Natalie Orta – Capstone – Group 2 – Palau Bans Reef Toxic Sunscreen

Natalie –


Excellent job!


Palau placed a ban on “reef toxic” sunscreen to protect its coral reefs (Perrigo). Although the actual effect of the ban is uncertain, it has garnered global attention in various news sources. Rhetoric used by supporters may generate public support which will lead to manufacturers and others countering with the virtues of sunscreen and the need for further research.

Palau has taken the leap to become the world’s first country to ban harmful ingredients in sunscreen to protect its precious coral reefs (BBC). Starting January 2020 anyone importing or selling sunscreen containing any of 10 banned chemicals face a $1,000 fine and tourists who bring banned sunscreen into the country will have it confiscated (Guardian). This brings on the controversial topic of the lack of knowledge in the field of epizootiology and also brings to the forefront how little we know about the preservation of coral reefs (Woodley). This shortage of information is skimmed over in many of the Palauan articles about this topic. The articles take on a pathos form of speaking hoping to pull on the heartstrings of the readers and skimming over the logos, which is what calls the attention scientists and critics alike. The controversy comes in the fact that some scientists do not agree that banning sunscreen will make a large enough effect on coral reefs that would warrant a countrywide or even citywide ban (Beitsch). Some also believe this will do more harm to humans that good to the coral reefs (Raffa). The threat of skin cancers becomes an important part of this ban and its thought process. The pros and cons must be weighed out. 

The article in Chemistry in Australia, “Sunscreen Ingredient Polluting Coral Reefs”uses ethos from the rhetorical triangle by having the article published in the “Archives of Environmental Contamination” as well as relying on the fact that it was written by a well known doctor from the field of environmental studies (EBSCOhost). This article also uses logos by having technical and scientific jargon to explain the effects of the banned sunscreen ingredients and their chemical properties, going as far as explaining how they each affect the coral reefs. There can also be an argument made for pathos in this article. This article goes into gruesome details on how the coral reefs are affected by different chemicals, detailing how the damages to their DNA affect them to the point that they may encase themselves in their own skeleton and then die. Coral reefs have been a controversial topic since the 1970s; there has been discussion on how they are being attacked at a global level. Sunscreen Ingredient Polluting Coral Reefs again uses logos whenwriting that weather and climate changes are to blame for much of the global destruction of the coral reefs, but also admits that the problem may be more locally specific. This refers to pollution, which is a cause that is gaining more and more popularity among those that wish to preserve the coral reefs of the world. 

Despite the different opinions, IslandTimes used both ethos and logos when they posted, “Palau Becomes the First to Ban ‘Reef-Toxic’ Sunscreens” about how Palau would be making history by being the first country to place a country-wide ban on sunscreens containing the ingredients that are harmful to the coral reefs (IslandTimes). This would be considered ethos because it was posted on the online newspaper in Palau, which is a trusted site used by the whole country as a credible place to receive their news. It is also ethos because of the mention to the Palauan president, Tommy Remengesau, and his agreement in how the chemicals found in sunscreens are harmful to their coral reefs. It also appeals to the logos argument because of the details posted about the amount of sunscreen that enters their waters everyday as well as the breakdown of what will be done with sellers, tourists, and Palauans alike. 

In this attached youtube video below by Newsy, they talk about the fact that Palau is becoming the first country to ban sunscreens that contain harmful substances to coral reefs. This law will be put into place in 2020 and will be banning ten chemicals usually found in sunscreen. This video uses ethos to describe the ban, mentioning that the president from Palau is the one that signed the ban. They use the president as a persuasive technique as to why you should listen and see the importance. 

