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October 22, 2006

Oppositions at the U of M

Common oppositions between the life of an average college student at the University of Minnesota and his or her surrounding environment:

Opposition 1: The walker vs. the bikers.
Basically, the problem is that the walkers are often at the mercy of the bikers when crossing the paths to get to class; if the bikers don’t stop or swerve, it would be likely that an innocent walker would be severely injured or even killed.
There are several options for resolving the opposition at hand, the first being elimination. It would be possible, although tedious, to annihilate the bikes, either by some sort of explosive device, or during a large burning ceremony. Without the opposing force, there is no opposition.
Another slightly impossible solution would be to cross the opposition by bike path. This highly dangerous feat would indeed solve the problem of getting to class without being hit by a bike, but on the other hand, crossing a bike path has a huge potential risk: the walkers’ lives.
The walkers could let the opposition sculpt their path, as the walkers would have to walk along side and around every bike path in order to avoid the busy traffic and potential danger, however they would still be able to get to class.
The way most walkers decide to solve this ongoing opposition is to merely think about the probability of them actually getting hit and how many students actually get hit by a bike each day. If they decided to be totally safe, they wouldn’t walk on any road, sidewalk, or bridge after all.
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Opposition 2: the student vs. math class.
Math class is a quite annoying problem in the university world. Most students despise math class. The ones that enjoy math are still irritated by its busy daily work, and the task of attending class every day is bothersome.
Some wise students completed certain redundancies as responses to cope with math in the university setting before they entered college by taking AP classes, AP tests, CIS, and other such programs. The strategy here is that if the AP classes didn’t give them enough credit to be exempt from college math requirements, the AP tests would, and if those failed they would enroll in the college in the schools math program, and as a last resort, the opposition would take into effect.
Crossing the opposition would also work here, as many students choose to simply take the math courses in college with potential to fail. Things such as tutors can help them accomplish this task and they would be more able to overcome the opposition (pass math and never have to take it again!)
Elimination of the opposition would consist of doing whatever it takes (persuasion, ransom, bribes, terrorism etc) to talk the university in removing math classes from its requirements to graduate. This, as one could imagine, would be the most difficult of resolutions one could partake in.
Finally, the opposition could (as it sometimes does) sculpt the student into actually enjoying math lectures and/or homework and wanting to pursue a career in mathematics.
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Indeed it is a university of oppositions within a world of infinite oppositions, but there are always ways to resolve them. Some indeed are more obvious than others and even smarter or easier than others. Oppositions literally can be anything, and therefore there are oppositions at the university that range from obnoxious dining hall hours, to the climate changes, to the roommates, to the freshman fifteen. I find however, that our world is made up of purely oppositions and that solving others merely brings up new and interesting oppositions that the world can further live with. Oppositions in my opinion make the world an interesting, edgy, and spontaneous place to live, and i couldn't imagine anything different. It would be a reward to complete an opposition and therefore open up another whole world of possibilities through the new opposition that has occurred. For example, upon solving the problem of transportation with automobiles, there had to then be safety features. After that there must have been style/aesthetic issues, and in our current world today the focus is on fuel-efficient features. Upon solving this problem there will open up a new and challenging opposition ready to be adventured and finally resolved. It's like a comic book, a soap opera, or a movie with several sequels.

I think this is the Land Before Time 11... talk about sequels...


October 11, 2006

Iron vs. Steel

Iron is in steel, but steel is not in iron... Iron is an element and when a certain amount of carbon is added to iron, it is called steel. Steel isn't pure iron, then, and therefore cannot be interchanged with the word Iron. Since carbon is present in steel but is not a metal, steel is not pure metal. Iron is a pure metal element. That's it. They're not the same.


October 8, 2006

i heart you

Sometimes the most beautiful, extraordinary, and phenomenal things found in nature are closer than we think. We are a phenomenon because of an intricate arrangement of systems throughout our body, and arguably the most impressive of all is the circulatory system.

