The Missing Details of “The Handmaid’s Tale” Reveal as much about Gilead as they Leave Out

“Close analytical reading requires the ability to embrace and tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty.” In other words, in order to analyse and understand a book, you have to embrace and analyse the parts of the story that are uncertain, and examine why certain details may have been left out. This is true of a book I read recently, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Many parts of the story are unclear: the ending in which (spoiler alert!) Offred is taken away in a black van that might belong to either the resistance or the Eyes; the size and exact location of Gilead; the whereabouts of people Offred used to know. 

Atwood’s style of writing The Handmaid’s Tale was deliberately similar to a person’s stream of consciousness in order to mimic Offred’s inner monologue as events unfolded around her. We only see things from her perspective (except in the epilogue), so the narrator is limited rather than omniscient. The difference is that while an omniscient narrator knows things the protagonist does not and can provide exposition, the limited narrator does not. Offred’s knowledge of the world around her is limited by her position as a handmaid and as a woman, just as her wings restrict her vision and prevent her from hearing and passing on information.

wings
“The phrase ‘in the dark’, as I’m sure you know, can refer not only to one’s shadowy surroundings, but also to the shadowy secrets of which one might be unaware.” -Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events. Image credit: Digital Trends

The result of this is that the audience feels the same way Offred does and can sympathize with her, as they have many of the same questions as she does about the details of the regime and the future of the characters. The novel is a reminder to its readers that knowledge is power, and by taking away its citizens’ knowledge, Gilead also rendered them powerless. After all, controlling what people can read, and whether they can read at all, is a key tactic used by countless dictators to gain control.

However, these missing details themselves help us to understand Gilead from the perspective of Offred, or anyone else living there. The Handmaid’s Tale is written only from Offred’s perspective, and thus the audience can feel as if they are with her, and feel as hopeless and frustrated with the lack of information as she did. The uncertainty also gives clues as to how oppressive the regime was.

For further reading about Margaret Atwood’s thoughts on what the ending of her book means, read this article: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/jan/20/handmaids-tale-margaret-atwood

For further reading about the events that inspired The Handmaid’s Tale, check out this link: https://www.stylist.co.uk/books/handmaids-tale-channel-4-tv-show-spoilers-books-real-life-true-events-margaret-atwood-elisabeth-moss/130001

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To what extent does cultural understanding affect what is considered ethical?

Cultural appropriation causes controversy among different societies and cultures, and is an inevitable topic of discussion especially during Halloween. In October of this year, a Brooklyn mother wrote a blog telling parents not to dress up their children as Moana, because using traditional Polynesian clothing and art as a Halloween costume does not express the respect and understanding that the culture deserves. Her post sparked outrage among other parents who insist that their kids are just having fun and in no way have the intention to disrespect another culture. Therefore, we wanted a question that leads us to discuss when it is ethical to use another person’s culture, which is made up of historical knowledge and emotional attachment to cultural items and celebrations. People feel offended when an individual uses their culture for the sake of entertainment, but can what they claim to be cultural appropriation be ethically excused as children’s’ naivety? This led us to our Knowledge Question: “To what extent does cultural understanding affect what is considered ethical?”

Let’s define some key terms we will be using:

Culture: Something that a society grows with, and therefore learns about its traditions, relations, history, among many others that define different cultures and what makes one so different from another.

Ethics/Ethical: There are many types of ethics, but generally, it is the study of what is considered being ‘right’ and what is considered being ‘wrong’

Naive/Naivety: Showing lack of wisdom or judgement/Innocent

One way of deciding whether or not something is ethical is to consider and understand the historical context behind it. Historically, many cultures were oppressed by others by, for example, being banned from wearing traditional clothing and practicing their religion. People who accuse others of cultural appropriation often explain that the people appropriating the culture are, intentionally or not, perpetuating that oppression. They are also considered hypocritical, because while people from the dominant culture continue to mock the oppressed culture’s traditions, they use things like items of clothing and religious symbols as trendy accessories or decorations. One example of historical cultural appropriation and oppression is the use of blackface in cinema. White actors would paint their faces black and act in a demeaning way to exclude black people from the film industry. The same was true for Asians: White actors would squint and “act asian” in order to exclude Asians from cinema. There is therefore sensitivity around changing the color of one’s skin or otherwise changing one’s physical appearance to mimic a person from another culture or ethnicity.

