Uncovering Rumors ft. A Pretty Piece of Flesh?

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Sampson calling a girl next door.
(Source)

Today, we are joined with Capulet’s most dedicated man, Sampson, to discuss the truth behind some of the hottest rumors that have made the headlines this week. 

Q: There has been a rumor going around that you flipped one of the Montagues off just before the fight broke out last Wednesday, but is that true?
A: Oh, last Wednesday was an entertaining day. You know, I’d deny if it was anyone else… but to be honest, I did indeed flip those Montagues off! Seeing them break into a fit because of it was hilarious.

Q: And how did the fight go?
A: The fight was great banter, the finger totally ticked them off. But then the police came and told us to stop or else they’d arrest us or whatever, which totally killed the scene. I mean feuds happen all the time, no big deal right? The advantage was obvious too, if they let us fight for a few more minutes we would have pummelled them for sure! What a shame; Montague blood is very satisfying (chuckles).

Q: So can we agree that you were the one who started the fight?
A: (Rolls eyes) why is everyone blaming me for the fight! It was honestly their fault. I was manly enough to contain my anger and express it with just one tiny finger, but those Montague’s just had to be a little girl and make a huge fuss about it. Such nuisance, they are.

Q: You’re guilty of flipping off Montagues and, okay, let’s admit, kind of starting the fight — but what exactly is your problem with them?
A: The Capulets are the greatest house, and everyone knows that. We’re clearly so much better than them, yet the Montagues think they have a chance. They have the nerve to align shoulders with us, and that just pisses me off, you know. They need to know where they stand, which is no where near us. Those dogs walk in the gutter.

Q: Then what do you think of the Montague gentlemen?
A: Gentlemen? Pfft. Romeo is certainly a gentle fool, but he is no man. Moping because a woman will not give him her virginity? That’s cute. Virginity is something to take, not ask. It’s common logic amongst any men, really. I can see that softie killing himself over a girl, and chances are, she won’t even notice.

“Virginity is something to take, not ask”

Q: “Virginity is something to take not ask”. So… you force yourself on women?
A: I mean, I don’t do anything to get myself into deep trouble. The Capulet royalty runs in my blood, remember?

Q: Yes, of course; how classy of you to degrade women.
A: I’m just saying that women don’t really deserve to have a say in what happens to their virginity you know, because having it taken is surely a great privilege. Plus, it only happens whilst they’re young and plum, so women just need to stay quiet and appreciate what they can get before they rot.

Q: You have been brought up in the media not only for your passionate hate for Montague’s, but women too. What do you have to say about that?
A: Passionate hate for Montague’s, yes, ー but women?! I love my women.

Q: So would you argue that you’re not a sexist? If so, then what is your explanation for your remarks using negative connotations related to women, as well as your derogatory comments towards them?
A: (Shakes head) Everything a man says is considered sexist nowadays! I am not a sexist, I am just a man with common sense who understands that women are less worthy. All they do is bat their eyelashes and reproduce. They have life so much easier than we do; and respect comes with power. Most women can’t accept the truth because it’s so humiliating, including you, miss.

Q: Alright. Thank you for today, Sampson; your insightful opinions seem to have definitely confirmed the dirty rumors surrounding you.
A: (Smirks) my uttermost pleasure. 

Tourism Highlights

The top three countries in terms of international arrivals in 2014:
1. France
2. United States
3. Spain

The top three countries in terms of international receipts in 2014:
1. United States
2. Spain
3. China

Explain the difference in patterns depicted by your answers of question 1 and 2:
Countries with the highest international arrivals do not necessarily have the highest international receipts.

Describe the recent trends of tourism in Africa:
Tourism in Moroccow is growing while arrivals in Tunisia are decreasing. In addition, counties such as Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Mauritius, and Zimbabwe have increased arrivals while South Africa has remained unchanged.

Describe the changes in international tourist arrivals between 1950 and 2010:
The amount of international tourist arrivals in Europe, Asia and Pacific, and Americas have increased by a large amount, as well as more people travelling to Africa and Middle East in 2010, which were not so popular in 1950.

