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May 6, 2008

Project Evaluation: Blog 9

I'm going to be evaluating the Millenium goal number six and this group was from our section on friday section 9 and their topic that they were working on was HIVS/AIDS. They realm of response was to combat HIVS/AIDS in South Africa and the reason they chose this area was because it was one of the highest percentages of infectants. Some of the contributing factors that this group discovered that causes or spreads AIDS is: rape, cultural/ ethnic barriers, political opposition, conspiracy theories, and social stigma. In the culture of South Africa polygamy is being practiced and that's not good because then the disease can spread even more. Also, they have a tradition where if a husband dies the wife is suppose to have sex with the dead husband and this is called sexual cleansing. Also, they have traditional healing and this is where if someone is sick they go to the medicine doctor and all that person does is cuts little cuts in the persons back to release the sickness. This is very bad because if hundreds of people see that doctor every week and that knife isn't cleaned properly then the disease can be spreading very easily. This group says that corporations should respond with investing in the fight against AIDS but most of the time corporations lack information about AIDS so they can't be as helpful as they could be. This groups' response in to implement the ABD education strategy and this is educating the country on the risks of AIDS and how it can spread and how they can stop the spread and one of the main things is to limit the amount of partners. Even with the tough topic of AIDS I believe this group made a great start on the path to at least limiting the number of new people receiving the disease and with this groups' efforts other people could build on top of that and start reducing the number of people WITH AIDS.

Project Evaluation: Blog 8

I'm going to evaluate the Honors group that worked on the Millennium Development goal number 7, environmental sustainability. This groups' realm of response was to take the Riverside Plaza hear in Minneapolis and renovate it so that the people living in the building would still be able to live there and that they would have more pride in the place in which they live. I think that this is a really good way of going about goal number 7 because this project is very close to home and I think the only thing that is standing in the way of this project being done is the people of the city that just don't really care about the buildings and there's always the money factor. So basically what this group wanted to do was take as many aspects of these buildings and make them either more environmentally friendly or make the appearance more appealing which in turn would make the environment around the buildings better and not scaring people away with the way the building looks right now. So this group wanted to take the old washers and dryers and replace them with energy star machinces therefore reducing the amount of water used on washing clothes. Another point that they touched on in respect with water is how they wanted to install some type of water collection system which would allow the buildings to use that collected rain water for flushing toilets instead of the buildings using their supply of drinking water for the flushes, which would save money. They wanted to install high grade three pane glass window to prevent heat loss in the winter and heat coming into the building during summer. On the outside of the building there are a lot of panels that don't match color wise so this group wanted to change those panels with wood panles or at the very least repaint them so that they match. Furthermore, this group wanted to install a new air conditioning system that would be more environmentally friendly and also more cost effective. All in all I believe that this group did a great job presenting their project and the idea of remodeling the Riverside Plaza was a fantastic idea.

April 4, 2008

Cover page ideas

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Picture found at: http://www.ecbaku.com/NewsImages/BP%20logo_823200753158AM.JPG

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Picture found at: http://www.borealbirds.org/images/tarsands3.jpg

March 14, 2008

Term Project Inspirations

My group is currently researching on the topic of Environmental Sustainability and we are focusing our research in the area of the big oil companies and their impact on the environment and I'm just looking for some good blogs or magazines that could give us some inspiration for our presentations or just for other information.

This one is pretty good because it deals with a lot of environmental issues.
http://www.nontoxicvision.com/

This one deals with issues around the world and is a good magazine.
http://www.worldwatch.org/taxonomy/term/41

This one is very suitable for our topic because the oil is the backbone of the car industry so this blog is closely related with our topic.
http://www.greencarcongress.com/

This is probably the best blog because it mainly deals with the oil companies from what I saw and that is exactly what our group is researching and it also has some useful links on the oil industry.
http://blog.bajaenergy.com/

March 7, 2008

The Built Environment

Well I'm not sure if this is what the prompt was asking us to do but I'm just going to go ahead and answer it the way I feel it should be answered. When I think of how the Build Environment affects me in my everyday life I think of that as being how everything around affects me on a day-to-day basis. So my answer to the question is the built environment supports who I am through the plain fact that the build environment is everything around me and I just enjoy being outside. Some of my favorite times of the year are when I'm outside on a fresh spring afternoon or a beautiful autumn day or right after a heavy snow fall and everything is a pure white. The environment is almost a religion for me because when I'm outside on a gorgeous day the is nothing more satisfying than that. It is such a rejuvenating feeling and can make a bad day go from horrible to amazing in a matter of seconds that how much a nice day can change the way that I'm feeling. One of my memories of childhood or earlier in my lifetime was when I would wake up in the morning in the late spring time, I think, I could hear the silence of the early morning accompanied by the song of the birds and the crickets. When I think of this memory I long for that again where I can wake up in the morning to a peaceful world instead of the loud commotion of the cities that I live in now.