 

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Emotional attachment to a culture is similar to historical understanding of it; the society’s culture is special to them and they feel offended if someone disrespects it, especially without understanding it. Emotional attachment is what makes a culture special to an individual. If another individual comes along and shows disdain towards an admired culture, it would be an outrage. Emotional attachments to a culture are shown in many ways, therefore stereotyping a culture is unrealistic and demeaning. When an individual has no emotional attachment, they see no wrong in disrespecting it; creating stereotypes and pushing it down as inferior to their culture, sometimes even using harm and violence to establish this status! This establishment is evident in the world today, especially with the Muslims, but shows how limited emotional attachment to and understanding of a culture leads to a mentality that it is okay to belittle the culture.

Another reason why somebody might use other people’s culture in entertainment is naivety. This mainly applies to children and sometimes their parents, or anyone else who doesn’t think that using another culture is offensive. A child who has not yet learned the historical and cultural context of their halloween costume may choose something that is in bad taste. Some people say that it is the parent’s responsibility to use this as an opportunity to teach their child about culture, whereas others believe that we should just let kids have fun. The case for this argument is that discussing race and culture will only teach children that other races are very different from them, however, if the child is wearing something that could be offensive to another person, they should learn that some topics are more sensitive than others and should not be used merely for aesthetics or a joke.

Our knowledge of the historical and cultural context behind an item or action help us to decide what is ethical. It’s important to know the historical context for something so that you don’t accidentally reference a terrible historical event or custom such as blackface. It’s also important to know that some cultures have strong emotional connections to certain items that should be understood and respected by others. Though some people say that it is ethical for a child to do something unethical because they don’t know any better, these moments are the best to teach the child about cultural understanding.

Screenshot 2017-12-05 09.32.51Due to our historical and cultural understanding, we believe that it is ethical to dress up as Moana for Halloween, assuming it is done right. Children wear the Moana costume not for the culture’s aesthetics, but for the love of the character, the need to share its amazing culture and to empower a Polynesian princess, and therefore don’t have a connection to cultural stereotypes. However, they should not change the color of their skin to look like her, because this is a reference to blackface. Parents who are up for it can also use the opportunity to learn with their child about the significance of Polynesian clothing, symbols, and the true story of Moana (That’s right, she’s an actual historical figure.).

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After the film Moana was released, Disney created a Maui bodysuit for children to dress up in, complete with all of the body art. Some people argued that the body art held cultural meaning and that the suit was appropriating it, but others say that it’s Maui’s main recognisable trait and can ethically be worn by children who admire the character. Again, if possible, parents and their children should learn the significance of Polynesian body art. The problem with the costume, however, was that it was brown, and thus referenced blackface.

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Finally, something that does not have the same reason of wearing a costume for the character or achievements is the ‘Call me Caitlyn’ costume, or the person formerly known as Bruce Jenner. She decided to go through a gender changing process, a very sensitive and modern topic that many people make fun of. This costume implies that transgender women are only men in drag, and is therefore harmful to transgender people. This type of halloween costume is an example on how disrespect and insensitivity can unfortunately shine through on Halloween.

Those Darn Millennials Are Ruining Everything – And English is their Next Target!

Older generations have always loved to criticise the younger ones. One thing they especially love to blame young people for is language change, which they perceive as negative.

Complaints about young people changing language or using it improperly go back a long time…

“Many do not know the alphabet … cannot write grammatically, and seem to have been trained to hate mental exercise … often they cannot read intelligently and dislike any reading.” – English professor at a small college, 1956

“The total neglect of this art [speaking] has been productive of the worst consequences…in the conduct of all affairs ecclesiastical and civil, in church, in parliament, courts of justice…the wretched state of elocution is apparent to persons of any discernment and taste… if something is not done to stop this growing evil …English is  likely to become a mere jargon, which every one may pronounce as he pleases.” – Preface of A General Dictionary of the English Language, 1780

The quotes above seem to show that young people have never known how to write properly. I believe, however, that older generations have simply been perceiving changes in the English language as mistakes, rather than as evolution.

So, how are young people “ruining” English this time? The latest criticism is that because of the conventions of texting, such as abbreviations and leaving out punctuation, nobody knows how to write properly anymore. There is, however, something they may not have considered: Texting is not writing, but written speech.

Disney happy disney thanksgiving sloth GIF
Credit: https://gph.is/1MTomkM

Because of this, it follows the typical conventions of speech much more closely than it follows those of writing. Speech tends to be much more casual and is usually a fast paced back-and-forth conversation between two or more people. When texting first became possible, it therefore faced the problem that traditional writing was too slow to keep the conversation moving. People began to use shortcuts in order to speed things up and make texting more closely resemble speech, which is its purpose. Shortened versions of words, abbreviations and the absence of capitalization or punctuation are found in text messages as they make “written speech” more efficient without diminishing understanding.

