Fire

Picture a chaotic scene. I’d assume that probably eight out of ten of you just thought of something that had fire in it. A scene like 9-11 or maybe even a hellish scene, regardless, fire is included. To me, this is ironic. Fire is such a simple thing in chemistry. The formula for combustion is: some carbon fuel + O2 –> CO2 + H2O. Reactants and products, inputs and outputs. However, when you put fire into a situation, it automatically turns chaotic and people panic. A sleeping, peaceful family? Throw some fire into the mix, and everyone is crying, panicing and you have a scene set for a tragedy. The scene below shows how quickly fire can change things. One moment, a barn is standing, the next, the hay, manure, and finally the wooden frame of the barn are engulfed in flame.

 

I find it so strange that this simple chemical equation can cause such devastation. If you think about it, many chaotic situations are the exact same way. A stampede of animals, a tornado, a tsunami, all relatively simple things to understand, yet they cause so much devastation. To me, I would think it would be the opposite way. Until I thought about it more, it made sense that chaotic situations would come from complicated chemical reactions or engineering. The reason I think this is is that these simple things are out of our control. We cannot control when fires start, or natural disasters happen. We can do our best to prevent fires, but even trying our best wont stop them all. Chaos is so simple, but it invokes such devastation.

Advertisements

Fly Fishing

Calm is the catch a release of a healthy trout on a cold autumn day. One of God’s most delicate yet valuable creatures. The opportunity to become so intimate with a fish is a sensation like nothing else. To feel every muscle in the body of a fish pulse and peel line off a reel, to have the rod torqued with such power that no other animal of that size could come close to; the days I get to experience that are among the best days. Not many people have been able to stand in a river in the dead of winter and catch a trout in sub freezing temperatures. I wish I could explain the grace that comes with iced over guides when the line tightens and sprays the tiny shards of glassy ice on your face while simultaneously a gorgeous rainbow leaves the water in an attempt to shake the hook. The simple beauty of being able to imitate an insect landing still on the surface, imitating it so well that the fish thinks that it is edible; this is an astonishing feat to achieve. But the best and most calming part of being a fly fisherman is the release aspect. Think about it, the fish is in your basket submerged in the river and trapped, it is at your mercy and you decide its fate. You know undeniably that the fish will make for at least a few meals. But to know all of the great that this fish can provide for you while your letting it slip from your two slime coated hands back into its pool is the ultimate feeling of grace.

This video gives a visual description of what it is like to catch a release a trout.

I went to the Jersey shore after Sandy and did a bit of surfcasting on a long stretch of beach where the wreckage lined the sea wall. The seas were enormous reaching almost ten feet. I walked out along a long rock jetty where the waves would crash so hard on that the spray almost knocked me off of my feet. If I had fallen I would have likely lost my life to be smashed into the rocks by the surf. But in the midst of all of this chaos and wreckage, there I was fishing for striped bass without a care in the world accept what could be on the end of my line. Fly Fishing for me is something so entrancing that I can block out even the foulest of conditions to experience the feeling it brings to me.

 

beautiful brown trout

Complaining…

Often, when people express their opinions, they fall from the objective and plummet straight into the Chaos of complaint. Even I find myself complaining about moot points and asinine trifles more than I would like to admit. There are people who always seem to complain about something to the point where nobody listens to them any more. I find these people to be the least enjoyable company. The point is, there is a subtle difference between venting and complaining and too often people fall into the negative world of their opinions becoming nasty and unlikable beings.

There actually is a defined investigation to this subject. I stumbled upon an article by Hagar Scher on the internet that touches upon the subject. For the most part, I agree with what Scher says. One phrase that I found the the article that I feel is worth sharing goes:

“Chronic complainers get stuck in victim mode, and that irritates the people around them,”

I understand that some people need a shoulder to cry on all the time, but sometimes people take it too far. I get irritated by the people who constantly complain because there seems to be no cure for it. Once, I have tried explaining to a “chronic” that she should confront her problem rather than spewing her negative thoughts on to us (it wasn’t her first time complaining anyway and she was also complaining about something truly unimportant: the cafeteria worker didn’t put her wrap together correctly), and she got mad at me. I merely suggested that she ask for her wrap to be made a different way and she responded as though I had slapped her. I find that your opinions about complainers are best kept to select company.

I don’t want to be a hypocrite so this is my message. People who complain incessantly should realize that they are not enjoyable people. If you always look on the negative side, you are probably a negative person. If you have a stupid problem, fix it, it will be easy.

The War on Christmas

Lately there have been a lot of goings on about a so called “war on Christmas” because in one Southern town a nativity setting was banned from a public park upon request from atheists. 

Let me start by saying this is COMPLETE bulls***. There is no war on Christmas, Christmas is likely the most publicly accepted holiday over all and by far the most accepted winter holiday. 

Everywhere you go you hear about Christmas! 

There was outrage last year because the White House holiday card did not feature a Christmas tree…this year they said there were too many Christmas trees, I mean, come on, give me a break. 

