A World-Changing Conflict of the Present: The Syrian Civil War

by on Mar.05, 2018, under Humanities

What comes to your mind when you think of civil war? One may think of the Civil War of the United States and how the North defeated the South with their justice. However, even the “honorable” and “noble” freedom fighters committed horrible crimes during the period of war. War will change people, and the Syrian war is no different.

Wars have not happened just in Syria. The Arab Spring is a revolutionary wave that influenced the Middle East and North Africa. Some of the more major events have happened in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Sudan, and Bahrain. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, and some are still on the battlefield fighting for change.

The biggest and most significant battlefield is without a doubt Syria. In this once-peaceful country, an ongoing 7-year conflict has claimed the lives of over 400,000 people; some soldiers, many innocents. The fifteen boys that had been arrested on the 6th of March did not expect such a catastrophic uprising against their own government. Although they knew their regime was brutal, they did not know that it would be so unforgiving, and they certainly did not know that their own people would be as remorseless as their leaders.

This conflict may end as soon as tomorrow, or as late as in 200 years. The number of different fighters of the war with different beliefs and different objectives has made the struggle hard to resolve, with outside countries complicating the situation even further by taking their own sides. A large number of people around the world know of this situation, but few have any idea to put an end to the war. All I have to say is that we must do something before it is too late.

Leave a Comment :, , , , , , , , , , , , more...

Are Cadavers a “Dead” Topic?

by on Mar.02, 2018, under Humanities

An old graveyard. Perfect target for body-snatching.

Cadavers are an unusual topic. Don’t let the scientific name deceive you; it is just a formal term for “dead body”. These objects are rarely seen as items of use; after all, they are just the inanimate remains of a human who has long left this world. Are cadavers really used for more than just memorials of a deceased being? Mary Roach’s Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers has the answers. The use of multiple viewpoints throughout this book keeps the subject engaging while simultaneously being informational.

The eccentric author Mary Roach is intrigued and fascinated by cadavers. Even though she may be judged for her unique interest, she has a reason: “We knew Mary was quirky, but now we’re wondering if she’s, you know, okay… I’ll tell you now. I’m a curious person. Like all journalists, I’m a voyeur. I write about what I find fascinating” (Roach 14). Cadavers are not a subject commonly spoken of in everyday life, so when the topic is brought up, it is seen as “abnormal” and “strange”. There does not seem to be much to learn about these objects, but Roach, being the journalist that she is, is the only one daring enough to find out.

While Roach is quite an enthusiast about learning and researching topics that she finds interesting, some people are not as eager to look at dead bodies: the people working with cadavers. Roach shows her curiosity of professionals who deal with cadavers daily: “I wanted to know how–scientifically and emotionally–a person does this job” (114). Yvonne, a woman whose job is to cut heads off of human cadavers, has a way of reimagining cadavers: “‘What I do is, I think of them as wax’” (21). Although Roach finds the topic of dead bodies very fascinating, some cadaver “apprentices” did not enjoy much of their studies: “‘…there were… a lot of days, when coming up here and spending two hours felt like a huge waste of time’” (55). People working with cadavers as a job see dead bodies every day. They come as no surprise and appear merely as a burden or something to work through. These professionals show no interest in what they do or what else they are used for. They use bizarre objects in an average job, making cadavers look rather dull. Although conflicting with her own, Roach seeks these viewpoints as she has to obtain information from different people and keep an objective approach to the subject.

The author’s engaging, amusing and enthusiastic text shows that her point of view is that cadavers, although peculiar, are an interesting topic and even educational in a way. Of course, there will be some who disagree; her viewpoint contrasts with the cadaver “workers”, who believe that these objects are just workplace tools to help them fulfill their role. Roach’s use of statistics, language, and even humor help her to strongly convey her viewpoint. Although bias may show up throughout the book, different quotes and people are introduced to include multiple perspectives and maintain an informal yet educational style of writing. With her writing prowess, Mary Roach convincingly shows that cadavers are less useless than one may think.

Image Citation: Hanratty, Carol. “Old Graveyard Photograph.” Fine Art America, 20 Jan. 2011, fineartamerica.com/featured/old-graveyard-carol-hanratty.html.

Leave a Comment :, , , , , , , more...

Bilbo Baggins: Not the Hero We Deserved but the Hero We Needed?

by on Dec.10, 2017, under Humanities

This short video explains the internal conflict of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. In the early parts of the book, Bilbo is shown to dislike taking risks and prefers living an everyday life over adventuring. This is most likely from his father, who is a descendant of the “Baggins” family, who are characterized by their laziness and preference of comfort and caution over action and adventure. However, his mother is a descendant of the “Took” family, who, contrary to the Baggins, are characterized by their love of mischief and adventurous nature. When Gandalf and the 13 dwarves present Bilbo with an opportunity for adventure, he must decide whether to refuse or embrace his Took side and go along with the dwarves. This is the primary internal conflict, which, although short, is a key turning point of the story. Bilbo’s entire life is changed when he embarks on this adventure; over the course of the book, he becomes stronger, more confident, and shows more of the characteristics of a hero. He became the leader that the dwarves needed and deserved.


