Friendship at Christmas

Christmas is a time where we are suppose to give thanks for the things in our life. Christmas isn’t about all the presents or the things we want. Its about appreciation for the things that we are lucky enough to have and the family and friends that are in our lives. So at Christmas friendship is very important and showing those friends that you are thankful for them is important too because it makes them feel special and shows that you really care about them.

 

Cindy Lou Who from the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas is one of the only ones in the movie who thinks that Christmas isn’t all about presents. She sees that Christmas is about being thankful and that the Grinch just needs a friend, someone who will be nice to him and make him feel appreciated.

“But The Book of Who says this too: ‘No matter how different a Who may appear, he will always be welcome with holiday cheer.”

 

 

 

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/how_the_grinch_stole_christmas/quotes/

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Friendship with Monsters

“The different accidents of life are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature. I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body. For this I had deprived myself of rest and health.I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room, and continued a long time traversing my bedchamber, unable to compose my mind to sleep.”(Frankenstein, Shelley, Ch. 5)

In this quote Victor the creator of the Monster runs away from his creation and this makes the Monster feel hated and as if he weren’t wanted. So because no one wants to be his friend he hates all humans and wants to ruin their lives. But if only someone had decided to be friends with him then he would feel loved and he wouldn’t want to ruin the lives of humans. So all it takes to help make a Monster good is a little bit of friendship.

If you are kind and show friendship to someone then the deed will be returned. Someone who is hated or feels disliked only needs someone to be friends with them and their whole outlook can be changed.

 

Friendship can make a huge difference in someones life. It can mean the world to someone who is hated if you just try to be friends with them. They can be changed too, and that would have happened in Frankenstein if someone had just been kind enough to be the monsters friend. The monster wouldn’t have killed anyone if someone like Victor had just been kind enough to be his friend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.literature.org/authors/shelley-mary/frankenstein/chapter-05.html

 

 

Impressions Left by Like Water for Chocolate

“There are some things in life that shouldn’t be given so much importance, if they don’t change what is essential.”

― Laura EsquivelLike Water for Chocolate

There are many different directions I could take when relating the word impression to Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquirel.

likewhatI could start off talking about the transformation of beginning to final impression I acquired from this book.  Usually when determining what book I choose to read, I go for ones that visually appeal or impress me. However when I chose Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel I went completely against my element and solely chose it due to it’s layout. Anything involving cooking, especially Mexican/Latino novels are not usually my first pick, but the fact that the book is divided into twelve sections named after the months of the year and each section begins with a Mexican recipe, captured my interests. Different from choosing a book when I read for pleasure, I researched into this book further to conclude if it was one I would actually enjoy and discovered to my delight that it touches base on some of my favourite themes; being cruelty/violence at homes and self growth, making for a novel that I believed would suit my interests.

This book was anything but a burden. Not only an easy/quick read, it was also an unexpected delight. I was surprised how easily I could connect it back to other books and even personal experiences regarding love and heartbreak. Ignoring my usual instincts to chose a book based on it’s cover’s impression on me, not only led me to this enjoyable novel, but also A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini which shares similar plots/themes. Like back in the summer when I read Hosseini’s novel, I was surprised how much I enjoyed a foreign-originated novel as much as I did. Both novels had taught me how similar people’s situations are no matter where they are in the world and has impressed the reality that heartache and cruelty/violence isn’t limited to one race or ethnicity.

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When considering the novel itself and the themes of cruelty/violence at homes, forbidden love and self growth, each character has had a crucial impression on the next.

