A Classic: How to Live Before You Die

“you can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever—because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.”

-Steve Jobs

can you understand the connection between these two images?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably curious about the finding of the Higgs Boson particle that was announced yesterday (July 4, 2012). What does the finding mean? What is the Higgs particle? And why is it so important?

Here’s what you need to know (in plain and simple English):

A little bit of background

There’s this theory called The Standard Model which attempts to describe the basic building blocks of the universe. By knowing the building blocks of the universe we would be able to understand the ‘history’ of how the universe developed. The best way to describe it is to say that “The Standard Model is to physics what the theory of evolution is to biology”.

The Standard Model is composed of 12 fundamental particles that are governed by four basic forces. Up to now they had only found 11 of the 12 particles (but with the finding, the Higgs became the 12th and final one). Because we found the final one we can now validate the The Standard Model (aka we can now learn about the very forces that rule the universe and its development!)

But what does the Higgs particle do?

The short answer: The Higgs is thought to solve the mystery of the origin of mass. (Quick refresher: mass is a measure of the amount of matter in an object).

The long answer: After the Big Bang it is believed that the universe was made up of particles racing around at the speed of light without any mass. Some particles didn’t slow down (like light, which is not affected by and does not have any mass), but other particles began to slow down when they started interacting with the Higgs field. Their interaction with the Higgs meant that they would gain mass and eventually form things like stars, galaxies, planets, and humans.

So why is it important?

Well basically, without the Higgs field you wouldn’t exist. So it’s pretty cool that we found it.

jk- Actually we’re over 99.9% sure that we’ve made the discovery,  but because the finding is so new scientists can only say they’ve “discovered something which is consistent with [the] Higgs”, as supposed by physicist John Ellis.

For more information on The Standard Model and the Higgs particle I recommend these two sites and

Book list:
  1. Cien Años de Soledad- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  2. (Re-read) Open Veins of Latin America- Eduardo Galeano
  3. Invisible Man-Ralph Ellison
  4. The Picture of Dorian Gray- Oscar Wilde
  5. Catch-22-Joseph Heller
  6. Nudge-Cass R. Sunstein
  7. Ulysses- James Joyce 
  8.  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man-James Joyce
  9. As I Lay Dying- William Faulkner
  10. Adventures of Augie March- Saul Bellow
  11. …more more more!

Life- cruel, inhospitable, and more powerful than Wilde had ever supposed- would gain the upper hand. Aestheticism’s first martyr at the hands of life was not Dorian Gray. It was Oscar Wilde himself.

Wilde, Oscar, and Nicholas Frankel. “General Introduction.” The Picture of Dorian Gray: An Annotated, Uncensored Edition. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2011. 33. Print.

An welcoming Peter’s arrival to Bogotá my dad and I set out to make a typical Colombian dish: A Sancocho.

The stew is one of the most popular dishes and as most other Colombian plates it is fresh, healthy, and hearty. The soup is generally consumed at lunchtime accompanied with slices of avocado, a side of rice, and a fresh fruit juice.

The most common ingredients in a Sancocho are meat, corn, carrots, green bananas, plantains , potatoes, pepper, salt, lentils, peas, onions, garlic, cilantro, and yucca. This delicious typical plate is a must-try if you’re in the country!

Here is my Dad’s take on a Sancocho:

So it turns out Detroit is pretty awesome.

I don’t want to bore you with the details of it’s history and it’s problems so I’ll (concisely) outline the issues and the solutions.


  1. Detroit (also known as Motor City) is where the automobile industry was built ( Ford, GM, Chrysler etc) but all those giants left the city years ago = no jobs
  2. Detroit was built around large highways, roads, and for cars. But with no jobs people can’t buy cars. And because its a city built for cars, guess what? There’s no reliable public transportation.
  3. The suburbs was where the party was at in the 1950’s. Only people with jobs and enough money could afford to live there (predominantly caucasian residents) while poor people were economically exiled from the suburbs and could only afford to live in downtown detroit (predominantly African American residents). This created a phenomenon known as chocholate cities and vanilla suburbs. The phenomena was consolidated by the infamous 8 mile line, a line that to this day points to the strong racism that is left over. 
  4. Detroit is a sprawling city (like LA). It was purposefully built that big for all the 2 million people that filled up all the city in the 50’s, but today only 800,000 people occupy the sprawling space. That means there’s no living density.
  5. Bottom line what remains of the city is a 32% rate of unemployment, high levels of crime,  economic segregation, racial segregation and no reliable public transportation.


  1. No jobs solution: there is a lot of support for entrepreneurship and for small businesses that are popping up throughout the city.
  2. No public transportation: there is a light rail project the city is planning that will facilitate transportation from the suburbs into the city.
  3. Racism: there’s plan to improve education and to increase living densities so there is a build up of trust amongst the city’s residents.
  4. No density: they’re planning to divide Detroit into five “cities” or “villages” (kinda like Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens) to make people live in closer quarters, and all the space in between will be green space. Which would make Detroit the first green city!
  5. Bottom line: the residents of Detroit are doing everything they can to improve their city–whether that’s through planting community gardens, small businesses, or talking to strangers visiting Detroit and telling them of all the great things going on–they’re doing their part. There’s a ton of hope for what Detorit can be, the people are wonderful, there’s a ton of space, and land is cheap. Opportunities are endless.

My stay in Detroit has ended, tomorrow I leave for Sao Paulo where I hope to meet more great people, find awesome food, and learn more about another cool city.

Brazil here I come.

This post was originally submitted as a final essay on the history of women’s liberation through fashion throughout the progressive era (1900-1920). For questions on sources quoted or used ask Natalia!

  In all societies the body is dressed and shaped to reflect a cultural understanding of what a body should look like and how it must be covered or left exposed. Clothing is so much a part of our living and our culture that we use it to define ourselves within the contexts of our society as a reflection of our agreement or dissent to cultural values, as reflected through dress.

It tends to be the rule, rather than the exception that forms of dress will change to reflect a culture’s value system at a slow, conservative pace. However, the Progressive Era is certainly an exception to this rule. Throughout the years of 1900 to 1920 women’s dress progressed at a greater pace than it had changed throughout the whole19th century. This essay explores the changes in women’s apparel throughout the Progressive Era, mainly focusing on the parallel relationship between women’s dress and their liberation during these years. Contrary to popular conception, I argue that women’s apparel reform throughout the progressive era moved mostly parallel to women’s progressive movements, meaning dress reform was not directly influenced by women’s movements so much as it was by three other social movements. Ultimately I propose that the changes in women’s dress reform during these years—largely influenced because of new artistic trends, urbanization, and scientific discoveries—allowed for increased control over a woman’s own body and her decision to decide what to wear on the basis of her judgments and preferences.

Read Full Article