Philanthropy in Scientific Research

I sent my Google Site to Tom Polen, an executive at BD Biosciences. I chose him because his foundations gives hundreds of grants to cancer research, and I wanted him to understand how his donations could have a negative effect on research. Because my audience was mainly philanthropists and executives, I knew that I had to create an easy to navigate site that would allow them to quickly find the information they needed to without getting bored or not having enough time to properly explore the site. I also knew that because I wasn’t talking face-to-face with them, I had to make sure my words were as clear as possible. When I was making the site, I decided to break up the information into three different pages, with each page focusing on a specific topic. I wanted the final page to be able solving the bias in scientific research that philanthropy causes because it seemed natural that as the site progressed, it would come to a conclusion. I decided not to include all the statistics and quotes that I used in my research paper because I feared that that would make the site too messy and would prevent the audience from getting the information quickly.

29. January 2020 by Sam
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First Quarter

To be honest, first quarter was really rough. Throughout junior year, I gradually learned how to handle plenty of homework and constant quizzes and tests. I feel like over the summer, though, I just totally forgot about that. On the very first day of school, one of my teachers assigned a quiz for the next class. I was so surprised: I thought they would at least wait a week until we actually started learning things.

The first few weeks were fine. Sure, there were so many projects and tests, but I managed to do at least decent on them. When October hit, though, I slumped. I couldn’t work, I couldn’t sleep, and I couldn’t focus. I would just stare at a blank page on Google Docs and write nothing, occasionally taking breaks to make food or distract myself with something else. My grades suffered because of it– I would spend hours doing nothing, then I would have to quickly write a paper on something I didn’t know about.

After a few weeks of that pain, I finally got out of my slump. It might have damaged my grades, but I knew I could get past it. When I got motivated again, I started not procrastinating my homework until the last moment, and it felt so good. I realized that it wasn’t the amount of homework that was stressing me out, it was how I handled it. Now that I can work with motivation and actually put effort into projects, I feel much better overall.

31. October 2019 by Sam
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One Less Candy

Before I sat down to write some blogs, I decided to grab some Halloween candy to tide me over until dinner. I grabbed a packet of Whoppers (not to be confused with those disgusting hamburgers from Burger King). Normally there’s three Whoppers in each package, which is why the following events annoyed me: first, I opened the package, popped one in my mouth, and ate it. It was average-tasting, but whatever. Next, I repeated the first step. Average again. To finish off the candy, I tried to eat one more Whopper, but to my surprise there wasn’t another one. I stared down at the empty, flimsy package in annoyance. Seriously? I just wanted some candy after a stressful day at school, but I guess we can’t all get what we want. Normally I’d be fine with one less Whopper, but today, I just got frustrated. It felt like the entire day, I hadn’t done enough. I hadn’t tried enough on my homework and my quiz. I guess one less Whopper was a little bit of karma.

This got me thinking. Throughout my life, whenever I do something stupid, I always get a little karmic-revenge on me. For example, over the summer, I was walking from the parking lot to my job, and I was thinking about how much I was annoyed with the job. Right as I was walking down the stairs, I tripped. Was this karma? Was it just a coincidence? I really think it’s the former. Then again, I could just be angry about some missing candy.

31. October 2019 by Sam
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It’s stupid, really, but I can’t stop thinking about it. Every time I walk into my room after a long day at school, I just can’t help but notice that it’s freezing in there. When I first walk into my room, it’s never a big issue. After all, it’s a nice change from the rest of my house. After an hour or so, though, I start to get a little cold. Then it gets annoyingly cold. It’s not necessarily cold enough to make me seriously uncomfortable, but it definitely makes me grab a sweatshirt.

All my life, I’ve been in cold places: I grew up with my brother playing hockey in freezing ice rinks, and I did ice skating for a few years. I thought I had gotten used to it by now, but I guess not. Being cold was just fine by me, but over the summer, I completely flipped. I would have my windows open everyday for the entire day (sometimes up until midnight) and I would close the vent in my room to stop cold air from getting in. It was such a sudden change, and I never saw it coming. Now, even though it’s been a few months since summer break, I still keep my vent closed. And it’s terrible. It stops the heat from getting in my room, which annoys me so much. It’s weird how quickly I changed over the summer, considering I’ve loved the cold for my entire life. I know this blog isn’t really about any profound, but I just had to get this off my chest.