Images Taken From:












Song: Wolfborn – BrunuhVille

Video created and edited in Final Cut Pro X.

2 Comments :, , , , , , , more...

Body-Altering Substance Abuse

by on Dec.04, 2017, under PE

Abuse of substances to change body image is highly dangerous. There are a large number of side effects that come with using drugs, which vary with the substance. Side effects include heart problems, a danger of stroke, irregular pulse, depression, and even death. Another risk is the chance that a body is overwhelmed or cannot react appropriately to a new substance, which may cause a heart attack or sudden death.

Alternatives to taking substances include maintaining a healthy diet, like cutting down on fatty foods and eating in moderation; exercising regularly and working out; reducing or abstaining from potentially dangerous materials such as tobacco and alcohol.

Leave a Comment more...

Nobody Wins in War

by on Nov.23, 2017, under Humanities



An Unholy Night

The battlefield of war

Is ever in motion.

A once peaceful, thriving land unsuspectingly and unwillingly

Falls prey to conflict.

Countless innocent souls have been threatened

By illness and torment, their life

Hanging by a single thread above the boundless abyss of death.


Take cover, men! —My comrades, we can fight

But all efforts will be in vain.

We will not lose to power,

But merely to our fruitless attempts of protecting our nation.

Fighting conflict with conflict is futile.

We may be called cowards, but

Our enemy is not their army.

Our enemy is war.

To die is simply a minor attempt at quenching

The insatiable hunger of the tempest of death, plague, anguish.

You and I; we will not be its next victim.


An unholy night —unstirred, yet unnatural

Residue of the wreckage,

Remains of the revolted and

Remnants of the regime.

What a ghastly sight —once hopeful soldiers;

Once valiant fighters, lost to sickness and pain,

Seized by the hands of death.

They don’t matter anymore;

Their past, forgotten as they become



Yet has there no end

To my suffering?

To your suffering?

To our people’s suffering?


Where is the end to

Leading people to their inevitable demise like

Lambs to the slaughter?

Is there no end to

Meaningless destruction just in sake of

“Winning” the battle?

They may have won this fight, but


Nobody wins in war…

I believe my presentation was the better part to reflect on of the two. The poem was spoken with emotion, changes in dynamics, and changes in speed. In my opinion, my poem could have been presented better with more actions and body movement.



Image Citation: https://www.timesofisrael.com/major-parts-of-syria-have-effectively-been-bombed-back-to-ottoman-times/ Edited with Preview by Apple.

Leave a Comment :, , , , , , , more...

Boxer Rebellion: War of the United Nations

by on Nov.20, 2017, under Humanities

My initial thoughts on the Boxer Rebellion are that the Boxers did not deserve their bad reputation. Based on the information I already know, I believe that the Boxers were justified for their actions. They were given such a bad name because they did not win the battle.


I am curious about what happened to the 8 allied countries after they defeated the Boxers. Did they continue to dislike China? Did they turn on each other?

Leave a Comment :, , , , , more...

Scarred but Uninjured: A Visual Representation of Jim Graham’s Childhood

by on Oct.24, 2017, under Humanities

“Given that external reality is a fiction, the writer’s role is almost superfluous. He does not need to invent the fiction because it is already there.”

-James Graham Ballard

J. G. Ballard‘s Empire of the Sun (1984) contains many themes that are based on his actual experiences growing up in Shanghai as a British foreigner, of which I focused on the themes of growing up and “war changes people.” Beforehand, I created posters that may have resembled propaganda from the time period, one for Communists and one for the First Worker’s and Peasant’s Army. My intentions were to create a sense of patriotism, which Jim feels not for the British, but towards the Japanese that showed kindness and compassion to and felt safe with. This may have had an effect on his childhood. The last three posters are a more direct approach, showing the changing of Jim Graham during his time spent as a captive of the Japanese, as he turns from an innocent, unsuspecting boy to a seasoned and independent man.


Pictures produced using Apple Preview and Pixlr (pixlr.com/editor).

The Chinese text literally translates to “the people help me, I help the people.”


The Chinese idiom literally translates to “hidden dragon, crouching tiger,” meaning “concealed power.”

This is Jim in the early parts of the book.

War can change people. This is Jim during, or after, the war.

Although unpredictable events such as war can change us, we must embrace these changes as we endure the process of growing up.

Picture credits:

“Rising Sun Flag.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 23 Oct. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rising_Sun_Flag#/media/File:Naval_ensign_of_the_Empire_of_Japan.svg.

“Empire of the Sun (1987).” IMDb, IMDb.com, m.imdb.com/title/tt0092965/mediaviewer/rm4280813312.

“Empire of the Sun (1987).” IMDb, IMDb.com, www.imdb.com/title/tt0092965/mediaviewer/rm3900354560.

ChazKennedy. “Hammer and Sickle.” Imgur, Imgur, 24 June 2016, imgur.com/gallery/ikPdyPj.

Taylor, Alan. “World War II: After the War.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 30 Oct. 2011, www.theatlantic.com/photo/2011/10/world-war-ii-after-the-war/100180/.

