Posts in: Block 8

Water, CO2, and more thermodynamics

Sorry this post is so late in the week—the past few days have been very busy. In class, we’ve learned about mineral-solution equilibria, greenhouse gases and the CO2 cycle, and the water cycle throughout Earth’s history.

Monday was spent learning about how to plot and interpret chemical-solution equilibria. This was wrapped up on Wednesday when we created an activity diagram of minerals that make up a typical granite.

Tuesday was spent focusing on two papers. The first paper by James C. Walker et al. titled, “A negative feedback mechanism for the long-term stabilization of earth’s surface temperatures”, focused on the relationship between atmospheric CO2 levels, surface temperature, and weathering rates. The second paper we read by Andy J. Ridgwell et al. (2003) hypothesized about the presence of different types of calcifiers and their connection to atmospheric CO2 levels. Tuesday night, many of us enjoyed a lecture by Professor David Montgomery that was part of the Roberts Memorial Lecture & Symposium in the Natural Sciences. During this talk, we learned all about soils—their degradation, what the impacts of their degradation will be, and how to fix this problem.

 

Professor Eric Leanord introduces Professor David Montgomery.                                                                                                   

On Thursday, we shifted gears and learned about “The Big H2O Cycle”. This means that we learned all about the movement of water in different reservoirs. This brought us back to the question: is there water in the mantle? If so, how did it get there and can the amount change? How? Emily told us about the research that she is currently doing and plans to do in the future, focusing on how water has changed over time. We also got the pleasure of taking Bessie and Pearl out for a walk during lunch.

We are still waiting to analyze the results of the tests on the water samples that we collected from Manitou Springs and the rock samples from Manitou and Colorado Springs.

 

Mining, thermodynamics, and oceans!

The second half of first week was spent learning more about thermodynamics, the lab work necessary for analyzing samples, the future of mining, and the details of ocean chemistry.

Steve Weaver teaches the class about the ICP.

On Wednesday, we enjoyed a talk given by Leigh Freeman titled, “Careers: Make a Difference in Mining”. Mr. Freeman spoke about the importance of mining and its future, focusing on shifting societal values about mining. While this talk focused on mining and geology, we also got a quick lesson in philosophy.

 

To begin class on Thursday, we reviewed what we’ve learned so far about thermodynamics and introduced new concepts like entropy, gibbs free energy, and chemical potential. This included lots of math and derivation of equations!

 

Friday was spent delving into ocean chemistry. Understanding ocean chemistry can tell you anything from paleotemperatures to life evolution. When you jump into the ocean, do you every wonder why it tastes salty? How did it get that way? The salts in the ocean come from chemical weathering of the Earth’s crust. This is from river flux and hydrothermal vents. The source of the salts can be traced using isotope ratios. After discussing the acidity of the ocean, we took a break for lunch.

 

The afternoon portion of the class was spent stopping at different outcrops in Manitou and Colorado Springs and collecting samples. Next week we will prep the samples for XRF analysis. This will be used to study ancient ocean chemistry.

Geofluids

Hi, my name is Helen Carter. I am a Junior at Colorado College and a geology major. This block one of the featured courses is “Geofluids” taught by Professor Emily Pope. I am currently taking this class and will be updating everyone on what we’re learning about for the next few weeks.

 

Professor Emily Pope teaches the class how to sample water at Iron Spring.

 

On Monday, we dove straight into the course by learning about what geofluids are. Put simply, they are gases and liquids that flow through the different spheres of the Earth. Why is this important? The flow of fluids is the dominant mechanism for transporting mass and energy through the spheres. On Monday we also discussed how the Earth formed and how/why it is so different than other planets in our solar system. The afternoon was spent using a website titled, “Build Your Own Earth”. We used this to learn about controls on climate and the environmental consequences of atmospheric changes.

 

Tuesday was a shift to the more chemistry and physics side of geofluids—the thermodynamics and geochemistry behind the movement of liquids and gases on Earth. The afternoon portion of class was spent exploring the mineral water springs in Manitou. During the fieldtrip we tested all of the springs in Manitou by recording pH levels, temperature, and collecting samples for further analysis in the CC labs. Some of us used more professional techniques of drinking water from each spring and comparing how they all tasted.

Students testing water at Seven Minute Spring.

