Works in Progress

Critical Thinking:

In the Value(s) of Science project (a group project), we had to take two texts and identify a value common to both. We then had to find instances (explicit and / or implicit) that supported a particular stance on the common value.

In our project, we took the value “compassion” in the context of the question “Is animal testing ethical?” The two texts we took had opposing views; one text was written by the Jackson Laboratory, a top mouse testing organization, and argued for the animal testing, while the other text captured the public’s reaction to the Russians sending Laika, a dog, on a one way trip to space.

Our supported argument took the form of a debate. In order to strengthen the arguments of the participants, we had to analyze both articles in depth, and develop counter arguments that the participants could use against each other in the debate. For example, in the debate, at one point the participant in favor of animal testing says, “We share 95 to 98 percent of our genomes with mice ….. Our similarity with mice makes mice perfect for testing… Do you prefer to save the lives of a few mice, save the life of somebody you love?” This argument is immediately countered by the other participant, equates the value of a mouse to the value of a human.


Value: Human prosperity in animal testing

Article in favor of animal testing:

Articles against,33009,868018,00.html

Genre Declaration:,33009,868018,00.html

The two text we will analyze are “Animals: The She-Hound of Heaven” and “Why Mouse Genetics?”.

We will compose a script in which we will simulate a debate between the two sides of the issue on animal testing. Afterwards, we will act, record and edit a video that showcases these ideas.

Both articles analyze a common aspect of modern science: animal testing. Animals: The She-Hound of Heaven is highly against the fact that the Russian aerospace program sent a dog into space “for the benefit of humanity”, while Why Mouse Genetics discusses how useful animal testing is for humans. Therefore, the value that we plan to explore in our project is human prosperity in animal testing. We will discuss how the two articles portray the value of animal testing as a prosperous activity for humanity.

We chose these two articles because although they have opposite views about animal testing, both expose the same scientific value of human prosperity. The TIME’s article expresses a story focused on the morals of sending an animal in a suicide mission to space. While the Jackson laboratory’s article concerns the benefits of using animals to boost humans’ health. We chose the value of human prosperity in animal testing because the Jackson Laboratory article interested us; we wanted to hear what the other side of the argument for animal testing sounded like. Hence, we looked for a text that was highly against it.

Since we are going to record a video, to develop the project, Bruno, Vishnu and Samantha are going to write the script and Carlo is going to edit and record the film. The video is going to be a debate between two people, one person will have the point of view of Animals: The She-Hound of Heaven and the other person will have the point of view of Why Mouse Genetics.


We plan to get the script for the video ready by Friday, November 4th. Our idea for the project is in the form of a video, so we will have to rent a camcorder from the library, and also put aside one day to shoot the video and one day to edit the video. We are planning to record the video over the weekend or whenever all of us are free in the coming week. Over the week from November 7th to the 11th, we plan to add some final touches to the project, but a section of the project will be ready by November 7th itself.

As a group, we all expect full commitment of each other in order for the project to turn out in the best way possible limited only by our abilities to work together.

Group Members: Carlo Tonda, Bruno Bartolek, Vishnu Kaushik and Samantha Guada


Moderator: Introduces value and two texts and authors, prompts discussion, asks about importance of 2 texts combined, interested about different stances, finally raises the question of the value and lets authors answer it, concludes

Person 1: Author of Jackson Lab article

Person 2: Author of Time article


Moderator: Hello and welcome to X-Debate! Today, we have two very special guests from very prestigious institutions: Jack McDoyle and Samantha Rupell, from The Jackson laboratories and Time Magazine, respectively. Welcome!

Jack: Hi!

Samantha: Thanks for having us here today!

Moderator: So some of you might wonder why these two authors are here today with us. In fact, they themselves might wonder why they are here, as well. The reason is that each one of them wrote an article on an issue that I’m very interested in and that’s very prominent and debated in science nowadays: animal testing. Could you just briefly explain what you wrote about in your articles?

Jack: Humans and mice are surprisingly similar regarding genetics. In Jackson Laboratory we take advantage of that fact and we research in order to develop better treatments for cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many other conditions. In Why Mouse Genetics?, I explain the benefits for humans of experimenting with mice.

Samantha: Years ago, a dog was the first living being launched to space. Researchers believed that it was for the “benefit” of humanity but the dog died as the altitude increased. In Animals: She-Hound of Heaven, I write about the impact this event had on society, the protests made and the unfairness of the situation.


I’m sure you can both see how different the two texts you published are——– question—–. And let me make myself clear: I am not saying that either is wrong or right. In fact, what I’m saying is, that the difference in opinion in the two articles makes the value of human prosperity in animal testing more real. Both of you are arguing about the same thing, only on exactly opposite sides, Samantha states that animals should not be used to benefit humans and, on the other hand, Jack presents the advantages of experimenting with mice. This doesn’t make the value of science you are arguing about dissapear. It makes it tangible. It lets us see it more clearly. I’m sure you can both agree with me.

