May 4, 2008

Analyzed Presentations

One group in class discussed Goal 6 of the millennium Development Goals. The goal was to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria & other diseases. They chose to discuss HIV and AIDS in South Africa. First off they described what HIV/AIDS was. Say your body and health is a house. Around your house you have T cells protecting it. They ward off bad diseases and illnesses that can do harm to your health. When the HIV virus enters your body, T cells do not recognize them as bad, therefore the body does not kill them. The HIV virus then continues to kill T cells so eventually the body cannot ward off any bad illnesses. When your body gets below a certain amount of T cells, you can then considered to have AIDS. The group then read two stories about people who were affected by the HIV/AIDS virus. One man had had to take some hundred pills a day to keep his T cells surviving. He became really weak and he eventually died of phenomena and other illnesses that his body could not fight off. The group also talked of a lady in South Africa who created an organization to help prevent and take care of HIV/AIDS victims. Some people in South Africa with HIV/AIDS are locked in their homes by family members left to die. It is with these horrible conditions that HIV/AIDS needs to be eradicated. With prevention and correct knowledge of the disease that the world can start to combat this deadly disease. I think the group did well. The stories made the presentation interesting. I would have liked a little more information about how others countries combat the disease and what kind of medicine people actually take. Are organizations in South Africa really going to make a difference? What about the governments? What have they done to help?


On Thursday, an honors group gave a presentation on Goal 8 of the Millennium development Goals. Goal 8 was developing a global partnership for development. They focused on Communication and Technology in Somalia. With today’s violence and fighting in Somalia they believed that if technology and communication improved, the country would develop in positive ways. They focused on three things: mobile phones, wireless Internet, and fueling communications. In Kenya, cell phone users increased lately from 15,000 to 6 million people. They have grown economically and socially as a country. With cell phones, voting increased because of increased communication with test messages. Farmers were also to compare markets around the world. Technology dramatically changed in Kenya. Wireless Internet would help in the schools with learning. An organization called One Laptop Per Child is working to bring technology to schools in developing countries. They will only work with countries that have stable governments though. Somalia is not considered to have a stable government yet. In the past few years cell phone users in Somalia have increased form 1.1 to 1.6%. It is not a lot but a start. I believe that technology would help develop Somalia, but I also believe that technology is a benefit of having a developed country. There has to be a government, schools and the knowledge of markets. Technology will not cure Somalia. Somalia has to build a government, and then build schools and then technology will come. With out the wisdom and strong foundation as a country, I do not believe they will last. How will a cell phone help a country, if the user has no idea how to use it?

April 29, 2008

Volunteering Summaries

Volunteering at Skyline Towers though Commonbond Communities

Feb 4th 2:00-3:00
This was my first time volunteering after the fall semester. I decided to help with the pre-K kids. I thought I was going to be there for two hours, but they only needed my help for one. I arrived late because I did not catch an early enough bus and I was embarrassed. I blew some bubbles for the cute kids and watched them draw. I wasn’t much help, so I talked to Yvonne and changed my hours.

Feb 11 3:30-5:30
So this was my first time working in the computer lab. Mindy, the computer lab organizer was very inviting. I read through some rules that the kids had to follow and Mindy explained some of the basic guidelines. I was still an hour early because the lab did not open until 4:30. I wish they had told me. I assumed they were just glad I could help out and didn’t really care what time I came. Some of the kids recognized me from the fall, I was really encouraged. I had a friend pick me up from Skyline Towers because I did not feel safe taking the bus back to campus when it was dark out.

Feb 25 4:30- 5:30
I finally came at an appropriate time and was needed. The kids, ages 7-12, really enjoy the computer time. They always have to get a pass before they come in, proving that they at least thought about doing homework in the homework center. Many kids just need help getting on youtube or video game sites. The hot site of the day was youtube and watching High School Musical.

March 10th 4:00-6:00
Today, Mindy introduced a project for me to help with. She found a program that introduces kids to computer skills through a cool secret agent set up called Skill Tech. I found it actually very challenging. Even though I can type, find websites, and open up word, I do not know much computer lingo. Well, she wanted me to help design a poster that looked cool and inviting so the kids would actually think the game was fun. When the kids completed a section in the program they could then put a star by their name on the poster and see their progress.

