Saturday, November 29, 2014

Mayan Every 20th Day Celebration

In the Maya Empire, every 20th day was a festival day. Priests would climb up the steps of a pyramid. On the steps, dressed in fierce masks and towering hats, they would dance and rattle things and make a lot of noise. Their huge hats had things sewn on them that jingled. This added to the noise.
Bloodletting was part of every festival. But bloodletting was a personal sacrifice. The Maya cut themselves so that a drop or two of blood would appear. The nobles smeared their blood on a bit of bark and then burned it, to help their blood get to heaven, so the gods would know they had made a sacrifice in their honor.
           The Maya did practice human sacrifice, but human sacrifice was not part of every festival. When captives were forced to play a game of ball against a Maya team, they always lost. After the game, the captive team was sacrificed.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Mayans Mathematics

     The Mayans were the first civilization to have and use the concept of zero. They did not yet have a system to identify fractions or negative numbers, they only had whole numbers and zero. The number system they created was vigesimal which is based on multiples of 20. Unlike the multiple symbols we use for various numbers the Mayans had just three symbols to write any possible number. They had the dot which had a value of 1. The bar had a value of 5, and the Shell had a value of 0. These numbers are all written vertically in columns. The lowest position in a column was reserved for the numbers 1-19. After that, the next highest position in a column is used for multiples of 20. The next highest position in the column is used for multiples of 400 (20x20).
     Here is a couple examples of how to write some numbers. When writing vertically the vigesimal positioning system, to write 20 a zero is placed in the first position (base) with a dot on top of it, in the second position. The dot in this place means one unit of the second order, which equals to 20. To write 21, the zero would change to a dot (1 unit) and for the subsequent numbers the original 19 number count will follow in the first position. As they in turn reach 19 again another unit (dot) is added to the second position. Any number higher than 19 unites in the second position is written using units of the third position. A unit of the third position is worth 400 (20x20), so to write 401 a dot goes in the first position, a zero in the second and a dot in the third. Positions higher than the third also grow multiplied by twenties from the previous ones.

Friday, November 7, 2014


    Paranormal events are phenomena described in popular culture, folklore and other non-scientific bodies of knowledge, whose existence within these contexts is described to lie beyond normal experience or scientific explanation.
    In traditional belief and fiction, a ghost is a manifestation of the spirit or soul of a person. A widespread belief concerning ghosts is that they are composed of a misty, airy, or subtle material. Alternative theories expand on that idea and include belief in the ghosts of deceased animals. Sometimes the term ghost is used to describe any spirit or demon, however in popular usage the term typically refers to a dead person's spirit.
    The possibility of extraterrestrial life is a complex theory that may never be proven. Many scientists are actively engaged in the search for unicellular life within the solar system, carrying out studies on the surface of Mars and examining meteors that have fallen to Earth. Projects such as SETI are conducting an astronomical search for radio activity that would show evidence of intelligent life outside the solar system. Scientific theory of how life developed on Earth allows for the possibility that life developed on other planets as well. The paranormal aspect of extraterrestrial life centers largely around the belief in unidentified flying objects and the phenomena said to be associated with them.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Adjusting to Different Cultures - Rita Gelman Discussion

Rita used examples such as the way we dress, and communicate are very different from our culture. In Italy we have different hairstyles and clothes that we wear which may seem odd to other cultures, along with our pitch levels when we talk for example it might seem like we’re mad at each other by our tone but it’s probably just to help get our point across.
Some barriers Rita had to overcome on her travels were trying to communicate, and connect with the people around her. She would accomplish this by doing things that they did like work on the farms at the villages, and dress the way they did to make the others feel comfortable with her. My experience of being grown up with two different cultures doesn’t give me to many barriers to connect with other cultures, but to overcome them you have to be able to understand them first. If you don’t want to travel far or a lot there are plenty of different cultures all around us in America, we have visitors from all countries which when made companionship with you can learn their lifestyle and culture.
To engage with the community around her, Rita used the method of going along with their lifestyle and doing the things the others liked to do to connect with them by spending time with them and learning how they act. When trying to interact with a person that doesn’t speak your language following the methods that Rita used will surely help you connect. My culture has plenty of interesting things but the most interesting would be the large quantities of meals Italians eat throughout the day.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

