Reflection

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

I consider myself not to be very political because I am not very interested in politics or often read or do research on government related news and articles. Hence, I think that my perception is less political.

• What does it mean to be political?

Being political means to hold a stance that supports a certain type of political state or to be engaged with political activities and decisions. It is when your mindset and actions are all politically related, in which you might be part of a committee or party or hold a strong viewpoint about politics.

• Is everything political? Why or why not?

Not everything is political. Emotions between friends and partners can be just emotional. People do not befriend someone because they merely share the same political perspective as you. It is possible that you befriend someone because you and them both are politically involved or share similar opinions, but it will not be the only reason. Similarly for relationships with partners, you would not date someone because they their political state is similar to yours, in fact, dating is rather more emotional than political.

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

It is essential to know a good amount of facts about the political news in your country and other countries. Because if you are unaware about politics, it will make you isolated from the society and what is happening around you, since politics affects the country and people. Having political awareness is crucial as it make you politically aware and accountable.

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

For right now would be the President election in the U.S as well as the COVID-19 pandemic around the world. The election is a grasping event that countless people are aware and involved in. The results will affect U.S as a whole, and as a citizen, I am also closely following up the latest updates. As for COVID-19 around the world, this is an unprecedented upheaval that causes destruction to countries, hence I believe that the solutions towards this pandemic is crucial.

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Relfection

During the first semester, the activity that I liked the most was the group project where our group did a rap performance. I found that project very fun and challenging, since I have never rapped before. That project required us to collaborate and address the issue of algorithm and technology feed. Throughout the project, my perspective has shifted as I payed more attention on algorithm and gained more insight on how technology affects our lives. Thinking back on the writing I have done so far, I should keep on improving my critical thinking and my perspective on knowledge. Before, I have never thought deeply about the definition of technology. But after writing the ways of knowing essay, I learned about the areas of knowledge and how the ways of knowing correlate with them.

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Parent Interview

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

I interviewed my grandma for this assignment, she was born in the 1930’s, before the Cultural Revolution. It was in her thirties when she experienced the harsh conditions brought by the Cultural Revolution, as she was perceived as an intellectual and forced to join the Down to the Countryside Movement. When she went to school, she gained knowledge from books and teachers, there was no internet, so she had to go to libraries when doing research. Common sense and life experiences helped her when she was producing knowledge.

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

My grandma’s school life is drastically different from my school life. During their time, there was barely any technology, no computers or phones, all they had were books. My grandma also lived faraway from school, so she had to wake up early every day and walk to school, which is different for me, since we have school buses now. Their cafeteria that time was very simple, only providing eggs or Man Tou, and you had to pay extra for those. As for their learning system, it was just lectures with the teachers teaching and the students taking notes and doing homework afterschool. There was no such thing as tutors or afterschool activities.

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TOK Reflection

Ignorance is bliss

For the side who supports ignorance is bliss, they have structured their argument revolving around the long term effects of ignorance, such as childhood fairytales and stories that do not have a good ending.

Ignorance is not bliss

For this side who disagrees with the statement “ignorance is bliss”, they debate with the idea of ignorance’s negative long term effect and point out how ignorance causes harm to others.

Overall, the ignorance is bliss side won by three points, which is not a huge difference. However, they won because they had a more direct and coherent speech, less slangs and informal phrases were used, in comparison to their opposed side. The speech of theirs was in general quite logical and to an extent made rebuttals to the opposed side’s arguments. As the judge, I learned a lot from this debate. Since I hold a neutral position, I am acceptive of both sides’ arguments, I noticed a few points that would make an argument more powerful. First if all, the avoidance of slangs and stutters would make the speech more fluent and confident. Then, the clear structure of an argument with appropriate examples as evidence would make it more convincing. Lastly, the rebuttal of the arguments made by the opposite side is essential, as it better supports your claim and eliminates possible rebuttals.

