Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Haley Reading Group - reflections


[The Best American Science and Nature Writing (2016)]

Haley scholar online readers, we've arrived at the end of our activities for the semester. Thanks for participating.

Over the last few months, we read and commented on Bryan Christy's “Tracking Ivory," Helene Cooper's “They Helped Erase Ebola in Liberia," Rose Eveleth's “Why Are Sports Bras So Terrible," Antonia Juhasz's “Thirty Million Gallons Under the Sea," Maddie Oatman's “Attack of the Killer Bees," and Sarah Maslin Nir's “Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers."

What article most challenged your thinking? That is, which article, among those we read, prompted you to re-think preconceived ideas or stretch your mind in new ways? How so?

55 comments:

Maya Searcy said...

The article that stood out to me the most was Thirty Million Gallons Under the Sea. This one article stood out the most because we tend to hear about big oil spills, but we think they are all cleaned up, but they are not. Old oil spills still affect marine life today. This made me re think how people treat nature and it made me re think how much help we are actually doing.

Anonymous said...

The article that challenged my thinking the most was Helene Cooper's “They Helped Erase Ebola in Liberia." I never expected that Liberian people would rather keep the diseased bodies around instead committing their religious taboo of burning them and would shun those who burned them for the good of the community. The article made me realize that religious people around the world will do/not do things in order to preserve the religion, even if doing/not doing something could cost many lives.

-Kyla T.

A. Robinson said...

I most enjoyed reading "Tracking Ivory". I am really passionate about animals rights and I am very against poaching and hunting for sport. I found the article about elephant tusks very agreeable. It was also infomational and provided a lot of alarming statistics.

Peyton D. said...

"Perfect nails" challenged my thinking because it was something I had not thoroughly assessed in the past. It is crazy that something we accept as normal and mainstream is actually detrimental and deadly to the health of so many people. The government is fully aware of the dangerous exposure and use of deadly chemicals and allow the practice to continue. Cancer, increased miscarriages, birth defects, developmental issues, and chronic illness are not enough for anything to change. It makes me wonder how many other things are extremely dangerous, well-known, and legally allowed to continue.

Anonymous said...

An article that most challenged my thing was Helene Cooper's “They Helped Erase Ebola in Liberia." This article made me re-think ideas on how a job could completely change the way a person lives. For example, the workers who burned the dead bodies of Ebola victims were shunned from the rest of their family and community.

-Aleeya B.

Anonymous said...

Overall, each reading this semester was extremely insightful. Each reading was a topic I hadn't really heard to much about. The only reading i had really already heard about was "Thirty Million Gallons Under the Sea" yet i still think it's the one that got me thinking so much. It had such catastrophic damages to both humans and nature, it's still pretty bothersome.
Sydney j.

Mikaela S said...

The article, "They Helped Erase Ebola in Liberia" challenged my thinking. This article challenged me to re-think preconceived ideas or stretch your mind in new ways. I never thought really thought about how that specific situation would be dealt with in other places outside of the United States. As time goes on, it is interesting to reflect on the past in other countries (as well as our own), and see the advances in medicine, as well as how specific groups of people ended up saving a lot of lives even though they were widely disliked.

Donovan Washington said...

The last article we read titled, "Perfect Nails", by Sarah Maslin Nir intrigued me the most out of all the others. This is because it was surprising how such an ordinary job like being a manicurist is actually extremely dangerous when done for long periods of time. It was especially surprising to know the job is so widespread but there is not much done to help make it less hazardous for the workers.

-Donovan Washington

Zaria Whitlock said...

In my opinion the most interesting article was Helene Cooper's "They Helped Erase Ebola in Liberia". This article was interesting because it opened my eyes to the problems being faced by people in different countries. I feel like the United States, in it's entirety, seems to either ignore the plights being faced by other countries or they attempt to help for a short period of time that is never actually effective. I also felt bad for the lives these men had to live after they provided a service to their country and potentially saved more lives than the ones they have to cremate.

Zaria W.

Sydney Oats said...

The article that challenged me the most was Thirty Million Gallons Under the Sea. It got me thinking about how much harm has been to the ocean, and how there is continues harm done to it that we do not know about. It is sad that our human race has done so much harm to the ocean in such a small amount of time. Such as the multiple oil spills that are still harming the oceans, and will continue to for multiple years.

Joshua Jones said...

The article that I found the most intriguing was "Tracking Ivory." It really made me think about the world more and how it is bigger than the SIUe campus and even the issues with trade within the states. I had heard about the ivory trade but did not think about the effects other than poached elephants. Due to Kony's involvement and the relationships between the workers and the citizens, the trade caused strife between factions and led to displacement, which is crazy to me.