31. October 2019 by Sam
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High School Artifact

It looks very used. The transparent deep red block used to be glossy enough to reflect everything, but now, the chalky dust that covers the block prevents that. Looking at the fractured, half-missing rosin, I can remember all the times I’ve used it. It’s been years that I’ve had this rosin, but I don’t really care about it. It’s so replaceable and duplicatable, so I never really care about the rosin. I know it’s necessary for me to play my instrument with, but it’s never been very special to me. A light tan wooden block encases the rosin, stopping it the fragments of the glossy material from falling out.

Thinking back on it, this rosin has seen a lot of my growth playing the cello. I probably used it a few years ago, when I was timid and unsure of my playing abilities. It probably saw me learn to trust myself and be confident, not just in my playing abilities. Throughout my high school years, a lot has changed. My love for music has not, though.

I remember when I first started playing the cello. When I first laid eyes on that block of glossy rosin, I was confused about how and why I had to use it. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to play the cello. Playing the cello was unfamiliar to me, but it gradually became second nature until I felt as if I wouldn’t be me without it. The same was true for that block of rosin.

30. September 2019 by Sam
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I have developed a new hobby recently: water coloring. I’m not the best, of course, but I’ve made some progress in the last few months that I’ve been doing it. In the beginning, it was merely me playing with how water affected the intensity of colors and discovering which brushes to use depending on what I was painting. I gained a lot of satisfaction from learning how to do things correctly. I took a lot of inspiration from whatever was going on in my mind. If I was in a bad place and I wanted to get out of it, I would simply paint to alleviate whatever stress I was under. I also developed my skills by looking at other artists’ works. Similarly to how other professions– such as writing– take inspiration from other works, I developed some techniques from other artists. I was doing pretty well, too. I was trying to paint at least one thing every day, and I watched as my skills gradually got better.
Then, I hit a wall. I couldn’t finish a piece, and I certainly couldn’t even think of any ideas. This was around the same time that my school work increased a lot, which left me with barely any time to enjoy what I loved. Even when I did have some spare time, my mind was swimming with ideas for upcoming projects for school, and not with any ideas to paint. Not being able to express myself and let my feelings out stressed me out even more than school did. Eventually, after a few days of this pain, I managed to escape from this by beginning to paint something, whether I wanted to or not. I would paint whatever was in front of me, even if it was a bad painting. This let me express my emotions whether I realized it or not. Through this, I could finally begin to paint my way out of this slump. Nowadays, I sometimes feel this, but I always know that through hard work and effort, I can accomplish anything.

27. September 2019 by Sam
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Organic Object

I thought that you would look somewhat interesting before I started this assignment. I regret choosing such a boring object. I regret not drying you off thoroughly before I brought you to school, too. I regret not picking something that was useful. Cilantro, you gross, slimy thing. Why do you look like every other herb or plant? The only thing you’re good for is adding just a little taste to food. No one would use you for anything else. I feel bad that you’re so mundane and useless, but I guess we can’t all be special. Why do you exist if you’re so useless? How did humans first discover you? Were they digging around for food and thought that a useless green thing would be delicious?  Are you used by other animals for flavor, like we use you? 

I will admit that you have an interesting name, though. I will also admit that that name is just not right for you— it’s fancy, and it gives the illusion that you’re more sophisticated than you really are. However, I do see the appeal of naming you something unique— with all those similar-looking plain plants around, their names should at least be interesting to say.

The real mystery is in how you taste. How can such a little thing like you have all that taste? How were humans— and animals, I suppose— able to differentiate you from other plants? How could they tell which plants and herbs would taste the best on certain foods? 

09. September 2019 by Sam
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05. September 2019 by Sam
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