Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Unexpected Kindness

Yesterday was really interesting. It completely too me off guard. It started with a frantic day of me wanting to kill my professor because he's a pompous fool!! Okay enough of that. I arrived at school around 11:45 and planned on studying nonstop until 6 when i would take my final. I thought i could sell back my books and had them stuffed in my hands as well as my Vitamin Water. I was walking about 2 yeards behind two Girls in Church dresses. My phone rang so i frantically crossed my left hand over to my pocket and picked up the phone; I officially had no hands whatsoever. My left arm was crossed over my huge Bio book with the phone to my ear, and my right hand was supporting the book as well and holding the Vitamin Water. My phone rang right before the door. The girls went through the door, and it closed with me not being about to do anything. Since it was a double door, they looked back to see me struggling to open the door. We made eye contact, for some reason they chuckled and still didn't help me even though i was barely grasping the door handle and was walking in a crouched fashion to try and attempt and squeeze my body through. Rude- those girls are rude! One would think these respectable LDS women would know how to lend a hand! I am so mad. Further, I ran into a woman I use to hometeach that teaches at BYU. We made eye contact. She looked away and started to walk towards the other side of the aisle. I stared her down, gave a big smile, and said "hey how's it going." Rude.

On the flip side, I saw a very preppy rich girl. She had her Coach purse, her giant Gucci sunglasses and perfectly glossed lips. She was obviously in a hurry. In her path, there was a newspaper on the ground. She didn't even hesitate but instead picked up the paper. She didn't just throw it away but searched for a recylcing bin. Awesome! Then I took a pieces of scratch paper into my final. The check-in guy was clearly frantically working. As i checked in, he kindly said "oh i'm sorry you can only use one piece." I put the rest in my backpack and went back. He said "sorry for the inconvenience, but you can turn in one paper to get another scratch paper if you would like." he was super kind although he was super stressed. What did i learn... don't judge a person by the exterior. People who should have been nice were complete jerks, and people do unexpected kindness. It is kind of Daoist Idea. Just keep in mind your actions are noticed, so let them be seen for good.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hippie, the Guru of Our Times

Energy Crisis!! What kind of crisis? Energy Crisis! I’m pretty sure we can all admit that gas is expensive. I drive a very economic Honda Civic EX with a 4 cylinder engine and usually get around 32-38 mpg. Pretty good right? Still, I am feeling the energy crunch. Last week, I paid 40 dollars for a tank of gas minus the 5 cents/gal I saved at Harmons :D (oh wait that’s only 50 cents…). So what’s the solution you ask. Who knows you ask? Well, the hippies do. I will tell you why we are in an energy crisis based on hippie principles. So pull up your hemp chair, stop bathing, get your homemade granola, and start singing Kum Bai Ya.

The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. In other words, energy can only be transferred. We can only get energy from other things. The most stark example of this is gasoline, which seems to affect us the most. The hydrocarbons make up oil and are highly reduced macromolecules that produce a good amount of kcal/mol. They were made from a long process of taking organic material probably from the Cretaceous Period (I believe- don’t quote me on that). These were organisms like animals and plants, which is believed to be the major component of oil. They all die… blah blah blah… bam! Oil in 2008. It is a transfer of solar energy to living organic compounds into hydrocarbons into gas into energy, which makes the world go round. Further, I’m pretty sure we can all agree that everything ties to gas from food to transportation gas affects it all.

Question… What would have happened if the plants had all died back in the day? We would not be here or have the “advances” we have today. No plants→ no animals, no gas no cars, no trucks no foreign imports of mangos! And quite frankly, I love my mangos.

Plants are pretty important. A few years ago scientists proposed ethanol as a fuel source. Like gasoline, it is also a reduced hydrocarbon. All fruit bearing plants produce ethanol; it is the substance that ripens fruits (this is why you should put unripe fruit inside a paper bag to up the concentration of ethanol). Seemed like a good idea? Just remember how I was against it in the first place!!! I said how farms would start growing ridiculous amount of corn (or sugar cane in Brazil) which would drive the prices of every other grain up. Also everyone jumped onto the idea during its prototype stage even though it was not cost efficient yet- but everyone was hyped up on ethanol (ha ha it’s also a form of alcohol) and everyone jumped on the bandwagon made of corn. So instead of savings from gas, there was a transfer of cost to other things, which came around to bite us in the butt once again.

