Monday, May 01, 2006

Why you should or should not read this book

Collapse, by Jared Diamond, is a very thought provoking book. One cannot simply describe this book as good or bad, because it discusses a problem so often over looked. Its not something that makes one feel warm and fuzzy by reading, rather it really makes one think about the short and long term implications of policy and practice within societies. When I first picked up Collapse I thought the subtitle was quite interesting “How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.” I’d never really thought about the fact that success within a society is a choice just like it is in our lives. The “hard work equals success” ethic is instilled in every child who attends public school; yet it seems very few people see the success of a country as dependent on the criteria Diamond describes.
Throughout the book, Diamond examines the factors that contribute to a societies collapse; Environmental damage, climate change, hostile neighbors, friendly trade partners, and society’s responses to its environmental problems. These five factors do not always necessarily directly cause societal collapse, but, Diamond believes the latter always has a significant consequence. Damage of the environment can be simplified into eight categories: deforestation and habitat destruction, soil problems, water management problems, overhunting, overfishing, effects of introduced species on native species, human population growth, and increased per capita impact of people. Diamond takes these often damaged categories and assesses many situations of past and present where societies responded properly as well as improperly to lay his framework on the effect of responses to environmental problems (combined with effects of the other five factors contributing to collapse) to analyze effective methods to respond to the common pattern. The common pattern of population growth leading to increased farming, expansion onto marginal land, unsustainable practices in order for greater food production, resulting in land loss, food shortages, wars due to resource competition, government overthrows, and economic collapse.
Diamond applies the situations of famous collapses to society today and analyzes the current situations throughout the world. It is bittersweet how much sense it makes. Throughout reading, I could not help but think about what trouble we are in, yet the fact that the problems are identifiable leaves hope; in fact it provides clear understanding of what needs to be changed in order to survive like the most successful situations to be found. The book is not about inevitable doom, or a helpless collapse in the near future, rather it is a valuable reflection on our past and current situations in order to better the future. Granted, at first the future appears bleak; however, Diamond’s ability to include success stories and reasons for hope prevents a darkened cloud over society, and instead portrays one of the most realistic pictures of the situation I have read or heard.
Collapse’s holistic approach in looking at the situation from all aspects and angles gives it a strength one cannot find in a text book or a research journal discussing the seemingly inevitable impacts of global warming, oil mining, and other such crisis’s in our time. Collapse puts it all together in an understandable and seamless fashion. Collapse also, as the back of the book says, “Exposes the deepest mysteries of the past even as it offers hope for the future.” These facts caused me to greatly enjoy the book, and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in a realistic, holistic, truthful, yet hopeful analysis of the situations that exist in society. The book will not provide a warm fuzzy feeling, rather, it will expose problems of past societies that we have not yet overcome or solved. So, if one is interested in having a cookie-cutter view of the worlds problems (and therefore lack of problems) this book is not for you, because it will only destroy that view. That being stated, I highly recommend the book to anyone looking to learn and try to make a difference in their lives no matter how unable they feel.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Ten things I hate

1. When people click AIM links. Please just don't do it. Its like asking for the virus. Case and point: pretty much a lot of college kids.

2. People who say "are you sure thats what you want to do with your life" because they think you should be curing the sick or fixing world hunger or working in a research lab when all you really want is a job you can feel passionate about even if people think its something for someone "less intelligent" than you... which I totally don't get because I know I know things many people have no clue about but I feel others - like grounds keepers - are more intelligent than me because they know things about grass and fields I have no clue about. Case and point: advisors about me wanting to work on a field

3. People who don't take the time to explain something to you because they can do it for you - not realizing one day you may have to do it for yourself and they wont always be there for you: case and point - my taxes and bills.

4. My cellphone - the battery lasts but a half hour when talking, the screen is dying, it wont charge properly because of rust. It is almost 2 and a half years old now and pretty much only rings when it wants too and refuses to get cell reception when necessary. Case and point: just ask to take a look at it.

