A Reflection on the Pros and Cons of Technology (Bonus Blog)

If there is one thing which can be said on the past 200 years of human existence, it is that we have progressed farther than any other time in our entire history. We have climbed mountains, performed miracles, and done incredible things that before would have seemed simply like magic. In my short lifetime alone, the internet has developed, smart phones have revolutionized our way of life, and every aspect of our day to day existence has come to be influenced in some way or another by technology. This all seem incredible, and indeed it truly is incredible, however each new discovery and revolution brings with it consequences and adverse effects as well. For instance, although technology has made our lives easier in ways we previously could have never imagined, we have been forced often times to sacrifice our own freedom and privacy on its behalf. Life is more complicated than ever before, and for better or for worse it will only continue this way for years to come.

Some of the greatest aspects of modern technology have been in healthcare, personal technology, and manufacturing technology. Jobs which would have previously taken up to 20 people to perform now take less than 5. Communications which might have taken weeks just 100 years ago now happen in the blink of an eye, and sicknesses which previously crippled maimed and killed countless millions of people are now cured in a matter of days with a simple pill. People from 100 years ago would have no idea how to operate in our modern era, and likewise we would have no idea how to survive 100 years ago.

All this is indeed incredible, but as has been said by countless amounts of people, often one may ask whether all this progress truly is for the better. Obviously, it can hardly be argued that advances in medical technology and increases in convenience are themselves negative aspects. However, our entire way of life has been turned on its head in the evolutionary blink of an eye, and many wonder whether we as human animals are properly equipped to handle it. We were raised to be hunter gatherers, as many know, eating what we could find and living in groups no larger than 50 to 100 people. However, in our modern era we have social networks in the thousands. Friends, family, and acquaintances all become blurred into one enormous social bubble. Our working life too has changed dramatically. The idea of the 9-5 job feels normal to us, but evolutionary this is one of the strangest ideas to ever emerge out of human society.

I really enjoyed this class because it allowed us to evaluate all aspects of technology in out modern society. We did not endlessly praise it, however we did to preach that technology is an ultimate evil either. instead, what I think this class allowed us to do was evaluate the effects of technology from all relevant angles, in a way which promoted the exchange of new ideas from one person to another. I think that it’s important for us to take this way of thinking into all different aspects of our daily lives, and that we can become better people as a result of it.

Human Interaction with Bees

In my final paper, I will explore the interactions between humans and bees. I plan to focus on the relationship between human civilization and the bee population and analyze how they affect each other intentionally as well as unintentionally. In general, humans are the ones who benefit most in this relationship, and yet many people are unaware of the current problems that bees face. Ever since World War 2, bee populations nationwide have been falling.

Bees are very profitable in places that produce a lot of honey, like the Dakotas and California. They are also profitable to business that rent bees for farmers with crops such as almonds and grapes. Each year in the US, over half a billion dollars in pollination fees are collected (USDA). As bee populations continue to drop, these pollination fees are rising (USDA). With these things in mind, it makes sense that human society would want the bee population to increase. An increase in the bee population would allow pollination and possibly honey prices to drop, which in turn would allow prices of certain foods to drop as well. With more food at a lower price, human society as a whole will benefit.

Farms have more of an affect on bees than just that, though. Many pesticides are toxic to bees. A few of these highly toxic pesticides have been banned in the US, but not all of them. One family of these pesticides are neonicotinoids. Studies have shown that these pesticides are addictive and harmful to bees (The Guardian). There has been a lot of controversy over whether or not these pesticides are truly harmful to bees, but the European Union has decided to put a two year long ban on some of these pesticides. Unfortunately, certain member states have been allowing their farmers to continue the use of those pesticides, undermining the benefits of the ban (EurActiv). After the two-year ban, the EU is planning to reevaluate the effects of the pesticides and decide whether or not to allow their use.

Although there is a lot of controversy surrounding the use of pesticides, studies are showing that their very well may be a link between neonicotinoids and the more recent declines in the bee populations. It is strange to see that people are willing to continue using these products despite the fact that bees are an extremely important aspect of our lives. Keeping pesticide companies in business is not as important as being able to feed future generations.

Bees and humans also affect each other on a much smaller scale. Besides the benefits of using bees as a technology for business, bees also allow for pollination of personal and community gardens. Despite this, when people see a bee hive near their house, they tend to poison the bees and burn the hive. While bees are an important part of the garden, people fear being stung and so they see the bees as threats to their families. In reality, those bees are doing nature a favor and should be protected.

USDA – http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/1679173/special-article-september_-pollinator-service-market-4-.pdf

The Guardian – http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/22/bees-may-become-addicted-to-nicotine-like-pesticides-study-finds

EurActiv – http://www.euractiv.com/sections/agriculture-food/bee-activist-eu-ban-neonicotinoids-undermined-national-derogations-308578

Essay outline of Cellphones

  • Central Thesis: Are cellphones an extension of humans?
  • Introduction: Begin the essay with a fun fact or an interesting opening. Then briefly mention the purpose of the essay. Explain my personal experience on the topic. Introduce the central thesis of the essay.
  • Background on personal experience on cellphones and how it has change for me. Explain the story behind how my parents have used the old and simple phones to the new and complex phones.
  • History of cellphones: Talk about the history of cellphones. Previous blog post will be helpful for this paragraph. Mention the key people behind the make of the very first cellphones. Mention different examples of cellphones in history and pop culture.
  • Physical appearance of cellphones: Describe the physical appearance of cellphones using the five senses. Be able to describe it will enough that people can picture it. Give examples of the different shapes and appearances mentioned.
  • Purpose of cellphones: Has the purpose of cellphones change over time? Describe the changes in here. Not only describe the changes on the purpose of cellphones but also give a reasoning on why has it change. Bring in different sources here to support the changes. Also talk about some examples of the changes in the purpose of cellphones.
  1. Break this topic into parts
  2. Historical purpose of cellphones: Talking.
  3. Present purpose of cellphones: More than talking. It offers a way for humans to interact and communicate with others through not only phone calls but other apps too.
  4. Talk about the features/apps. Choose a couple to mainly talk about that has change the purpose of cellphones
  5. Future purpose of cellphone” Make predictions and possibly have those predictions supported by sources.
  • Advantages of cellphones. Mention the good things about cellphones. How has cellphones helped humans? Mention and describe different times phones have been helpful and necessary. Talk about emergencies and news.
  • Disadvantages of cellphones. Talk about the bad things about cellphones. Do people use cellphones in ways they shouldn’t. Do cellphones harm people? Are cellphones dangerous? Explain the disadvantages of cellphones and how it had affected us.
  • Comparison of evolution of human and cellphones. Are there similarities between the changes in humans and the changes in cellphones? Talk about the historical facts that are similar for both.
  • Cellphone as an extension of…… our ear? Eye? Nose? Hand? Mouth? Explore the cellphone using the five senses and make the connection of how our cellphone is an extension of our senses. When explaining how cellphones are an extension, be able to find different features and apps that allow that to happen.
  • Cellphones and our needs. Talk about how cellphones are able to meet our needs and wants. Mention how applications and features inside of cellphones are able to make our lives easier.
  • Future of cellphones. Predictions on how phones will keep on changing. Look for sources that can support the predictions
  • Conclusion: With the historical facts, the comparisons, and examples make a conclusion on whether cellphones are an extension of us, humans. Rephrase parts of the introduction by answering the questions brought up in the introduction.