Polymer Journal #1

The main point of this blog post is to gather information regarding synthetic materials.

Key terminology

Polymer: polymers are substances that have a molecular structure chiefly or entirely composing of similar units bonded together.

Synthetic materials: man-made materials.

Natural resources: resources that exist without actions of humankind.

Monomer: a molecule that can be bonded to other molecules to form a polymer.

Examples of natural resources

Natural resources come in two types: biotic and antibiotic.

Freshwater

A basic example of an antibiotic natural resource.

Coal

An example of a biotic natural resource, as it is a fossil fuel that forms from dead plant matter.

Examples of synthetic materials

Nylon

Nylon rope.


The first step in creating nylon is combining two sets of molecules to create polymers; one set with an acid group and another with an amine group (a specific type of organic compound, thus can be considered a natural resource). A common example is hexamethylenediamine monomers with adipic acid. This process is called polymerization. The chemical reaction needed in order for the polymerization to occur involves large amounts of heat and use of water as a dissolvent. Some examples of where nylon is used in society today are umbrellas and nylon rope.

Plastic

Many empty blue and green water bottles.


Plastics are composed from a wide range of polymers. Most plastics are chiefly composed of organic material (of or derived from living matter, chiefly consisting of carbon), such as ethylene (a natural resource). The chemical reaction that takes place which leads to the polymerization of these monomers involves a catalyst and subsequent reactions between said carbon atoms. Plastics are used everywhere in society today; from containers to electrical circuit boards.

Citations
https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/where-in-the-world-is-all-the-fresh-water/
http://www.wisegeek.org/how-is-nylon-made.htm
http://cleanleap.com/plantbottle-new-plastic-bottles-made-completely-plants
https://plastics.americanchemistry.com/How-Plastics-Are-Made/
energyinfrapost.com/india-auction-19-coal-mines-quarter-coal-secretary

Welcome to the Real World

View the fake Facebook page here:


Created using Microsoft PowerPoint.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork is a realistic fiction book centered around a boy named Marcelo, who has an autism-like condition whose description is closest to that of Asperger’s syndrome. The purpose of this blog post is to characterize Marcelo and to describe his relationship with other characters in the book. Creating a fake Facebook page will be able to fulfill this task, as it is a platform that can showcase dialogue between characters.

The story starts with Marcelo at the beginning of summer; he is excited about his summer job at Paterson (training the ponies), the private school he attends. However, his father has different plans for him. Specifically, plans for Marcelo to work with his father at a law firm. The conflict of the book involves Marcelo making a decision to expose one of the law firm’s biggest clients, Vidromek, by releasing a confidential memo regarding the safety of windshields produced by the company.

Throughout the book, Marcelo refers to himself from a third person perspective, hence his message to Aurora (“How will Marcelo cope” instead of “How will I cope”). The first post on his Facebook page, “I am looking forward to my summer job at Paterson. Training the ponies will be fun,” may seem uncharacteristic of a 17-year-old boy, but Marcelo has always been very straightforward with his use of language. Aurora has always been a very supportive mother; she understands the internal conflicts Marcelo experienced as he was debating whether or not to release the memo, and she keeps her distance without approaching the situation directly. “Dinner is on the stove. Whenever you want to talk, I’m here. Love you, Mom.” (Stork 302) On the other hand, Arturo isn’t exactly the kindest of fathers when it comes to Marcelo. “The face of Arturo the father does not come out as often for me as it does for my sister, Yolanda. I get more of Arturo the lawyer.” (Stork 19) Wendell and Jasmine are people that Marcelo meets at the law firm; Wendell has always talked to Marcelo as if he was greatly superior, and Marcelo further alienates him after he releases the memo. On the other hand, Jasmine is Marcelo’s assigned partner and quickly becomes close friends with him; she was the one who helped Marcelo get hold of the Vidromek memo in the first place.