Tita is the youngest of three daughters of Mama Elena and the main character of Like Water for Chocolate. As the youngest she is prohibited by family tradition from marrying so she can take care of her mother until she dies.  She develops a close relationship Nacha (the cook of the family) and the prime caretaker for Tita as she grows up. Nacha is only in the novel for a short time as she dies of the day of Rosaura’s wedding (the middle child), but plays an important role in influencing/impressing Tita (as a sort of guardian angel) with advice in even the toughest situations, and seems to be the backbone that Tita always refers to (as she is the one who ultimately makes Tita fall in love with cook and teaches her all she knows). When Nacha dies, Chencha the maid becomes Tita’s only companion after her sister Rosaura betrays Tita by marrying the love of her life Pedro and moving away to San Antonio. The marriage of Pedro and Rosario is forbidden by her bitter mother Mama (or Mami) Elena but allows her sister to marry Pedro. Due to her strict rules and forbidding of her youngest to get married, she tends to be the prime source of Tita’s suffering. Throughout the book even after her death, Tita’s mom haunted Tita in whatever she did. She was never appreciative of Tita’s actions no matter what she did, never complimented her, wanted her to succeed in anything, and ultimately was okay with her living a miserably, lonely life. Her bitterness and constrictive grasp on Tita at times almost leads her to giving up on love, but right before her death leads her to the hands of Dr. John Brown, the family doctor. As Tita goes through her breakdown he is the only one there for her, and eventually falls in love with her and helps her out of her six month long period of absolute silence. Although they become engaged, it’s his companionship that helps eventually leads Tita to denying him and pursuing Pedro. Mama Elena’s death is what brings all three sisters together. Rosaura and Pedro come back home with their newborn Esperanza which once again sparks up the romance between Pedro and Tita. Unable to deny the lingering love for one another, Pedro and Tita make love for the first time as well multiple occasions following. Rosaura aware of this connection finally agrees to let them have their affair as long as it’s kept a secret, but eventually ends up dying due to digestive problems. It’s important to note that like her mother, Rosaura had the plan to not allow Esperanza marry since she wanted her Esperanza to take care of her until she died. Tita knew wholeheartedly how unfair and destructive the situation was (as she was the first in the novel to experience it), but it doesn’t become a problem anymore with her mother’s death. Esperanza ends up marrying Alex, Dr. John Brown’s son that he had with his first wife, ultimately breaking  the family tradition that disallows the marriage of youngest daughters. It is after this wedding when all obstacles not allowing Pedro and Tita to be together are finally out of the way, and make love in without any objections for the first and last time (dying peacefully and ecstatically together). Tita is the great-aunt of Esperanza who we find out at the end of the novel was the narrator the whole time and has decided to carry out Tita’s legacy. You’re probably wondering about the third daughter. Gertrudis the oldest daughter, escapes half way through the novel from Mama Elena’s grasp with a rebel soldier who eventually because her husband. It’s revealed after Mama’s death that Gertrudis is the result of an affair that Mama Elena had with her true love (a black man). When Mama had discovered she was pregnant with his child they had planned to run away together, until he was randomly killed during the night and left Mama to settle with her husband at the time (who ends up dying shortly after). It’s finally understood how Mama Elena’s suffered from a lost love is what caused her to be so bitter the rest of her life. While still inexcusable, it is that exactly bitterness that the novel revolves around. Throughout the whole book Tita struggles with individuality and the pursuit of love (which are both discouraged by Mama). While her mother could have made Tita’s life a hundred times similar and less miserable, without the struggle to be with Pedro, the couple might have never realized their complete love for each other…..clearly each character had a deep impression on the next. Without the interactions that took place between every person, there would be infinite alternative endings that most likely would not result with Pedro and Tita ultimately being together.

 

Calm in “Little Women”

          The four (very different) sisters in Little Women are always getting into little fits of trouble and adventures together, being raised by their mother Marmee while their father is off at war. Jo (Josephine) March is actually the very opposite of calm. She is outspoken and loud, not afraid to speak her mind or take action to defend her opinion. There have been many accounts on where Jo rudely interferes with her sisters lives (and love lives) with her opinions. Her anger often gets the best of her. 

          When she ditches Amy to go to a play with her sister Meg and her love interest, Laurie, Amy becomes upset and burns Jo’s manuscript. Jo acts out, screaming and hurting Amy saying she will never forgive her, and doesn’t apologize even though her mother says to never sleep on her anger. The next day, while ice skating with Laurie, Jo tells Amy she can’t skate with them. In an attempt to fit in, Amy tries to catch up to them but ends up falling through the ice. Jo becomes nervous and fearful and instantly regrets not forgiving Amy the night before. 

Times like these are what bring the March sisters closer together and in a calm state. They are the most calm when caring for each other, their family, and tending to the community as well. 

A Man of Mercy has Passed

 The South African activist and former president Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) helped bring an end to apartheid and has been a global advocate for human rights. A member of the African National Congress party beginning in the 1940s, he was a leader of both peaceful protests and armed resistance against the white minority’s oppressive regime in a racially divided South Africa. His actions landed him in prison for nearly three decades and made him the face of the anti-apartheid movement both within his country and internationally. Released in 1990, he participated in the eradication of apartheid and in 1994 became the first black president of South Africa, forming a multi-ethnic government to oversee the country’s transition. after retiring from politics in 1999, he remained a devoted champion for peace and social justice in his own nation and around the world until his death in 2013 at the age of 95. Even after his imprisonment had ended, he preached compassion and forgiveness, two key components of mercy. Instead of seeking revenge on the race that condescended to him and oppressed his people, he sought after equality. This was one of the most merciful acts of the 20th century. Instead of being a mercy killer, he was a mercy leader. Leaders are known to lead by example, and in Mandela’s case, he lead the nation towards a revolutionary attitude shift that was once filled to the brim with hate that is now full of compassionate, forgiving people.

