Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Would you like some more juice sir? "No, but I sure would like a home."

Poverty is indeed a global issue, but it is also a problem that hits close to home. I live in an area in which almost everyone knows they have a warm bed to sleep in every night, and a roof to cover their heads. We don't have to worry about the harshness of the cold winters because we can just switch on the eat. And the only hunger we experience is during math class because its already been 3 whole hours since breakfast and lunch is next period. To us, the issue of poverty barely even crosses our minds. We basically all live in a bubble, closed off to all the problems in the world. But every once in a while, an experience comes along and brings us back down to the real world.
In junior high, every year during the holidays, my choir would go down to the local soup kitchen to serve up food and some holiday spirit through song. The first year I went, I was in complete shock. We all took a bus over to the soup kitchen and helped set up the tables and help the food ready to be served. Pretty soon, people started filing in, some alone, and some with their entire family. They all looked like they were freezing, but also grateful to finally be indoors. Eventually, all 20 of the long wooden tables were filled with people looking cold, hungry, and eager for food. As we began to sing, I looked out at the tables, I was so surprised by the vast amount of people that had showed up. All these people. Homeless. With no place to go, no food to eat most of the time. I just couldn't believed that by my home, in the area with the big houses and the fancy cars, there were people who could barely manage to get food into their stomach every day. My first trip to the soup kitchen really was an eye opener to see what the world was like. Every other year that I went back with my choir, I went back with more and more enthusiasm, trying my best to brighten up their day. By doing so, I hope that for just one moment, they will be able to smile and forget all of their worries.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dropping Gas Prices

My brother texted me this weekend informing me that gas in over in Indiana was $2.99 a gallon! I knew that Illinois was known for having a higher price in gas, but compared to the $4.35 a gallon prices that we had to pay this summer, there really was a drop. Yesterday, the gas prices dropped 4.4 cents, making the total drop from the day before 10.3 cents. Though most gas prices are only 25 cents away from the $3 mark, the prices are still are about %20 above what they used to be years before. So what is the cause for this drop?
First of all, the gasoline prices were raised during the summer naturally because all of the traveling and vacationing that occurs. The higher the demand for gas, the higher the price. Also, the oil refineries were ruined by the various hurricanes that rolled over the Gulf of Mexico this summer. But now, the hurricanes are gone, and and the economy crisis has come on to play, so the prices are beginning to drop. People are becoming very worried about the economy and trying to save their money, which involves not driving around their cars as much and having to worry about the high prices just to fill up their tank. The low demand for gasoline has caused the prices to drop, just like how the high demand for gasoline in the summer caused the price to rise. 
As the weeks go on, there will probably be a continued drop in the gas prices. But will they rise once again when people begin to take advantage of the lowered prices? Only time will tell.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

One Survivor

Unfortunately, we all remember the Columbia space shuttle disaster that happened on February 1, 2003. All seven crew members died when the space shuttle exploded while re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The tragedy occurred because during the pre-launch inspection process, inspectors did not notice imperfections in the shuttles foam insulation. During launch, a piece of the foam broke off and chipped off the shuttle's left leading wing. This lead to the damage of the system's Thermal Protection System. As the shuttle was finally about to finish its 28th journey into space, damaging, heat gases destroyed the wing. The broken wing eventually lead to the demise of the whole shuttle.
I recently read in an article that from this disaster, somethings did survive. 37 pages of a diary written by Ilan Ramon, one of the astronauts on the mission, were found in a field just outside of Palestine, Texas. I find it so unbelievable that these pages survived that whole crash. The diary endured the intense heat of the explosion its self, and also the coldness from the atmosphere. They were also just sitting in a field for two months before they were found. They gave the diary pages to Ramon's wife, who brought it to Israeli forensics to decipher. About 80 percent of the diary could be restored. The diary will be on display in Jerusalem, along with other important documents at the country's 60th anniversary celebration. The diary being the one survivor of this tragedy shows that words really do last forever.