- Ever stuggled with a problem, had someone explain it to you over and over until it hurts to think? And then, you find someone else to explain it and *WHAM!* you finally *get* it. That literal "OHHH! I get it!" is a pretty awesome thing to watch a kid experience. That is the reason I want to teach.
- Clean laundry smell. Yes, it's random, but I love the smell of clean laundry.
- Rain. Not drizzle or a downpour, but that constant grey mid-afternoon rain that goes on forever in Oregon. I love to listen to it, to be out walking in it, the rain dappling my face and oustretched hands, making millions of rings in the many street puddles, cascading down my car window as I sit, mesmerized by the many awesome properties of water.
- I love creating. doesn't matter much what I'm working on, be it a fingerpainting, a cake, or a term paper, I love the act of creating. Especially if there is fire or glue involved. Don't ask.
- A great song. Doesn't have to be a specific genre or by any particular artist. I like a good beat, a great voice, and a simple tune.
- Games. Board games, card games, made-up-on-the-spot games. Not to win, not to discover, just to be there, playing with a friend.
- Mom's christmas sugar cookies. Christmas is supposed to be about the birth of Christ, the season of giving, about family, about sharing. You take those cookies out of the equation and I'm gone. Okay, not literally, but I be very *not happy!*
- New backpacks. I'm not a purse girl, but I love backpacks. I don't know why.
- "Bliss." The feeling I get when I find a new Geocache.
- The smell of Lebanon in the winter. Home.
- Laughter. The sound of people laughing, not at anyone's expense, but just laughing, sharing a moment, a great idea. The feeling I get when I make an old person break their "wise old person" face into a big grin and hearty chuckle at a silly joke.
- I love accomplishment, not to gain praise or have pride, but to know that I *did* something. Which is not something I can say for my seminar paper at the moment.
- Dancing. The feeling of controlled movements that roll together into a fluid harmony. Not talking about strict waltzes... any dance that allows me to free the inner spirit.
- Writing. Putting words, thoughts, emotions, ideas, *myself* onto paper.
- I love photography. A great picture isn't worth a thousand words... a great picture doesn't need words. I love those pictures that keep your attention for hours, wondering if any human has ever sat on the clouds or touched the little stream or seen past the dark circles of eyes into the soul.
- Men: David James Elliott, Johnny Depp, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, George Clooney... the list will be updated later.
- I should put family and friends on this list, but I hope you know you're all more important to me than a silly list... that all I have to say about that.
- Blog comments. To know that someone out there read my drivel and cared enough to make a comment. That's the highlight for every blogger. *hint hint*
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Richard E. Leakey:
A Biography, A Comparison to Darwin, and An Evaluation
Can someone who has not gone to college to take classes and learn in a formal educational environment be considered an expert? Richard Leakey is a fine example of someone who has done just that. His work on human evolution and anthropology is entirely field-based expertise and expands Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to show how humans evolved over time.
Richard E. Leakey's book, Origins, was published in 1977, eight years after the discovery of 1470, better known as "Lucy." The book was translated into ten languages and sold over 500,000 copies worldwide. An Amazon search brings up approximately 45 titles by or about Leakey. Most of his books concern human evolution, and he is regarded by many as an expert in his field.
Born in 1944, Leakey never intended to become a biologist, let alone a leading expert in evolutionary theory and biology. He was six years old when his parents took him on an excavation and he found his first bone, the jaw of an extinct species of giant pig. Upon seeing their child utterly engrossed in his own silent work (unusual for a six-year-old) not far from them, Leakey's parents investigated and usurped his find. Leakey tells in his autobiography, "Every time I see this specimen in the collection of Kenya's National Museum, I remember the incident. Indeed, I often wonder if it contributed to my original firm decision to avoid at all costs a profession that involved excavation and the search for fossils!" (Leakey, One Life, 29).