But the cities aren't all bad, they can have their beautiful sides too, you just have be around at the right time of the day to notice it. Walking along the streets with cars and bus zooming by is not the place to find it but once you get away from the busiest streets thats where you can find solitude and the beautiful scenery. One place where I found this was on the bike paths down by the Mississippi River but thats where you can get away from it along and enjoy the natural vibe from the river.

So all in all I don't see my built environment as the buildings and the man made structure as my environment, I translate it as the natural environment around where I have to go out and explore to find those places of enjoyment which will make the other things that aren't as beautiful a little easier to take in. I'm the type of person that just needs to go outside on a nice day and just be outside, I could just sit there and soak in the wonder of nature and that would be enough for me because my built environment isn't build it was already here and I just have to find it.

springtime.jpg

Picture found at: http://www.jamestracyarts.com/springtime.jpg

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Picture found at: http://pics4.city-data.com/cpicc/cfiles26599.jpg

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Picture found at: http://www.minnesotastuff.com/wallpaper/Winter_in_Minnesota1.jpg

February 29, 2008

Who needs 'Architecture School'?

To answer that question plainly, pretty much any one that wants to become an architect needs to go to architecture school. But what if I were released from the constraints of the 'architecture school' program?

I would establish my own workshop and design and build wood projects not even for a living but just because I would enjoy doing it. I started woodworking as a sophomore in high school and I have loved it ever since, so that's what I would do if I were released from the constraints of the architecture school program and I would work in an area such a this or something similar to it.

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Picture found at: http://www.davidburrows.com/heil2.jpg

My workshop would have everything a craftsman would ever need. There would be power saws of every kind, drills of different sorts, there would be sanders, lathes, clamps, screws, nuts and bolts, stick, glue, string, tape, markers, and last but obviously not least an unlimited supply of wood to make any type of project. This workshops would be state of the art and I would be able to perform any task with the tools of my choosing.

I would initially make small projects and just practice the trade of woodworking, after awhile though I would move onto bigger and more detailed pieces that would involve more thought and design process. The ultimate stage would be for me to design and build my own buildings completely out of wood. An example of something that I would build is this....

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Picture found at: http://photos.igougo.com/images/p262694-Solid_Wood_Construction.jpg

The reason in which my wood crafting would have an impact on the environment would be harmful in some ways but also helper in others. It would be harmful to the environment because I'm using wood to create my project which forces trees to be cut down which isn't good for the environment. Another reason why it's probably not good for the environment would be that I'm using electricity to power my tools and that in turn would create some amount of air pollution. But on the other side of things is how my work would be improving the environment. I would counter the cutting down of trees by planting ten new trees for every tree I use on my projects. As for the enegry use, well I would go all rustic and use hand powered tools but that's just no fun so... I'm not going to do anything about that beside trying to find quality tools that are more enegry efficient than their competitors. Now for my main reason why woodworking would be beneficial to the environment is that it would add beauty and peacefulness to the area around the finished project instead of some ugly metal building.

Just for fun here are some of my wood projects that I have made... in real life.
This first one is a wine rack that I made for my brother.

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This second one here is a coffee table that I made for my parents and goes very well with their newly updated family room.

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February 22, 2008

Environmental Sustainability

The planet in which we all live on is in danger and we are the reason for our planet's current condition. Earth is in a state of Global Warming right now and humans are the main reason for this. I believe that our environment is most important thing in the world, more important than, the economy, professional sports, national defense, immigration, and even my own life. Why do I feel so strongly about this issue, well if our environment becomes an unsuitable place for us to live in, then... well there won't be any of those previous things that I mentioned and anything else you can think of. That is why I believe the number one thing on people's mind is to put forth some kind of effort to help repair our environment.

As long as people buy into the fact that our environment is in trouble, I believe that we can make a campaign towards Environmental Sustainability. The way in which I think we need to become completely dependent not on fossil fuels but on renewable energy sources and eventually get to the point where we are using non-carbon emission producing everything. Some of my ideas that I think would allow the human race to accomplish this mission would be to it illegal to own a carbon emission producing vehicle and for all vehicles to be electric or at the very least high- quality hybrid CARS, and no more giant SUVs. On the lines of energy producing facilities, I would strongly suggest utilizing solar energy on every house roof top and large solar energy plants for extra energy. Also, in windy areas wind mills can be very productive and produce no pollution.

The reason for me picking these following quotes is because they appealed to me and I thought that they related to the topic of the environment very well.

It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. ~Ansel Adams

The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river. ~Ross Perot

Because we don't think about future generations, they will never forget us. ~Henrik Tikkanen

The use of solar energy has not been opened up because the oil industry does not own the sun. ~Ralph Nader, quoted in Linda Botts, ed., Loose Talk, 1980

Here is an example of some solar energy panels which gather the sunlight and transform that sunlight into energy for other things.

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Picture found at: http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/200704/r139061_476078.jpg

I really like this picture because it's just an example of just how beautiful nature can be and I really want to preserve this because it would be a horrible thing for a site like this to be destoryed.

