My Political Stance

  • Do you consider yourself to be “political”? Why or why not?

I do think myself to be political, because I do have formed views of many global issues and regulations/decisions made by the government in different countries. I think I am exposed to a variety of culture, both the order in China and freedom of America. From the first test, although I lean slightly towards libertarian, I consider myself a mixture of two. Although my political views may not be completely mature, I can justify my views. For example, I do value the authoritarian government during the current COVID-19 situation, an ordered country helps save hundreds of thousands of lives. While the “freedom of speech” in libertarian country has brought extremists in America who question the reliability of such virus even after such huge global impact. In this circumstance, I think the government has too little power upon the control of citizens and cannot do a sufficient job in keeping citizens safe. However, in common global issues worldwide such as surrogacy/abortion, gay marriage/rights, I lean towards the libertarian view. One celebrity called Zhengshuang was just exposed of using surrogacy and attempting to use abortion as well after finding out her husband cheating on her. She used surrogacy in America (surrogacy is legal in America, illegal in China, she did not break laws) and abandoned her children returning to China after being hurt by her husband. The social media and general audience was verbally abusing and criticizing her, while her husband was barely even mentioned at all. I think this reflects the bad side of being too authoritarian, the ideologies of Chinese citizens have all been unified. I support surrogacy and abortion, it is about giving women a choice. Gay topics in China now has been more open, many dramas were even shot on the topic but were in the name of bromance. The young public knows gay do have the same rights, and love is not about gender, but the control of the government and old ideologies still remain. The third test reflected on my general moderate political stance, I wish a mixture of the advantages of the two types could be adapted by the government, this is my political view.

  • What does it mean to be political?

Being political means to have a stance as a citizen on the regulations of the country. Or simply having beliefs about certain global issue would make one leaning towards one or another political stance.

  • Is everything political? Why or why not?

I do not think everything is political. Arts and sciences could serve a meaning for the society or to achieve a certain purpose, but art itself, which focuses on the beauty of visuals, and science itself, which explores the unknown phenomenons, are pure and non-political.

  • How important do you feel it is to be aware of what is going on in politics?

I think it is important for everyone to be aware of the politics. The lack of awareness about social issues/politics makes many people intake very one-sided and extreme views from their environment or their personalized social media. It is important to be informed about all different sides viewing social issues. Many who go to protests not wearing masks, talking about impossible conspiracy theories are just ignorant people who choose to believe one side before even looking at the other.

  • What are the political issues that you believe are most important right now and why?

I believe the most important political issues to me are about equality. As a Chinese citizen, I wish the government could give more freedom on topics such as abortion and gay marriage. These choices should be given for the citizens to decide whether to use or not to use. Because of the old ideologies, some Chinese even still think being gay is an illness, luckily the general public do give support for the group of people. But as I explained in the first question, topics about abortion and giving the choice to women have not yet considered. It is by law wrong to have a children from surrogacy, even for a genetically deficient mother. It is by law wrong to have abortion even if one was being raped. I hope more choice was given to citizens on those topics which do not harm the safety or rights of others (consent is given from both sides for surrogacy). If I turn to the American view on politics, I think order is the most important political issue. Conspiracy theories are popular on the internet about COVID-19. It is fine to have such theories, but it is not fine to put others in danger by not wearing masks. Perhaps education would have to improve in someway. Overall, I am not really interested in the tension between countries or different parties, since it is their policies on these issues that directly influence the citizens. These are my believes about political issues which are important.

Biggest Takeaways From “The Social Dilemma”

“The Social Dilemma” is a documentary movie which raises the awareness of internet privacy issues. As our internet world develops more advanced, harms comes along with the convenience it provides. After watching the documentary, I realized I was completely unaware of how much personalized data the internet could get of us sitting in front of the screen. It also controls and can completely alter or form ones perception, this is the most dangerous part of social media which made me completely shocked by the documentary. Many ethical issues of the internet are present although it provided many fantastic advantages.