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

Truth has been a topic of discussion by itself for thousands of years. No consensus has been made for the definition of truth, as it differs for everyone, since we hold our own beliefs and judgements. However, a general understanding of truth can be made, which is truth is a verified or proven statement that corresponds with reality. Now to answer the question given, the eight ways of knowing are defined as language, sense perception, emotion, reason, imagination, intuition, memory and faith. There is no one way of knowing that is more likely to lead to truth in all scenarios, instead, different ways of knowing outweigh others in specific areas. This brings out the four areas of knowledge, science, mathematics, art and history. Each of these areas define truth differently, hence making some ways of knowing more authoritative than others in one specific area. This blog post will examine the ways of knowing and their methods to lead to truth in different areas.

To begin with, sense perception and reason are more likely to lead to truth in science. Sense perception, experience of the world through senses, is essential for science as experiments and observations lead to new discoveries. On the other hand, reason, the use of prior knowledge to synthesize new knowledge, collaborates with sense perception to lead to truth. Because without prior knowledge and the reasonings formed by the observations, no conclusions can be made. A good example would be Charles Darwin’s theory of Evolution through Natural Selection. This theory was generated through numerous experiments and observations of generations of living organisms. The scientists use their eyes to observe the physical differences of animals and use their prior knowledge to reason and conclude that living organisms adapt to the environment and form new traits.

In the fields of mathematics, language and reason are more likely to lead to truth. Language, a system of symbols and signs that have a particular meaning, plays a crucial role in math. Math is built on basic principles, and these principles are strictly followed when applying math. An example would be “1+1=2”. There is no evidence which proves this equation to be true, however, people do not question this equation, because they assume it is true. Along with language, reason helps develop further knowledge in mathematics. Reason uses the principles of math to prove theorems and form new ones.

Next, for art, imagination, sense perception and emotion are more likely to lead to truth. Imagination, the formation of new images and ideas that do not exist in reality, is prominent for the creation and interpretation of art. As well as emotion, the method to make sense of behaviors, ideas and experiences. Whether it is visual or performing arts, many artists get their inspirations through imagination and their art pieces are intertwined with their emotions. Similarly, the audience interpret art pieces through their imagination and emotions as well. In fact, both the audience and artists depend on sense perception, because it is our senses that bring us our varied understandings of art pieces.

At last, in the fields of history, memory is more likely to lead to truth. Memory, the recollection of old knowledge from past experiences and ideas, is the most direct and broad-used method to reveal history. Memories from eye-witnesses and people’s narrations of historical events are recognized as primary resources that have an extent of credibility. For instance, Chen Qiang, who has experienced the Chinese Revolution recounted “A big character poster appeared on campus and said: Save the reactionary speechmaker Chen Qiang”. This is an first-hand evidence which shows the radicalness of people during the Chinese revolution, who viewed people holding opposing opinions as reactionists. People’s narrations based on their memory such as these help the historians to gain further insight of specific events.

Some may say that there is only one way of knowing that outweighs all the other and can be applied to all areas, however, that is not the case. Because for different areas of knowledge, one or multiple WOK will be more likely to lead to truth. You cannot say that ‘Reason’ will be the most likely to lead to truth for all AOK, since for history, one cannot define historical events by only basing things off of prior knowledge.

In conclusion, the concept of truth differs for different areas of knowledge, just as the ways of knowing differ too. For each area, there will be a few ways of knowing that are more likely than other to lead to truth, but there is no one way of knowing that can be the most likely than others to lead to truth in all areas of knowledge.

word count: 655

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What do I know for sure? How do I know?

Hi Mr. McNeil! I am the pink hair student Diana. Here is a little about myself: I was born in California and moved to Beijing when I was six. I grew up in a bilingual family, in which I experienced a mixture of Western and Chinese culture. I have two older siblings who graduated which makes me the baby of the family. I am quite talented in the arts field, whether it is dance, drama or visual art.

To answer the question “What do I know for sure and how do I know it”, I believe that most things I know for sure are things I have experienced myself. Only the things I see can be counted towards what I believe or know for sure. Things that are said by other people or described on the news could be true, but since I did not witness it, I cannot say I know it for sure. Things I know for sure could be the texture of an object I touch or sounds I hear, since I truly experienced feeling the object and hearing the sound. Another example could be some of my perceptions on things and my emotions. I can know for sure that I like cats and I do not like watching scary movies. Some things I do not know for sure could be the decease of my relative. For instance, even if I heard the news that he deceased and saw his coffin at his funeral, however, I cannot know for sure he is in the coffin and is truly dead. Furthermore, I cannot know for sure whether the things people tell me about a person or an event is valid or not, without being in the situation and witnessing the event.

