Cryogenics: Terminally Ill Teen Changes the Future

Recently debated in the High Court of Justice was a case concerning a 14-year-old girl who was terminally ill with a rare cancer and desired to be cryogenically preserved, in the hope that she will be cured in the future. Shortly before the girl’s unfortunate death in October, she won the historic legal fight that has allowed her to be taken to the US and be preserved there. Cryogenic preservation is a process whereby the body of a deceased person is held in very low temperatures in the hope that medicine will make advances that will allow them to be revived and treated at some time in the future. The procedure is generally controversial as there are many surrounding arguments that deem cryogenics as an act of playing God.

Many years ago, the idea of artificially preserving one’s body by cryogenics and later being resurrected would have seemed delusional, and impossible, however this is not the case today. The process is in fact rather simple to comprehend. Once legally pronounced dead, a glycerol based chemical (human antifreeze) is pumped through the body to prevent the water in the cells from freezing and expanding. The body is then cooled on a bed of dry ice until reaching a temperature of -130°C before being stored into a container to be submerged head first (to prevent brain damage) in a tank of liquid nitrogen.

The reason a court battle arose was due to the objection by the girl’s father to being frozen, despite the fact her mother fully approved. The Court held that the mother had the sole right to decide to send her body to cryonic storage following her death in line with the girl’s wishes as a result of the father’s estrangement from the family. During the last months of her life, the girl (known as JS), used the internet to research cryonics due to her unwillingness to be buried. She believed that being cryopreserved gives her, “a chance to be cured and woken up- even in hundreds of years’ time,” as stated in her letter to the judge, Mr Justice Peter Jackson. Justice Jackson, who visited the girl in hospital shortly after receiving her plea, ruled that the case was not concerning the rights or wrongs of cryonic, but about the dispute between parents over the disposal of their daughter’s body.In defence of the father, cryogenic preservation has alarmed many people as no one has currently been revived despite the many hundreds of people who are preserved. The father’s concern over cryopreservation was that:

“Even if the treatment is successful and she if brought back to life in let’s say, 200 years, she may not find any relative and she might not remember things and she may be left in a desperate situation given that she is only 14 years old and will be left in the United States of America.”

There are many questions that have surfaced as cryopreservation has become more acknowledged, such as:

What if these companies run out of money or if the storage technology goes wrong one day?

Or perhaps what happens in the unlikely event that they do wake up. Will they be guaranteed complete brain function restoration?

According to scientists, it is unlikely that people post-thawed will have fundamental side effects such as memory loss, however who’s to say their predictions are accurate? What concerns most people is the existence awaiting those frozen. We’ve seen that nothing stays the same forever and it is likely it will take many decades until scientists will be able to cure those preserved, therefore when they do awake, the question of what kind of world they would be inhabiting arises. They would likely be returning to an unfamiliar time and place and most likely without friends or family, which is perhaps a daunting prospect that could lead to isolation and loneliness.

Perhaps prolonged life isn’t worth the risk. The fact is, death is inevitable and natural, and therefore ought to be embraced rather than cheated as some would say, so humankind should accept their fate and concentrate on the present moment.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

― Eleanor Roosevelt

Third Presidential Debate: Clinton caps it off

Trump and Clinton fought for the final time in Nevada, and it’s clear that both certainly destroyed Trump’s chance for the presidency. Instead of the usual and anticipated personal attacks, the debate was focused on policy, which drew in 71.6 million viewers across the States, the third-highest total ever recorded in U.S history. Held in Las Vegas and moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News (a rather contentious choice), which led to questions chosen by him over policy topics, including the debt problem, immigration, the economy, which stirred some controversy as several of his questions showed a bias towards a conservative point of view. For instance, when questioning the economic plan of the candidates, he implied Clinton’s plan was similar to Obama’s, to which he cited that: “has led to the slowest GDP growth since 1949,” and yet not a mention of climate change in any of his questions. However, perhaps Wallace attempted to be impartial as in 2006, The Washington Post reported stated that he had been a registered Democrat for more than two decades, therefore proving he was a balanced and excellent moderator.