5. Rap music. Case and point: rap music.

6. Boys who aren't forward. They are confusing, aggravating and cause many problems between your cognition and your feelings and other women... Case and point: too many to list as examples.

7. Rain when you have plans. Ughhh I just want sunny skies and green grass and happy people. Case and point: Saturday.

8. E-Mails asking you to do five hundred things: emailing you to have you email someone for them, emailing you to ask everyone a question and organize it when its clear everyones going to want the same thing and you can't please everyone and it would just be better if you signed people up without asking their preference... emailing about meetings, meetings, projects, and AHHHHHH. Case and point: average of 89 emails per day: over 40 of them scheduling things.

9. Drawing a blank. How many times are you trying to list something or provide an answer and you just can't do it? Totally frustrating... drives me out of my mind - I hate it. Case and point: number 9 of the ten things I hate.

10. Time - there simply isn't enough of it. Case and point: HELLO!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Spring Break

Is it funny that Spring Break happens in Winter?

I don't care if it is or isn't - because either way it is a week free of classes. Note I said classes - not school - because the whole break is really forced by school and the entire time you think of school, how happy you are not to be in school, how much you need to prepare for the next few weeks of school....

What we really need is a break full of that - Oh wait - we have one ... it's called Summer Break.... odd thing is... it starts in Spring...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Jesus in a bottle

Late at night and have homework to do? Well just at the U or over at the C-Store for 1.69 on flex you can buy Jesus in a bottle.

That's right - Starbucks Frapuccino. Mocha, Vanilla, Mint, Caramel.... any way you put it - a lowfat creamy blend of starbucks coffee and milk. Not to mention enough caffine to get you through your Ochem notebook or Philosophy homework.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Skiing = Amazing

Photos from this past weekend when Jamie, Meredith and I Went Skiing at Song Mountain!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Here's to being broke

I hate cops. I hate speed limits.

The one time I'm actually going fast for a reason I get pulled over -- there's justice for you.

166 buckaroos - great... I have about half of that in my wallet. Spec-ama-tacular.
Mind you the fine was 75 - but the fee's more than fucking double it... so the cops can fucking pocket half the money. Bullshit.

The legal system really is bullshit - but more on that in a future post.... here's to being broke:

Looks like the only place I'm eating at is those I have gift cards to aka - LOTTIE.

Need Tampons? oh well - you're broke - be glad you just got over it.

Coffee? Maybe if you use flex...

Books for class? maybe next semester

paper for printing? well you have enough for maybe a week...

paycheck? not coming for another 2 weeks and then will have to be used to pay off my debt

maybe i an sell my liver?

Laundry? HAH all the quarters have been turned into dollars.... maybe if i rub old dryer sheets on them it will cover up the smell...

Loan? yeah right - i'll never make the money back

here's to being broke.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Ice Tea

Despite the South's constant attempt to rid the world of Unsweetened No Lemon Ice Tea in drink and mix form I have discovered that it is possible to make "Just Plain Ice Tea" from scratch. I know - scary concept - but it is okay - you'll survive.

Some key things to note on making "JP Ice Tea":

1. Make sure to use a tea bag of a tea you actually enjoy.

2. You must make hot tea - you cannot just put tea bags in cool or room temperature water - heat the water than add tea bags (See picture) Hot water takes less time and provides better taste even though it does take longer to cool.

(Left: 2 tea bags in hot water seeping for 10 minutes Right: 3 tea bags seeping for 24 hours)

3. When Refridgerating make sure it is not too cold to freeze.

4. You must also remember that you made the Ice Tea and Drink it!

Yes, I know, I'm always so helpful!!!

Have a Spec-ama-tacular Day!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Stalker Link and Facebook

So while showering today I began to think (you know we all do our best thinking in the shower). And I thought and thought and suddenly it hit me - Stalker Link. Stalker link is less stalkerish than facebook and we all hate it. We hide personal information and our pictures and majors and box numbers and extentions because "people don't have the right to know that" and "I don't want weird people looking me up."