Today we began the day off by discussing “Air density 2.7 billion years ago limited to less than twice modern levels by fossil raindrop imprints” by Som et al. (2012). This paper related to the “Build Your Own Earth” project that we worked through on Monday. Som et al. used raindrop imprints to determine air density 2.7 billion years ago. The reason for this was to help solve the ‘Faint Young Sun’ paradox—the Archaean sun was apparently about 20% dimmer than the modern sun but the Earth still had liquid water and a warm climate during this period. The rest of the class was spent learning about subduction zones and the possibility of large amounts of the water on Earth being lost to the mantle.

 

The rest of the week will be spent learning more about how to describe thermodynamic systems and the details of ocean chemistry. We will also do further analysis on the Manitou water samples. I look forward to sharing more about this class and I hope everyone enjoyed reading about what we’re doing!

Krimidinner

On Thursday night, as we neared the end of another busy week, the students of German 202, and a few members of the Max Kade house, CC’s German language house, gathered together at Professor Ane Steckenbiller’s house to eat a delicious home cooked, Mediterranean dinner, and to play an exciting German murder-mystery game. The game was set at a dinner party, and was centered around a group of characters, each one played by a different player. Through a series of clues and dialog between players, it becomes clear that the characters all have some connection to one another, and some connection to a murder that’s been committed, and that the murderer is in their midst. The goal of the game was to solve the murder by the time the dinner was complete. It took three hours, but with the help of the two native German speakers who were present, and some ice cream sundaes, we successfully completed the game.

Week two in German 202

Each week in German 202 our course work is centered on a specific theme from our textbook. The vocabulary, discussions and readings that we do each week usually have some connection to these themes. Past themes in this block include traditions, regional specialties, science, and technology. This week’s main focus was on law and the environment. On Friday, in the spirit of our theme of the environment, our class took a field trip to Red Rocks Open Space. On our way to Red Rocks we stopped to buy some food from Wimberger’s, a local German bakery and deli. After fueling up with delicious German snacks we began our walk through Red Rocks. As a challenge, we tried to speak only German during our time in the park. Many amusing attempts were made using German to try to explain the various natural phenomena that we observed. After about an hour and a half of walking, we stopped by a small pond to eat our German snacks and to read and discuss a series of famous 19th century German poems. This series of works, which included poems by Goethe, Joseph von Eichendorff, Theodor Storm, and Stefan George, all had to do with nature and human interaction with and perceptions of the natural world.

 

  

 

 

 

Bavaria

This week in German 202 a major theme of discussion was the German federal state of Bavaria, or as it’s known in Germany, Bayern. Bavaria is known its modern cities like Munich and Nuremburg, stunning castles, and idyllic countryside. As a Bavarian native herself, Dr. Ane Steckenbiller, our professor, was able to provide our class with her own experiences and perspectives about life in Bavaria. Together we were able explore the traditions and history of Bavaria and were also able to unpack some of the common stereotypes that exist about Bavaria, for instance, that Bavarians are more conservative and provincial than other Germans.

I have been fortunate enough to travel to Bavaria on several occasions. In my time there, the thing I have always noticed most, other than the stunning beauty of the region, is the wonderful contrast and balance that exists between the modern and the traditional. I have witnessed Munich transition over a single day from a bustling, impersonal city, to a city in which nearly all the inhabitants had donned their traditional garb, and had transported themselves and their city back through time, to enjoy the celebration of “Oktoberfest.” This same contrast can be seen as you leave the cities and make your way into the countryside. Ultramodern cities and highways gradually give way to quaint towns where the highest building is still the town Church. The dozens of languages that are spoken in the large international cities are replaced by the dozens of different dialects of German that can be heard as you make your way through the countryside. It’s this balance in my opinion, that makes Bavaria a truly remarkable place.

 

View of the Bavarian Alps                                     Marienplatz: Munich city center

 

                            

 

Schloss Neuschwanstein

 

Week 4: Project Poetry Runway Show

Hey all,

My final blog post is all about Project Poetry! On Monday, Jane had us all over for a class dinner at her house, which was delicious and lots of fun! We talked about poetry, our papers, and what we were all going to do this summer. Then we moved inside to watch an episode of Project Runway (since some of us, myself included, had never seen the show before). Jane chose an unconventional materials challenge where the contestants had to design and make dresses out of old electronic equipment. It was really fun for all of us to watch and eat dessert together!

Now onto our own competition. We had four judges: a former student of Jane’s and three senior Poetry majors, including our class assistant Bo Malcolm. For each category the contestants would stand one by one and read their poem aloud to the judges, then hand them a paper copy so they could look at the poem on paper. Once everyone finished, all the students and Jane would leave the room while the judges deliberated. Then we would come back in, the judges would announce their top three, give feedback, then announce the winner.