Btw, there is one more way that texting conventions can benefit those who use them. Studies often show that there are incredible cognitive benefits to being bilingual, bidialectal, or to having the ability to code-switch. Code-switching is essentially defined as the ability to switch between more than one language to suit your intended audience. The fact that young people today are so easily able to do this shows higher, not lower, intelligence.

Finally, there will always be common mistakes in language. Some current examples include the phrases “I could care less” (I couldn’t care less), “could of” (could have/could‘ve), but I wouldn’t be too quick to assume that these errors stem from millennials texting. In his 2001 book “Mr. Paradise”, Elmore Leonard wrote the sentence “We could’ve settled, the city pays out a few bucks, it wouldn’t of cost you a dime.” At the time this book was published, Leonard would have been over 75 years old.

Texting is not degrading the English language. It is, rather, a sort of English dialect that benefits those who use it alongside ordinary writing. Nobody who texts believes that it would be appropriate to use “r” instead of “are”, or “tho” instead of “though”, in an essay or a formal email. Language has always evolved, and change is what happens to a language that is thriving. English doesn’t need saving. The paper napkin industry, however, is in real jeopardy. Oh no! The millennials have struck again!

Do you agree with me? How do you think emojis fit into this idea of “written speech”? Leave a comment! I’d be interested to read your thoughts.

If you’re interested, you can watch this TED talk by John McWhorter on texting or read this blog post that explains why people write “could of” when they mean “could’ve”.

Liberalism vs. Realism

Liberalism vs. Realism

What is power?

Power is the ability to influence the actions of others. But there’s more to it than that. Who should have it? Should it be shared, or kept? How much should you have? How should it be acquired? These are some of the questions that people attempt to answer by creating theories of power. The two main ones are realism and liberalism. Let’s take a moment to discuss each of these. Which is more successful in today’s world?

Realism is the idea that each state will only act in their own self-interest. Structural realism, in particular, argues that it is the nature of the global political system, with no one government in charge of all states, which causes states to act selfishly. A structural realist believes that interdependence between states should be kept to a minimum, as, when it comes down to it, states will be quick to turn on each other when things get rough. For this reason, realists tend to rely on hard power, such as military threats and sanctions, to achieve their goals. From a realist perspective, states thrive on conflict, as this is the most effective way to gain power.

The invasion of Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein had mixed results. It was a largely a unilateral action by the United States. The goal of overthrowing Hussein was certainly achieved, however, we must ask ourselves, what was the cost of such an action? The resulting power vacuum has meant years of political instability in Iraq, even to this day. When weighing the costs and benefits, there is disagreement over whether or not it was worth it to remove Hussein from power. But perhaps the end result could have been more positive had the United States used a more liberalist strategy in dealing with this issue.

US President Donald Trump has been using a realist strategy in his handling of the growing threat of North Korea. As you may already know, North Korea has recently been strengthening its nuclear arsenal and has been testing missiles more and more frequently. In response, Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury”, dangerously escalating an already tense situation between the two states. Trump’s goal is to defeat North Korea in a show of strength, rather than to strike a deal with its authoritarian regime. As both states are showing more and more willingness to declare war, the citizens of each country are left hanging in the balance. Though the outcome of the situation still remains to be seen, in my opinion, the very fact that the situation has become so tense indicates a failure of realism.

Liberalism is a theory that emerged after WWII with intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations. It states that in order to prevent such conflict from happening again, it is necessary for states (and NGOs such as businesses) to work together to achieve common goals where each party has something to gain. Liberals prefer to rely on soft power, such as diplomacy and trade, to achieve their goals. They are not opposed to the use of force but prefer to first exhaust every other possible option, as they believe that conflict can and should be prevented, while realists believe that conflict is inevitable.

The Paris Climate Agreement has largely been a success of liberalism in modern times. Currently, all countries but three have joined the cause to reduce their carbon emissions in order to slow (or even halt) the progression of global warming. With species becoming endangered or extinct, the ice caps melting, and rising sea levels already beginning to threaten small islands and coasts, climate change is clearly an extremely important issue for the world to collaboratively get behind. The commitment is a big step in the right direction for the world.

