Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Only in New York City

Ms Lilhanand: Scientists are using calculations to give an estimate of the biodiversity in the world. There are about 1.75 million species identified or named, but they say that there are still approximately 3 to 117 million species that are still unidentified.

I think my morning routine is showing a similar pattern; wake up, eat breakfast, and go to class. I will have to try to get up from bed earlier and see if Columbia is still quiet during the daytime.My morning lecture was a continuation of yesterday's Power Point, which was based on Threats to Biodiversity. We went over invasive species and their impact on ecosystems and the economy. I am always learning something new that catches my eye. I found out that 137 billion dollars a year is used from the US to cover the losses and problems caused by invasive species! I also learned that endocrine disruptor ("synthetic chemicals that disrupt hormones in animals and humans") can cause fishes to change gender! Also, one discussion we had was how many Earths would be needed if everyone lived our life. The site that Professor Olival recommended to see was and all you have to do is take the quiz. Near the end of class, we watched a very interesting film filled with many little animated characters, called "The Story of Stuff" with Annie Leonard. It went into reasons of how our products can be so cheap, but the prices to actually make them is way more than the cost. It reflects our society of producer and consumer, but it adds in the effects on our ecological systems. The link to watch it is!

I had my lunch and then attended the 2nd part of class. First we got into groups and were suppose to list 10 reasons as to why biodiversity is important. This proved to be hard for everyone! Eventually all the ideas were combined and it turns out biodiversity impacts the field of medicine, aesthetics, education, evolution, food, shelter and many features that attribute to our daily lives. I dived into the ways of categorizing values of biodiversity, which were direct use value (goods) and indirect use values (services.) It would appear that we take a lot of things for granted, for many would probably not associate things like industrial products or cosmetics to be part of this type of science. 57% of 150 prescribed drugs have origin in biodiversity! I for one am now seeing things a bit differently than before and more aware of the resources the world is using.

Once class was over my friend invited me to go kayaking. Though I could not meet up with Ms. Lilhanand, I must say going to Pier 96 Boathouse was great! I got to be on top of the Hudson River! It was so beautiful as I gazed upon the city from the water. I also got to see a bit of New Jersey! I think I must have brought back a bit of the river with me when I came back since I got wet. One of the workers at the pier was a tour guide and he gave my group some places to go and there is no charge too! He mentioned that on the eighth floor of the Marriott Hotel, there is a great view of Manhatten at night. I remember Ms. Lilhanand say something about it also, so I hope that I can return to see it!

I think that it is only in NYC where you can get pizza at Koronet Pizza on Broadway near 110th Street. Their pizza, the jumbo size, is definitely HUGE! For the price of $3.25, one can get a slice about 14 inches long! Their whole pie was really amazing to see too! I shall upload the picture once my friend sends it to me. That was the end of my day though, and now I must continue on with more reading!


Don Gosney said...


I can never figure out how people can come up with estimates like you quoted about the number of species that are still unidentified. I mean, if they’re unidentified, how do they even know they exist? And if they can’t identify them, how do they know there are between 3 and 117 million different unidentified species. If they know they’re out there and they have even a vague idea of how many there might be, then haven’t they really identified them?

I’ll have to check out that “interesting film” you mentioned “The Story of Stuff”. I’m concerned because I never saw anyone around my house doing any filming. My concern is because my house is filled from floor to ceiling with “stuff” and I thought I had cornered the market on stuff having purchased or collected almost all of it. And since I never throw my stuff away, it all must still be here.

Did your friend snap any photos of the kayaking excursion? Those would be fun to see.

Charles Tillman Ramsey said...


Mr. Ramsey here, I finally figured out how to post on this site. I value what you have shared and I am thrilled that you are enjoying your course. However, you are an ILC veteran and have the benefit of being in the program. How does this compare to Brown? How are the students at Columbia different from those at Brown?

How have you grown during the past year? What is it like to be back on the East Coast. Provide me your insight, but more importantly give me your OPINION about what it means to be at Columbia.

Joseph has railed about the lack of rigor at El Cerrito High School and how students lack motivation to succeed. Do you share that view and has it become more pronounced while you are taking a class with these students?

It is nice to hear about your daily activities, but I need to find out if the Ivy League Connection is making a difference for students. We want to have your analysis because we need to continue to PROVE that devoting money to this program is important and that it has made a difference.

Please show how our lack of funds make it more challenging and that this opportunity helps "level the playing field" with other wealthy students who have the privilege at studying at some of the best high schools in the country. Please seek them out and have them share their story. We want to have something to compare.

Jessica, you have always been a strong supporter and great ambassador for the Ivy League Connection. Our students have the greatest of respect for you and so now is your turn to give back and provide us more in detail writings about how Columbia may be a "good fit" for other students that will come in the future through the ILC.

Hope all is well with your Social Conservation course. I know that you will get a lot out of the experience.

Look forward to reading your post.

Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
School Board Member
West Contra Costa
Unified School District

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