In your opinion, why has tourism increased since the 1950s?
I think tourism has increased due to the advancement of transport, because now people can travel across the globe further, quicker, and without much trouble compared to 1950s.

Clouds for Alma Reflection

Our koto class worked on the piece ‘Clouds for Alma’ through December to March.

The areas I focused on most for this piece were: playing the correct strings, and being able to stay in tempo that matched with the koto 1s. When we were introduced to the piece a few months ago, I found it quite difficult to be able to play movement one, especially the 5 string transitions amongst the lines. The same thing happened for movement three; at first I could only play that movement if I paused to count the strings every two lines. However, during the concert, although I was a bit shaky, I was able to play all correct strings except for one: I played the wrong string for one of the notes in movement three. Aside from that, I played without a slip, and knowing the notes also made it easier for me to keep in tempo with our ensemble since it gave me the composure I needed to listen to others. I had conquered both of my goals through continuous practicing; playing it countless times helped me drill the piece into my memory and my body which I found the most reliable and effective. Many people used devices such as the metronome to help them with their counting/tempo, but that did not work so well for me. I found it very distracting, and I found myself falling out of beat every time. For me, simply practicing many, many times worked, because my fingers and ears would remember better each time, helping me achieve what I did in the concert.

Next time, I would like to working on the more of the skilled aspects of playing the piece earlier, including dynamics and syncing. Although we did agree on some of the major dynamics of this piece, I felt as though we were a little too rough about it, and I think our performance can be improved if we give some more attention to it. Regarding the syncing I think we did well, however, there were a few parts during the performance where we fell apart, and I think this could be fixed by looking at those specific parts more closely at practice.

I think our class performed very well, and I was happy to be able to play Clouds for Alma with everybody there. Our tempo for movement one started well, and our dynamics enhanced the whole piece. I especially loved how we played our dynamics in movement two as the quite parts were very soft, and the loud part were bold and strong. I think we could have worked on the intervals between movements, because we were a little bit weary during those times. As an individual I think I performed decently well, and not just on stage but during practice as well. I made sure I did not pull our class behind, and I think I did that well. Next time I would like to increase more practice time and use efficient class time.

Discussion

Has your perspective of Colombus changed?

Before reading and watching the real facts about Colombus, I saw him as an explorer who had taken America away from the Native Americans, and had built an industrialized colony. However, I later learned that he had driven the Native American settlers out of the country through unethical human trade and genocide, all because he wanted gold and fame. This made me question the respect and popularity Christopher Colombus is given through textbooks and common knowledge, as many believe he discovered America and that without him America would never exist, when in reality he did not discover a country, but instead supported and carried out colonial slavery by abusing the Native Americans that were dehumanized and were considered unimportant through long periods of time in history.

Of Native Americans?

I used to have a stereotypical image of Native Americans, with their feather headbands and face paint that are often used to represent them, however from the reading I realized that there were many kinds of Native Americans, or people who had already settled in America prior to Columbus’s arrival, including Eskimos in the north and indigenous people in the south, and that they already had developed societies.

If you were to write about columbus, what themes would you focus on, knowing that you cannot write everything about everything?

I would write about the time he spent at the Native American’s land, and how he enslaved and took all of their jewelry to feed his greed and please the Queen back in Spain. I would not write about his voyages, but strictly what happened between the Natives and Colombus, for example the war that broke between them.

What themes did your readings choose?

My reading focused on the ‘discovery’ of America, and the voyages of not only Colombus but other explorers as well. The historian who wrote it proved that it was not really Colombus who discovered America, and that there were other people who made more progressive discoveries regarding new lands.

Koto Blog Post: Clouds for Alma Part Two

For movement three, I focused on getting the rhythm of the notes right, and for this I practiced using the metronome. At first I used the beats on the machine to get my timing right by playing the first two notes before the second beat came on the metronome. However, I realized that I could not rely so much on this method, as I will not be able to listen to a metronome or somebody’s consistent claps throughout a performance. So I then decided to tap my toes whilst I was playing to keep the rhythm of the beat myself. I started doing this with the metronome at first to make my body remember the beat, and then stopped using the metronome entirely. This method helped me play the parts with a consistent rhythm, which was my aim. However instead of toe tapping, I think it will be more effective and efficient to count the beats in my head as I play the strings, or listening to the koto 1s and see how their part goes with our part to get a grasp on when to play, and I think this is my next goal in mastering this movement.