Riiiiighhht because the same people who hide information on IrisLink/Stalker Link don't freely put it on facebook.

(Left: Stalker Link, Right: Facebook)

Why the double standard? Simply because you entered it? Wasted ten hours putting it there and clicking add to friends?

Oi I understand this not! Why can't we have one system for email. One system for messenging. One system for lazy friend making. One system for announcing events. And above all WHY CAN'T WE HAVE ONE SYSTEM FOR STALKING PEOPLE?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The terror of Facebook

Facebook - Why did I do it?!

I swore to myself for a year that I wouldn't sign up. I held to it. I loved it. I had free time.

But NOOO I haadd to just go what the heck I have MySpace so why not TRY facebook??!?!?!?!


I still don't know how to do half the things on it but my entire day is spent wondering "has anyone added me to their friends list? or posted on my wall? or linked me to a picture?"

Why do we college students really care?

Why do I join buddy chats with people down the hall from me when I could just stand up, walk down the hall, and go see their beautiful face.

We are lazy. Thats it. Nice and simple laziness.

Thanks Facebook for making me even more lazy.
Now I don't need to hang out with someone to establish friendship all I have to do is click a button.

Thursday, February 02, 2006



Check that out.
Its a site with my race results.
Wicked cool eh?

Sorry I haven't posted much - school just started up again.

Will be back in the swing in a few days!!!

Till then enjoy dreaming of me.

And my massive pine cone.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Desert Ecology


I'm Baaaaackkkk.....

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Last Blog Before AZ

I leave tomorrow. Thats it. Wow. Just a few more hours.

I made it back to school safely, dealt with a few computer problems, unpacked my small bag and left my bags for the Desert aside. It is so weird knowing that tomorrow I leave and will be away from my "other family" for a month.

I've missed these girls for 2 and a half weeks and now add at least 3 more on to the tally. It almost hurts more to see them knowing that I will be missing them again in just a few hours.

So here's how the trip is shaping up:

Itinerary for Students and Parents Desert Ecology 2006

T Jan 3- Meet 7:30 pm Kline 102 for weigh in
W Jan 4- Lv 10am- Travel to Gallup NM
R Jan 5- Arrive 6pm- Gallup NM
F Jan 6th- Breakfast at Waffle House, travel to Petrified Forest, AZ, then to Grand Canyon Group Campground, South Rim.
S Jan 7th- Grand Canyon – to Anza Borrego Park, Borrego Springs, CA
S Jan 8- Sabbath and Exploration
M Jan 9- Anza Borrego, Seasonal Precipitation Desert- Visitors Center, Palm Springs Trail
T Jan 10- Anza Borrego- Slot Canyons and Badlands
W Jan 11- Anza Borrego- Field Projects
R Jan 12- Anza Borrego- Field Projects
F Jan 13- Anza Borrego- Day in Joshua Tree National Park
S Jan 14- Anza Borrego- Day at Sonny Bono Wildlife Refuge and Salton Sea, Birding
S Jan 15- Anza Borrego- Sabbath- church in Julian
M Jan 16- to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
T Jan 17- Organ Pipe- Bull Pen Trail Ferns and Saguaros in Desert with Even Precip
W Jan 18- to Patagonia, stop at Desert Museum, Tucson
R Jan 19- Patagonia State Park (AZ), Birding on Lagoon in AM, Observations PM
F Jan 20- Patagonia State Park- Madera Canyon and Sky Islands,
S Jan 21- Sonita Preserve then to Corpus Christi, Goose Island State Park
Sun Jan 22- Goose Island State Park, Sabbath (rest, beach)
M Jan 23- leave for home, 10 am
T Jan 24- Arrive Messiah College 3pm

Yikes. Anyway, here goes. I love you all - see you on the 24th!