But Leakey, through many events, became a sort of archaeologist himself. In 1972, Leakey's team discovered what is often considered the "missing link" in the human evolutionary saga, Lucy. Named for the Beatles song playing in camp at the time of discovery, Lucy was of the species Homo habilis, one of the earliest known varieties of hominid. Most scientists and biologists believe the earliest variety, Ramapithecus, to be more evolved than the Australopithecus genus, but less evolved than the Homo genus. However, scientists are not sure if humans (Homo sapiens sapiens and the Homo genus) evolved from either Ramapithecus or Australopithecus, but evidence suggests Ramapithecus was an intermediary between the other two genera. Leakey bases his evidence for this trend on bone structures, mainly the shape of the skull. He wrote in Origins Reconsidered,
"The cranium that goes by the now famous accession number 1470 was clearly of the large-brain, small-cheek-teeth type of hominid. With a cranial capacity of close to 800 cubic centimeters, 1470 was obviously a good candidate for Homo habilis, as my colleagues repeatedly told me. However, I insisted on publishing it as Homo sp., meaning, yes I agree it is Homo, but I'm not prepared to say what species it is... For my caution, I was roundly criticized… These days I believe that this is probably correct" (Leakey, Origins Reconsidered, 133)
There is still controversy over Lucy's exact taxonomy.
The Leakey Foundation's website recounts more of Richard's life:
"In the 30 years following Leakey's first expedition, he and his team of paleoanthropologists unearthed more than two-hundred fossils. Many of the fossils were of high quality, and the most famous (with Alan Walker in 1984), "Turkana Boy," a Homo erectus roughly 1.6 million years old, is one of the most complete skeletons ever found… Although no longer active in fieldwork, Richard Leakey, as one of the foremost authorities on wildlife and nature conservation, continues to educate others about the dangers of environmental degradation through his many lectures and books" (Leakey Foundation).
Richard Leakey's work on human evolution depends almost entirely upon Charles Darwin's work. Darwin wrote about natural selection and how species change over time. He said in The Descent of Man: "The early male forefathers of man were probably furnished with great canine teeth, but as they gradually acquired the habit of using stones, clubs, and other weapons for fighting their enemies or rivals they would use their jaws and teeth less and less. In this case the jaws, together with the teeth, would become reduced in size" (Leakey, Origins, 74). Darwin could not have known about hominid teeth or how humans possibly evolved: the first hard biological evidence of this was not unearthed until a century later.
Darwin's argument for evolution had a few problems which could not be ignored. First was time: Leakey writes in the introduction to Darwin’s Origin of Species, "He knew that the geological phenomena he would witness would not fit into the 6,000-year timescale calculated on a literal reading of the Bible" (Darwin 13). Darwin could see from the number of fossils collected, and from geologic strata, that the Earth had existed much longer than the Bible permitted. Estimates ranged widely, but Darwin put his Earth at approximately three-hundred-million years old, based on estimated rates of erosion of the North and South Downs area in England. Modern estimates suggest the Earth is about four billion years old (Darwin 21).
Another of Darwin's problems was the lack of a significant fossil record. Scientists of his time could see and classify different species and varieties, but they couldn't establish a pattern relating ancient animals to modern animals because "linking" fossils or remains of intermediary species had not yet been discovered. Darwin explains, "Few transitional fossils seemed to exist, and physiological reasoning suggested that there was no conceivable gradual path from gills to lungs, or from a normal vertebrate fore-limb to a wing" (Darwin 15). This led biologists to believe that evolution, if it occurred at all, was at the hand of God. Darwin always insisted that evolution was gradual, rather than punctuated, but he was faced with a fossil record that seemed to confirm sudden changes (Darwin 15). Some scientists now believe evolution occurred in spurts, according to major changes in climate or habitat for a species.
Darwin also had trouble accounting for variation and heredity. Leaky writes, "He was particularly interested in the relative wide variations that can be seen in domesticated plants and animals, not only because of the analogy he drew between artificial and natural selection, but also because domesticated plants and animals seemed to him to offer the greatest hope for understanding the more general phenomena of inheritance" (Darwin 17). Darwin's contemporary, Jean Baptiste de Lamarck discussed a desire for change that caused a change to happen in the organism itself, and then to be passed on to its offspring. This "Lamarckism" as it is known, is a "use or disuse" theory. If an animal does not use a trait, the animal soon loses the trait. Likewise, if an animal possesses a trait that aids in its survival, the trait becomes more pronounced in its offspring. Leakey extends this idea to his own hominid research, using Lamarckism to account for hominid evolution.
