29: Holocaust Education Program

I went to the AUM Holocaust Education Program this morning at the AUM Physical Education Complex, and not only was it wonderfully informative and very powerful and moving, but I got credit for three separate classes (out of the five I’m taking this semester). I’m not sure which one I’m more interested in… XD

Here are some pictures that I took at the Program. I apologise for the terrible quality of the photos: I was on the balcony, attempting to zoom in on the main floor with my rather terrible iPod Touch camera. I’ll give you a description of each picture, and hopefully you can figure out which part of the picture I’m talking about. ^_^

K iTouch Pics 04242013 042

This is a picture of the projector board at the Education Program: it says (or should say…) “Auburn University Montgomery Holocaust Education Program April 24, 2013” or something very similar to that… XDK iTouch Pics 04242013 043

This is a picture of some of the posterboards set up around the gym and also the candles that were lit for the Candle-Lighting Remembrance Ceremony (no really… XP).K iTouch Pics 04242013 044

Aaaaaand a random photographer guy taking pictures of the posterboards I was taking pictures of…K iTouch Pics 04242013 045

This is actually a rather good picture… Sorry random person whose head is in the frame. XD This is the candle-lighting ceremony that I mentioned in the previous picture: a reverend from Alabama State University and a rabbi from Montgomery are lighting the candles, while another rabbi from Montgomery is standing at the podium. (I know one of the rabbis is from Montgomery because I’ve sung at Temple Beth Or where he preaches [if that’s the word], but I don’t really know where the other one’s from.)K iTouch Pics 04242013 046

A close up of the same candle-lighting ceremony… K iTouch Pics 04242013 048

This is the director of the History Department at the podium, and a Holocaust survivor and the daughter of a Holocaust survivor sitting at the table. I’m fairly sure that their names are Max Helzer and Denise Roberts.K iTouch Pics 04242013 049

And a close-up…K iTouch Pics 04242013 050

Umm… I think this is someone else on the faculty of AUM at the podium and the two speakers still at the table, but I could be wrong. Sadly, I don’t remember what it actually is… XDK iTouch Pics 04242013 051

This is the dean of the School of Sciences at AUM at the podium, and again the two speakers at the table. This was very near the end of the program.

What I didn’t take pictures of was the part of the Frontline documentary, called “Memory of the Camps”, which is a documentary made out of film taken by film crews who travelled with the American & British liberation troops who went to the Nazi concentration camps. We only were shown the bits on Bergen-Belsen, which was probably sufficient, but very informative and fascinating, though probably because of the sheer number of images from the camp. I am very interested in seeing the rest of it, if I can find it, and I would very highly recommend at least the parts of it that I saw to anyone interested in the Holocaust. Of course, there is a warning for disturbing images, but as this is the Holocaust we’re talking about, it shouldn’t be really a surprise. (I’m sorry, that was rude. … But it is true. XD)

I am very glad that I was able to go to AUM’s Holocaust Education Program, and I’m very grateful that Dr. Woodworth allowed us to go to this Program if we wanted instead of class. (Of course, because she has bronchitis there wouldn’t have been class anyway, but she’d promised to let us go even before she came down with bronchitis. Get better soon Dr. Woodworth!!) I immensely enjoyed every minute of it, which is true, but also sounds like I’m a horrible person because the Holocaust isn’t really something you’d use the word “enjoy” to describe. But the words “interested”, “fascinated”, and “moved by” don’t quite seem like the words to describe my feelings properly. “Enjoyed” isn’t quite it either, but it’ll have to do for now. And with that, I leave you. I fully intend to learn as much about the Holocaust through future programs and memorials as I possibly can, and I hope you will too, as the Holocaust is an event that needs to be remembered.

Remember on.

6: Information is Beautiful and Complex

This is partially a continuation of the post entitled “Complex, or Complicated?”, in that I’ll be talking about the same two TED videos I mentioned in that post, but it is also a completely separate post in that my purpose is different. That post had to do with words, this post has to do with questions and ideas.

How do the two videos – Eric Berlow’s and David McCandless’ TED talks – relate to me as a student?

