Polymer Journal #1

A monomer is a molecule that can be bonded to other identical molecules to form a polymer. A polymer is a long-chain molecule made up of a repeated pattern of monomers. Polymerization is  the process of chemically bonding monomers to form polymers. There are two types of polymers, and they are natural and synthetic polymers. Natural polymers are polymers that are found naturally instead of being made in a laboratory. Examples of natural polymers are silk and wool. Synthetic polymers are man-made polymers, made up of petrochemicals. Examples of synthetic polymer include rayon and polyester. Rayon came from the natural resource cellulose of wood pulp or cotton. Rayon is commonly used for fabric, nowadays. Polyesters is another synthetic polymer derived from coal, air, water, and petroleum. Polyester is used for clothing, home furnishings, industrial fabrics, computer and recording tapes, and electrical insulation. Synthetic polymers are made from petrochemicals, which are made from petroleum. Petroleum is made from the remains of plants and animals. The petrochemicals react with other monomers, and goes through polymerization, becoming a synthetic polymer.


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Mutianyu Wall #2

Photo title: Mutianyu Wall #2

Photographer: Jon Hill

Photo number: #8

Looking at the photo, Mutianyu Wall #2, I felt inspired by the Great Wall that never seems to end and wrote this paragraph.

A path that goes on forever, but only if you never stop

The path seems to go on forever, going on for so far that you can’t tell where it begins nor where it ends. A path, started from a will, takes you far, but only if you are willing to start walking, and keep on walking. Forget everything, forget your suffering, the hardships, the uncertainty of your destination, forget everything but how you cannot stop and how you need to keep on going. Don’t think about where you are headed for, just keep going, walking on the path laid before you, there because of your will, your will to be better, to be successful in the marathon of life. There will be ups and downs; there will be victories and defeats; there will be boons and banes. But don’t worry about these and stop dwelling on current hardships and past mistakes, forget about these and keep moving. Perseverance. Grit. They are of the upmost importance in your journey on your way to a destination that does not exist, but what you shoot for anyways. If you keep walking on the path, eventually, you will reach a point where they call it, “success”. But don’t stop there, remember that it is not the end. There is no end. And lastly, on your journey, always, always, always, remember there is always a rainbow after a storm.

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Inevitably Enemies

Whether it is in school, work, or the society, conflict is inevitable, resulting from either a clash of personality, difference of interests, or perhaps even an unpropitious weather, ruining the nuptial bliss. Conflicts can be categorized in two main groups: internal and external conflict. George’s Secret Key to the Universe, a Science fiction written by the celebrated physicist Stephen Hawking and his daughter, Lucy Hawking, focuses mainly on external conflict, specifically focusing on person vs. person conflict of the external conflicts.

This type of conflict, person vs. person, resolves around two side—George’s and Reeper’s side. On George’s side are George, the protagonist and a student keen to learn about the universe, and Eric, a physicist who owns Cosmos, the most powerful computer in the entire world, Susan, Eric’s wife, and Annie, Eric and Susan’s daughter; On Reeper’s side are Reeper, George’s teacher and the antagonist, and the school bullies, comprised of Ringo, Zit, Tank, and Whippet. Two sides have a direct conflict of interest. Negotiation and compromise is thus impossible. The goals of the George’s side were unclear at the beginning. But no matter what it was, it was certainly against Reeper’s goal as they vowed to do good only using Science; however, as the story progressed, they faced a dilemma: “So, the question we now have to answer is: Should we concentrate on finding ways to improve life on Earth and face its problems, or should we try to find another planet for humanity to inhabit?” (Hawking 190) Eric put forth the question for discussion and voting. At last, they concluded that they should do both: find another planet and improve conditions and solve problems on Earth. While George’s side wants to find another planet humans can live on and protect Earth while they are doing so, Reeper’s side wants to find a new planet and bring only a kind of new species that would listen to Reeper only: shown by what Reeper said, “Look what they’ve done so far to this beautiful planet. I’m going to start again somewhere else, with a new life form. Those silly little boys think I’ll be taking them with me. But I won’t! Ha-ha-ha-ha! I’ll leave them here to die, like the rest of the human race.” (245) The conflict of interest is further aggravated as Eric and Reeper had past unpleasant dealing with one another: As Susan said,“I always told Eric that he shouldn’t trust Graham(Reeper). But he wouldn’t listen. Eric always thought the best of people. Until… Until something terrible happened. Something that none of us could forget.”(261) Their conflicts in the past and their current conflicts of interest makes them enemies. This is unavoidable. They are Inevitably enemies. Inevitably enemies.

