Mediocrity - Or Worse


On the Other Hand, This Is What Students in Some of Our Classes Have Written...

Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.

- Martin Luther King Jr

Aids Crisis in North America

AIDS and HIV is a global epidemic in almost every part of the world.  With a population of 300 million, America is the third largest country in the world (Berry).  Considering its size, many would think that America would have an immense problem with this deadly disease.  AIDS however, while it is an epidemic, is not near the crisis state that it is in other extremely economically depressed parts of the world, such as Africa.  In 2003, there were an estimated total of 929,985 documented AIDS diagnoses in the United States (  Although there is a lot of documented information on AIDS, HIV data collection is still relatively incomplete because not all states participate in the collection of information.  Some states that report information send their statistics in late which affects the estimated number of HIV and AIDS cases reported (

A vast number of different kinds of people suffer from AIDS in the United States.  The United States accounts for 4% of the world’s reported cases of AIDS.  According to reports of adolescents and adults (13 years or older) in 2003, 43,171 young people had the disease (  Only 162 cases of AIDS are of children that are under 13(  Many statistics sort AIDS information is by ethnicity.  For example, of the 43,171 cases, 21,304 of those people are black, 12,222 are white 8,757 are Hispanic, 497 are Asian or Pacific Islander and 196 are American Indian or Alaskan Native.  There are many different ways people can contract the disease.  For example, men get it from male/male sexual contact, heterosexual contact, or injection drug use.  Females get it mainly from heterosexual contact or injection drug use.  Out of the 33 states that have a history of confidential HIV/AIDS reporting, New York is the highest with 162,446 cases, and North Dakota is the lowest with 115 cases.  Death from AIDS is very common.  In 1999-2003 there were 18,017 deaths.  An estimated historical total amount of deaths from AIDS in the US is about 524,060.

The United States is able to support programs such as the CDC’s Advancing HIV Protection because of our countries economic strength.  Other countries do no have this sort of program in place, or they have difficulty getting programs like this off the ground because they lack the economic strength (avert).  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, "The CDC’s initiative, advancing HIV prevention: new strategies for a changing epidemic, is aimed at reducing barriers to early diagnosis of HIV infection and increasing access to quality medical care, treatment, and ongoing prevention service for those diagnosed with HIV" (  "Each year at publicly funded testing sites, 27,000-30,000 HIV test results are positive.  Of those who test positive, 31% do not return their results" (  This statistic shows that many of the people with AIDS do not come forward with it, and they are living with a dangerous disease without help.  Since America has the money, they are able to offer help for many AIDS victims.  They work to help people find out if they have the disease which can lead to prevention.  For example, government agencies such as the FDA support free public AIDS testing by approving the OraQuick rapid HIV test for oral fluid on March 26th.  This became a highly effective way to tell if people had the disease (  This testing is free to all however the medication needed to treat AIDS is not.  Hopefully though, people will find out they have the disease and work to help themselves.

The best way our country can fight AIDS is to become more understanding about the disease by fighting discrimination.  "As far back as 1983, police officers in San Francisco wore gloves and masks while treating suspected AIDS patients because they feared the disease.  Ryan White, a 13 year old boy with the disease, was actually banned from going to school in case the other kids would "catch" the disease (  By now, our country is more aware and informed about the disease so more people are more accepting of it.  The more accepting people are more likely to come out and let people know that they have the disease.  This will lead to people getting help which will prevent the disease.  People will begin to understand that AIDS is not only a gay man’s disease or only for drug users.  In American schools, AIDS education falls into two categories, abstinence and abstinence plus/comprehensive.  Abstinence education teaches students that they must say no to sexual activity until they are married.  Abstinence plus/comprehensive teaches about sexual abstinence until marriage but also teaches how to protect yourself from the HIV transmission and unwanted pregnancy through other messages such as condom use (

AIDS is a huge problem throughout the world.  Thankfully, it is not nearly as prevalent in the United States as in many other countries.  Living in America leaves people the opportunity to get help and become educated about the disease they have.  The more open and understanding people are about the disease the more people will come out and ask for help.


1.) From the US Government's CDC (Center for Disesase Control):
No Search Engine used to find this website.  Chose this site because it had good facts.  There is no author to this site.  This website is a national center for research.  The author shows no noticable bias.  The article does not give a date for when it was written, but it was updated on May 10th 2005.  Website Originated in America.