This topic does not contain much secrecy. The facts are all there. It is more about giving their side of the topic, the believers of the ban, and the doubters. Since it is a fairly unpopular topic, most of the news has been spread through newspapers and not other forms of media like television news or books. Freedom of information is not an issue when it comes to the sunscreen ban in Palau. This topic is wide open in giving two sides of the coin on what the issue is, you either agree or you do not. McLuhan’s, “the medium is the message” comes into play with this topic. The ban of the sunscreen ingredients becomes less important if given by a site that is not as trustworthy. Considering that many of the more popular, reliable sites like BBC and USA Today are in agreement to the facts that Palau is placing a ban on ingredients as well as them being the first country to do so, gives McLuhan’s words a place in the story. If this topic were to come from a country like China, that has had issues with censorship in the past, it may make readers more skeptical to the facts and reasons behind it. It goes to show how important sources and transparency are. 

Annotated Bibliography

Perrigo, Billy. “Why the Pacific Island of Palau Is Banning Sunscreen.” Time, Time, 7 Nov. 2018,

McGrath, Matt. “Coral: Palau to Ban Sunscreen Products to Protect Reefs.” BBC News, BBC, 1 Nov. 2018,

Guardian staff and agencies. “Pacific Island to Introduce World-First ‘Reef-Toxic’ Sunscreen Ban.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 2 Nov. 2018,

Woodley, Cheryl M., et al. Diseases of Coral. Wiley Blackwell, 2016

Beitsch, Rebecca. “Some Sunscreens May Kill Corals, but Should They Be Banned? Scientists Are Not so Sure.” USA Today, 9 Mar. 2019, 8am,

Raffa, Robert B., et al. “Sunscreen Bans: Coral Reefs and Skin Cancer.” Journal of Clinical Pharmacy & Therapeutics, vol. 44, no. 1, Feb. 2019, pp. 134–139. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/jcpt.12778. 

“Sunscreen Ingredient Polluting Coral Reefs.” Chemistry in Australia, Mar. 2016, p. 6. EBSCOhost,

Pojas, Rhealyn. “Palau Becomes the First to Ban ‘Reef-Toxic’ Sunscreens.” IslandTimes, 27 Dec. 2018,

Treviño, Julissa. “Can We Create Sunscreen That Protects Both Humans and Coral Reefs?”, Smithsonian Institution, 16 July 2018,


Thesis Annotated Bibliography

Natalie –

Excellent sources. Thesis is on the right track, but needs a bit of work. How about something like this:

Palau placed a ban on “reef toxic” sunscreen to protect its coral reefs. Although the actual effect of the ban is uncertain, it has garnered global attention in various news sources. Rhetoric used by supporters may generate public support which will lead to manufacturers and others countering with the virtues of sunscreen and the need for further research.

Some other articles of note:

Good job!

Thesis: Although Palau placed a ban on “reef toxic” sunscreen thinking it will protect its coral reefs, it may not be enough. Through more use of communication systems and tech-marketing, they would be able to make a bigger impact on not only their own island, but around the world.

  1. Woodley, Cheryl M., et al. Diseases of Coral. Wiley Blackwell, 2016.

This book published in 2016 talks about how the field of epizootiology is not advanced enough to talk about the deseases in coral reefs. Because of these diseases scientists will have to update their vocabulary, methods, and diagnostic techniques as well as train their tropical marine scientists in wildlife pathology if they plan on preserving the reefs. 

2. Raffa, Robert B., et al. “Sunscreen Bans: Coral Reefs and Skin Cancer.” Journal of Clinical Pharmacy & Therapeutics, vol. 44, no. 1, Feb. 2019, pp. 134–139. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/jcpt.12778.

This article focuses on Hawaii’s ban of certain popular sunscreen ingredients that will go into effect on January 1, 2021. It brings up the dilemma that banning certain popular sunscreen ingredients may have on skin cancers. Scientists have to weigh out the importance of both and possibly find an alternative to these important ingredients. 

3. “Sunscreen Ingredient Polluting Coral Reefs.” Chemistry in Australia, Mar. 2016, p. 6. EBSCOhost,

This article in Chemistry in Australia talks about the study of the toxicopathological effects of sunscreen to coral reefs. Oxybenzone in sunscreen causes deformities, damages to its DNA, and acts as an endocrine disruptor that leads to the death of coral planulae. This study was led by Dr. Craig Downs and was published in the “Archives of Environmental Contamination.”