-Josh J.

Asher said...

The article that really stood out to me was "Tracking Ivory". I'm a huge animal rights activist and I believe that as human beings, we should respect all living creatures even to the smallest organisms. I can't imagine hunting down elephants and removing certain features of them that are so recognizable as their tusks. In my mind, we are all God's children and yes, even animals were created by God. There is a time and place to kill animal, but to kill one for sport is different from killing animals for substance. Reading Tracking Ivory gave me more insight and further realization that we should continue to fight against poaching and killing of wildlife animals.

Shardai J-H. said...

"Thirty Million Gallons Under the Sea," challenged my thinking the most. With thinks in the media fading every time something new happens, I had forgotten about the oil spill altogether. Reading of the damage it has done to the sea floor and to organisms that reside there is bothersome. I would have thought something had been done to clean up the oil while they are exploring the place where the oil is damaging.

Jaleelah Muhammad said...

The article that piqued my interest the most was Helene Cooper's "They Helped Erase Ebola in Liberia". Men who should have been seen has heroes were ostracized and out casted by the people of their village. It truly opens your eyes to the different ways of life and the belief system of other nations, tribes, and/or villages. To us in the U.S., these people seem ungrateful and superstitious, but for them, this is life or death .

Victoria Wright said...

All of the articles we read this semester challenged my thinking and brought things that I didn't know to my attention. The article that resonated with me most(probably because I can relate to it the most) was "Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers." I always get my nails done, and I never think anything of the dangerous chemicals lingering in the air that the workers have to sit in for hours at a time. Knowing that the consumption of all these chemicals impacts their lives so much makes me reconsider getting my nails done.

Sandra Yokley said...

The article that most challenged my thinking was most definitely Thirty Million Gallons Under the Sea. This article prompted me to re-think my preconceived idea in how it shows how everything is interconnected and interdependent upon other things. How one action, or misaction, or lack of action, affects ecosystems. And when that idea is placed in the context of a community, a nation, a people, like America, I am stretched to think that this same phenomena is experienced in the life of humans as well in regards to political and social interactions.

J'kolbe Kelly said...

The article that stood out/ challenged me the most is "Perfect nails, Poisoned Workers." This article stood out to me the most because it brought to my attention a problem that i was previously unaware of. This article also informed me of the long term affects of many widely used cosmetics today.

Jasmine Williams said...

"Tracking Ivory" stood out the most to me. I've always had a very strong interest in elephant, so it was definitely sad to read. It's unfortunate that these animals are not able to speak up for themselves; which is why it's important for us to. Recently in the news, the rules on hunting for ivory have become more relaxed. I've typically thought of hunting for ivory as a thing of the past, but it was shocking to read that this is still a current issue.

Jasmine Williams

Aja J said...

The article that most challenged my thinking would have to be Helene Cooper’s “They Helped Erase Ebola in Liberia.” I knew that ebola was a problem in other countries, but I did not know how severe. On top of that, I would never expect anyone to burn the bodies of those who died and were infected with ebola. This article reminded me of all the different views around the world. It reminded me of the limited resources that some countries have and that they have to turn to extreme measures to try and keep their people safe.

Kenisha Townsend said...

The article that I would say challenged my thinking the most would be "Thirty Million Gallons Under the Sea". I wasn't aware of the BP oil spill nor its effects. I was shocked while reading the article, because I never really thought about how oil spills affect not only sea animals, but humans as well (similar to a chain reaction). Moreover, the effects of this incident is still prevalent today. I love seafood, but I never thought about the conditions the food I eat could have been in. If the animal consumed oil while underground or ate another creature that consumed oil, and I chose to eat this animal, then I can be affected by the BP oil spill. Many of us tend to believe just because something happened several years ago, it is no longer prevalent today.

Nia Piggott said...

The article that stood out to me and brought a new idea to my attention was the article " Perfect Nails, Poisoned workers". Before reading this article I knew nothing about the dangers of the nail tech industry. It made me rethink the idea of the nails and the chemicals that you breathe in either going there frequently or being a worker.

Brandy Collier said...

The most interesting article to me was "Perfect nails, Poisoned workers". I found this article the most interesting because it opened my eyes to the effect of nail salon chemicals to our health. It spoke about how the workers and their families can be affected by the chemicals that are used in nail salons. I didn't know that the chemicals were harmful enough to cause cancer and miscarriages. It made me realize strong and harmful the chemicals actually are.

-Brandy Collier

Xavier J said...

