EMILY'S BLOG

I never dreamed about success. I worked for it. -Estee Lauder

Category: I am a Communicator (page 1 of 2)

The Girl Who Died 6 Years Ago

Ashlee lives with her mom and brother, Andy, in a world where the new US government system, better known as the Dominitary, has tried to solve global issues. This family’s lives aren’t very different from anyone else living in the Downsizes; they live in their old shipping crate, and food is provided but the Dominitary. Except for the fact that Ashlee has to hide from everyone else beyond the walls of her house, and live in fear everyday. No one, except her family, must knows Ashlee exists. Or else there will be consequences. Will the Dominitary find the girl that was supposed to die 6 years ago?

Click here to read  The Girl Who Died 6 Years Ago

 

In math, we created a 3D printed habitat that we think kids our age would live in in the future. Individually, we created a floorpan of what our habitat from our sci-fi story would look like, but we eventually had to combine our group’s ideas into one design. After we had our group’s initial design, we started designing our first print on TinkerCad. The initial print was just the walls without any furniture, just to make sure we get the dimensions right and everything is to scale. After that, we then started designing our final print, which was our habitat with the wall structure and the furniture.

Some challenges we encountered while making the initial design was trying to figure out what components from our individual designs we should ad d, and how we could fit that all together into one house. While making the wall structures on TinkerCad, a challenge we had was making sure all the rooms were a correct size and everything was to scale. A problem we faced while designing our final product on TinkerCad was that our file had deleted the day before it was due, so we had to remake everything. But one good thing about that was that it pushed our group to work harder and make our habitat even better than before. 

I’m proud of how our final product turned out, because we put a lot of effort in it, and it looks really cool and realistic. Overall, this project was really fun, and I enjoyed designing a habitat.

Fly Over Video

Initial Design Blog Post

Eggs in Corn Syrup and Water Experiment

For the Eggs in Corn Syrup and Water experiment, we first put an egg into vinegar to get rid of the shell. We then put each egg into water or corn syrup, and the eggs would shrink or expand. Below are some pictures of my investigative design, data table, and initial and final models from this experiment.

For my investigative design, my design can be repeated by others because it is clear what components like the independent and dependent variable is, and my procedure is clear and detailed. Something that might have been an issue is that we couldn’t soak the eggs for exactly 24 hours, because there isn’t always exactly 24 hours between classes. Something that I could improve on is for the procedure is that I shouldn’t write in third person view. I have also collected additional information by putting the egg that had already shrank from the corn syrup into water, and vice versa.

In my initial model, I showed how I thought the phenomenon worked in the beginning. I had thought that the corn syrup somehow sucks the air out of the egg, so it shrinks and deflates. I also thought that when the egg is soaked in water, the water would go inside the egg, causing it to expand and grow. This was partly correct because water particles are small enough to go inside the egg.

Now, I know that water particles are small enough to be able to pass in and out of the egg membrane, but sugar particles are too big to do that. So that’s why when put in corn syrup, the water particles from the egg move out of the egg, and the sugar particles stay out, and the egg shrinks. And when put into water, the water particles all move into the egg, and the egg grows.

From the data I collected, I found that mass of the egg increased by 18.17 grams when put into water. This evidence shows that the egg has increased in mass when put into water. When put into corn syrup, the mass of the egg decreased by 32.21 grams, which shows that the mass of an egg decreases when put into corn syrup.

The purpose of conducting this experiment was to learn about cells, but replacing a cell with the egg. We were able to learn a lot about cells, and about how particles can pass through the cell membrane. Overall, this was a very fun experiment, and I learned a lot doing this.

Links for:

Investigative Design

Initial Model

Final Model

Procedure and Data Table

What? So What? Now What?

The global issue that I am basing my dystopian story on is the issue of overpopulation. Overpopulation of humans is what causes all of our big problems today like climate change, global warming, poverty, or lack of resources. I really think that if there were no humans, these problems wouldn’t exist. Books like the “Hunger Games” or the Netflix series “The Thinning” also helped spark my ideas to write a story based on this problem. Some videos like “Human Population Through Time”, “Population growth and climate change explained by Hans Rosling” and “Population pyramids: Powerful predictors of the future – Kim Preshoff” all talked about how the world population suddenly increased, and continues to rapidly climb. So as our population continues to grow and exceed 9 billion people by 2050, global issues will become worse and worse as more humans are using up resources.