Mao’s China in Plain English


Song: The East is Red
The Great Cultural Revolution was announced by Chairman Mao ZeDong on May 16th, 1966 and ended on September 9th, 1976. During the revolution, many artifacts, temples, and items deemed related to capitalism or imperialism were destroyed. Factories closed. Students were encouraged to leave their classes, causing schools to close as well. This influenced the masses’ education and affected China’s economy negatively. The occurence of such events could be detrimental to China’s future and development; however, there is one change that could be considered positive: the proletarians were in better condition after the revolution despite some setbacks pre-CPCR.

Enon – The Soundtrack

The purpose of this blog post is to create a list of songs that relate to the ideas conveyed in Enon by Paul Harding. In this book, the main character’s (Charlie Crosby) attempt to cope with the grief of losing his daughter, Kate.

Song list:

I Still See Your Face – San Holo

“There’s no truth in these dreams I chase; out of sight, I still see your face. Even though things fall into place, can’t deny, I still see your face.” The only four unique lines of the song accurately convey Charlie’s thoughts near the end of the book. “Even though things fall into place, can’t deny, I still see your face.” Even though some events in Charlie’s life have somewhat returned to normal and he has finally recovered from his addiction and depression, he still sees Kate in his dreams. “But my dreams are the usual bizarre, fractious affairs and Kate always shows up just as I am about to slide off a steep roof, or when I am wrestling a wild dog in the desert, or when I’ve forgotten that I had a daughter and am enjoying the inexplicable admiration of a beautiful woman at a party in a majestic house.” (Harding 238)

Summit (feat. Ellie Goulding) – Skrillex

“Summit” may remind the reader of Charlie’s trip through the graveyard. “A silent heart ticking under the ground” refers to Kate’s heart as it “ticks underground;” her body is buried yet she lives in Charlie’s memories.

start//end – Eden

Eden’s apathetic tone coupled with his melancholy words of depression and heartbreak causes “start//end” to represent Charlie’s difficulties perfectly. “’Cause I’ve been looking at the sky to show me where I went wrong, been looking at the sky like someone’s been looking down, but it keeps raining on me.” Charlie is overcome with a sense of unjust when he loses Kate; he doesn’t deserve to have something like this happen to him.

Movin On – Shoffy

The title says it all; “Movin On” by Shoffy describes Charlie’s attempt to move on from Kate’s death. “Moving on, moving on, keeping strong, keeping strong, new flame in the darkness; I’ll move on, I promise.” There is some irony in the last sentence; although Charlie “promises” to move on, he struggles to deal with his grief.

Weightless – Koda

“We stay in motion until we’re weightless.” The dreary tone of the singer’s voice as he delivers this line does not conform to the words he sings. This could directly relate to Charlie’s attempt to move on as mentioned before in my explanation of Moving On by Shoffy; he wants and attempts to make it through a difficult part of his life and even says he’ll do it “until he’s weightless,” or until he’s dead, but he ends up being unable to manage his grief.

The Spectre – Alan Walker

A specter (British spelling: spectre) is a ghost. Charlie adopts a zombie-like state during the time of his depression: “My face looked pale and gaunt, my neck like a bundle of ropes. I was lost in my T-shirt, which had food and drink stains on it and was yellowed at the underarms.” (Harding 181) “Deep in the dark, I don’t need the light. There’s a ghost inside me.” “Deep in the dark” could directly refer to Charlie’s state of depression and “the ghost” could refer to Kate’s ghost.

Life of Sin Pt. 4 – MiTiS

The Life of Sin Series by MiTiS (mainly part 1 and part 4) is a collection of wordless songs that convey a sense of sadness, loss, and repentance, emotions that are all prominent in Enon.

Truthseeker – Yoe Mase

“Truthseeker” by Yoe Mase is an atmospheric song whose first line (“I felt as though I recently hit rock bottom. I was kind of a well run dry, or so to speak”) is directly related to Charlie’s depression. “What matters is what is in your hand, enjoy the embers on your palm, enjoy the steps, but create for as long as you can.” This line of the song directly correlates to what Mrs. Hale told Charlie: “You burn your daughter in strange fires when I should think you would be grateful for the blessing of having had a lovely child.” (Harding 213) Through Mrs. Hale’s rebuke, Charlie finally realizes that he should hold on to the things he has rather than mourn the ones he lost.

