36 Matching Annotations
  1. May 2016
  2. Apr 2016
    1. By the end of 2013, Willie Nelson, Heart, and Bare Naked Ladies were withdrawing from music events organized by SeaWorld and Joan Jett and others were asking SeaWorld to stop blasting their music during its “Shamu” whale shows.

      Popular, well-known artists make the students feel interested in the cause.

    2. in schools

      Students can connect with the fact that this documentary is also being shown in schools.

    3. Gabriela Cowperthwaite was a mom who took her twin sons to SeaWorld before the death of a killer whale trainer prompted her to make her 2013 documentary “Blackfish.” She never expected it to help persuade the U.S. theme park operator to stop breeding killer whales and end its signature “Shamu” whale entertainment shows.

      I like how the article starts with a hook to really draw readers in.

    4. “Huge respect to @blackfishmovie for putting orca captivity at @SeaWorld on the agenda,” Greenpeace UK Oceans said on Twitter.

      This tweet should really make this article more accessible to students, as they are familiar with social media.

    1. "I know probably a couple that would argue for it, but they would argue it from a research perspective," she explained. "I don't know if they would argue it from the perspective that it's educational, for example, to the general public. They would argue [that] to have beluga, dolphin, bottle nose dolphin, killer whale, etc., in captivity gives us an opportunity to study, I don't know, respiration or metabolism or pregnancy stuff or stuff like that. But it would be interesting to see if they were specifically asked about educating the public what their stance would be on that. They're able to parse it out, whereas to me, it doesn't matter what we learn from captive killer whales, it's not the same animal. "You can study respiration rates in captive killer whales and it's going to be very different form what you see in wild killer whales. Even gestation, pregnancy stuff, is ultimately probably very different. How long they can hold their breath. You can't test a captive killer whale and say well killer whales can only hold their breath for this many minutes. Because that killer whale in captivity hasn't had to hold its breath for X amount of time. We aren't going to know anything about metabolism or food consumption, I don't think because the killer whales in captivity are being fed a very, very artificial diet and all the vitamins and everything that the captives have to have just to stay alive, you're not going to have that here. The only argument I've been able to make in my own mind is that [captivity] served a purpose at a time but we're past that now. Now we know that we don't have to fear that in the wild and we can stop shooting at them. Okay, so some killer whales had to die in captivity to get the general public to understand that, now we know that, now the time is done. We should be evolving past this."

      Getting a researcher's view of whether or not captivity is necessary.

    2. The film is not all straightforward condemnation – it highlights the irony at the heart of the anti-captivity movement.

      The author is trying to be even-handed in this review by showing that the film, while it may have a strong bias, is still at least trying to show more than just one side. #READ4343

    3. Giles, a research biologist who has studied orcas for about 20 years.

      Establishing credibility of a source #READ4343

    4. Giles hadn't seen Blackfish when I spoke to her this week, and told me that she was just responding to my questions "with her gut."

      Author tries to get unbiased interview about blackfish topics in order for a more honest review.

    5. SeaWorld Assertion 2: "The assertion that killer whales in the wild live more than twice as long as those living at SeaWorld. While research suggests that some wild killer whales can live as long as 60 or 70 years, their average lifespan is nowhere near that. Nor is it true that killer whales in captivity live only 25 to 35 years. Because we’ve been studying killer whales at places like SeaWorld for only 40 years or so, we don’t know what their lifespans might be—though we do know that SeaWorld currently has one killer whale in her late 40s and a number of others in their late 30s." Advertisement Film Response: "In the wild, average lifespan is 30 for males, 50 for females. Their estimated maximum life span is 60-70 years for males and 80-90 years for females. In captivity, most orcas die in their teens and 20s and only a handful have made it past 35.The annual mortality or death rate for orcas is 2.5 times higher in captivity than it is in the wild. These are not controversial data. In the film, we depict what seems to be a deliberate attempt by SeaWorld to misrepresent these well documented data to their visitors." Giles adds: "Based on photographs we have a whale out here that is supposedly 102 years old. Even if she's not 102 years old, easily she's into her 80s, probably more like 90s. There is no reason to doubt the photo. We had a male die a couple of years ago, who was in his 60s."

      This is a really interesting way to present the information shown. It gives what SeaWorld asserts, what the film said about it, and what a biologist said in response. I feel like this is also to try to present facts to the reader in a straightforward way.

    1. Both the soil enzyme activity and organic carbon could be affected by the changes in vegetation type and environmental factors (such as temperature, moisture, etc.)[15–17], but the researches about the relationship of the two in different seasons and under different vegetation types are relatively rare. As a result, it is very important to study the seasonal variation and relationship between labile organic carbon fractions and enzyme activities such as phosphomonoesterase, urease, β-glycosidase, and invertase which are closely related to the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles in the wetland ecosystem.