The first category to compete was the Ode to Your Age category. Out of six competitors the judges’ top three were Tara, Jack, and Susannah. After some great feedback for each of the three, the winner was…

Tara!

Here is Tara’s beautiful poem:

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The second category to compete was the Eavesdropping Poem category. We only had four competitors for this one, so the judges gave feedback to the top four instead of the top three. These were Kai, Ethan, Ashley, and Jonathan. All the poems were witty and fascinating, but there had to be a winner. The winner was…

Ethan!

Here is Ethan’s wonderful eavesdropped conversation poem:

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The third and final category was the Untranslatable Word category. This one had a whopping nine competitors, and the judges’ top three were Sam, Mary, and Jonathan. And the winner was…

Mary!

Here is Mary’s poem about an untranslatable word she came up with:

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Each winner was presented with a prize! Tara won a book of Rilke poems, Ethan won a little notebook and some fun mustaches with which to disguise himself while eavesdropping, and Mary won a book of untranslatable words. Everyone wrote so many beautiful poems, so here are some of the others that people sent me to include, along with some pictures!

Here is Jack reading his Ode to his Age:

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Here is Jonathan reading his Ode to his Age:

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Jonathan also wrote for both the other categories. Here is his Eavesdropping poem:

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And here is his Untranslatable Word poem:

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Now for a photo of the top three from the Ode category getting the judges’ feedback:

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Here also are two poems by the lovely Kai:

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And here is a photo of how we sat in the classroom as an audience.

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The final poem we absolutely have to include is Sam’s beautiful Untranslatable Word poem. She wrote two connecting poems, one in Spanish and the other it’s translation in English. Here she is reading it for the judges and the class:

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Thank you to everyone who has been reading this blog throughout this class. Thank you to Jane for being an amazing professor and for encouraging our creativity as well as our love of poetry. Thank you to my classmates who made class one of the best parts of my day this block. I’ll miss you all. Have a great summer everyone!

Over and out,

O

 

 

 

 

Week 3: Ian Williams, Nature, and Politics

Hi all,

So this week we spent some time workshopping and editing our second papers, and also discussed some dramatic poems on Tuesday. The one we talked about the most was Robert Frost’s “Home Burial,” which is a beautiful and tragic poem about a husband and wife who have lost their child. They’re both coping with their grief in different ways, so their marriage is suffering. One of the aspects of the poem I really loved is how the husband and wife have a whole argument without really communicating or listening to each other at all. The way Frost writes the scene makes it feel very real and tangible.

For Wednesday we read Ian Williams’ Personals, and I think I can say without a doubt that we all loved that collection. Ian Williams is brilliant, and writes everything from clever, witty poems like “” to deeply profound poems like the “Rings” series. Even his witty work is profound and his profound work witty, which is an admirable talent. “Hay,” in particular struck all of us in this witty and profound way:

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Then on Thursday we talked about form (not that we haven’t been talking about form this whole time, but today we covered a few specific forms, namely Villanelle, Sestina, and Haiku). We read some great villanelles like Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night” and Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art.” Jane’s not really the biggest fan of sestina’s, so we didn’t talk about them too much, which was fine with us because instead we went outside and sat on the grass in the sun and wrote haiku. Here are a couple pictures of us:

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My classmate Jonathan spent a lot of his time making a fun flower crown out of daisies, and also wrote some haiku he was willing to contribute.

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I also wrote some haiku myself:

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Last but not least, Friday we discussed political poetry, looking at poems like Carolyn Forché’s “The Colonel” and Mark Doty’s “Charlie Howard’s Descent.” We talked quite a bit about the interplay of passion and restraint in political poetry, because it’s impossible to write a good political poem about something you have no passion for, but the writer also benefits from exercising restraint and focusing their poetry in a detailed way. Poetry can be used both to work through and explain difficult or traumatic events in a beautiful and haunting way.

That’s all for this week! This weekend we’ll be beginning work on our final papers and finishing up poems for Project Poetry.

Over and out,

O

 

Happy Friday, and Welcome 4th Week!

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Greetings from the Sociology Department… It’s Candy Friday! Both class and campus are buzzing today, for several reasons.

