Friday, November 20, 2015

CATW Practice: Your Smell or Your Cellphone (with Sample Passing Essay)

This is a sample passing essay by a student in response to the CATW prompt Easier to Live Without: Your Sense of Smell or Your Cellphone.  It is highly recommended that you first read that article and write your own essay in response before reading this sample student essay.  

Sample Student Essay (Passing)

According to Easier to Live Without: Your Sense of Smell or Your Cellphone, most youths would rather lose their sense of smell than lose their cellphones and laptops if the youths were forced to make a choice.  Technology and social networks are very important and have made revolutionary changes such as in the Middle East.  However, your sense of smell is also important because you also lose your sense of taste if you lose your sense of smell (and you won't be able to savor that juicy piece of fillet mignon anymore.)  Therefore, this choice is more difficult than it may seem.  If I were forced to make a choice, I would choose to keep my sense of smell.  

It really is a dilemma as smell and technology are both important.  "It's a harder choice than you might think," as the author mentioned.  Your smell is also a tool from nature to keep you alive.  Without smell, you won't be able to detect smoke to keep you away from fire.  You won't be able to smell the gas before the explosion.  You see, your sense of smell is a survival tool from nature and not just for pleasure. Therefore, losing your sense of smell is actually more than losing the pleasure to taste that juicy steak.
Smell may also play an important role in relationships.  Without smell, you won't be able to smell the other woman's perfume on your cheating husband.  Therefore, your sense of smell may save you money that you would otherwise spend on a private investigator.  It would save you the hassle of contacting the investigative team on Cheaters (the television show catching cheaters for suspecting spouses).  Therefore, your sense of smell has many applications in life and it is a very important function to keep.
Although sense of smell is so important, technology is also very important.  Technology such as smartphones and laptops has undoubtedly revolutionized our lives in the last ten years, from bringing down tyrants in the Middle East to changing education around the world.  In the coming years, the poor in third-world countries will have access to a similar level of education as the well-to-do citizens of developed countries, as that is now more and more possible with the current development of educational technology (including social media and new media).  Because of the importance of new media and technology in improving lives, it really is a dilemma if we have to choose between technology and sense of smell.
However, if you are ever in a situation where you have to make a choice, it is best to give up technology because losing access to technology would not likely be permanent.  For example, one scenario where you might need to choose between smell or technology would be if you are captured by some crazy tyrant like the leader of North Korea.  In such cases, it is most likely a temporary situation.  On the other hand, if you give up your smell and have your nose removed, you will never get the senses back.  Once your smell sensors are removed, it's most likely permanent.  Even if bioengineers invent artificial noses, they will most likely be not anywhere near the capabilities of a natural nose.  This has been true in the development of other body parts such as the artificial mechanical heart, which lasts only ten years.  Therefore, it is best to keep your natural body parts and natural senses like smell.
Fortunately, we will probably never have to make such a tough decision in reality.  However, if you must make a choice, always choose to keep your natural senses like smell.  If you lose technology, it is unlikely to be permanent, but if you remove your natural smell sensors in your nose, it would most likely be a permanent loss.  Technology or anything man-made can usually be replaced, not like body parts which are more complex and would not be the same even if replaced,

Thursday, November 19, 2015

New York Times Article in English and Chinese

Here's our New York Times article pick of the day, in English and Chinese.  (For Chinese students, read the English version twice before reading the Chinese version.)

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