Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Picking Cotton - Wrongful Convictions

Last week I had to read a book for school. I thought it was going to be a terrible assignment and really dreaded it. It turned out that it was one of the best assignments I have gotten all semester. The book was called Picking Cotton.

Picking Cotton is about a rape case from 1984 where the man charged with the crimes was wrongfully convicted. The most predominant evidence in the case was an eyewitness identification from one of the victims. It wasn't until 1995 that he was released from prison because DNA evidence proved that he didn't commit the crime. The book is written from Jennifer Thompson (victim) and Ronald Cotton's (wrongfully convicted) perspective. The book raises awareness about wrongful convictions and eyewitness misidentifications. The use of DNA evidence has resulted in the exoneration/release of 223 wrongfully convicted inmates. Consider all the wrongful convictions in cases that do not have DNA evidence available as a defense.

I have learned that the study of wrongful convictions is increasing, but there is still not much awareness. I wanted to take an opportunity to share this information with the people I know, and hopefully they will spread the word.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Climate Change & Chocolate

The International Center for Tropical Agriculture suggests that global warming will endanger the world's chocolate supply in West Africa. If there is a temperature change of only 2 degrees Celsius by 2050 then these areas could be considered too hot to grow cocoa. If the shortage occurs, the effects could be felt as early as 2030. This especially affects farmers of the cocoa beans because many use it as their primary source of income.

Why can't we just move the cocoa trees?
Moving the cocoa trees would require clearing of land, which would most likely result in worsening the problem of global warming.

Knowing this, I think that I will appreciate chocolate much more now! It's sad to think of how many of the little things in life we take for granted.