The article that stood out to me was Bryan Christy's “Tracking Ivory". This article reminded me about the horrible effects of elephant poaching. Not only does the poaching drive elephants to extinction, it also funds terrorist organizations such as Joseph Kony and his solders. So, I thought that this story was something that should be reported on in the news again today as it was in 2012.

Xavier J

Paris Smith said...

The article that stood out to me was "Perfect nails, Poisoned Workers." I never thought that something as ordinary as getting my nails done could be so harmful to people. It makes you wonder about other normal things that we do that could be harmful to us. It makes you stop and think about the things that we put into and onto our body as everyday care. So I think that this is something that everyone should be aware of and other chemicals that are in our cosmetics and beauty supplies because those could be causing harm as well.

Breanna B. said...

The "Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers" piece really stood out to me, because I had not thought about what it does to one being around fumes associated with cosmetology products. Working in the chemical stockroom on campus, I know how dangerous it can be to breathe in chemical fumes; that is why we use fume hoods and were certain protective gear. Perhaps there is a way to install devices in salons which suck fumes from the room through exhaust, leaving the workers in a breathable air.

Deborrah B said...

The article that challenged me most was "They Helped Erase Ebola in Liberia." I remember when this was all over the news and how U.S. officials were trying so hard to prevent it from coming here. Meanwhile, people in Liberia and other countries were struggling to survive. It's terrible thinking about how they had to destroy bodies that were infected with Ebola to try and prevent the spread.
-Deborrah B

Naomi Olsson said...

Although all the articles that we explored throughout the semester really opened my eyes to many different topics that I was not aware of, the article that really challenged my mind was "they helped erase Ebola in Liberia. Now Liberia is erasing them". I remember when the Ebola crisis was a very large problem. however, I was never really aware of how 3rd world countries were dealing with the epidemic. This article really touched my heart and made me think. It made me sad that these men were putting their lives at risk for the their communities only to be scolded and rejected from the community.

Jazsmine Towner said...

"Perfect Nails" challenged me the most. Although the read was easy, it was the content that was so upsetting. I was ignorant to the hazardous work environment these workers experienced on a day to day basis. I thought they wore the mask over their faces because the smell bothered them, and now I believe I felt that way because the smell bothered me. I think that my attitude was self-centered and not thinking about the bigger picture so when I read about these women experiencing these horrible effects of working at nail salons I had to rethink my preconceived thoughts. I began to think back to going to the nail shop and seeing pregnant women and now all I can think of is the welfare of their children. The article also made me think about why those workers continue to work in those terrible conditions. Is it because they don't have a choice because they need the money? Or is it because they aren't fully aware of the risks they are taking working in those positions. Lastly, it also made me think about the individuals who are supposed to fight to improve their work conditions. Why aren't they doing anything, or speaking out about this tragedy. In the end, my heart goes out to the families affected by this.

Anonymous said...

I think out of all the articles "They Helped Erase Ebola in Liberia" was the one most challenging to my mind. It made me think of how there is history everywhere. Being in the U.S. we don't always learn about other historically significant events in the world and aren't able to put ourselves in their shoes. So learning about how these people helped their country and weren't honored because of their views was interesting.

-De'Abrion Joyner

Jasmin Smoot said...

I can honestly say the article “Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers” hit home for me. It just talks about these young women who are just trying to make a living, but little do they know they are poisoning themselves, and even their potential children. What makes it worse is the high demand for nail technicians because every woman wants to get their nails done at least once in their lifetime. I would love to see a change in the companies that distribute those nail care products or see some kind of government action/restriction on the chemicals used in these salons. Beauty is never worth harming your health.

Tiera Williams said...

The article that made me thing differently and that I enjoyed the most was "Why are sports bras so terrible." This article outlined so much about the bra world for women and the challenge between something that looks good versus something that feels good. It challenges the societal viewpoint of looks. It addresses how in today's society its all about what looks the cutest and not about what's the best for you and points out the struggles for the designer. The perfect bra will not exist without the loss of something and style may be what has to be eliminated.

Tiera W.

Tiera Williams said...

The article that made me thing differently and that I enjoyed the most was "Why are sports bras so terrible." This article outlined so much about the bra world for women and the challenge between something that looks good versus something that feels good. It challenges the societal viewpoint of looks. It addresses how in today's society its all about what looks the cutest and not about what's the best for you and points out the struggles for the designer. The perfect bra will not exist without the loss of something and style may be what has to be eliminated.

Tiera W.

Andre Valentine said...

Tracking Ivory defiantly challenged me the most. I knew that elephants were being killed. However, I didn't know that they were being killed to that magnitude, and another thing was why they killed them. It was just hard for me to believe that people would kill these majestic beast to promote war. This article just showed me how cruel humans can be and why the world is in a constant state of chaos.