You simply cannot win with these types of people. The Daily show did a wonderful segment which noted all the ways in which Christmas is not neglected. 

One of my favorites was a clip from the Flinstones Christmas special. The Flinstones, of course, occurring in a time frame before Jesus was even born…and they STILL have a Christmas special.

Bill O’Reilly interviewed an atheist. He questioned him saying, “What religion is associated with Christmas?” the interviewee responded with “Christianity, of course.” and Bill quipped, “Christianity is not a religion, it’s a philosophy.”

That was a joke right?

No? He’s actually serious?

Jesus Christ.

Don’t blaspheme!

Moving on, Bill has just made a tragic mistake, the atheist, astounded by Bill’s claim, cannot believe his ears…just one more thing he cannot believe.

 

There’s no war on most holidays. This is certainly no war on Christmas. 

There are plenty of beliefs and atheism deserves as much a place as any other! That being said, I could give a damn if there were a nativity scene in my front yard, let alone a local park. Don’t be so sensitive! S**t happens

 

Shakespeare as Adventure

William Shakespeare is rarely thought of as adventure, typically we look at his, and other classical plays as either Drama or Comedy. However with remakes of his works coming out in the past 25years we are given a new perspective on classic works which lend themselves towards the adventure genre. Shakespeare’s classic “the tragedy of MacBeth” was remade in 2010 by pbs, to star Patrick Stewart as MacBeth, and is set in a soviet Russia era time period. Another classic remake “Richard III” was redone by Ian Mckellan in 1995. These as well as two other classic plays, “A mid-summers night dream” and “Romeo and Juliet” which were recently remade are specifically modern adventures. The new “mid-summers night dream” is set in a more Classical Tuscany and instead of just merely unintelligent humans that run around on the whim of fairies, we are given people who have more depth and a bit more control. The new “Romeo and Juliet” is possibly the greatest Shakespearean remake as an adventure. Set in more modern day “Verona Beach” which moderns many large cities in California, the feuding families are switched to warring business and gang empires. Romeo is specifically involved in this adventure more so then Juliet as he cris-crosses the city and eventually ends up dead. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZqxOb2tJIo

The Beauty in Freedom

Throughout my childhood, I have heard the frequently asked question “Is freedom really free?” I never exactly understood what this meant because I always assumed freedom and free were the same words. With all of the people who have claimed freedom isn’t free and have their supporting reasons, and to all of the people who claim it is free and also have their reasons, I choose to ignore these points of view. I don’t feel the question can be asked in America, being a democratic republic, when other countries are so far behind in policy. How can Americans complain with so many privileges while people in other countries have little to nothing?

With this idea comes the questioning of the American war being fought in Afghanistan. Many Americans have come to question the exact reasoning for the war. Is it to improve American relations with the country, or help to fight for their freedom? One important reason as to why the war is being fought is to free women specifically. The US specified,

“The pursuit of U.S. security interests, explained policymakers, would benefit the people of Afghanistan. “We felt an obligation to leave them better off than when we had come,” recalls Rice. “Thus freeing Afghan women emerged early as a policy goal.”

The differences between American views on freedom and Afghan views are extraordinary. We only hear about American complaints so much because Americans are lucky enough to have freedom of speech in the first place. If Afghans lack freedom of speech, their views on freedom can never be heard because it will be thought to go against their government. Overall, I believe Afghans can currently see nothing but beauty in the idea of freedom because it would be such a drastic change from the life they live now. Americans however may not agree because we are so much more fortunate and are able to pick and choose about every little thing. If I were to talk literally about the beauty of freedom, I see nothing more beautiful than the American flag and the eagle’s representation of the country we live in.

The 27 Club

The dubbed “27 Club” is an oddly large amount of famous musicians who happened to die at the age of 27 for many various reasons including accidents, drug overdoses, murders, suicides, natural causes etc. Is there an actual correlation between these musicians and their premature deaths? Most believe that the social media was responsible for implanting these theories into society. Others believe that there is some relationship, some reason why so many musicians died so young and at the same age.

Image

Above: Kurt Cobain, front man of the 90’s grunge band Nirvana, died of suicide.

Image

Jimi Henrix, famed guitarist, died from asphyxiation from mixture of sleeping pills and alcohol.

Image

Janis Joplin, blues/rock singer, died of heroin overdose

The University of Queensland in Australia led a study on the quest to discover the correlation between the musicians and their common deaths. Their results were not very convincing regarding any real correlation. The study itself included only those musicians who had records at the No. 1 slot for all time hits during 1956 through 2007, as well as three highly regarded musicians who did not make the No. 1 slot, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin (their records never hit the top of British charts). Keep in mind, nearly over one thousand other musicians and artists did not make the cut for the study, including some of the voices of the Muppets, as well as Frank Sinatra.

