Monthly Archives: December, 2013

Animal Testing

Animal Testing

Animal testing is very controversial. There are many reasons it is good as there is bad. I am for it but I will explain why. Animal testing is usually used in testing products, it helps us show that the products we use every day are safe to use. Helps us learn a lot more about animals, like their behavior, how their bodies work (animal experiments), and animal breeding etc. There are many things we have achieved with animal testing. Without animal testing we could have never knew what we know now. Animal testing might seem cruel at first but scientists only do it to make sure the products us human uses are safe. In laboratories, small animals, like hamsters, rats and mice, are usually kept in clear or white plastic boxes about the size of a shoebox. Usually, more than one animal lives in a box. There’s food for the animals. Larger animals like dogs, cats, and primates usually live in wire cages. Strict laws insure that the cages are warm, clean, and big enough. More than half of the 1.4 million animals counted by the USDA that are used in research do not feel pain from the experiments. Vaccines for polio and hepatitis B were developed through experiments on animals. Medical procedures like measuring blood pressure, pacemakers, and heart and lung machines were perfected on animals before being tried on humans. People who are against animal testing would say how it’s cruel and the worst thing you would possibly do to the animals but if they looked at the other side of the facts and understand how it’s just to keep us humans safe, they would understand why the scientists do it. Nearly all of the scientists who do research on animals do it because they hope that making a few experience pains now will help prevent many from feeling pain later. It’s better to test things on animals rather than testing things on humans where there might be a chance of losing a life with a bright future. These animals are taken really good care of and it’s something that has to be done, it’s not like they personally want to hurt the animals and abuse them.

Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice

By Aaman Khan

The controversy over abortion has been going on for the past two decades. Pro-choice advocates are resolved to protect a woman’s right to choose whereas pro-life advocates insist that women keep their baby, regardless of her situation. I personally stand by pro-choice. In my opinion, if you do not agree with abortion, simply do not have it. Why control the choices of others? You’re not the one who has to raise the child. According to the article “Does Abortion Lower the Crime Rate?” by Robert J. Barro of Harvard University, the states with the highest rates of abortion experienced the sharpest drops in crime, several years later. This also validates the Donohue-Levitt theory which argues that children who are unwanted or whose parents cannot care for them well are more likely to become criminals  and that an inverse correlation is observed between the availability of abortion and subsequent crime. Not only that but in 1973, the Roe v. Wade case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that restrictive laws against abortion were unconstitutional and violated a woman’s right to privacy. Pro-life supporters argue that abortion is murder. However, an embryo or fetus is not a person until the time of birth, meaning an embryo or fetus has no rights to be protected. Human life occurs at conception, but fertilized eggs used for in vitro fertilization are also human lives and those not implanted are routinely thrown away. Is this murder, and if not, then how is abortion murder? All in all, pro-choice is the way to go. At the end of the day, the child is yours, so the decision should be yours too. Therefore, I fully support pro-choice and hopefully we will come to a solid law on this controversial issue in this decade!

Drinking Age

Tyler Tumminelli
      Should the drinking age be lowered from 21 to 18? Its well known that people drink alcohol before they turn 21. There’s so much alcohol consumption on college campuses and in many high school parties where minors drink a lot. Underage drinking is definitely no joke. Kids don’t know their limits and frequently get alcohol poisoning. Most young people think that their invincible, even to the point where some will get behind the wheel of a car. This is extremely dangerous and one of the main reasons why the age limit is at 21.
      The solution to these problems might be to lower the drinking age to 18. When you make drinking illegal it puts the illegal drinking in uncontrollable places such as fraternity houses, and house parties. At these places young people tend to drink a lot, get really sick and make more frequent regrettable decisions. If the drinking age was lowered to 18 , it wouldn’t be as much of a “treat” for young people to have alcohol. So parties probably wouldn’t be so wild and out of hand.
18 year old young adults can vote for the people who run our country and even fight in war and risk their life for America, but they are not allowed to have a beer. When you put it like that it sounds like a crazy concept. Some people argue that the drinking age should be kept at 21 because the brain doesn’t fully develop until age 25. If we were to go by that than in order to stay consistent people should not be able to serve in the military or vote until age 25 either. Many studies have been done in countries all around the world in which young people drink alcohol, and there has been no evidence that it harms them behaviorally or intellectually.
       The one valid argument against keeping the drinking age at 21 is for the dangers of drinking and driving. As you age you definitely become more mature and responsible. That being said, younger people tend to make less intelligent decisions behind the wheel. They endanger many lives around them and many deaths each year are related to young drunk drivers. If 18 year olds had the same rules and regulations as 21 year olds with drinking and driving it might bring the number of accidents down. If young people could have one or two beers and still drive, more youth might be responsible and not mind being the designated driver for the night.
       Although the age gap from 18 to 21 is small, most the responsibilities of young people that age are similar. Both ages are in the college years of their life, both ages can vote and serve in the military, But only 21 year olds and above can drink . That three year gap probably wouldn’t make much of a difference at all if they changed the drinking age back down to 18.

