Category: Social Studies

The Power of Music and its History

“Scientists have found that music stimulates more parts of the brain than any other human function.” These are the words of Elena Mannes in her book, The Power of Music. Music has had significant impacts on communities throughout history and evidently remains influential today through its cultural effects on society and scientific effects on the individual brain. 

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Music has essentially existed since the beginning of history. Although extremely different from what comes to mind when thinking about music today, it has been representative of many different cultures, religions, societies, and events throughout centuries. 

The history of music begins as early as Medieval times when music had emerged in society through the influence of the power of Roman Catholic churches. The Medieval period was the longest period of music in history and ran between the years 400 and 1400. This music was largely monophonic meaning there was a single melody to each piece of music. Gregorian chant, which would have a single line of vocal melody, was a very common type of music during this time which was heavily influenced by the Church. As the Medieval times evolved, monophonic music eventually turned into polyphonic music with multiple melodies. When the Catholic Church wanted to unify the Church music across the Western world, music notation was first created and documented so people could share and play the same music. Instruments that characterized the music of this era include wooden flutes and wooden string instruments including the first bowed instruments such as the Lyra.

Psychology 101: Emotions – Why Do We Feel the Way We Do? James-Lange Theory vs Cannon Bard Theory vs Two-Factor Theory

When we are met with sudden bursts of emotions, what comes first: the physical or mental reaction? 

Since the inception of psychology, emotions have turned into an interesting chicken or the egg phenomena. When good things happen, we smile, but does smiling make us happier? 

In the world of psychology and motor neurons, these questions remain unanswered, but countless theories have arisen to explain this almost unexplainable human characteristic. These theories have tried to distinguish the specific firing point within our bodies regarding these emotions, but all of them lack an explanation broad enough that can effectively describe such a diverse human race. 

Emotions are a complex mixture of our physical, cognitive, and expressive behavior, but to what extent do each of these matter? Of course, when good, positive things happen to us, we feel a gut-reaction, whether that be smiling or laughing. All of these reactions happen both beneath our skin and within our neurons while also being presented outward and physically.

History of Tea and Modern Afghan Tea Culture

When the term tea culture comes up, people usually think of places like Japan, China, or England, though perhaps Afghanistan deserves to be in this lineup too. While not as well known as those already mentioned, Afghanistan’s tea culture is a venerable one that dates back centuries. As with many ancient cultural artifacts, tea came to Afghanistan by way of the Silk Road, likely via merchants going to or from China. This tradition continues to this day, as while the country does grow some of its own tea, the majority of Afghanistan’s tea consumption relies on imports from China and Pakistan.

Literary Analysis: An Examination of Free Will Through Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange

Fundamental conversations, on freedom and self-determination, greatly influenced Anthony Burgess’ choice of immoral characterization and dramatic plot development in his 1962 dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange, dealing with what it means to be able to make choices in a restrictive society and dabbling in themes of freedom and bondage. 

Modern-day democracies across the globe continue to thrive as world powers as a result of the choices made by its citizens. However, when governments suppress the voice of the people, as seen in A Clockwork Orange’s totalitarian government, growth is stunted and the government remains static. Similarly, philosophers have debated whether individuals have free will and the extent to which this self-sufficiency extends. Alvin Plantinga,  an analytic professor at the University of Notre Dame describes the ability to choose as, “Now, God can create free creatures, but he can’t cause or determine them to do only what is right. For if he does so, then they aren’t significantly free after all; they do not do what is right freely.” (Plantinga).  Plantinga’s attention towards the ability to make choices rather than rely on foreordained outcomes reveals the very hypocrisy Burgess aims to reveal through his novel, a hypocrisy centered on the notion that good can’t live without the choice to do otherwise. Alex, who is the antihero of the novel, questions the government which strives to dictate him, wondering, “ What does God want? Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him?” (Burgess). Alex’s internal line of questioning and later entrapment by the restrictive government reveals the evident truth of decision making. Without choice, then there is no moral guideline to follow and, essentially, no discernment from right and wrong. To state that the ability to make a choice through self-autonomy is an act of hypocrisy in and of itself as the individual making such a  claim would be referring to their own volition. For example, Jans Jonas, a German philosopher reveals an anecdote about a group of physiologists such as Ernst Brucke and Emil du Bois-Reymond who promised early in their careers, “Brucke and I pledged a solemn oath to put into effect this truth: ‘that no other forces are at work in the organism except chemical-physical ones’” (Jones). Contrary to their statement, their eventual rise to fame is an indicator of the impact personal actions have on an individual. As Seifert, an Austrian philosopher explains,

The Magic of Music: History, Cognitive Boost, and Music in Medicine

There is some universal beauty in the harmonies and melodies that dance their way to an ear in weaving sound waves. Music has been an integral part of everyday life since the glorious sounds of 500 BCE Ancient Greece and Rome. In the last few decades, the industry has grown to encompass over a thousand different genres and continues to expand and evolve alongside the world. Many recognize music as a reflection of their mood: upbeat to go along with a night out with friends, mellow to accompany the endless waterworks, or maybe rock and roll to fit a certain rebellious phase of life. However, behind the curtain, music can work all forms of magic on the mind. In fact, listening to music can increase cognitive performance, stimulate pain reduction, and promote stress relief.