Eric Berlow’s talk on complexity and complication is actually rather apparent, at least to me. When you’re faced with a problem or homework, especially science and/or math work, it looks incredibly complicated and frustrating. What are you supposed to do with all those numbers? Yikes!! But even though it looks complicated, that’s not necessarily so. It is definitely and always, however, quite complex. My mom has been trying for years to get me to look at a math problem and find the simple elements and not be scared, and Eric Berlow’s talk restated that idea. If you look for simple connections between simple objects, the most complex concept becomes easy to understand.

With David McCandless’ presentation on the beauty of data and data visualization, it’s a bit harder to make a connection. The beauty aspect is easier: beauty is everywhere, and personally I’ve found it’s quite easy and enjoyable to find beauty in everything. (Except the tops of really disgusting outdoor trashcans. And mold. Those, not so beautiful.) But data and data visualization is, at least for me, a bit harder to relate to. If you’re an information systems major, it would be rather obvious, as you would be dealing with data all the time. If you’re an art major, especially if you’re going into graphic design, it’s also quite apparent, as his job is all about creating graphics and art. But what if you’re going into military history, or neurobiology, or music like I am? Well there’s the obvious point of “you can make a graphic about data about all of those topics”, but there are also deeper connections. (Being a musician, it’s easiest for me to make references to music, so pardon as I make a bunch of music metaphors.) Albums need cover art, and that’s beauty. Lyrics to songs, titles of pieces, the little information booklet you find in CDs, those are all data, and lyrics and titles especially should contain some form of beauty. But I think what David McCandless focussed a lot on was the interconnectedness of the data in his visualizations, and music is about nothing if not connections. And broadening my interpretation to college students in general, classes often ask you to make connections to things you’ve learned before, both in that class and in other classes you’ve taken. English classes especially (or at least mine) want you to relate all your current assignments to assignments you’ve done in the past, things you’ve talked about in the past (tapestries!), and ideas you’ve had in the past. Life is all about connections and finding them, and I think that is mainly what David McCandless brings to light.

I’m sure there are many other connections one could find between being a student and these two TED talks, and this is merely the surface. I could probably and would love to go into more depth about the connections and complexities of being a student and being a human on Earth in the 21st century, but I’m afraid that these are all the bubbles that have been programmed into my graphic. I do hope that this provoked thoughts in your minds, though, and I would very highly recommend visiting ted.com and searching for these videos. They may well be the most interesting 21 minutes of your month (I hesitate to say year or life, but it could well be). And as always, read on.

Of Music

Without music, life would be a mistake.” Friedrich Nietszche

This is how I live my life. Without music, my life would be a mistake. I feel like I was born to play music. Two of my favorite pieces to play are Tango de Lejos by Maximo Diego Pujol, and Day Tripper by the Beatles. They can always cheer me up, and they are incredibly fun to play.

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination
and life to everything.” Plato

When I don’t listen to music for several days in a row, my brain physically hurts from music deprivation. The one time this has happened to me (so far), it was assuaged by OK Go. Primarily, This Too Shall Pass and Get Over It. Rather appropriate, don’t you think? When I study, I also really enjoy listening to music, but I can’t concentrate during songs with words, and after playing classical music for 10 years I’ve heard a lot of it, so I’ve turned to video game soundtracks. Some of my favorites are the Angry Birds theme played by the London Philharmonic, the Tetris theme also played by the London Philharmonic, and the Honeyhive Galaxy music from Mario Galaxy.

Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music.” George Carlin

I have always danced. The dances at my summer camp for two years were the parts I looked forward to the most. When I was little, I actually took dance classes for ballet and tap, and when I was older I did a bit of jazz and hip-hop. But I haven’t always been able to take classes. So I dance at home. Sometimes when there’s a piece I just love, I’ll dance a little bit. Mostly while sitting, but sometimes I actually get up and try to remember my old ballet lessons. I’ll also be walking in a grocery store sometimes and a rhythm just hits me, and I’ll do some weird sort of psudo-hip-hop move just because I feel it. Whenever I’d go visit the house of one of my friends who still does ballet, she’d turn on music and we’d choreograph a dance to it. Some of the best music I’ve found to dance to is Caribbean Blue by Enya, Just Dance by Lady Gaga, and the Blue Danube Waltz by Johann Strauss II.

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.” Victor Hugo

I leave you with these songs to go throughout your day and your life, and to think about when you’re asleep: the Appassionata Sonata, and Here Comes the Sun.

None but ourselves can free our minds.” Bob Marley