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Picture found at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/devon/content/images/2007/05/08/brixham_greenery_banks_465x349.jpg

These next two photos I thought were good for this post because these are two examples of things that are happening in our world right now that need to be changed. First there are the factories of some kind that are producing a lot of pollution that can lead to global warming. Then there is the polar ice that is melting due to global warming and is causing sea levels to rise which endangers millions of people.

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Picture found at: http://graphico.free.fr/hfr/pollution.jpg


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Picture found at: http://www.earthbeatradio.org/images/calving.jpg

My parents introduced me to this film and I was shocked after I watched this. It is a movie about the electric car and how it was killed. It just doesn't make sense to me how the government and all of the other players didn't want to have the electric car on the market. The car didn't produce any carbon emission and it functioned like a normal car and all of the people that drove it loved it.
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Website found at: http://www.sonyclassics.com/whokilledtheelectriccar/electric.html


Im sorry if this link doesn't work but it was just a trailer for the movie "An Inconvenient Truth", I believe that this is a must see movie because it deals with multiple topics concerning or environmental troubles.
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Video found at: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2078944470709189270

This link will provide you with ten easy things that you can do to reduce your own carbon emissions and I believe that these will truly help and are really not that hard to follow or at the very least try to follow.
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Website found at: http://www.sonyclassics.com/whokilledtheelectriccar/

The songs that I choose might not be directly related to the environment and it's issues but these songs are some of my more favored songs. They are very motivational songs for me and I believe that is good for this topic because the human race needs to be motivated to accomplish environmental sustainability.
Lenny Kravitz.......... Fly Away
Tom Petty................ Learning to Fly
We The Living.......... St. Paul
U2.......................... Beautiful Day
Jack Johnson........... Times Like These
Kanye West............. Stronger


All quotes found at: http://www.quotegarden.com/environment.html

One last thing, how could you not want to treat and love this?
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February 15, 2008

Mass Transportation, in need of Transformation to Light Rail?

Have you ever thought to yourself that the traffic in the cities is becoming worse and worse every year? Well that is probably true since the population around the Twin Cities is growing and more and more people are driving to work. There are solutions to this problem and those solutions come in the form of mass transportation. There is the taxi system but that can become expensive depending on how far you need to go or there is the bus system. The bus system is actually the second largest bus system in the United States and can be very useful if you don't have a vehicle and also have a bus pass. The third option is in my opinion the best option and this option is the Light Rail System and let me tell you why.

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One of the main reasons that the Light Rail is the best option for people is because it powered by 100% electricity so it does not pollute our fair city. Also, the Light Rail takes people away from driving on the streets and clogging up the roads and puts them into a safe and reliable transportation vehicle. So far the Light Rail travels to and from the Mall of America to the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. There are plans for more Light Rail lines, one for instance is the Metropolitan Council's 2030 Plan which will provide the citizens with a network of rail and bus transitways around the Metropolitan area. This is an exciting plan because in the future with a growing population this will not only reduce traffic but it will also cut down emissions and provide a healthier environment for everybody. I can just see it now, someone wanting to travel across the city and they don't have a car, what do they do? They could just hop on the Light Rail and then transfer if needed onto a different rail and so on until they arrive at their destination. And along the way they didn't waste gasoline, they didn't run the risk of getting a ticket for whatever and they didn't have to do anything besides walk to the rail station and go into the rail car. I really hope in the near future that the Twin Cities will provide their citizens with multiple Light Rail Lines so they can easily travel around the cities without need of cars and roadways.

February 8, 2008

River Reverberates Through the City

Do I believe that this city of ours Minneapolis, has it's own natural flow of energy and transformation? Yes, all someone has to do is look around and they can see people flooding the sidewalks going from place to place. There are the vehicles on the roads navigating the intricate system. The power system also combine with the flow of the city and literally provide the rest of the city with the necessary power to survive. All of the dangerous intersections can also become a majestic dance of cars coming from one way and from another way and amazingly never crashing... for the most part.

Do I think that the city is influenced and created around the Mississippi River? It is obviously apparent that this is the case. In my opinion the reason for the location of Minneapolis is due to the river. The river was the main source of transportation when the first settlers came to Minnesota and most of the trading in the area came through Minneapolis and that is why I think the city has grown to be what it is today. And that is a city of great economic power and a society that is unlike any other city in the country. But the river hasn't always been a positive feature of the city, when the city needed to expand the people had to create a way of crossing the water. These new ideas led to even better and safer options and eventually came to the modern bridge. But nature can be a brutal force which is evident in the recent tragedy involving the 35W bridge collapse. We can invent new ways of allowing the flow of people to different areas but nature will always be there as an unperdictable force.

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Is the city just an ugly congested mess or is the city a beautiful work of art in which people and nature blend together and form a complex system that never sleeps? At times yes a city like Minneapolis can be ugly one example would be the 35W bridge but then there are times of great beauty which cannot be describe, all one can do is just soak it in and enjoy. The time and planning that went into organizing this city, in itself is a great accomplishment and then to have the city turn out the way it is is just like putting a cherry on top of everything else.


Picture found at this website: http://cache.eb.com/eb/image?id=94235&rendTypeId=4