Promises and Prizes

Keeping Readers Happy

MAKES NO PROMISE
AWARDS NO PRIZES
MAKES AND DELIVERS ON A PROMISE WITH A PRIZE
We keep hearing about the controversy of vaping. Again this week there has been more news about the kinds of problems it can cause for teenagers depending on who they buy their products from. Most of the teen vapers who died this year, and hundreds who suffer with serious lung ailments, purchased  and consumed bootleg e-cigarettes filled with mysterious and dangerous ingredients.

Promises and prizes are the heart of communication. Like music fans who need a melody to follow, or movie watchers who trace a storyline, readers need both periodic promises of evidence to come and the fulfillment of those promises.

If we fail to make tantalizing promises to pique their interest, or if we neglect to award the prizes that we’ve promised, our readers will go in search of a better deal.

The red text above buries its promise in vague and inconsequential language. The green text makes robust claims about the very same subject matter and in the same number of words makes promises and delivers prizes.


Three Billion Canaries in the Coal Mine

What does it mean for us that birds are dying? And what can we do about it?

Margaret Renkl

By Margaret Renkl
Contributing Opinion Writer
Sept 29, 2019

A Magnolia Warbler found recently on a suburban lawn in the northeast.  

A Magnolia Warbler found recently on a suburban lawn in the northeast.


In the opening paragraph,
look for promises in green and prizes in blue.


NASHVILLE — During the nearly quarter-century that my family has lived in this house, the changes in our neighborhood have become increasingly apparent: fewer trees and wildflowers, fewer bees and butterflies and grasshoppers, fewer tree frogs and songbirds. I told myself the changes were circumstantial and part of our increasing urbanization. To provide a way station for migrating wildlife, I put up nest boxes for the birds and let wildflowers bloom out before mowing. I trusted they would be fine once they got out of Nashville to rural Tennessee. I was wrong.

A new study in the journal Science reports that nearly 3 billion North American birds have disappeared since 1970. That’s 29 percent of all birds on this continent. This is not a report that projects future losses on the basis of current trends. It is not an update on the state of rare birds already in trouble. This study enumerates actual losses of familiar species — ordinary backyard birds like sparrows and swifts, swallows and blue jays. The anecdotal evidence from my own yard, it turns out, is everywhere.

You may have heard of the proverbial canary in the coal mine — caged birds whose sensitivity to lethal gasses served as an early-warning system to coal miners; if the canary died, they knew it was time to flee. Ornithologists John W. Fitzpatrick explains, “Birds are indicator species, serving as acutely sensitive barometers of environmental health, and their mass declines signal that the earth’s biological systems are in trouble.”

Unlike the miners of old, we have nowhere safe to flee. Nevertheless, the current administration has been rolling back existing environmental protections faster than environmentalists can respond to the ceaseless bad news.


The Forgotten History of
America’s Worst Racial Massacre

Hundreds of black citizens were killed in Elaine, Ark., a century ago this week.
By Nan Elizabeth Woodruff
Sept. 30, 2019

Attendees view the Elaine massacre memorial at a dedication on Sept. 29.

Attendees view the Elaine massacre memorial at a dedication on Sept. 29.

One hundred years ago this week, one of the worst episodes of racial violence in American history unfolded in Elaine, Ark., a small town in the Mississippi Delta. Details remain difficult to verify. The perpetrators suppressed coverage of the events, and the victims, terrified black families, had no one to turn for help. In fact, local police were complicit in the killing of untold numbers of African-Americans.

The Elaine massacre took place in a region, the Delta, that defined itself by its violence and oppression. One African-American, William Pickens, described the Mississippi Delta as “the American Congo.” Elaine, though an isolated plantation region, was part of the broader social upheaval following World War I that came in the form of massive strikes and racial confrontations, both at home and abroad.

In Elaine, in the early fall of 1919, a different struggle for democracy was taking place. Emboldened by their war experience, African-American veterans returned to the Delta to demand the full rights of citizenship and justice, not only before the law but also in their labors. In Phillips County, this struggle directly challenged planter dominance.

The town was at the center of a rapidly changing lumber and plantation economy known for harsh working conditions. Sharecroppers worked the land for a small share of the crop and were forced to sell their cotton to the landowners, who paid less than market prices. Workers also had to buy food, clothing, household wares, tools, seed and fertilizer at the plantation commissary, which charged exorbitant interest rates. It was a system intended to keep black people in debt and dependent upon planters. Legal disfranchisement stripped them of the vote and an ability to share in any benefits of citizenship.


What Kind of Problem Is Climate Change?