A topic that arose from the debate was abortion; an issue that strengthens the division between the two parties. While Hillary Clinton is a supporter of abortion and the reproductive rights movement, Trump recently has been rather vocal about his insistence that, ‘women should be punished for having abortions’ and has been targeted by Planned Parenthood Organizations due to his proposal of defunding due to his pro-life beliefs. During the debate, Wallace discussed certain wedge issues that divide the US extremely such as gun control. However, he then moved to the topic of abortion which after discussion led to the little known controversial topic of late-term, partial-birth abortions (which is illegal in the US, unless the woman’s life, but not health, is in danger). Trump reacted by exaggerating the procedure, “Rip the baby out of the womb,” which in fact is not the case. His ignorance to the facts demonstrates his lack of understanding on abortion, whereas Clinton is much more familiar with key issues of today due to her impressive résumé. Trump’s unfamiliarity with women’s deserved rights such as abortion over the election period has insulted women around the U.S and his personal treatment of women and misogynistic behaviour has damaged his appeal to any humane person. Since the release of his tape that showed Trump degrading women, more women around the US have spoken about being sexually harassed by Trump, to which he responded by mocking the victims and pledged to sue the eleven sexual misconduct accusers. He claimed that, “Every woman lied” in order to jeopardise his campaign. Unfortunately for Donald, the damage campaign has been self-inflicted. Even during the debate, Trump interrupted Clinton while answering a question about Social Security and Medicare funds, and muttered, “Such a nasty woman,” (a change from his usual favourite word “liar”), which without a doubt shocked American viewers and undermined himself from earlier who asserted that none has more respect for women than himself.

Yet Donald further shook America when he refused to say if he’ll accept the outcome of an election that he is currently no doubt to lose, which supports the Trump campaign’s idea that voting fraud will exist in this election. This occurred when Wallace questioned Trump on whether he was prepared to commit to the principle of a peaceful transition of power that the loser concedes to the winner after a well-fought campaign. Trump then refused to pledge an acceptance, which politically shows a disrespect for democratic norms and which contradicted his running mate, Mike Pence who earlier said he would “absolutely accept the result of the election”. His response further contradicts himself from last month where he was asked a similar question to which he responded, “The answer is: if she wins, I will absolutely support her”. Clinton post-debate had a rather sophisticated response to his comment, which implied Donald is a paranoid infant who believes systems are rigged when something is not to his preference. However, this should not be surprising to someone who has been closely following Trump over the past year. When the FBI conducted an investigation into the private email scandal that concluded no case existed, Trump stated on Twitter that:

“The system is rigged. General Petraeus got in trouble for far less. Very very unfair! As usual, bad judgment.”

“FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow! #RiggedSystem”

Clinton continued to criticise Trump when she stated that his comment proves that Trump is not suitable for the presidency and that someone who is the nominee of a major political party should not be allowed to uphold the position and shouldn’t be tolerated. His overall resistance was also described as “horrifying” by the Democratic nominee.

Not only did Trump insult the democratic process, but also make a racial slur against Mexicans, stating, “We have some bad hombres here and we have to get them out,” which was an obvious remark toward Latino men in particular. However, this is not the first time Trump has generalised Latinos. During his candidacy for president last June, he began by comparing Mexican immigrants to rapists with this famous statement:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

It seems rather ironic coming from a man who recently has been put under scrutiny for several arising claims that he has sexually assaulted eleven women, to which he denied and proposed to sue when he ‘assumes the presidency’. Border Security is a topic that has angered many Americans when Donald Trump has ever chosen to speak about. He has pledged to ban Muslims entering the US and has frequently used racially saturated language towards immigrants and inner city residents. He even has plans to exclude those of Latino background from the US by calling for the deportation of undocumented immigrants and for the construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border. Not only did he demean Latinos by generalising them, but also by mispronouncing it. Trumps constant dehumanisation of non-white males is a disgrace to America, his disregard for immigrants insults the very foundation of America, and his blatant ignorance will cripple America if he ever assumes office.

It’s clear to say Clinton won the debate, and will probably win the election since she has surged through the polls on a national level. During the debate, she was well prepared for every policy discussion and for all of Trump’s foolish interruptions that arose. She mocked his alliance with the Russian leader Putin and overall remained poised, solid and calm throughout. However, it’s unlikely Trump will go down without a fight, and the coming election day looms near. Clinton’s success depends on her campaigning more than ever and her image towards the American public. Her only enemy is herself, as her struggle throughout the election has been to gain the indecisive vote that’s moved further away from her due to scandal after scandal. Before the debates began, Trump had a chance, but his performance over the past weeks has only revealed a rather weak and hideous perspective towards him that Americans don’t want. Over the election, Clinton has been bold and fearless because of her being open to the American public regarding issues that affect people seriously such as racism, gun control and abortion in a modern, realistic and on balance, presidential-like style.

The Second Presidential Debate: Trump Shocks

After recovering from the first debate, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton returned to the stage to deliver the second US presidential debate. Following Donald Trump’s failure from the last debate, he returned more vicious and threatening towards Hillary while she arrived ready to take on the real estate mogul again. October 9 marked the second debate, located at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri and was conducted in a ‘town meeting’ format with an audience to which the ‘Gallup Organisation’ claimed were ‘uncommitted’ voters.