 

“You will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy than you will through acts of retribution.” – Nelson Mandela

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Hate in “All The Pretty Horses”

All The Pretty Horses is about three teenage American boys who run away to Mexico. Although this seems odd, considering the fact that many Mexicans go the other way and that their is some racial tension between white Americans and Mexicans, but they boys decide Mexico is the place for them. They do not have racist tendencies towards the Mexicans they encounter and one even falls in love with the daughter of a wealthy ranch owner. Hate is not a driving force in this novel.

One of the main characters, John Grady, falls in love with a Mexican girl named Alejandra. John Grady works with the horses on her father’s ranch. He is respected by the man, until he discovers of their affair. Upon learning of their affair, he has John Grady arrested and sent to prison, which he is eventually freed from. When John Grady returns to the ranch he finds that Alejandra’s father will not speak to him, and that Alejandra herself is not staying at the ranch. He speaks with his lover’s aunt, who tells him he can never speak to Alejandra again, and tells her that he does not hate her or her brother for what they did to him. John Grady does not feel hate in this novel.

Another character who readers may think John Grady would hate is the police captain that murders Blevins. Blevins is one of John Grady’s companions who is younger than him. Blevins had lost his horse in a storm, but found it in a Mexican village. He was forced to steal the horse back and is separated from John Grady and Rawlins, their other companion. Stupidly he returns to the village and kills a few people before he is arrested and later executed after being reunited with John Grady and Rawlins. After John Grady’s visit to the ranch, he decides to get his horse back as well as the horses of Rawlins and Blevins. As he does so he takes the captain hostage, but refuses to kill him, as he does not hate him. He just uses him to escape into the Mexican countryside. Once again John Grady proves his lack of hate.

The one place where hate does appear in the novel is in the prison that John Grady and Rawlins are sent to. John Grady and Rawlins do not hate anyone themselves, but they are hated by most of the inmates, because of their nationality. The inmates attack them daily and one is able to wound Rawlins enough to get him sent to the hospital. John Grady is forced to buy a knife and then defend himself from an assassin, who he kills. The hate that both men experience drives John Grady to do something he never believed he could do: kill a man.

Hate does not manifest itself in any of the main characters of this novel. Most of the lesser characters in the novel show friendliness, or at least hospitality. The lack of hate makes the prison environment even harsher and makes John Grady’s crime seem more justified. Hate is not a major theme in this novel, as it only manifests itself in one location.

Stupidity, as Written by Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy covers many big ideas in All the Pretty Horses.  However, one character completely embodies stupidity: Blevins.

blevinsBlevins is a thirteen year old boy that decides to run away from home to Mexico and to join a sixteen year old, John Grady Cole, and a seventeen year old, Lacey Rawlins, who he does not know, that are doing the same.  Blevins carries a revolver, which he shoots expertly, hitting a wallet spinning through the air, and rides a very fine horse which his companions envy.  Doesn’t sound too bad yet, but the stupidity is coming!

On their way through Mexico, the three encounter a storm.  Blevins panics, claiming that it is in his genes to be struck by lightning.  He lists a plethora of relatives who have been struck by lightning (it’s worth noting that has evidenced that he can not be trusted completely and that he is drunk at the time).  Against the advice of the others, Blevins tries to outrun the storm.  He takes his horse straight to the base of some mountains.  It floods and Blevins loses his horse, gun, clothes (which had metal buttons he believed would get him struck by lightning), and just about everything else besides his boots.

The three ride into a village with Blevins riding with John Grady.  John Grady and Rawlins tell Blevins to stay in hiding as they search town and find look for the horse.  They find it and come back to tell Blevins, but he has disappeared and only returns after they are asleep.  They decide to steal the horse just before dawn, but it is not where they last saw it.  So, Blevins decides to break into a house, where he finds the horse, and rides away on it, chased by men with guns, endangering Rawlins and John Grady, as well.

Have no fear! Blevins becomes even more of an idiot!  Eventually, he gets Colt32-20away, but decides to go back to get his gun.  He retrieves it and kills several people before getting caught and put in prison.

