[Your Daily Cuppa–The “Right” Way]

I started this blog with a cup of tea, and I feel it’s only fitting to end it with a cup of tea. Buzzfeed (don’t judge me; it’s week 10) did a lovely little piece on “The Definitive, Scientific Way To Make a Cup of Tea” which outlines 9 ways in which to properly make a cup of tea.I disagree with a a few of them, mostly because I make my tea the way I want and it works well for me. For example, that you should only boil enough water for the amount of tea you plan to consume. Sure, it will save a little bit of energy, but it is really enough of an issue to grapple with? I don’t think so. I also think that you should be able to add your milk and sugar whenever you gosh darn please. I’m a firm believer in the fact that tea should be a soothing thing to remove stress from your life–not add to it. What about you, my fellow tea drinkers? Do you think there is a right/wrong way to brew tea? Also, just because I’m curious, how strong do you like your tea?

Source: http://www.buzzfeed.com/kellyoakes/the-definitive-scientific-way-to-make-a-cup-of-tea

[BookCon is a Thing]

Source: themusesantacruz.com

Comic Con, WonderCon, VidCon, and now BookCon. What a time to be alive.

For those of you who might not know, Comic Con and WonderCon are both conventions celebrating the creation and appreciation of all things geeky, from movies and tv shows to graphic novels. VidCon is a convention for YouTubers and their fans. And now English nerds, rejoice, because we have finally gotten BookCon.

BookCon debuted this past weekend as a branch of Book Expo America, an event specifically for those in the book industry. Until this year, BEA didn’t cater to consumers. Now, they can. And in similar fashion to Comic Con, they had authors and organizations show up to do panels for their readers.

This is exciting stuff! As an avid reader myself, this brings me great joy. The whole notion of hanging out with a bunch of other book nerds, listening to authors talk about their work, getting my books signed, etc. is awesome. I love that BEA is creating this opportunity for readers to get involved more directly with their passion. Of course, being the first year, there were some difficulties and inconveniences, but it was successful enough that BEA wants to continue to pursue BookCon, which means there is time for and room for improvement. It can only get better the more they do it.

Sources: http://www.vulture.com/2014/05/great-bookcon-experiment.html / http://www.vulture.com/2014/06/bookcons-debut-was-chaotic-but-promising.html


[Congrats Grads!]

Graduation season is upon us, and that means accomplishments all over are being recognized. As I was scrolling through news articles today, I came across two that were along the same lines: Celebrities graduating. Okay, yes. This is probably really trivial, but there is also something notable about it. Both Emma Watson and Cody Simpson graduated this week, one from Brown and the other as a high school valedictorian. Frankly, I think this is awesome. These are two incredibly successful and globally popular young people who still saw the importance of education. It is refreshing to see someone with that much fame around them doing something productive–getting an education–instead of flying off the handle as so many young celebrities have the unfortunate habit of doing. This is the type of recognition I love hearing about, that should be widely broadcasted. It seems that young celebrities are the role models that a lot of young people look up to, so it’s nice to hear that some of them are actually setting a positive example. I have the utmost respect for both Watson and Simpson for making the commitment to finish school despite having a successful career without a degree.  

Cody Simpson graduates high school. (Credit: Instagram)


Sources: https://movies.yahoo.com/news/emma-watson-graduates-dont-mean-hogwarts-195400960.html


[In Conclusion…]

McKee decided to conclude his book by tying everything together in a neat little bow. He reiterates everything he’d discussed in the last five chapters, and exudes an optimistic perspective on the public sphere and the five issues pertaining to it. His main point is that we all get along, and the issues of trivialization, commercialization, fragmentation, spectacle, and apathy allow members within the public sphere and even different public spheres to do so. From his postmodern perspective, each of these issues has an effective role in our society, while from the modern perspective, they are negative things. I didn’t 100% agree with everything McKee said over the course of this book, but I do think he had some good points in his arguments. It is interesting to see how both perspectives function in the public sphere and how my perspective weighs in.

What are your thoughts, overall? Do you think McKee’s writing was effective? Accurate? How can you use what you’ve read in your own experience with the public sphere?