The beginning of the debate was dominated by discussion of Trump’s leaked tape that included some sexist statements over women from the Republican Candidate, yet Trump retaliated by attacking Bill Clinton himself and his misconduct with women. at first, Trump declared his statements was ‘locker room talk’ which in other words means the crude and vulgar trade of comments that are passed by usually men to each other and exists solely for the purpose of humour. instead of dwelling on his scandal, he then referred to Bill’s rumoured scandals with various women that arose during his presidency. This then lead to Trump declaring Paula Jones (former Arkansas State employee who sued Bill Clinton for sexual harassment in 1991, which precipitated to Clintons impeachment from the White House) was in the audience. However, Clinton responded by judging Trumps attacks through quoting Michelle Obama: “When they go low, you go high,” stirring a loud applause from the audience (who in fact are chosen as they are impartial viewers, suggesting Clinton’s advance over Trump in the debate).

Yet, a shocking moment from the debate was when Trump had the audacity to threaten Clinton that she would be incarcerated if he was elected president. It’s not that he threatened her that was shocking as the past few months has included Trump making statements at his rallies that Clinton would be arrested, but the fact that he threatened her in person which showed his true character. The direct threat proves that Trump is a danger if elected president and it’s evidently clear that Clinton was the only one on the stage who was trying to keep the debate remotely Presidential-like with her smart and measured approach to Trump’s childish behaviour. Trump supporters in the audience cheered his threat but critics only state that Trump only reflected an anti-democratic impulse, which only emphasised his incompetency for Presidency.

Furthermore, a rather hysterical part of the debate was when Trump foolishly followed Hillary on stage like a predator when she discussed Obamacare. This lead to the infamous US sketch comedy show ‘Saturday Night Live’ to create a parody of this moment of the debate which depicted Trump as disturbing, distracting and relatively bizarre.

To sum up Trump’s performance, a quote from actor John Cusack:

“Trump staggering about like a drunk.”

On the other hand, it’s arguable that Clinton sometimes lapsed during Trump’s attacks. Trump relentlessly tried to bring up her email server scandal in the final hour in order to move the spotlight onto her, however her defence was rather weak as she only repeated her rehearsed response to this anticipated question. She admitted that it was a mistake yet Trump interrupted by trying to show that her carelessness of confidential emails. Clinton tried to dismiss him although it only lead to crosstalk in the debate, where the moderators tried to move on, but Clinton appeared rather flustered by the whole ordeal.

Nevertheless, Clinton did redeem herself when a question relating to Islamophobia arose from an audience member. Trump’s answer was feeble as he continuously criticised Obama and Clinton’s reluctance to use the term ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’, but overall did not answer the question. Clinton on the other hand spoke about how Muslims should feel more apart of America rather than secluded and that she wants America on a united front in order to defeat ISIS. She also slammed Trump by stating that violent jihadist terrorists prevent this collaboration as Muslim nations are less eager to cooperate with Americans when they hear what Donald Trump says about them.

However, the prime moment of the debate was the end, where audience member Karl Becker asked:

“Regardless of the current rhetoric, would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?”

Despite the contentious tone, the debate ended rather sentimentally because of this question. Clinton complimented Trump’s children, (who in fact were previously close friends of Clinton’s child, Chelsea before this Presidency period) and admitted that the ‘conflict-oriented’ election has affected both parties. Trump then answered Becker’s question by implying Clinton is persistent, despite himself not agreeing with her judgement.

Overall the debate further proved that the Trump campaign is in shambles and Clinton ought to recover for the next debate, as the final debate will test both the candidates.

Will Trump triumph and advance over Clinton or realise his failure of a campaign and collapse on stage?

Will Clinton finally finish off Trump and claim the favour of the swing states, or will she come across as weak towards the indecisive voter?

The polls suggest that Hillary is ahead of Trump, however a lot can change between now and election day. It all depends on whether the people of the United States go out to the polling stations and vote for the right candidate on November 8!

The First Presidential Debate: A Win for Clinton

The US presidential election is becoming much more exhilarating, as 27th September marked the first of three official and highly anticipated debate between the two presidential nominees. The debate attracted an overall audience of over 88 million viewers live, surpassing any previous record of any other debate in American history! As a result of the debate at New York’s Hofstra University, the Democrat Candidate Hillary Clinton, (68) former Senator of New York and Secretary of State has officially advanced ahead of the Republican Candidate and industrial tycoon of real estate, Donald Trump (70) according to official election polls.  
 
But who really won the debate?
What went wrong with the candidates?
What can we expect from the next debate?
 
