Pleeblandia

Thoughts from the front lines


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Innocence

Childhood is a very important period of our lives. Those years are the stage of innocence. We do not know much, but we get to learn about many things. We get to understand things faster while we’re younger, which explains why we do most of our “first steps” earlier on in life. A few of those first steps are walking, talking, writing, etc. However, there are some parents who try to avoid talking to their children about topics such as sexuality, death or adults problems, in order to protect them from the “ugly side” of the world. Yet, is it really protecting them or does it simply prevent them from growing up?

innocence

In the novel, MaddAddam, we clearly see the theme of innocence through the Crakers. They are just like children: they ask too many questions and are awfully curious. They learn and understand things through songs, stories and questions. They cannot differentiate right from wrong because they seem to think that everybody is kind and that everyone has good intentions. We see it in the first pages of the novel. Finally safe from the two painballers, Toby and Ren tied them. At a certain point, the Crakers arrive and since they feel like the painballers are in danger so they naively untied them. They did not understand why they were tied and thought that the “rope is hurting these ones” and that they “must take it away” (13).

Since Jimmy is unable to tell them stories, Toby answers most of their questions through metaphors so that they could easily understand them. She answers vaguely in order to protect them from suffering. Even when she explains the story of the birth of Zeb, she avoids certain details that are unpleasant.

The Crakers have been made innocent in the idea to be free from negative emotions/feelings. They have not been created to be violent so they cannot fight. In the last novel, we understand that the Crakers are a burden for everyone since they are just like children.

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I feel like children lose this innocence at even younger age than past generations. They get to know the dark side of the world at a really young age. They get to know about sexuality, war, and social media elaborately.

Do you think that we should preserve childhood innocence or do they have the right to know the whole truth about what is coming?

Reference
Atwood, M. (2003). MaddAddam. Toronto: Vintage Canada. Print.

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Personification: Not just a literary device.

Pigs with human brain tissue and multiple human organs to be grown and eventually harvested. These are what the pigoons are meant to be. The concept of it may seem far-fetched to some, but here we are in 2017, an era where we take a few more steps into the MadAddam universe. Organs and tissue donors are hard to find and there is a long list of people who need them. Scientists have found oddly familiar answers.

 

Chimeras are no longer mere fantasy and are being studied closely in order to help humanity. In fact, the Maryland University of Medicine are studying and experimenting with ways to make pig organs usable for humans. They have already managed to filter human blood through pig lungs. Now, they are injecting pig embryos with human cells and put the embryos into grown female pigs to carry for a few weeks before being removed and studied some more.

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From animals to plants, no living being is spared from human testing. Now, spinach is found to be able to build or be used as human heart tissue. This is done by growing human cells on the leaves. The leaf’s veins can replicate human veins. Studies are ongoing and the scientists feel that other types of leaves can be turned into tissue for other parts of the human body. The test they conducted transformed the spinach leaf into a miniature human heart. They plan on improving their techniques.

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Human leaves and pigoons may not be so for off into the future. Of course, there is much controversy in what is being done in these experiments, but the tests have already been done. Our science is becoming eerily similar to that of Atwood’s MadAddam universe. Well, what do you think? Is science going in the right direction? Or are we tampering with things beyond our understanding? If we continue down this path, where exactly will we stop?

 

Works Cited:

Atwood, Margaret. The Year of the Flood. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2010. Print.

Blakemore, Erin. “Human-Pig Hybrid Created In The Lab—Here Are The Facts”. News.nationalgeographic.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/01/human-pig-hybrid-embryo-chimera-organs-health-science/

Chambers, Delaney. “Spinach Leaf Transformed Into Beating Human Heart Tissue”. News.nationalgeographic.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/03/human-heart-spinach-leaf-medicine-science/


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Life After Humans

Reading The MaddAddam Trilogy, fictional but based on our cruel reality, I keep wondering if Crake’s reason is right, whether it would be better off for the planet if humans disappeared.

Humans have been around for thousands and thousands of years, still some million years to go to beat the dinosaurs. We have made more progress (assumingly) than those reptiles: we have built structures, we have developed technology, etc.; but what if one day, all of us vanished, what would happen to all of those?

