Monday, July 22, 2013

Atomic Paris is Burning to Friendships

The sun rises with its shower slowly, but surely, resurrecting the "dead". One by one, like soldiers of the night, we wake up, each helping the other out, until we're all "awake". Ah, a typical morning with the nonchalant trees dancing in harmony with the wind to start a blissful day. Realizing that this week is the last, I forced myself to forget and do things like every other day. It's on the back of my head, but it pops up spontaneously during the day, reminding me that life continues. 

A physical representation of critical mass,
the amount of mass needed to start
a chain reaction. The model worked, balls
flew everywhere in the system.
After a sweet, yet sour, morning, I walked to class while listening to some indie rock. While jamming to Radiohead, I thought about today's agenda. After arriving in class, I realized that today was no ordinary day. There was a table filled with breakfast munchies! I skipped breakfast in return for more sleep, and I was surprised to see so much food nonetheless food at all. Was this a plot? Then, it hit me. We were having "Breakfast with The Bomb", a lecture about the atomic bomb and what led to it, and as return for going to class thirty minutes early, we were given breakfast as compensation. Oh, what generosity! I was extremely hungry and I thought that I would have to starve until lunch. Luckily, the bomb was on my side. Months before today's lecture, I read a book about the atomic bomb from Richard Feynmann's (physicist) perspective. Of course, Bill told the story of it much more interesting than the book (because he's Bill), but it was insightful to hear Bill's opinion of it. Was the atomic bomb a good thing? Yes, it may have caused thousands of deaths, but compared to the deaths of the Japanese outside the bomb, it was not that large. Also, the manner in which they died was not as bad as the torture and inhumane acts that Americans "performed' on the Japanese. The success of the bomb validated nuclear energy as an efficient source of energy and gave insight to scientists to develop such technology. Mary later talked about the benefits of nuclear energy and that the "accidents" that happened involving nuclear power-plants should not be the reason to deny nuclear energy. Anyways, the impact of the war outweighs its results. The end of the war revealed to the world what human capabilities were and the inhumane aspects of war, and since then, a war of a higher degree has yet to happen. Could this be because of the impact caused by WWII? I believe it has to do with that. During lab time, my group setup the instruments and apparatus that we're going to use tomorrow to measure the speed of light. I'll talk about it in the next blog.

Bill supplied me with two semester's worth of college physics textbooks. I'm
not planning on taking a physics course in high school, so these will be a
great asset.
After class, I decided to stray away from my usual group of friends and explore Penn, hoping to find and meet new friends. I didn't have luck because no one had been released yet; we finished the lab early. I listened to some more Radiohead, and eventually everyone arrived. Muhan, my friend from Vancouver, convinced me to accompany her and the other Social Justice people to watch Paris is Burning, a documentary about the gay and transsexual community of New York during the late 80s. I want to be a physicist, but I have a general interest in philosophy and the social sciences. The documentary suggested a statistic, that a majority of the gay community in New York were Black. This directly correlates to marginalization of minorities. The way I see it, they're ostracized from society and since they're the minorities of minorities, they seek companions of the same standing. Since the late 80s was the start of the AIDS epidemic, they were heavily scrutinized by society, thus they sought "drag queening" as their escape. Although, that may have changed the more they did it. By building a community of Gays, they were relatively happier than before. The documentary brought out a sweet-and-sour perspective of them; they seemed happy, but unless we are in their position, we can't determine their true feelings. They may seem like they're in bliss, but that may not be so. Also, the film informed the viewers about terminology in the "drag queen world" where there were different forms of representation on the "ball" (location they competed in). I don't remember all the terminology, but I remember a distinct style of dance called "Vogueing". Voguists' movements incorporate poses and styles from cover magazines. It was highly stylish, and involved very quick, delicate, and elegant shifts in their poses. An example of vogueing from one of the revolutionary groups during the 1980s.     

After the movie, I headed back to the dorms. Little did I know that one of the people that I saw at the movie session would soon be one of my new friends. I was walking around, trying to find a place to work, and coincidentally, I met Cathy. She's from Vancouver and apparently, she knows many of the friends that I have made over the past couple of weeks. Conversation diverged from there, and I made a new friend. I'm going to introduce her to my other friends tomorrow. I can't wait to see how big and connective our group is going to be at the end of this program.

This is Jessica (we call her Fred), not Cathy. She's my physics buddy and we talk of physics outside of class. We
both bought matching T-shirts with funny text. It's so simple yet hilarious. 

1 comment:

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