The study proved that the age of 27 carried no outside risk, and that musicians of that kind of hype were much more likely to die at a younger age compared to more reserved, less popular musicians, or regular people because of their “rock-star” behavior. The studied showed that the 1970’s through 1980 carried the highest death rate, and this can be attributed to the fact that drugs were much more popular during that period of time.

Image

The study concluded that heroin, alcohol, and various other depressants were the main cause of these musicians’ deaths. Is there still a correlation? I like to think not. Like stated earlier, I feel that the social media has much more control over the popular consensus than one would think. I’d like to think that when I become famous I will not die at the age of 27, but I hate looking that far ahead. With the influx of newer and younger musicians in today’s music industry, we can only wait and see if this “27 Club” will induct new members in the new future.

 

Shopping Addictions

Shopping is a cure for many emotions including sadness and anger. The majority of the shopping urge is in the female population. New dresses, shirts, shoes and the latest purses trigger a temporary relieve of emotions. Shopping is a sense of comfort. It allows for the other worries or problems in someone’s personal life to be ignored for a time. However this temporary sense of comfort can get out of hand putting many in debt and unhealthy habits.

Addiction to shopping becomes a serious mental disorder

“Specialists identified symptoms of shopping addiction in the 1990s. This mental and spiritual disorder is common mostly with women. Addiction to shopping has been shaping up as an epidemic lately. Researchers found out that about twenty percent of German women acknowledge their insuperable desire to buy something all the time. The addiction has conquered 40 percent of American women, whereas 52 percent of British females said they found shopping a lot more enjoyable than sex. There is no such statistic data as far as Russian women are concerned, although the passion for shopping has been developing in Russia steadily”

(Website Found Here)

 

Why does shopping give girls a sense of comfort? The main reason is the emotion of happiness and comfort that is released. Very similar to the feeling on christmas morning shopping brings people new things. New material items are bought but for many shopaholics these close still may have tags on them when walking into this persons closet. Shopping triggers comfort that a person may have been lacking in their childhood.

For example, in the movie “Confessions of a Shopaholic” a girl never had the experience when she was a young girl to experience new clothes and shoes that all of her friends at school got to buy. Instead her mom bought her cheap things that lasted a long time. Later in life, the girl develops an addiction to buying clothes even though she cannot afford them.

See Trailer Here

Not only do these shopping addictions occur in popular movies but also in the society we live in today. Marceia Hawkins, talks on the today show about her shopping addiction why she shops and how it effects her financial problems and her relationships.

See Interview Here

Hope in a cell…

The medical field is in itself hope.

Each new advance in the sciences of medicine bring hope to the generations of mankind.

The most recent advances on a small set of molecules gives infinite possiblities for hope. These small sets of molecules have numerous possiblities to help mankind, infinite ways they can develop and prosper. These groups of molecules have a name, they are called stem cells.

Stem cells appear to be the elixer of life. They are simple cells that have the potential to develop into many different types of cells during their early life and growth, causing them to be called pluripotent cells. When these stem cells divide they can either remain stem cells or become specialized cells. There are two different kinds of human stem cell; adult stem cells found in the spinal colemn and human embryonic stem cells. The latter are one of the most controversial discoveries in the area of science. Adult stem cells do not have the potential to develop in to the multitude of cells that embryonic stem cells can. However, issues surround the ethics of harvesting human embryonic stem cells. The embryonic stem cells that are utilized in laboratories are derived from a five day preimplantation embryo, the blastocyst. A preimplantation embryo is an embryo that has not yet been implanted onto the wall of the uterus. These unique cells are capable of dividing without differentiating for a prolonged period in cultures and are known to develop into the cells and tissues of the three primary germ layers in an embryo.

Human embryonic stem cells are harvested from eggs fertilized in vitro at in vitro fertilization clinics, which are then donated to research. In Vitro fertilization is a technique that unites the gamete cells, the egg and sperm, in a laboratory rather than in a human host. These cells are then grown in cell cultures. The top layer of the culture dish is often coated with mouse embryonic stem cells that act as feeder cells and provide nourishment to the human embryonic stem cells. At this point these cells have the potential to develop into any tissue of the human body. Specific cells or tissues can be generated by turning on or off specific genes in the cells by the aid of enzymes and proteins that bind to promoter sites on transcribed DNA, mRNA, that allows for gene experession, usually by access to enzymes such as RNA polymerase.

Stem cells offer great potential for many afflictions but are still relatively unresearched. In order for stem cells to be used in potential cell based therapies, the cells must undergo rigorous testing. It must be determined if the cells can differentiate into the desired way, function appropriately, survive and integrate in recipients after transplant, as well as not harm the patient.

Stem cells are controversial because there is not a clear line drawn between whether or not a preimplanted embryo is “human”.

Many involved in the concerns regarding stem cells have agreed that preimplanted embryos are not humans but are potential humans. Though the main question surrounding the cells remains. In essence should a potential life be taken in order to save that of an already existing life?

Despite the issues surrounding the human embryonic stem cells. These cells have an immense future in the medical field. Personally I see these cells as having unique healing qualities. These cells bring only hope for the future.