Darwin had trouble accounting for human evolution in his first book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. While he never really addressed the issue in this book, he did write a minute amount. He identified what he believed to be a link between African apes and humans, and hypothesized that the human family evolved in Africa. Leakey's work suggests Darwin to have been correct, seeing as how all of the earliest hominid species have been found in Africa alone. "Darwin also formulated the notion that a complex of human-like characteristics—bipedal walking, tool making, and an enlarged brain—evolved in concert" (Leakey, Origins Reconsidered, 74). By the time Darwin published The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, he had theorized much about the origins of human history. "The hands and arms could hardly have been perfect enough to have manufactured weapons, or to have hurled stones and spears with true aim, as long as they were habitually used for supporting the whole weight of the body… or so long as they were especially fitted for climbing trees" (Leakey, Origins Reconsidered, 74). David Pilbeam, in Leakey's Origins Reconsidered, states, "For Darwin, the first evolutionary step our ancestors took away from the last common ancestry with the apes encompassed everything that came later to be identified—and valued—as 'human,' so plausible was it, so powerful an image, that it persisted until relatively recent times" (75). Darwin, unlike another of his contemporaries, Alfred Wallace, did not consider humans too intelligent, refined, or sophisticated to have natural selection apply to us.
Richard Leakey's work on human evolution greatly expounded Darwin's views. Humans did evolve, and Leakey's team uncovered much evidence to suggest this. Leakey writes in Origins,
"We left Ramapithecus, or rather the meager collection of fossil fragments that we know him by, tentatively exploring the forest fringes some nine to twelve million years ago. There then opens up an enormous fossil void until round about four million years ago. And it is not until the two- to three-million year stage that there is anything like enough hominid fossils for anyone to have a sensible conversation about. This yawning void is particularly frustrating because on one side of it there is just one creature, Ramapithecus, while milling about on the other side is a menagerie of hominids" (81).
The worst of Leakey's problems is, like Darwin's, the lack of a complete fossil record. The discovery of Lucy is special: it represents a nearly complete Homo habilis.
Richard Leakey didn’t disagree with Darwin’s work much at all. He expanded upon Darwin’s work, and due to the difference in time, was able to include some information about hominid genetics. Leakey wrote the introduction to Darwin’s The Illustrated Origin of Species, as well as abridging the edition. He writes at the end of the introduction, “...all aspects of modern evolution biology can be seen as party of a research programme inaugurated by The Origin of Species. It is without doubt the most import biological work ever written” (Darwin 43). The last statement is proof enough that Leakey agreed with Darwin’s work.
In order to evaluate Leakey and his work, we must examine his credibility. Can someone who has not gone to college to take classes and learn in a formal educational environment be considered an expert? Yes, they most definitely can be considered an expert! Leakey comes from a family of anthropologists/archaeologists. Both of his parents were known for great fossil discoveries in Africa; his mother even found one of the best-known examples of a Ramapithecus skull. Leakey, as mentioned above, never intended on following his family line into the sciences. Growing up in the African bush, having parents that took him on excavations, and helping his parents in their work earned Leakey the experience necessary to start out on his own. He never went to college, having never really passed his earlier classes with even mediocre marks. All of his life’s work is all he knows about archaeology and anthropology. Even without degrees and high distinction, Leakey has lectured around the world about his teams’ discoveries, about the need for more exploration, and about evolution. He expanded Darwin’s work, even introducing and abridging an edition of The Origin of Species. He is indeed a foremost expert on Kenya’s natural history and human evolution. Leakey’s field experience and team members who have credible degrees make him that much more valuable. Few people have the real-world experience he possesses. Richard Leakey has made a great name for himself in the subject of human evolution.Works Cited
Leakey, Richard E. Introduction. The Illustrated Origin of Species. By Charles Darwin. New York: Hill and Wang, 1979.
Leakey, Richard E. One Life. Salem, New Hampshire: Salem House, 1983.
Leakey, Richard E. and Roger Lewin. Origins. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1977.
Leakey, Richard E. and Roger Lewin. Origins Reconsidered: In Search of What Makes us Human. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
The Leakey Foundation. 10 Sept. 2005. 15 Nov. 2005.
