Corn on the Cob

So today I basically became aware of the fact that everything in the world is corn. That burger you ate last night, yeah, probably some corn in it. Chicken nuggets? Mhmm. Even some soda’s contain that lovable little yellow vegetable.

Why do I want you to care about corn? Well, I’m less concerned with the fact that we are eating vegetables and more concerned about how this vegetable came to be. Back in the earliest days of people corn was minuscule. So how did corn get to be to the delicious size that it is today?

Presumably, one day someone decided to eat a piece of this tiny corn. Like all corn, he failed to completely digest it, and that little hunk of corn was planted in a pile of “enriched soil”. Over the years, people continued to snack on the larger hunks of corn and the smaller pieces slowly faded away. Fast forward a ridiculous number of years and poof, corn on the cob.

However, this new corn suffers from a fatal flaw. In all our efforts to create the David Hasselhoff of corn, we overlooked something significant. It’s only one vegetable. One crazy bug or insect could severely damage corn production and leave us in a very bad, very awkward situation.

It seems that in many cases with advances in technology (in this case corn technology) we don’t always think in the long term. Sure, eating an entire large pizza from Dominoes seems like a chance to achieve Nirvana. Yet, I’m almost certain you’re stomach will be throwing a tantrum the next day. When will we stop looking for short term answers to long term questions? maiz-y-teosinte1

Unmodified picture from: http://lacienciaysusdemonios.com/2009/10/06/el-huerto-evolutivo-4-del-teocinte-teosinte-al-maiz-la-evolucion-es-la-repanocha/

Technology and the Public

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Look out your back window. What if I told you that the house just down the street- yeah that one- was actually a nuclear reactor? How would you react? If you have any sense of self preservation, you’ll probably freak out a little bit. In fact, you’d probably try to move as far away as possible as quickly as you could. Hello Tahiti. Yet, for as long as that house had been there, you’d been living safely in blissful ignorance.

This brings up an interesting question, should the “public” be aware of everything that is going on around them? On the one hand, through popular culture and movies we seem to be ingrained with this fascination for government conspiracies. Basically, we are trained to hate when the government doesn’t tell us something. Yet, how do you explain to a single mother of four children both the danger and benefits of a nuclear reactor?

As a budding engineer, I hastronaut-11050_960_720.jpgave this ingrained belief that ultimately the expansion of the technological universe will benefit human kind. To achieve this, we have to keep experimenting, taking risks, and learning from our failures. Sadly though, if you tell someone that they could erupt into flames at any minute, they instantly want to shut down whatever threatens them; and they are most certainly right to do this. But are they? At the other end of the spectrum, does the end justify the means? Maybe the answer isn’t as black and white as it seems.

 

 

 

New Years Resolution

Yes. I am aware it’s February… mid-February. However, it’s never too late to fulfill a New Years resolution. This year is the first year, in a long while, that I’ve actually decided to make one. However, in penance for my past few years hiatus, I’ve made quite a few. The vast majority of these I’ve already accomplished or are progressing swimmingly. Of these, there is one that is turning out to be even more beneficial than I initially expected.

At the end of of last semester I was functioning on about  5-6 hours of sleep a night. I’d go to bed late and wake up bright and early for classes that I’d sleep through. I don’t drink coffee as I don’t like the flavour (also, I hear coffee habits can get to be expensive and I’m a college student… do the math). With this in mind, my resolution has been to get 8 hours of sleep per night.

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Aside from a few relapses here and there, I’m averaging 8 hours a night. Now sure, this means I miss a lot of stuff that happens in the wee hours of the morn’, but I’m actually able to function during the day… so it balances out.

Why did I feel like I needed to blog about this? Well, quite simply to anyone who is planning to survive college it’s very important to find your limits. Every now and then it’s good to even push them, yet doing well in classes isn’t about sporadic moments of brilliance; it’s about endurance. As a second semester freshman, the value of sleep is supreme

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For the Sake of Convenience

Recently, something very dear to me suffered a severe injury. Aside from prompting frequent mental debates about the frailty of human existence and other subjects of that ilk, I find myself frustrated more than anything else. This frustration bothers me. Yes that may seem a bit redundant at first, but my problem is not so much the actual frustration, more so the fact that this event cause me to get frustrated so easily. Which is frustrating. I suppose I should start at the beginning…

About a week ago my friends and I were watching a wonderfully brilliant show starring world renowned actor Zach Levi (if you don’t know what show he is in, look it up, and then thank me later). At the very end of the show, I pull out my phone to text my sister. However, for some reason my phone remains dark. I press the home but again. Nothing. I’ll admit, I got a bit panicky. This was a relatively new phone and I rely on it heavily for college life. After a few minutes of button mashing, I realize I can use the button on the top of my phone to start my phone back up. After a few searches on the internet, my friend discovered how to indirectly fix my home button problem by adding a virtual button to the screen at all times.