Although one person can’t exactly control the entire world population, we can all do some things to help with the issues that are the effect of overpopulation. These actions vary from showering instead of bathing, showering for a shorter period of time, reducing your amount of food waste, or using less plastic bags or items. These things will all contribute to solving problems like climate change or plastic waste, which are some things that affect the world in my story. You can also collect data on these things. You can time how long you are showering for each day, or count how many one-time-use plastic products you are using.

Icons for the Past, Present, and Future

The  Foragers to Future  project is a project where we have to find icons representing the food, transportation, communication, and trading network in different time periods like the when foragers were around, farmers, factories, and the future.

This is my initial plan for the icons I was going to use.

Where there were two icons, I wasn’t sure which one I would use. When I asked my partner for some feedback, they said that they think choosing the grains would be a better choice for farmers’ food, and the plane rather than the car would be a better choice for transportation in the present. My partner had also said putting a sunset for trading network wasn’t a very good choice because it didn’t clearly show what trading networks were like during the time of the foragers. Not many people would know that a sunset would mean the horizon, and people would only trade within the places they “knew”.  So instead, I put the icon of four tents, indicating that people would only trade within small areas like their villages.

Overall, I think this was a fun mini project, and I really enjoyed doing this. This was something that we could personalize and use our creative thinking in, and I that was something I really enjoyed doing.

Click  here  or on the hyperlink above to see my project!

Your Choice, Our Future

Do you feel like the government is watching your every move? Do you feel that all of your private text messages are being read
by a stranger? Do you feel like all your files on your computer are currently being transferred by a hacker on the other side of the screen? Do you feel like your digital life is an open window that you just cannot seem to close? Living in the 21st century, a lot of people will feel like their privacy is being intruded by strangers, hackers, and the government, and they will feel helpless about the situation. But in truth, all these data-collecting tools are actually making our lives better, easier, more convenient, and safer to an extent that might not have even crossed you mind! Technology is innovating, and our lives improving is a result of it. If we collect data, our lives will improve in so many different ways. From progressing in things like innovation all the way to safety, collecting data is the key to moving forwards in this advancing world.

 

Without innovation, we probably would still be wearing animal skin and fur as our clothes, living in a cave, and have a stone in our pocket as a phone. Innovation keeps improving our lives every day, and to be able to start the process of innovating something, data needs to be collected. That data can be collected, but the job for that lies in our hands.

Take the iPhone as an example. When setting your iPhone up, Apple gives you an option if you would allow them to collect information about how well your phone is functioning, so they can take that data to further develop this piece of technology to meet our needs. Quoting Andrew Hutchinson’s article, “Convenience Vs Privacy: The Latest Study in the Data Tracking Debate”, he says, “We’re often happy to give up our data, so long as we have the option of actually giving it up, but we don’t like it being taken from us.”

This statement was concluded from a survey conducted at the Annenberg School for Communication, where 55% of the respondents disagreed with: “It is fine for a store that I go to uses information about me, to then create a picture of me that will then improve their services provided for me”. But when given the statement: “If companies give me a discount, they can then collect information about me without my knowledge”, 91% of respondents disagreed. The drastic change in these statistics prove that the public feels cautious about not having a choice, and that does not necessarily mean they have a problem with giving up their data.

When we go back to our iPhone scenario, Apple does not take your information away without you knowing. They clearly give us a choice about whether we would rather keep our data to ourselves, or if we are willing to give up constructive information as fuel to feed innovation. Whatever your decision may be, our personal information is not being collected. Privacy “still exists”, and more importantly, we still are able to have choices to choose from.

When Apple is collecting your mobile device’s data, statistics showing how well applications are running will transfer from your phone to a database, and the data will be completely anonymous. A new iPhone can then be made to suit what we like best, and it shows how we have made things even better than before. To keep innovating, to keep improving things we use from day to day, requires data, and we can provide that, without the worry of risking our private information. In just 30 years, we were able to go from a building-sized mainframe computer to the internet taking off globally (TED-Ed, 2013)!

Innovation has brought us so far, and gathering data can push us to go even further. Pushing us further in which direction? Well, making our lives more convenient is one way.