Knowing the answer might force us toward a real solution.
By Alex Rosenberg
Sept. 30, 2019

Blue sky reflected in the floodwaters of Hurricane Florence

If the summer heat, followed by Hurricane Dorian, hasn’t convinced you that climate change is real, probably nothing will. Those of us convinced will want to mitigate it if we can. Doing that requires understanding the different kinds of problems climate change presents. They are economic, political and philosophical. The three kinds of problems are inextricably intertwined. That’s one lesson taught by the relatively new discipline of politics, philosophy and economics (PPE).

PPE has been the name for this subject since it was first introduced at Oxford after World War I. Now it’s taught at a hundred or more American universities, combining intellectual resources to come to grips with complex human issues.

To recognize the problems facing any attempt to mitigate climate change, we need to start with a technical term from economics: “public good.”

Put aside the ordinary meaning of these two words. In economic theory, a public good is not a commodity like schools or roads provided to the public by the government. It’s a good with two properties absent in other commodities, including schools and roads. First, a public good is consumed non-rivalrously: No matter how much of it one person consumes, there’s always just as much left for others.

Street lighting is an example: When I consume as much as I want of the nighttime safety it provides, there is still as much left for you. We are not rivals in consumption of a public good. Public schools aren’t public goods in this sense. The more attention your child gets, the less time the teacher has for mine.

Second, a public good is not excludable: There is no way I can consume street lighting without its being available to you at the same time. The only way to exclude you from consumption is to turn it off. But then I can’t consume it. Public schools are excludable goods. Your child can be expelled. So schools are not public goods.

The Paris climate accord set a target of keeping global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. That outcome would be a public good. I can’t consume any of this good unless it’s there for you too, and no matter how much of it I consume in personal benefit, that won’t reduce the amount you can consume.

Of course, as with street lighting, some people will benefit more, maybe even much more from a public good, than others. It’s regrettably true that women’s lives are generally more improved by street lighting than men’s lives are. Mitigating climate change isn’t going to benefit everyone equally. But it can’t benefit anyone without benefiting everyone, and no matter how much I benefit, there will be some benefit left for you.

This is where politics and philosophy come in. As with all other public goods, limiting climate change is subject to what is called a prisoner’s dilemma: If the rest of the world’s major polluters get together to curb emissions, the United States doesn’t have to and will still benefit. On the other hand, if China, the European Union, India, Russia and South Korea do nothing, there’s no point in the United States even trying. It can’t solve the problem alone. It looks as if either way, the United States should do nothing to curb its own emissions. If leaders of these other governments reason the same way, the result is likely to be catastrophic weather extremes everywhere.


At a Cambodian Lake, a Climate Crisis Unfolds

A trifecta of climate change, hydropower dams and illegal fishing are threatening the Tonle Sap, and the people who rely on its fish.
By Abby Seiff
Sept. 30, 2019

Fishermen unload their catch in Chong Khneas, a village on Tonle Sap lake
in December 2018. The region has been heavily effected by drought.

When I first met Ly Heng in May 2016, the forest behind his house was still smoldering from the fires brought on by the worst drought to hit Southeast Asia in decades. Heng lived along a small river at the top of Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake, in a protected area known for its rich biodiversity. At 45, he had never seen wildfires, and never seen the water level of the lake dip so low. Charred sticks and leaves crunched underfoot while Heng led me through the woodland, recounting his neighbors’ efforts to keep the fire from incinerating their houses.

“This is the first time it’s this dry, and the first time the forest burned up,” he said.

Tonle Sap Lake is the largest body of freshwater in Southeast AsiaIts wetlands support critically endangered species like the Bengal florican; its sediment provides nutrients for croplands; its fisheries are among the largest and most biodiverse in the world. And it has reached a tipping point.

Just three years after the 2016 drought, another hit the region earlier this year. Local and global leaders should agree to stem the mushrooming of environmentally destructive hydropower dams, combat illegal fishing and mitigate the impacts of global warming. If such action is not taken soon, the Tonle Sap’s days are numbered. With it will vanish an ecosystem that has supported millions of Cambodians and their neighbors for centuries.

Like the Mekong River as a whole, Tonle Sap Lake is beset by problems both local and global. In recent years, a trifecta of climate change, overfishing and the creation of new dams has threatened to unmake the Tonle Sap.

This year, the rains didn’t arrive in May, or June, or July. They didn’t come until August, borne on a series of storms so powerful that thousands had to be evacuated. The Mekong River reached a grim milestone: It dipped to its lowest levels since modern recording began.

Each time the Mekong reaches a new low, the pulse that keeps Tonle Sap Lake alive slows. This year, according to officials, the water in the Tonle Sap River reversed course in July — about two months lateSoon, the only river in the world to reverse seasonally may not switch direction at all.