Firstly, the weather. It is sunny and HOT in Colorado Springs, so much so that we had class outside on the quad! Our discussion today was regarding our developing research studies; the first draft is due this Sunday at 5pm. All three groups submitted a piece of published literature that is working to guide our development of a research question and subsequent findings for each of our fields. My group, remember that we observed Penrose Hospital, submitted this article on hierarchies, teams and webs in the medical workplace and how they coincide to ensure efficient patient care and satisfied employees. The second group contributed an article regarding WIFI in community places like cafés, and how it is a factor in social dynamics of the business. They have observed the goings-on at Colorado Springs’ The Wild Goose, a notoriously hip coffee shop (their cinnamon rolls are quite something). The final group is researching gender dynamics and masculinity within men’s lacrosse at CC, and submitted an article that parses out the importance of body and self and meaning within lacrosse.

Going into the weekend, my research team of women has a good idea of how to organize our coded data sets into meaningful, patterned findings. Our paper just hit 25 pages, with a substantial literature review. Excited to see what everyone thinks of it (we’re peer editing on Monday, which is why we read all these different articles today)! Another aspect of the project that is due on Monday is our individual portfolios, filled with our own field notes, analytic memos and a reflection of what it’s like to participate in a team-researched and -written study.

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Another buzzing topic is Llamapalooza! CC’s annual music festival is slated for this Saturday, and it looks like the weather is going to hold for us. Palmer Hall, the picture below, is where Symbolic Interactionism has been held all block. Tomorrow, these sidewalks will be filled with colorful students in sandals and sun hats with face paint to go around.

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On the topic of symbolic interactions, music festivals are excellent examples of the presentation of self! Think about how students will dress differently and behave differently, based solely on their location at a distinguished event that values sunshine and music and good vibes. What is expected in terms of clothing, food and drink, schoolwork and conversation changes uniquely tomorrow on campus. The majority of CC won’t be in Tutt Library, even though 4th week is looming. More skin will be showing than usual and less responsibility will be felt and projected. Fun isn’t a feeling; it’s a performance.

My next post will be after the final work of 4th week but until then, hoping you’ll be enjoying sunshine somewhere, too! We’ve got the social event of the season, and seeing as how it was cancelled last year due to pounding rain, we’re hoping it’ll be twice as great!

Week 2: Imagery, Metaphors, and Starting Project Poetry

Hi all,

This week we’ve continued discussing more awesome poetry from some great authors. We started off the week on Monday with a Meter and Terminology Exam, just to make sure we remembered all the terms and scansion skills we practiced last week. We also talked about some poems by Native American author James Thomas Stevens. Then that evening we attended a reading by James Thomas Stevens and several other Native American poets and prose writers in Gaylord Hall. It was especially cool to listen to them read because one was Colorado Coffee’s very own Byron Aspaas, who read a short piece from his memoir. A lot of us had no idea Byron was a writer, and were entranced by the beautiful and personal stories he shared with us.

On Tuesday we did a cool project with imagery. Jane gave us this poem, “City Limits” by Joseph Hutchison, and asked two people to draw on the board the image they pictured in their heads while reading the poem. It’s a beautiful description of the relationship between cities and the natural world. Here’s the poem:

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Mary and Kai drew on the board for us. This is Mary’s image:

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And this is Kai’s:

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Both images highlight different aspects of the poem and represent the imagery in different ways. Which image do you feel most connected to after reading the poem? Would you draw your own image differently?

We spent the rest of the week focusing on metaphor, and on Thursday had a great discussion about Sharon Olds’ “Sex Without Love.” Olds uses metaphors of dancers, ice-skaters, religion, and runners to describe people who have sex without love. This poem is wonderful because it does what great poems do: it comes close to saying the opposite of what it says. The speaker of the poem seems to disapprove of people having sex without loving their partner, but she also talks about those people in terms of strong and reverent metaphors, using words like “beautiful,” “great,” and “true religious.” Ultimately, however, she suggests that despite the power and pleasure that can be attained by loveless sex, those people, whether they know it or not, will ultimately end up a “single body alone in the universe.”

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Last but not least, on Thursday we also kicked off Project Poetry, a competition we invented inspired by some of my classmates’ love of Project Runway. We brainstormed and came up with several sets of creative constraints, then voted on our three favorites:

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In order to compete, everyone has to write at least one of the three poems. We’ll submit them on 4th Monday and have some senior poets come into class to judge and pick the winners. Jane will be our Tim Gunn to give us advice and help us out as we go, and the winners of each category will get a prize! (Exactly what that will be is TBD.) So look forward to more info on Project Poetry come 4th week! (I’m sure everyone will be quite secretive until the day comes for the competition.)

Happy snowy weekend!

O