I have a HUGE pot of turkey noodle soup stewing in my new stock pot right now (thanks for the pot and the turkey, Mom, I love you a million times. Even got the last bag of egg noodles in the whole town this morning).
One thought: I will receive more value in heat energy this term by burning my now-outdated textbooks than by trying to return them to the bookstore. Not joking.
I will stop blogging and start writing another paper now... sheesh.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
When I started working in the facility, my Grandma (who lives there) introduced me to a few nice ladies. I made friends of them, and tried to learn as much as I could from them when I was working. Even now, they tell me how to pick the right man, how to do this or that craft project, how to keep my skin healthy, how to do just about anything. The old-wives'-tales amuse me to no end, and the truth in every story is apparent. I'm certain lemon juice can solve any problem. If not, find a good man. :)
One lady taught my father and his siblings when they were young in Sunday School at the First Christian Church. She had the biggest smile. I remember she would always come down to breakfast later than everyone, but never too late to get any food. This was always when I'd try to sit down and have my break. So, being two lonely people in a huge dining room, I'd often sit down and have breakfast with her. We laughed and laughed! I'd tell her my boy woes, she'd tell me what to do about them. She'd tell me about her problems, I'd offer what help I could (usually just a kind word, a smile, and a big hug). If ever I had a surrogate grandmother, she was it. Idella was a wonderful lady.
In September 2004, her son made her move up to Forest Grove to be closer to him. I was sad she left our facility, but happy she could be closer to her family. I've missed her every day since she left. This morning, I was making some copies as I always do on the weekends, using the time it takes the copy machine to warm up to read the office log book (which contains major events of the facility: who died, who moved in/out, who broke what bone, who went to what hospital, etc.). There was a small note about halfway down the page, "Idella passed away." I read it, read past it, and then it hit me what I'd seen. I was immediately crushed. My sweet other Grandma was gone forever.
Idella taught me how to laugh. She taught me how to serve without selfish impulses. She opened my heart to old people, to love even if it means loss. My job would surely have ended before now if I'd not learned these things. I will miss her.
Idella, good morning my dear, I know you never understood all these newfangled computer things, but if you can read this, I love you. I've got your eggs and toast waiting, jelly too. I hope you're happy being the most beautiful flower to grace God's breakfast table today. Thank you for allowing me into your life, for being a great friend, for listening, for a lifetime of laughter, and for your love. May you sleep now in true peace.
Idella Osburn: Obituary
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Other notes: I like iced molasses cookies. You really can't eat too many Junior Mints. Long fingernails suck. I like wrapping presents. Getting up at 4am for work really sucks. I am SO tired of writing papers AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
*This is Jaggy's computer. Jaggy seems to have suffered some sort of mental dysfunction. Please wait while I reboot her system. Press any key to continue.*
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
EDIT: So apparently none of you knew anything about what I was writing so I've deleted the lines that were here. Thanks for not listening. Love you too.
Monday, November 21, 2005
(This is a poem I wrote a long, long time ago. Somehow, today, it's appropriate.)
The reflection I see
isn’t crystal clear
its hazy and tired
and stares back in fear.
Its scared of the days
and cries in the night
too afraid to argue
of what’s wrong or right.
It doesn’t know the difference
between fiction and fact
of the pictures
the mind's eye snaps.
Its inventful and cunning
smart but left unheard
for it has no mouth
and speaks not a word.
It has no eyes
nor any ears either
but there’s its face
staring back at me in the mirror.
I won’t look, I can’t look
the reflection’s not me.
One drop, then two,
the tears are set free.
The reflection is distorting.
The drops are coming fast.
I look up
and the cloud stares back.
The little mirror shakes
with ripples in the wind.
My mirror is a puddle.
My reflection is no more again.
Friday, November 18, 2005
The night started off well. I left work and was home in enough time to shower and get ready. Had a nail polish incident, but otherwise things were going great. Picked up a friend on the way to El Presidente, and arrived early to dinner (which is good considering the reservations were in my name). Dinner was awesome! The food was pretty good, not what I'm used to, but not bad at all. I sat and had conversation with some cool people. We were home by 7:30pm or so... The real party started off nicely too. Rachel's chocolate fondue went over very well, and we had snacks and drinks. People were behaving themselves and playing a game. I didn't really know where to go, plus all the boys there were either taken or I'd already dated them (so that means there were like, four guys, one ex). One guy clung to my sister like a clam in a hurricane. He seemed like a nice guy, but still, back off dude. People made their own drinks throughout the night.