“If you are not paying for the product, you are the product.” The goal of companies are to keep people engaged on screen. By doing so it sell certainty to the audience. For example, Youtube recommends video that you may like based on an algorithm tracking and calculating what you’ve previously watched. This matches your taste. Likewise, on social medias such as Facebook, it will sell you the ideas whether political or in whatever area which you may agree upon. This makes you feel a sense of certainty as you find the group of people which you enjoy in being approved and reaching consensus. This can completely form one’s mind to an extreme, it is hard to stay objective in an internet world with access to all kinds of information. Unknowingly, I have also been changed due to these algorithms.

The impact of selling certainty in keeping people attached to social media creates polarization. Large conflict may form over small issues. In politics, the two major parties are getting more separated into opponents of extreme sides rather than creating an diverse America for the best of the people. This in the future, I think will lead to even more dangerous issues.

In the movie, it tells network biases towards false information. Social media is a strong persuasive tool, but if it is weaponized, it will cause offline harm. False information spreads times as fast as correct ones. In the COVID-19 situation, due to the internet, people came up with all the theories of what the COVID-19 really is. Some suspect maybe the government has intentionally created it to cover some issues. These are as well falsifying aspects of the internet. But the worst is when it caused harm offline, there will be no redemption by then to recover the lost. When people spread theories which degrades the COVID-19 as a small cold, or even non-existence, there are deaths. Many celebrities even caught the virus, and some dead. These are the devastating impacts of the internet. If even more extreme, the dangerous issues could even spark and intensify wars, I wish my imaginations would not come to play in real life.

Overall, the movie provided me insight on the internet, I began to reflect on myself in how I could be more independent as a person, but use the internet correctly.

Ways of Learning Development

  • What tools did they use when they were going to school to learn and/or to produce knowledge?

The tools they use are books, notebooks, and pencils. The learning sources they have access to is the library.

  • What were their experiences in school like, and how do they compare with your own?

When my parents went to school, the teachers did not have official textbooks and technology provided for the students. In class, the teacher reads off of their lessons, and the students take notes. Whether they were able to succeed all depends on their concentration in class. As my parents grew older, they had started to get in touch with official academic literatures. For my time, education in China has developed much further. Multiple editions of textbook for each subject was produced for students both in local and international schools. Most importantly, I have a more advanced technological environment. I have computers to take notes in, not only pencil and paper. We could browse on the internet in search of the information we needed within seconds. While my parents will have to bike to a local library to see if they are lucky enough to find a book related to the question they have.

Debate Reflection – Is Ignorance Bliss?

Debate reflection

Is ignorance bliss?

During the debate, the two sides reached consent of defining ignorance as happiness. The negative side argues that happiness could be better found through acquiring knowledge. They claimed that without knowledge, ignorance may cause damage to the people such as passing through a red light. However, the affirmative side defies that arguing ignorance does not necessarily means lack of basic life skill. Building upon that notion, the affirmative side’s main argument is that with the acquire of knowledge, comes the exposure to the dark side of the world, causing pain and depression in people. The reasoning they gave was people instinctively remember painful memories deeper than the happy ones; while the ability of finding happiness is instinctive. Knowledge does not bring any bliss for people, for example, many well known geniuses in history ended their lives committing suicide.

For the rest of the debate, I perceive the negative side continue repeating the same two argument attacking situational ignorance and acquiring method of happiness. The idea of knowing basic life skill means not being ignorant and happiness could not be acquired without knowledge. These two arguments were already defied in the affirmative side’s claim and rebuttal. Therefore, this does not bring the negative side a comeback. In addition, the affirmative side appealed and defended more strong examples supporting their argument, while the negative side only has not managed to do so. Such as the defense during the ultimate free fire round, when the negative side attacked that one of the example authority committed suicide because he was gay, not because of acquiring knowledge, the affirmative side defended their example by saying without knowledge, he would not have known how the society perceived him and would continue be “gay” instead of depressed.  therefore in this debate, I think the affirmative side deserves the win.

As in the debate, I do agree that common knowledge is considered not as ignorance. But I would also like to iterate, that knowledge does not mean becoming a genius, the examples given by the affirmative side were all extreme examples which does not stand in general cases.