Jack: Definitely, I agree with you. It’s very interesting to see the way in which Samantha presents her information; it lets me see the other side of the argument that is against animal testing.

Moderator: I think it would be interesting if Jack, you could analyze Samantha’s article and tell us how she effectively explored the value of human prosperity in animal testing.

Jack: (vishnu) quotation sandwiches

Moderator: Thanks Jack. Samantha, what would you say about Jack’s article?

Samantha: (Vishnu) quotation sandwiches

Moderator: Interesting. See what really amazes me is that even though your arguments are on completely different sides of the matter, you both argue about the exact same thing: the value of animal testing when it comes to human prosperity. That is the prominent theme in both texts. Yes, you have extremely differentiated opinion on the matter, but you both argue about the same thing. By looking at these two texts together and by you looking each other’s, I think that we acquire a deeper understanding of the value of science that you both engage in. There will always be people who are against animal testing for human benefit and do not want to see animals being hurt, yet there are also always going to be others who will say that it is essential to the development of human prosperity in the future. By having these two sides colliding, the value of science is made real. It is brought into the real world where people have different opinions on the matter and where we cannot for sure say that yes, this should exist, or no, it shouldn’t. There will always be a push or pull. This makes us see the negatives, as well as the positives of this value of science, which we would not be able to do with only one stance in place.

************************** SOME sandwiches (need to be edited and integrated with the rest of the script)


Our intention is not to harm mice in any way. As the Russian First Secretary himself logically explained, after the launch of Laika:

“The Russians love dogs. This has been done not for the sake of cruelty but for the benefit of humanity.”

We think the same way with mice. Our goal is not to exterminate mice or put mice through torture. We simply see no alternative, just as the Russians saw no alternative than to send Laika, in order to achieve our goal of helping mankind progress. Rather than focusing on a few “downsides”, we focus on the bigger picture- a picture that benefits humanity.


Frankly, we see mice as a means of helping millions of humans all over the world. Mice are just the perfect instruments to advance medical technology. We’ve listed it on our website too:

“Mice are biologically very similar to humans. We share 95 percent of the same genes, and our immune systems are even more compatible. Mice and humans get many of the same diseases, for the same genetic reasons.”

Our similarity with mice makes mice perfect for testing. Imagine how many deadly human diseases we’ll be able to combat with the research we do on mice. Although you say you care about those mice so much, do you prefer to save the lives of a few mice, or save the life of somebody you love?

[possible argument for Samantha: You claim we’re so similar with mice – how can you cold heartedly test on them?]


Date of revision: November 2, 2016


Galileo Francis

In the 1500s, most people believed heavy things fell faster than light things. Galileo Galilei, the Italian physicist (or rather philosopher, as the profession was called back then) proved that all things fell with the same acceleration. There’s a story that Galileo dropped two lead spheres, one much larger than the other, from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, to demonstrate his claim. While this story is probably false, his claim definitely isn’t. (Actually, he used a logic-based proof. What would happen if you tied the two spheres together, would the heavy one be slowed down by the light one? Or, because they were one very heavy entity now, would they fall even faster than before? The only way around this paradox is to assume they fell with the same acceleration)

One of his more (perhaps most) controversial proposals, was that the Earth orbited the Sun (the heliocentric astronomical model). Why did this proposal cause so much chaos?

If I were to tell you today, that the Earth was pyramidal, and not spherical, you would laugh at me first, and then upon recognizing that I was serious, you would ask me to explain how various concepts, like the curvature of the horizon, the idea of time zones, et cetera, fit into my new model. Basically, my model would have to explain every observable phenomenon.

Galileo faced this problem. The general public didn’t believe him, the Church didn’t, and many of his fellow scientists were skeptical too. However, these people, unknowingly, helped solidify and strengthen the heliocentric theory. By questioning this theory in every phase of its development, they forced Galileo, Kepler, Copernicus and other pro-heliocentric physicists to cement any cracks in the theory; as a result, we now have an indestructible, fundamental piece of science.

Now, let’s get to the real topic of this post: climate change. Climate change (or global warming) may be the most controversial topic behind foreign policy and immigration (in the United States and Europe). In an article by Eli Kintisch (, the struggles of today’s scientists (one in particular) advocating climate change are made known.

Jennifer Francis, the main character in the article, in one sense, is today’s Galileo; her ideas may not be as revolutionary as Galileo’s, but the nature of the criticism she’s receiving is very similar. Within the article, Stephen Vavrus, Jennifer’s colleague, says “Jennifer and I have been forced into the uncomfortable position of defending—or at least explaining—our position before the scientific process has run its course.” The article is filled with other instances of Jennifer’s work being questioned. Some strict believers of climate change could infuriated by this (“They’re unnecessarily slowing down her progress!”). On the other hand, I think they should be happy.


