Why Europa is the Best Candidate for NASA to Study

Claim: NASA should focus on Europa, the second satellite of Jupiter, for its future missions.

     NASA should focus its future missions and hopes of finding life on Europa, rather than its three other counterparts–even though two of which was selected out of 12 in the New Frontiers programs. We have great sums of data and certainty of Europa, making it the best choice of focus for future missions, and the other ideas are impractical compared to the Europa Clipper. Therefore, NASA should focus on Europa, the second satellite of Jupiter, for its future missions.

     First and foremost, Europa is the only satellite, of which its oceans have been closely visited by humans. Take Titan, Saturn’s sixth satellite, as an example, humans have only detected a layer of frozen methane of its surface through the Cassini missions, which is in no way evident of the claims that scientists proposed of a underground ocean, and possible life. Enceladus, Saturn’s second satellite, was theorised to have an ocean barely 300 miles across and possibly possessing plumes at its south pole. Scientist have also theorised that the satellite has chemical reactions that can possibly be the products of bacteria under the ocean due to its high levels of hydrogen and carbon dioxide in its atmosphere. However, skeptics have various reasons to doubt that conjectural claim. And the fact that Cassini Probe could not detect life, and it’s lack of fuel causing it to trespass into the Roches limit of Saturn and vaporised last September; needing a new probe to replace Cassini is no excuse for putting focus on the Saturn satellites, which might prove not to have oceans at all, let along life. Lastly, scientists have also planned to collect samples from the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko Comet, a comet that has been visited by NASA before, through a project called CAESAR. Although a possibly feasible Idea that could be accomplished within the next two decades, scientists are not sure whether they will find anything, regardless the origins of life and humankind, from that specific asteroid–NASA has only sent a probe to orbit the comet before.

     Europa has just the right conditions for life, and accurate data from many leading sources, past and present, support that idea. Its great liquid oceans buried just below a thin layer of crust and geyser-like plumes that frequently erupt (found by the Galileo Probe) are what makes it the satellite with the highest possibility for life, as far as we know, and thus the best candidate for NASA to focus on in its future projects, in attempts to find extraterrestrial life.

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Kosovo: An Entanglement of Ethnical Conflicts

Kosovo–a historical region in the heart of the Balkan ghetto that continues to spur conflict between the ethnic groups of the “Balkan Ghetto”. The Serbs call it the heart of their nation, where a great war–the war of Kosovo–was preserved as a symbol of friendship and brotherhood for the ethnicities to fight against a common disaster. Yet the Albanians refute that argument, and claim that the Illyrian tribe of Dardania, who they consider as their ancestors, were the first to set foot on the territory, and that the non-orthodox Slavs usurped their churches and called it theirs. “Kosovo is not an island. What happens there affects its neighbors and vice versa.” (Judah, xviii) Such disputes have evoked great conflicts, killing many and obliterating the state since the wake of Yugoslavia’s dissolution. Those conflicts also provoked malice between the Albanians and the Slavs residing in Kosovo, who used to live in harmony but now falls into conflagration. The state today is constituted by a corrupt and irresponsive government under the control of the United Nations, and unmediated ethnic conflicts aroused a multitude of problems, including the high unemployment rate and the constant parades and revolts.

First and foremost, over ninety-percent of Kosovo comprises of ethnic Albanians, vastly outweighing the Serbian and Macedonian minority. The Serbs explain an event of great migration that took place in the Great Turkish War account for the puny number of Serbs residing in a region that they call the heart of their nation. During the turn of tides against the Ottoman Turks, the Austrians experienced a defeat at the gorge of Kačanik on January 2, 1690. “Ottoman vengeance was swift and terrible,” (33) and the Serbian emperor Arsenje III lead his people northwards, to safety. At this point, we need to take note of the key difference between the Albanian and Slavic ethnic groups. The Slavic ethnic groups–Croats, Bosniaks, and Serbs–were classified by religion rather than region or language. They all spoke of the same language, although with slightly different dialects, now regarded as BCS. Being part of the national Orthodox church is what makes a Serb, a Serb. Likewise, Croats are all Catholic Christian and Bosniaks are all Muslims. On the other hand, Albanians are classified by language. Originally, most of them were Christian, and in the wake of the Ottoman conquest, most of them converted to Islam due to the lack of a Christian national church. Another issue that was vexing the Albanian dominated state of Kosovo was the fact that the root of its name, kos, was a exclusively Slavic root meaning “blackbird”. Upon Kosovo’s declaration of independence, its leader Ibrahim Rugovich tried to rename the state to Dardania, in commemoration to the tribes that theoretically inhabited the region before the invading slaves, and of whom the Albanians claim to be descendants.
It was said that the Yugoslavs all knew the real cause of Yugoslavia’s disintegration–Kosovo. “Foreigners remember that the Yugoslav wars began in Slovenia … Former Yugoslavs of course remember it somewhat differently: that the conflict that destroyed the country began in Kosovo.” (61)

In conclusion, oddities amongst the different ethnicities aroused conflagration that costed thousands of lives and annihilated the harmony that used to subsist in prosperous cities. Today, Kosovo is a living dystopia, where skyrocketing unemployment rates cause its depressed population to hopelessly linger in nuisance. Mistreatment by the oppressive and corrupt governments are to blame for the depression, and it goes to illustrate the significant impact of racism and malice between ethnicities.