Stupidity can be found anywhere, even in the works great authors.  Stupidity is persistent, ubiquitous, and powerful.

Sadness is a Disease

Sadness can take over a person, sadness can take over a city, sadness can even take over an empire.
A very wise man once said to me, sadness is contagious. This is so very true. When I go home and my mum is upset, my mood is ten affected because I am upset that she is upset and then I go to school upset and my tend become upset. As you can see it is contagious. Sadness takes over the lives if the people around you and then eventually takes over your own.
This is proven in the Middle Ages, the whole world was depressed at the exact same time and nobody could escape it. Every person was dirty and the living conditions were terrible and there was famine and disease, and one of the worst diseases was Sadness. People could not escape the sadness that followed every single person around. When one person became happy for a reason, something bad would either happen to them or to someone close to them. It was a terrible time for the whole world and it’s a miracle that the world ever recovered from it.
Sadness took over the world at that time and I don’t doubt it happening again.
The wise man that I mentioned earlier on, was the great Rory Dezzutti.

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Sadness in “I’m Not Really Here”

The autobiography “I’m Not Really Here” by Paul Lake, is a book about a professional soccer players life and how and injury prevented him from being what he could have been.
Paul starts the book off with his childhood like any other autobiography. He starts to show the sadness in his life when he gets his irate injury. He was the up and coming player in English soccer, he was destined to be the best player of his generation and maybe even generations to come. He was playing in a game like any other when he swallowed his tongue and nearly died on the field.
He slowly recovered and started to play again about a month later, but there was always a fear in the back of his that something terrible would happen again.
And of course it did. He tore his ACL and was out for a whole year. On his returning game after a year of therapy, he tore it again and 6 months later he tore it one last time.
This forced Paul to retire and then the sadness kicked in. He went from being the golden boy of English soccer to a crippled 25 year old with no income. Things had gotten very bad. Paul became depressed and suicidal, he hit rock bottom.
This kind of sadness must be the hardest because he was riding so high and now was at the lowest of lows. Paul knows what life can be like when it is at it’s best and now he sees it at it’s worst.
This is a kind if sadness that takes years to overcome and a lot of therapy. Paul is now a married man and has a family, but he still occasionally struggles with depression and needs a lot of support to get over it.
This is the kind of sadness that I wish to never experience because it is the hardest to deal with.

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Sadnees in Losing a Friend

Losing somebody close to me is the hardest thing that I have ever had to deal with. It makes you feel every single emotion that is possible to the human mind and body. But the emotion that takes over your life is Sadness.
The sadness starts with crying and a very open way of expressing it but then it evolves into this sort of inner sadness that is nearly impossible to get rid of. It builds up inside of you and then one day, after many days of letting it build up, it all comes out.
This happened to me last Friday. I was inconsolable, nobody could get me to calm down or listen to a word that they were saying.
Losing a friend is a experience that I don’t wish on anybody but it is not possible to explain the sadness that goes along with losing a friend. I have lost grandparents and it is unbelievably hard to deal with a family member passing away. But losing a friend is a completely different experience.
When my grandparents passed away, it was sadly expected. They were in there 80s and we knew that it was going to happen soon, as bad as that sounds. But when a friend dies, especially as a teenager, it is unexpected and a huge shock. I’m not sure whether the shock factor that makes it so hard or if it is the question of “what could they have been?” Never being answered.
I hope who ever reads this never looses a friend and never has to go through what I have been through twice now. I wish that no other person has to go through what I have been through. I wish that the sadness that I have felt over the last few years, is never felt by anyone again. But the most painful thing is, I know that those wishes will never come true

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Success in “No Country For Old Men”

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The portrayal of success is very hard to search for in a book such as, “No Country For Old Men” because it goes against the whole theme of the book which is good vs. evil. In the end, all the good guys die, which is spot on to true reality. It’s important to see this book incorporates its basis on what life actually is instead of tying a cheesy ending on to it. What the book is successful in doing is creating a very real and emotional sense to each individual character. McCarthy is able to do this by maintaining focus on only three characters known by the names of Bell, Chigurh, and Moss. The sheriff of the novel is Bell, who is after a serial killer known as Chigurh-chasing Moss. McCarthy captures Bell effectively (successfully) by telling us what it is like to be living in an era that has already moved on past his generation. It is a problem many of us face today as a society that has forwarded itself far beyond the 20th century. We are not reliant on our elders anymore and as the saying goes, “our children are our future.” Bell comes to a realization it is “he” that is the turtle in the race, and this time will not win. Times have changed. 