  • 1 day: lights are out. Most power plants without people to generate would shut down (except for hydro: they have limitless fuel to work by themselves). Plus, no worries for any radiation meltdown from nuclear power plants… yet. Subway/metro tunnels would be flooded after 36 hours.subway-flooded-635x357
  • 10 days: hard time for house pets: no one feeding them. Small dogs would be more likely to die first. They are princes and princesses waiting around to be fed. So consider getting a big one as in case you disappeared, they could get out and follow their natural instincts (my advice: huskies).
  • 1 year: plants start taking roots in our structures, and “once the tree roots…take hold, no human-built structure stands a chance” (Atwood 32). Remember those hydropower plants I mentioned? Now they would completely shut down as mussels would block the generators’ cooling pipes.
  • 20 years: wildlife would be thriving already: vegetation => herbivores => carnivores. Look at the Chernobyl disaster 20 years later.chernobyl2
  • 75 years: cars would completely corrode (it would take 20-25 years if they were at coastal cities like Miami). I wonder why there are piles of corroded cars if it has been only 1-2 years after the apocalypse in the books.
  • 100 years: no one (no aliens) would know our modern-time history as books, films would go back to dirt. It is not like they were carved in clay or stone walls like in ancient time.
  • 500 years: all buildings and infrastructure would go down.
  • 1,000 years: cities would become jungles.
  • 10,000 years: Great Wall of China, Great Pyramid of Giza, and Mount Rushmore might be the only evidence of human structures left behind.

Our time on Earth is short: only haft a minute of the planet’s life on a 24-hour scale, but look at the damages we have done.  Do you think Crake is right, about our problems coming from our greed? Everything has a golden age, do you think there would be such things as our replacements?

 

Find out more

 

de Vries, David; Hense, Jim; Cohen, Douglas; Kosa, Frank; Dolan, Sam; and Georgalis, Savas. Life After People. Top Documentary Films, topdocumentaryfilms.com/life-after-people.

AsapSCIENCE. “What If Humans Disappeared?” www.youtube.com/watch?v=guh7i7tHeZk&t=1s

“Nature Is Speaking.” Conservation International, www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmVLcj-XKnM&t=4s

Gammon, Katharine. “A Brief History of Dinosaurs.” Live Science, www.livescience.com/3945-history-dinosaurs.html.


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The Human Condition and the Quest for Perfection in South Korea

In Margaret Atwood’s novels, Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood, the desire to conquer and suppress the human condition is expressed on several occasions. Mortality is deemed the as humanity’s greatest insecurity and proves to be of great significance to the fate of humanity itself. The whole concept behind cheating the human condition by striving for immortality was so important to society that it lead to the extermination of the entire human race with the BlyssPluss Pill.

In Oryx and Crake we see that the luxurious Rejoovenesense hotel is totally funded by, as Crake describes it “‘Grief in the face of inevitable death […] The wish to stop time. The human condition.'” (Oryx and Crake, 292). In this passage Crake is referring to the money made from the rejuvenating products and treatments produced by the company.

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In The Year of the Flood, we learn more about the company Anooyoo being that it is a place where “[ladies], frightened by the first signs of droop and pucker, then [come] out [of the AnooYoo Spa] again, buffed and tightened and resurfaced, irridiated and despotted”(The Year of the Flood, 263).

     We’re not selling only beauty, the AnooYoo Corp said in their staff instructionals. We’re selling hope. 

(The Year of the Flood, 263).

In recent years, North America has seen great movements aspiring to change the societal standards of beauty in our modern media. Young girls and boys are feeling the af002_innisfree-adpressures induced by the media to adopt and conform to their standards of what is beautiful. However, in South Korea, this issue is notably worse than what we are experiencing here in the West. Seoul, South Korea has the highest rate of plastic surgery per capita in the world. It is a city that’s standards of beauty revolve around perfectly made up, photoshopped and worked on celebrities that requires that people meet that standard if they want a chance at being successful. The young people of South Korea are feeling immense pressure from the professional world and from their personal relationships to live up to these particular beauty standards to the point where often family members will reward high school graduates with plastic surgery.  Even more mature citizens are feeling the pressure to reduce the signs of aging as if its a bad thing like presented in The Year of the Flood. According to Business Insider, South Korean surgeons perform approximately 20 procedures per 1000 people, where the U.S. performs only 13 procedures per 1000 people. 

