Thursday, November 29, 2007

Judge me not, oh rightous one!

My question is simple: Who is a better judge of psychological and sociological problems? Is it better to try and self diagnose, or is it better to have a professional do it?
Please remember to justify your answers.

Harvard IAT

Simple Question...

What did you learn about yourself when considering the Harvard IAT results?
What do you think this activity says about perception as a way of knowing?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Black KKK

This article is about the death of football player Sean Taylor.

I don't mean to be offensive but this is an article that touches on the African-American society and the internal problems that they face from Hip-Hop culture. The author focuses on the problems with the praising of negative aspects including gangs and shunning academic excellence. He blames this for keeping the black community down in a similar fashion to that of the KKK in the 1800s.

What are your views on this article?
Does your background and inexperience in this area of American society hurt your understanding, if so in what ways?

If a white person wrote this same article how would this change the reaction to the article? How do your prejudices factor into your answer?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Campaign Weight Gain

Very interesting video..... The video is called "Campaign Weight Gain"

Why do the presidential have to pretend that they like to eat unhealthy food to relate to "the common person"? Do we see our political leaders as representing the good and the bad of American culture? Shouldn't they represent only the good, be the person you look up to?

Art, Symbols, and Culture

How well does art translate across culture? In the images above (taken from , a site detailing works of "street art," an evolution of graffiti), how universal is the "thought bubble" symbol? (Just for clarification, the bubbles have been placed there in the real world, the photo is primarily to document the work.) If you were from a different culture or time period, would the piece still have the same meaning, if it had any meaning at all? Post (or link to, I'm not 100% on how this whole thing works) some more examples of symbols or artwork that do/do not translate cross-culturally, I'd be interested to see what you guys think. Another thing to consider: how are we limited in our experience of this work, seeing as how it is a three dimensional work in the real world, and we only have two pictures? How about the fact that a work like this is unlikely to last longer than a week? (Out of curiosity, what do you think that the man is thinking? What about him/the environment he's in (clothing, appearance, posture, climate, etc.) influences what you would guess?)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Opposing ethical standards

Think of a dilemma that concerns opposing ethical standards. Which one is chosen to follow over the other? Who holds the authority to determine which standards to abide by and which to disregard? Give specific examples...

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Picture is Worth a thousand Words and Secrets?

Read this Article on three sets of controversial photos that "have defined this war so far." Its very interesting to see the controversial topics regarding the war and seeing them through photographs (to be interpreted) instead of just media garble. This article gives a more realistic perspective on the war and shows how much the American people don't even know. As we have been talking about in class, how do these pictures personally affect you prior to reading the article? After reading the article, to what extent is it true? How does the media's bias and limitations of knowledge on the war affect us? Explain...
Have a great Turkey day
(and for the vegetarians good everything else day)
~Janessa Malisani

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mercy Killings

Click the link above to get some background on rationale behind mercy killings.

After reading the article do you think that in certain situations mercy killings should be allowed to preserve the dignity of the person?
Please justify your answers? Is you decision based off of personal experiences, morals, religious preachings, etc?

If so, what were those situations?

Food for Thought:
If a pet that you owned was in extreme pain would you euthanize them to preserve their dignity and prevent further suffering?
How are humans any different?


I was supposed to be hosting last week, but I got a little caught up in other things, but here's my post.
WE often find ourselves seeking the truth, but the actual truth itself is only half the fun.

Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it. ~Andre Gide

IS this a good philosophy? Those who seek the truth are doing what we all do, but those who find it, of course can't be trusted. It's an interesting idea.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Internationallity of Sense

Hello dear chaps, it is my week to host the blog, so I have a question to pose for you:

Is sense perception international? How does the answer to this question affect the way in which we view (or perhaps how we should view) the world as a whole? Remeber to justify your answers :)

Graffiti: Vandal Art?

As I know that if I started a post asking people to decide what art is and isn't, good and bad art, etc. I know that it would just turn into a huge argument despite the assertion that art is completly personal and cant be defined fully.

So instead, is graffiti art?
I dont mean the randomly spray painted "Assassinate Bush to lower gas prices" (if anyone saw that train...) but real tag (try the link), not just vandalism for the sake of letting your opinion be known.
Please don't reiterate our class conversation so far (7th period, I dont know about the other classes).

Can art be harmful (like vandalism) and yet still art? Should it be preserved or not?

Smear Campaign

After a presentation on sense perception in politics last week, I have been very intrigued by the role that smear campaigns play in the election of our political officers. As someone who has helped several candidates run for office in the House of Representatives, I wonder how effective and fair smear campaigns are. Everyone has a few skeletons in their closet, but most skeletons have little or now correlation to the way that the politician would run/aid in running our country.

Here are some interesting links that I found about smear campaigns and when/how they have been used:

My questions are:
-If we didn’t use our visual sense perception would smear campaigns still be affective and would the exterior appearance of the politician play such a key role in their election to office?
-Although smear campaigns (usually containing information taken out of context) are usually not properly justified true beliefs, why do people believe them?
-With the intense amount of press associated with political elections is all the information that we receive on the politicians too much knowledge or an invasion of privacy?
-Are politicians today playing the “emotion” card, by trying to visually appeal to the public or does the logic of the politician play a greater role?
-Finally, do you think that our country will ever elect a woman, a black person, a heavier person, or some type of minority as president?