 

What if you lived in the world of 50 years ago? If you wanted to communicate with your friend that lives all the way across the world, you would have to deliver a letter to their mailbox. That would take a long time already, and then for them to reply back would take even longer. In the 21st Century, we now have convenient little devices that fit into our pockets, where you can communicate with anyone at any time, and get a response almost instantaneously.

Advancements like social networks allow us to communicate and collaborate with others like we have never before, making things so much easier for us. Because we have collected data in the past, things are so convenient for us today. If we continue with big data, we will be able to make things even more convenient for us, and the result will be our lives and others’ getting better, easier, and more comfortable.

For instance, Google has been developing more and more services to make our lives simpler for us, such as Google Lens, Google News, Google Maps, Google Assistant, etc. Google Lens allows you to capture an image of something, and immediately, you have all the information from Google on that specific object. In Nitasha Tiku’s article “The Price of Google’s New Conveniences? Your Data”, she describes how Google Lens works.

“Take Google Lens, a visual search tool that ‘proactively’ surfaces information about the objects around you,” Tiku’s review reads. This tool allows you to directly have access to the information about something, just like the information you would have access to in a Google search, but the process is much easier and more convenient. These latest Google conveniences revolve around “understanding our habits”, but in order for these creations to continue to be developed, Google has to be able to “mine our data”.

We have all these sensational resources right at our fingertips, and they are the small stepping stones that we need to start walking on for us to not only see more, but to see better and different (TED, 2014). Big data is an important tool we need to learn how to use in order for our society to advance. Aside from just advancing our lives to be more comfortable, big data can also advance our lives to be safer.

 

Your health and safety is always top priority. If you had a broken leg, you would not be able to do the things you can usually do on a regular basis. And because we are living in a world where technology is so advanced, tools like the Smarthome is able to help us maintain our health and safety.

The Smarthome is a house “incorporated” with technology, and it was created by Tsutomu Shimizu, with the word “health” in his mind as he tries to change people’s lives in the future with this advancement. In an interview, Shimizu states that, “Now the technology of sensor has developed so we can collect data of each individual.” The outcome of these sensor advancements is that if you get sick or injured, the Smarthome is able to research about the causes of illness or injury. And “by utilizing the data”, we can further develop technology for people’s health and safety in the future (The Guardian, 2016).

But not only can technology in the 21st century keep you safe by researching the cause of illnesses, it can also keep you safe in extreme ways that might not have crossed your mind before. For example, in China, facial recognition is something people use on a regular basis, whether it is to access the building of their workplace, log into an online account of some sort, use an ATM, or even get food recommendations from KFC. But other than these day-to-day uses, the government makes use of facial recognition to improve our safety (Wall Street Journal, 2017).

John Sudworth, a BBC correspondent, visited Guiyang. He and the Guiyang police conducted an experiment involving how the government can use security cameras to find people. He went out into the city to see how long the police could track him down, and then get to him. The exercise took them only 7 minutes. After 7 quick minutes, a few policemen had already surrounded John. Surveillance cameras are a great tool to look for missing people, or persons of interest, but the government would not use it on people who do not need any help. Xu Yan, a Guiyang policewoman said that, “For ordinary people, we will only extract their data when they need our help.” Otherwise, the police just store our information in their database.

This experiment just shows that if, for example, someone was missing, the government will be able to find them very quickly and easily. Not only can surveillance cameras do that, it can also scan crowds for persons of interest, or people that may pose a threat to our community.

Another smaller way facial recognition is improving our safety, is shaming jaywalkers, in hopes that they would follow the traffic lights. Facial recognition is clearly improving our safety every day, and we should allow our lives to “flow along with these advancements.” If you had the opportunity to be safer, would you pass, or take it?

 

There is no doubt that the advancement of technology is rocketing through the sky recently, and innovations from facial recognition to the new and sophisticated Google services can all prove that. But like everything else, nothing is ever completely on one side of the spectrum, whether it is something good, or bad.

Ji Feng, a Chinese government critic and a poet, thinks that no matter what you do, you will always hesitate to act because there is always someone watching your every move. He claims that the authorities view the community as a threat, and with these new tools, the government’s surveillance on dissidents will intensify. With surveillance cameras installed everywhere in China, there will always be a certain level of discomfort (BBC News, 2017).