After a bit, a few more people showed up (I don't think Emily or Rachel knew them, and they certainly weren't my friends): they came in, drank all the alcohol, and left without so much as socializing with the rest of us. Not to be rude, but go buy your own booze and get the fuck out of my house. Thank you. Rachel went down the street and invited some boys over. I appreciate that single boys came over. I do not appreciate said single boys chewing tobacco in my house. Chew grosses me out, and it was really rude for them to be muttering about alcohol, bits of chew being spit everywhere. Turn off.
Oh, and then there is the social conundrum... I'm told most guys, in the long run of things, like nice, normal girls. Emily, Rachel, and I are nice, very normal (but unique and fun) girls. We are not heavy drinkers, not even mild drinkers, just socially and then one here and there. I guess the fun thing to do is to pressure us into drinking. The game gets really old. Don't try to get me to drink, I don't want to, you aren't going to make me so back off. Alcohol won't make me have more fun, won't make me lose my inhibitions, it just makes me louder and more stubborn. If guys really like nice girls that aren't drinking all the time, WHY do they want to get us drunk!?
And then there was the dancing. I love to dance, but I need someone who can lead and actually knows what he's doing (I can follow certain kinds really well, but I'm by no means any good). I was playing some really good swing music, and the dumb boys from down the street complained the entire night about it. No, I don't care that you don't like my music, it's my house, like it or leave. No, I don't have heavy rock music on my computer; I actually have class. Please don't touch my computer--it's not yours and you didn't ask. Moreover, get out of my bedroom. You're not good enough to be in there. So I switched my swing music over to some lyrical ballads, then to some Disney music (seriously, who doesn't like to sing to Disney music?), then finally back to swing. What a nightmare. The dumb boys were trying to country swing, but they weren't very good. Rachel commandeered my computer and put on some country music, but that made it impossible for the rest of us to converse at more than six inches. The music had to go. I didn't get to dance (okay, the dumb boys tried to get me to country swing, but I am NOT going to dance with a guy when the only thing I can see is a lip full of chew).
The night wore on unil 1:00am, and I was ready for it to end two hours before that. How do I say, "I had a nice time until everyone came over" without offending anyone?
I have always had trouble being social. I thought throwing an upscale, classy party with nice, tactful people would help me ease out into the world a bit more. Not so. The two boys I really wanted there didn't show up. I don't like drinking, but that's all people wanted me to do. I felt pressured, overwhelmed, unwanted, and princessy the whole night (and I am NOT a princess!).
Bottom line: party sucked. I'm done being social for a while, there's nothing in it for me.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
School sucks. I'm having a rough go of things lately... total lack of motivation combined with a ton of homework to finish. I am so tired of writing papers! I figure I only have about seven left out of the thirty two I had this term; two big papers and five or so little ones. When will it END?!
Student teaching continues wonderfully. The kids in my classroom enjoy my lessons and seem willing to listen. I like my supervising teacher too--she's cool. I will be sad when my time there ends.
Friend woes: I have few friends. That's okay with me, I don't need many. I would really appreciate it if the few I did have weren't always busy... or if I could find myself a nice, honest, kind boy... someone smart and funny. Tall, dark, and handsome would be nice, but I just want someone that can make me laugh, that I can be a goofball with...
Tomorrow night is our cocktail party. I'm terrified of people. This could be interesting. Got myself a new dress (fits like a glove), painted my nails (seven coats, sparkley red), and have my hair all planned out (wash and go). I feel obligated to go, seeing as how it was my idea, but I just don't know about all this socializing stuff yet. Scary.
I've always had issues sharing, and I'm often being reminded of why lately... so please don't ask to borrow anything. Go out and spend the money yourself...