Jennifer Francis, the main character in the article, in one sense, is today’s Galileo; her ideas may not be as revolutionary as Galileo’s, but the nature of the criticism she’s receiving is very similar. Within the article, Stephen Vavrus, Jennifer’s colleague, says “Jennifer and I have been forced into the uncomfortable position of defending—or at least explaining—our position before the scientific process has run its course.” This is a clear indication that Vavrus is unhappy that their work is being put to the test when the work is still in its premature state. He perhaps feels that Jennifer’s work is being impeded. The article is filled with other instances of Jennifer’s work being questioned. Some strict believers of climate change could infuriated by this (“They’re unnecessarily slowing down her progress!”). On the other hand, I think they should be happy.


If Jennifer wasn’t so cruelly cross-examined, her work wouldn’t have the opportunity to be proven correct. Though Stephen Vavrus will disagree with me, I think Jennifer is fortunate she gets a chance to make her stance strong, from the start, even before she has physical evidence. Maybe this will give the world one of those nice logic-based proofs.



Todd (10/28/2016)

  • What’s her argument

Kim talks about curiosity but doesn’t really show her own opinion until the end. Instead, she presents a few opinions of well-known philosophers, which describe curiosity positively and negatively. However, I think her main argument is that we need to look past the initial “itch” and try to focus on the big picture.

  • Quote that supports your contention that 1 is true

“For curiosity to have value, perhaps we have to allow it to be the beginning of something larger, to pursue it past the initial itch, the spark of hunger, the quick answer, the dopamine burst, to the “real investigation” Darwin asked for.”

“We  have to see the disturbed world it implies, and ourselves living within it, moving beyond the role of observer, of questioning mind”

This is from the 4th last paragraph.

  • Your interpretation of what 2) means

Rather than forcing us to think in one direction, Kim gently suggests (“perhaps we have to…”) that we get over our ocular lust. Later, Todd even says “And for the moment, I was content not to know.” (the second last line of the article). I think Todd tries to present the different sides of curiosity, and finally presents her own idea (in a very subtle way), to allow the reader to form their own opinion after taking the different views into account.






A) why does it matter?

GAtech students love science and fun. The event we are advertising for is an opportunity for both.

What do you presume your audience cares about already?

We think our audience already has an interest in science and opportunities to apply science. Our ad intends to target this concept.



The Gatech news page is more of a “scientific report” than the other publication
-includes many big names (researchers and institutions)
-is more in depth and technical, maybe meant for more educated readers?
-more attention to how the thing was built, what principles were involved, etc
-huge citation thing at end

more of a summary of the gatech news page

My grades for my peers:


rhetorical awareness : competent
stance : mature
development of ideas : mature
organization : mature
conventions : competent
design for medium : competent


rhetorical awareness : mature
stance : mature
development of ideas : mature
organization : mature
conventions : mature
design for medium : mature


My peers told me that some of the points I made in my project were confusing and disconnected. The point I made on pollution, being a major issue in India, and later the point I made on the ad being very exclusive, are somewhat contradictory.

The “pollution” and “backed by science?” points are not very well connected, and the transition needs to be made smoothly.

I plan to connect the ideas more, and show that all my points clearly support my main argument.





Spinning Science Project Intro

Garnier PowerWHITE face wash


The advertisement for Garnier’s PowerWHITE face wash employs science as the main theme. The ad features many visuals that show futuristic technology and labs (unrelated to the product), to emphasize the science theme. Along with that, the ad brings up pollution, a major issue in urban India.

The ad primarily targets a young, educated, urban Indian audience. The ad is in English, which is not the first language spoken in India. English usually taught in schools located in major towns and cities. Thus, the ad is probably targeting a young, urban Indian audience.

This ad tries to connect to the audience through both its content and presentation. In this Spinning science project, I will try to highlight these instances, and describe the ad’s motive in each instance.





On the common video project:

  • Describe your process. Which steps did you find most effective? Least?

I started off by gathering ideas. During lunch, between the time I go to bed and fall asleep, etc, I thought of what I could do. After two days of that, I wrote my script down, and edited it a couple of times. Then I rehearsed the script, and started recording. Finally, I edited the video.

I found the first step most effective and the last step the least effective. My lack of editing skills wasted my time, when instead I could’ve re-filmed some parts of the video.


  • What part of your project are you most satisfied with and why?

I’m happy with the way I spoke. I usually hate listening to a recording of my voice, but this time I feel I’ve done a decent job.


  • If you could redo any part of your process or product, what would you change and why?

I would redo my attempt at crude animation. The result was far from what I had imagined; I feel the animation isn’t engaging enough. I also think the bridge between the animation’s content and my speech’s content is extremely weak. The topics have been poorly linked, even though the animation was meant to support my later argument.

Another issue I have is with the sound quality overall. Maybe I should take a class on sound engineering, so this won’t happen again.