2.) Avert. I found this site by typing in "AIDS in America" in google's search engine.  Avert is an international AIDS Charity.  We used this article because it was exactly what we were looking for, an article about the spread of AIDS in America since the 1980's.  This article was written by Steve Barry.  I guess you could say he is a reporter because he uses other AIDS books and articles and references all of them at the end of his article.  The purpose of this website is to show facts about AIDS and inform the public about the spread of AIDS in America.  The author shows no bias, he just tries to give information on AIDS.  This article was last updated on August 24, 2005. The article originated in America.

3.) Christian Courier - I also found this site by typing in AIDS in America in Google.  Anthrax, AIDS, and America by Wayne Jackson.  Wayne Jackson is a columnist for Christian Courier.  We used this article because it had some good information about how America reacted to Anthrax and forgot about the AIDS epidemic.  This author shows a little bias to the fact that everyone forgot about AIDS.  Monday, October 15, 2001.  This page originated in America.

4.) I also found this site by typing in AIDS in America in Google.  This Website was an article that gave facts about the amount of people diagnosted with AIDS in America.  There is no author.  This was a newsletter.  We used this website for its statistics about about AIDS in America.  No noticable bias and we do not know when the article was posted.

5.) AIDS Research of America.  This was a site about finding a cure for AIDS.  There is no author and no date of when the article was posted.  The purpose of this website is to help find supporters of finding a cure for AIDS.

My Response

You say, "The United States accounts for 4% of the world’s reported cases of AIDS."  Yet the only reference I could find to 4% on the site you gave as a reference actually said, "An estimated 38,490 young people in the United States received a diagnosis of AIDS.  They accounted for about 4% of the 929,985 total estimated AIDS diagnoses [1]."  If the US has almost a million cases and there are almost 40 million cases worldwide, that would be about 2.5%.

You don’t really say how many people are thought to test HIV+.

You say that not all states participate in the collection of data.  Do you know how the prevalence of HIV or AIDS is determined in those states?

You say that, of those who test positive, "31% do not return their results".  This is unclear.  Return results to whom?  With no results, how is it known these people are positive?  I could find nothing about this in any of your references.

You seem to use the terms HIV and AIDS interchangeably.  Was this intentional?  I occasionally found this to be confusing.

The term "North America", may mean different things to different people.  No mention is made of Canada.  Or Mexico.  In addition, the following countries and dependencies are often considered to be a part of North America:

Belize / Antigua & Barbuda / Haiti / Aruba / Puerto Rico / Costa Rica / Bahamas / Jamaica / Cayman Islands / Turks and Caicos Is / El Salvador / Barbados / St Kitts and Nevis / Guadeloupe / British Virgin Is / Guatemala / Cuba / Saint Lucia / Martinique / US Virgin Is / Honduras / Dominica / St Vincent & the Grenadines / Montserrat / Bermuda / Nicaragua / Dominican Republic / Trinidad and Tobago / Navassa Island / Greenland / Panama / Grenada / Anguilla / Netherlands Antilles / Saint Pierre & Miquelon

In all, they represent well over 2 million people - but perhaps their incidence of AIDS is insignificant.  I mention them only to point out that Americans tend to think of "North America" and "USA" as synonymous but people in other countries don't tend to do this.

Finally, you say, "The best way our country can fight AIDS is to become more understanding about the disease by fighting discrimination."  That may be a way to fight the disease, but I suspect it is perhaps not considered the best way by very many people.  Practicing safe sex may be THE best way...

Nuclear Energy - Should Oil Be Reduced by Using Nuclear?

I am con with this concept.  Both fuels; oil and nuclear have positive and negative sides.  If you look at the negatives, nuclear has extreme hazardous risks or even a meltdown.  On the other hand oil in theory causes a greenhouse effect.

First, oil is a natural source and is constantly being made.  There were rumors back in the 70's that oil will run out causing a hysteria.  Well 35+ years later we are still pumping oil out of the ground.  Second, nuclear is a limited supply, the powerplant has a ceiling for output, to produce more you needto build more powerplants, which increases risk for mankind and the environment.

There is no single answer, we have been using oil since the automobile was invented.  There are other natural sources such as solar or wind to help feed the worlds demand for fuels.

Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute:
Nuclear Power vs. Other Sources

Illegal Immigration

Illegal immigration has been a major problem in the United States.  Over the years the number of illegal immigrations has varied.  In the year 1999 the INS estimated that 968,000 illegal immigrants lived in the United States.  As years continued the number has increased into the millions.  How as Americans can we help decrease these illegal aliens from taking over our country?  Our INS (The Immigration of Naturalization Services) has helped decrease these numbers, yet there are still more illegal aliens coming through.  Why are these immigrants trying so hard to be apart of the United States?  Well our country is full of job opportunities and is a safe place to live.  Especially since the war of Iraq is taking place, many citizens of Iraq are coming over so they have a safe place for their families.

"Shrink the illegal population through consistent, across-the-board enforcement of the immigration law" (Krikorian).  This statement was written by Mark Krikorian.  His essay consists of ideas on how to stop illegal immigration in the United States.  He also mentions in his essay how President Bush can go about this situation.  He says, "Not merely to curtail illegal immigration, but rather to bring about a steady reduction in the total number of illegal immigrants who are living in the United States.  The result would be a shrinking of the illegal population to a manageable nuisance, rather than today’s looming crisis" (Krikorian).  In January 2000, 7 million illegal aliens were living in the United States.  This has grown into 8 million in the year 2003, meaning over three to four years over a million immigrants have passed over in to the United States.  After looking over Mark Krikorian’s essay, his ideas would decrease these numbers in half.  The only way us Americans can help this, is by enforcing the illegal immigration law.

Another reason why illegal immigration is hurting the United States is the Federal Budget.  In the essay High Cost of Cheap Labor, written by Steven A Camarota, informs readers of the first estimate on how illegal immigration is crushing our wallets.  "When all taxes paid (direct and indirect) and all costs are considered, illegal households created a net fiscal deficit at the federal level of more than $10 billion in 2002" (Camarota).  He also states that if these numbers continue to rise, the numbers will increase to over $29 billion in net fiscal deficit.  So not only is this damaging our population it is also contributing in our Federal Budget as Americans.

Another reason why we do not want immigrants here in our country is because of crimes.  "Some of the most violent criminals at large today are illegal aliens" (Mac Donald).  For example, Los Angeles is one of the highest cities in the United States for illegal immigrants committing crimes.  These immigrants have joined gangs in shootings, murders, etc.  But because it is against LAPD’S rule against enforcing immigration law; they have no way of arresting these immigrant criminals since they do not have background information and because they are not a US citizen.

All these are examples of why we need to get illegal immigrants out of our country.  They are just causing more negative effects than positive, which is something we need less of in the United States.  We can follow through with the immigrant laws or we can enforce to bring up new laws.  It can only work if your voice is heard.

Works Cited

Camarota, S. A. (2005). Illegal immigration and the federal budget. Retrieved Sep. 21, 2005, from Illegal Immigration Web site:
Krikorian, Mark. "A Strategy of Attrition Through Enforcement." Illegal Immigration. May 2005. Downsizing Illegal Immigration. 21 Sep. 2005 <>.
Mac Donald, Heather. "The Fallout from Crippled Immigration." Illegal Immigration. June 2005. Crime and The Illegal Alien. 21 Sep. 2005 <>.

Family Planning

Globalization had indeed arrived.  This is an important factor in the lives of people throughout the world.  For some this fact means a better standard of living compared to their living arrangements right now, but for many others it means a far more difficult life and a lower standard of living.  The only certain thing I believe the future holds, is a struggle for a better life.  Proper family planning now could lead to a much easier lifestyle in the future.

The population is obviously on the rise in our world and this is putting a large strain on our natural resources.  There is less of everything to go around and very little space left to house the increasing population. It would be wise for the governments of the world to build more affordable and space efficient housing rather than to continue to build erratically.  There are many things that the US and other countries can do in order to help out our population without issuing a mandate on the number of children a family is allowed to have.  For instance, the US can put more money into education on contraceptive methods and planned parenthood’s rather than abstinence-only education which is much less effective in the prevention of unwanted pregnancies, "Family planning programs are a wise investment.  Since the 1960's family planning programs have played a key role - perhaps the key role - in slowing population growth.  Between 20% and 59% of the fertility decline ind developing countries has come as a direct result of family planning programs, studies have estimated.  Still, a study of 20 countries in 1990 found that 22% of fertility was unwanted.  This statistic suggests that many women who want to control their own fertility have not been able to."  (Gale Group)