      Talks about why this specific study will be useful to the body of knowledge; it is filling a gap in the research.

    2. The purpose of this experiment was to determine whether the soil labile organic carbon and enzyme activities were influenced by the variation of vegetation types and seasons.

      This is the research question of the study.

    3. oil enzymes and soil organic carbon play important roles in the material cycle of wetland ecosystems. Soil enzymes are one of the active organic ingredients in soil, which are closely related to the organic matter decomposition, energy transfer and nutrient cycling[1].

      This is the hook. It may not seem very important to non-scientists, but they are important because 1) wetlands absorb heavy metals and other toxins and are sort of like nature's sewage plant and 2) nutrient cycling is very important to natural ecosystems.

    1. This is the hook. It probably is not as exciting to the public as it is to scientists, but it is important because 1) wetlands process many heavy metals and act as sort of the sewage treatment plant of the natural world 2) nutrient cycling is very important for ecosystem health.

  3. Jan 2016
    1. Moreover, the assertion isn't even true all of the time for one-year-old calves; SeaWorld has a long track record of separating mothers and calves at birth, and even more often when they become older than a year.

      Questioning/Confusion: The link in this part of the article does leads to an obviously anti-SeaWorld biased website using information provided by a nonprofit dedicated to helping spread awareness about orcas and giving them a "healthy habitat." It is unclear from what I could find that this information is accurate about SeaWorld.

    2. But in order to make this claim, SeaWorld has to rig its statistics by including only SeaWorld orcas in its database, and then only deaths that have occurred in the past 15 years. Considering that it, and many other marine parks, have held many more orcas over the nearly fifty years they have been in business, that's a pretty skewed database.

      Connections to science: It is important to note that SeaWorld is not the only company that can manipulate statistics. That is why as scientists we don't just look at the data presented, but also how it is presented.

    3. At some point, it will have to figure all this out. But by then, it may well be too late for it to pull out of its self-inflicted death spiral.

      After reading this article, go back and further investigate any claims you believed may be suspect by clicking on the links, like I did. Think to yourself if the source they come from may have a potential bias.

      Questioning: Think, overall, if this article convinced you to boycott SeaWorld. Why or why not?

    4. It's telling enough that when Blackfish's filmmakers challenged SeaWorld to a public debate, they simply refused.

      Summary/Confusion: This is some damning evidence against SeaWorld. Why, if it believed it had iron-clad facts, statistics, testimonies, etc. to back itself up, would it turn down the chance to prove themselves right once and for all?

    5. too busy teaching orcas to breach in triplicate and rolling in the revenue stream that creates.

      Summary: This statement shows the author's obvious bias against SeaWorld. This just provides proof that we were right to to look at some of the author's claims to root out bias.

    6. In fact, SeaWorld spends well under than 1 percent of its annual revenues on conservation efforts.

      Ah, but the point that the article is trying to make is that the company is doing absolutely nothing to help conservation efforts. Additionally, even a small percent of the company's profits are still marginally large, assuming it is a multimillion dollar profit margin.

      Questioning: Do you believe that dedicating a small amount of their profits is despicable, or that SeaWorld should be praised for donating at all?

    7. There has been some recent research at SeaWorld that actually helps advance our knowledge of killer whales. For instance, researchers there have established recently that dialects in killer whales are in fact learned behaviors. There has also been some recent impressive work on the energy orcas expend in the process of swimming. One could argue that this research is long overdue, but at least SeaWorld is now undertaking research that could actually help conserve orcas in the wild -- something that was not true for many years.

      Interesting. While the author spent the previous couple of paragraphs trying to prove that SeaWorld has no investment in orcas, it now admits that the company is doing research that directly benefits orcas. So SeaWorld is actually not entirely disinterested in orca research/well-being as painted to be.

      Questioning: Do you believe that this discredits the author? Why or why not?

    8. Where has Sea World been in all this? Nowhere. They have not funded orca-population studies or censuses, let alone communications and ship-noise studies that are needed. We did see them briefly during the Springer episode, when SeaWorld lent local scientists the use of a diagnostic lab and an overseeing veterinarian to test a sample of Springer's blood before she was transported north and successfully reunited with her familial pod. For that, they now claim credit for the entire project.

      Interesting point that SeaWorld claims to be conserving orcas, but they are not in fact donating their money or doing anything other than showing them to the public.

      However, one might also argue that by showing the public these animals, it allows a public emotional attachment to be formed to them, which could lead to greater public traction behind conservation movements.

      Questioning: Where do you stand in between these two points of view? Why?

    9. Rather than address the real issues underlying the matter, it chooses to attack the people involved and touting their business credentials; their chief argument seems to be that they are better people -- even while they lie through their teeth to us at every turn, whether it's telling people that captive orcas live as long as wild whiles, or claiming to be really all about conserving orcas in the wild.

