« January 2008 | Main | March 2008 »

February 27, 2008

Prompt #4

books.jpg

What an interesting concept, what would I do if released from the constraints of architecture school? I guess this is something that never really occurred to me. The world is so busy that it seems either you are doing what needs to be done or that you can set goals and travel down the path of objectives to reach them, sometimes finding space where you can squeeze out some enjoyment. From what I’ve learned about myself over the years I know I would not be content to just be idle. Even the brief periods of my life when I did not attend school made me realize how much I crave to learn new things. Once I feel that I have an understanding of something I start searching for new ideas concepts, constantly feeling the need to learn more. What it is does not really matter, from learning to cook something new, to figuring out if seeds from an apple will really grow into a tree that produces more fruit. It seems that the world has a limitless ability to offer forth new ideas and information just in everyday life if you pay attention to the details. I have always had a difficult time with college majors because of this, there are just so many things to pursue that it seems impossible to choose just one focus. I always wished that somehow you could combine everything- languages, architecture, design, biology, engineering, botany, physics, astronomy, art, psychology and finance all into one in depth major.

lightining.jpg
ferns.jpg

would love to travel the world and become immersed in different cultures. In the past they had ‘the tour’ where people would travel and see for themselves great monuments and works of art. Technology and the access of information is a great achievement but I think that you lose too much of the actual place by looking at a book or online. I want to actually go to these places and see everything for myself- take into account the physical aspects along with the emotional ones that help to inform a place.

siutcase.jpg
traveling gnome.jpg

It is also very important to me that I be constantly creating something, no matter how big or small. I think that people all have different ways of viewing their world, I view mine in terms of possibilities seeing not only what is there but what can become. I can relate to Andy Goldsworthy on this level, he is constantly absorbed in his work as if it takes over his life for a short time while he creates. I am also happiest in this state of oblivion where my purpose and vision takes over. Project ideas constantly arise and I enjoy researching them to learn more and experimenting to learn new things in my free time. I have always longed for an educational environment where projects would be open and allowed to consume the syllabus and merge into ever continuing design, allowing the student to be constantly immersed, interested and inspired while learning.

glow world 2.jpg

photos from www.flickr.com

February 20, 2008

Prompt #3

The first place we begin to learn values is at home and school. Our parents teach us their ideas about the world and this is our only idea of truth until we start school. There we are exposed to many opinions and learn there is more than one viewpoint apart from our sheltered family existence. We are exposed to many ideas and begin to learn that it is important to think for yourself and create our own goals and ideals.
Make your own path.
own path.jpg

water.jpg
What's around us affects how we see things.
upsidedown tree.jpg

I know that my ideas of the world are strongly influenced by what surrounds me. I value the environment, being from Minnesota I could not imagine a world that you would not be able to enjoy lakes and forests. I also value safety since I had a wonderful family that protected me when I was young, unfortunately many children do not get that advantage. It is something easily taken for granted when you are young and do not know how much the real world differs from the personal comfort your parents provide. My parents provided the biggest influence on my values, they taught me to think for myself and that any goal you set for yourself is attainable.

window on the world.jpg
Private window to the world.

Some quotes I try to remember…..

“The reward for conformity was that everyone liked you except yourself.?
-Rita Mae Brown, Venus Envy

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.?
-Aristotle

“Pick a career field that closely follows a personal passion, regardless of financial implications or job availability. The most successful people in life are passionate about their work.?

“Sometimes the hardest thing in the world can be to open your eyes & look at things the way they really are…But whatever you see, no matter how painful- it’s better than not seeing at all….?
-last 2 unknown authors/ Mom’s advice
Song List
Wish upon a Star
Amazing Grace
One- Creed

I remember to always search for the truth and create my own opinions, never believe that something is impossible thereby limiting your self.
photos from www.flickr.com

February 13, 2008

Prompt #2


Winter is just something you learn to deal with if you are a resident of Minnesota. Everyone understands just how bad the roadways are especially in the middle of a storm, but many things are done to help keep the roads safe for motorists. Do we truly understand the implications of our actions? Many people would be incredibly upset to see someone dumping garbage on the side of the road, yet completely ignore the plow truck dumping salt onto the road in the lane next to them. Have we ever really explored what might be affected as a society, or is it to be ignored simply because the government is doing the damage and not just a simple citizen with a couple bags of trash.

