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Wedding bells

I recently participated in a journalism research survey examining how UW students comprehend and apply political issues. Based on my answers from the first round, I was selected to do a further survey of my views on same-sex marriage. It is a topic that is expected to be one of the “hot” issues on the next political ballot.

I cannot objectively react or respond to this issue as hard as I may try. I have a gay roommate and many gay friends. I want them to have as many basic rights as I am entitled to have – aren’t we all human?

Recent weigh-ins on the issue have made me aware that I am not alone in my views, but there are also many who oppose the idea of same-sex marriage. Those who are opposed to the union argue that it would “ruin” the sanctity of marriage. And further, the “sanctity” of marriage is the union of a man and woman.

While I have been brought up and have come to school in a swarm of left leaning political junkies, I think the issue of same-sex marriage is much less a political issue than it is an issue of basic human rights.
to be happy.
to have a family.
and to think about “marriage” how you want, and be with the person you love.

When laws and Prop (insert number) look to defy those rights, it confuses me and makes me mad. Opposition to same-sex marriage may be one of the largest indicators in our society, presently, that shows how much farther we really have to go.

Because, after all, Kim Kardashian’s divorce after only 72 days of marriage upholds all supposed “sanctity.”

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CoverGirl

As I prepare for a job interview that I have tomorrow morning, I’m rattling through all of the necessary dilemmas:

  • what are my strengths…
  • what are my weaknesses…
  • …I guess I’ll wear this…

And an idea that circulated this past week through several major news outlets requires a fourth consideration:

  • how will I do my makeup?

A recent study released by Procter & Gamble argues that more makeup can equal more competence in the working world. In the study, they released images of women with varying levels of makeup through Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and looked for further assessment of how attractive and capable people found these women to be.

The results? Women should care about their appearance, and how they could potentially be perceived by an employer.

While I initially scoffed at the first several paragraphs of this article, I do see some relevance behind it. For women to put the additional effort to bring their appearance together and look clean for work, it could potentially demonstrate their indirect concern for those they are working with. Many women can also boost so-called levels of “attraction” when they add makeup.

However, there are some concerns that I also have about the article. First, the makers of CoverGirl sponsor the study. Second, the use of makeup (in some cases) can be controversial for individuals because of the use of animal byproducts in the makeup. Third, there are plenty of people who can look good without makeup. Fourth….does it really matter?

I guess it’s hard to come to a concrete conclusion about the issue at hand…does makeup in fact make women more competent? I’d like to think that society doesn’t sink so low to confirm that, but maybe, there is in fact some relevance. I do in fact plan to wear make-up to my interview tomorrow, but it won’t be glamorous by any means.

To read the TIME article, click here.

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Last week Wednesday, I did something I thought was at least a graduation away. I joined Twitter.

It took the management of three Twitter feeds and two Facebook pages to realize, that just maybe, having a Twitter would somehow be beneficial. I have to admit, I have spent the better part of the Twitter craze wondering why so many people flock to it, why hash tags have slowly migrated to Facebook (hang on…Wordpress doesn’t recognize this word yet??), and why my friends and roommates were constantly updating and “tweeting.”

I don’t think I’ve gathered all of the answers in the first week, but I have at least come to some brief conclusions on why it’s worth my time and a space on my bookmarks bar.

Number 1, it’s incredibly interesting, and therefore quite addicting. Following feeds such as “The Onion” or “The New York Times,” I can get a good laugh or some valuable breaking news squeezed into a small 140 characters.

Onion screen shot

Gerbil growing distant

I can click on National Geographic’s photo of the day, and proceed to click through the rest of the website for the next 30 minutes (and find interesting articles, such as the following).

Inside the Secrets of Illusion

Twitter’s nature of constantly updating its user keeps them engaged and involved, and dare I say, it might have more interaction between users than Facebook. (side note: I still think Facebook is better).

Number 2, Twitter works wonders for good causes. Recently, a organization I am involved with, Camp Kesem, had the opportunity to enter the Chase Community Giving contest to win $1,000,000. It was an exciting chance to spread the word, and get enough voters to pull ahead of the other groups in the Health and Wellness category. Although we did not win, Twitter was a HUGE asset for informing over 25,000 people about a relatively unheard of organization, and having large organizations and mega celebrities re-tweeting our cause. At the end of the voting period, we had well over 30,000 votes, almost twice the amount of the the leading organizations in other categories. Having this experience with the Chase contest and Camp Kesem was the main reason I decided to cash it all and join Twitter.

So really, I’ve only made two conclusions about Twitter. As the weeks and semester roll on, I’m sure I will have some more remarkable discoveries. For now, I shall leave you with this:

onion pic

Area Man Takes Bus

And no, I don’t know what Google+ is trying to pull; and yes, I do have one.

– Elyse

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Ideas worth spreading…

This is the tagline for the growing website TED, a collection of video talks and conferences that are free to the world. It’s one of my favorite websites to go to in my frequent spells of major procrastination, and I’d like to argue that I many even leave TED just a little bit smarter.

One video that really stuck with me in my perusing earlier this summer was a presentation on search engines, specifically focusing on Facebook and Google. Eli Pariser, former Executive Director of Moveon.org, shows viewers how the custom tailoring that websites do for us may actually be hurting us.

Before viewing this video, I wasn’t entirely sure how to feel about the subject. Sure, I appreciate Google’s efforts to hone in on my interests and find information accordingly for my daily Google searches, random thoughts, and interests. But that was until I found out that I could potentially be missing out on a lot.

As Pariser demonstrates, it’s not just through search engines, but Facebook too is also blocking us from certain information. This could be information that challenges our own views (political, social, or economic), but regardless, there is a good chance that we aren’t seeing it. These algorithmic sites are fairly certain that these are the results that we want to see…but are these the results that we need? Seeing this video made me realize that problems in communication, political and social understanding, privacy, and personalization could easily result in the near future.

“It will be very had for people to watch or consume something that has not in some sense been tailored for them.” – Eric Schmidt, Google

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