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OneDay: The JianBong’s JianBings

     For OneDay this year, I am part of the JianBing Project. On Thursday, January 31st of 2019, we are going to a restaurant and learn how to make JianBings professionally.
     I always enjoyed eating JianBings, for as long as I can remember. I could remember going to the Supermarket with my parents just to go to the JianBing corner and buy a JianBing for myself. I like my JianBing with 2 eggs, meat, and all the sauces that gives it its distinct flavour.
     Apart from eating the JianBings itself, I enjoy watching the chief making the JianBings in from of me. Making JianBings require difficult and precise skills. For instance, making the ‘Bing’ part of the JianBing, which is the dough-like, thin layer. Without skill and experience, it would likely be torn and break into pieces through the process of making JianBing, making it unable to hold the JianBing together. And I was very exited that, for OneDay, I was given an opportunity to learn how to make JianBing.
     For this One-Day, I am in the JianBong group with Joel Kumi and Maxin Péan, and we will be making a tutorial video and vlog on how to make JianBing.

ADD VIDEO HERE

     In retrospect, I was astounded by our hidden abilities of JianBing making. We are all related to JianBing in some way, whether that we routinely eat it, or had experience making it, or that we are just interested and want to learn more about it. We were all able to successfully make a JianBing, pretty or not, that was safely edible and delicious-tasting!
     For the film project that we planned to do for the JianBing trip, I think we did a great job, albeit being rushed at the end. In the future, we should better plan the amount of time we have to edit the film. The various technical difficulties delayed our process and we should have planned our film to be a one-day project–that could be completed in one day. 
     The shots, on the other hand, were great, in terms of quality, compared to expectations. We thought that the shots will be very dark in such a room, like a silhouette. We also thought that the camera would be incapable of capturing audio. The camera proved itself to be capable of recording audio and film in that environment, and the way we set up our shots worked out great.
     In a nutshell, we were all very satisfied with this OneDay project. It not only taught us the skills to create JianBing, it also gave us the experience of film-making.

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Russian Revolution – 1905-1939 Response

Questions to Answer:
What changed in Russia from 1905-1939?
What stayed the same in Russia from 1905-1939?
In 1939, how were Sergei’s and Alexander’s lives the same or different from 1905?

     The changes­­–simply put, from the political perspective, are significant. But from the peasant’s perspective, not much.

     Politically, it was a turnover of power from an oppressive and obsolete monarchy to a socialist union who would eventually dissolve and free its 17 countries to become free republics. Although the short-term and immediate effects were negative, leading to extended famine and poverty, it is debatable whether the existence of the Soviet Union has a negative impact on the Northeast Europe today, as compared if the monarchal and aristocratical disarray of conflicts were to continue in the region, like it is in Thailand and Saudi Arabia. I believe that the immediate changes, between 1905 and 1939, was extremely disastrous to the Russians, and took away their dreams of becoming a democratic republic.

     However, looking from a peasant’s point of view, the struggle of power for the “elites” communist officials (emphasis because they are not aristocrats) hindered the possible progress to decrease poverty; the world wasn’t much different: a new leader, a new ideology, still no food, and even more totalitarian control.

     Alexander and Sergei, apart from being 34 years older, has experience the trauma of peaks and valleys no second to those Chinese who experienced the several events of the turnover of power. Alexander, in our story at least, would turn out to have his dreams crushed by the reality of the flaws of communism: human nature. His innocent and simple young self as a boy, who whole-heartedly hoped and believed that communism would solve all the problems of the tsarist ages, was utterly faced with reality. And his depressed self, was no longer exited and will no longer look forward to the future acts of revolution and promises to build a better country. Sergei, on the other hand, was severely impacted by the war and later the turnover of power. He witnessed his comrades’ deaths on the battlefields, for the inexperienced tsar. He then saw everyone revolting against the tsar that he was always loyal to. At first, he defended his tsar in battles against innocent civilians that took place in bloody revolutions, and then he eventually changed sides after the army men were obligated to join the communist forces. Sergei might even climb up the ladders of specialized red forces for the Soviet Union, some even said that he became the head of the Czeka. Regardless, both of them have gone through a series of dramatic changes, with hope and disappointment, courage and fear, loyal and unfaithful, but most of all, hungry.