My personal stance under this debate topic falls under the negative side. During the debate, I have thought of examples which could continue argue on the previous example. If one had acquired enough knowledge to became confident enough, even under such societal pressure, he would still know that he was just as beautiful of a human being as the others. Or else how did the LGBT community rise? One original example which sparked in my mind was drug. In society now, the education of drugs in schools including ISB are vital. The millions of drug addicts are definitely not ignorant, some even would blend in our society. Millions of people worldwide, it is an issue which applies to everyone, not as the example which only applies to the geniuses worldwide. Therefore drug addiction is knowledge to be acquired to protect one self. Well, are people who are drug addicts are happy? I would say no, that is not a bliss. At the most, it would only become temporary happiness. Drugs can bring law issues, abuse of money, family breakdown, health issues and many other disastrous impacts on ones life. This means ignorance exposes people to infinite possible harms which causes damage, and could only be prevented with knowledge.

Ignorance is not bliss. 

Coming to the acquiring of knowledge, I think everyone has the responsibility of not abusing the knowledge gained. It is because to limit the abusing of knowledge that created  some judicial systems in society. The abusing of knowledge can cause many detrimental impact to the society. Otherwise, I think it is the choice of people to acquire knowledge or not.

Are some ways of knowing more likely than others to lead to truth?

Humans possess of eight ways of knowing in total: sense perception, reasoning, emotion, language, imagination, memory, faith, intuition. Many are which intertwined with another. Each way of knowing possesses its unique strengths and limitations to it.

My answer to the central question is yes, sense perception and reasoning are most likely to lead to truth.

Sense perception provides us a source of information first-hand experience. Reasoning forms known perceptions in logic. The two combined is most likely to lead to the truth. Observation as a form of sense perception, it gives us empirical evidence of what happened, which is arguably the most important aspect of scientific study. Reasoning can be either deductive or inductive, the former is predominantly used in mathematics and philosophy, while the latter is what scientists in various fields rely upon to make generalizations and theories out of observation. The combination of sense perception, often with the help of technologies that are designed to enhance our senses and reasoning is vital in generating robust and applicable scientific theories. This way of knowing is applied to all fields of math, sciences and philosophy. Sense perception is used to understand our world. Although sense perception does as well contain possible misperception, but the attempt of being objective has eliminated misperceptions as much as possible. For example: how did people know Earth was round? With the improve of technology, our perception of Earth has been modified, changing the reasoning as well, reaching the truth of the Earth being round.

Some may doubt the objectivity of sense perception given that it is a subjective process, yet the technology does not only enhance our senses, but objectifies it through various methods of standardization. In addition, deductive reasoning, in particular, requires the collection, comparison, and analysis of massive amount of empirical data, further minimizing possible prejudices or misperceptions.

In contrast, language is primarily used for communication within a given society, and although it contains and expresses a form of shared knowledge, it does not necessarily lead to truth, since it can be misused or charged with people’s prejudice, and expressions can cause confusion between different cultures. For example, “break a leg” means good luck in English culture, however, it is offensive to tell someone of another language to “break a leg” due to cultural divergent. This makes language a least possible way of leading to truth. Therefore, language would not be a way of knowing likely leading to truth.

Memory, on the other hand, is important in knowing the past, yet individual memories may not be necessarily the exact representation of what happened. Similarly, intuition and imagination do help people discover things which may have not been noticed or even encountered before, yet their highly subjective nature could be misleading or prevent us from seeing the reality more holistically.

 

What do you know for sure, and how do you know?

Hi, I am Christopher Shi, currently 11th grade, this is my fifth year in ISB.

I’ve always been curious about what I know about this world, and by now, I know that an old Chinese saying “seeing is believing” is not true. From a macroscopic view of our world, we call the patterns we find as science, it is what many consider what they know for sure. But to me, science is exploring the unknown. Theories are called so because we just have not yet found one example violating the rules. Therefore, it is not something known for sure. So what do we know? I consider the common knowledge in society, or human interaction, what we know for sure, because we as humans originated it.  For example, languages are long standardized tools we use to communicate. I know Chinese for sure simply because I can communicate with people in China and they as well speak Chinese. Society has developed to such complexity of culture over time with a system of economics, politics, etc. But we know for sure how all of them works because we can explain them by the rules our society have consensus upon. On a smaller scale, in my perspective, what I know for sure starts from my self consciousness. I understand my emotions, therefore I emphasize with some people. I understand my logics, therefore I can form agreement with others. However, rules of the society are as well always developing, knowing does not mean correctness. The consensus we have upon correctness usually refers to fairness. Therefore, I know for sure that society is unfair, but we would like to help create a fair society. Overall, I do believe that a general consensus upon human interaction with society does mean I know for sure.