     As described by a young man from Seoul presented by the short documentary done by Al Jazeera 101 East, “So many people have surgery, it’s just like wearing make-up.”

The most popular surgeries among the Korean people are facial reconstructive surgeries such as double eyelid surgery, anti-aging surgery, and jaw reconstruction surgery, in addition to surgeries such as breast augmentation and body contouring.

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Though these pressures have compelled body activists to come out and promote self-love in the fight against societal beauty standards, one can only wonder how effective these movements will be in the long run. Stories such as Atwood’s make us question how deep rooted these societal standards are in our human nature. Will we ever be able to break free from this cycle? and if not, will humanity see a demise such as the one seen in Atwood’s trilogy? Only time will tell… however, it is clear from countries such as South Korea that we still have a long way to go.

If you would like to know more about the situation in South Korea today, take the time to check out these informative videos, they’re definitely worth the watch!

1: Al Jazeera 101 East

2: BuzzFeed

Alexa Schwarzwald

 

Works Cited:

Images:

 

 


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How much can we trust our healthcare?

There are many examples in the book Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood about corporate power such as the issue with Crake’s dad who was against the corporates and had an ‘accident’ shortly after, and about corporate greed such as Toby’s past and how her healthy mother became a guinea pig and slowly died.

Corporate greed is a recurring theme in the book Year of the Flood and Oryx and Crake.
Sadly, this is something that happens in real life as well.

The government, the corporates, the media are hiding many things from us.

You probably already heard about the issue with financial fraud of the Wall Street executives in 2008 which was impossible to hide because of the crisis. Obligatory measures and new laws were forced to be implemented due to the huge exposure, but unfortunately, those new laws didn’t stop the corporates from abusing their power.

There are more examples of corporate power/greed out there and much more examples hidden from us, but in this post, I will focus mostly on corporates responsible for our healthcare.

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Here is a recent example of a healthcare company lying about its integrity because of money:

“The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) disclose they have no financial interests or other relationships with the manufacturers of commercial products and does not accept commercial support, but later a review authored by Jeanne Lenzer that was published in the British journal BMJ in 2015 reveals that through the CDC Foundation, much of the research led by the CDC is indeed backed by a wide variety of corporations” (Lux).

It is hard to trust a company with all those corporation ties, the product could be harmful, but because CDC was supported by them, they would have to lie to the public about it due to the conflict of interest.
This is something that happens a lot actually, another example is how the sugar industry paid prestigious Harvard researchers to say fat (NOT sugar) caused heart disease.
You can read more about that here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3785753/How-sugar-industry-paid-prestigious-Harvard-researchers-say-fat-NOT-sugar-caused-heart-disease.html

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“Corporation pills are the food of the dead, my dear”(Atwood, 105)

Here is one example that resonates with Pilar’s advice:

“The flu and measles vaccine which are claimed to be ‘safe and effective’ – even though mercury, formaldehyde and aluminum (plus many other neurotoxic ingredients) can be found in each dose. According to Dr. Dean, “the Health Advocacy in the Public Interest (HAPI) commissioned a small study to test four vials of different vaccines for mercury content. The vials were sent to a heavy metal testing lab called Doctor’s Data. The results showed that all four vaccines contained mercury, even though two of the four companies claimed that their vaccines were mercury-free. Children and adults injected with these poisons have an increased risk of digestive problems, chronic inflammation, brain disorders and weakened immune function”. (“Three reasons why modern medicine will never cure chronic disease”)

Toby described HelthWyser clinics as a place where “all they did was poke at your tongue and give you a few germs and viruses you didn’t already have, and send you home” (Atwood, 26).

Ironic how we are taking vaccines to cure a disease but end up having injected things that could cause other diseases like how Toby portrayed the clinics and how her mother was taking supplements to become healthier, but it ended up being the source of her mother’s illness and eventually death.

In the book and in real life, we don’t know for sure who should we trust, what medicines really work, or what they (the Corps) are hiding for us, but we can always consult more than one specialist and do our own research about what we are putting into our bodies.

So, what do you think? Are those sources spouting a bunch of bullshit, or do you think there is some true behind it? and if you agree with the latter, do you think it is possible to solve this issue (preferably a method that does not include erasing humanity) ?