The United Nations was created after WWII mainly to prevent another war from breaking out. It has since expanded to take on many more tasks, such as improving human rights or handling the refugees of war zones or natural disasters. Critics of liberalism might call the United Nations a failure, saying that it is much too slow and bureaucratic to make any real difference when the world needs it most. If you are interested, click here for an evaluation of the United Nations as it reaches its 70th birthday.

 

 

In conclusion, both realism and liberalism, as theories of power, have their strengths and weaknesses. Realist foreign policy and unilateral action tend to get things done more quickly but can create dangerous, volatile situations for the states involved. On the other hand, though liberalist foreign policy can often mean a longer process, as more states must agree to any change, liberalism is more likely to evoke a positive, lasting change. Though certain situations may require different strategies, I am much more in favor of liberalist than realist theory. I believe that it is in states’ best interests to work together to achieve their goals.

Do you agree with my conclusion in this post, or, would you like to try to change my mind? Please leave a comment explaining your perspective on which theory is more relevant to today’s world. I would love to hear it!

Credit for featured image: Cairn by Kacper Gunia

Treat AAVE Like Swiss German

Treat AAVE Like Swiss German

The USA has a problem when it comes to education: the gap between black and white students. This gap is largely due to differences between African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) and Standard English that go untaught. When it then comes to testing, those who speak AAVE at home are at a significant disadvantage, because either the way the test questions are structured is unfamiliar to the student, or the structures of the answers of the student are unfamiliar to the grader. In America, most classes are taught assuming that everyone already knows the rules of Standard English grammar. Thus, the student may score poorly on the exams they take, despite knowing the answers as well as anyone else.

By contrast, I would like to talk about the system in the Swiss public schools that I attended from fifth to eighth grade. Most students grow up speaking Swiss German, a dialect of Standard German that differs in pronunciation, some vocabulary and some grammatical structures, similar to the way AAVE differs from Standard English. It’s important for the Swiss to learn Standard German in order to be able to communicate with everyone, as Switzerland has four different official languages and dozens of dialects. In America, it is not so extreme, however, there are often cases when speakers of AAVE and speakers of Standard English may not fully understand each other. Swiss German, like AAVE, is also not a written language. This is why the Swiss Standard German is called “Schriftdeutsch”, or “written German”, and even differs slightly in pronunciation and certain vocabulary from the High German spoken in Germany.

The way Switzerland teaches Standard German is very important to the success of the Swiss students. In Kindergarten, students are taught in both Swiss German and Standard German, with the eventual goal that the children can go to first grade fluent in Standard German, as from then on, all classes will be taught in Standard German only. In their German classes, the students do more or less what you would expect in an American English class. They write, they practice grammar and spelling and they have presentations. However, there is one key difference: Students are taught explicitly the differences between Swiss German, Standard German, and High German. One example is the genitive case. Let’s use the sentence, “That is the ticket of my father.”

  • In Swiss German, this sentence would read, “Das ist das Billet von meinem Vater.”
  • In Standard German, it would say, “Das ist das Billet meines Vaters.”
  • In High German, it would say, “Das ist die Fahrkarte meines Vaters.”

From this, we can infer that Swiss German does not use the genitive case. Standard German and Swiss German both borrow the French word “Billet” (meaning “ticket”) instead of the High German word “Fahrkarte“.

It is lessons such as these which the children learn in school which allow the Swiss students to be so successful. They allow them to code-switch, the ability to change one’s diction depending on the situation.

It is important to note that teaching the Swiss children these lessons degrades neither the Swiss dialect nor the German language. In fact, both flourish as a result. Standard German is used for all writing, excluding texting, while Swiss German is used with friends and family, or at the grocery store. There is no confusion between speakers of Swiss and High German, as those who attended Swiss school can fully understand both. Most importantly, while people might prefer to speak one of these languages, no language is valued as more important than another.

This is how the United States can close the performance gap between the races. I’m not saying it would be easy; certainly, other factors would come into play. Lessons on differences between AAVE and Standard English should be taught to all students, as everyone can learn and benefit from each other. If white students are also taught the structures of AAVE, they will be able to better understand their peers. This teaching strategy would lead to greater intercultural understanding, and would prevent one language from becoming culturally more important than another.

What do you think of the Swiss system? Do you think it could work if applied to the United States?