McCarthy is successful in creating his second character, Moss, on the level of morality. This is a character who stays true to his beliefs such as maintaining faithful to his wife in times of great trouble. In the Novel, Moss is away from his wife right from the beginning but keeps busy with other tasks. I remember one scene in the novel where a driver asks Moss if he “would like a ride in to town for a good night.” Moss proceeds to lift up his hand and expose his ring finger. Simple scenes such as this reflect every day situations I see as real, and much easier to connect to. 

The most important and final character McCarthy successfully portrays is Chigurh the serial killer. The reader is able to be shown visually through words the sick and twisted mind of the murderer. He provokes a different mind set which is interesting to perceive throughout the story. Something to the average person such as a “coin toss” is meaningless. But these actions will sometimes signify the killers next victim just for inconveniencing him in such a game.

I give credit to McCarthy to be able to pull of such different forms of character, how they reflect to one another, and the twists and turns each have to experience through association.

Beauty in “The Kite Runner”

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Most people who read the book “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini would say that there is more violence than beauty. The beauty found in this novel lies in the kites. The kites that are fought in this novel have glass strings. The object of these kite fights are to cut the other kite’s string and be the last kite standing. The glass strings symbolize the dichotomy between beauty and violence. The string is beautiful all covered in glass. Simultaneously the glass is violent because it breaks down other kites.

Beauty is also shown throughout this novel because the pomegranate tree that Amir and Hassan carve their names into. While they are children the tree bears fruit and holds beauty in its deep red color. Years later, after Hassan is dead the tree no longer bears fruit. Amir’s guilt rises and his memories last but no longer occur, just like how the tree still exists but no longer bears the fruit. The beautiful pomegranate fruit symbolizes Amir and Hassan’s friendship.

The absence of beauty is also very important in this novel. One example of how the absence of beauty is symbolized throughout this novel is Amir’s scar. Amir’s scar although seems to lack beauty in physical traits, holds great meaning to Amir. This scar represents Hassan and Amir’s brotherhood and their adventures as children. Even though Amir tries to forget Hassan the only way he is at peace is when Amir finds out that Hassan is at peace. This scar is the symbol of Amir and Hassan’s friendship.

The Courage Within Huckleberry Finn

In the novel Huckleberry Finn, there are many characters that enact the characteristic Courage. It is about a young boy who runs away from his unhappy, Christian life into the dangers of the Southern wild. Along side him joins a runaway slave, Jim, who sticks by his side in order to go North for freedom. Huck has to deal with his conscious by deciding if the right thing to do is turn Jim in or not.  Huck learns that Jim is a caring man that wants to set his family free from the Slave Owners.  Over the journey Jim explains how Huck is the only white person to listen and treat him as an equal, which makes Huck feel uneasy turning Jim in. They grow a bond that can be entitled, ‘friendship’, because they help each other escape from the societies hands.

The courage that Huck shows is by going against what society tells him. Hucklebery Finn does not like following the rules, and rebels against everything he is told. The biggest insurgent act Huck contradicts is aiding a runaway. He risks his own life to help out a friend even when there is difficulty. “He displays the human virtue of heroism when he decides to free Jim from the clutches of the Phelps family.” (studymode) Just by him going with his gut instinct and not dealing with society means that he is an Upstander. It takes immense amount of self strength to turn your back on society standards. Facing the tough decision whether to help Jim was pressuring Huck. He had to act quick and made a final decision, “All right, I’ll go to Hell! Because as long as I was in, and in for good, I might as well go the whole hog.”(pg 207) A little white boy faced a family of Racist whites and whole heartedly stole his friend back.

Jim illustrates the biggest deed of courage in the book. In the end when Tom Sawyer is wounded from the gunshot, he risks his freedom in order to rush the white boy to a doctor. The doctor was surprised by the Slave’s act of heroism and states, “I never see a nigger that was a better nuss or faithfuler, and yet he was risking his freedom to do it, and was all tired out, too, and I see plain enough he’d been worked main hard lately. I liked the nigger for that.”(page 272) For a white, educated male to state that he found courage in a black slave is very important. It shows that Jim was truly a friend of Huck’s and was willing to give up on what he wanted so badly just to help him. Jim’s honorable move made him receive his freedom.

Polar Warmth

Ursus_maritimus_us_fishOver time, polar bears have adapted themselves to freezing cold climates as low at -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Polar bear’s utilize a thick fur and fat layer to insulate themselves and can at times overheat because their insulation techniques have evolved to be extremely efficient for such low temperatures.

