Hidden Mother

Last Saturday, I decided to go visit the Palmer Museum of Art here on Penn State campus. While I had gone once before last semester, the exhibitions are constantly changing. It just so happened that one of the exhibitions was called Hidden Mother. I found this slightly unnerving exhibition both symbolic of the everlasting relationship. And since it is almost Mother’s Day, I thought it would be interesting to blog about this exhibition.

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This exhibition portrays a bunch of pictures that were taken in the nineteenth-century. All of these pictures contain a child and his or her mother who is hidden or partially hidden from the picture. And there is some interesting information as to why these photos were taken in this way. In the nineteenth century, the child mortality rate was much higher than today. Therefore, it was a common occurrence to have portrait of the child in his or her early years as a commemoration in case the child did die. And because painting would be both costly and time consuming, photography was the best option. However, unlike the cameras today, taking a photo in the nineteenth century still required a length of time to complete. And in order to capture a clear photo, the subject needed to stay still – through the use of things like pedestals and braces. It was here that the problem arose. More often than not, infants and toddlers would not be able to stay still. Therefore, the mothers were enlisted to both stabilize the child as well as soothe them during the photography session. And to keep the mother out of the picture, the mother was either covered in a veil or out of the photo range. Yet, despite the attempts to cover the mother, these photos still have their haunting images – a feeling that the exhibition attempts to show.

When I first saw this photograph, I was taken back by the black ‘space’ behind the child. At first glance, it just seemed as if the photograph went wrong in the process, but a closer look revealed the black veil that was covering the mother. Especially for this photograph, the child looks almost sinister sitting on the veiled mother with a slight frown on her face. Another photograph I had seen showed the picture of the mother and her child – but her face was scratched out. Another photo showed a child in a carriage with the mother covering her face behind the carriage. There were funny pictures as well as ones that sent shivers down my back.

But despite it being slightly creepy at times, I thought that the theme of the hidden mother really rung true in reality. No matter what age you are, you mother is always there for you to lean on and trust. She was the one that gave you the feeling of safety and support as a child. However, she doesn’t come out and brag about her sacrifices, nor does she demand repayment. Instead, she is content to be in the background/shadows. In addition, by having the face covered, all of the photographs presented at the exhibition become more general and makes it easier for the viewers to relate to – each photo can represent everyone. The shrouded mothers are symbolic of all the mothers in the world.

Street Art

In this week’s Passion Blog, I wanted to look into the topic of street art. When these two words come up, I think of the name Banksy, an English graffiti artist who leaves behind satirical stencils.

The first time I heard about this person was during my sophomore English class. My teacher, in an attempt to show the class how different mediums could be used to advocate something or to get across a message, spent a great amount of time talking about a variety of artists. Thus, my goal today is to look at a few of his works of art that he left behind in various places and try to understand the underlying message.

The first stencil is one what many Banksy fans would recognize. It is the girl with the red, heart-shaped balloon. In a simple glance, you might think that this picture is really simple and just a nice picture. However, there can be a hidden message inside. First of all, notice the words at the right hand side of the photo. It says: “there is always hope”. We can probably infer that the phrase s talking about the picture. The picture is a young girl who has her hand stretched out towards a heart shaped balloon. Notice how the balloon is the only thing that has color. Everything else is black or gray, including the background that the stencil is on. This is drawing attention to it, and perhaps there is a deeper meaning behind this balloon. The red color could mean how important this balloon is. The heart shape can mean a variety of things. It can mean love, trust, innocence, or perhaps dreams. The action that the girl is making is another interesting point to notice. She is reaching out her arm, but it is not clear is she is reaching out to grab at the balloon, or letting it go. This open-ended painting allows for the viewer to try imagining the meaning, and thus gets them to think about the issue at hand. Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 8.35.18 PM


The other piece of artwork by Banksy that I wanted to take a look at is the painting about a painting. This one is slightly more humorous and light hearted, though it is still possible to get an underlying meaning out of it. Take a look at the picture below. This painting was snuck into a museum and laughs at the pricing of artwork. As you can see, the artwork with a stick figure drawn on it does not seem to be some sort of fancy piece of art. The amount of money for it would raise eyebrows for some. In fact, even the painting itself agrees, as it is portrayed leaving over the frame and exclaiming, “you have got to be kidding me”. In a way it is kind of funny. There have been some paintings where I was really surprised at how much people are willing to pay for some paintings. Thus, I think this is a perfect representation of the slightly silly art market.