March 24th 4:00-5:45
Today, I finished the poster. I brought in some cool clip art I found on google and it actually turned out pretty good. I was proud. While supervising the kids, the popular site became wrestling. It all started with the oldest kid and then the younger kids followed. It’s amazing how the social order works. Wrestling was not totally appropriate for the younger kids so we had to tell them they had to find something more appropriate to watch.

April 7th 4:00-6:00
Today was a slow day, but I had some really interesting talks with Mindy and another employee Mohammad. Many sites that the kids visit are not appropriate for their age. Mindy said that many of the kids watch Family Guy because the parents just think it’s a cartoon, not realizing that its inappropriate in English. It is very hard to kick the kids off the sites because its better that they are inside rather then getting in trouble with gangs or something else. We also do not know what is going on at home with the kids so it is important in being sensitive and caring to the kids.

April 14th 4:00-6:00
Today was the day we had to kick the kids off the wrestling websites and the inappropriate music videos. It surprises me how addicted the kids are to the rap videos. Much of the words and inappropriate lingo is over the kid’s heads but they should still not be listening to today’s inappropriate media. They are so young.

April 21st 4:00-6:00
Today was long. There were not many kids in the computer lab because it was a really nice day outside. So we were actually really proud that the kids chose outside rather then inside with the computer. On Mondays, the day I volunteer, a man comes and takes some of the kids to Boy Scouts. Not all of them are happy to go, but some are. I am glad that the kids have the same opportunities that most kids in the US have.

April 28th 4:00-5:30
After disinfecting the computers, I went on the Crayola website and started coloring a picture. It was really relaxing. The top websites of the day were and The games are actually really cool. I started getting frustrated that the kids couldn’t type in their own website addresses, so I spelled them out and made them find the letters on the keyboard. I hope next time they will remember how to do it.

May 5th 4:00-5:30
Cinco de Mayo
Today most of the kids had no homework and decided to go outside. I heard their was a new garden so they took a trip outside to see it. Inside, I played a game of chess with a boy and girl who were way better at the game then me. I was proud that they knew how to play. I am pretty sure I won with their help. I for sure would have lost if they didn't tell me what the bishop could do. I then went to the computer lab and supervised. There was a girl younger then seven who I let on the computer but was not supposed to be on one. She was doing fine just coloring on a crayola website but then she kept wanting to click on important display files. I learned that kids younger then seven can not handle a computer.

April 2, 2008

Service Journal

I just wanted to say a few words about my volunteering at Skyline Towers. Skyline Towers is an apartment complex that offers an after school program for kids. Last semester I was part of the reading corps and helped kids read after school. This semester I am helping out with the computer lab. The kids are ages 7 to 14. I was really surprised my first week returning when the kids remembered my name. I had no idea that I had that much impact. The kids are so sweet. All they want is a friend and I am glad that I can be there. In the computer lab I help watch the kids as they surf the internet. Many of them have no computer at home and many just have no idea how to use it. It is especially difficult if they don't know english and the key board to them looks like a bunch of chinese symbols to me. Many kids just want to watch inappropriate music videos or tv shows and it is up to the advisors to direct them in the right direction. In my third and forth time volunteering I helped Mindy ( computer lab organizer) create a poster for a new computer program that will help the kids learn about the computer and all the jargon that a computer entails. I hope it works out and the kids enjoy it. They have not started it yet.

March 31, 2008

Example Title Pages

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arch 1.jpg

March 12, 2008

portfolio design


After looking at many sites pictures of portfolios, I think the best designs are the ones with awesome pictures as backgrounds or the really plain ones with a simple picture/design and a simple title.

Here are some websites that caught my attention and can catch yours too if you look at them.
This one is actually fun and amusing. I liked the idea of small pictures representing each project.
This one is creepy but it did make me laugh.
This site loves white space but really spiced it up. I liked it.
This one also loves white space but the pictures really show up well and are beautiful.
This is my favorite, it is kind of confusing but the color background is really cool.

March 4, 2008


“Obviously what constitutes an ideal balance between human world and nature is not the same for everyone everywhere. It is not just a scientific definition but a humanistic imperative. It arises from a personal view of what each of us believes the world to be; of what is nature, the individual, and society; and of what the past and the future are? (Crowe).