4. Pojas, Rhealyn. “Palau Becomes the First to Ban ‘Reef-Toxic’ Sunscreens.” IslandTimes, 27 Dec. 2018,

This online newspaper from Palau announces their ban of sunscreen ingredients that are harmful to their reefs. They state how they are the first country to have such ban and how they are trailblazers in the protection of the world’s reefs. 

5. Perrigo, Billy. “Why the Pacific Island of Palau Is Banning Sunscreen.” Time, Time, 7 Nov. 2018,

This article in Time talks about the science behind the banning of certain ingredients in sunscreen that are harmful to coral reefs. It also talks about how the ban will work and when it will come into play. 

6. Guardian staff and agencies. “Pacific Island to Introduce World-First ‘Reef-Toxic’ Sunscreen Ban.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 2 Nov. 2018,

This Guardian article informs on Palau’s ban on “reef-toxic” sunscreens starting 2020. There are claims it is a world-first initiative to stop chemical pollution killing its famed corals. Starting January 2020 anyone importing or selling sunscreen containing any of 10 banned chemicals face a $1,000 fine and tourists who bring banned sunscreen into the country will have it confiscated.

Natalie Orta Assignment #3. Team 2

Natalie –

Well written and interesting analysis of your experience. You wisely avoided the narrative retelling done by many students. Your writing is engaging and interesting, but further editing would help clarify the arguments and eliminate minor errors. It’s difficult to cover the assignment in under 500 words, but your concise analysis did the job.

The word ‘solitude’ tends to leave a bitter taste in some people’s mouths. In this generation of tv, TV, internet, smartphones, and overall overexposure of media, solitude is mostly left in on the back burner. As Deresiewicz says of his students in his article, “Why would anyone want to be alone?” The last 48 hours of no news provided me with a different, but refreshing, a perspective I am not accustomed to. For the most part, the The first few hours passed quickly and easily. , between Between classes, homework, and friends, the lack of news or media, in general, is easy to forget. It’s when there is no one around and you find yourself in a place of solitude that you feel the weight of the assignment. Trying to fill your afternoon with activities that don’t involve any news becomes an activity much more difficult than you initially believed. it would be. Movies take the place of nighttime news, youtube YouTube takes the place of Instagram posts, and going to bed early takes the place of those ESPN scores we try not to feel too upset about.

The second day of the blackout was much easier. Our generation’s active avoidance of being alone has much to do with the constant information overload we experience in our day to day lives. If we are not watching tv, we are or  texting, or on Instagram, or on one of the dozens of media forms there are; this constant information coming to us makes us feel like we aren’t alone. Excellent point. A possible revision to make the point clearer:

The constant information of watching TV, texting, Instagram, or one of dozens of media forms ensures we never feel alone.

Solitude has never been an issue with me as it seems to be with many other young people, like Deresiewicz’s students who sit with people just to write papers. I value my alone time with no one around and nothing to distract me. Solitude doesn’t have to have a negative meaning like most people tend to give it. It can be, as Deresiewicz describes, a time to reflect and to just listen to that still, small voice. There is no better way to get to know yourself than when you’re alone. This is something many people don’t understand. There is a constant buzz of noise around us that doesn’t allow us to experience and enjoy the silent moments. Interesting observation.

Team 2 Ghost in the Shell Assignment 3

Team 2 –

Excellent work. Your analysis was thoughtful and well-researched. Writing was very good, but batch your tenses and omit needless words.


