Learning Challenge - Health, Learning about Sleep

Article: "How Sleep Deprivation Decays the Mind and Body," Seth Maxon - The Atlantic

I think something most college students can agree on is that sleep is great. Especially in times like these, which are stressful in a way pretty much none of us have had to deal with before, getting enough sleep is important for our health in a variety of ways. What this article showed me, though, is how much sleep can impact our health in tangible ways.  The author, who imposed sleep deprivation on himself as an experience, ended up experiencing psychological hallucinations after staying awake for several days on end. That is obviously an extreme case, but the truth is that sleep deprivation, even minor, can still take a toll on our bodies and our minds.
What's crazy is that science still doesn't fully understand why we need to sleep. Biological processes like eating and breathing have obvious explanations, but scientists still haven't arrived at a consensus on the issue of why …

Reading Notes: Dante's Inferno, Part A - Paolo and Francesca

Paolo and Francesca The story of Paolo and Francesca, two spirits that Dante meets in his travels through Hell, is an interesting one for many reasons. Dante and Virgil are in the second circle of Hell, which is where the punishments of Hell begin. It seems to be the circle devoted to the sin of lust, as everyone in it is being punished for some crime of love and passion. Virgil points out several notable figures, including Cleopatra, Helen of Troy and her lover, Paris, and Achilles. After Virgil has named the spirit, Dante points out two in particular, a couple that travels together, and says he wants to talk to them. They are the ghosts of Francesca da Rimini and the younger brother of her husband. She had had an affair with her husband's brother, and her husband killed them viciously. It is here that we see the order in the gravity of the various cardinal sins. Francesca and Paolo, who committed the sin of lust, are in the second circle. Those who commit the sin of lust are co…

Week 13 Story: Hygd's Sacrifice

Hygd's Sacrifice I knew the minute that the Wanderer stepped into our halls that things were about to change. My husband, Hygelac, didn't seem to sense it like I did. He only knew of the Wanderer's pretty harp and interesting stories, and so he asked him to sing for us. At first, the minstrel's songs were harmless, tales of the North that many of us already knew. But then, the tone of his voice changed, dropped to a lower, more ominous pitch and he began singing about Hrothgar, King of the Danes. Hrothgar's land was plagued by a fearsome monster called Grendel, and it seemed no one had been able to slay him. I turned to look at my nephew, and saw that he was transfixed by the Wanderer's story. I felt a chill run down my spine; I knew that in Beowulf's heart, he had already decided to leave us.
Beowulf came to us as a young boy, the son of my husband's sister. Hygelac took him in after he saw that he had the strength of several grown men, and would be a…

Reading Notes: Beowulf, Part B - A New Misfortune

A New Misfortune This is a sad point in Beowulf's story. He has slain Grendel, and is so proud of it, and the Danes are so relieved to be rid of him. But then, the next day, the king's advisor Aescher is found murdered, and Grendel's body is removed from where Beowulf and his men had hung it on top of the roof in Heorot. It seems that the king and queen have forgotten to mention Grendel's mother, who is also a fearsome monster. She's angry now, and will torment Hrothgar and his men until she is killed. This part is important, because it shows that Beowulf's story does not end with Grendel's death, but that isn't what stuck out to me about this part of the story. 
For one, it's weird that they forgot to mention Grendel's mother, because later on when Beowulf fights her, she seems pretty strong, and even harder to kill than Grendel was. But that could be because Grendel was the one actively terrorizing the people, and so was the more imminent thr…

Reading Notes: Beowulf, Part A - Beowulf's Resolve

Beowulf's Resolve
I enjoyed reading the first half of this epic so much. I've heard about Beowulf all my life, but I never knew what it was about; when people talked about it, it was mostly about the 2007 movie (which I'm told is a nightmare) and not the actual epic poem it was based on. There were so many stories from this first half I would have liked to write about, but I chose this one, the moment where Beowulf decides to go defeat Grendel, because in a hero story, this is his turning point.

This is the moment when Beowulf decides to take control of his destiny. As he is listening to the Wanderer, he decides that he is no longer content to be known as "the Sluggard," gifted with "the strength of thirty men" but unable to use it for anything he sees worthwhile. Everyone has their doubts when he makes his announcement, but Queen Hygd silently accepts him. She brings him a jeweled cup to drink from, her signal that she approves of his quest. It's …

Famous Last Words: Week 12

Week 12 Mythology Reading: This week, I read Celtic fairy tales. I chose this unit because my family has some Celtic ancestry, and I thought it would be interesting to read some of the fairy tales from that culture. The readings were a bit difficult, mostly just because of the jargon, but they each came with a Librivox recording of the story, which was read by a man with an extremely Irish accent. Those recordings made it a bit easier to follow along with the stories.
My Best Writing This Week: To be honest, I thought my best writing this week was an assignment I did for my Policy Analysis and Writing class, but the grade I got on that assignment definitely was not reflective of that sentiment. It just goes to show that writing, even in academia, is subjective. While I felt I wrote something good, and was passionate about the subject, that doesn't mean that it is what everyone (in this case, my professors) is looking for.
Other People's Writing: Something I've noticed about …

Biography: My First Pet(s)

So, this is my first biographical post, so everyone please bear with me here. The prompt I've chosen for this one is about my first pet. This is actually hard, because by the time I was born, my family already had two pets: a cat named Abu (yes, like Aladdin - I have two older sisters and they were both obsessed with Disney by the time I came along) and a dog named Sadie. Abu was this little black shorthair, and he was honestly the most easygoing, laid-back creature I have ever met. I distinctly remember my dad letting me help him give Abu a bath, and while most cats are not huge fans of water, Abu would just sit there calmly and let you bathe him. He clearly didn't enjoy it, but he was so sweet that he wouldn't have dared to fight us over it. He didn't even mind when toddler me tugged on his tail or tried to play with him as if he were a dog, he just went along with it. We got another cat later on, a tabby named Tigger, and he was the polar opposite of Abu. Having met…