Bereaved

“Most men in my family make widows of their wives and orphans of their children. I am the exception. My only child, Kate, was struck and killed by a car while riding her bicycle home from the beach one afternoon in September, a year ago. She was thirteen.” (Harding 1) Enon by Paul Harding is a beautifully written book that takes the reader through the story of a grieving father following the loss of his daughter. Throughout the story, he experiences intense internal struggles against depression and resolves his inner turmoil following two major events.

Charlie (the father) becomes heavily depressed after his daughter, Kate, dies. His depression was of course mainly attributed to Kate’s death, but his marriage between his wife, Susan, wasn’t particularly stable either. Their daughter was the only string that held them together, and their marriage collapsed quickly after it was severed. Broken and frustrated, he snaps and punches the wall, demolishing the plaster and breaking eight bones in his hand. “The old horsehair plaster pulverized and poured from the wall like hourglass sand but I struck a stud behind it and broke eight bones.” (Harding 16) From that point on, he is prescribed painkillers and becomes addicted to said drugs, consuming alcohol excessively in an attempt to remain unconscious. He becomes to fantasize and begins to imagine Kate in fictional scenarios, such as an “obsidian girl,” (Harding 182) the main actress of a theatre for the dead, and one of three Kates whom he imagined appearing after the car crash which claimed her life took place.

There are two major events which lead to Charlie’s recovery. The first turning point is his breaking-and-entering of Mr. Wallace’s house. Mr. Wallace recently had an operation; since Charlie was addicted to prescription drugs, he opts to steal some of his, as he doesn’t want to risk purchasing any more drugs from the hospital. Right before he sets off, he imagines Kate telling him “Mr. Wallace had an operation, Dad. He needs those pills.” (Harding 155) He ignores this at first and only apologizes meekly for his actions to follow; however, when he arrives at the house, he realizes Mr. Wallace’s condition is much worse than his own. After a moment of brief retrospection, he is ashamed for what he has done despite his new stash of pills. The next morning, he describes his feeling in detail: “Shame overwhelmed me, and a line from a poem I could not recall, about remorse being the adequate of hell, repeated itself over and over.” (Harding 163) This was one of the first times in the story after Kate’s death where Charlie seriously considers himself and begins to strive to repent of his disgraceful actions following Kate’s death.

The second turning point is Mrs. Hale’s rebuke. Mrs. Hale is a wealthy old widow who, to Charlie, has the impression of a tough, unforgiving woman. She is a person that Charlie deeply admires, and she represents all of Charlie’s greatest desires. “Mrs. Hale’s house prompted my deepest desires to provide for Kate, as well as my deepest resentments about wanting such material wealth.” (Harding 68) At one point in the story, he feels the need to break into Mrs. Hale’s house and see the orrery that he had once seen so long ago during his childhood. Upon arriving at her house, Mrs. Hale scolds Charlie harshly and shames him for the things he’s done since Kate’s death. “‘Mrs. Hale,’ I said. ‘Yes, Mr. Crosby.’ ‘I am sorry.’ ‘Well and fine, Mr. Crosby, but your sorrows are selfish. You are a maker of dismal days. You burn your daughter in strange fires when I should think you would be grateful for the blessing of having had a lovely child. Enough is enough.’” (Harding 213) He is “abashed to the point of reform,” (Harding 212) and even more so after realizing that Mrs. Hale was not going to report the break-in. He is ashamed because of her kindness, ashamed because of her dignity, ashamed because of her character, and ashamed because of her consideration towards him. For an instant, he even considered murdering Mrs. Hale: “For an instant I thought of murdering Mrs. Hale. She seemed so impossibly decent.” (Harding 214) But after Mrs. Hale’s rebuke, Charlie simply leaves her house and tries to drown himself in Enon Lake. His attempts are unsuccessful and he realizes that he cannot continue like this. “‘Enough is enough is right. Charles Washington Crosby, you have got to get your shit together.’” (Harding 220) Charlie faces himself with dismay and finally manages to gather the motivation he needs to bring himself out of depression.