1. Portrayed in Mamoru Oshii’s  “The Ghost in the Shell,” the government is willing to go through to great lengths to keep the peace, despite them them who? being legal or not. The government understands that attention is critical in this aspect of our safety and that they are responsible to learn from past incidents and enforce it in the matter they feel is best.  Just as we see in the movie, here in the US we have laws which evidently push the boundaries of freedom to maintain safety. For example, like the Patriot Act, which was passed as a response to the terrorist attacks on 9/11. September 11, 2001. The Act allows federal officials to proceed with  greater authority in tracking and intercepting communications, both for the purpose of law enforcement and foreign intelligence gathering.  Good

There will never be justification for the government violating its laws as they enforce them onto their citizens. Some government officials mask their intentions with the excuse of “ensuring safety.” The means in by which most governments claim their “reasoning” is only done to gain the trust of their citizens, but this information is fed through multiple layers of filtration. The government implements measures to ensure that its citizens follow laws that were established depending on the type of structure running the country. Each country chooses the way they implement these laws, and in the United States, the government finds ways to punish those that violate it. There are no justifications for the government dishonoring its laws. Even if the government has broken laws, they will not be completely honest to the citizens about their actions. In Ghost in the shell, section 9 is a romanticized part of government that is, in a sense, the only ones “allowed to get their hands dirty.” Most governments have to backtrack their decisions or hide any actions that violate the law. prove a violated law. Their decision to create the Puppet Master in the first place was not justified because the intent was for personal political gain. Excellent analysis


As previously mentioned, under no circumstances should the government ever break the law. This means that there There is no justification for such a thing. The government should ensure assure that people don’t violate it. There are three classes of secrets that the U.S. Congress has identified as needing special protection: the identity of intelligence agents, the design of nuclear weapons, and the specifics of communications intelligence. In the case of Ghost in the Shell, we find this in Section 9. This would be the equivalent to our FBI; its primary function is national security. Section 9 is composed of former military officers, forensic scientists, and police detectives; these agents answer only to the Chief Director and Prime Minister of Japan. Most information about Section 9 remains highly classified. The public at large is unaware of the existence of Section 9, though the security forces and other security forces sections are generally aware of it and see it as a black operation operations unit. This allows Section 9 to operate independently from governmental oversight, cutting through red tape and bureaucracy. It is the main reason why there is no justification for the government to keep secret its violations of the laws. They created the “Puppet Master,” which was a threat to society, and they kept it quiet, even after things spun out of control. People were not given a chance to protect themselves because they didn’t know about the existence of this creation done by the government. Good, thoughtful analysis


  1. The information technology in Ghost in the Shell is heavily used to influence and control behavior and perception. A significant example of this would be the garbage truck driver and how he has no recollection of having his memories altered, yet his mind was controlled to have him perceive a different reality. Another example of technology controlling behavior would be how the government bends the truth of what is happening in the world and sways the facts to alter what people believe. A third example that may not be as obvious at first would be the Major and Batou’s doubt doubts of their thoughts and existence. Once the seed of doubt was placed there, after the there garbage man’s revelation, the characters can see just how far technology can go with its power of perception and altering of the truth. Another thoughtful analysis



  1. In this film, all entities that are modified are connected. In a way this can be compared to Deresiewicz’s argument stated in this prompt, “…solitude enables us to secure the integrity of the self as well as to explore it…”. The main character, Major Kusanagi, utilizes solitude when she is off diving in the ocean on her own time. When asked why she would risk such things, she replies that she feels “…fear, anxiety, isolation… darkness [and sometimes]…hope”. Major Kusanagi explains that she hopes that when she emerges from the water, she becomes someone new entirely.