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Issues Brief Rough Draft

Today in society, when it comes to the word vaccines, many people have started to back away from either getting vaccines themselves or for their children. In this issues brief, the topic of vaccines along with many outside studies and facts will be looked at in order to help policy makers come to an understanding of the essential benefits of having everyone get vaccinated. However, because the topic of vaccines is too broad for one issue brief to cover, this issues brief will focus on the influenza vaccine.

The history of vaccines goes all the way back to Edward Jenner and the smallpox vaccination. Jenner was a doctor who lived in Berkeley, England. In that time period, smallpox was a deadly disease that many fell victim to. However, Jenner noticed that the milkmaids who were infected with the cowpox disease did not show any symptoms of getting smallpox. Thus, in 1796, he performed an experiment by taking pus from a cowpox lesion and infecting a healthy patient. Six weeks later, when Jenner infected the boy with the smallpox virus, he found that the boy also showed no signs or symptoms. Thus came the invention of the vaccination.

When it comes to analyzing what exactly caused the transition against vaccinations, there isn’t a specific incident. Instead, the problem is both the effectiveness of vaccinations against the deadlier diseases that resulted in such diseases like polio or smallpox to be completely or almost eradicated and the government’s inability to effectively communicate the dangers of not getting vaccines with the public. And as a result, those who do not get the vaccines will be negatively affected in the long-term. Without vaccines, viruses can spread and, from looking back in history, can cause not only epidemics but also pandemics as well.

Many people – mainly health professionals – are for getting vaccines. According to them, vaccines can decrease one’s chances from getting infected with a transmittable disease. On the opposite side is mainly the public. The arguments and worries they hold are that vaccines aren’t that effective, cost too much, and can cause serious side effects. And a small portion claim that getting vaccines is against their religious beliefs.

In face of all the fears and worries, many studies from a variety of public departments and independent scientists have been undertaken in an attempt to understand the potential harm and benefits of vaccines. For the influenza, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a paper on the impacts of influenza, commonly known as the flu. According to them, “between 1976 and 2006, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people” (CDC). In fact, there was “56979) deaths from Influenza and Pneumonia in 2013, placing it in 8th place in the leading causes of death, just following diabetes (CDC).


There is a myriad of resources available for those who would like to obtain more specific information. Some helpful groups are Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (vaccines and immunizations website), NCSL, American Academy of Pediatrics, Institute for Vaccine Safety by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of public Health to name a few. If you are interesting in looking into the financial impacts of vaccines, the www.resource-allocation.com website provides many articles and studies done in relation to cost effectiveness and resource allocations.

Recommended Solutions:

There are many factors involving vaccinations. However, there are two options to address this issue.

Option #1:

Pass a law requiring everyone to get vaccinated for influenza every year and back it up with lowering the cost.

In order to obtain a goal, direct action is the best solution. By passing a law, this can effectively decrease the chances of people getting infected from something a vaccine can prevent. In addition, by lowering the cost of each vaccine, there won’t be as much pressure for those with lower-income. In addition, by making the cost lower, the law can be met with less resistance.

However, problems with this option range from financial to political. While it would really help the patients to receive a cheaper vaccination, especially for those without insurance, the question then becomes who will pay for the rest. Because the influenza vaccination is mainly grown in eggs, the process is very long and costly. Thus, there needs to be a decision on who will pay for the costs: insurance, the government, or the patients themselves.

Another problem is with the law itself. There may be people who will argue that it is unfair to enforce everyone to get the vaccination. This would essentially go against their human rights. Finding a solution to this problem can be a problem.

Therefore, perhaps a better way to approach this problem would be to start with a law that looks over a smaller group of people: students. It is both reasonable to ask that students be vaccinated prior to going to school. It would therefore ensure that the child gets vaccinated and that there will be no spread of the flu between people who are in close proximity for a long period of time.

Option #2:

Give the public more access to information about influenza and aim to broaden the knowledge. More informed citizens means a general better decision that is made.

