Cole Oost's blog

Week 7: The Limits of Genetic Engineering

One of my favorite stories ever is the 2003 science-fiction novel Oryx and Crake, written by Margaret Atwood. The book envisions a world in which genetic engineering has become the dominant industry in the United States, with corporations competing to make the most economically successful transgenic plants, domesticated animals, medicines/beauty products, and even weapons for bio-warfare (Atwood 2003). In some ways, Atwood’s predictions are not too far off.

Week 6: Wildfires and Wildflowers

     I have lived in Los Angeles for my entire life, but I have never thought of myself as living in a city. My hometown is on the outskirts of LA in a mountainous area that most people are not familiar with. My town is called “Tujunga” which is the native Tongva word for “old woman”, referring to the idea of a nurturing and wise mother nature presiding over the area. The slogan of our town, which is written on a small wooden sign by the highway coming in, is “The Gateway to the Angeles National Forest”.

Week 4: Some Plastics are Destined for Landfills

     Sitting in a coffee shop while studying this weekend, I noticed the person at the table next to me drinking an iced coffee with a reusable metal straw. In fact, many places around the country are beginning to ban the use of plastic straws (Gibbens 2019). It’s nice to see that more people are trying to make an effort to reduce plastic use, but it is a bit ironic that the lid and cup of their drink were both still made of disposable, one-time-use plastic.

Week 3: Dolphin Hunting in Japan

     Last year, on a whim, I took a one unit seminar through UCLA entitled, “Dolphins: People of the Sea”. I figured it might be a nice break from my otherwise stressful schedule and several members of my family have been dolphin trainers in the past so I thought it might be useful to study up. While it was certainly entertaining to learn about these hyper-intelligent aquatic mammals, the class also explored a darker side to our relationship with dolphins.

Week 2: Golden Rice and Bt Corn

     After seeing Haytham Nawar’s “Collective Bread Diaries” in class and reading through his own analysis of the project and its importance in highlighting the intercultural commonality of bread, I began to think more about the other important starch crops of the world. While wheat, the main ingredient in bread, has been consumed widely throughout history in areas such as Europe and the Middle East, it is not the only cereal eaten around the world.

Week 1: Cooking, Disease, and Human Evolution

            In trying to describe the events I attended last Friday, somehow the word “workshops” seems to fall short of properly explaining the experience. Possibly because it implies that someone interprets or demonstrates some topic for others, usually with hands-on activities. This is essentially what happened on Friday, but the discussion felt more like that of a sermon. It was an exchange of personal ideals.

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