Winter wonderland could provide loads of laughs

By Michael Heffernan

I do not know why I laugh when people get hurt, but I do. Not a staged pratfall like John Ritter pretending to take a shot to the nose from a swinging door in Three’s Company. Please don’t misunderstand me, I do not want to see someone seriously hurt; however, a stranger falling on ice … comedy gold in my twisted world. Better yet, someone texting and walking into a parked car or an ambush interviewer walking into a sign pole. I am not a mean person–really, I am not—but, there is something about a sudden fall down a small flight of stairs strikes me as humorous.

I know, deep down inside, many of you are just like me. You snicker and point, elbow your friend in the ribs and say, “look!” or “did you see that?” I would go as far as to say there is an element of universality to this humor. It is not the absurd faces or, wanting to see people in pain, that certainly is not it. I certainly would not laugh at someone falling out of a 10th floor window – I am not a monster! Maybe it is the cheap thrill of the unexpected or a quick giggle at someone else’s expense, a normal situation overwhelmed by a surreal absurdity. Like someone stepping on a rake. Yes, I have seen it happen, and let me tell you, it is exactly like in the cartoons … only better.

When, out-of-the-blue, an accident is hilarious, especially if it is someone you see as having it coming to them. Is there not an expression about dishes best served cold or, just desserts?
I myself am no stranger to the accidental slip or fall and the resulting red-faced walk of embarrassment, often times with more bruised than just my pride. Some of my friends say I am crazy, and maybe I am. However, I have the feeling I am not alone in my love of a jocular fall fest, whether it be on ice, skateboard or start with the sentence “Here, hold my beer.” Oftentimes, I find myself wondering what Sigmund Freud would say on the subject or about me. I imagine him saying it in a heavy stereotypical Germanic accent, “unt darefore you iz, how you zay … Bonkerz!”

In my own defense, I presume it can be traced back to my childhood. Perhaps, if I had not been introduced to such odd and frequently painful situations as a child my sense of humor may have been a tad more mainstream. Let me explain. We, my brother and I, were rambunctious children. Remember, this was a time when parents let children play alone outside and the idiotic term “playdate” was yet invented by what would become the soccer mom set. A summer morning included the maternal instructions to, “go play outside, come back when I call you for lunch … don’t rip your pants.”

My parents liked to take us on unusual and unforgettable vacations when we were very little, like the week we spent on a working farm. As I recall, I was about seven and my brother a year older. We would spend our days wandering alone down the lane to the beach—something unheard of in this day and age—and playing/torturing each other. It was not unheard of to dare each other to touch the electric fence designed to keep the cattle in their pasture. Often times we would to push each other out of the hayloft into the huge piles of unbaled hay while playing secret agent or even just for kicks. It was not an abnormal occurrence during that summer week to slide some leftovers into the other’s jacket and blow the dog whistle so the pack of eight or so farm dogs would come charging and bowl the victim of the prank over in their quest for treat.

Maybe it is a sign of the times; I am by no means no cultural philosopher, and I would never make such a claim. Nonetheless, I do know my parents and my maternal grandmother, who lived with us when I was a small child, in particular particular would scold me and lecture me on the evils of deriving such fiendish pleasure at other’s expense. These are the same people that laughed at the antics of Laurel and Hardy and The Keystone Cops. Therefore, in my own defense, I must say there was a fair amount of hypocrisy being served along with their admonishments. However, bear in mind these were the same people who apparently knew all the starving people in India personally, or so one would believe based on their dinnertime rebukes of my refusal to eat Brussels sprouts. But, I digress, and so back to present day East Setauket where I have of recent months developed a taste for the wonders of YouTube and the plethora of agonizing and humiliating video clips of people walking into signs and open manholes; alternatively, the seemingly endless array of trick bike spills.

As I sit here with a YouTube screen minimized, I am somewhat ambivalent about this revelation. Will people be shocked that I revel gleefully when someone just got their clock cleaned walking into a No Parking sign? Maybe, maybe not. I suspect there are more people with gallows humor than I suspect. I am sure there are many, many like me who laugh at a little embarrassment—especially if they are not the red-faced ones. After all, America’s funniest Home Videos—a cavalcade of home-brewed errors–ruled the airwaves for a decade. Thank God for the Internet and capability to binge on Netflix and YouTube. Their constant stream of off the air television shows’ steady stream of insanity in the form of skateboarders shattering their manhood on railings or wrists on concrete in the guise of entertainment. Or Reddit, and its massive collection of “NSFW” videos—although they can be overly graphic and frequently live up to the acronymicized phrase Not Suitable For Work tagged in the subject line. Such a mundane task such as walking or sitting upon a fence, for example, is turned into a laugh riot following an inadvertent misstep or accidentally getting your center of gravity off center. The resultant benign mishap is comedy gold in my book. Additionally, if happens to one of your friends in your presence … the stuff of legends. One minute walking down the street talking on a cell phone minding your own business and then Whamo! Right in the kisser!

Psychiatrists will tell you it has to do with an unexpected non-lethal alteration of routine. The Germans even have their own word for it: Schadenfreude, which Merriam-Webster defines as “a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people.” Personally, I do not get my kicks from hearing about the misfortunes of others; and, I would never wish harm or trouble on another person. Conversely, seeing someone, arms windmilling, and legs askew immediately prior to his or her derriere hitting the ice is precious. Now with summer officially over and the skateboards have mostly ben tucked away, I for one, am looking forward to the winter and all its spills and thrills.