 In-Class Task for WED APR 01

  1. As a Reply below, cut and paste the first paragraph of your Definition Argument. With green and blue coding in mind, decide for yourself how many GREEN promises you’ve made and how many BLUE prizes you’ve delivered.
  2. Be tough on yourself; you know I will be.
  3. Now that you’ve taken inventory, below your original paragraph, type a REVISED version (not merely edited), that makes and keeps meaningful promises.

11 Responses to Promises and Prizes

  1. nayr79 says:

    Works of art are considered art in what they can make viewers, readers, and listeners portray and feel within their minds. A painting can dispense certain emotions with its scenery and colorful display or wonders on how the artist was able to articulate certain brush patters in a certain area. A story book requires human imagination to take the wheel as the words build structures and exposition in the mind. Both are art, but both require something from the participating human in order to get the full effect. Movies require no effort from the human besides their attention and basic understanding to achieve their sensory goals. The beauty of film is what they can manage in terms of emotion given visuals, color, sound, music, artwork, and CGI. Comics, on the other hand, can do something no other work of art can: give the reader a choice.

    My opening paragraph has a large promise in the first sentence with multiple sentences of prize following it. The sentence that starts with the word ‘”movies” is where things fall flat. The closing sentence is a promise and prize in one, but is mostly promise. The prize is in the following paragraph.
    REVISED:
    Works of art are considered art in what they can make viewers, readers, and listeners portray and feel within their minds. A painting can dispense certain emotions with its scenery and colorful display or wonders on how the artist was able to articulate certain brush patters in a certain area. A story book requires human imagination to take the wheel as the words build structures and exposition in the mind. Both are art, but both require something from the participating human in order to get the full effect. Movies are an art form that can accomplish many things very easily. Film can manage to make watchers feel multiple emotions with visuals, color, sound, music, artwork, and CGI. Comics, on the other hand, can do something no other work of art can: give the reader a choice.

  2. j6128 says:

    Original: In the 21st century, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) degrees have been the center of attention in terms of whether or not they are a good investment for candidates seeking long-term career success by providing them soft skills that employers demand. There is no doubt that technical and analytical knowledge are essential to the employability skills STEM candidates need to possess. However, soft skills are becoming increasingly important in STEM industries. In the University of New England study, “Critical Soft Skills And The STEM Professional”, author Elizabeth J. Kranz defines soft skills as “generic (non-discipline specific), transferable interpersonal skills that involve one’s ability to manage self, people, relationships and information.” Examples of soft skills include, communication, problem solving, teamwork and leadership- to name a few. Meanwhile hard skills which STEM candidates possess are “specific, objective and measurable skills.” Examples of hard skills include computer programing, foreign language and machine operation.

    Revised: STEM degrees for decades have been the center of attention in terms of whether or not they are a good investment for candidates seeking long-term career success by providing them soft skills that employers demand. Although STEM candidates are taught technical and analytical skills through their circulum that are essential to the job market, employers are realizing that soft skills are becoming increasingly important in STEM industries; in which many STEM candidates unfortunately lack. In the University of New England, “Critical Soft Skills And The STEM Professional”, author Elizabeth J. Kranz defines soft skills as “generic (non-discipline specific), transferable interpersonal skills that involve one’s ability to manage self, people, relationships and information.” Examples of soft skills include, communication, problem solving, teamwork and leadership- to name a few. Meanwhile hard skills which STEM candidates possess are “specific, objective and measurable skills.” Examples of hard skills include computer programing, foreign language and machine operation. In order for STEM candiates to become more hirable and achieve long term they need to possess a balance of both hard and soft skills because their skills need to reflect and adapt to the changing business and social enviroment of they economy.

  3. harp03 says:

    Promise–Every year, baseball fans preemptively get psyched for the upcoming MLB season. From the second that the World Series concludes until Opening Day, a majority of baseball fans have hope,
    Prize–both for a surplus of riveting offseason acquisitions and for a successful season.
    Promise–But there are also fans that are dreading their team’s future.
    Prize–These fans root for teams that seemingly have no shot at any sort of postseason contention, as well as teams that have no intention of spending any money or making any significant trades in the offseason.
    Promise–Why are some teams afraid to make moves while other organizations spend money big?
    ^Answered in the next paragraph.

    I would be more than glad to improve my first paragraph, but I am struggling to see any lapses in promises/prizes even though I know it is not perfect…any suggestions? Am I looking at my paragraph the wrong way?