Furthermore, beyond the CCTV cameras and within all the other advancements in technology, keep in mind that there is always a possibility of being hacked. In a documentary film published by The Guardian, “The Power of Privacy – documentary film”, they have demonstrated how anyone is able to access all the information you willingly put online, from a picture you just posted on your Instagram feed, all the way to your credit card numbers because you did an online registration.

You could easily get hacked with just a click on a link, and all your files on a device could be collected without your knowledge. But not only can your computer get hacked, big companies’ systems could always get tricked or hacked (The Guardian, 2016).

However, all these points have flaws in them, and believe it or not, hacking does have a positive side to it. Hacking can expose corporate vulnerabilities, and it can shed light on flaws that companies can then improve from. If you are worried about the government invading your privacy, then you should not be. The purposes of surveillance cameras are to keep people safe, and to look out for people of interest. If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear.

The positive results of our information that is beneficial to the government being collected, far outweigh the negatives, and we can already do so much that we could not do before because of big data. Imagine what we could do if we continued to build upon what we have now. Imagine everything that we could achieve. Why stop now?

 

Although we should accept our data-collection “learning process”, we should also brace ourselves when “failures” in the learning process becomes an issue. Companies like Facebook is already constantly working to improve the level of protection of their users’ privacy, so people can feel more secure about these problems.

While these big corporations are further developing their digital security systems, you can also know more about data collectors yourself. Programs like Disconnect can let you see which companies and corporations have access to your data when you are on a specific website, and you can “disconnect”, so they would not have access to your data anymore. All these things are to help you feel safer around big data, and you also are able to choose whether or not you would like to give up your data, and how much of it. When people have that choice, we can still continue our process of big data, but you can also feel satisfied with your safety and privacy. We should keep innovating these tools to help us. Technology is a benefit we can enjoy in our lives, and we should be able to enjoy it in the future as well.

“Sometimes we need to sacrifice convenience for our safety.” But because technology is already everywhere, the tools of technology will be what brings more safety than we already have right now. Data can be used to learn, remember, improve, and innovate. There is so much “potential” in big data that we can use to improve our lives and the world, if only we will allow it to. So, the question is, will you?

 

Works Cited

 

BBC News. “China: ‘the World’s Biggest Camera Surveillance Network’ – BBC News.” YouTube, YouTube, 25 Dec. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNf4-d6fDoY.

 

Hutchinson, Andrew. “Convenience Vs Privacy: The Latest Study in the Data Tracking Debate.” Social Media Today, 5 June 2015, www.socialmediatoday.com/technology-data/adhutchinson/2015-06-05/convenience-vs-privacy-latest-study-data-tracking-debate.

 

TED-Ed. “Big Data – Tim Smith.” YouTube, YouTube, 3 May 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-0cUmUyb-Y.

 

TED. “Kenneth Cukier: Big Data Is Better Data.” YouTube, YouTube, 23 Sept. 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pHzROP1D-w.

 

The Guardian. “The Power of Privacy – Documentary Film.” YouTube, YouTube, 28 Jan. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGX-c5BJNFk.

 

Tiku, Nitasha. “The Price of Google’s New Conveniences? Your Data.” Wired, Conde Nast, 8 May 2018, 9:00 PM, www.wired.com/story/the-price-of-googles-new-conveniences-your-data/.

 

Wall Street Journal. “Next-Level Surveillance: China Embraces Facial Recognition.” YouTube, YouTube, 27 June 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fq1SEqNT-7c.

 

Wolf, Gary. “The Quantified Self.” TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, June 2010, www.ted.com/talks/gary_wolf_the_quantified_self#t-291434

Ignite Week: Exhibition

Our project for Ignite Week was to create a “record player”. We used an old bike wheel and attached many wires to it. Those wires would be taped down by copper tape. In our scenario, there are two reasons why we used copper tape. One, so it wouldn’t insulate the wire, and two, when the spoon touched the bike wheel, the tape which is connected to the wire would make a sound. The wire would be programmed on Scratch to play a specific note, and the longer the copper wire would be, the longer the note. So we planned out our song, and supposedly, when the wheel spins and the spoon drags along the tape, it would play a song. But the wheel only has one pattern taped on it, so it will only play that one part and nothing else. 