This is more of a passive approach to the problem and therefore will have less opposition. However, it would be hard to say whether the option will work. However, assuming that the idea that education/knowledge of a subject will allow a person to make a better, more informed decision, by providing ample evidence to those who may be worried or unsure of whether they would like to get the vaccination. Previously, the resources available to the public are limited. It is only during the flu season that one starts to see brochures kindly encouraging people to go to the nearest clinic to get their vaccination along with a brief introduction to what the flu virus is. However, unless a person is actively scouring the government department websites looking for information, information is scarce. Thus, it is important to have the vaccination information available at all times. This can include having detailed information on a paper that doctors are required to give to their patients each time they have an appointment. Posters can also be posted in public buildings that focus on a single graph of the potential impact of vaccines – thus making the information both available, easily understandable, and eye-catching. In addition, reformation of the school education can help inform children of the impact of vaccines and at the same time encouraging parents to reconsider their views can help the next generation to be more aware.


The implementation of either option will be a long process. Policymakers will have to take a stand and try to open up the information to the public. Ultimately, it will be considered a success when everyone is getting vaccinated and there are no more deaths related to influenza because of a missed vaccination.

Ultimately, policymakers need to approve this approach and in turn tell the public. There needs to be a close teamwork with health professional, scientists, policymakers, and businessmen to put together a solid plan of action towards the policy of vaccinations. After all, everyone is entitled to the benefits.


While there are unique features in painting, sculpting, or building, there is something slightly different when it comes to photography. Why would I say that? Think a little about it. How long might it take for an artist to paint on a canvas? Hours? Days? Weeks? How about sculpting? Or how designing a building? All these types of art require time. Time to focus on the topic. Time to organize one’s thoughts. Time to take a step back and come back later without the worry that the inspiration will change. But when it comes to photography, time can sometimes be a jerk. If you happen to miss that one moment, you’ve lost the opportunity. Perhaps the object has moved on. Perhaps the lighting has changed. Perhaps it’s just not your day. Sure, the newly bought cameras and other technology may compensate by allowing you to take multiple pictures in a short amount of time, but that doesn’t mean a foolproof plan. Sometimes it’s that one moment that you happened to capture on a small square screen will be your masterpiece. This idea was what drew me to do a little research on a few award winning photographs that have been submitted and chosen from a variety of places, ranging from the National Geographic to Sony’s annual photo competition. Take a look.

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The first photo is called “The World as Seen from the Outside.” What really caught my attention was the photo’s accurate portrayal of the lives of the modern day man and woman. Suit and tie. Coming back from work. Time restraint. Fast food. Isolation. Social media as life. Being from a family that places heavy importance to eating together, this picture shows a gloomy contrast to what I think of as happiness. Somehow, seeing this portrayal of life makes me feel pressured. Is dinner soon going to be defined as sitting alone at a fast food booth with a big mac, large French fries, and a medium sized drink? Is the only company going to be the phone in your hand or the music coming form your ear buds? Can that be considered a healthy lifestyle? A happy one?

The next photo is called “The Mask of Society.” Truthfully, I didn’t see any deeper meaning behind this photo. Instead, what drew me in was the mask and the lady next to it. While I do not know the details behind this photo, I imagine the photographer setting up the camera in front of the woman and taking shots as she prepares the mask for display. The darker more calm colors seemed to be the perfect fit for this type of setting. The woman with a slight frown and bright red lipstick seems to fit in with the settings perfectly as well. As for the mask, perhaps it means something important. And judging by the details and jewels that adorn it, this is no simple mask. There’s a high craftsmanship for it and an aura of elegance and coldness from it.

And the final photo attracted me because of the colors and, upon closer look, the subject matter. I loved how most of the picture is filled with the blue nets. It seems to swallow up the viewer. And the four workers are in the midst of this huge mountain, calmly doing their part of the work. Somehow, it just takes my breath away.

So, what do you think about these photos. Are there any photos that come into your mind that you would regard as breathtaking, meaningful, or just plain funny?