Feel free to answer any of the questions or post any comments. Thanks, Rebecca Levy

Sunday, November 11, 2007

"Results of Death-Camp Experiments: Should They Be Used?"

Based on the homework assignment dealing with the Holocaust and those who were experimented on, what was your decision? Do you think this should be seen more as a moral issue or an ethical issue?

Armistice (Veteran's) Day

How has your experience and perception of war (especially World War I) influenced your feelings and understanding of Armistice Day?

Oceans in Peril

Around the world, ocean fisheries are in collapse. Whole species may be going extinct and yet the world's population continues to harvest this limited resource.

Read the article and formulate an opinion.

What may be a viable solution too this problem? If so what limitations does your solution pose and how do what beleifs factor into your view?

What do you think the human races position in with regards to the environment: stewards, players, etc?

Optical Illusions

Do optical illusions lose their coolness if they are explained? Or do they become cooler or not change?

[This might actually relate to 5th period's psychology presentation in a few weeks]

Friday, November 09, 2007

I just have this feeling . . .

What role does intuition play in our everyday life? In your life? How much should be really trust our intuition over logic, reason, authority, or experiance? how does intuition relate to sense perception? How does this relation affect the way we act and react? What are knowledge issues surrounding intuition?

Sorry I know that there are alot of questions there, but pick whichever you like. The ones about sense perception are most relevant to the class :)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

What AI is

What really is AI?

Ok so i know this sounds like a really nerdy question and i know this is 100% nerdy but what really is AI? Sure many people believe in the fact we have AI right now that is true. But what really is determined as an Artificial Intelligence? Something that can "auto-pilot" and maybe drive your car around is NOT considered an AI. If you think about it the "auto-Pilot" function is just a group of scripts in which is bunched up and used to determine the if|{x=Then statements. Theres also a difference between a Strong AI and a Weak AI. A strong AI is what many science fiction novels and ideas come off from. Its that function that the computer can have human-like characteristics and would have a knowledge capacity as big as the human brain or maybe even bigger. The whole idea of AI is actually a very gray area, in which could be defined as either Strong, Weak, or isn't an AI.

What do you guys think?

More AI Articles on Wikipedia

Show me...

Quick: Do the sentences "Show me." and "Seeing is believing." express the same idea?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

International Blog

The new international blog is now up...

It might take a little while to get going since we are waiting for other schools to jump in... so help me out.

If you have any good ideas for posts to an international community, do one of the following...

1. Come see me and post using my account at school
2. E-mail me your post and I'll post it for you... write it, sign it, everything. I'll just put it online.

There are over 1000 students potentially on this so we aren't inviting everyone personally but anyone can comment... just sign it. If you plan on posting a lot, let me know and I'll invite you.

Otherwise, it is optional... those of you willing, join in. I hope it will allow you to explore a whole new side of TOK.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

"Lost in Translation": How we perceive culture's through language translation

When one watches TV, they will sometimes see an Arab, or a Chinese person, or a foreigner in general speak. Their language is translated, but is not necessarily accurate. How has/can a situation like this affect our view(s) of other cultures and their morals?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Perception and -isms

Share any "Ahas" (revelations) or "Hmms" (curiosities) you may have encountered when considering your own (or another student's) perception and stereotypes we discussed after Crash.

This may include stereotypes regarding race, age, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

Role of Language in Crash

What role did language play in the movie Crash?
How did specific language barriers or differences in dialect contribute to the interactions of characters?

Perception in Crash

Give an example of how perception was used as a way of knowing by a specific character in Crash. What knowledge issues affected how they percieved the world around? Explain.

Characters in Crash

Which of the characters in Crash do you feel was the most ethical?
Which was the least ethical?

Choose an action/behavior and explain how you feel that the character would justify it in the movie.

Crash Review

Follow the link to Roger Ebert's review of Crash.
Read and React... What do you think? Agree/Disagree?

As always... justify.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

This is a movie about global warming (which is really global climate change) and how Al Gore is trying to tell America to step it up and save the world. If you would like backgroup because you have not seen this movie please go to or just go to block buster and rent it! I just saw this movie a couple of days ago and had a light bub above my head when I noticed how many times Al Gore used his knowers perspective (half the time it didn't even relate to global warming but it seemed like a TOK essay in a way, not a good TOK essay, but an attempt to make one. After watching this movie or website's movie what sort of POK's are present? Are there any steps missing like there is no justification or the logic behind it is wrong or even the WOK's are even present in his arguement. Is this movie even worth of earning Al Gore a Noble Peace Prize? Tell me what you think, I curious if I am the only onethat thinks this movie is like Arcadia with some of the peoples journeys to prove something is the wrong way to do everything.

Liberal or Conservative?

When taking bias into account, everyone should recognize where they lie on the political specturm. Especially with the freedom of the press in the United States, viewpoints are thrown at you constantly, and most have bias according to how liberal or conservative the reporter or company is. The attached is a quiz that shows where you are on the spectrum. After taking the quiz, are you surprised at where you stand? Do your political beliefs taint your view of world events? I don't mean do you agree or disagree with the war in Iraq, but with everyday news like the police officer getting killed in a donut shop robbery, does your response reflect your political bias? How?