I have always been surrounded by a built environment. I did not grow up in the Sahara desert or a Brazilian rainforest, but a suburb in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The frameworks were the streets. Every street was paved, all houses were quite big and all parks had a playground. I was very fortunate child to live in a clockwork society where education had been handed to me and I hadn’t had to worry about the next meal. (Photo by Aaron Landry on

Yet even though my life seemed sweet, I still had hardships and oppositions and I lived in a society where people struggled everyday to survive not only physically but mentally, socially, and spiritually as well. The built environment around me was not just a reflection of society and nature but a reflection of the people: A reflection of humanity. It is the phenomenon of feelings and ideas. The built environment is personal. Buildings allow me to see different points of view. They can represent conformity or originality. They can provide a sense of comfort or a sense of being lost. They can represent historical battles or past principles. Buildings can provide hope and awe or make me question. All in all, the built environment allows me to see the humanity in which I live next to and truly supports who I am.

“We have characteristically found our place in the world not through a thorough knowledge of the whole but rather through an intimate knowledge of places within it that are important to our lives?(Crowe).

100_0553_2.JPG This is the hallway that I walk down everyday. It may resemble the hallway from The Shining and cause fear in the eyes of many, but to me it represents humanity and conformity.

“It is more than just a shelter. Here the domicile is seen as the fundamental paradigm for an ordered existence?(Crowe).

“It must not be forgotten, however, that the discourse must be received as well as given, and that whether it is received or not depends upon the value system of the recipient. This means that insanity is defined differently from one culture to another because of these differences in value systems and that the schizophrenic of one culture may be the shaman or the prophet of another? (Boulding).

( (Buildings and Architecture) Posted by madscientist 21 on (
This is a montage of buildings that represents humanity and ideas.

References from Readings

Boulding, Kenneth E. The Image; Knowledge in Life and Society, The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1956

Crowe, Norman. Nature and the Idea of a Man-Made World. The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1995

February 26, 2008

Oh Heaven Oh

Well, if I were released from the constraints of the architecture school program, I have a feeling that my laziness would overcome me. Physically I would still be alive but mentally, my brain might start shrinking as I watch television and movies all day long. There may be an occasion get up to go to the bathroom and leave my impact on the environment in the septic tank, but other than that the pounds might start multiplying on my hips.

But lets say, my laziness is over is overtaken by my strong will to do something more, I might just be a wonderful gift for the world. This would only occur in a magical heaven though, where there is no money and personal heartache does not exist. I could ride around on snowmobiles all day long and teleport to Africa or China with a snap of the fingers.

(This is me snowmobiling everyday)

With my strong will, I would travel around to different cites and different countries, educating people about the environment and about computers and the beauty of life. I would teach people how to express themselves and how to express their beliefs. There would be equality between genders and equality between different social standards. Families would be together or they would be apart if that was best. There would also be some sweet buildings next to some sweet natural phenomenons. An example would be a tree house underneath a waterfall. Life would just be fun and people would be happily swinging on ropes as they jump into crystal clear non-contaminated pure water. Everybody would also recycle (this includes every country).

William Shelf.jpg
(Photo by William Shelf at
(This is what the beauty of recycling would look like on every street in the ideal world).

Ah, if only I had no constraints in Architecture School.

Oh Happiness

These pictures are just so cute and cool at the same time. (This is not a blog entry, even though it may look like it)

Julian Beever 01Thiago Yokota.jpg
"Julian Beever 01" Submitted by Thiago Yokota at

zingara from
Submitted by zingara at http;//

Submitted by Saryta-Rebeky at http;//

February 19, 2008

My Influences

People are bombarded by society every second with new ideas, new products, what we should wear, what we should believe and so on.
Here are a few pictures, quotes and songs that I have been bombarded by. They have influenced me and outline my values on environmental sustainability.


This is a girl being sprayed with DDT. Which today is known to have caused serious and drastic side effects like cancer. "Silent Spring" by Rachael Carson is a great book that outlines the dangerous effects of pesticides in todays world. DDT may have killed off malaria and helped crops but it killed so many. This shows that people can make stupid mistakes. We are not perfect. Even though we have many laws and regulations today, we can make mistakes that have huge consequences on the world.