In my experience few individuals have questioned this common practice. Being the land of 10,000 lakes you hear many objections about pollution of water from littering, fertilizers and pesticides, but road salt has stayed in the background ever since it’s inception into common use in 1941. When you consider that the US distributes about 8-12 million tons over the roadways every year, the question becomes where does all that salt end up? Simple, either our water or the ground, both of which is ultimately harmful to us all.
lakesalt.jpg

Road salt or sodium chloride (Na+ Cl-) is the most common
method of deicing roads. When the solution dissolves in
water the molecules separate and the sodium ions are
attracted to molecules found in the soil while the chloride
permeates and contaminates the ground water.
“Approximately 55% of road salt chlorides are transported
in surface runoff with the remaining 45% infiltrating through
soils and into groundwater aquifers? (Janis Keating article).
There has also been research that shows a direct correlation
between salt content in water supplies to amounts of salt used
on roadways. This affects the taste of our drinking water along
with leading to increased sodium in our diets, one cause of
hypertension disorders. When stored, sodium ferrocyanide is
commonly added to the salt which reacts with water to produce
cyanide which is toxic to marine life. “Prolonged retention of salt
in streambeds or lakebeds decreases dissolved oxygen and can
increase nutrient loading, which in turn promotes eutrophication?
(Janis Keating). Many of our lakes and streams already have
problems with mercury and pollutants that prevent society from
enjoying them, chloride poisoning will be added to the list unless
our practices are changed.

It also affects the plants and wildlife both inside and outside of the city. Salt can disable bacteria found in soil and lead to erosion, while creating difficulties of water obsorbtion in plants and preventing root growth up to 200 meters from the road. Cattails can be a sign of areas polluted by too much salt since they thrive in this environment, while tell tale signs on trees include the browning of evergreens. Wildlife are also drawn to the salt but do not know how to regulate their intake and will eat until they reach toxic levels. This leads to more animal/vehicle collisions in the process.
It also affects the plants and wildlife both inside and outside of the city. Salt can disable bacteria found in soil and lead to erosion, while creating difficulties of water obsorbtion in plants and preventing root growth up to 200 meters from the road. Cattails can be a sign of areas polluted by too much salt since they thrive in this environment, while tell tale signs on trees include the browning of evergreens. Wildlife are also drawn to the salt but do not know how to regulate their intake and will eat until they reach toxic levels. This leads to more animal/vehicle collisions in the process.
The corrosive nature of salt creates direct problems aside from the damage to vehicles, salt can penetrate concrete and corrode the metal supporting structures in bridges, parking ramps and numerous other facilities costing the city additional money for repairs.
There are numerous other alternatives to keep the roadways clear although the biggest obstacle is price. Both calcium magnesium and potassium acetate have comparable abilities and offer less harmful effects. A company based in Wayzata has introduced a new paving product, SafeLane, that helps deicers stay on the road up to 10x longer, so less is needed to be effective (www.popsi.com). By continued research into other alternatives we can help prevent road salt from becoming the next environmental problem that no longer has a solution. We need to keep salt on the table instead of on our roads. saltshaker.gif
Information & Pictures (www.forester.net/sw_0107_environmental.html)

February 5, 2008

Response #1

When examining the city I think it is impossible to ignore the people who are the essence and what makes a city, for there is a reason it has the name 'city' and not 'country' or 'town' or numerous other names attached to such places. In fact the energy of the city comes from the people who work, live and play there. Everyday the flow of people begins with the congestion of buses, trains, and traffic bringing them closer to the city's heart. Andy Goldsworthy references his obsession with water in rivers and seas, which is exactly what the commute of people reminds me of. Just as a stream has many tributaries that feed it and becomes part of a river, the daily commuters start in their cul-de-sacs and side roads all slowly funneling into highways and freeways, bringing them closer to the city's center. Each morning the city transforms to life from the influx of people starting work, going to school, and numerous other activities. Curiously, night brings the opposite as people head home and the stream reverses flow back to smaller tributaries, the people scattering to distant points to breathe life into their small communities until the next day.

traffic camera.jpg
(wcco.com/traffic)


river.jpg
(www.schoolsliason.org.uk)


northstar rail.gif
(www.mn-getonboard.org/map.html)
The commuter rail could change the path of the river, what would that mean for the city's energy?