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Insignificant Dot or to be Amongst Billions More. Which one is more Humbling?

Claim: I believe that the second (Hubble Telescope) video is more humbling.

In science class, we were presented two videos that show us, to scale, how minute we are in the vast universe. One of which portrayed us, citing an image taken from Voyager II, where we, and everything we have ever done, is enveloped by an insignificant dot, the remnant corona of our sun seen from trillions of miles away. The other one, of which, shows how ordinary we are, providing an image taken by the Hubble Telescope, that zooms into 13.8 billion light years away, of uncountably numerous galaxies each with trillions of stars that could be just like us, observed in a small patch of sky, in the space-time continuum. Therefore, from my perspective, I believe that the latter is more humbling to us human observers.

The former video depicts us as lonely, insignificant beings. But it makes us feel unique. I think that by portraying us as nothing but ordinary an ordinary planet, orbiting a sun that is not massive, yet not tiny. And our mediocre solar system revolves around a galaxy, containing trillions just like it. And yet, our galaxy, the Milky Way, is just a normal-sized common galaxy in the observable universe containing trillions and trillions of other galaxies, each with trillions of stars, which hosts their own rocky exoplanets that might have intelligent life just like us. A depiction that tells us–the arrogant human race who thought that they are the center of the universe–that we are just one amongst quintillions of other possible ones just like us.

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Jack West Jr. (Children’s Book)

The book The Six Sacred Stones written by Matthew Reilly, as we know from my previous post, is an action-filled novel, but meanwhile unveils deep morals about people and their fates. For this Children’s book, which I attempted to make using PowerPoint, I decided to write a simplified version of the morals behind the book, rather than listing the ordeals of the book.

Currently I am still figuring out how to create an online interactive webpage that can display my powerpoint.

Check out the book here

Images Cited
Almazan, Jessica.
Bigmouse108. Cartoon City Crossroad Traffic Lights Card Poster Vector Image.
Charndra Pile. Comic Speech Bubble.
Griger, Tomas. Illustration – Australia Highlighted in Red on Simple Globe with Visible Country Borders. 3D Illustration.
Hermandesign. Cute Boy Cartoon Good Posing Vector Image.
Lenm. Soldier Statue. 17 Oct. 2013.
Lineartist. SEE PRICING & PLANS Vector – Cartoon Old Lady Saying Something Vector Illustration.
Page Image: A1_4_15_01494.JPG.
Studiogstock. Hand Hold Bag of Money Dollar Icon Vector Image.
Woman Teacher Cartoon Images.

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The Path That Leads To Your Ultimate Destiny

Matthew Reilly’s book The Six Sacred Stones is an action-filled novel about the protagonist Jack West Jr.’s adventure. Although it is extremely easy, while reading the book, to focus on the vivid action and overlook the underlying concepts, this book revolves around the concepts of morality in people. The book deeply expresses the theme that people’s lives take different paths, and these paths, dictated somewhere in their lives, will cause their ultimate fate.

In the book, Jack West Sr., or Wolf, Jack West Jr.’s father, gave the protagonist words of wisdom during his supposed execution by crucification, which he managed to survive. “Some of us want to rule the world, Jack, others like you wish to save it, others still, like our honour-obsessed Japanese friends wish to end it.” (Reilly, 375) This information would come to great use when Jack found out about the suicidal Switchblade, who wished to end the world. Yet these words give path to a much deeper meaning. By saying this, Jack West Sr. conveyed the message that there are different kinds of people in this world, each with their own morale code and ultimate destiny, which could not be prevented. His dad’s saying also targeted him, the protagonist, as Jack, although strong looking, is a very innocently straightforward person aiming to save the world at any cost. His father, whom with a clearly disparate destiny, wanted to alert him that many people of this world, including himself, does not have the same state of mind, and instead wants to selfishly conquer this world, or completely obliterate it.

