Polymer Journal #1

Synthetic Materials are materials that are usually man-made. They don’t exist naturally as they are processed and synthesized chemically from natural materials. However, natural materials exist in nature, without any form of chemical processing.

A polymer is a large molecule composed of many repeated subunits. Single atoms or molecules called monomers join chemically to produce a very large chain-like or network molecules, called a polymer.

Nylon and Rubber are two examples of polymers. Nylon is a silky material that can be that can be melt-processed into fibers, films or shapes. Rubber consists of polymers of the organic compound isoprene, with minor impurities of other organic compounds, plus water. Both Nylon and Rubber are used pretty often in our lives. For example, clothes such as stockings we wear are made of Nylon, items such as car tires, erasers or rubber bands are made of rubber.

Sources:

Monomer

Nylon

Natural Rubber

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Sunset on the Great Wall (9)

Look at the Great Wall of China. It is truly long and majestic. It is one of the most famous tourist sites in China. However, there are definitely people who should be acknowledged. All of the blood and sweat of the working class were donated to the construction of this great wall. Thousands died just only to erect this wall. All the people who built this wall shall never be forgotten.

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City in Danger

For this blog post, I tried a new form of multimedia. I compiled multiple photos describing Molching, the main setting in The Book Thief. I used the online software Canva. I decided to use this form of multimedia because I thought photos are one of the best ways to show a place and time.

The photo on the top left and right shows normal Molching. Molching is a very peaceful city. As Molching isn’t a big city, there usually aren’t any large scale activities.

The photo on the bottom left has a lot of armed cars driving into town. “It was a surprisingly clear afternoon and the men were climbing into the truck. Hans Hubermann had just sat down in his appointed seat.” (Zusak, 323) As it says in the quote, the armed men came to take Hans, the main character Liesel’s father, to the army

The photo on the bottom right shows that the city got bombed at the end. “Rudy Steiner slept. Mama and Papa slept. Frau Holtzapfel, Frau Diller. Tommy Müller. All sleeping. All dying.” (335) As it shows in the quote, almost everyone in the city died.

Image Sources 

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The Final “Masterpiece” of an Incompetent Dictator

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The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in Plain English

Key Questions:

Why was your revolution so important?

What changed and what stayed the same?

The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was important because it was quite a large regression for China. Not only in the sense that many cultural artifacts were destroyed, but it also affected China’s economy and the general state of the country post-CPCR. Some people even believe that this revolution delayed China’s development for over 10 years. Multiple changes caused this regression. For example, during the revolution, most factories were closed and students weren’t sent to school to get educated. Many artifacts, temples, and items deemed related to capitalism or imperialism were destroyed. However, there were also some things that stayed the same. For example, most citizens still had strong faith in the government and sincerely believed that communism can bring success to China. Also, PRC and the Communist Party did not dissolve. In conclusion, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was a massive event that barely did any good to China.

 

The East is Red (Music in the Video)

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Nuclear Weapons during WW2

The novel Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut describes the narrator of the book, John’s experience in writing an informational text about the use of nuclear weapons during WW2, titled The Day the World Ended. His research led him to an ill-fated acquaintance with Angela, Frank, and Newt Hoenikker, the equally hapless children of Felix Hoenikker. He became involved with their efforts to buy happiness through the use of their father’s scientific creation, ice- nine, which could simply and without effort turn water to ice.

Nothing happens to John of his own choice throughout the entire novel, especially after WW2. First, he gets drafted into war; he goes along with his marriage to the unattractive but well-meaning Valencia Pilgrim; he gets bullied by his daughter, Barbara. John is definitely not assertive at all, he is even almost controlled by his dreams after the war. This will be explained in the following paragraphs.

After the war, there is plenty of evidence throughout the book that the narrator is going through Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). “A siren went off, scared the hell out of him. He was expecting WW3 at any time.” (Vonnegut, 73) In this situation, it is easy to tell that narrator gets startled easily from past experiences. Also, one of the most prominent symptoms of PTSD—the reliving of horrific past experiences—becomes literal in John’s case as he travels in time.

In some cases, John believes his dreams are the reality. Almost nobody believes him most of the time. In one case, John talks about an Extra-Terrestrial race called the Tralfamadorians. “He said, too, that he had been kidnapped by a flying saucer in 1967. The saucer was from the planet Tralfamadore, he said. He was taken to Tralfamadore, where he was displayed naked in a zoo, he said.” (32) Obviously, a lot of the narrator’s choices are affected by his dreams, as he thinks that they are real. This symptom is getting severer over time to the point it seems like John’s dreams are controlling him.