      Summary: This is a somewhat valid point. As we have seen so far, the evidence provided in this article so far does indicate that SeaWorld is fighting back with defamation and not actual facts.

    10. Yet anyone who has seen the film knows that this is simply and baldly false. Not only does the documentary provide two clear examples of SeaWorld employees and spokesmen blaming Brancheau for her own death, the speculation by trainers about the events leading up to her death were a far cry from these blatant examples of victim-blaming.

      Summary: This is a very clear contradiction that SeaWorld has made, because they have in fact blamed the victim multiple times in and after the Documentary.

    11. This is well-established scientific fact, and the fact that SeaWorld says Blackfish "offers no scientific basis for this statement" and that "SeaWorld is aware of none" demonstrates its only abysmal understanding of the animals in its care.

      Questioning: While the movie did offer some people considered experts talking about how orcas stay with their mothers their whole lives, I would like to see a link to actual studies that show this instead of the author just stating "it's a well-known fact." As scientists, you cannot prove a claim just by assuming the audience will believe you: back it up!

    12. the more people who see Blackfish the more likely it is to accelerate.

      Questioning: Apparently, Blackfish has been very influential on public opinion. Why do you think that is? Make Connections: For me, the documentary made me cry an awful lot, so the emotional appeal could have a lot to do with it.

    13. And when it finally did go public with its response to the film, it did so in a completely non-transparent way -- undertaking a closed-shop public-relations campaign predicated around websites, videos, and ads. And the primary subject of that campaign has not been an effort to rebut the factual issues raised by the film, but an attack on the people involved in the film and an attempt to impugn their motives. A smear campaign.

      Prediction: Let's keep this in mind as we read the rest of the article. The author is referencing the "Truth About Blackfish" page on SeaWorld's website. What we will be looking for in the quotes below are for evidence of ad hominem, or personal attacks, rather than factual refutation of claims.

    14. It's never easy, coming in from the outside of an emotional debate over a popular public entertainment -- the kind that performing killer whales provide -- to adequately judge that's debate's real merits, such as the one over orca captivity that has been inspired

      Before we read: It is very difficult to be able to come to this topic with an outside point of view. For me personally, it is especially difficult. I grew up going to SeaWorld and loving it, but I also had a very strong emotional response to the documentary Blackfish. Throughout this article as we are examining the author's argument, it will be important to be aware of our own biases as well as those of the authors, of SeaWorld, and of activists. It will also be useful to keep the rhetorical techniques of logos, pathos, and ethos in mind as we pick apart this argument and try to inform ourselves as a scientific-minded cohort.

    15. The documentary's producers and backers, while handling a deeply emotional subject with grace and reserve, have hewn to the facts -- as did their film.

      Questioning: Think about the author's biases here. The documentary makers include some facts, but there are misleading parts of the documentary as well. Further research shows that there are discrepancies; some of the trainers interviewed as "experts" about Tilikum the "killer" whale did not in fact interact with the orca at all. I am detecting that the author may be partial towards Blackfish's point of view.

    16. There are no scientists who study wild orcas who believe that captive lifespans are even close to equivalent, and indeed the real data demonstrates conclusively that this is the case.

      Questioning: We need to be careful about the argument here. The website that the author cites is not a peer-reviewed journal, nor does it present any actual data from any studies. Thus, there is no "real data" linked here to back up any claims.

    17. SeaWorld condemns itself simply by going this route, rather than addressing the content what these trainers had to say to the cameras.

      Summary: This is a case of ad hominem attack by SeaWorld, rather than them presenting facts, they just smear those opposed to them. Make connections: Does this sound familiar? Can we think of people who do this in the public eye? (Cough Donald Trump Cough)

    18. These are not the words of science, and indeed, there is not a shred of scientific support for them.

      Summary: Again, SeaWorld appears to damn itself, as the woman quoted is an expert in her field, and actually gave scientific evidence in the film.

    19. So, which is it: Are they scientists, or only activists? In fact, every single one of the people that the site lists as "animal rights activists posing as scientists" is, yes, a scientist.

      Summary: This is a good point. The argument that SeaWorld set itself up to make is that the people interviewed are not scientists, in which SeaWorld would need to present evidence that they are people posing as scientists. In fact, they are scientists, and very credible at that. Minus ten points for Gryffindor.

    20. After reading this article, click the link below to read a more Pro-SeaWorld argument. Are their arguments backed up by fact, or do they simply appeal to emotion. What are their biases?


    21. Its stock has been in decline.

      Make more connections: I have actually heard of a lot SeaWorlds shutting down. My friend Natalia also told me that there were protesters outside of SeaWorld the last time that she went.

    22. Which is why, at a deep level, SeaWorld is losing.

      Make connections to the real world. I know that for me personally, I do see a lot of posts on my Facebook that are opposed to SeaWorld, and I see very few that are defending them. So maybe SeaWorld is losing in the public's eyes.