For further reading: Myth #13: Black Children are Verbally Deprived by Walt Wolfram from Language Mythsedited by Laurie Bauer and Peter Trudgill

Credit for featured image: Flowers by Jose and Roxanne

GM RoundUp Ready Crops: How They Are Made and What They Do

GM RoundUp Ready Crops: How They Are Made and What They Do

Weeds are harmful to crops as they can block sunlight and
compete to absorb nutrients necessary for the crops to survive (Frick & Johnson, 2012). Picking them by hand is inefficient because it requires more time and people to do it and it requires the rows of crops to be farther apart. Tilling the soil gradually erodes the soil, resulting in soil with fewer nutrients and therefore a reduction in crop yields. The solution to this is herbicides such as RoundUp, which is manufactured by the company Monsanto and u
ses the active ingredient glyphosate. However, herbicides are problematic because they not only kill weeds, but also the crops. Enter genetically modified organisms such as corn, wheat and soy. These allow farmers to spray the entire field with herbicides and greatly increase crop yields.Screenshot 2017-04-07 10.27.21

Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are living things that have had new genes inserted into their DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) in order to improve them or make them more useful in some way. Humans have been modifying genes since the beginning of time using selective breeding. Now, however, with genetic engineering technology, we can modify the DNA of plants and animals using genes that come from entirely different species. Unfortunately, although GMOs are engineered to create certain benefits such as being resistant to herbicides, there are often many unintended consequences that can make GMOs dangerous and must be monitored carefully.

Creating an Herbicide-Tolerant GMO

The creation of a GMO involves isolating a gene that controls a desirable trait in a species and inserting it into the cell of another. When creating the RoundUp tolerant, or RoundUp Ready crops, researchers discovered that geraniums remained largely unaffected when sprayed with RoundUp (Roundup ready soybeans, n.d.), meaning that geraniums have a gene that makes them tolerant to glyphosate (the active ingredient in RoundUp). Scientists isolated this gene using restriction enzymes to cut off the DNA that codes for glyphosate tolerance. This DNA was later inserted into the cell of a soybean plant using Ti plasmids. A Ti plasmid is a small, circular DNA molecule, found in the cells of agrobacterium, that carries T DNA, which carries genes that can lead to tumors. Once again using restriction enzymes, the T DNA is split open. Between the two ends, the new DNA from the geranium was inserted. The enzyme DNA ligase joined the new segment of DNA to the T DNA. The T DNA is inserted back into the agrobacterium. The agrobacterium then attaches itself to a soybean plant cell. A copy of the plasmid then integrates into the plant’s DNA, which is used to grow a soybean plant (Powell & Maurer, 2015) that can tolerate the pesticide RoundUp.

This technique is new and is now used in place of the Gene Gun in the case of RoundUp Ready soybeans. The gene gun shoots DNA-coated gold particles into plant cells or tissue. Gene guns are advantageous because they work on a larger variety of plants than the agrobacterium, however scientists prefer to use agrobacterium as it gives them more control over the genes transferred (Byrne, 2014).

Ethical Factor

RoundUp Ready crops have the ethical benefits of allowing farmers to produce food at a lower cost (Stebbins, 2016), resulting in cheaper food for everyone and thereby increased access, particularly for those in poverty. This result occurs because fewer plants die due to weeds and herbicides and because the rows of crops can be grown closer together. Unfortunately, however, the benefits to this GMO come with consequences that could be disastrous.

The main problem with GMOs is that they can be patented. The aforementioned company Monsanto, which owns both RoundUp and RoundUp Ready seeds, has also made all seeds that are sold sterile, meaning that farmers must buy new seeds each year. If an organic farmer is surrounded by RoundUp Ready crop farmers and the GM crops accidentally grow on his/her land, the organic farmer can potentially lose credibility and be sued by Monsanto. Furthermore, Monsanto prevents independent studies from being done by requiring an agreement to be signed upon purchase of the seeds. The agreements “explicitly forbid the use of the seeds for any independent research” (The Editors, 2009), meaning that all studies must be approved by Monsanto and are therefore strongly susceptible to bias and even false results. Without impartial scientific study, we cannot know whether or not GM crops are truly harmless to our health and the environment.

Environmental Factor

Herbicide-resistant crops are said to be environmentally friendly because they reduce or even eliminate the need to till the soil, a process done before crop seeds are planted. Tilling removes weeds, but loosens the earth, making the soil more vulnerable to wind or water erosion. Reducing erosion is beneficial to the environment because it allows farmers to grow crops on the same field for longer periods of time. Tillage erosion can reduce crop yields by up to 40%, so herbicide-resistant GMOs also beneficial to farmers trying to increase productivity (Ritter, 2015).