"Crossing Borders" Presentation

     At the end of the session and watching the second video I learned that people in today’s society in America still have trouble communicating to people outside the country and need to learn how to listen and act upon their feelings to understand each other and come to a meeting point to satisfy their needs.
      The moments where students went on the microphone and told the stereotypes that they didn’t agree with touched me in many ways due to certain stereotypes that are also placed on me for being Italian, but I have learned to just laugh and brush it off to make people feel good and show it doesn’t affect or discomfort me.
      My stereotypes are usually light, including "all Italians do is eat pasta, and drink wine," but there are some others that people say which don’t really make sense, such as when they say, all Italians are metrosexuals/gay due to the way they dress and act. When people say this I know they haven’t been to Italy and haven’t spent time with Italians so they go off of what they hear from their peers. Some stereotypes that I agree with would be that all Italians play soccer, and they live in a beautiful country. Also being an Italian in America usually gives people an automatic liking to me if they aren’t judging because most Americans are curious about foreigners and want to learn about how they live and speak.
     My background of living in two different countries and learning two very different lifestyles has led me to be able to sympathize other foreigner’s problems and actions. I am able to listen to them without passing judgment because I have had the experience of other cultures. The actions I will take during my years at SU is listening to foreigner’s problems and trying to help them deal with and adapt with the American culture.

Friday, October 24, 2014

"Day of the Dead"

   More than 500 years ago, when the Spanish Conquistadors landed in what is now central Mexico, they encountered natives practicing a ritual that seemed to mock death. It was a ritual the indigenous people had been practicing at least 3,000 years. A ritual the Spaniards would try unsuccessfully to eradicate. It's a ritual in Mexico that begins on October 31st and ends on November 2nd. 
     The first day is a sad day and is when they bring death back to life through rituals, and spend the night at the cemetery where their ancestors are burried. During the days of the dead, the family often takes the opportunity to visit the gravesite and pull weeds, clean any debris and decorate the graves of loved ones.  They eat a lot, drink, cry, dance, and it's all centered around the relatives. On the 2nd and 3rd nights they throw parties and do everything like their relatives liked to do such as drinking more, maybe playing a mariachi song that their relative enjoyed, and it's a big party celebrating the ancestors "return".
     This celebration or ritual is the Mexican's way of conquering death. Death isn’t perceived like it is in America in how we are soft on the topic and don't really speak too much about it, but in Mexico it is embraced.The rituals used to celebrate the day are varied and colorful.  Yet, all carry the same message, celebrating the day of the dead is a true celebration of life.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Effects of Alcohol On the Mind

     Difficulty walking, blurred vision, slurred speech, slowed reaction times, impaired memory: Clearly, alcohol affects the brain. Some of these impairments can be detected after only one or two drinks and quickly resolve when drinking stops. On the other hand, a person who drinks heavily over a long period of time may have brain problems that persist well after he or she becomes sober. Exactly how alcohol affects the brain and the likelihood of reversing the impact of heavy drinking on the brain remain hot topics today.
     Alcohol increases the release of dopamine in your brain’s “reward center.” The reward center is the same combination of brain areas that are affected by virtually all pleasurable activity, including everything from hanging out with friends, going on vacation, getting a big bonus at work, ingesting drugs, and drinking alcohol.
     By jacking up dopamine levels in your brain, alcohol tricks you into thinking that it’s actually making you feel great, or maybe just better, if you are drinking to get over something emotionally difficult.  The effect is that you keep drinking to get more dopamine release, but at the same time you’re altering other brain chemicals that are enhancing feelings of depression.