Briefly

Marine Bio drags on as usual, randomly. Yet Topics in 19th and 20th Century Architecture overshadows it by far, stretching a good 2 hours in length, requiring prodigious amounts of reading, and intimidating me already. Rather like some of the 50,000,000,000 slides he showed this lecture. Good thing it’s only 7 weeks long.

Also I now realize that I am disadvantaged because I have no access to myWPI where he will post all future important information. Drat.

– KF –

Let’s Think For A Moment

On the shuttle ride to Clark today I saw a sign pasted to the back of a roadsign. It shouted, BIOTECH FOODS – UNLABELED, UNTESTED, AND IN YOUR NEXT MEAL! I thought about that for a while and decided that in truth the sign didn’t actually mean anything. The group that put it up obviously has an objection to bioengineered foods, and they wish to gain converts to their cause. Yet how do they do this? Try to terrify the general public into mindless hate by posting meaningless but scary-sounding signs (that link isn’t them, specifically, just a couple of many you might find).

I would be interested to hear their reasoning behind their anti-bioengineered food, because I’m betting that they are also against pesticides and pollution. If that is the case, then it would be advantageous for them to support bioengineering to some extent: bioengineered crops reduce, if not eliminate, the need for some pesticides and they are usually hardier, needing fewer fertilizers. In fact, everything we eat to day has been “bioengineered” – people have selected for certain traits in food for millenia; according to the FDA, “…growers have been selecting certain beneficial characteristics such as faster growth or sweeter fruit since our nomadic hunter ancestors began to cultivate crops thousands of years ago. Virtually every domesticated crop plant species today differs greatly from its original, wild form due to human intervention.” This group protesting against bioengineered food then, to be consistent, must also refuse to eat any white eggs (they are naturally brown), orange carrots, or commercially-grown wheat, just to name a few.

It is true that genetically changing organisms can have negative effects. It may select for hardier insects that can eat the changed plants, or perhaps result in cross-breeding with weeds that then become difficult to eliminate. I am unsure the extent to which this trouble can happen; I recall from Bio 101 that much trouble has occured as a result of misuse of genetic manipulation and pesticides. To do some research on the dangers of bioengineering I (desiring to make this as internet-friendly as possible) did a Google search for “dangers of bioengineering.” The first site to come up is Raise the Fist, an apparently fanatical and unreliable source that appears happily undemonstrative of the tone of many anti-bioengineering groups.

In the end, of course, the sign remains pasted there in view of the whole road. People may read it and fear, or they may read it and think. Hopefully they will take the latter course of action. Or we could all just laugh about it.

As a little note on my life, my Marine Bio exam went easily, probably due to my diligent studying. It is easier to be studious in our apartment than in a dorm; that advantage I must give to living away from friends. Also, Jess and Tiffany both got A’s on papers that I edited, which says either something about their writing abilities or my editing abilities, or the combiation of the two. Rain has consistenly dripped the last few days, reminding me very much of home and thus making me happy. If there were mountains here, I’d hardly know I was back East. Finally, I am learning how to live more by myself and less with other people; this involves me attempting not to worry about if that is a good or bad development. I just appreciate time I have with friends, but try not to bemoan the loss of closeness – after all, when I go back to Seattle for good (God willing) these relationships will slowly peter out anyway. Living off campus has simply accelerated the process.

– KF –

Life in this Universe

Yes, it’s that time again: the time when all 3 of my professors put their evil scheming heads together and decide to have all our exams within four school days of each other. One tomorrow, one on November 4th, one on November 5th. I realize that this is a handy amount of material to test on, since in that time you can cover two (or, if you are my Geology professor, five) chapters. I can hardly complain; after all, I do alright on the exams, and my only pressure is to get an A on my Math exam to make up for my dismal performance on the last one. I have gotten 100% on all our quizzes also, so hopefully that will help.

My WPI class starts on Thursday. They do an odd thing where the first day of class, tomorrow, is actually a Friday schedule; this at least exempts me from worrying about that. Worry, because I am terrified that I will forget to attend that class all the time: such a creature of habit am I that I will probably just hang around Clark as usual until 1:00 and suddenly have a heart attack when I realize my WPI class started then. Ian has kindly offered to call me as a reminder, and embarrassing as that may feel I will probably have to take him up on that offer. Kind boy.