Friday was the final day to put finishing touches on our projects, and we would have our first Ignite Week Exhibition of the year. Angel and I still had to finish attaching the wires onto the wheel, and we used the first two blocks to do that. But when we were finished, we discovered that the copper tape wasn’t very sensitive, so it didn’t work as well as we hoped it would. We had to slowly “scoot” the wheel along instead of spinning it really fast, and we would only occasionally hear a melody and rhythm instead of the entire chorus being played like we originally planned. The holder for the spoon didn’t really work that well, so we also just held the spoon with our hand. During the exhibition, we would play the song for them, but in the end, we just let our audience play and experiment with the wheel, even playing the notes with their hands. That worked out better because our audience could see where our project came from and our inspiration, and they would be able to experiment with it themselves which they thought was really cool.

Overall, I thought that this first Ignite Week project of the year was really fun and an enjoyable experience, and even though or wheel didn’t work as well as we hoped it would, I still learned a lot from this experience.

Make It: Create and Improve

Questions to Answer for Feedback:

-Are the notes being played clearly?

-Does the wheel spin smoothly?

-Do you hear a song being played?

 

Feedback from Other Group:

They can hear the specific notes, and they can sort of hear a song being played. But because we didn’t finish programming the notes, they didn’t hear the entire song. The wheel spins smoothly, but we should figure out how the notes will actually sound like a song when the wheel is spinning. They also told us how we could make something hold the spoon up so we don’t have to hold it.

Ignite Week: Day 3

Day 3 Block 1:

Angel and I continued to work on our wheel. I continued to tape on the copper tape pattern, while she would attach the wires to the tape. We have tried to play the first few notes, and they work, but the sensitivity when a note is being pressed isn’t that sensitive.

Day 3 Block 2:

Angel and I continued to work on our roles. A problem we’ve encountered so far is that the sound is delayed when we  press on the note, and we’re experimenting with looping in Scratch so the sounds won’t be delayed.

Day 3 Block 3:

Angel and I took everything off from what we originally did with the wires and tape because everything wasn’t ver organized and was falling apart everywhere. So we restarted, stripped everything off, and started to re-tape everything back on. Now, everything is much more secure, organized, and is staying on the wheel. We haven’t programmed the sounds yet, but we will do that when we are done with all the wires. Today we have made a lot of progress, and we are almost half way through with taping the wires on the wheel.

Make It: Develop and Plan

For this project, we will need to use the bike wheel, wires, the circuit board, copper tape, masking tape, a spoon, and a stand for the wheel to spin on. We will need to know how to connect multiple wires together to make a parallel circuit, so we only need to use 2 circuit boards for all the notes.

We got our ideas by first coming up with the idea of a piano on a wheel, but as we continued to brainstorm, we developed the
idea of making the wheel spin. When we complete attaching the wires to the tape pattern, we’ll first test it by just pressing on the notes, and when we create the spoon stand, we’ll spin the wheel to see if it will play the song.

Spring Rock Field Trip

Last week, FA went on a one-night overnight field trip to SpringRock.

I really enjoyed this field trip, and it might be my favorite field trip EVER! On typical field trips, we would always go on a Great Wall hike, but this time, all we did was rope courses, and I enjoyed it so much!

The highlight of my trip was the rope courses and the Jacob’s Ladder, which was basically the entire trip. Both of these obstacle courses were stepping into the edge of my panic zone, and at first it was a challenge for me. I thought I couldn’t do the Jacob’s Ladder, but my teammates encouraged me to persevere and to try my best, and eventually I made it to the top. For the rope course, I was really nervous on the first obstacle, because I was so high up. But I pushed through, and when I got to the double helix course, I was really really nervous. But I overcame my hurdles and made it through the double helix, which wasn’t that hard at all!

During the Jacob’s Ladder especially, we had to work as a team. My team was determined to make it up altogether, but because we were the first group, we were “on our own”, and there were times when we thought about giving up. But we worked really well as a team, encouraging each other and pulling each other up to the next rung. On the rope course, we were also encouraging each other and giving each other advice, so for this trip, I think I worked really well as a collaborator.

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