In this day and age, we live in a world where technology is everywhere. People are always on their phones, computers, etc., now at restaurants, you see a family staring at their phones instead of talking to each other. Technically we are never alone, with technology, we can connect with anyone from anywhere the world by text, Snapchat, Skype, etc. Technology has made it nearly impossible ever to be alone, so no one can ever be in complete solitude in today’s age. Solitude according to the movie means the consciousness that is inhabiting the body, today you can say that technology is brainwashing us. The internet controls what we see and who we see, like the news, movies, etc. It controls what kinds of trends are popular now, and in the movie “The Ghost in the Shell,” they have reached a whole new level of solitude. By making it socially undesirable, they change themselves into cyber parts. Good


  1. When it comes to the way we communicate, modern technology has had an impressive influence. Digital tech has changed what people term as ‘media.’ A media company isn’t necessarily a news platform anymore. A media company is now known as a company that helps pass information across the globe. Interesting


In the past, you had to write a letter to communicate with someone. The letter could take days before it was delivered. You also had to follow-up to see if it had been sent to and received by the appropriate person. Errors were not uncommon as well. However, today, thanks to science and technology, all you have to do if you want to communicate with someone is to send them a message on social media or put a call through. Who hasn’t heard of Facebook, Twitter, or Whatsapp? They are all part of everyday life and seem to be going nowhere. Irrespective of the location of the individual, the message gets delivered at the same rate and speed whether they are right beside you or on the other side of the globe.


Also, technology Technology has changed how we watch television today. Today, you You can pause live TV, rewind it if you missed something, and control it depending on how you wish to follow the live experience. What is happening in the TV industry with the aid of technology is nothing short of incredible. With your mobile devices, you can watch what you want, when you want, and how you want. There is no limitation whatsoever in the digital space of television. Even if you missed an episode of your favorite soap opera, YouTube and other streaming sites are always there as a backup so you can catch up on any movies or scenes you missed.


And finally, with the proliferation of online dating sites you register on a website, find a match, and you start communicating without meeting in person until you decide there is a connection. For better or worse, technology has also made it possible for you to search the person’s profile on the Internet to gain access to the information you want to know about a particular person. Online dating platforms have millions of registered users and have received lots of good reviews from every part of the planet. Dating platforms have helped people connect with their match with speed that neither person has to waste the other person’s time. It is comfortable, straightforward, safe, and it works.


Commonly referred to as “the Web,” the World Wide Web is a medium initialized in 1989 by Tim Berner-Lee and CERN. This medium changed the information landscape immensely by allowing a collection of documents and resources to be uploaded as uniform resource locators (URLs). These documents and materials are accessible through the internet and act as a model for sharing information internationally. Not only did this make information more easily available, but it also allotted room for more improvement and advancements in modern day objects and technology.


In the movie, all of the Ghosts were connected through one system and shared various forms of information and advanced technology. The presence of the World Wide Web allows them access to information that has been gathered throughout time. Their capacity to become sentient was acquired through the help of this World Wide Web. Not sure how this follows It can also be said that the influence from different countries would not be present without the support of this system. In this story, had their World Wide Web been there, there would be no need for a Puppet Master since the information would not be all in one place; therefore making the hacking into their system much more difficult. Not sure about the analysis here. The Web is essentially an interface to information on the Internet. The characters of Ghost access the Net in a different manner (wired connections and robotic data input). Not sure how the Web makes the content of the Net different.

Natalie Orta, Assignment 2, Team 2

Natalie – Your writing is excellent. Well edited and concise. However, your analysis could have gone deeper into McLuhan’s use of the critical perspective.You have a good handle on McLuhan’s questioning commonly held assumptions. The betterment of society was only briefly mentioned, and your short paragraph on expanding the bounds of debate sounds a lot like challenging assumptions.

A better example might be his inclusion of the perspective of children in the debate over the problem of modern education. Rather than blaming children for doing poorly in schools (Why Johnny Can’t Read was a famous book of the time), McLuhan argued that the system of education was the problem. The perspective of children, that school was not “relevant” to their lives, had been ignored. He expanded the bounds of debate by including and legitimizing the perspective of a group of people that had been given consideration.

