The Capstone Project is a trimester-long project where students choose an issue that affects China and/or the world. My choice was renewable energy, from which I learned that the problem of fossil fuels is not an easy problem to solve and why clean energy is hard to come by. This problem is one that not many know of and my opinions have certainly changed from reading various articles explaining the true danger of switching to renewable power. Many people, including me in the past, believe(d) that reducing air pollution and fossil fuel usage was as simple as using solar or wind power. However, I have found that this is not the case.

One thing I would recommend to next year’s G8 students is to find research that will actually be relevant to the topic. When writing the essay, try not to do any additional research, because it makes citing sources a lot harder. Be creative when making the video; it will make for a much more enjoyable project.

Who Will Solve the Problem of Depleting Natural Resources?

I would like to focus on the problems relating to renewable energy. I do not have any social perceptions or beliefs with this topic but (the lack of) renewable energy is a global problem that has to be addressed. The use of non-renewable energy and its problems may vary, becoming increasingly worse the more natural resources a country uses, but these problems have a good chance of affecting its surrounding nations and permanently damage the world.

What are some problems affecting the efficiency and quality of renewable energy such as solar and wind power?

What might be some factors that compel company owners to expend non-renewable and environmentally damaging resources (e.g. coal, oil, natural gas) for production?

Are some producers more harmful to the society than they are beneficial? If so, in what way?

My one fear is that although I intend to spread awareness about this topic, it may be too late by the time the people of Earth realize that they are running out of natural resources and start doing something about it. Professor Stephen Hawking has predicted that humans only have 100 years to colonize other planets before we will be wiped out by global warming, overpopulation, and disease. The use of fossil fuels, which are non-renewable resources, is destroying the planet.

The over-consumption of non-renewable resources is a problem that has been here since the beginning of industrialization. However, countries continue to burn a massive amount of coal and use a large volume of oil for their transportation and goods. At this pace, the world will either deplete itself completely of fossil fuels, or we will all die from the high concentration of carbon dioxide in the air, which also destroys our atmosphere and warms our planet. The overuse of Earth’s assets and the underdevelopment of renewable resources will soon be very hard to solve as our planet’s population continues to ignore the current situation and refuse to do anything.

Image citation:

“Renewable And Non Renewable Resources – Lessons – Tes Teach.” Tes Teach with Blendspace, www.tes.com/lessons/FlILbhUeAtRxow/renewable-and-non-renewable-resources.

The Unheard Writers of the Syrian Revolution

My name is Amer. Amer, an Arabic name, means “prosperous”, “full of life”, and “one that lives a long and prosperous life”. I was brought into this world in 1991 by a loving mother and father, who wished that my life would be long and full of good fortune like theirs. As I knelt upon their deathbeds, I promised I would continue their legacy – then war struck. This is my account of these dark times.

Seven long years have passed, yet not much has changed. People continue to fight on the battlefield, firing their guns at each other with no purpose, only to harm. Many soldiers’ jobs have become meaningless, whose tasks lead to endless killing and suffering as neither side has any intention of ending the war. Innocent civilians continue to die helplessly to airstrikes, bombs, and chemical weapons used by the ruthless government. The regime has not been reformed as the rebels would like it to be, and Assad still holds power. His stubborn defenses and unchanging ways refuse to give way.

Some significant turning points have led to some changes in the Syrian Revolution. It started as a civil uprising, with peaceful protests and no violence. However, in the span of just four months, an opposition army had been formed and insurgent soldiers began to fight back. They were no longer afraid of their ex-dictator. He no longer had full power and no one was safe. The war had reached its critical point in December of 2013 when Assad first used chemical weapons, which were prohibited by the United Nations. Our president began to oppose the world. As the years went on, the fighting had not changed much, but more and more soldiers from different origins began to take part in the conflict. Two worldwide superpowers, the United States of America and Russia, had deployed their own troops into the chaos. Although these historic times were notable in the development of the war, countless days, months, years of fighting resulted in almost nothing, only death. Without change, the conflict will go on, until someone is brave enough to do something.



“Notes On The Free Syrian Army.” IWL – FI, 4 Dec. 2016, litci.org/en/notes-on-the-free-syrian-army/.

Fisher, Max. “Straightforward Answers to Basic Questions About Syria’s War.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 18 Sept. 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/09/19/world/middleeast/syria-civil-war-bashar-al-assad-refugees-islamic-state.html.

Jan, Maria. “Q&A: Syria’s White Helmets.” News | Al Jazeera, 21 Aug. 2015, Al Jazeera, www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/08/qa-syria-white-helmets-150819142324132.html.

“Four Years since Teenage Graffiti Sparks Syrian Civil War.” World Watch Monitor, 6 Feb. 2018, www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2015/03/four-years-since-teenage-graffiti-sparks-syrian-civil-war/.

“Homepage – Free Syrian Army Platform.” FSA Platform, fsaplatform.org/.

“Syria: The Story of the Conflict.” BBC News, BBC, 11 Mar. 2016, www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26116868.

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

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.

Are Cadavers a “Dead” Topic?

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.

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

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.

Nobody Wins in War



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.

Boxer Rebellion: War of the United Nations

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?

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

“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/.