War affected John’s personality, or just narrator, in general, a lot in the novel. John’s dominant personality is that he isn’t an assertive person, as most things do not happen to him of his own choice. John’s death isn’t portrayed clearly; however, it is highly likely that he got assassinated.

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August 25, 1939 – Alexander

Wow… Just wow. How could our leader Joseph Stalin ever decide to sign a Non-aggression pact with the Nazis! Does he not realize how dangerous it can be? I’ve been hearing stories about what Adolf Hitler has done; he is literally sucking up the regions near Germany and annexing their land. I could feel the storm of German aggression approaching towards our nation…

Our living standards are still pretty low. When the New Economic Policy was created way back in 1922, everyone including my family and myself were delighted. Even though the NEP lasted for a short period of time, we got to sell the crops we grew ourselves and earn extra money. We were definitely satisfied with how the country was going, as our living standards improved. However, all the joyful voices came to an end. Joseph Stalin became the new leader and sent Leon Trotsky into exile. Stalin also ended the NEP and implemented the first 5-year plan. Why? How could this happen? Trotsky was the one who generally followed Lenin’s plans. NEP was the perfect plan for us.

During the first few years of the 5-year plan, Stalin collectivized all the farms. Now we couldn’t sell the crops by ourselves anymore. We had to sell them at a fixed low price to the government. This was truly disappointing. Some of the peasants even decided to kill their cattle and sheep to show their opposition to this plan. They were sent to the Gulags. Because some peasants decided to kill their animals, the general food production in the USSR decreased exponentially. This lead to a massive famine, even worse than the one 10 years before. The level of hardship was much worse than 1922, as my family was aging and the lack of food production was worse. I’ve heard that millions and millions died just because of starvation! I remember people literally crawling down the streets, lusting for any kind of food they can find. I was lucky enough to not die, but 2 of my dearest friends, Igor and Dmitri, died.

When we were only just recovering from the famine, people started to disappear. We all thought it was just people being sent to the Gulags, but something was worse. All the people who disappeared had a major similarity: they all violently opposed the government. Everyone on our farm was shaken in terror. I never raised my voice to oppose the government, so I was fine just as I expected.

Stalin’s 5-year plan was a complete disaster. From the collectivization to the famine… the living standards haven’t improved at all! One might say Stalin made USSR into one of the strongest nations on Earth, but that was not the reason we revolted against the Tsar 20 years ago. We worked so hard to remove the Tsar from power, but now as I think of it, the revolution was purely worthless. Also, as the government signed the Non-aggression pact with Germany, I’m even more worried about how the country will move on.

Nein, führer

Image Sources:

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Citizen-Friendly Candidate

(Oh is it really that easy?)

(Probably Not?)

(Amazing.)

Memes. Memes. Memes. What everyone in middle school loves. Are you up for some Obama memes?

The three memes above that were created by me are the 3 major points in Obama’s campaign from the book “Change We Can Believe In”. The 3 major points are the economy, America’s leadership, and American values.

The first meme is about the economy. “Do taxes annoy you? I’ll get you tax cuts, old man. Easy.” One of Obama’s campaign promises were “Eliminating Income Taxes for Seniors Making Less than 50,000” (Obama, 37). Obama failed to keep this promise during his term. The quote on the meme might seem a little bit exaggerated, but the point of the meme is that Obama was confident at making this promise become reality, but he failed.

The second meme is about America’s leadership. “Justice has been done. Does that mean we won the war against terrorism?” (“Justice has been done” is part of a speech Obama made after Osama died) One of Obama’s major promises was to” Finish the Fight Against Al Qaeda and Turn the Tide Against Global Terrorism.” (107) He did finish the fight against Al Qaeda by eradicating Osama bin Laden, but there is still some controversy about if Obama turned the tide against global terrorism. The quotes on the meme are direct regarding the controversial topic about turning the tide against global terrorism.

The third meme is about American values. “Clean up the environment, for our future generations” One of Obama’s major campaign promise is to “Safeguard the Environment for Future Generations” (172) Obama set the stepping stones for making this promise come true by leading the Paris Climate Accord. The Paris Climate Accord (aka Paris Agreement) is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance starting in the year 2020. This is rated as one of Obama’s most important achievement during his term.

Barack Obama’s campaign promises are the most relatable ones I have ever seen, as most of it is centered towards the citizens, not just for the country as a whole. He truly deserves a high reputation by the majority of people on this planet.

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The Boxer Rebellion: Important Sites

On November 20, 2017, classes 8-3 and 8-4 traveled to downtown Beijing to explore multiple important sites during the Boxer Rebellion. The video embedded above explains why the sites were important during the Boxer Rebellion.