Of course, as conflict is destined to happen in everyone’s life in some point, I have experienced it as well. Unlike George, the person vs. person conflict I experienced is quite physical… In second grade, the boy sitting in front of me punched me in the eye, because he wanted to borrow my eraser and I didn’t want to let him borrow it. I wasn’t happy with his actions and punched him back, starting a big fight. However, like George, the cause of the fight is because we had a conflict of interest: I didn’t want to give the eraser to him but he wanted to borrow my eraser.

The reason I chose infographic to express my ideas is because I wanted to let the reader know about the plot of the story and why this conflict between George and Reeper is essential to the development of the plotline; however, I did not want to bore the reader with the multimedia I choose. Since infographics have both picture and words, it represents the best sides of both worlds: the ability to dissect a complex subject and the ability to sustain the attention of the reader while doing so. It keeps people’s interest by lending a storytelling and visual element to what can be a boring summary of a plotline and the conflict between characters. And this is why I chose an infographic for my multimedia.

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The Syrian War Journals

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The Syrian War in Plain English

Nations of the Middle East had been ruled by the inhuman, cruel despots for what-seemed-like forever— and, with that rule, they had oppressed their fellow citizens brutally. No one thought that there will be a day when the citizens will fight back, fight back against the dictators who had ruled for centuries. This is significant. Yes, indeed. This is the Arab Spring.

What started all this? Arguably, it is the painting of the revolutionary slogans by a young boy in the small town of Daraa, Syria; a boy, along with his friends, spray painted the wall of his school with anti-government slogans. They were tortured by the Syrian police, which sparked anger in the residents of the town, and this rage soon spread on to other towns, eventually spreading to all of Middle East. The battle between the government and the rebels are now on. Both getting supports from different countries, the revolution is growing into an international war; Iran and Russia are supporting the Syrian government politically and militarily, while France and the US insists that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad must step down.

In some countries, the corrupted government has not been overthrown yet, and they are still oppressing their citizens brutally. Though some countries of the Middle East have not changed, despite the pressure from other countries and the efforts of the protestors, some countries reformed theirs governments, elected new presidents, and gave citizens basic human rights. The final result of this revolution is still uncertain, for this revolution has not ended. No matter what the final result is, all endeavors will be praised and all the people who but their honest efforts in will be deemed heros!

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Candy’s Regret

In Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck used symbols to foreshadow future events. A series of symbols makes up the rising action. Throughout the entire rising action, the death of Candy’s dog is a key moment. Carlson tells Candy to shoot the dog: “He ain’t no good to you, Candy. An’ he ain’t no good to himself. Why’n’t you shoot him, Candy?”(49, Steinbeck) The dog and Lennie are similar, in the way Carlson describes the dog. Both no good to themselves, and no good to their closest companions. The death of the dog insinuates George’s killing of Lennie. After the death of his dog, Candy tells George that “I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn’t out to of let no stranger shoot my dog.”(61) George learns from Candy’s mistake and kills Lennie himself: “And George raised the gun and steadied it, and he brought the muzzle of it close to the back of Lennie’s head.”(187) In some aspects, I am similar with George. George is willing to take Candy’s advice and shoot his closest accompany himself. I am also willing to take advices from others and am open-minded.

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Besides its plot and blandness…

As novels progress, they foreshadow the turning point through many events prior to the incident. The turning point is the climax; the series of events are the rising action. As in Of Mice and Men, there are many symbols and hints throughout the rising action, compiling    up to the moment when Lennie did something that changed his life forever—the murder of Curley’s wife: the dead mouse inside Lennie’s pocket, the death of his puppy, and the shooting of Candy’s mouse. These subtle yet paramount minutiae are overlooked easily by readers, despite them being important building blocks of the plotline. The Young Elites is yet another book leaving breadcrumbs of future events for meticulous readers to pick up; significant hints are understated and muted, tricking the reader into thinking them as some extra, unneeded details. When flipping through a book, it is easy to despise the dull and seemingly-bland rising action for the intriguing and fascinating climax. No, rising action is not enthralling. Still, it is essential to remember its significance: it builds up the tension and intensity that is to be released in the climax. So as we mark the importance of the rising action, let’s have a close look through Of Mice and Men and the Young Elites, not at what merely happened throughout the rising action, but at what each event or object symbolizes or foreshadows. Not at the blandness of the rising actions, but at its importance throughout novels.