Mass Media vs Local Journalism: A Pillar of American Democracy

In recent years, the labels of “fake news” and “the enemy of the people” have been prevalent when talking about the media, especially from the White House. The hostile rhetoric from Washington has had a considerable impact on the public: Americans’ trust in mass media is at 41%, a significant 4% drop from the previous year. Additionally, partisanship has dramatically increased as many Americans opt to solely consume news media that perpetuate their beliefs, leading news companies to produce blatantly partisan content, and thus, further promoting partisanship among their readers. This cycle creates an echo chamber that results in a sharply divided and often misinformed population.

Psychology 101: The Stanford Prison Experiment

What happens when you put good people in an evil place? Does humanity win over evil, or does evil triumph? Philip Zimbardo, a psychologist and a professor at Stanford University posed the same exact question in 1971, thereby leading to what is known as The Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE). The experiment was originally created to uncover the truth about human nature, a more in-depth look on what our true ambitions were, what really drove us. Zimbardo began by choosing 24 volunteers, making 12 of them “guards” and the other 12 “prisoners”.  They were taken to a prison simulation, a fabricated illusion to make the volunteers feel as if they were actually in prison. He began by  giving the guards ultimate power and left the prisoners vulnerable. This evidently led to a distinction of power between the two groups. 45 years later, people still ponder the  question that drove the experiment to its end. Was this study ethically right?  The Stanford Prison Experiment was not ethically right, it stripped volunteers of emotion temporarily, forcing them to turn against each other and was physically harmful to the majority of the participants. 

Top 15 Activities to do During Quarantine

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been forced to quarantine themselves in their homes. Although countries are starting to open and people are exiting quarantine, social distancing is still common  and previously planned summer activities such as trips, internships and summer jobs have been postponed or cancelled. With summer having arrived, students will no longer be distracted by their classes. This raises the question, what can we do over a quarantined summer?

History 101: What Are The 4 Causes of World War 1?

An international conflict during the 1910’s, World War 1, was contributed by not one factor but numerous factors that led to its extensive atrocity. The aggressive rise and continuation of nationalism throughout countries greatly contributed to the start and four-year length of the war. In addition, the heightened race of militarism and its advanced trench warfare also contributed to the massive scale of the war, including the appalling losses of men as well as the elongated duration. Therefore, both the rise of nationalism, the patriotic feelings of countries’ people to fight, and the pursuit of militarism, advancements of armies, weaponry, and warfare style, played key roles in the contribution of the international conflict World War 1.

Say… Cheese! A Look Into Fermentation – History and Making of Cheese

From sour, sweet, and savory, cheese is a delicacy that connects people of all ages. It’s in hamburgers, pizza, salads, spaghetti, and desserts. Many of the world’s most popular dishes contain cheese, a food item that has been around humans for a long time. In this article, you will learn the incredible science that makes cheese possible.  Although the exact origins of cheese are unknown, it is thought that cheese originated when humans first began domesticating milk-producing animals like cows and goats. In fact, there is a legend that the first person to discover cheese was a merchant who found his milk curdled inside his container made of a sheep’s stomach. To his surprise, the curdled milk had a unique flavor that quenched his hunger. Cheesemaking is also shown in the artwork of a number of ancient civilizations including the Roman Empire and Ancient Egypt. However, the cheeses that are popular today were not made until cheesemaking became widespread across European countries around 500 years ago and then came to America when Pilgrims brought cheesemaking techniques with them. Since then, the cheese industry boomed in America and as of 2017, Americans consumed an average of 37 pounds of cheese every year per person! 

The Egungun Festival

Egungun is a form of ancestor worship where costumed dancers channel their deceased relatives as they parade through the streets. Family-oriented versions of this practice exist too, though the best known style of Egungun has to be the communal festival. The aims of both versions include remembrance, celebration, the earning of blessings, and lineal continuity through tradition.

Alberto Santos-Dumont vs The Wright Brothers: Giants of Aviation

Back in 2016, Rio de Janeiro hosted the Summer Olympics. The opening ceremony featured bossa nova, capoeira, and laser-lit choreography depicting key points in Brazil’s history. Among these theatric renditions was a curious biplane aviator that the Olympic announcer noted Brazilians claim to have beaten the Wright Brothers in their claim to fame. Are there any merits to this assertion? Has history snubbed this Brazilian inventor?

