The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 23, 1997 -5A
Prof. speaks on
the meaning of
life and mank nd:
By Heather Wiggin
Daily Staff Reporter
Who are we? Where are we? Where
are we going?
Prof. Donald Coffey began his pre-
sentation, "Human Destiny," with
these thought-provoking questions
about mankind and its place in the
world. Coffey is president of the
American Association of Cancer
Research and a professor of urology,
oncology, pharmacology and molecu-
lar sciences at the Johns Hopkins
School of Medicine.
"Can humans explain everything?
What are limits?" Coffey asked the
near-capacity Rackham Auditorium
audience in his probing and philo-
Although Coffey holds three presti-
gious medical professorships and is
known all over the world, he claims
that he failed both 5th and 11th
grades. Coffey said he looks to places
outside academia for knowledge.
"It is not what we learn in the books,"
Coffey said. "I don't know anything ...
I see no more wisdom in college pro-
fessors than I see in cab drivers."
Coffey started his analysis of life
with the "big bang" and asked the
audience, "how did it start?" and "how
will it end?" Coffey stressed the huge
size of the universe and quoted
astronomer Carl Sagan by saying,
"there are billion and billions of stars."
"There are more stars in the known
universe than there are grains of sand
on the coastline of the United States,"
There are also more atoms in one
cup of water than there are drops of
water in the Atlantic and Pacific
Coffey filled his presentation with
questions about spirituality and God.
"The trouble with religion is some-
times it gets you thinking two ways at
once," Coffey said.
Coffey contrasted good qualities
such as love, knowledge and beauty
with evil ones such as murder and hate.
"Is there good? Who makes it? Who
decides it?" he asked.
Life and death were major under-
tones of the presentation. People are not
immortal, and Coffey questioned why,
asking "what is that barrier?"
Johns Hopkins Prof. Donald Coffey, president of the American Association of Cancer Research, speaks to a filled Rackham
auditorium about human destiny and the meaning of life.
Scientists have recently determined
that cells age and die because of
telomeres, the ends of linear chromo-
somes. Cancer cells are the only
human cells known to be immortal.
"Every time you breathe in, you
destroy proteins and DNA ... every-
body dies." This raised other questions
such as "how long can you live'?"
Humans have exhibited an amazing
amount of creativity through techno-
logical advances. But apes, which are
thought by some scientists to be close-
ly related to humans, have not devel-
oped any culture or society that can be
compared to ours.
"Creativity is an all or none event,"
In theory, if God created man, "God
is a creator and you have the image of
God in you," Coffey said. "You should
be all-knowing and all-powerful, and
indeed you are."
Coffey concluded his contemplative
presentation with three final ques-
tions: "What will you take'? What will
you give? What will you have?"
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Junk artist struggles to keep
vision blossoming in Detroit
By Hong Lin
For the Daily
On any given day of the week, stu-
dents living in dorms may just grb 4
bagel for a quick bite.
But if a prospective contrast i
worked out with the University, sfu-
dents may soon be eating bagels that
carry more significance than they read-
University officials are currently
negotiating with the PATCH Bagel
Corporation, a company that doates
earnings back to needy commuities.
"If we can get a contract with U of
M, that would really help our busine,-
which, in turn, would help our case
said Joesph Coleman, president of the
PATCH bagel corporation.
Any profits made from bagel sales to
the University would go to Detroit-ar
neighborhoods in need.
RC Prof. Max Heirich said moniy
from this contract may go 4wab4
improving health care access in iua
"About 42 percent of Americans d9.
not have health care," Heirich 'said?
"Through this project, we hope t"sAIq
ply some people in our comn mities
who do not have health care with he tp
Currently, contract negotiaioti,
between the University and the 1baget
corporation are proceeding smoothly
But nothing definite has bep. set.
University food preparation officials
said yesterday that a lot of factors -go
into consideration when it comes t
purchasing food items from merchNts,
and that all of those concerns hayenp
yet been worked out.
PATCH, the company's name, stanC'
for "People Aspiring To Create Hoe'
Patch's decision to go into bagel p
duction came after being approaheo
by a Detroit business.
"In the beginning, we wefA
approached by the Detroit Bage'
Factory in regards to this projet'j
Coleman said. "After some deliber4-
tion, we decided that it would be a good
idea to have a bagel corporation?."' x'
The company remains true, toits
charitable ideals, Coleman sahj M
added that the bagel corporation. i
staffed mainly by volunteers, enblii
PATCH to give a large portion of'ts
funds to local communities.
"The bagel corporation was started
because we wanted to become self-suf-
ficient;' Coleman said. "Our fu
used to come from companies
or Kellogg's through donation. Nw "e
are hoping that the bagel corppratjog
can make enough money for us thtwe
won't have to rely on donation as the
primary source of our funding."
Rev. Richard Wilson said. the p4-
ject's goal is to create jobs in a ned
"The ultimate goal of this bagel cw-
poration is to create about 200jobs ili
the Virginia Parks area. That wul
allow us to hire people from thjs who
are currently unemployed," Wilsyni
said. "These people will then be pri-
vided with a steady income and health
DETROIT (AP) - More than a decade ago when artist
Tyree Guyton set out to change his decaying neighborhood
by glorifying other's junk with monuments that stretched a
city block, he never imagined the controversy surrounding
his work would last so long.
One thing he is'sure of: "I would do it all over again," he
said yesterday as he stood among his colorful creations that
adorn a city neighborhood.
His works can been seen across the world. The Detroit
Institute of Art owns some pieces and a traveling exhibit of
the Detroit-born artist is overseas. A Minnesota house is
adorned with shoes Guyton collected and is part of the
Minnesota Museum of American Art's "outsider art" exhibit.
"As a kid I was told I was not going to amount to anything,"
Guyton said. "Now I have friends from all over the world.
People from all over the world come to see this project and
Still, he is confronted with people who argue whether thou-
sands of pairs of shoes lining the street constitute art.
"We're done with the argument over what is or isn't art,"
said Jenenne Whitfield, executive director of The Heidelberg
Project. "His recognition and honors speak to that."
But today, just as in 1986 when he began decorating the
street, residents are split on the colorful compositions of
thrown out bicycles, telephones, stuffed animals and other
"If this project was stopped today, it still will have accom-
plished something," said Ric Geyer, president of The
Heidelberg Project Board. But not enough, he said.
"We'd like to build on the strengths that this project has
developed and use that for general funding," he said.
Geyer said he has become immersed in the project -
which has drawn visitors from 75 countries and more than
200,000 signatures on visitors' books.
Not all visitors take the time to sign the book. Yesterday
afternoon in a 45-minute period, more than a dozen people
rode down the street taking pictures of a boat filled with
stuffed animals or just looking at the art.
It is the project's latest plans that has some neighborhood
organizations calling for the project to be moved or demol-
The board wants to open a welcoming center. A house ded-
icated to the controversies surrounding the O.J. Simpson mur-
der trial now serves as a place where visitors can buy T-shirts,
talk to Guyton or sign the visitors' book.
The board also wants to open a cafe with performing artist
and host several different community-based projects.
Neighborhood children already are a fixture at the O.J.
house on Saturdays, where they get a chance to create art,
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