  4. walmaarts says:

    The date is December 31st, 2019 and the coronavirus (COVID19) was identified at a local wet market in Wuhan, China. Wuhan is home to over 11 million people making it the worst spot for the virus to start. Silently and undetected the virus crept around China infecting thousands of people with flu-like symptoms and horrible respiratory/pneumonia effects. Being like the flu the virus spreads very easily if not faster than influenza.

    Revised

    The date is December 31st, 2019 COVID-19 was discovered in Wuhan China little didn’t the world know that in 4 months’ time all of our lives would be affected by this visible killer. Health officials calling it the worst public health scare of recent history. But how did this all come to be?

  5. dupreeh79 says:

    As time goes by the issue of global warming becomes more and more of a reality. Global warming is caused by carbon dioxide or “greenhouse gases” being released in the atmosphere. Of course, gas powered cars release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere helping global warming. But, a large majority of carbon emissions are produced by power sources like coal plants that release carbon into the atmosphere. These coal plants produce the most amount of carbon dioxide in the air than any other sources. The cheap price and the easiness of producing power with coal is a big factor in why society is still using these power plants. But According to the article “Coal Plants Lock in 300 Billion Tons of CO2 Emissions” written by Bobby Magill. Magill explains “Coal-fired power plants are the largest contributors to the atmospheric CO2 concentrations, which last year reached 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human history.” To counter this many are suggesting switching to carbon-free sources of power. Carbon free sources would be able to produce the same amount of energy as coal power plants but at the same time being environmentally conscious. For example, wind, solar, and nuclear are carbon-free sources of power that can prove to be great counters to produce energy.

    As time goes by the issue of global warming becomes more and more of a reality. Global warming is caused by carbon dioxide or “greenhouse gases” being released in the atmosphere(Green). A large majority of carbon emissions are produced by power sources like coal plants that release carbon into the atmosphere(Blue). The cheap price and the easiness of producing power with coal is a big factor in why society is still using these power plants(Green). But According to the article “Coal Plants Lock in 300 Billion Tons of CO2 Emissions” written by Bobby Magill. Magill explains “Coal-fired power plants are the largest contributors to the atmospheric CO2 concentrations, which last year reached 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human history.(Blue)” To counter this many are suggesting switching to carbon-free sources of power(Green). Carbon free sources would be able to produce the same amount of energy as coal power plants but at the same time being environmentally conscious. For example, wind, solar, and nuclear are carbon-free sources of power that can prove to be great counters to produce energy(Blue).

  6. shaquilleoatmeal2250 says:

    Original: A school lunch or school meal is a meal provided to students and teachers at a school, typically in the and/or middle of the day. It is completely self choice whether or not a student chooses to eat their own homemade lunch or the lunches provided from the school. The feeling as if it has become a social norm that if you bring your own food for lunches it’s better for you rather than if you had bought the school lunch, but counterintuitively that may actually be wrong.

    Revised: School lunch is the time in which students and teachers can either bring a homemade lunch or buy a school meal. It is completely self choice whether or not a student chooses to eat their own homemade lunch or the lunches provided from the school. The feeling as if it has become a social norm that bringing your own food for lunches is overall nutritionally better rather than if you had bought the school lunch, but counterintuitively that may actually be wrong. Through studies and surveys, there are more claims favoriting healthy and well-balanced school lunches over the poor standard and unbalanced homemade lunch.

  7. rose1029 says:

    Original: Everyone one is raised differently. Not even siblings share the same experiences and standards their parents put them through. The definition of an ideal upbringing is interchanging between families, and continues to change with time. Most people don’t think that they have experienced the ideal upbringing if you asked them. They would come up with something that their parents may have done that has affected them negatively in their upbringing, and it may not be considered a serious issue to others. This is because most people have a pre-existing idea of what a childhood should entail.

    – My opening paragraph was very factual, mostly just spitting out facts to the reader rather then guiding them and drawing them into the reading. I wanted to try and sound less assertive with my facts and have the reader feel like they came to this conclusion themselves. By doing this, I can more effectively get my point across and achieve what every argumentative essay tries to do, and convince the reader of my thesis.

    Revised: An individual’s upbringing is a substantial part of their lives. Everyone one is raised differently. Not even siblings share the same experiences and standards their parents put them through. One question that comes up through the centuries of raising children is what exactly is the best way to raise one’s child. There will never be an agreement between parents on what that is. The definition of an ideal upbringing is interchanging between families, and continues to change with time. What many people believe however; is that they themselves haven’t experienced the ideal upbringing. If you were to ask them, they would come up with something that their parents may have done that has affected them negatively in their upbringing. This particular matter may not be considered a serious issue to others. This is because most people have a pre-existing idea of what a childhood should entail.