Image Sources:

St. Michael’s Church

Hanlin Academy

Boxer Protocol

Others: Myself

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Your Choice

The book titled “Change We Can Believe In” talks about Obama’s major campaign promises (2008) and specifically how he is going to carry them out. The campaign promises were mostly related to the economy, America’s leadership, and American values. I will compare these campaign promises to Donald Trump (the incumbent US president)’s campaign promises.

First of all, let’s talk economy. President Obama wanted to provide economic security and opportunity for all American families according to the chapter 2 in the book. It is stated in the book saying, “Right now, instead of a tax code that helps create an opportunity for all, we have a tax code that is open to the highest bidder, riddled with loopholes, and gamed to help the wealthy and well connected.” (Obama, 35) showing why Obama wants to provide economic security and opportunity for all American families. To let this happen, Obama planned different strategies such as giving every working family a $1000 tax cut, eliminate income taxes for seniors making less than $50,000, ease the burden of high gas prices and make oil companies share in the sacrifice, etc. Obama’s economic policies also include affordable healthcare for all Americans, which was actually carried out during Obama’s terms.

On the other hand, Trump’s economic policies are totally different from Obamas. They were focused mostly on the government and the country as a whole, not specifically to the citizens. First, he wanted to repeal and replace Obama’s affordable healthcare, also known as Obamacare. Also, Trump wanted “smart trade, not stupid trade”. He started renegotiating multiple Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) to promote protectionism that would not work. As you can see from these examples of Trump’s economic policies, it is mostly going against what Obama wanted to do and has done during his term, and some policies are said to “not work” according to eminent economists on these subjects.

Second of all, let’s talk America’s leadership. Obama wanted America to end the issues and conflicts going on in the world responsibly, such as the war in Iraq and the war against terrorism. It is stated in the book saying, “In a globalized world, the power to destroy can stem from asymmetric threats such as individual and terrorist groups with powerful weapons-not just states with armies.” (107) showing why Obama wants to turn the tide against global terrorism. He wanted to complete these tasks through means such as focusing on Afghanistan and Pakistan, redeploying American troops to Afghanistan, strengthening NATO’s hand in Afghanistan, and others. Obama’s leadership policies also include renewing global alliances to meet new global changes, which partially worked during Obama’s terms through meetings, treaties, and agreements.

Completely opposite from Obama’s ideas, Trump is breaking the longstanding American leadership. He has withdrawn from multiple key international agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Climate Agreement with potential shifts from other agreements such as the vis-à-vis alliance with the European powers. These actions have created some potential areas political risk. Trump and his “America first” advisors highly likely took these actions because it is evident from the speech during a recent NATO summit that they believe the USA being a global leader is more of a burden than an advantage. From these actions made by Trump and his administration, it is evident that they are going on a completely different path than Obama’s in terms of American leadership.

Third and last of all, let’s talk American values. Obama wanted to restore trust in government and clean up Washington, it is stated: “In our democracy, the price of access and influence should be nothing more than your voice and your vote.” (147) to show why Obama wants to restore trust in government and clean up Washington. He wanted to fulfill his promise through means such as closing the “revolving door” between government and lobbying terms, banning gifts to executive branch employees, staffing the government based on talent, not political loyalties, and others. Obama also wanted to advance equal opportunity for all Americans, which was somewhat fulfilled by decreasing the gap between different races and genders.

In terms of American values, it is quite evident that Trump does not understand American values, even though it might seem like he does from his campaign slogan “Make America Great Again”. Some people even believe that Trump might be a threat to the values. We saw an example of this a few months back when Trump denounced NFL player Colin Kaepernick and others like him who have taken a knee during the national anthem to protest about racial inequalities in the USA. Trump declared at a campaign rally in Huntsville, Alabama, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say, ‘Get that son of a ***** off the field right now, out, he’s fired!” It is pretty clear that Trump does not get why these players were taking a knee. They obviously weren’t trying to be disrespectful. It is because these players love their nation and want to live up to the values the nation was founded upon. Another quote: “It is not “freedom of the press” when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false!” once again shows Trump has no idea about American values and human rights. From these specific comments made by Trump, it is clear that Trump does not know what American values are at all.

It is clearly a fact that Obama and Trump’s campaign promises and policies are facing different ways. In my personal opinion, even though one might think Trump’s policies on these three categories do not make sense at all, he definitely has some good policies in different ways. It is just a matter of what these people prioritize to be changed.

History proves that Obama kept most of his promises, especially in the American leadership and values categories. I’ve heard from lots of people beside me saying “Obama is a good president,” but I never knew specifically how Obama was a great president. This book gave me a deep understanding of why people keep on telling me that, and now I wholeheartedly agree with the ones who say Obama is a great president.

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