Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My love for my planet

Today I was walking over to my neighbor's house to ask if he had any work for me to do. On the property between ours that was logged two weeks ago I was with his grandchildren, an 11 and a 4 year old, both boys. The 11 year old was climbing all over the piles of logs with his BB gun practicing his targeting and the 4 year old was talking about how he hates puddles because he fell in one a few weeks ago. AFter taking psychology it was so cool to see their ages from a totally new perspective. We talked about height as we went around the vehicle in the middle of the yard, it was a good time. The four year old went home to take a shower which he probably just finished as I am writing this. He was shooting all over the yard and I realized he needed a target. I took a piece of cardboard and a sharpie from my house (which I just took out of my pocket) and drew two circles with a bullseye at the center so he could practice with that instead. He is excellent. We ran some science experiments on how pumping the gun multiple times affects the speed of the bullet (it doesn't, he thought it made it go faster, but after an experiment with 5 pumps, 4 pumps, and 1 pump the gun was only capable of going through three sheets of poster board. He loves walking around the north side of his property and his neighbors which is still forest. When I was his age I did that every day for a couple hours exploring on what is now his property and the recently logged property next to mine. We walked to "the creek" which is a small stream about 2 feet wide and six inches deep at its deepest. I haven't 't walked there for a few years, because I have been busy with other things. I have been deeply involved in environmentalism in my school for the past four years, but walking through that stream I saw it for the peaceful marsh that it is.
I then remembered how I have grown up around these beautiful places where many people are not fortunate enough to live close to wilderness. They live in suburbs or inner cities a long way from true wild lands. The only time they might be exposed to wilderness in their entire lives is when they go to summer camp as children. The planet becomes distant from their homes and they never go to places that are wilderness. I remembered why I identify with the environmentalist movement so strongly, because I believe we need to make sure that we need to protect all species from extinction and keep places wild so that our world's environment which depends on the small ecosystems across the world can be a great place.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Distance and love

According to Einstein, everything is relative. If we applied this to our everyday lives we would recognize that the third dimension (space aka up, down, and across) is relative too. Realizing this tells us that no matter how far away that other person is, it really doesn't matter, your feelings and friendship will continue.
 Yes, I am now officially the boyfriend of my best friend in the whole world. She's a wonderful beautiful person and I love her a lot. It may be a long-distance relationship, but when did that matter?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

In honor of Jules Verne, why Science Fiction is the greatest genre from a literary standpoint

Paraphrased from a speech I gave to my debate team.

Throughout human history, there are many conflicts that we experience throughout life as an individual and socially. Currently, one issue I am experiencing is an unofficial long-distance relationship. 4000 KM seems like the other end of the Universe to me, and it happens to many people throughout their lives. What if the relationship is across a galaxy? In terms of Dune there are times when Jessica is a long distance from her husband Leto. It makes the pitiful 4000 KM seem short, even though it isn't. It allows authors and philosophers to put issues in our personal lives into a format that is understandable regardless of race, sex, or creed. A major part of the crusade for Civil Rights was when Captain Kirk and Ahura had a very informal relationship. Not to mention Spock's father, a Vulcan, and his mother, a Human. This is a format that probably persuaded some people who were indifferent then had to side with  the civil rights movement.

Other issues include the origins of religion. In Dune we see the creation of an entire religion with all the complexities. By the third book Muad'Dib has already taken on supernatural aspects of things that did not happen yet the Fremen believed it with all their hearts. To have such a comparison in a modernistic setting would either look and read as a very silly book that people would be offended by. By putting his insight into a format that would reach across faiths, Frank Herbert created what I consider to be the greatest book that is accessible to people from all ethnicities and faiths. Philosophy is included in this topic too, giving the Litany Against Fear which is influential to all fans of Dune.

On the Scientific level Science Fiction has it's most obvious gift to society. In Arthur C. Clarke's writing he explains the scientific principles behind his ideas having video calls and walking on the moon in his most famous work, 2001. In his work Rendezvous with Rama he has a gigantic spaceship the size of a small planet come into the Solar System on it's long journey. This concept was little explored and was given in great scientific detail. In I, Robot by Isaac Asimov we see the original example of robots gone evil, a concept that has been used in countless stories after then.

To sum it up cleanly, putting raw human emotions and political controversies in a format accessible to many people. By doing this, science fiction authors are able to delve into a topic with a freedom not available to many other genres that truly makes it a wondrous tool for explaining answers to that question of humanity.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Halfway through the quarter, what I have learned.

Here I am, February 3, halfway through my college quarter at the local community college. This quarter I took Math, Developmental Psychology, and Spanish, all 5 credits each. I have learned a lot in Psychology and will be a better person by knowing how people grow up and will know more about what the person is thinking ( or not) and will be able to give appropriate responses that I haven't had time to practice yet. Psychology is definitely a beneficial subject for being a responsible citizen and should be taught in high school. In Spanish I have learned a lot of course, I haven't known much Spanish since Elementary school,  and am able to make basic sentences now. After taking two quarters of German last year, the second language is a lot easier because I know how to learn a language and how languages are put together. I am thoroughly convinced that languages should be taught by the European model, first language in the first four years (usually English) than another language in year 5-8, and finally finish with a third language in the last part of your public education. My psychology learning has taught me that learning languages makes connections in the brain during the golden period of languages in the single digits that makes someone more intelligent throughout their entire life.

I took my band final yesterday. We are playing awesome music as usual. Everything else has been steady since December. In SOGO we are playing the Barber of Seville for my last concert (the first piece I played in SOGO in fact) and selected scenes from Carmen. It is going to be a great ending for my SOGO career.

I am also working now at Evergreen. I am designing the web page for the lab I work in and helping to set up the science meeting. Everything is coming together.