Repentance is a core idea in the conflict of Enon. Other fictional stories contain elements of repentance as well. For example, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card; in this book, the main character, Ender Wiggin, unknowingly commits genocide when he deliberately sacrifices an entire fleet of human ships in an attempt to earn himself expulsion from battle school. At the end of the book, Ender seeks repentance by agreeing to the bugger queen’s request to take her egg to a new planet in order to colonize. In The Giver by Lois Lowry, Jonas, the main character, lives an initially unemotional life in a society that promotes sameness in all individuals. After he meets the Giver, he is horrified to learn that terms he deemed normal in day-to-day interactions are actually ruthless and emotionless demonstrations of cruelty. Jonas breaks down after he is given this information, and seeks repentance for him and his society through self-expulsion and the returning of memories the Giver had passed to him during their time together. Repentance is an idea that is reflected in many literary works, even in religious ones such as the Bible.

In conclusion, the turning points of Enon are the breaking-and-entering of Mr. Wallace’s house and Mrs. Hale’s rebuke. These two events lead to the resolution of Charlie’s internal conflict, allowing him to repent of his shameful behavior.

25 August, 1939 – Alexander

Joseph Stalin. Almost never in my life have I seen such tyranny and mistreatment of the poor. He promotes the comings of the revolution and keeps the pretense that our country remains communist; but I know, he is no better than Nicholas the II. The non-aggression pact was a ridiculously stupid idea. Why would anyone trust the Nazis? Their leader is a warmonger with a greed for power; he crushes the neighboring European lands under his two feet, Russia being next. War is imminent, and it will have detrimental consequences.

For more than a decade, I’ve been working in fear. I can’t remember any morning where I woke up and didn’t feel less exhausted than I already was. I can’t remember the last time I worked satiated. Why am I surprised? There were two famines in the space of ten years. The Devil came to Russia in 1929, and he did in the form of a man named Stalin.

After Lenin’s death in 1924, many things happened. I was apprehensive as to who might take the position of power. When Trotsky resigned from his government post, I was ecstatic; the man who led the Red Terror is no more! Then, as Trotsky was exiled from the USSR, Stalin became the supreme leader.

Changes came rapidly after he took on the position. His first prominent change was probably the most impactful; he terminated the new economic policy and introduced collectivization. Farmers work en masse, and again, they could no longer keep their produce. This directly led to the famine, as farmers loathed the change from the NEP to collectivization; they rebelled by killing their animals, burning their crops and by destroying their tools and farm buildings. Sadly, I cannot say that I didn’t expect this to happen. I was distraught by how quickly our new leader switched away from Lenin’s plans in the first available moment, and by how slowly he learns from his mistakes. This famine was just as bad, if not worse, than its predecessor. Only through the strength of will and fear of the Gulag could I bring me to work.

Months of heavy labor followed. It’s clear through the Five-Year plans that Stalin wants rapid industrialization; we have no choice but to help him achieve his goal, and we do so in horrible conditions. We were forced to work extra shifts and we received little pay, barely enough to keep us alive. As a result, I live alone. I never had time to start a family. I didn’t have the money to support one either. Admittedly, I am too afraid to speak out. Even if we were given the opportunity, I doubt anyone would lead us as a whole. I certainly am not going to get myself killed trying to take initiative. Not all disliked these changes to our lives, for some reason. Like those filthy Stakhanovites. Disgusting.

Meanwhile, the ignorant worship Stalin as a god. He even has his own cult, for heaven’s sake. “Popular” government officials disappear left and right; they’re accused and convicted of ridiculous crimes, then either exiled or executed. I have no doubt Stalin is behind this. Of course, a tyrant like him would want to consolidate his rule with cowardly ways.

Communism was definitely not the right choice. The ultimate drawback of communism is that such a government system leads to people like Stalin taking up the position of leadership; our country is now a false religion based on the preaches of a charlatan. I’m sorry, Papa. We couldn’t make it.

The Aspects of Thin-Slicing


Created using Inspiration
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell is a psychology book that tackles the concept of thin-slicing. In this blog post, I have created a mind-map that draws conclusions from three different chapters from three different sections of the book using MLA-cited quotes. These chapters teach analysis paralysis, the effects of stereotypes on people, and the stress responses of the human body.