My goals for lines 1-6 in movement four was to be able to count in 1,2, and 3’s, in order to be count how many lines I have been playing. At first I counted how many groups of 3’s there were amongst the 6 lines, and tried to count like that, however that got more complicated as there were more than 20 groups of it, and I eventually started to loose track of the number of lines. So then I changed my goal, and aimed to be able to count the lines, as well as each individual note. I started to count the number of line first followed by the notes, for example One, 2,3,4,5,6, 1,2,3,4,5,6; Two,2,3,4,5,6, 1,2,3,4,5,6. Although I went back to counting in six’s, with six’s the number groups could be reduced, and I found it a lot easier to count this way. I also play the first note of a new line stronger to remind myself that it is a new line, and this helps me keep track on what line and note I am on. Another method is to listen carefully to the koto 1’s and see when they add their right hand in, as koto 2’s echo three beats later. This could be a useful technique instead of counting.

During these lines I usually accidentally touched a different string or played a different note, and to conquer this I practiced the same part over and over again. I first practiced playing just my left hand and the strings 八 and 斗, and then added my right hand movements one string at a time. My slowly adding my right hand movements string by string, my body had an easier time adjusting to playing two different parts with different hands, which helped reduce the amount of times I played a different string. I could have also started by marking some of my strings, so I could easily see what strings I needed to play, and that probably would have reduced the chances of me playing different strings.

Koto Blog Post: Alma

Although movement 3 has simple strings, I struggle with keeping the rhythm of the movement, since I tend to play really fast like the recording, and not with everyone else during practice. My goal for this part is to be able to play it slowly with a consistent rhythm. I plan to practice keeping a consistent rhythm by using a metronome, so I can hear the beat whilst I play and get used to a certain pace.

My goal for lines 1-7 of movement 4 is to be able to count in 1,2, and 3’s, since right now I count with 1,2,3,4,5, and 6, making it harder for me to keep track of the strings and the number of times I play them. I will do this by memorizing the number of times I need to repeat it and then work backwards from there, because the counting will come easier if I know how many times I have to do it like the back of my hand. I also aim to make my 斗 and 八 strings louder.

My transitions of strings of my left hand is not very smooth, and I also accidently touch or play a different string, and my goal is to make sure I only play the strings written on the music sheet. I plan to achieve this by practicing it again and again, since practice makes permanent.

Bystander Effect

The act of helping can be influenced by many things, one including the response of people around you. When you are on your own and you encounter an emergency, you are more likely to take immediate action, while if you are one of the many witnesses in a similar situation, you are less likely to do so. This is called the bystander effect, a psychological phenomenon that occurs when an individual decides to become a bystander instead of getting involved in incident.

The reason why we are more likely to help when we are on our own is because we feel as though it is our responsibility to do so, however when there are other people around, our responsibilities get divided amongst that group, and therefore we do not feel the need for us specifically to do something because we assume that someone else will take care of it anyway. Another reason why bystandarism happens is because of audience inhibition. As individuals we fear sticking out, and this stops us from offering help when no one else is, since we tend to feel safer and stronger when amongst the majority, thus we are more likely to follow what other people are doing and not do anything in such situations.

The will to help, or arousal, as well as mood can be a factor that can lead to an individual helping or not. Strong arousal and good moods can make people act ethically without any social influences getting in the way; proving that our emotions decide a lot on how we act. In addition to that, knowing that the other person (who is in need of help) is similar to you in any way, whether that be gender, race, or position wise, we feel more empathetic, resulting to us helping them. Consequences and reward is also something we consider before doing something, and the greater the consequence the less likely you are to act, while the greater the reward, the opposite.

While we like to believe that we would take action when people require help, these factors can seem a lot more intimidating when in the spotlight, and it becomes difficult for us to ignore our instinct and do what we originally said we would.