Polar bears have two types of fur: long oily guard hairs and short insulating hairs. The oily long hair keeps the polar bear protected from the ice cold temperatures of the water by repelling the water. The oily long hairs pull in the heat for the short insulating hairs to snatch up and trap right next to the skin.

The polar bear’s fat layer, or “blubber,” covers the bear’s whole body and can range from 2-4 inches in thickness. This fat layer may also be used as a source of energy when food is scarce.

polar6Another technique used by polar bears to keep warm is known as “winter sleep,” a state in which the polar bears metabolic process slows creating lower energy demands on the body so that the bear may be kept warm. This process differs from hibernation in that in winter sleep the bears can still be woken up.

Polar Bear Facts:

  • The hair of a polar bears’ fur is hollow.
  • Polar bears have been known to swim 100 miles in one stretch.
  • Polar bears spend most of their life on sea ice.
  • Polar bears are an endangered species as of 2008.
  • Adult male polar bears can weigh up to 1,700 lbs.
  • Baby polar bears are called cubs.
  • At birth, cubs are about 12-14 inches long and weight about 1 pound.
  • The scientific name for polar bear is “Ursus Maritimus” which translates to “sea bear.”

(These are by far the cutest bears to ever exist.)

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Reality: The Artificial Womb

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Tokyo researchers and scientists have developed the EUFI technique (extrauterine fetal incubation), where they take a goat fetus and supply it oxygenated blood through a catheter that is inserted in a large vessel in the umbilical cord. They are placed in incubators that are filled with artificial amniotic fluid heated up. Yoshinori Kuwabara, the chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Juntendo University in Tokyo, became interest in artificial placentas after working with premature infants. As of now, he and his associates have been able to keep a goat fetus in the environment described above for up to three weeks. There was however technical difficulties and problems with the fetus. 

Although this idea seems extremely futuristic and perhaps creepy, we are still making unbelievable progress in controlling a pregnancy and making sure a baby comes into this world healthy and safe. Right now we have neonatology which gives infants mainly with health concerns special medical care. We are also able to work surgically on fetuses. There is the technology we have to assist reproduction: “in-vitro fertilization” and
“gamete retrieval-and-transfer”. Overall, its all very new and even more controversial. It’s shocking we have developed the technology to make the artificial womb. Who knows, maybe in a few decades that’s how we will be raising our children…

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http://www.nytimes.com/1996/09/29/magazine/the-artificial-womb-is-born.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

My Cute Courageous Dream

In my dream that I had recently,  I portrayed an act of inner courage. I knew that the situation was risky and possibly dangerous, but I enacted it because of good morals and kindness.

It took place in a cute country field, during the night, with a full abnormally large white moon. There were stars shining bright in the sky, but you could not see beyond the campfire light. There was a distinct warmth of light that provided a large circle around us from the fire. There were trucks and camp fire chairs that huddled within the circle and provided a safeness. A strong scent of s’mores and campfire smoke was intertwined with the cool night air. There was music, it was country, but I can not remember what song or beat it was. Somebody was playing it out of their old rusty blue Dodge pick up truck. There must have been forty people at this bon fire party, with everybody laughing and chatting in their own little groups. (In this dream I was in first person view) Unlike the others, I was by myself just bouncing from one group to another. I was happy and carefree and actually enjoyed every person there. I didn’t recognize any of their faces, but they seemed to be welcoming and happy to see me there. I was becoming thirsty and grabbed a lemonade glass bottle from a red cooler that appeared next to a truck and walked over to the bon fire to admire the warmth. When I was sitting in a comfy chair roasting my front side, I looked beyond the flames and saw this adorable Tall guy. It was weird because I never saw him in my life, but I remember the one glance I looked at him He looked back. The quick connection between the stare was a lifelong conversation it felt like. I saw his life and felt sorry for him, he was genuine person and he was never given the chance to prove it. After the quick glance, I looked back at the fire and it was roaring hot and I got up and moved away. I looked up at the sky and saw a beautiful show of shooting stars and said “Look!”, and pointed upwards with the glass bottle in my hand. Everybody clapped and cheered and I glanced around to see everybody’s amazement, but I noticed the Tall Guy from before wasn’t happy. He was being surrounded by this obnoxious preppy girl, and he was trying to get away from her but she kept annoying him. He would lean away and push her off of him, but she would try again. More and more girls flocked to him while the other guys just watched the stars. He was getting so fed up with the girls he left the circle and walked into the tall grass beyond. The girls were dumbfounded and just walked away with failure on their faces. I placed my bottle on a truck bed and walked to where Tall guy trudged away. The pushed down grass was cold and dark, but I felt so bad for him I wanted to make sure he was ok. So I followed his long strides into the dark field and my vision adapted to the new scenery. It was a little hill with a grand lively tree on the top of it, the huge moon shining behind it. The wind rustled the leaves and a cool wind kissed my face, the smell of clean fresh air. Fireflies danced around my body and the infinite field. The warmth was completely gone and the bon fire was no where in sight. I was getting scared, but then I saw Him leaning on the tree looking away at the moon. His dark silhouette against the white moon made him seem monstrous, but I walked towards Him still.  The closer I got, the more I noticed that his shoulders were shaking. I placed my hand on his shoulder when I got close enough and saw that he was silently crying. I felt so heart wrenchingly bad that without a word I just hugged him. He hugged me back tightly and just silently stopped crying. One of those hugs that you truly can feel with deep meaning. When I woke up I felt happiness and  affectionate, like I just gave a hug to somebody. From my dream I helped Tall Guy, I made him feel better and gave him a chance to be who he really was. When I awoken, I smiled from the dream.