Andre Valentine

John Kriha said...

The article that challenged me the most was Cooper's "They Helped Erase in Liberia". This article opened my eyes to how other countries differ from us culturally. Even though burning the bodies was done to prevent the spreading of Ebola, upholding religious customs was more important to the citizens of Liberia. The most concerning part was how the Liberian government refused to stick up for the men burning bodies even though they understood the importance of containing the outbreak.

Crystal Rice said...

The article that challenged my thinking was "Perfect Nails." I say this because I found this one the most interesting. I never knew that it was that much of a health risk to the workers there who were pregnant, and even those who aren't. The chemicals should be monitored way more to minimize the amount of baby deaths and health problems people end up getting. No one ever thinks that getting your nails done would cause any harm to someone.

Crystal R.

Jeremiah T said...

"They Helped Erase Ebola in Liberia" challenged me the most because of what was going on. I was unaware of how people who burned bodies were treated. I felt bad for the people because they sacrificed their lives to stop the spread of Ebola and did not receive anything in return.

Kathryn Hatches said...

The article that stood out to me the most was "Perfect Nails." This article stood out from the rest because it challenged the capitalist event that I participate in every time I go to the nail salon. It made me reconsider going because of the detrimental effect the chemicals have on the workers, who are often the most marginalized members of society.
-kathryn hatches

Marcus Barnes said...

I would have to say that the article that stood out to me the most was “Tracking Ivory.” Many of these articles had me thinking about situations and problems that I wouldn’t otherwise really think about. This one, however, was the most memorable. I just couldn’t get over how even some African governments could just turn their head to the fact that endangered African elephants were being poached by the thousands. I couldn’t believe that they were just sitting there and allowing it. African elephants should be strongly protected to prevent them from going extinct. This article really brought to light the horrible problems endangered African elephants are facing.

- Marcus B.

Brandon Nichols said...

Tracking Ivory was the most interesting article in my opinion. I had no idea that a war was happening over elephants. I've never thought too much about the illegal killings of elephants, but I will always think back to this article whenever the subject is brought up. I wish that some foreign companies would intervene, but there is already enough global conflict as it is. Hopefully there will be a solution to end this bloodshed.\

Brandon N.

Sierra Taylor said...

I liked the story by Helene Cooper titled "The Helped Erase Ebola in Liberia. Now Liberia is Erasing Them." I took pity on the burners and was angry that society was pushing them out because of their necessary jobs. Burning those bodies was so controversial because it attacked the faiths and beliefs of the people. It was so interesting to me because people turned on one another when they felt their belief system was being attacked.

Anonymous said...

"Attack of the Killer Beetles" was likely the one that made me think the most. I've always respected natural selection and my favorite thing to come out of it (besides felines) is the tree. Trees are what mark the penical of plant life. They are very high on my chart of moral considerabilty to say the least. I'm torn slightly because the beetle that's taking so many trees down is so interesting and "smart." It also made me more hopeful for the future in regards to climate change, since the trees more adjusted to warm climates are at least fairing better than others. It means trees (unsurprisingly) will make it when we continue to make the planet uninhabitable for many species.

(Sorry I'm late, just got off work)

-Querra M.

Leah Johnson said...

The reading that most impacted me was Sarah Maslin Nir's “Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers."I felt that this chapter opened my eyes to the people that perform jobs that not many other people are willing to do. nail technicians will never stop doing business, so the harmful effects of working in a nail shop will persist, unfortunately. its just helpful to realize that there are people in the world doing jobs that no one else will do.
--Aliyah Johnson

Leah Johnson said...

The article that most interested me was Sarah Maslin Nir's “Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers.". it was helpful to know that there are people are humbly doing jobs that no one else is willing to do. Nail technicians will never stop doing nails because it is an art form so we have to appreciate the fact that people sacrifice their health just to cater to customers that want their nails done. this was a very insightful reading.
--Aliyah Johnson

Natasha said...

The article that most impacted me was Tracking Ivory. As I sit here today reflecting over everything we have read, I keep being reminded of this one particularly. It is in part because of the recent elephant "trophy" debate going on currently. Donald Trump just recently allowed bringing these "trophies" back to the US legal. This concerns me because I do not want to encourage elephant hunting and I certainly don't want to see elephants become extinct in my lifetime. This brings me to Ellen Degeneres' take on this political debate, as she posted on Instagram a photo on behalf of elephants that for however many people shared this certain photo, she would donate $1 for each share to an established elephant orphan rescue in Africa. Learning about elephants is important and I recommend everyone read this article!

