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.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Mayan King Yax K'uk Mo' and His Famous "Goggles"

     Yax K'uk Mo' (pronounced `Yash Kook Mo') was the founder and first king of the dynasty that ruled the Maya city of Copan for 350 years. Known formally by his royal name, K'inich Yax K'uk Mo', he reigned for eleven years from 426-437 CE. His name has been translated as, "Radiant First Quetzal Macaw," "Sun-Eyed Green Macaw," and "Sun In The Mouth of the Quetzal Bird." The different interpretations of his name are picked from the various theories regarding his origins. He was not native to Copan. All that is clearly known is that a man named K'uk Mo' Ajaw came from some place distant from Copan in 416 CE, took part in some kind of military action, and became king in 426 CE.
     The "goggles," which some have speculated are proof of ancient alien activity in the rise of the Mayan civilization. these "goggles," are not eye protection but, rather, part of the king's ceremonial headdress. This decoration over the eyes may have represented the ruler's separation from the common people and association with the penetrating gaze of the gods.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Our Perception of Time

    We hear sounds, see colors, and feel textures. Some aspects of the world, it seems, are perceived through a certain sense. Others, like shape, are perceived through more than one sense. But what sense or senses do we use when perceiving time? It is not associated with one particular sense. It seems odd to say that we see, hear or touch time passing. In seeing the different aspects of time perception, we make use of different approaches to have a similar objective in the world: the past, change, and the passage of time.
     Time can be perceived in various ways. For shorter time periods we use a mental clock. But we are more complicated than that. Humans can make judgments of time based on outside influences. For example, we can use distance to calculate the time that we would take to go somewhere. Therefore, the answer depends on what kind of time we are talking about. To fully understand you need to distinguish between what is called prospective and retrospective time. Prospective time is when people know they have to time something. Then retrospective time is when you have to guess the time that has passed. For example, if someone asks you: “how long has been since this interview started?” No one can know exactly, but they can use their memory, and the number of things that have happened to make an educated guess on the elapsed time. Humans in real life do this kind of timing quite a lot. 

As Bill Gates said, "My favorite things in life don't cost any money. It's really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time."