and take tests more efficiently because we can access what we studied much faster. We would much fewer distractions and ideas clouding our minds because everything would be organized and we could access whatever information we needed or wanted, “forgetfulness” would no longer exist.
This also reminded me of the movie “Minority Report” with Tom Cruise, where in the future the police in D.C. used people with the gift of seeing into the future in order to prevent crime before it happened. All though the concepts are not closely related, it just shows a way of how people access different parts of their brain in order to make life more efficient.
The abacus, with its beads strung on parallel wires, led the Arabs to positional numeration and the concept of zero many centuries before the rest of the world; and it was a useful tool—so useful that it still exists.
I chose the concluding paragraph for my nugget:
The applications of science have built man a well-supplied house, and are teaching him to live healthily therein. They have enabled him to throw masses of people against one another with cruel weapons. They may yet allow him truly to encompass the great record and to grow in the wisdom of race experience. He may perish in conflict before he learns to wield that record for his true good. Yet, in the application of science to the needs and desires of man, it would seem to be a singularly unfortunate stage at which to terminate the process, or to lose hope as to the outcome.
The first thing that came to my mind as I finished Vannevar Bush’s essay was this great snippet from Cosmos, which was originally narrated by Carl Sagan back in the 80s and was recently redone and presented by Neil Degrasse Tyson:
I think Bush’s essay reminded me of Cosmos because one of the recurrent themes in the show (the new version, that is), are the consequences of and products of creative and original minds from the past into our lives today. During the episodes viewers come to understand how our world today came to be, not just from an evolutionary perspective but also from a scientific one. If we think about it, our exploration of the actual cosmos started only 12 years after Bush wrote this piece, when the Soviets sent Sputnik 1 into space.
Would space exploration had been possible without scientists collaborating and sharing knowledge? Probably not. Yes, I’m sure the Soviet scientists did not share their research (at least not knowingly) with the American ones, but they probably still had to work as a team to send something into space. Today several countries are part of the International Space Station Program, which brings astronauts and scientists together working towards a common goal of expanding our species’ common knowledge about space. Vannevar Bush would certainly approve!
Another part of my nugget that reminded me of Cosmos was this one: He may perish in conflict before he learns to wield that record for his true good. The reason this particular piece resonated with me is because it got me thinking of all the research we have accumulated in the last few years about global warming, which unavoidably shows we are headed towards disaster pretty soon. And yet there are quite a few people (and some scary politicians) who say global warming is a hoax, that our planet is just showing normal levels of temperature fluctuation, that carbon emissions really aren’t that bad, yadda yadda yadda.
What use is all this research and knowledge when some still refuse to believe in it? It saddens me to think that, just as you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink, we can expand our human knowledge as much as we want, but it is up to individuals to be interested in it. Unfortunately, Vannevar Bush might have been mistaken to think that just making knowledge available would be enough to make us “grow in the wisdom.” I’ll finish with this last passage of Cosmos just in case someone who’s reading my post needs a little more convincing:
So for this first assignment I browsed around thoughtvectors.net and read some blogs. I have to admit I was a bit confused at first because reading “backwards” is a little strange, and some of the posts made no sense because I didn’t know what their prompt was. Anyways, after hopping around links for a while I found a blog by a UNIV 200 professor, Jessica Gordon. There weren’t a lot of posts, but she writes long, but easy to read, entries.
On one of Jessica’s posts, she discusses why is it important that students take classes like Focused Inquiry while in college. She says that these classes teach us critical thinking and how to communicate effectively, and these are skills that any profession needs. I couldn’t agree more. Learning how to seek for information and how to distinguish between good and bad sources of knowledge is crucial for making informed decisions in our personal and professional lives. A personal example comes to mind: I’ve been trying to lose a couple of pounds, and a quick search online will show you that everyone and their mothers has a theory on what’s most effective. There are thousands of diets, exercise plans, detoxes, etc etc etc. However, only by looking for information on reputable places, from professionals with real credentials you can be sure to be on the right path. It’s easy to get lost in the midst of thousands and thousands of articles about weight loss, but having the right tools to navigate all this information makes it a little easier, and this skill can be used in many other areas of life.
Another post I found interesting is also related to applying skills learned in college well after graduation. Jessica writes about the importance of learning how to defend your own opinions and point of views effectively. She teaches this skills to her students by having them practice writing three statements that support their points of view. Well, that’s a lot easier said than done! Her post got me thinking about my own opinions and why I think this or that way, and I’m embarrassed to say I can’t come up with three good arguments for a lot of them. Reflecting on my own behavior and how I form my own opinions, I noticed that sometimes I don’t read whole news articles, just the headlines and then go straight to the comments. Why do I do this, I don’t know. Maybe it has something to do with my shorter attention spam, or maybe because it’s just easy to see how others feel about the article and its contents so I don’t have to come up with an opinion myself. I think we as a society are growing so used to not having to think for ourselves that it’s a bit of a shock when we are forced to do it (as in when we are taking a college course that requires you to write argumentative essays).
Thinking is hard. Expressing our thoughts in a cohesive and clear manner is even harder (and even worse if it’s in writing). Defending your thoughts and convincing others to think like yourself is a herculean task! I guess that’s why so many students dread writing in college. Myself, I wouldn’t say I hate it but I don’t love it either. I need to take my time and review, review, review. Having someone else read and criticize my writing is not too pleasant for me, so forgive me for being a little wary of this whole blogging thing. Nonetheless, I can appreciate the importance of taking this class not only for improving my writing but to become more comfortable with thinking critically, arguing and defending my views. After all, as “thinker” Jessica says, it will be a lifelong process.