"A mind once stretched by a new idea can never regain its original dimensions." ~Oliver Wendall Holmes

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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Number 10: Finish Atlas Shrugged

When I was a teenager, I found The Fountainhead on a bookshelf in my greatgrandmothers house.  I picked it up and read it, although it was long and philosophical.  I enjoyed the story and the philosophy behind it.  Rand's philosophy is called Objectivism.  I've always wanted to read Atlas Shrugged, but was it was a daunting task due to the size of the book and the brain power required to read it.  This book is not a "fluff" book.  It is not an easy read.  You must think it through while reading.  

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.
—Ayn Rand

In the book, Rand describes a dystopian society where the government officials had all the power, but no brains.  They make decisions based on their own gain and are considered loofers on the societies capital.  They over regulate everything and institute very "robin hood" like policies of taking from the rich and giving to the poor (themselves excluded).  In many ways, the government system reflects similarities with the corruption of some government officials today.  In response to the pressure from society to give everything away including their minds (ideas), all the best industrialists of the time "go on strike" by leaving society and forming a new town deep within the mountains where they cannot be found.  The economy collapses and the "moochers" dont know what to do about it. The title of Atlas Shrugged refers to the mythical Atlas who carries the world on his shoulders.  The only way to teach people to be self dependent is to shrug off their load and let them carry it for themselves.

The book is also a love story and a science fiction story.  The philosophy is interesting.  Her perspective and the way it is presented are unique.

Number 34: Add some colorful sand to my collection

I collected 7 new jars of Hawaii sand for my collection.
 First, the beach at Ho'okena, which was our first campsite.  The sand was a dull grey color.
Then, Kealakekua recreation area.  The sand was a dark grey.
 On the trail out to the green sand beach, there was alot of rusty orangish red colored sand.
 And then, of course, the famous green sand beach which is really more of an olive color from the olivine mineral in the rocks at that site.

Just as famous is the black sand beaches of Hawaii.  These are made from lava rocks that are crushed by the waves and very course and uncomfortable to walk on.

While horseback riding in Waipio Valley, I noticed alot of sand in the streams, but we couldnt get off of our horses, so I asked the guide to collect some for me.  The sand was grey.
Hapuna beach had the finest, softest sand I've ever seen.  Very light and powdery and tan colored.
Here are my samples on the shelf in my classroom, where my students have already been enjoying taking a look at them.

Number 29: Camp at a National Park

 For spring break this year, a fellow teacher and I camped our way around the big island in Hawaii.  One of our camping stops was Volcanoes National Park. 
 We camped two nights at the Namakanipaio Campground located in the park.
 The Nene is Hawaii's state bird and apparently endangered.  There were signs everywhere about the bird, but we one saw them once near the shore.  The signs at the campground assured us that there would be plenty of bird all over the site, and that we should not feed them or harass them in anyway.  
 We drove the bottom half of the park road on the first day in the park to see the most recent lava flow.  We did not do the 13 mile round trip strenuous hike over lava to see the actual currently flowing lava, but we were ok with that.
 We drove the top part of the park on the second day and we went late in the day so that we could see the orange glow of the lava lighting up the sky from within the crater.
 We could even see the glow from out campground out the window of our tent.

Although we never saw the elusive Nene, we did see plenty of free range chickens!!!

First thing of the list...done!!!