In Of Mice and Men, the dead mouse inside Lennie’s pocket and the death of his puppy, all depicted Lennie’s complex personality: gentle yet dangerous without his will. Being kind and loving by whole, he is unaware of his strength and savage, brute nature. This is also repeatedly hinted throughout the entire book, manifested through Lennie’s talk to the puppy after he accidently killed it: “And Lennie said softly to the puppy, “why do you got to get killed? You ain’t so little as mice. I didn’t bounce you hard.””(83, Steinbeck) Lennie is, however, still a child, despite him being a big man in appearance. When George asked Lennie to give the mouse to him, Lennie was unwilling to do so due to his love for soft things, which is repeated emphasized throughout the novel, just like when a parent asks a kid to give away his favorite toy, the kid is reluctant to do so: “Lennie reluctantly reached into his pocket. His voice broke a little. “I don’t know why I can’t keep it.””(7) Unfortunately, Lennie is not capable of expressing his love and always ends up killing what he is fond of. Therefore, the killing of the mouse and the puppy foreshadows what is to come—the killing of Curley’s wife. Candy’s dog was another foreshadowing for a significant event: the death of Lennie. Candy’s dog is very old, and it is useless while once being strong and vigorous. The way in which the dog is killed, a gunshot to the back of the head, indicates subtly Lennie’s ultimate death and compares Lennie to Candy’s old dog: both innocent, dependent, and doomed. Candy’s rue of letting another person, Carlson, shoot his dog also indicates George’s ultimate decision of shooting Lennie himself, giving Lennie a quick and painless death: “I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn’t ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog.”(61)

In the Young Elites, Marie Lu’s style of foreshadowing is muted, just like John Steinbeck’s foreshadowing in Of Mice and Men. The nickname Adelina’s mother gave her, kami gourgaem or ‘little wolf’, may seem irrelevant at first. In a flashback, it is shown that Adelina’s mother thought her daughter was fiery and would need that fire in the future. A few months after that was said, the blood fever hit and the words of Adelina’s mother proved tragically true. ‘Little wolf’ also hints Adelina’s transformations in her life: her hair turning into wolf-like color and her personality similar to a wolf on the hunt, which is calculating. These connections are subtle and fly by unnoticed if the reader is not quick enough to catch it. Even a dagger has a meaning, it delineates the true nature of the Dagger and also foreshadows their future actions. When Enzo saves Adelina from the Inquisition, a silver insignia on Enzo’s armguard is the last thing she remembers before she faints. That silver insignia turns out to be the dagger, suggesting that the Dagger Society, the organization that saved Adelina, are willing to use force to achieve their ends. This was later proved true by the actions of the Society during an event: the night of the Kenettra’s Spring Moons celebration, in which Enzo melted two Inquisition officers from the inside. He epitomized the ruthless nature of a dagger. Just like Steinback in Of Mice and Men, Lu leaves breadcrumbs for events to come in the Young Elites as well.

All in all, though rising action may not be as interesting as the climax, it is important to realize how much it has contributed to build up the wonderful climax that just make you burn thinking about. Marie Lu’s the Young Elites and John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men exemplifies the paragon of foreshadowing and symbolism, ranging from the dagger and the nickname in the Young Elites to the dead mouse inside Lennie’s pocket and the death of Lennie’s puppy in Of Mice and Men. Lu and Steinbeck both leaves small hints for coming events in the rising action, and so do many other authors in their books. Next time when you are reading a book, be sure to be a watchful and circumspect reader. Next time when you are looking pass a seemingly worthless minutiae, be sure to think for a moment and say to yourself: is it really? And always remember that the results are not the only thing that matter, the process is important too.

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What Makes Us?