Firstly, the key moment from Clinton was when she suggested Trump doesn’t possess the ability to be the president. However, perhaps she’s right! After she made this claim, Trump repeatedly stated Clinton did not have the ‘stamina’ to be president, although the Secretary of State shot back and stated, “When Donald Trump spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina,” shaking off Trump’s attack.
 
It’s arguable that Trump himself does not have the stamina, as seen by his introductory statement of the debate. Clinton at the beginning of her speech focused on her objectives of the economy and highlighted the importance of prioritising future generations with the security of jobs and rising incomes, however but protecting sustainable energy and minimum wages, while guaranteeing equal pay for women’s work, in order to close the large gender-pay gap that exists in the states. On the other hand, Trump began with the phrases, “Our jobs are fleeing the country. They’re going to Mexico.” He then rambled on that as a result of other countries, America is becoming devalued and continuously discussed the departure of jobs and firms and that the US needs a government to fights on the unemployed US citizens and prevents firms from moving their businesses to Mexico in particular. Yet despite his constant attempts to appear like a suitable successor for Obama, his desire to battle rather than unite with the world strongest players such as China only proves how he would dismantle America if he were to assume the position. Hillary on the other hand believes that strong trade relationships with the rest of the world is how to “grow the economy” as she stated that the US is “5 percent of the world’s population” and that they “need to have smart, fair trade deals”. She also mocked Trumps easy background to which she refers to the “small loan of $1 million” Fred Trump and highlighted her support for the middle class and their future.
 
Throughout the debate, Trump displayed a sign of vulnerability against the well-prepped Clinton as his inaccuracy against Clintons views over NAFTA (The North American Free Trade Agreement, which created a trilateral trade bloc agreement between Canada, Mexica and the US which was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993) was influenced and changed by Donald Trump himself, confirmed by his statement, “…you heard what I said about it, and all of a sudden you were against it.” To which Clinton wittily mocked him and replied “Well Donald, I know you live in your own reality…” which was followed by Trump attempting to through Clinton by throwing Obama into the sum by repeatedly asking, “Is it President Obama’s fault?”  Looking at the debate, his effort to humiliate and intimidate Hillary by use of repetition of controversial and dramatic sentences or questions in truth only demonstrates why he couldn’t possibly lead the United States into prosperity.
 
However, to prove that Clinton won the debate, I refer to her most effective ‘slam’ against Trump, given from The Washington Post transcript of the night.
 
Trump: “… We’re a debtor nation. We’re a serious debtor nation. And we have a country that needs new roads, new tunnels, new bridges, new airports, new schools, new hospitals. And we don’t have the money, because it’s been squandered on so many of your ideas.”
 
Clinton: “And maybe because you haven’t paid any federal income tax for a lot of years.”
 
Her statement was followed by a large applause from the audience who although were given strict instructions not to respond to the debate, proving how Clinton excelled in that moment.
 
Judging by the outcome of the debate, it’s fair to say that Hillary was the only one on the stage who demonstrated suitability to become president, as well as showing Trump’s inadequacy and lack of control, especially when Moderator Lester Holt struggled to remain on topic when Trump frequently burst into folly that didn’t always answer the question asked. Overall Trump’s tactics of the debate which involved contradicting himself and attacking Clinton’s clear plan of presidency which in fact is of far more intelligence than any of Trump’s, have unravelled a path of great difficulty for his next debate, as Clinton proved she can handle Donald’s aggressive, controversial statements with great ease and brilliant satire.