Additionally, growing one type of plant will exhaust the nutrients of the fields. Since plants are completely autonomous, they have to produce everything by themselves. Amino Acids, components of proteins; Nucleotides, monomers of RNA and DNA; Lipids, very crucial in all cells; and Carbohydrates, sugar etc, all have to be produced by one organism. Amino Acids require nitrogen and despite its atmospheric abundance, nitrogen needs to be fixed in the soil. Nucleotides require phosphorous. Lipids and Carbs require water and CO2 for the most part. As such, fertilizer is used to subsidize the soil. If you have ever looked at the components of fertilizer, there are usually numbers for the amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous. Remember this as I move onto another point.

Let’s look at the “savage” landscape which functions completely without human assistance (ha ha it’s like an oxymoron). Rainforests are abundant with life; in fact, it is said that there are virtually thousands of organisms are still unknown to man. It is a self-sustaining ecosystem that does not need man to fertilize the land or on the verge of an energy crisis! The rainforests today parallel the ancient forests that became oil. So how are they self-sustaining? Bacteria fix aerosol nitrogen into the soil (legumes do the same but use symbiotic bacteria in nodules to accomplish the same goal). They also tear apart dead organisms and recycle the nitrogen. Similarly phosphorous is recycled from DNA of dead organisms. Why can’t modern society do the same… It is because we are doing the opposite.

We could do the same but don’t. Nutrient rich matter is thrown away as garbage and taken to a landfill where inorganic material supposedly “degrade” but in reality don’t for 20, 30, 50, or in the case of Styrofoam, it doesn’t. The organic material is lost. Bacteria still do their job in decomposing material. In fact, a Windex plant runs completely off of the landfill fumes produced by bacteria. I commend them for that. Furthermore, some organic materials can’t be used anymore. Reason is that they are full of hormones, pesticides, and harmful chemicals. I don’t know if I like that to be recycled. Further, remember how we are so reliant on plants for energy? Despite conservationist tree planting parties, there is the modern trend of cutting down trees. It is not just in the Amazon but even in our own backyards. We cut down trees for house and replace them with grass. We may even buy different trees which are not acclimated completely and are not mature. Basically, we need “savage” nature.

Is there a solution in sight? No. Sorry to be blunt, but it’s true. A solution isn’t just doing one thing. It is a life style change. I guarantee there isn’t going to be an invention that will restore viable energy, get rid of green house gases, restore forests, or return nutrients to the soil. We can all agree there are issues and wish for change. Stop wishing! Do something about it. Here are a few, reasonable ideas: grow organic, compost pile, farmers market, alternate forms of transportation, turn off the lights, stop buying Styrofoam (I hate that stuff), recycle, take public transportation. I want to discuss compost- it’s a good way to restore nutrients into the soil and helps get rid of garbage. Public transportation seems like an inconvenience. In other parts of the world/country (NY, Hong Kong), public transportation is really convenient. The more people use UT’s the better it will get. If there is the demand, it will happen.Stop complaining about gas, stop wishing someone would do something…. Do something now!

Happy Hippie to you!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Time to get out Hillary

Don’t get me wrong- I still believe that Hillary would be the better candidate. After listening to tidbits of the DNC discussion over MI/FL pledged delegates, I’ve decided that this has to end. The bickering, the complaining, and the alleged “prejudice” needs to stop. The Democrat Party needs to come together and get rid of this fighting. Throughout the announcement of the delegate allocation, jeers and complaints interrupted the flow of the decision. When I heard this, I thought it was completely ridiculous. It sounded like SNL. It needs to stop or else further polarization of the party will continue. People were saying McCain’s name- that is uncalled for. No one wants to hear his dirty name… seriously. It needs to end, and it needs to end now. The more it is drawn out, the more ridiculous it becomes. I still believe that Hillary is the better candidate but I also believe that Obama is the better movement. Hillary would have made a better president, but I will support Obama.Additionally, I believe that Hillary would have still had a chance, but the media coverage skewed the opinions of Americans. Ever since Indiana, Hillary has had significantly less coverage. Let’s face it- we’re Americans, we like our TV. If the media would had covered Hillary more, the race could have still gone on for her. Granted it would still be an uphill battle, but it would have given her a boost.

In conclusion, I still believe Hillary would be more electable, but Obama needs to lead the party to the Presidency. Hillary needs to get out graciously and campaign heavily in OH, WV, KY, FL, PN, and NH for Obama. Hillary, you’re the man- so suck it up and get out with dignity. As such, I officially switch my super delegate vote to Obama. Good Luck Man!

Oh wait, I forgot- I’m not a super delegate… never mind. :D