Portfolio 1

A5- Topic Proposal

I would like my topic to be antibiotic resistance. Lately (before the swine flu pandemic stole the spotlight), concerns about antibiotic resistant strains causing deadly infections started grabbing media attention. Since the discovery of penicillin, bacterial infections in countries such as the United States have been very east to take care of. These new resistant strains are causing concern, especially in hospitals, where people are dying from secondary infections that they contract during their stay. Researchers are arguing that the over use of antibiotics is causing the emergence of these resistant strains, through means of natural selection. We've learned a little bit about bacterial resistance in biology, and it interests me, because my I'm a bio major, with a focus in pre-med. My concerns with this topic is that to explain it fully, I'll have to give a lot of background information on the inner workings of bacteria and antibiotics, which might detract from my topic.

Possible Research Questions:
1.) What is antibiotic resistance?
2.) What causes antibiotic resistance?
3.) Is it a new problem, and if so, why is it happening now?
4.) What can we do to prevent/fix the problem?

Maybe I can start with "how to antibiotics work?." I feel like it's necessary to explain, but like I said above, I don't know if it detracts from my topic.

Maddie -- In the introduction part of your paper, you will definitely want to explain how antibiotics work. I have had students write papers similar to this in the past and it doesn't take as long as you might think to explain it, as long as you try to simplify the idea. Don't worry too much about that. Your questions and focus seem narrowed enough. I like the focus on resistant strains of bacteria -- this is where the argument will likely be. I think you will answer your first three questions in the introduction of the paper, and then the rest should focus on what people are saying the "solution" is. -- Leah

Rain Etymology

The word “rain” originates from the Old English word “reģn”, which comes from the Proto-Germanic word “regna.” It is a cognate with Old Saxon “regan”, and High Old German “regan”. It originates from the Proto-Indo-European suffix “reg-“, meaning moist or wet. The formal definition of the noun is: Condensed water falling from a cloud. It can also be used as a verb, meaning “to rain.”
In scientific terms, rain is liquid precipitation. It plays a role in the water cycle, which consists of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. For many parts of the world, it is the main source of fresh water. It provides water for drinking, hydroelectricity, and crop irrigation. For meteorological purposes, rain is measured with by rate of millimeters per hour, and can then be classified in categories ranging from “very light rain” to “extreme rain.”
Cultural attitudes towards rain vary by region. In temperate regions, such as Europe and the United States, where rain is an expendable resource, negative connotations are associated with the word rain. Examples of this are present in children’s rhymes, such as “Rain Rain Go Away” where rain is seen as sad and negative in contrast with the bright, happy sun. Rain can also bring joy, as many see it as soothing, spiritual, or even romantic experience. In dryer regions, such as Africa and India, rain is celebrated, especially in areas where agriculture plays a large role in the economy. In popular culture, raindrops are often depicted as teardrop shaped. In actuality, raindrops are spherical in shape, becoming flatter as they increase in size.
There are many phrases containing the word “rain.” When it is raining heavily, it is said to “rain cats and dogs”, a phrase from 1738, which is still in use today. “Rainmaker” refers to tribal magicians that were said to control the weather. This term was first recorded in 1775. “Raincoat”, a jacket used to protect one from the rain first appeared in the 1830’s. “Rain check” was first used in the 1884’s, in relation to tickets of rained-out baseball games, and is now a popular phrase in retail relating to buying something at a later date that has been sold out. To “rain on someone’s parade”, or to spoil something for someone, is another phrase still in use today, which originates from 1941. Today, acid rain is a major environmental concern. It refers to polluted precipitation that has corrosive properties, and causes harm to ecosystems, especially those of aquatic nature.

Top 5 Editing Errors
-MLA style
-Misplaced modifiers
-Active voice
-Comma use

Stop the Clock, by Amy Wu

In Amy Wu's "Stop the Clock", she discusses the issue of today's youth rushing through life, opting for time-saving conveniences and squandering the time they have saved. Her thesis is implicit, and is reinforced at the end of the piece with the statement "Sure, my generation has all the technological advances at our fingertips....But what are we really saving it for? In the end, we may lose more then we've gained by forgetting the important things in life." She opens the piece with a description of visiting her aunt's house, covering the aspects of her aunt's ability to cook, clean, and keep house. She proceeds to provide contrast by stating that she is "a failure at housework", and introduces the concept that the generation she is a member of is obsessed with saving time, without much of a reason why. She explains how she and her friends saw the efforts of people like her aunt as worthless. She then mentions how her aunt's happiness made her see the value of putting the time and energy into every day tasks. She concludes the piece by describing the joy she felt preparing a home cooked meal for her family.
The author persuades the reader using logos, ethos, and pathos. Logos is present when she provides examples of the time saving conveniences her generation has grown accustomed to, such as the instant breakfast machine, plastic utensils, e-mail, disposable contacts, and Internet field trips. She also states the the time that she and her friends is not used for worthwhile activities, such as volunteering, it is used for leisure purposes. This appeals to logic. Ethos is established throughout the piece by her personal experiences. She is the expert in the situation because she is living it. Her descriptions of her aunt also apply to ethos because of the tendency to trust hard-working people. The examples above also convey pathos, because they make the reader feel guilty about rushing through life. The emotional appeal is also present at the conclusion of the essay when she describes the feelings of pride and happiness she got from taking the time to cook dinner, hand wash her clothes, and write a letter to a friend.
This article was originally published in Newsweek in the "My Turn" column. Given the nature of this column, the audience was most likely the average american. She says "my generation" rather than "our generation", suggesting that the reader she is speaking to could vary in age. She is addressing people of her generation, identifying the problem of rushing through life, as well as people from her aunt's generation, praising them for their hard work.
Her weaknesses lie in her ability to use logos and pathos in her article. While she gives examples, and provides logical arguments, she doesn't have a lot of concrete facts. There is no numerical evidence present what so ever in her piece. There are many statistics that have been published that she could have related to her topic to give it a stronger logical appeal. Pathos is also lacking. Besides the slight guilt felt in regards to all of the time saving conveniences, and the feelings of pleasure she conveys at the end of the piece, the essay does not provoke in the reader very much of an emotional response. Because of the strong nature of pathos, and it's abilities to evoke an enormous response in the reader, Wu should have uses more pathos in her article to further instill her point.
Despite the weaknesses, Wu's piece possessed enough strengths to make it an overall strong and persuasive essay. Her use of specific examples and evidence convince the reader of her thesis. She uses many personal stories to identify with the reader, and to establish herself as an expert in the subject. She relies heavily on ethos to do this. She is honest, and makes her point very clearly without being too wordy. Her identification with the younger audience, as well as her respect for the older generation make her a very likable author. For this reason, the reader is more inclined to believe what she is saying, and is more likely to take the point she is making to heart. Her use of ethos convinces the reader to take action, to slow down and realize the important things in life.