I have spent much time thinking about why we’re alive. Obviously the base reason is that my parents had a good night one August; but more than that, if somebody asked me why they were alive, what could I say? There’s the obviously Christian answer: “God has a plan for us, and that’s enough to know.” For a non-believer, what then? I cannot concieve of why one would bother to stay alive if you didn’t know that there was some reason you exist. I think many people make their own reasons: to make money, to become famous, to save peoples’ lives, to have fun. But if you are unhappy with life, why not just end it all? Perhaps that is why 30,622 people killed themselves in 2001, 712 of them in Washingon. They found this: that “The bleakness of the landscape is unimaginable. It is as friendless and alien as a Dali painting. Ordinary concerns, such as work or friends, have no place here. Futility muffles thought; time elongates cruelly. Who is to blame for this situation? Those with depression think it must be them. Pointlessness and self-loathing govern them. So the natural final step is suicide. People with depression don’t kill themselves to frighten an errant boyfriend. They kill themselves because it is the obvious and right thing to do at that point. It is the only positive step they can think of…” (from here). I know that feeling, and if I was braver perhaps I wouldn’t be here today…thank God I am, though, because life is so very worth living despite what hormones and emotions may say contrariwise.

I’m afraid that BCS – fine as that institution is – calluses us to the idea of Christianity. I left BCS feeling that Christianity was just something I “did,” not a real true belief. Church-going remained a holdover most of last year, and not attending forced guilt more than anything else. But when you strip away all the BCSishness of it, I find the most amazing thing: that cliche is true. More and more I am realizing personally that I don’t live for tomorrow, or to see my friends, or to graduate from college (??). I live for Christ, and to find where my life fits into His grand plan. Jeremiah 29:11 says it all: ” ‘I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” If that isn’t affirming and a good reason to live, I don’t know what is.

– KF –

We’re playing around with some stuff (if you’re EE or CS you’ll like that link) on this site… Right now it’s just the color of my links & color of our comments boxes. Check both out, and while you’re there maybe you want to make a comment!

– KF –

:-)

Wow, life is good. Today was 50 degrees and sunny, a lovely change after the *ahem* snow of earlier this week. The leaves are all in the last stages of falling and color-changing so the ground is coated sometimes past my ankle with bright, crunchy leaves. Ian and I went for a walk into the ‘burbs for over an hour, finding a lovely little house for sale; I estimate it would sell for between $150,000 and $250,000 – unimaginably cheap at home, but pretty standard around here. We dreamed about it for a bit, then came back down to earth.

Though I spent a long time studying, too, this walk really does perk up my day. It was relaxing and invigourating to be outside for a change, and also to realize that we used the day well, surely one of the few gorgeous days left in this fall. Sometimes I get a glimpse of why people like it so much here.

– KF –

Long Day = Short Blog

Funny how even just 3 days of class drains a body. Have been working lots & sleeping very poorly, much to Ian’s consternation. I have to edit a couple things and then will be able to submit my internship app to the Seattle Times; I couldn’t find anything about internships on the King County Journal’s site so I emailed the head of the HR department, who replied saying she forwarded my inquiry to an editor. Hopefully somebody I contact will be interested. Please, God. Had a worse-than-normal friend sighting week: only met with Lesley once for lunch, and she was it. I miss having friends; I do hear rumors of Kristin and Jos visiting on Sunday, but I try not to get my hopes up too much. Such good things don’t happen to me.

Vangie and I beat Luke and Ian at Risk by being girls: we split the board in half, agreed to never attach each other, and conquered – also flummoxing Luke to no end. He couldn’t understand why she let me have all of Europe, Africa, and South America, and why I didn’t try to take Asia or Australia or her water colonies. The power of being a girl is we’re happy to share, so actually winning is less of a priority. I think Luke’s brain nearly exploded trying to get it. Ian wisely kept his peace and said nothing.

– KF –