Metro Transit plans to come out with 172 hybrid electric busses by 2012. The world is trying to have cleaner CO2 emissions and I am proud that the twin cities is active in helping out.
**On a side note I took one of these busses home, and it was super uncomfortable and cold feeling. Why does something good for the environment have to be so uncomfortable? The cost is a big part of it, but I am sure they could have been designed better.*

Renewable Resources are a big part of environmental sustainability. From wind power to geothermal and solar energy. They are important for our future. My favorite renewable resource is the wind turbine. I love seeing them in fields knowing that all thats powering them is wind. The may be harmful to birds but not to the air.


"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Martin Luther King Jr.

When we lose hope, I believe the days just become harder and harder to endure. We can work to make the world better.

"God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools." John Muir

This quote goes along with the use of DDT. People can be stupid and do harmful things without realizing the consequences in the future.

"You can never do kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late" Ralph Waldo Emerson

"People that seem so glorious are all show; underneath they are like everyone else" Ralph Waldo Emerson.


The Times They Are a Changin' Bob Dylan
These Streets Paolo Nutini
Timor Shakira
The Four Season Vivaldi (performed by Capella Istroplitana)
"Summer, Spring, Winter, Autumn"

Now I don't claim to be a hippy wrapping myself around trees. I haven't seen An Inconvenient Truth and my family has a thing against the Sierra Club (long story) but I still care for the environment. We have made stupid mistakes that have had huge consequences. And I believe that if we but aside our selfish ambitions and pride we can have hope for our future.

February 13, 2008

Advocating for the Average

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Education and Striving for excellence.
It’s a good thing as Martha Stewart would say, but I would say I’ve found a social design issue. It may be that I went to a really competitive high school that didn’t have any valedictorians because there was too many kids with 4.2’s and I may be taking advantage of the great education that has really been given to me, but to tell you the truth, I am just sick and tired of all the overachieving. The competition around is making me stressed and I am pretty sure less people would drop out of college if it weren’t so intense all the time. I have friends trying to graduate in three years; one of them can graduate in two years with all the 90+AP credits he came in with. Even Facebook is a competition with the number of friends people have or the number of pictures people are in. It seems to me that no matter how hard I try there is always someone better, someone with better ideas. You can’t just be good anymore. You have to overachieve.

And I ask, does it do anything in the end? Does this overachieving prove anything? And what are they trying to prove? Do honors classes really prepare you better? Are honors kids actually smarter? Or are they just worshiped by teachers?

In the articles we read, Fisher talks about degree inflation. Only until recently have I heard this idea, maybe it’s because I am new to college, but graduating with a four-year degree may just not be enough anymore. We now have to go for six. If it weren't for all the overachieving kids I believe this would not be a problem.

There is also the issue of economic inequality. With school being so expensive these days only the wealthy can afford the higher education needed. The average person is bound to end up with thousands in debt.

So, I am advocating for the average. We may be mediocre going at the normal pace, but I tell ya, we have personality. We will live longer because we don’t say up till 3 every day doing homework. Just like Vince Vahn in Dodge ball on the Average Joe team. We will win in spirit and maybe come out equal in the end. Just wait.

February 5, 2008

Our Thoughts

The idea of energy, flow and transformation through the city.


The idea of energy comes in many forms. It may be the water as it drips out of a faucet, it may be a bolt of lighting as it appears for a second through the window and then disappears from sight, or it could be a car that is going 15 miles an hour in a 35 mile an hour zone. Energy may be visible to one human and totally oblivious to another. It can be hard to find (Being exhausted from going to bed way to late) and sometimes what we just want to hide (the evidence that we eat and discard).

The energy that interests me most though is what’s in our head. It is the voice that we listen to 24/7 or don’t listen to. It is the thoughts that we can’t get rid of and want to. It is the motivation and drive that pushes us to act. It is what creates our ideas. Sometimes it can be that joy when we win a competition or get an A on an incredibly hard test and other times is can be our jealousy and disappointment when the girl next to you is supposed to be in 8th grade and understands the calculus better than you. This energy cannot always be understood. It can be confusing. It can be stressed. It can be wasted.

If we put all our energy into one thing, like studying really hard, finding the perfect friend or earning a million dollars, will our energy ever burn out? Or will it just keep going? And if it just keeps going, where is it going? I must say that the city is deep. We only see through our eyes and mind miniscule things in one day compared to the rest of our lives. We may forget that what happens today is only a speck in the realm of time. The energy we use today is only a dot in a line of infinity.

(Line of Infinity)