There are two different theories on why people help others when it puts them at a possible risk, which goes again our nature to survive. One idea is that we help others because of our prosocial behavior, which is when we ‘intend to benefit others’, including ourselves. Many prosocial behaviors can be motivated to make yourself feel good, or in other words egoistic motivation. On the other hand, altruism is the act of helping someone without expecting anything in return. We may decide to help others when we are concerned with their well being, and when we wish to do something to make their current situation better. Altruism is selflessness, while prosocial behavior is valuing yourself more than others

The act of helping can be triggered by many things, and the strongest one being empathy. Human are said to feel empathy when we ‘perceive the other person to be in need’ and studies by Daniel Batson has supported this idea by suggesting that we tend to feel more eager towards helping others when we are able to perceive the difference between someone’s current and potential state. We then continue to evaluate the possible rewards we can receive from helping, and both of these factors are egotistical; it is mostly conclusions for our benefit and from our point of view. However, people can also successfully manage to ‘adopt the perspective of the person in need’ and place themselves in the other’s shoes, regardless of whether they are correct or wrong, which goes by the hypothetical definition of empathy. The closer and more affected you are to the person and by their needs, the more willing you will be to help. The prior because our kin’s are valued and prioritized more, and the latter because it helps you relate and therefore generates empathy.

Just recently I gave my seat to a pregnant woman on a crowded train, and this was because I felt that she was uncomfortable and stressed by having to bear being shoved with a baby in her stomach. Although I cannot understand and feel the weight of a baby, I have felt tired and uncomfortable, and I gave up my seat because I was concerned about the welfare of both the mother and the baby, and I knew not sitting was manageable for me than it would have been for her, so I offered her my seat without any hesitation.

 

Twins Separated at Birth

Two identical twins, Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein, were unknowingly separated at birth and were observed in a twin study. They reunited at the age of 35, and found out they both worked as film critics, liked the same movie,  and had written for their respective high school newspaper, despite being raised in completely different situations with just one common ground of living in New York.

Nature vs Nurture

Human behavior can be defined and influenced by many factors, including genetics, surrounding environment, culture, social connection, and much more. If so, is human behavior something that is naturally coded into our bodies, or is it something that we learn through different experiences, and through so-called ‘rules of society’? The idea behind the nature vs nurture debate is exactly that, and many experimental studies have been tested to favor either the one or the other.

Despite there being two completely opposite ideas on what makes a person act a certain way, I think both nature and nurture have equal effects on human behavior. The Hines study, where monkeys were tested to see what gender toy they would pick, definitely suggested the possible theory of naturally formed personalities, because female monkeys were indeed attracted to girly toys, whilst the male monkeys had preferred more mechanical toys when those monkeys had no prior knowledge of such objects and their purpose, therefore were not influenced by the gender stereotypical views of society. On the other hand, the Cambridge study showed that people were quick to others based on their gender, as many adults chose to offer the babies the toys commonly associated with their sex even against the baby’s protests, proposing the concept of society’s views having an effect on how human’s perceive and behave.

I also found the documentary on why black athletes often dominate sprinting events to be very interesting. The video explained how almost four thousand years ago, during the time of slavery, Black people were the ones who had to endure harsh labor and malnutrition, and because of that, through generation and generation, only the strongest were able to survive and give birth to children, which eventually evolved Black people to be more fit and agile than other races. I do agree to this idea, because I believe species are constantly evolving and adapting in order to survive, but in addition to that, I think geography and economics have a lot to do with individual human strengths as well. African countries on average have higher altitudes in comparison to countries such as America, and maybe such differences have effects on stamina and fitness levels. Also, sports such as rugby and tennis require expensive and specialized equipments, while sports such as running and basketball don’t need so much, or can be substituted with a cheaper alternative, and perhaps wealth determines the kind of activities people are introduced to, as people of African countries tend to have a lower income than those of European countries.

All of these propositions are plausible answers to why humans behave the way they do, why each person reacts differently, and why they choose to express their feelings unlike none other, and I believe all of it plays a role in dictating our behavior in one way or another, because our ancestors, genetic parents, friends, experiences, cultures, and languages make us who we are.

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