In order to be a member of the population that can use globalization to its advantage, you need to plan ahead.  The population will be much larger and it will be that much harder to obtain and keep a well-paying job, a proper home and sufficient food, "About 800 million couples in developing countries are of reproductive age.  Of these, about 440 million currently use contraception."  (Gale Group) You need to plan ahead if you intend to have children.  You must also think wisely before you decide how many children you will have.  If you cannot support yourself, you need to be wise enough not to produce more life that you will not be able to support.  If our population does not begin to think wisely about the resources that are available to them and how to use them in a correct manner, then we will have a large problem on our hands.  We need to devote more time and effort into conserving our resources and teaching future generations how to do so as well.

Also, I believe that one of the best things to do now-a-days, is to plan ahead for the future of your family by ensuring that you yourself receive the highest level of education that you can.  By going to college and grad school and obtaining a good degree, you are providing yourself with more opportunities for the future.  This degree will put you higher up on the list when I comes to getting a well paying job that will not be downsized or given to another person with less stature than yourself.  Save money now as well and make wise investments.  The population is increasing and space is getting more valuable.

In conclusion, population estimates are always inexact but just by looking around at all the humans of younger age, we can tell that there will be many more families and children in the future, "But population estimate are notoriously inexact, especially those that peer deep into the future.  Even though the rate of growth is slowing, the two billion people below age 20 will be raising a lot of children over the next couple of decades."  (Cohen) There will undoubtedly be a struggle over jobs and it will be harder to plan for a family with the uncertainty of our population.  There is much that is uncertain though, so even if we resolve the issues of over population, it is still wise to plan for the worst and try your best to conserve while you can.


Gale Group, "Family Planning for the Future," Population Reports. July 2002. Http://

I found this site using google

Whyfiles Staff, "Why Six Billion," 1999. University of Wisconsin, Board of Regenets.

I found this site by using our webcampus global challenge page therefore I thought it to be reliable and relevant

A Personal Experience that I Have Had Based on What Is Morally Right and Wrong,
Is about One of My Good Friends

One evening a few weeks ago, I received a phone call from Chuck and told me he needed my help with something in his suite and asked me to bring my roommate and a few other friends.  So by the time we got there, Chuck had packed up his computer, clothes and school books.  I asked him what was going on and he told me that he had just called Public Safety on all of his suite roommates, because he had caught them smoking in the suite.  He had asked them continuously to smoke outside because he did not like people smoking around him, but they did not obey his request.  All of his suite mates threatened to wreck all of his stuff in his room while he was sleeping or out, so Chuck asked us to come over and help him if anything had gone down.  When his suite mates came back to the suite they were shocked to find us waiting there as if we were ready to fight if we were forced to.  In the end, Public Safety came to their suite and looked for proof of the suite mates smoking in the suite, but there was none.  So Chuck had requested to move out before the freeze period was even over, and due to the circumstances he was permitted to move.

The morally right thing that Chuck had done was calling Public Safety and reporting his suite mates about smoking inside the buildings.  This is forbidden in all campus buildings and should be prevented no matter what.  The average person would not call Public Safety or turn their suite mates in for such a matter, because it would be seen as a baby thing to do, but Chuck chose to do the morally right thing to do by turning his suite mates in to Public Safety.

On the other hand, if I had been in this situation, I would have dealt with it in a completely different way and would not have called Public Safety on my suite mates, because I don’t believe that turning someone in simply because it bothers you is the morally correct thing to do.

In relation to the “An Enemy of the People”, Mr. Stockmann was very arrogant and selfish in making the final decision of staying.  He didn’t have the decency to share and involve the rest of his family into the decision whereas he should have because a mutual decision about staying needed to be made.  Through his self-centered motives, he had placed his family in danger by deciding to stay which turned out to not to be as successful as he expected it to be – So in the end it had been pointless.

Another Student's Response

You say that you would not have "called Public Safety on my suite mates".  That's an interesting choice of words.  A similar phrase would be "set the hounds on them".  That's not really how I would perceive that situation.  If it were something like playing loud music, perhaps the scenario would be different, but smoking is not comparable.  Smoking is not allowed in the dorms for reasons far beyond simple convenience.  Secondhand smoke is not an inconvenience - it is a health hazard.  Check online sometime - there's plenty of information on it.  Just as smoking causes lung cancer, so does inhaling secondhand smoke, especially in a confined space such as a dorm room.