My roommates destroyed my room tonight while I was at work. I had a shitty day and came home to find my bedroom covered in plastic straws and cheap paper napkins. They also hid two full decks of cards in my room. I'll be finding cards for the next century! Not happy about this, especially today. I intended to clean the house before our party and get a few things ready, but instead I've been looking for these damn cards all night. I appreciate that my roommates were thinking of me, thinking it would be funny, but I didn't really appreciate the prank at all. Not laughing, probably will never be laughing about this.
I need to learn how to make links on this thingy. Lots of stuff going on in different places, and I'll try to get links posted for everyone... wish me luck.
I need a hug.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Yesterday was uneventful, aside from working 6 hours, homeworking for 8 hours, and still managing to find time for a party and movie in the evening. I was even in bed by 10pm. We watched "Donnie Darko." Weird, weird movie. I will have to watch it again to see if it was really that weird.
Today was insane! I got up at 0430 for work, was there by 0530. Things went pretty smoothly, but since I've been gone for two weeks, I had quite a few new residents to meet and get to know. I don't think anyone died in the two weeks I was gone, but some residents moved out (which sucks, but isn't as bad as when they die). My coworkers threw me a mini-party; it was nice. The cake was SUPER chocolatey! Tasties.
Off to go spend some "quality time" with a friend, hopefully things go well. I am feeling feisty today - my wrathful tongue may get ahead of my mind filter.
Made some hand-made rubber stamps by carving a pink rubber eraser with an x-acto knife. Things work well there, except that I'm a shitty rubber carver, so my star looks goofy. :)
My cousin had her baby last night, a boy, on his grandmother's (my aunt's) 50th birthday. Happy Birthday Aunt Patti! Congrats, Ashley, on your baby! Welcome to the family, Lucas!
Okay, that's all for now. I need caffeine.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Went to physics just to pick up a paper my prof had reviewed. Walked in and up to him, told him my name and asked for my paper, thanked him for reviewing it, and walked out. I'm not going to listen to a guy read overheads that are simply copied from the book. And he wonders why kids don't go to class... um... DUH!
Got home around noon and started on my HSTS paper. I'm writing about Richard Leakey, his life, and how his work compares to that of Darwin's. I also have to evaluate Leakey's work. 8-10 pages with footnotes and citations. I've never used a footnote before! Footnotes are oldschool... I'm used to MLA in-text citations (which I thought the entire university required, especially the science department). This could get interesting. I'm typing it single-spaced, so I have almost a whole page of drivel so far. :)
Lots of stuff to do, no time to do it. Must stop blogging before it take over my knitting time, TV time, and/or solitaire time. Homework schmomework, I'm going to find some chocolate.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Luckily, it seems I only have two papers left to write for homework today, so I may actually get a small break from the insanity tonight. Boomtown Disc 2 arrived in the mail, so I even have quality entertainment. Ooh, and my soup this weekend--the leftovers are incredible! Nothing like having homemade chicken noodle soup at hand when you're sick.
To the obnoxious brats, old people, and professors that made me sick: %$#@!!!!
To the makers of Aleve: I love you.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Not much going on otherwise. Last night I went to Dixon to sit in the hot tub with Patrick and Emily. It was warm on an otherwise freezing night. When we arrived, many people were already in the hot tub, but we found room. In no time at all, the lifeguard came over and told us that too many people were in the hot tub, that some people needed to get out. We were the last ones to get in, it wasn't our problem right? She was bitchy. Wow, she was really bitchy. Figured she could have had a better response had she been nicer... but in any case, she told the people who had been in longest to get out. They were unhappy, but they did. Kinda seemed snooty to me. We only stayed about half an hour. Too warm for me.
Still sitting in class... I've been knitting the last few days, and I'm hooked. Even brought my knitting to class - which is what I'll be doing as soon as I'm done blogging. Yup, I'm done now.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Well, in any case, I'm "working" right now. LOL, how's this for hard work? I don't really have any idea what this blog is going to be about, or how often I'll use it, but I'm sure it'll be "me" in a hurry.
Events of note:
Turned 22 last week... my crazy roommates threw me a great party. I love my friends so much. Wrote three papers this weekend, a 4-pager, a 10-pager, and a 20-pager... yuck! Froze my ass off at the OSU Marching Band Championships on Saturday. Great fun, but too cold. Created a blog --> this is my blog.