Archive | Topical

Digital Currency a Reality

Well, the kids debated it in 2014, and three years later it is a reality. Look at this sign in a Japanese restaurant on 31st street in Manhattan. They only accept credit and debit cards…no money allowed! Which means that if you wanted to pay for your meal with dollars and coins, or if you are not old enough to have a credit/debit card, or if your credit card was turned down, etc., etc., you have to go to another restaurant. Bad luck if you are craving sushi!

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Sanctuary Cities

The debate is over, but we just now came across a map showing some of the major sanctuary cities in the U.S.

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Still Debatable

The recent issue of Scholastic Upfront Magazine had an article on whether college athletes should get paid, which was one of last year’s topics.

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This cartoon appeared in Monday’s Wall Street Journal newspaper. Who do you think the “they” refers to?


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Fake News in the News

Here is a story from today’s New York Times about a man who wrote fake news stories during the presidential election. Do you think he will continue to write fake news in the future? Why or why not?



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Hoax Photos

Can you tell which photographs are real and which are fake? Some pictures are realistic-looking, but are still false. Maybe a graphic artist used the program Adobe Photoshop to make changes to a photograph on the computer? Download this file, from Authentication Beyond the Classroom, for examples.

Jackalope picture from

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Who Votes?

Do you remember our 2015 debate topic “All U.S. citizens (over the age of 18) should be required to vote?” Well, here is a news tidbit about the number of Americans who do actually vote.

New York Times Article

New York Times article




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What is an Electoral Vote?

howelectorsvoteThe final topic of the year states that “the president of the United States should be elected by popular vote,” as opposed to electoral vote. This chart compares both types of voting procedures.

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Breaking it Down!

The New York Times has broken down our Round 3 debate into nice chunks:


What does the government want? The F.B.I. has been trying to force Apple to help investigators gain access to an iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook in the December mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. Bureau officials say that encrypted data in Mr. Farook’s phone and its GPS system may hold vital clues about where he and his wife…traveled in the 18 minutes after the shootings, and about whom they might have contacted beforehand. It sounds like a simple problem but the solution would be complex. The password mechanism built into the phone will erase the phone’s data after 10 incorrect password attempts….


And on the other side?



Why is Apple resisting? The company has fought a federal court order requiring it to provide access to the F.B.I., on the grounds that it violates its right to due process. Apple has said that forcing it to write new software violates its First Amendment right…. Courts have ruled in the past that writing code is a form of free speech. Providing help to break into this one iPhone, Apple has also argued, could create a permanent way to bypass iPhone password protection for law enforcement officials or even the spy agencies of other countries….


And the bottom line:


Why does the dispute matter? Simply put, the government contends that cooperation in cases like this could help prevent terrorist attacks against Americans. Privacy advocates and Apple supporters say they worry that if the F.B.I. succeeds in getting access to the software overriding Apple’s encryption, it would create easy access for the government in many future investigations…. But cooperating with the government now could quickly lead to murkier situations internationally, especially in China, where officials have been pushing for greater control over the encryption and security of technology sold there. China has become Apple’s second-largest market after the United States….Saying yes to the United States government could make it hard for Apple to later say no to China, and saying no could significantly affect the company’s bottom line.


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More and More Sources

Apple FBIOur debate topic is really heating up in the news. Here are two more articles, one on President Obama’s stance from The New York Times, and one from NPR which contains a primary source document from the Apple case.

And if you missed it, John Oliver’s main segment last week was also about the encryption topic.

We’ve heard what many people have to say on this topic, now we are ready to hear from the teams. Round 3 begins next week…. let’s go!

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