Works Cited

Atwood, Margaret. MaddAddam Trilogy. New York: Random House, 2013. Print

Batts, Vicki. “CDC Foundation accepts millions of dollars from vaccine manufacturer.” CDC.news. 7 March 2017, http://www.cdc.news/2017-03-07-cdc-foundation-accepts-millions-from-vaccine-manufacturers.html. Accessed  25 March 2017.

Lux, Mike. “Corporate Power Run Amok.” Huffington Post. 27 April 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-lux/corporate-power-run-amuck_b_4855750.html. Accessed 25 March 2017.

“Three reasons why modern medicine will never cure chronic disease.” Natural News Network. http://www.naturalnews.com/048887_Carolyn_Dean_modern_medicine_mandatory_vaccinations.html. Accessed 25 March 2017


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Who am I?

An existential question that is almost impossible to answer: who are you? People would usually answer the question through information that is already on their ID card: name, age, gender, race, etc. However, who we are is way more then our status, race or age. I could have those same aspects in me as someone else, but if we compare our experiences or our personality: it will be completely different. We change everyday; we become more mature or experienced then the day before so your answer would be too long or different if re-asked. The “I” cannot be defined and we cannot rely on the person we were 10 years ago. The basic information we have about ourselves clearly helps to understand where we come from or our values, however, it is not enough.who i am

Jimmy experiences this feeling through his whole life. He does not know who he is to the point that he gets a little bit lost. He decided to change his name after awhile since he does not associate himself with the name Jimmy anymore. His name is The Abominable Snowman. It is a monster’s name. He explains this decision by saying “I am not my childhood” (Chapter Hammer). His past made who he is till this day. He is a man with a really difficult past filled with deceptions. He decided to put his past away, but it kind of influences his way of being. For instance, it is really difficult for him to connect with people because of his past relationship with his parents. He even sometimes mentions his own name to cite events and dissociate his present and past self: “Maybe she had loved Jimmy, thinks Snowman” (61).

Many people can relate to Jimmy’s way of feeling. We all have been through times where we were lost or not sure of what we were doing. We sometimes try to get rid of some memories and Jimmy shows literally that, now, he is someone else.

If you meet someone that you have not seen for 10 years, do you think he would perceive you the same way?what

Reference

Atwood, M. (2003). Oryx and Crake. Toronto: Vintage Canada. Print.


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Miserable childhood experience changes your whole life!

Oryx is from an ignorant, poor village in Southeast Asia. Because of the poverty, Oryx’s mother has to sell her to Uncle En. After that, Oryx sells roses, involves in child porn, was treated as a sex slave, and she meets Crake because of to provide him sex service. Therefore, Oryx has the chance to involved into the great cause of human destruction. For this character, I sympathize with her, the tragic childhood experience brought her great pain.

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I feel that Oryx has some weird thoughts. She even makes the excuse for those who exploit her. Remember when Jimmy is angry to those who exploit her and he says that he wants to kill the filmmaker? She just avoids talking about it. She makes me feel that Jimmy is unreasonable and he shouldn’t get angry. In one hand, it shows that she suffered too much that she used to the feeling of misfortune, on the other hand, it clearly shows that she is submissive and cowardly. She even says Uncle En is kind to her, so she appreciates him but I feel it’s weird. Obviously, Oryx isn’t the kind of great man like “love your enemy” or someone who has the Stockholm syndrome. Because of she doesn’t have a family, so it’s hard for her to find the value and the feeling of being needed. Therefore, to have the monetary value is the only way which can make her feel safe.

Oryx in the book has a really bad childhood experience. It is incredible that a child who has gone through so many bad things in her life could grow into a kind person after her growing up.

An example from our true life: Elizabeth Smart, was kidnapped when she was 14 years old and rescued after experienced nine months nightmare. Elizabeth bravely stood on the stage of TED, to tell people about her experience. Some of the traumas are permanent and do not disappear with the age.

Youtube video–My Story| Elizabeth Smart 11:36 minutes

References

Atwood, M. (2003). Oryx and Crake. Toronto: Vintage Canada. Print.

Smart, Elizabeth. (2014, January 31). My story. Youtube, retrieved from     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0C2LPXaEW4