Smoking is also a fire hazard, and if a fire were started by your friend's flatmates it would harm or kill more people than just your friend.  It's a shame that Public Safety could not find proof of your friend's suite mates' smoking, but at least they may be watched a little more closely now.

And, of course, though a lesser consideration, smoking would certainly bother me.  People who smoke acquire a perpetual smell about them that seeps through their very skin, and begins to exude from their clothing, casting a taint into the air wherever they may travel.

So essentially, I completely and utterly disagree with you when you refer to smoking as something that simply "bothers you", and rather than thinking of calling Public Safety from the perspective of doing the morally correct thing by enforcing a rule, I would think of it more as standing up for my rights.

The Author's Counter Response

I would just like to say, that I appreciate the different opinions and the different comments that people may have on my posting and I accept criticism very well and take it to make myself better and maybe see a different perspective of a certain topic.  But on the other hand I do not appreciate negative criticism from certain classmates that I and others have been receiving over and over on all of our past postings...

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but by no means should anyone bash another's view or opinion on a simple discussion board.  I see this as disrespectiful and arrogant.

For example, "Check online sometime - there's plenty of information on it." this comment was made on my last posting which to me is seen as claiming that I am uneducated on the topic that I chose to post about.  I appreciate the opinion, but comments such as this are not neccesary and should not be said.

So to those classmates that have negative rude remarks, I would appreciate you not replying to my postings in the future.

Which One of All Your Freedoms Today Now Seems More Precious as a Result of Reading The Handmaid's Tale?

After reading The Handmaid's Tale I realize how importand is, living in a society were Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Choise are factors. It is a great fact that this society allows us from the moment we are born, to choose our own path in life. There is no great sepparation between people into classes and categories. Every single individual has the right to choose were he belongs, and to change anytime he or she wants to.

There are no categories of People like in this novel, and our society makes its people live happily, by marring hoever they want, and expressing themselfs whichever way they want. Of course there are rules in a society (laws), but whithout them, chaos would have rule. Ristrictions must be made in a society. Altought we may not agree with some, we have to think, that before this laws were made, many situations occured in order for the laws to be made.

It is a privilage that we make our own path in this society. There are no limitations. Only willingness and power. That is why we are able to take our willingness, see our potentials, and according to them we are able to choose a carrer, a marriage, a lifestyle.

Is Genetic Engineering against the "Natural Order" of Things?

Genetic Engineering is definetely against the "natural order" of things. The role of God should be let only to Himself and not to people. If this genetic engineering starts to evolve and be something in our everyday life, then we will have serious problems. Who would deside of our lifes? Who will difine what is perfect for a human being? Is Scientists are starting to create the perfect humans, then our lifes will be boring and nothing will seperate us from each other. We will be like chips that play a part in a big computer. Everybody will be the same, cause everybody will have the perfect genes. If that will happen, then we somehow support the idea of Adolf Hitler, who wanted to create the perfect human race. This Thought is scary. Genetic engineering must only interfere to fight abnormalities in the human genes, like down sindrome, or siamese twins, and things like that. They mustn't involved in the outer looks of a human, the inteligence or the race. Besides, if we were the same, we wouldn't need each other.


Virtually all the students were unclear on the concept of MLA citing.  Online discussions were almost invariably of the type: "Good posting!  I liked what you said."  That's it.  I could post dozens of examples but this is probably enough.  You'll either agree with me - or not.  I expected better.  This is from a fairly expensive, private liberal-arts college and some are upperclassmen.

See also:

bulletNo More Teachers' Dirty Looks (further on in this section) - Why not turn all schools into apartment buildings and be done with it?  They're pretty much useless...
bulletIntelligence in the Internet Age (earlier in this section) - especially the second article, "Literacy Falls for Graduates from College, Testing Finds"...

For articles on education covering subjects taught, tests, costs, boredom, honour, rites of passage, rigid rules, cliques, thinking, learning, homeschooling, creating, brilliance, ongoing education and more, click the "Up" button below to take you to the Table of Contents for this section.

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