-Natasha Handy

Kytela Medearis said...

The article that stood out to met he most was, “ Thirty Million Gallons Under the Sea.” This article completely changed the way I was thinking, especially seeing as it was about something that is very important to me, the ocean. Just to think that we caused so much damage to so much wildlife and ocean space, is still mind boggling. I want to rid the chances of that happening ever again, and I begun researching organizations to support those efforts.

Anonymous said...

The article that challenged me the most was Sarah Maslin Nir's “Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers." What I found interesting was how often we don’t take into consideration the impact our daily activities may impact others, even if they seem small. I feel that this article showed me to think in all perspectives of situations that may seem minute to me.
-Jordan R.

Brianna Reed said...

The article that stood out to me most was "They Helped Erase Ebola in Liberia"because it was truly a story of sacrifice that was met by sheer isolation and hate. The men who were burners went against their cultural beliefs/norms yes, but for the greater good of the society they lived in even with the consequences they had to face thereafter. I just feel as though they didn't deserve the exclusion and unkind treatment they were receiving especially because they helped to prevent so many more from suffering and death. This story just goes to show how doing the right thing that makes the most sense doesn't always equate to it being the thing that is celebrated and appreciated. Like most great things that happen in this world, the heroism is not recognized until those who made it possible are long gone.

Cheniya A, said...

The article that challenged my thinking most was, "Perfect Nails." It made me think about societal expectations - set by the government - and the illnesses that accompanied the compliance of those expectations - known by the government. This made me wonder in how many other ways are we, as a population, being poisoned?
Not only that, it only served to further confirm my suspicions regarding the government's position on the well-being of the population. It was just another thing I chucked into the wheel when considering how we struggle with health care - and Big Pharma's role. It made me realize to what lengths they would go to just to implant a sickness in hopes of a monetary profit.

Anonymous said...

The article that challenged my think the most was Helene Cooper's “They Helped Erase Ebola in Liberia." Before reading this story, I would have assumed that everyone would praise the people that were willing to do a job that everyone else was too afraid to do. I thought even more so when I saw that they essentially saved the country. In my opinion they should have been treated as heroes not with disgust.

-Marcus U

Anonymous said...

Of all the articles covered throughout this semester, the article that challenged my thinking the most would have to be the "Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers" article simply because it brought so much more attention and knowledge to me about the health risks of working in nail salons and while I do not go often it may seem as that when I do go I am in a way contributing to putting women at an increased health risk.
~Tashawna N.

Fiona Hill said...

The article that challenged my thinking the most was "They Helped Erase Ebola in Liberia" because it made me think about how making a sacrifice can come back and hurt you. They put their lives at risks and no one appreciated it because of religious beliefs.

Anonymous said...

I found the "Tracking Ivory" reading to be most enjoyable and interesting. Since I was a little girl, I have always been intrigued by animals and their contributions to our world. I found the article about elephant tusks to be very informational despite its cruel nature and story behind to abuse of these graceful animals. I am very passionate about animals rights and as I read in the article of the poaching and hunting of these animals I was heartbroken and a little angry. I think that killing animals is wrong and quite alarming. Yet, this article has stuck with me and has made more of an impact on me than the other articles. --Gabrielle W.

Kaelyn Blunt said...

I found that of all the articles, the most surprising to me was the "Perfect Nails". Of course I was intrigued by all of the other articles in many ways, but this one stuck out to me because it relates to many things occurring today. Things that should not occur because of research that proves their wrongdoings. It boggles my mind that companies and the government know about the horrid risk factors for jobs such as nail artists, yet there is no law stating that they have to be informed. That is insanely crazy to me.
Kaelyn Blunt

Jazmyn Maggitt said...

The article that had the biggest impact on me was "Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers". The main reason this one affected me is because its the one that is most relate-able to my everyday life. This is something that I can consciously try to fix by not partaking in it myself. The other articles were more focused on the environment and while those are also vitally important, I can't do a whole lot to stop the beetles from killing the trees but I can ensure that my vanity doesn't affect another human being's health and well-being.

Xavier Morrison-Wallace said...

On the terms of Health, I think "Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers" was the chapter that made me think the most. This is only because, cosmetics is very popular and directly affects humans. It was disappointing to read on one of the pages that, despite the popularity, scientific studies don't really focus on this subject. I believe there could be huge efforts that could be made in the progress of safe nail polish and other cosmetics. This topic does spark intellectual stimulation since this is something that can affect most people directly. The other chapters mainly focus on the surrounding environment and other organisms.