People are born the same, but they took on their separate paths sometime in their life. This was what Professor Max Epper, or Wizard, told Jack West Jr.’s daughter, Lily, on their trip back to England. “Jack and his father are alike in many ways…. Only Jack acts for others, his father acts for himself. Somewhere in their lives, they each learned to act in these ways.” (Reilly, 495) Wizard’s opinion deeply covers Jack and his father’s relationship, and their divergent paths will continue to put them at odds. However, on a more optimistic side, as a consequence to Professor Epper’s statement, good deeds will have their correspondent rewards, while malicious ones have theirs too. This was substantiated when Jack West Jr. saved the lives of thousands of discriminated Jewish slaves in his dad, Wolf’s, mine in Ethiopia. These Jews, in return, gave them two of the sacred stones which they were in desperate need of. After the event, to which, a comrade of his, Pooh Bear commented “No good deed really does go unrewarded…” (Reilly, 515)

On a general note, the influences on the path that every person takes can be as varied as from childhood to society. Contradictory to common beliefs that the only the most significant events are influences to the person’s path in life, these influences can be the most accidental events, as Professor Epper stated. “The path a person takes in life is most often determined by the strangest, more incidental things.” (Reilly, 495) This implies that, albeit the different people goes diverging paths to their fate, their influence on one another can certainly lead to drastic changes. Take Jack West Jr. as an example. Jack West Jr. decided to join the Australian military, a major decision that shaped his path, because of his father’s egocentricity and inconsiderateness to his mother, something that his morale would not accept. In the end, Jack West Jr.’s heroic willpower and his unwillingness to give up, standing up and saving the world time after time, came from Wolf’s negative influence. And thus, Wolf played a significant role in Jack’s, and the World’s, ultimate fate.

In a nutshell, The Six Sacred Stones meaningfully expressed the underlying morale of society through its action-filled story, that the world consists of different people, each with a diverging path leading to a disparate fate. Moreover, it conveyed how people chose their path through, sometimes, a completely incidental event, and also how people could have great impact on each other’s fate.

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Misguided Patriots — Boxer Rebellion

Link to Video

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Mercy — Social Issue Poem

My Social Issue is Animal Abuse.

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Banksie: Innocence and Straightforwardness

The book MacB, written by Neil Arksey, demonstrates how the character of a person influences his friendships and ultimately his future.

Banksie, the protagonist who wants to be a member of his school’s football team, along with his best friend, MacBride, who wishes to be the captain of that very team. The two boys practiced very hard throughout the summer and exchanged the tricks that they learned, and together they became the best pair of forwards. However MacBride’s mother wanted more from him, she wanted MacBride to be both the team captain and the star striker of the team every time, which lead to MacBride’s atrocious actions taken against his “best friend”. This book expresses Banksie’s innocence and straightforwardness in contract to MacBride.

When detective Cosgrove questioned Banksie about MacBride’s involvement in the incident with captain Duncan, Banksie defended his best friend, MacBride, although being honest, because he never expected that his best friend would commit such an abominable crime, purposely injuring the captain only to seize power. A similar incident occurred later that two thugs on the pitch were paid by Mrs. MacBride to injure Banksie. However, Banksie never even grew suspicious or questioned MacBride, who would always get away with an effortless excuse. This was until MacBride finally broke down and had to spoil the truth to his “best friend” Banksie, and which to that fact he seemed simply astonished. “Banksie felt his knee shake; his heart pounded louder than the thunder. He opened his mouth, but rain water flooded in. No words.” (Arksey, 134)

Straightforwardness is another trait that can describe Banksie throughout the whole book. When Banksie and MacBride were on their way to Sid’s, MacBride was complaining about Duncan being the Captain, but it was all about to change when they met Duncan, who was also on his way to Sid’s. “‘You’ve changed your tune!’ …. ‘Dunk was being complimentary about you and me.’ ‘But he means it.’” (Arksey, 49) In this case, Banksie was not only straightforward regarding the way he spoke in front and behind people, such as Duncan, he was also straightforward when telling his friend MacBride what he observed. A straightforward person always tells what he thinks, he does not mask them in front of others.

While reading this book, I felt a strong connection with the protagonist, Banksie. I felt the relation to his personality and what that meant for him and his friends. One such example would be the relationship with MacBride. Before I came to ISB, I had gone through many friendships like that with boys my age at a lower severity. I would innocently make friends with one of my peers, thinking straightforwardly that this will be pure friendship between two students. Although, I would find out that for various reasons, some of their parents were encouraging them to “make friends” with me. Furthermore, parents who possess strong control of their child are typically very competitive. Their child’s success may be completely relative to my performance, and that kind of pressure would lead to, inevitably, an end to our friendship. In the story in MacB, Mrs. MacBride forced her son into foul thoughts and ruthless actions. “You’re soft: you’ve no verve, no drive to get on in the world.” (Arksey, 43) These parents have indirectly directed their child’s spite and competition onto students like me. Often, in the end, I feel that I am innocent because I didn’t do anything to invoke the spite of my “friend”, but it was the parents who are guilty of such consequences.

All in all, Banksie and I have much in similarity, such that we are innocent and straightforward, and we have been in many situations that are indistinguishable from one another. In the end, our families do not force us to befriend and compete, thus making it possible for us to be innocent and straightforward people, while the personalities of children like MacBride whose families pressure them will become sophisticated and tactful.

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