Genes are a fundamental factor of who we are and who we will become; from personality to talents, all these things are mainly influenced by genes. In Brain and Mind by Michael Kerchner, it was repeatedly mentioned that genes are a large part of us through different examples, such as “supertasters” and the ability of roll one’s tongues. Kerchner explains through the Brain and Mind that certain types of diseases are caused by mutations in genes, therefore mutations in proteins, and in certain traits. Prader-Willi Syndrome or PWS is, according to Kerchner, “a genetic disorder affecting children; associated with genes located on chromosome 15.”( Kerchner, 117) Even diseases are associated with genes, this manifested that literally everything is to due with genes. Hyperosmia, a condition where one has more sensitive olfactory sense than others, is accounted for genes, as well. Kerchner states in Brain and Mind: “Hyperosmia has been attributed to genetic variants in specific OR genes.”(57) Literally everything to do with organisms are pertain to genes.

My height exemplified how genes and inheritance can shape one’s traits. My parents are not really tall, meaning I, most possibly, will not be tall. 75 percent of my height is influenced by my parent’s height and the genes they passed down to me; 25 percent on outer influences and the environment. Another example is my inability to roll my tongue. I asked my family if any of them can roll their tongue, and none of them can. This manifested that my grandparents probably cannot do so, as well. And since my parent’s genes determine my genes, and my genes determine my traits, I would naturally, due to my genes, not be able to roll my tongue. All my traits are mostly dependent on my genes, and some on outer factors. In conclusion, who one is or is to become are shaped by mostly genes: “genes can contribute to expression of some extraordinary talent.”(15) All in all, genes have a prodigious amount of influence on who we are, and we are who we are because of genes.

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Does the Boxer Rebellion Deserve a Bad Reputation?

This video supports the side that Boxer Rebellion deserves a bad reputation because of the mass slaughter of innocent people and their weakening of China, which is contrary to their goal.

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Genes Make Us

Genes make traits; traits make us.

Who we are are highly influenced by our genes. So, what exactly are genes? They are segments of chromosomes that make proteins, which determine traits; in short, genes make proteins which determine our traits, so genes technically shape our traits and us. All of us are determined by traits: hair color, skin color, eyebrow shapes, eye color, eye shapes, talents in sports, talents in math, talents in science, talents in humanities, and many, many more. In Brain and Mind by Michael Kerchner, the topic of how genetics can shape one is explored extensively.

Michael Kerchner explains through the psychology textbook Brain and Mind that all our traits all shaped by genes. He used some clear, simple example to help readers understand what he is attempting to articulate: one’s ability to roll one’s tongue and one’s sensitive tasting systems. Abilities, such as those, are determined by genetics, showing how genetics can shape one’s abilities: ‘“In some cases, genes can contribute to expression of some extraordinary talent.”(Kerchner, 15)

Can you roll your tongue lengthwise? A single dominant gene attributes to the ability to do so. Are you one of the 75 percent of the population who are “supertasters”? This trait, again, is attributed to a dominant gene. If you among those who cannot roll your tongue or are not supertasters, you have two recessive genes. See, our abilities are determined from our genetics. Kerchner states in Brain and Mind that “most complex physical and behavioral traits, particularly those emotional and cognitive abilities studied by psychologist, are influenced by many different genes.”(17) Further extending the idea that one’s ability to be able to do something or unable to do something may not be their own problems, since our abilities are primarily influenced by genes which are inherited from our parents, meaning we can all blame them for our foibles.

I am a supertaster, a person that is a lot pickier about food due to their sensitive tasting systems. Whether or not someone is a supertaster depends on the taste buds on their tongue. The number of taste buds varies from person to person; people who have more taste buds are referred to as the supertaster. Since they have more taste buds, they could be more sensitive, having many strong affection and dislikes for various foods. The antithesis of supertasters are non-tasters, who tend to have a few taste buds, and most food can seem bland to them. Other people who are neither of the extremes are average tasters. What kind of taster do you think you are?

Michael Kerchner has done a great job, articulating the theme genetics can shape one through Brain and Mind through simple examples that everyone can connect with, such as supertasters and tongue rollers. Genes are a paramount part of us: “multiple genetic factors as well as environmental factors, have been shown to be important aspects in determining the expression of each of these traits.”(18) It is genes that make us; It is genes that make me; it is genes that make you.

Genes make us who we are.

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