“Suppose America Gave a Proxy War in Syria and Nobody Came?” The Century Foundation, The Century Foundation, 26 Sept. 2016, tcf.org/content/report/suppose-america-gave-proxy-war-syria-nobody-came/.
PhiLiP. “Communist Party of China.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Oct. 2009, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communist_Party_of_China#/media/File:%E4%B8%AD%E5%9C%8B%E5%B7%A5%E8%BE%B2%E7%B4%85%E8%BB%8D%E8%BB%8D%E6%97%97.svg.
“Free Image on Pixabay – Skyline, City, Cityscape, Landscape.” Free Vector Graphic: Skyline, City, Cityscape, Landscape – Free Image on Pixabay – 1751179, pixabay.com/en/skyline-city-cityscape-landscape-1751179/.
Leave a Comment :, , , , , , , , , , , , more...

What Secrets Lie in Ly(Lie)sander?

by on Oct.20, 2017, under Humanities

This special edition of Men of the Renaissance explains the character of Lysander from William Shakespeare‘s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Lysander is a good figure to feature as Act 1 Scene 1 displays much of his personality and other’s opinions of him. He seems like a person who would be nice on the outside but cunning and deceitful.

Leave a Comment :, , , , , , , , , , , , more...

Witches HATE Him: Learn How a Boy Defeated an Evil Wizard in Three Easy Steps

by on Sep.22, 2017, under Humanities

An actual urwald. “Wald” means “forest” in German.

“It’s a small world, after all.” That cliché could not have been proven more wrong than Sage Blackwood’s Jinx. Although Jinx’s world may seem small, it is much more than what it seems to be. It is not just his perspective of the world that changes throughout the story. During the rising action of Jinx, the protagonist changes dramatically as a character through his thoughts and actions.

Jinx becomes less conservative, more curious, and more risk-taking as the story progresses (especially the beginning of the book). He is never told of the hidden door. It was only through his curiosity of magic and desire of learning that he knew about the door that holds an entirely different world beyond it. The book even acknowledges it explicitly, saying, “As Jinx grew less afraid… he grew more and more curious” (Blackwood 35). Following the topic of curiosity, Jinx pushes the limits even further: “He wanted to find what lay beyond it” (111). Sophie recognizes this, supporting him with the fact that it is “‘human nature to explore’” (49). The rising action is very important for character development, building him or her up for the climax. However, Jinx’s growing curiosity and eagerness to learn never stops even at the very end of the book: “Jinx was ready to see the world” (360).

Even though our protagonist learns to take risks, he also becomes more independent, thinking for himself and making his own choices: “he’d lost his ability to see other people’s feelings… he’d become a whole lot more interested in how he felt” (105). He knew he there was something wrong, and he was determined to do something about it. Initiative and perseverance are important aspects of leadership, and they go well with the fact that he is maturing and becoming more self-driven over time. Leaving the safety of Simon’s house was no foolish idea; being a naturally observant and curious child, Jinx “‘knows the forest; he’s not afraid of it’” (143). If he knows he can accomplish something, he can accomplish anything.

Related to the topic of growing up, an important connection can be made that links Jinx to the real world. After some point in your life, you are completely capable of sustaining yourself. Although Jinx is young, he “set out into the world to seek his fortune” (146), and eventually, so will all of us. Most humans enter the real world to live a life of their own, not requiring their parents to survive or make a living. This is a regular part of growing up that Jinx learns over time. There are very close tie-ins between some of the quotes in this book and maturing.



Jinx may be a simple book, but its development of characters allows the reader to deeply understand the theme and relate with the protagonist, especially a young adult, which this book was designed for. Jinx teaches people of the ever-increasing hardships and responsibility of growing up, as well as that success can only be achieved by taking risks. In addition, two sequels to Jinx have been released, proving that there is much more to the book than just the examples listed above. Jinx is entering a new world with an experience much like our own lives.

Every book needs its share of dynamic characters, and Jinx is no different. Over time, Jinx is learning to take more risks in search of a higher reward, as well as learning to think as an individual and make choices that will benefit himself. This mindset will be crucial for him as he enters the world of reality, with no one by his side. He will meet obstacles on the way, and he will have to solve them with only his instinct and his knowledge. Blackwood herself proves that although your world may seem small, the possibilities are endless. It really isn’t a small world after all.

(I wrote two conclusions and couldn’t decide which one to use, so I used both)

1 Comment :, , , more...

london is my continent

by on Sep.19, 2017, under Trip

Last week on Monday and Tuesday (Sep. 11-12) 8-1, 8-2, 8-3 and 8-4 went to the outskirts of Beijing, to a place called Shimenshan. At the trip, we did activities like wall climbing and rafting.

I believe I showed the most of the standard “Communication and Collaboration.” Rafting and building the raft takes a lot of group work, and our raft group worked well and managed to make a floating pile of sticks.

Something I can work on is Leadership and Responsibility because I should take more responsibility for the group and have more of the leader role.

Leave a Comment :, , , more...

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!


A few highly recommended websites...