  8. gossipgirl3801 says:

    Original Paragraph: (green)Typically, people believe that babies begin to learn after they are born during the first few months they are alive. (blue)Another theory has popped up called the fetal origins hypothesis stating that babies actually begin learning when they are in their mom’s womb.(green) In this case there is a fine line between “learning” and the fetus developing reflexes.

    Revised Paragraph: (green) It is commonly believed that babies begin the learning stage just after they are born. Some researchers have debunked this idea and have come up with the fetal origins hypothesis. (blue) This hypothesis says that babies begin learning during their gestation period inside their mother’s womb. (green) There’s a fine line between the word developing and learning when it comes to talking about fetuses. (blue) Development will have no use in aiding the hypothesis but proving that babies are learning through sound, preference, and emotions will help provide evidence of the fetal origins idea.

  9. bmdpiano says:

    When we think of a usual high school day in America, a classic schedule of four core classes and a few exploratory classes like cooking or art comes to mind. This has been the staple for years in order to prepare students for their future whether that be college, trade school, or directly entering some type of job force. Though this format of preparation has been around for some time, it does not hold up to the fast paced society that we live in now. Many students collectively share the same opinion regarding how prepared they feel for their next steps into adulthood, which is that they don’t feel prepared at all. The popular verdict is that most of the “skills” taught are not useful at all for what the real world has to offer. Knowing complex maths or the in depth details of a historical event is deemed more important than teaching information that will stick with these students for a lifetime such as managing money or the tools to get a job. All this equates to just the process of education, but there is no learning happening. Many believe that education and learning can be used interchangeably, but in reality, they have very distinct differences.

  10. a1175 says:

    Original: College degrees are a gift that not everyone can have. Student athletes that get full ride scholarships or just scholarships in general to colleges are lucky people. They have the ability to play the sport they love while also getting a degree. Many people do not have the ability to attend college due to their lack of money, so student athletes who are getting handed college for free have once in a lifetime opportunities.

    Revised: College degrees are a gift that not everyone gets the chance to have. In Andrej Bastrikin’s article, “Percentage of High School Graduates That Go to College,” Bastrikin claims that “nearly 25% of high school students considered middle class indicated they were not planning to attend college because of the expense.” Student athletes that get full ride scholarships or just scholarships in general to colleges, are lucky people. They have the ability to play the sport they love while also getting a degree. In a Scholarship Owl article, “Athletic Scholarship Statistics,” it claims that in 2017, 181,306 student athletes got some sort of athletic scholarships. Many people do not have the ability to attend college due to their lack of money, so student athletes who are getting handed college for free have once in a lifetime opportunities, which includes coming out of college debt free.

  11. alyse816 says:

    Original: For many years now, I have questioned the effects that sports have on the human body, not just when you are playing them but also the effects they cause when you get older as well. Most people believe that playing sports,especially more than one, as you grow up is a good idea, and in fact at the time, it might be. But it also might not be. You can see how this might be counterintuitive. The fact that playing sports to be active as a child might lead to bad things later in life. As kids grow up around the elementary school age and start playing little league and pre-recreational sports we don’t really think about the minor injuries that they get because they are young and it will heal fast. But those kids often grow up and continue to play sports throughout middle school, high school, and some even go on to play in college level, and this is where it can get bad. The older kids get the more aggressive they get. And the urge to win increases, leaving them vulnerable on the field, court, etc. They also feel the need to be the best they can leaving them trying to constantly be better. Like Grant L Jones from Ohio State University, says in “Pediatric overuse injuries increase due to year round, one sport training,” ‘In most cases, our sources noted that excessive practice most likely leads to injury rather than perfection.”

    Revised: Many researchers have questioned the effects that sports have on the human body, not just when you are playing them but also the effects they cause when you get older. Most people believe that playing sports, especially more than one as you grow up is a good idea, and in fact at the time it might be. But as research shows the long lasting affects to the body means it is not. You can see how this is counterintuitive, the fact that playing sports to be active as a child might lead to decreased health later in life. As kids grow up around the elementary school age and start playing little league and pre-recreational sports we don’t really think about the minor little injuries that they get because they are young and will heal fast. But those kids are often the ones who grow up and continue to play sports through out middle school, high school, and some even get to go to the college level and beyond, and this is where it gets bad, The older kids get the more aggressive they get. This increases the urge to win, which leaves them vulnerable on the field, court, etc. They also feel the need to be the best they can leaving them trying to constantly be better. Like Grant L Jones from Ohio State University, says in “Pediatric overuse injuries increase due to year round, one sport training,” ‘In most cases, our sources noted that excessive practice most likely leads to injury rather than perfection.”

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s