The Continued Struggle of #blacklivesmatter

The past week has been tense for Americans, especially for those of African descent as a result of the fatal shootings of two innocent African American men, who both have been shot by a police officer acting beyond their powers.
The first shooting involved a man named Terence Crutcher (40) shot dead by a white, female police officer last Friday while standing next to his car which had stalled in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Officer Betty Shelby shot and killed Terence and claimed that he did not follow her commands and fired her gun when he reached into his car window. However, her claim was false, as aerial and dash cam footage released showed that Mr Crutcher was indeed following her orders as it shows him walking away from Officer Shelby with his arms in the air and leaning onto his vehicle. During the court case following the incident, Shelby’s lawyer stated that she believed Mr Crutcher was under the influence of the synthetic drug PCP, which in fact was found in the car. However, the police confirmed that no gun was found on Mr Crutcher or in his car and those who have watched the footage can see that the window was in fact closed at the time of the incident. Shelby has now been charged with first degree manslaughter and faces at least four years in jail.
This shooting has not only affected the family and friends of the victim, but has also troubled a man who recently generalised the livelihoods of African Americans: Donald Trump. He stated that the shootings made him feel; “very, very troubled” while speaking to a crowd of black pastors at an Ohio church. However, this statement seems rather controversial from someone who once stereotyped all Africa Americans to a crowd in Virginia as people “living in poverty” who have schools that are “no good” and “have no jobs”. However, Trump publicly supported the family of Crutcher and claimed that he believed firmly that Officer Shelby had handled the situation inappropriately.
The second shooting on the other hand took place on Tuesday and sparked riots, violence and controversy throughout the streets of Charlotte in North Carolina over the death of Keith Lamont Scott who was shot by Officer Brentley Vinson (also of African-American descent) while waiting for his son after school. His family claim that Scott was simply sitting in his car reading a book and that he is disabled due to a T.B.I (traumatic brain injury).A claim that can be heard made on the video of the incident. However, despite the family’s claim that he was holding a book, photos obtained by local reporters show a weapon on the ground that the police claim he was holding. Also police reports state that no books were found, this being the ‘proof’ of innocence that the family have continually made reference to. Furthermore, video footage shows his wife, Rakeyia Scott, near the scene; screaming phrases such as “Don’t shoot him” and “He has no weapon,” while police officials are repeating shouting phrases to Keith like “Don’t shoot” and “Drop the gun!”. His wife continually tries to prevent any shots being fired while telling her husband to exit the vehicle. However, what is unusual is that his wife at one point repeats “Keith, don’t you do it!” suggesting that either Scott was about to cause trouble with the officers and was posing some sort of threat towards them or even that Rakeyia was desperately trying to take control of the incident and calm both parties down, yet unfortunately failed as Scott was fatally shot. “He better live” was continuously repeated by Rakeyia, CPR attempts by police immediately after Keith fell to the floor were unsuccessful. Not only did Rakeyia record the incident, but also Scott’s daughter, Lyric, who arrived at the scene shortly after the incident, stated on Facebook Live that; “The police just shot my daddy four times for being black,” she said. “They tased him first and then shot him!” This trended on social media fuelling the anger of American citizens, and in the end, resulting in protests and uproar across North Carolina.
These protests have sparked radical debates across the whole of America as these shootings add to the simmering racial tensions that exist across the United States over the significant issue of police brutality against African Americans. Because of the lack of gun control in the US, both Scott and Crutcher died and were added to “the long list of African Americans killed by police officers” (Hillary Clinton). Maybe if Scott had no access to a gun in the first place and posed no imminent threat to the police officers, he may still be alive.
The protests have been so severe that it has lead to the Governor of North Carolina issuing a state of emergency which lead to the deployment of the National Guard and State Highway Patrol troopers to assist local police in order to control the riots. This violence also resulted in someone being shot and ultimately was taken to hospital with life threatening injuries and is currently on life-support. Naturally, the police brutality against citizens continued as on Wednesday night, the police began to use teargas to disperse hundreds of protesters.
But who is telling the truth? Was Scott reading or did he actually have a gun? Was he planning to attack the police officials or not?
Until the police have publicly released the footage of the dashboard and police body cameras and any other videos of the scene, no one will really know. Perhaps the gun found near his body was actually Scott’s, or maybe it was not. However, police chief Kerr Putney has refused to release any footage of the incident immediately which caused more outrage across the US.
In the meantime, perhaps this gives Congress more of a reason to control the police force, as over the years, there have been more and more incidents of unfortunate and unjustified cases of police brutality towards African Americans because the people across the US are “tired of nothing getting done” and that “it’s time to be loud!”
The people deserve answers, not brutality, for the sake of the families of the victims and the future African American generation!
#BlackLivesMatter

‘Hoverboards’: delightful ride or inevitable deathtrap?

Introduced around 2014 by Chinese manufacturers, ‘hoverboards’ have become the biggest toy trend in the century. These skateboard-like devices have been desirable to all, from children to pensioners. Last Christmas in the UK alone, one was sold every 12 seconds and in 2015 over 2 million boards were sold, generating revenue just under $1 billion with an average retail price of $386 each.

Continue reading “‘Hoverboards’: delightful ride or inevitable deathtrap?”

The ‘Glamorous’ Life of a Model

New York Fashion Week has concluded, and the likes of Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger and Tom Ford have embraced us with extravagant yet exquisite attire, with surreal silhouettes pacing in formation down the catwalk.

After each show and exhibition, one can glimpse into the glamorous lives of the world’s highest earning models such as Kendall Jenner, Karlie Kloss and Kate Moss. However, apart from their life of constant beautification, exercise and photographs, what else do these affluent women do? Continue reading “The ‘Glamorous’ Life of a Model”