Deliberation Report

The other deliberation I attended was on March 1st and was on Marijuana Legalization. I thought that attending this event would be interesting because the topic is very close to the one that my group did, which was about illicit drugs. I was mostly interested in this topic because of the third approach: marijuana for medical uses. Because I want to be a doctor, it was relevant to me. Unfortunately, due to bad weather and an unexpected change in the room number, I ended up being the only “outsider” that attended. Everyone else in the group was presenting. Thus, the deliberation was set up that everyone was seated in a circle and whoever wasn’t presenting was asking questions.

The three approaches talked about were if marijuana should be fully legalized, if marijuana should remain illegal, and if marijuana should be legalized for medicinal purposes. In addition, this deliberation was different than my group’s deliberation because it was 2 hours in length. Thus, each approach group could focus on key questions and the summary group could really review what had happened and what the audience learned that was new from this deliberation.

The introduction went smoothly. I learned that the policies involving marijuana varied greatly between states. Some allowed for recreational uses, some only for medical uses, and some not at all. Everyone also introduced him or herself and talked about why they were interested in this topic. It was interesting to hear how some of them came from or knew friends that came from more poor neighborhoods where smoking marijuana wasn’t too uncommon. There was a girl who was interested in looking at other’s thoughts on federal versus state govern and one boy was interested in hearing about thoughts on the drug policies abroad and what people thought of it.

For the first approach, the group first asked about thoughts of if legalization of marijuana was allowed, if the government should tax users and sellers. They brought up the topic of the benefits of economic boosts that could follow and gave an example of Colorado. In addition, they talked about how one possibility is to use that money to fund in stopping youth use.

For the second approach, the group focused more on the socio-cultural costs such as increased car accidents and crime. They brought up Netherland’s policies and the results of higher crime that followed. However, it was interesting that someone brought up the possibility of the study being less credible because there was no note of the scale of the study and the acknowledgement of other factors.

In the third approach, the groups mainly mentioned different medical problems that can be addressed with the use of marijuana. I really liked this part of the deliberation in that the audience really addressed the problem and tried to come up with a possible solution together. We noted that there was the possibility of having people “fake” pain or illness to get the marijuana. The overall consensus was that it was because smoking weed had that cool factor. Thus, our solution was that a pill form could be made so that cool factor will decrease. We also suggested that this form of medication was made the last resort to prevent fake illnesses.

Overall, despite the limited number of people who participated, I thought this discussion was really interesting and valuable.

Solar Energy

After looking at some of the less common sources of energy, it is now time to look at some of the better-known types that are available to us. Perhaps by looking at some of them, we can figure out what is preventing these popular forms of harnessing energy from becoming the next big thing. Thus, in this blog I will be trying to look at the pros and cons of solar energy.

So what is solar energy? Solar energy is the use of the sun’s energy (in the form of photons of light and heat). It is captured with a wide variety of technology, ranging from solar heating, solar photovoltaics/panels, and artificial photosynthesis.

One of the most basic pros of solar energy is that it is renewable – unless the sun goes out. However, if this happens, there would other problems to worry about other than the wasted solar panels. Another pro is that this renewable energy resource is abundant. In fact, “the surface of the earth receives 120,000 terawatts of solar radiation (sunlight) – 20,000 times more power than what is needed to supply the entire world” (INSERT). With all the possible places to put solar panels, we can just use a fraction of that area. Solar energy is also sustainable. Unlike natural gas and the burning of fossil fuels, we can’t run out of the sun’s energy. This will lessen the impact/problems that those in the next generation will have to face. Solar energy is also environmentally friendly. While there will be some pollution due to the manufacturing and shipping, solar panels do not constantly spew out harmful gases that could affect the environment. Solar energy is also not limited to certain places of the world. In most areas, having sunlight is a natural phenomenon. Where there is sun, there is a possibility of harnessing that energy.

But another thing that makes solar energy so enticing is the potential for energy savers to gain a profit out of using renewable energy. Through net metering and fee-in tariffs, homeowners can now sell the energy that they don’t use. And according to One Block Off the Grid, “adding solar panels to your home can bring in monthly savings of well above $100 in many states. In Hawaii, residents save on average $64,000 after 20 years” (INSERT). Because solar energy through the use of solar panels is easy to gather – unlike wind power or nuclear power in which only large companies can afford – individuals or schools can be a part of this renewable energy movement. And for those whose homes aren’t best fit to have solar panels but would like to be involved, some areas have things called “community solar gardens” in which a community can invest in a shared energy source. Finally, solar panels have low maintenance. According to the energyinformative.org, “residential solar panels usually only require cleaning a couple of times a year. Serious solar manufacturers ship 20- or 25-year warranties with their solar panels” (INSERT). With such technology that isn’t too intrusive and is available to be set up in different places, solar energy has a good list of benefits to the society.