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Now sure, this may seem like a trivial little problem. My home button no longer works, big deal. Yet, it’s incredibly frustrating to reflexively use the home button, have nothing happen, realize it doesn’t work anymore, and press the onscreen button. This finally brings me to what has been bugging me.

People these days hate the inconvenient. We are so used to instantaneous gratification that when something forces us out of our routine, we blow a gasket. BOOM. What does this mean for us as a society? If we continue to grow and become more and more reliant on technology and it’s convenience, what will separate us from the machines that regulate our lives?

 

*the unmodified image is from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:IPhone_4_top_and_sides.JPG

EARTH DAY!!

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Today is EARTH DAY! Every year on April 22 Earth day is celebrated. The whole idea behind Earth Day is if the public could get energized and excited about air and water pollution that would in turn energize more people around the world. As a result each year millions of Americans take the streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate healthy, sustainable ways of living. Earth Day is a great way to challenge the environmental community to convey knowledge to those who may be in the dark and show those who don’t know the little steps that help one live a more sustainable life.

This year on the Lehigh Campus, like years before, Lehigh is hosting a Earth Day fair where organizations around campus set up tables showing people ways to live a more sustainable lifestyles, educating people on new technologies that have been created and fun games that promote sustainable practices.

What can you do? There are little and big things an individual can do to make a difference. From buying solar panels and constructing LEED certified buildings to recycling and reusing your plastic bottles one can make a difference. It is much easier to do small things so here is a list of easy things to do:

1. Switch your light bulbs to compact florescent light bulbs

2. Plant a tree or two

3. Turn off your lights

4. Unplug your chargers (they are using electricity even if your phone isn’t plugged in)

5. Carry your own reusable water bottle

6. Recycle

7. Carpool

and there are many more. Make a change and make a difference!

The history of Earth Day: http://www.earthday.org/earth-day-history-movement

Eco-friendly Products

Debates about how to become more sustainable, how to prevent more global warming, deforestation, loss of fresh water, loss of diversity occur more than one can count. Prevention of more harm to our planet is crucial but cleaning up our already wasted products is equally important.

recycled plastic Adidas sneakers

Over the years many products have been created using recycled plastic bags or bottles. From carpets to shirts to bags, plastics have been recycled to serve another, hopefully longer lasting, purpose. Adidas is jumping on the bandwagon by partnering with Parley for the Oceans to develop products that are made from plastic waste that originates from the ocean. Starting in 2016, Adidas in all 2,900 retail stores will retire from using plastic bags in order to support the environment and encourage everyone involved to raise awareness about ocean pollution. Like Adidas, Patagonia is trying to rid their materials of toxic chemicals, H&M is the world’s largest purchaser of organic cotton and has set up a recycling program.

Many companies in the different industries are making little sustainable steps towards helping the world. Little steps here and there do not seem to make a difference but it causes a chain reaction. Don’t be afraid to be the one to make the first step in the right direction!! Every step counts!!

http://ecowatch.com/2015/04/21/adidas-ocean-plastic/

Lehigh University holds Earth Week

It’s EARTH WEEK! From April 19th to 25th Lehigh University is hosting Earth Week! From guest speakers to the Earth Day Fair to Sustainability workshops students get the opportunity to learn about Earth’s natural beauty as well as how conserve and preserve that beauty. The schedule of events can be found at: http://sustainability.lehigh.edu/calendar-events.

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Lehigh University has been making a sustainable effort all around campus. The Bethlehem Farmer’s Market is held weekly when crops are in season therefore allowing the students to buy locally grown food while supporting our local community. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the Community Gardens, Energy Conservation Month, RecycleMania competition, SustainabLEHIGH to live in sustainable housing and to take classes in LEED certified buildings. There are many groups and clubs on campus that are also trying to expand the initiative by starting to compost and taking little steps to sustainability.

Farmers Market