Freddy Mamani’s New Andean Architecture

Most artistic movements are named after the fact, often by critics, to group together the works of artists that share certain characteristics or that are in reaction to specific events and thus coincide thematically. Counter to this academic pattern is la nueva arquitectura andina (or the New Andean Architecture). The term was coined by the style’s creator: Freddy Mamani Silvestre, who goes by Freddy Mamani professionally.

Margaret Chase Smith’s Speech of a Lifetime

The American experiment was founded on the idea of a democracy where the people hold the ultimate power over the government. But when the government oversteps its power; when it threatens to endanger individual rights, it takes someone with true courage to stand up for the America public. Some of the most striking examples of blatant abuse of power in the last century occurred during the Cold War. From 1947 to 1991, the Capitalist United States (US) and the Communist Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) clashed in a series of escalating economic and political tensions. In the midst of this tumultuous period, US government officials became concerned that communist sympathizer would collude with Soviet spies and endanger national security. The most vocal advocate for the “Red Scare” was Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. McCarthy came under the national spotlight during his speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, when he claimed that 205 State Department employees were known communist infiltrators (Achter). Although he lacked definitive evidence to back his claim, McCarthy continued a long string of accusations against celebrities, politicians, and nearly anyone who disagreed with him. McCarthy’s campaign to “expose” communist infiltrators caused innocent Americans to lose their careers and reputations, and fueled McCarthy’s rise to power. This period of mass, unsubstantiated paranoia eventually became known as “McCarthyism” (Achter). Few dared to challenge him, for fear of becoming his next target; At least not until a woman by the name of Margaret Chase Smith stepped into the political fray.

Education in the 1930s Depression Facts and John Dewey “Father of Modern Education”

ntroduction: The Depression was a terrible time for the American economy, and patriotic morale for democracy was low for the people. Thus, education received dwindling funds, and many schools were closed. Nevertheless, “every cloud has a silver lining” was true during the Depression because the lacking education resulted in the social opinions given by education advocate John Dewey, and uniquely enough, higher literacy rates among school children.    

The Little Ice Age: Definition, History, Causes, and Ending of the Ice Age

Earth has experienced at least five Ice Ages: the Huronian, the Cryogenian, the Andean-Saharan, the Karoo, and the Quaternary. The latest of these is the Quaternary Ice Age, which began 2.6 million years ago and is still ongoing. That might sound off given that the popular conception of an ice age is of a world blanketed in snow and roaming with wooly mammoths, but the scientific definition only requires that a substantial ice sheet be present on the Earth’s surface, and Antarctica fits the bill. While their causes vary, ice ages are typified by periods of sustained global cooling and glacial expansion. Going by this, the Little Ice Age qualifies, though it is also an ice age within an ice age, making it a sort of matryoshka doll climate event. The Little Ice Age is not the only lesser ice age, though it is the best known as it occurred the most recently and within recorded history. After having touched on similarities, our next logical step is to examine what makes the Little Ice Age different.

The Life Cycle of a Retrovirus: HIV

Retroviruses are a class of viruses that not only infect host cells but also integrate their genetic material into the host genome, establishing a permanent infection that cannot be cured. The most common retrovirus is the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV, which targets and destroys helper T-cells.

Standardized Tests are Necessary for Learning – True or False? A Look Into the Recent AP Testing Situation

enough, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it necessary for students to take these tests at home – and in only 45 minutes. Outrage over failed submissions and website problems has prompted the media to focus on the CollegeBoard and the real purpose and necessity of standardized testing. Is a test really enough to test a student’s true knowledge of a subject? Here, we will analyze the history of standardized testing, delve into the recent AP test situation, and consider the pros and cons of standardized tests.

The Rise of Tech: Tech Trends of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has turned our world upside down. From the way we greet each other to the schedule of our daily routines, it’s safe to say that everything that was considered the norm at the beginning of 2020 has completely changed. While most people’s eyes are on health officials, tech giants and start-up companies have been using this time to create new inventions to propel society further – or so they say. Here we will analyze the new products and tech trends that have arisen in the wake of this pandemic, what they do, and if they actually serve to help society.

Running Into History: Eluid Kipchoge’s 1:59:40 Marathon

On October 12, 2019, Eluid Kipchoge became the first person in history to run a marathon, 26.2 miles, in under 2 hours. He crossed the finish line, smiling and waving at the crowd that had lined the course in Vienna, in 1 hour 59 minutes and 40 seconds. This amazing accomplishment, once thought impossible, stunned not only the world of running but also the entire athletic community. Kipchoge’s run symbolized his motivation, the message he has been working to share with the entire world, that no human is limited.

Philosophy 101 – Cynicism Then and Now: Definition and Classical Cynicism vs Modern Cynicism

Nowadays, cynicism is associated with disengagement, apathy, and defeatism. The modern day cynic is seen as the optimist’s opposite. Optimists are generally seen as engaged, happy, and positive people. In many ways, these qualities also describe the Classical Cynic. How is it then that we get from Cynicism to cynicism? As with most explanations, it helps to start from the beginning.