Thesis statement: McLuhan uses the critical perspective by questioning commonly held assumptions, expanding the bounds of debate, and aiming for the betterment of society. 
McLuhan questions commonly held assumptions by bringing up what people believe to be truths. He does this by contending that, “all media – in and of themselves and regardless of the messages they communicate – exert a compelling influence on man and society.” This is something that to this day continues to question the commonly held assumptions we all have. It shows how ahead of his time he really was. His viewpoint of technological advances and where they were and where they would show that people weren’t, and still don’t, pay enough attention to what they should be focusing on; in this case being that the fact that you can watch the local news live from nearly anywhere is much more important than what the news is, for example. He unquestionably makes sure to question what we know by shifting our focus to how we know it. 

McLuhan expands the bounds of debate by calling into question what we believe. The proof of his writing can be seen in his example of the printing press. People were so enamored by the idea that they could now read books they would have otherwise never been able to see and skimmed over the fact that there was now a machine that allowed this in the first place. 

McLuhan sets out to improve society by helping us see how important our surroundings are. We are living in an era of information overload, McLuhan’s ideology has us pay more attention to the things we use every day. He aims for us to improve ourselves and in turn our society by having us put our heads above the water to see more than that we’re so accustomed to. 

Natalie Orta, Assignment​ 1. Team 2

Natalie- Excellent essay. Your analysis of rhetoric is spot on. You’re a good writer, tying your arguments together in a seamless and readable whole. Simons has one m. In this class, no need for formal names or titles of material in the readings. After many semesters, the coaches know the material. With only 500 words, it’s best to get right to the analysis.

Thesis statement: Psychology professors Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simmons use logos, pathos, and ethos in their article “Why Our Memory Fails Us”. Remember that a thesis must be disputable. Not sure if anyone would disagree with this.

Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simmons’ New York Times article, “Why Our Memory Fails Us,” Chabris and Simons begin to build their case on the problem of relying on one’s memory with an example of the rhetoric logos. They use the example of Neil Degrasse Tyson and his comment about George Bush as a form of showing the logical response to what Dr. Tyson believed to remember. They use his comment as a rational way of bringing their point across to the readers. 

Chabris and Simmons also use pathos when they, ironically, speak about the emotional response of the readers when confronted with their memories. “But when our memories are challenged, we may neglect all this and instead respond emotionally, acting as though we must be right and everyone else must be wrong.” This brings in the readers by invoking sympathy to what is being said. They also use the tactic of resorting to anger the readers so they can relate more closely to what is being written. Very good point, but you don’t need the entire quote.

The writers also use ethos not only in the examples of Neil Degrasse Tyson and George Bush’s statements but also in their use of cases made by the National Academy of Sciences, cognitive psychologists Henry L. Roediger III and K. Andrew DeSoto, as well as the psychologist Sir Frederic Charles Bartlett; among others. These examples provide and offer a look at many reliable, known, and respected sources. The studies made by these sources offer more proof of their use of ethos in this work. Good.

Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simmons do an excellent job of building their case against memory with a blend of logos, pathos, and ethos. They do tend to rely more heavily on facts and studies than they do on the emotions of the readers, which cause causes their tone as authors to be more serious and studious. Excellent observation.

The top three readers picks comments were found to be convincing because of their blend of the three rhetorical analysis techniques. The comment made by Neil Degrasse Tyson was short and to the point, avoiding any use of pathos to convince the readers. He used his reliability as a well-known scientist as ethos, along with his use of logos in providing external links to where he makes a more detailed explanation of the topic in the article. 

The second comment by Keith Dow left out both pathos and ethos and focused solely on logos. His use of a link and multiple examples of comments made by George Bush offer no chance to feel any emotion and only left room for the logical explanation to back up his argument, “I think your memory of Bush being an intelligent person is faulty.”

The final comment by Jacob Sommer uses a more pathos technique to convince the reader. His explanation of how he sees the best in people instead of assuming they are purposely misleading invites the readers to feel sympathy towards those that may remember incorrectly. Very good analysis of the comments.

I believe the Times approach to ranking comments is effective because it allows the readers to choose whose comment is first seen by others.