March 22

So apparently the Stamp Act of 1765 and I have something in common. We both came into this world on the same day, March 22nd (although there is about a 230 year difference). Many other things occurred on this particular day throughout history also: the Arab league was formed, the ERA was passed in Congress, and the Hummer came into existence. However, I feel like, as an American, the Stamp Act may be the most important thing that shares this day with me. It planted the drive in colonist to separate from Great Britain. Which led to the colonist gaining independence and forming the United States of America

The act was a direct tax hoping to raise funds for the defense of the newly acquired American territories gained in the Seven Years’ War. It was aimed at all materials printed for commercial and legal use in the colonies, even cards and dice. However, the colonist reacted negatively—riots, violence, refusal—and England repealed the legislation. But the deed was done. For many the stamp act created anger and frustration; for others, determination. Its existence sparked the formation of the Sons of Liberty; the group of men that led riots in Boston and other places. And it also united politically active men across the colonies, all wanting independence. This act along with other famous ones all accumulated to the colonist wanting freedom from England. Which eventually led to the American Revolution. And then the U.S. was formed, and 200 or so years later I was born here. Personally, I think that’s pretty interesting and an important date I share with history.

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Ashes over Dust

The artist Gavin Aung Than has created over 180 cartoons, each with an inspirational quote to guide it. Although each one is meaningful and has a message, number 111 really spoke to me. The quote used in this one is from Jack London, an American writer in the early 20th century (however, Than acknowledged that the quote may be embellished by the literary executer). The quote and cartoon is titled “I would rather ashes than dust”; it basically means exactly what you would think it does. The cartoon depicts an alien that is gifted with this disk that allows him to preform amazing, heroic acts. During the illustration of them he says how he would rather “burn out in a brilliant blaze” than die sedentary and by “dry-rot”. But, the alien realizes that the power has a limited time, and in the end he does “burn out in a brilliant blaze”. However, the disk was passed on to earth and someone found it and now has that power.

I really like the meaning behind this quote (and the illustration that goes along with it). As Than describes in his little summary at the end, the “power” the alien has is something we all have. Everyone has the opportunity to do something amazing in life, rather than remain still and waste away. And like the disk had a limited time, so do we. The amount of time we have is unknown, but it is limited and we shouldn’t waste it. I also really like the ending, the alien passing on the power. The idea of leaving something of you behind once you’re gone really speaks to me. Doing something important for people to remember you by or passing on your knowledge to others is important to me and hopefully I will do just that when my time is up. I think the concept behind the cartoon is important and should be strived for throughout life.

Cartoon here: http://zenpencils.com/comic/111-jack-london-i-would-rather-be-ashes-than-dust/

Necessary to Slow Down

Everybody knows that as we age, we get slower, right? Well, recently New York Times released an article detailing this process in running. It seems logical to assume that age would equal to a slower pace in running, and it is. However, there wasn’t much research as to why that occurred until Paul DeVita, a professor of kinesiology and president of the American Society of Biomechanics, held an experiment in Winston-Salem, N.C. with 110 experienced runners between the ages of 23 to 59. What he discovered was surprising; people dropped their speed and stride by about 20% each decade. The researchers realized that the older we get the less we use lower leg muscles, like ankles and calves. Our running strides become smaller; therefore, we are slower. And, there “is evidence … that those muscles age earlier than other muscles in the body do” creating a bigger chance for “Achilles’ tendon and calf injuries”. So it seems that our bodies purposefully slow down to decrease a risk of injury.

To me it makes total sense, an older person is slower at running than a young person. But, it is interesting how. In the article, it not only mentioned shorter strides, but weaker steps and not raising as high into the air as younger people do. That all seems logical and a given, but the fact that our bodies may do that on purpose is remarkable. Our body’s muscles realize that they are not as strong as they once were, and then purposefully use those weaker muscles less to prevent injuries or straining. So, older experienced runners are slower, not because they may not be as in shape or don’t have the endurance, but because their bodies literally won’t allow them to go faster. It could almost be classified as “’a protective adaptation’ to slow down”. So no matter how in shape an older person is, they can never be as fast as before. It seems to be a necessary unfairness in life: only the young are allowed to run fast.

Article here:
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/09/09/why-runners-get-slower-with-age-and-how-strength-training-may-help/?hpw&rref=health&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0

Writing

Writing. Not my favorite assignment. I never really been great at writing, so maybe that’s why I don’t like doing it. Honestly, the only time I really sit down and write something of significant importance is school related (and now because of technology, I really don’t ‘write’ I type on my computer.) I haven’t ever really liked writing either; maybe it’s because I’m lazy and writing just makes my hand hurt so I’ve stayed away from it. Before, I have tried to keep a journal and I always failed at keeping it up to date. I’ll just get tired of it and stop writing in it; even keeping planners is hard for me, I just don’t like writing in them. However, if I’m assigned to write something, I will write- I won’t short hand it, I’ll say everything I need to.

Although writing long drawn out stories is not my favorite (and just time-consuming) I still write things like everyone else. I have a calendar that sits on my desk where I write short-hand notes about everything I need to accomplish. I text like everyone else (though if it’s going to be a long text, I’ll usually just call that person). In emails I’ll sometimes ‘write’ something; usually just a small phrase though, nothing too elaborate. However, I don’t really consider the little notes or typed phrases in a text ‘writing’; if it’s more than a paragraph than in my mind I actually wrote something (like this blog post), otherwise it’s just necessary words. But, for the pure enjoyment of writing just to write I do not partake in. Maybe that means I’m just not creative enough with words or some other hidden meaning; but, bottom line- I don’t write (if I ever found something I really need to say that I’m very passionate about and couldn’t just tell someone, then maybe I’ll write). But at the moment- no. Perhaps that’s why I love to read; someone else can do the writing and I can enjoy reading it.