However, solar energy isn’t without its disadvantages. Solar energy isn’t given as much incentives from the government as other sources of energy such as coal, which got “$1189 billion in federal subsidies and support” (INSERT) in 2010. Also, while solar energy is mostly abundant, the times when the sun is out and directly shining on the solar panels are limited. Things like day and night, the season, the area in the world, clouds, and objects that may block the sunlight can affect the harnessing of solar energy. This main concern is what prevents solar energy from becoming the next big energy provider. And coupled with the fact that storage is a problem, there needs to be an improvement in technology for further advancement in the usage of solar energy.



Maehlum, Mathias Aarre. “Solar Energy Pros and Cons – Energy Informative.” Energy

Informative. N.p., 12 May 2014. Web. 11 Feb. 2015.

“Solar Power Energy Information, Solar Power Energy Facts – National Geographic.”

National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 2015. Web. 05 Mar

Abstract Painting

One type of artwork I feel that I must talk about is abstract art – or more specifically, Abstract Expressionism. It feels like whichever art museum I go to, there is always a section of the museum that is dedicated to the abstract. There, you can find the canvases that contain random shapes in a random order or a canvas that is composed of solely one color. And it’s also where you can find the canvases that are filled with drips of paint splattered here and there. For this blog, I decided to look at a painting made by the famous Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock, a man who revolutionized what painting meant. If you take a look below, the painting that is shown is called Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist). It’s a 221 x 300 cm canvas that features the drip style of art. Supposedly, the inspiration to creating such a painting came from the Accabonac Creek in Long Island. When creating this, Pollock had taped the canvases onto the floor of a barn and splattered house paint onto the canvases. According to museums, through the flicking of Pollock’s wrists and unrestrained movement, the splatters on the canvas have an “all-over” style that doesn’t give the viewer a certain place to focus their attention. Instead, the whole painting is important.

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When I first saw this painting, I wasn’t sure what to think. For me personally, I prefer to have the theme or motive of the artwork to be obvious and easy to find. However, with this painting, it’s much harder, if not impossible, to understand what the painting is about. There was no focus point – everything seems to be very similar. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to get from the painting. Other questions rose up as well. Why did Pollock call his painting Number 1, 1950? Was it a date of when he painted this? Was “Number 1” supposed to signify his first drip style painting? Why was it also termed “Lavender Mist” when where wasn’t any Lavender paint used? All I saw was black, white, blue, and silver. What about the word “mist”? What did each strand of paint mean? Why was the black paint usually in thicker bands than other colored paint? What is the correct way of viewing the painting? There were just so many questions that I had about the painting. When I saw painting, I was reminded of a book I read one time, where one of the characters uses his hamster to win first prize at an art show. He dips its paws in paint and lets it scurry around on a piece of paper. Then, he cuts off the corner of the paper that looked the messiest and submits it to the art show. I’m pretty sure that Jackson Pollock was famous for a reason. And I’m pretty sure that anyone or anything can create a famous painting. So I wonder – what am I not seeing in this painting? Is there something that is hidden within the splatters of paint?



“Active Expression.” Head for Art RSS. Head for Art, 8 Mar. 2010. Web. 16 Mar. 2015.

“Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist).” Explore This Work. National Gallery of Art, 2014. Web. 16 Mar. 2015.

Passion Blog #6

Once again, it’s time to write in my Passion Blog. Today I would like to share with everyone a painting that I found online while doing my weekly art research. While this painting may not be the most well known nor the best drawn in the world, I would dare to say that it is special in it’s own way.

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When I first saw this picture, I was amazed at the scenery the artist chose. This painting pictures a snowy landscape, possibly located in the forest or woods. And while this obviously wasn’t exactly in the middle of nowhere (you can tell by the bridge in the center of the painting), there’s no one except a deer present. At this moment, the feeling given off by this painting is sort of an isolated feeling.