The circulatory system is made up of the heart and its blood vessels, it carries red blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, and plasma, and it is aided by the lungs. These things work together to make this complex system of rushing fluids that keep our bodies alive and make our world a better place anyway. Imagine what E.R., Grey’s Anatomy, or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre would be like if we didn’t have circulatory systems!

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These things are also involved in a series of frameworks. They are specifically positioned to do the right thing at the right time. They are each specialists in their own fields to create the whole operating system. This system is laid out in a very specific way-- especially the heart.

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The four chambers in the heart are positioned according to where the two different circulations enter and exit and where the blood from the veins is mixed with oxygen to restore and reuse it in the arteries. The valves help the pumping effect as it kicks out blood. It is also centrally located in between the lungs which supplies readily available oxygen to rejuvenate our old blood.

These frameworks found in the circulatory system are essential to the clockworks in it. The actual flow of blood through the coronary circulation, the pulmonary circulation, and the systemic circulation has a clockwork effect in order to keep us alive. It always runs in the exact same way with no room for error, or we would have serious problems functioning. The blood goes through changes as it gains and loses oxygen but always begins and ends in the heart. The veins always flow blood back to the heart and the arteries always disperse refreshed blood through all the parts of the body.

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The circulatory system then is a phenomenon because it is perceived by our senses. It is a stable yet complex system that involves things, frameworks, and clockworks. It definitely has a purpose (remember Grey's Anatomy). A heart is born when we are; it and its system grows as we do, and they die when we do. It therefore has a definite beginning and end, and therefore is one of the most spectacular phenomena of our existence.

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Check out Body Worlds if you haven't had a chance to yet!

October 2, 2006

The Genius Loci of the Vermillion Falls

It would be hard to believe that several tons of rapid water rushing over the side of a cliff, a multitude of caves, and a large dense forest make me feel safe, but I am going to tell you now that these boundaries do make up the one place outdoors that I feel the safest, though others would beg to differ with my opinion.
The falls are wicked to outsiders but violently protective of people brave enough to attempt to become familiar with it like me. The best part about having this scenic yet fierce location as my guardian is that I can share a special kind of privacy with Mother Nature that I could not experience otherwise. People who are not familiar with the place do not want to take the risk of climbing down the cliff and through the rocks, so I am therefore able to escape life for a time. The falls know me as I know it, too. They know that I like to be sheltered in the rock formations and that my favorite natural sound is that of a raging waterfall. They know my favorite smell is wildflowers, and so they grow them for me each spring.
The falls never lie to me; they always give the light that Mother Nature decides to provide the earth that day. If the sun is setting, a pink-orange glow illuminates the town, and the “canyon? between the mill and the cliff and the waterfall magnifies the light as it reflects off the water and the rocks until it finally reaches where I sit on a nearby rock, and fills the “canyon? with light. In the winter, the river may freeze, but the raging current underneath is loyal and true to itself as it always wins against the frost.
The Vermillion Falls have been around before Hastings ever came to be a town, and when it finally did, the town was built around two things: Mississippi River, and the Vermillion Falls. The current residents of Hastings identify the falls as being a historical landmark for this reason, and there is now a scenic park on top of the cliff with benches and flowers by the tall forest. This park is a space for people to enjoy the overlook of the river, and is mostly for the unadventurous. Sitting up there is like… looking at a freshly baked apple pie in a glass case. There is no way to enjoy it by looking at it! In order to form a bond with the river, I feel it is necessary to let it envelope you, protect you, on its shore at the bottom of the cliff.
The Genius Loci of the Vermillion Falls are obviously protectors. They know when to be fierce and also when to show deep love. They are physically powerful, but they mentally and emotionally give the feeling of protection and love to all those willing to give it a chance to do so. They connect people of the past, with the people of today, and therefore give us security, familiarity, and self-discovery. Knowing their curves, edges, and surroundings help us all find our curves, edges, and surroundings, which makes life a little more stable and certain in the often chaotic world.
So I tell you now, I can and do feel safe in a place that most would find frightening and dangerous. The Vermillion Falls’ spirit is almost human-like I suppose, which is why I never feel the need to find someone to take down there with me. I feel accompanied while I sit by the waterfall, and it reassures me I am safe with it.

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