In 2010, Dawn Brancheau, a Seaworld trainer, died after an attack from Tilikum, an orca whale at Seaworld and one of the San Diego park’s main attractions. The documentary Blackfishtells the story of Tilikum and his long-term trainer Brancheau, and the psychological trauma and stress the whales in the water park endure while in captivity. Blackfish also describes Tilikum’s journey to Seaworld, and how the multi-billion dollar animal park industry runs despite pressure from animal rights groups to shut down. Brancheau, who had 17 years of experience, was feeding Tilikum and having bonding time with him when Tilikum suddenly dragged her into the water and violently tossed her around. Brancheau ultimately drowned and died from horrible injuries.Continue reading →
Lowering the Voting Age to 16: Views for and Against
In many areas of the world, once you turn 16-years-old you’re eligible for a special right, a right that allows you to take part in shaping your community and your nation. Countries such as Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, and Nicaragua have already lowered the voting age to 16. In 1971, the United States lowered the voting age from 21 to 18, after millions of Americans protested against the Vietnam war and declared that if 18-year-olds were old enough to fight and die for their country, they should be able to vote in federal elections as well. Now there’s a push to make the voting age 16. Is lowering the age beneficial or problematic? Continue reading →
Should kids be allowed to take on dangerous challenges?
Many kids like to participate in high-energy activities like skateboarding, snowboarding and skiing. These activities involve some safety risks, and kids who wear helmets and padding are taking smart measures to protect themselves. But are some activities and challenges just too risky for kids to attempt?
A few years ago, teenager Laura Dekker sailed around the world by herself. This month, Jayden Larson, a 10 year old boy from Minnesota, won a big racing event, driving at fast speeds around a track.
Tyler Armstrong, 11, recently announced plans to become the youngest mountaineer to climb Mount Everest, in the Himalayas. His larger goal is to climb the so-called seven summits, some of the tallest mountains in the world. Everest is challenging for the most experienced climbers, and a number of fatal accidents have happened there. Many adults in the climbing community have criticized Tyler’s goal. Continue reading →
About ninety thousand adults apply to become British citizens every year. Now each and every one of them will have to take a written test before they can qualify as citizens. This report from Paul Keller
For years those becoming British citizens simply had to swear an oath of allegiance in front of a lawyer and then receive a certificate in the post. But in 2004 Britain introduced a compulsory citizenship ceremony which required new citizens to take a broader oath promising to respect Britain’s rights, freedoms and laws and all of this in front of civic dignitaries dressed in full regalia. Now the government is going even further: it’s launching a test designed to establish knowledge of the country and its language. Continue reading →
Should affirmative action policies, which give preferential treatment based on minority status, be eliminated?
Affirmative action generally means giving preferential treatment to minorities in admission to universities or employment in government & businesses. The policies were originally developed to correct decades of discrimination and to give disadvantaged minorities a boost. The diversity of our current society as opposed to that of 50 years ago seem to indicate the programs have been a success. But now, many think the policies are no longer needed and that they lead to more problems than they solve.
One notable example is a case argued a few years back in the Supreme Court concerning admissions to the University of Michigan. The school had a policy of rating potential applicants on a point system. Being a minority student earned you more than twice as many points as achieving a perfect SAT score. Three white students sued citing this as raced-based discrimination. School officials said that diversity is desirable and affirmative action is the only way to achieve true diversity. Several other cases involving affirmative action have followed similar arguments.
The following sections explore the issue and show how things are much more complicated. Continue reading →