Another thing that I really liked about this picture is the colors used. Everything is toned down. There are no flashes of green or red that stand out to you. Rather, all the colors are paired with either white or black. When looking at this piece of artwork, I felt a sense of calmness wash over me. And adding to that, there seems to be three layers that were painted, each with its “own color”. The first layer was the deer and the bushes next to its feet and on the opposite side of the painting near the bottom. The next layer that I saw was the waterfall, the three large trees, and the mini trees that hugged the two sides of the picture. The last layer was the group of trees in the distance – they were more of a purple color and created a misty/fogginess image. This further created the isolation feeling.

But I would say that the most impressive aspect of the painting was the detail. When presented with nature and a lot of trees and bushes, it would be tempting to just paint everything one color and be done with it. However, it felt as if everything was given the utmost attention to. The deer had a variety of shades ranging from black to white to gold to brown. The trunks of the three large trees looked as though they were made of real bark that had cracks and bumps over it. And the bushes seemed to have been made of hundreds and hundreds of individual leaves. And what really impressed me was that the author even took into account the snow that might have fallen onto those leaves and had painted tiny specks of white on top of the bushes.

Overall, this was really well painted. And if you hadn’t noticed already, a man by the name of Peter Longstaff painted this work of art. His specialty was painting everything using his two feet, because he had been born with no arms. Despite the tragedy of his fate, due to the drug called thalidomide once used for morning sickness, he was able to make such a wonderful picture for us to enjoy. I really thank him for that!


West, Angela. “The Amazing Art of Disabled Artists.” Webdesigner Depot RSS. N.p., 16 Mar. 2010. Web. 05 Mar. 2015.


For this week’s blog, I wanted to stray a little further from the standard idea of what is considered art. After all, there wasn’t a specific medium that must be used. And since we are studying in PA, I thought it would of interest to find a work of art in this state. That’s how I came to research about the architecture Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. In general, this blog will be focused more on the building itself rather than my thoughts.Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 12.16.44 PM  Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 12.16.15 PM

Here’s a background on this building. Located in Run Mill, PA, this building was first built to be a vacation house for Edgar Kaufmann and his family. At that time, Wright was unemployed and when Kaufmann approached him, he jumped to the opportunity. Fallingwater, as suggested by the name, resides somewhat in the woods and is located over a stream that eventually becomes a mini-waterfall. Now, this well known building is a museum. It is the only major house designed by Wright that is open to the public to view.

According to Wright, Fallingwater is a building that brings together man and nature. It suggests the possibility of living in harmony with the world around us and of appreciating the waterfalls, the forest, and the cliff on which the house was built upon.

While I wasn’t able to visit this site, I did do a bit of research on the exterior and interior of Fallingwater. The building itself is made of stone pieces that have a varying degree of thickness and length to create an aesthetic effect. From the outside on the trail, it is hard to see the building because the trees are blocking the view. However, upon rounding a corner, the building steps out into full view in an attempt to wow the viewer. In addition, there is a huge separation between the noise from the outside and inside of the house. From the outside, you can clearly hear the rushing sound of the waterfall just below the house. (However, it is interesting to note that from the balcony, you cannot see the waterfall itself. This was to make sure that this spectacle was not daily seen and would maintain its grandeur.) From the inside of the house, it is mainly quiet and serene. The center point was the fireplace what was carved from a boulder and had a spherical kettle that could swing above the fire. Also, Wright sometimes bent the structure of the house to incorporate the surroundings in an attempt to show harmony of man and nature. For example, a ceiling structure went around a tree that was growing there. The hallways had the boulder in the corner. The ceilings were either open or covered with glass. And finally, an open staircase led down directly to the stream under the house.Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 12.16.37 PM

Wright himself carefully designed everything ranging from the foundation to the furniture and art of the house. The main theme was to have different layers that sometimes protruded from all sides and to have a sense of the horizontal and vertical feel. As stated before, the outside of the building showed the different pieces of stones. In addition, the different floors of the building crossed each other so there were terraces that protruded outwards on all sides – there weren’t the normal four sides of a building present. As for the furniture, many tables had a smaller foundation/support and an overlarge top. Artworks were often simple sculptures.