Spanish Speaking Assessment

Blogpost #4 – Reflect and Share

Reflect and Share

Those could all be taken as my final products, but just as different versions of it. If I had time or another chance in creating this, I would create it with light medal and don’t use adhesives to connect the fan and lantern. Maybe that would create less friction between objects and easier for heat energy to power. Heat energy is a powerful energy type, but not against powering large friction. Same with all energy types, friction could result in an almost impossible condition to power. However, I truly enjoyed the process of this project. Especially the building and creating stage, I was exceptionally successful building according to my model and even made changes to improve it. But possibly, I didn’t think carefully enough before the building stage. If I thought carefully and thoroughly about the elements that blocks the lantern from spinning. My improved design could possibly work. If this product became available to the world, it would make our society a much beautiful and cultured place. The design on the lantern could include many different ideas and values. It is not only a decoration, but could also be a powerful influential technique.

Blogpost #3 – Create and Improve

Create and Improve

I started the building with a smaller model but with the same materials and design. Because the lantern being to big and heavy may cause it hardly spinning in result with the huge friction and the heavy material. It may be hard for a heat source like candles to power it and spin it.

Starting the build, I used wood on the base, 4 columns on the 4 corners. And 4 pieces of wooden stick connecting to the middle and connected to a wire that hung the lantern. Inside the lantern, I chose a fairly light substance: card board to make the fan. And it is glued to all sides of the lantern and together, they will be powered and spun. The candle will be placed in the middle of the lantern, and here is a photo of the model:

Mentioned in previous blogs, this building idea is based on this photo/lantern/lamp:

During the building, it was generally successful. I had a hard time however, deciding the materials and adhesives I will use. Because it has to allow the lantern to work successfully. Meanwhile, the mechanics of the lantern and how it would all fit together was easy and successfully put together just as my design sheet showed, regardless of the trials taken later on.

Prototype 1

My first prototype done was similarly crafted as my initial design.  But with 2 layers on the lantern. One for heat protection, protecting the outer layer from being burnt, and the outer layer for decorations. However, for the testing and prototypes, the physical appearance of the model was not yet completed.

 Testing results

The prototype did not work at all. Before the testing, I tried blowing it, wind energy does work, but heat however, does not. There are 2 possible reasons of why it might’ve not worked. 1. The pieces of card boards, papers and the foil was probably to heavy. 2. The heat energy was not concentrated enough to make it spin. In other words, the heat dissolved in the air before heating up the lantern.

For prototype 2, I took the assumption that the heat wasn’t concentrated enough, because I can feel the heat near it, but not as much on top of the lantern.

Prototype 2

Even though plastic is a possible substance that may be dissolved when heat energy is powered, taking the premise, it should be transparent. Therefore, I chose transparent pieces of plastic and glued it on to the model (this is the first try out of having plastic over, not the one with plastic glued on):

It also didn’t work, and it does not provide a safe environment. 1. Hard to input heat source and not touching other sides (even when gluing them). 2. It is still known that plastic could dissolve by heat. Therefore, it is not a valid solution. I next, tried taking of the paper and the plastic cover. Maybe it will become safer and lighter to be powered. However, it lost it’s decorative property.

Prototype 3

The problem wasn’t that it was to heavy.

It is that the friction between the lantern and its wire is to big, compared to the heat energy, it is almost impossible to spin.

These are all the three prototypes I created, I was working on a fan made with light pieces of medal, that may result a smaller friction possibly able to be powered. However, I ran out of time for my project.

Blogpost#2: Model

After the first blog, I decided to use my first idea. The Revolving lantern.

Model

3657_001

Plan for future periods:

Thursday: start creating prototype 1

Monday: Finish prototype 1, test

Wednesday: Create improved prototype 2

Friday: test + improve prototype 2 to final product

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