My interpretation of my dream has to be broken down. I believe the fire/warmth was my boundary line of safety. Have you ever heard of “Sometimes you have to move out of your safety zone to accomplish amazing things.”? This is a good example of it, because I wandered out of the protective warmth into the cold field. I was not in  a safe zone while in the infinite cold field trying to help Tall Guy. It was dark, cold and intimidating but my morals brought forth an inner courage rush. I wanted to help him more than the safety of my own being. I stood up against the unknown to try and do a good deed. Courage is “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear”(dictionary), and within my dream I was not really affected by the dangers or pain. My motives were to help a person in need. Another symbolism for the fire was home. It protected me from the dangers lurking beyond the light and provided me happiness and delight. The overall bon fire is a deep desire that I always wanted/want to do in life. It set the scene perfectly like one of those in a Hollywood movie. I never wanted it to end!

Courage is within us all. It might be used or portrayed in different ways, but deep down we all can stand up to fear. In my dream, I faced a ‘cold reality’ to help someone that was sad and hurt. There is different levels of courage, but in my opinion, any courage is still courage.

Knowledge Retention

When you’re thinking about surviving in the current economy, you are probably not thinking about retaining the knowledge of key workers, but the two go hand-in-hand. No two people possess the exact same knowledge. If you have two VPs of Sales and you have to let one of them go, how do you capture the knowledge held by that person? If you have to halve your IT department, you don’t want to also halve the knowledge held by that department. How will you capture the knowledge of the departing employees?

Lost knowledge can be expensive to recapture, and it can take years. Tacit knowledge in particular may never be retrieved once it is gone. A VP of sales may know the quirks or specific needs of certain clients; a chemist may know to expect a certain color or viscosity of a compound before it is at the peak of its effectiveness; an engineer just “feels” when a mechanism is assembled properly.

The Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) found in a 2008 survey that while most companies believe knowledge retention is important, only a small percentage of companies have a strategy in place.

Companies use various strategies to help them retain knowledge when employees retire, separate, or are lost due to layoffs or downsizing. Strategies will differ depending on industry, size of organization and a number of other factors. Here are some strategies that have proven effective for various companies:

  1. Social networking tools can cut through the chaos of information on the      internet and improve the way workers share knowledge. One 2008 survey      found that 40% of large companies (those with 10,000 or more employees)      used social networking to tap the knowledge of their workers. Smaller      companies may be slower to adopt this practice. Social networking can      reach people beyond the score of a company newsletter or a mass email and      it allows workers to share information in real time. And its scope reaches      beyond the company, so workers can network with peers anywhere in the      world.
  2. Intranet. An intranet, such as a wiki or blogs, is used by      workers within a company to share knowledge and information. This is      especially effective in companies with facilities in diverse locations.      Workers performing the same function thousands of miles apart are given      the capacity to share valuable information and best practices.
  3. Phased retirement strategies are becoming more prevalent as companies      attempt to capture the talent of workers before they retire. There are      many ways to structure a phased retirement program to meet the needs of      the individual company and its employees. The employee may work part time,      on a seasonal basis or on special projects that arise. The retiree may be      called upon to train new hires or to be available to mentor younger      workers. Some companies are even looking at ways to rehire their retired      employees. Phased retirement is beneficial to the employer, who is able to      retain critical talent, and at the same time help employees meet their      retirement expenses, while perhaps easing the worker into a new phase of      life. In the first quarter of 2008, American Express launched a pilot      phased retirement program. Participants gradually give up their day-to-day      responsibilities while they spend their time mentoring and teaching master      classes to their successors, while receiving a reduced salary and full      benefits. This program is being tested in the company’s technology and      finance units.
  4. Learning communities can be virtual or face-to-face, and they allow workers      who perform the same tasks to “meet” and share experiences and      best practices, or questions about processes and procedures. This is also      called a community of practice. Communities may      “meet” on a regular basis, or they may get together      spontaneously as the need arises. The group should have as leader or      facilitator a more experienced employee. These communities are      particularly useful when similar tasks are performed at diverse locations.     
  5. Develop an online data base. Employees will be able to      access it to use for reference. They can add to the data base as an active      participant in the company’s knowledge retention efforts and interact with      peers.
  6. Knowledge maps consist of business process diagrams in which each      step of a process is linked to specific knowledge and training. This      strategy is being used by a municipal power company in California, as its      workforce ages and there is great need to capture and share knowledge.      This strategy captures role names, technologies, and learning reference      materials.
  7. Coaching and mentoring is now widely accepted by      organizations worldwide. Coaching and mentoring are no longer seen as      beneficial only for high performing future leaders, but as baby boomers      inch toward retirement, they have been working one-on-one with younger      workers to impart tacit knowledge. And 77% of respondents to a 2008 DBM      study indicated a high return on investment as a result of coaching and      mentoring, making this strategy even more attractive.

After researching the topic of knowledge retention I have learned several useful tips for knowledge retention. The tips listed above were used by companies to improve knowledge retention in their businesses. But if these tips worked for them, couldn’t they work for school systems?  I believe that you could apply each of these tips to school systems. High school students tend to excessively use social networks, so school systems could take advantage of that to utilize the growth of knowledge. Many other tips on this list have already been implemented in some minor way, like coaching and mentoring as tutoring by other students.  Also teachers have begun to utilize blogs and wikis to optimize learning efficiency.  

http://www.i4cp.com/productivity-blog/2009/01/08/7-tips-to-improve-knowledge-retention

December 1, 1969

On December 1, 1969, the Selective Service National Headquarters at Washington, D.C held a lottery drawing. However, these winners didn’t receive millions of dollars in prizes. Instead, the lucky numbers selected were recruited to serve over in Vietnam. The inductees fell into the span of time between January 1,1944 and December 31, 1950. 366 blue pill capsules containing birth dates were placed in a large container and were drawn by hand. There was film, radio and TV coverage reporting the drawings live. You could imagine the anxiety these men were feeling. Unfortunately for them, there was two options; college or the military. Those selected while in college had to put their academic future on hold to serve. Even if you had no intentions on joining the army, you were still included in the “Vietnam Raffle.” Boys had little protection against the draft and showed this through protests. Not only was the anxiety raised for those inducted into the draft, but the family impact must have been detrimental. Mothers now had to deal with the fear of losing their son or son’s in combat.1969_draft_lottery_photo

http://www.sss.gov/lotter1.htm

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/25/1969_draft_lottery

Garry’s Hero

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2091084/Father-sacrifices-life-leaping-road-save-disabled-son-run-down.html

 

In June of 2012, a father named George saved his disabled son’s life by pushing him out of the way of an oncoming car, taking the blow himself. He was killed instantly, but his son lived to tell the tale.

This article really moved me. It’s so easy to say that you’d “die for someone”, or “take a bullet for someone” but I don’t think anyone could possibly be prepared if that situation ever came about. I could never imagine what it must be like to be in that moment, deciding to give the person next to you a chance to survive knowing that in the end, you wouldn’t. In this man’s case, I don’t think he even had time to think twice. Although George unfortunately did not make it, he saved his sons life, and judging from the article, he would not have had it any other way. Situations like these should raise awareness about things such as reckless and drunk driving.  George saved the life of his son, however it was not his time to die. He was only 62 years old and still had a lot of life to live. His killer was a 17 year old kid who was driving, obviously, very dangerously and his stupidity cut a man’s life much too short. One would think that after hearing stories like these, people would try to make better life choices but nobody seems to learn. Its so easy to be careless when you think that tragedy can’t happen to you or to your family. But someday it might be somebody else’s bad decision and it could be the life of somebody you love on the other end. Some sacrifices are important to make in life. But some of them, like the one George made for his son, are preventable.