Overall, after looking through all the pictures and reading about Fallingwater, I would definitely say it is worthy to be called a work of art!


“Fallingwater: Extraordinary Beautiful Waterfall House in Pennsylvania By Frank Lloyd Wright | Home Reviews.” Home Reviews. Home Reviews, 2011. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.

“Fallingwater | Home.” Fallingwater. Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, 2015. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.

Videoteca Pretérita. “Falling Water Frank Lloyd Wright.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.

A New Type of Energy Source

We have already talked about wind energy and geothermal energy. Each one had their pros and cons. For this week’s civic issues blog I want to talk about a lesser-known replaceable energy source. Take a guess – this source can provide a large amount of energy, it is not limited to only producing electricity, and a slight accident can cause homes to be evacuated and panic near the area. This type of energy is nuclear energy.

It is kind of hard to fully explain how a nuclear reaction works in order to generate energy. However, I can try to explain the basics. The structure that produces the energy is in the form of a radioactive uranium bundle. Uranium is an element that had spontaneous fission, meaning it breaks apart and releases energy. However, in order to speed up the action to generate a larger amount of energy in a shorter amount of time, the nuclear plant uses induced fission, meaning that fires a neutron at the Uranium to split it apart. Heat and radiation is released. The heat from this reaction is used to boil the water that surrounds the bundle and turn it into steam. This steam is what is used to turn the turbine and give energy to the generator to convert the energy into electricity. Also, an interesting this is that the water also has another function: it cools down the bundle and prevents overheating and melting. Without this function, there will be leakage of radioactive substances.

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First off I will talk about the pros of nuclear energy. The most obvious benefit into using this type of energy is that we will not have to rely on fossil fuels. There will be less greenhouse gases being released because of the stop or slowing down of the use of fossil fuels. In addition, research has already been found about nuclear energy and there are already a lot of nuclear plants around the world today. Thus, it would be fairly simple to incorporate more plants in different places. In addition, the amount of energy that is being provided by nuclear plants has been significant so far. In fact, in March 1, 2011, it was estimated that “there were 443 operating nuclear power reactors spread across the planet in 47 different countries. In 2009 alone, atomic energy accounted for 14 percent of the world’s electrical production. [And] In the United States, 104 nuclear power plants supply 20 percent of the electricity overall, with some states benefiting more than others” (Brian et.al).

As for the cons, there are some that really need to be given full attention to. The biggest concern when it comes to nuclear power plants is the chance of leakage. Take for example instances like the Three Mille Island or the event in Japan that was caused by an earthquake. If sudden natural occurrences like tornados or earthquakes can cause radioactive products to diffuse into the air and harm those living around the plant, the question becomes more difficult. After all, radioactive substances cannot be looked down upon – the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima prove this point. It has been shown that rather than the explosion itself the most deadly was the radiation that killed most people in a painful death. According to the website http://www.atomicarchive.com, many symptoms can occur and can range from hair loss, seizures, killed nerve cells, a destroyed thyroid, and increase vulnerability to infections, heart failure, diarrhea, vomiting of blood, and sterility. In addition that that concern, there are smaller concerns like where to dump the toxic waste, a long construction time, and that uranium sources are limited.

Overall, there are really large questions that must be answered before we look deeper into this possibility of using nuclear energy as a substitute power source for the fossil fuels. The wind power and geothermal power had the main issue of having a really high initial investment and the limiting factor of where the source can be set up. For nuclear plants, this is not an issue. Plants can be built almost anywhere. However, with nuclear power, one must be very cautious of radiation leakage. Perhaps at a certain level of risk, it would be much better to just forget about this source of power because the risk on humans greatly outweigh that of the benefits of more energy.



Brain, Marshall, and Robert Lamb.  “How Nuclear Power Works”  09 October 2000.  HowStuffWorks.com. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/nuclear-power.htm> 26 February 2015.

Presidio Buzz. “Nuclear Energy: Pros and Cons.” Triple Pundit RSS. TriplePundit, 23 Feb. 2009. Web. 11 Feb. 2015.

“Radiation Effects on Humans.” Radiation Effects on Humans. AJ Software & Multimedia, 2015. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.