[Feeling Apathetic]

Source: notesfromasouthernkitchen.com

We have finally reached the last chapter in Alan McKee’s The Public Sphere: An Introduction. And in this final chapter he talks about apathy. Or he claims to talk about apathy. There was less discussion about apathy towards the public sphere and more discussion about the notion of “youth culture”. Which I guess sort of makes sense because youth are often accused of being apathetic. However, there wasn’t really a whole lot about the youth culture being apathetic or not. It seemed to be more about the fact that you spend a lot of time on the internet, and the “modernists” don’t see how that is a potentially good thing. McKee argues that people today participate in the public sphere mostly through the means provided by the internet, and that is perfectly acceptable. Which it is. Of course, he also goes on to say that people aren’t as apathetic as we think they are; they just participate through different means.

I don’t deny the fact that the internet allows the opportunity for greater participation, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we always take advantage of it. In my little corner of the internet, people seem extremely apathetic towards the things of the public sphere–particularly politics. The internet allows the option for participation, but it also allows for a whole lot of other stuff that seems to take priority. I personally disagree with McKee. I think that yes. We are generally an apathetic culture, based on what I see…does this seem true for anyone else? Are your online experiences similar to mine? Or should I just be looking for new, non-apathetic friends?

[An Alternative to Remediation?]

Source: www.nerdwallet.com

It’s no secret that college is a whole different world than high school. In his article “Who Gets to Graduate?”, Paul Tough looks at the University of Texas in Austen, and how one Chemistry professor and one psychological researcher are reaching out to help get and keep “disadvantaged” students on track for graduating, without putting them in remedial classes. David Laude, the Chem prof, started off by noticing a large group of students in his introductory Chemistry class were struggling. Instead of jumping to the conclusion that they were not good students and shoving them into remedial courses, he took them and put them in a separate class. He taught the same material at the same level, but with a smaller class size. He also offered greater opportunities for outside help and mentorship, and it wasn’t long before these students were doing just as well as the students in the larger class.

From here, Laude partnered with psychological researcher David Yeager to see how they could help the entirety of incoming freshmen in this way. Basically, they’ve come up with a program that allows decent students that have a fairly good academic history, but come from minority groups, less financially stable backgrounds, or are first-generation the same opportunities that Laude gave his Chemistry students. The key, however, is to not let them know how they were selected to be in this program. He says, “Select the students who are least likely to do well, but in all your communications with them, convey the idea that you have selected them for this special program not because you fear they will fail, but because you are confident they can succeed.” This program is to help students succeed without them feeling as though they are less intelligent, which is often the case with “remedial” students.

This was an excellent article. It was lengthy, but if you have the time, I would highly recommend reading it, especially if you are planning to become a teacher at some point. Laude and Yeager are doing what they can to attack stereotypes of certain demographics of students, and give them the same opportunities to succeed that the “more advantaged” students have. Their research is still ongoing, and I am interested to see how it works in the long run. It could be a huge step forward in higher education. This blog was not comprehensive by any means, so I hope that you are willing to take the time to read the article for yourselves. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. 

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/18/magazine/who-gets-to-graduate.html?_r=0

[Cat Attack Trumps Dog Attack]

Cat Rescues Child From Dog Attack In Driveway, Makes Best GIF Ever

Gif Source: http://jalopnik.com/cat-rescues-child-from-dog-attack-in-driveway-makes-be-1576282099

There’s no doubt that animals can form a special bond with their humans. But cats, well, with cats there is absolutely no guarantee. So when I found this story about a cat saving her young boy from a dog attack, I was skeptical. In my experience, cats really don’t care about you. They grace you with their presence, but they do things for their own benefit, and on their own terms. If I had ever gotten attacked by a dog like this, my cat would probably just sit there watching. Although, she does enjoy terrorizing my dog, so there is that, but I can’t imagine that she would come to my rescue.

And while I do believe that animals are significantly more intelligent than we often give them credit for, I am by no means an expert. So there is a part of me that wonders if this was just a cat terrorizing a dog at the opportune moment. That’s not to say it isn’t possible, I just don’t think it’s probable. Your thoughts? Do you think she’s a kitty hero? Or was this just a fluke?

Source: http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/cameras-catch-family-cat-taking-dog-bit-boy-224251670–abc-news-topstories.html?vp=1