There is, however, an enormous environmental disadvantage to using herbicide-resistant GMOs. If spraying RoundUp, a toxic herbicide, does not negatively impact the crops, farmers can kill weeds more efficiently by spraying the entire field with herbicide. The problem comes when runoff, which is then full of herbicide, goes into streams, rivers and groundwater, polluting the water system. As glyphosate is by far one of the least potent herbicides, farmers have been able to keep the glyphosate content of water low enough to be nontoxic, but, by spraying herbicides liberally, the rate at which herbicide-resistant weeds develop is increasing fast. This develops the need for larger amounts of RoundUp,  or even stronger, more dangerous herbicides that will bring toxicity levels in water to dangerous levels (Hoffman, 2013), both for nature and those whose main water source is polluted.

Conclusion

GMO crops are widely used in agriculture, but extremely controversial. The herbicide-tolerance gene, which has been added to food crops such as soy, corn and wheat has the benefit of increasing crop yields and thereby lowering the price of food. However, it has negative ethical and environmental consequences that cannot be overlooked. Studies conducted on the effects of RoundUp Ready crops are not independent and therefore unreliable while an increase in the total volume of RoundUp and other herbicides used pollutes the water system. Although RoundUp Ready GMOs are dangerous, we should not rule out GMOs entirely as a source of food. It’s possible that others could be more beneficial and less dangerous, but determining that will require independent scientific study and regulation to ensure that no lasting damage is done to humans or the environment.

Reference List

Boston University. (2013, December 18). How are organisms genetically modified? Retrieved April 06, 2017, from http://sphweb.bumc.bu.edu/otlt/MPH-Modules/PH/GMOs/mobile_pages/GMOs3.html

Byrne, P. (2014, August). Genetically modified (GM) crops: Techniques and applications. Retrieved April 06, 2017, from http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/agriculture/genetically-modified-gm-crops-techniques-and-applications-0-710/

Frick, B., & Johnson, E. (2012). Weeds – when are they a problem? Retrieved April 05, 2017, from http://www.oacc.info/Extension/ext_weed_problem.asp

Hoffman, B. (2013, July 02). GMO crops mean more herbicide, not less. Retrieved April 06, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/bethhoffman/2013/07/02/gmo-crops-mean-more-herbicide-not-less/#6af0844b3cd5

Powell, C., & Maurer, A. (2015, August 10). How to make a GMO. Retrieved April 06, 2017, from http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2015/how-to-make-a-gmo/

Ritter, J. (2015, October). Soil erosion -– causes and effects. Retrieved April 05, 2017, from http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/engineer/facts/12-053.htm#6

Roundup ready soybeans. (n.d.). Retrieved April 06, 2017, from http://steveontario_15.tripod.com/geneticallymodifiedsoybeans/id1.html

Stebbins, M. (2016, April 29). 3 ways GMOs keep the cost of food down. Retrieved April 06, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/gmoanswers/2016/04/29/3-ways-gmos-keep-cost-of-food-down/#58d46d701261

The Editors. (2009, July 10). Do seed companies control GM crop research? Retrieved April 06, 2017, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-seed-companies-control-gm-crop-research/

Can a remake enhance the original?

Did you know that many films, music or books you know and love are actually remakes of other stories, or at least borrow ideas from them? It’s said that there are only seven types of plots that all stories more or less follow. Moreover, sometimes even specific camera shots are copied with the same positioning of characters and props, as Star Wars did, which can be seen in this video from 4:27.

Screenshot 2017-03-13 09.42.45
by Amanda Niday

Some films that are considered “original” still follow the pattern of the genre. Disney’s latest princess movie, Moana, is a remix of different ideas found in their previous ones. Films such as Mulan, Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog, Frozen, Pocahontas, Brave and Moana have each been taking the definition of what makes a princess and changed it in their own way, while still borrowing from other princess films. Moana, Elsa, Pocahontas, Merida and Moana do not marry a man at the end. Jasmine and Merida resist the role of princess put on her shoulders from birth and refuse to have their marriages arranged. Mulan is not even royal, but goes on a quest to save China. Tiana becomes royal by marriage, but goes on to fulfil her lifelong dream of owning a restaurant anyway. Since the beginning, Disney has been updating it’s definition of what makes a princess to be more current.

 

(sorry guys I missed a lesson so it’s not quite finished)

http://www.vox.com/culture/2017/3/3/14795936/beauty-and-the-beast-remake-review