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Blogpost #4

Friday:

I finished my project on Friday and fixed all the problems.

How it works:

My solar fan only works when there is strong light/sun light, because it needs enough energy to power the fan and to make it spin. The solar panel provides solar energy which is then converted to mechanical energy by the motor. The mechanical energy boosts the fan and it starts spinning.

Areas I was successful in:

  1. I made sure that all my wires were hidden and could not be seen, which makes the solar fan seem more professional and appealing. I made a few holes next to the wires so the wires could go beneath the platform and connect to either the motor or the on/off switch. As a result no wires can be seen on the platform or around the solar fan. I wrapped yellow tape around the wires that went up to connect with the motor, so it would look more aesthetically pleasing.  In addition, I painted the and decorated the solar fan so it wouldn’t look too plain.
  2. While I was building the solar fan, I made sure to sauter all the wires so the connection would be very stable and secured.
  3. I made sure that the direction where the wind would come out from is not facing the sun but facing the customer. Because if the direction of the wind is facing the sun that wound mean that the customer/user would need to face away from the sun while using the fan, which will somehow block parts of sunlight from getting to the solar panel. Thus, I built the fan facing backwards to the sun allowing the wind coming form the opposite direction to the sun.

Areas I need to improve on:

  1. Next time I should be more careful when I paint the platform, because this time while I was paint it, I might have accidentally colored the wires, which made the connection sometimes not stable.

Impact on environment and potential customers:

This solar fan will provide electricity-free wind anytime and anywhere as long as there is sunlight/strong light. Electricity won’t be needed which is beneficial for the environment. The potential clients can be whoever needs the most convenient fan, a fan that can be used anytime when needed.

Final testing video:

 

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Blogpost #3

Thursday:

In the first class I finished gathering all the material that was needed and started on making the fan. I completed the fan itself by the end of the second class and was prepared to attach the solar panel and wiresnext class. I encountered some difficulties as I was building the fan during the second class. The teacher and I were trying to find a stick as the thing that you put between the fan head and the motor to connect them, but there weren’t any sticks that were thin or thick enough to fit perfectly. So we decided to use sand dust paper and thin the wood stick before drilling a hole through it. It took me a very long time until the wood stick finally fitted between the two fan wings. After chopping the stick, I had to drill a hole in it for the motor to connect, in order for the fan to spin as the solar panel activates the motor. This was a hard task to drill a perfect sized hole that will keep the motor tightly in it, but I overcame thechallenges and added some hot glue between the motor and the stick to make it more stable.

Monday:

At the end of the second class, I finally finished glueing the fan onto the board and just needed to attach the solar panel and wires. The whole process was very smooth and there weren’t any problems that occurred.

Wednesday:

I finished my first prototype by the end of the third class, and tested it at the start of the fourth class. My solar fan worked and started to spin as the heat reflected on the solar panel, my wires were secured and the connections were well. But there was one problem with my solar fan which was that the wind came from the side where the solar panel was facing, in other words, the user would be on the opposite side (the back side)of the fan in order to feel the wind. The users body may be blocking the sunlight and it would be very inconvenient to use, so I flipped the fan head around to solve this problem. My first testing was done, and everything except the direction of the wind worked well.

First testing video:

Second Testing video:

Friday:

I did my second testing with the direction of the fan fixed, but I may have triggered or loosened the stick holding the motor and fan wings as I flipped them around, resulting a tik-tak noise that occurs every time when the fan spins. But that wasn’t much of a big problem and could be solved by hot glueing the wood stick and the motor tighter.

 

 

 

 

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Blogpost #2

Material list:

  • wooden board
  • solar panel
  • motor
  • glue gun
  • fan head
  • wooden stick
  • on/off switch
  • wires
  • driller
  • wood cutter
  • ruler
  • acrylic paint

Plan:

Monday: Prepare all the material needed. Start cutting the platform and building the fan.

Wednesday: Finish making the fan and start connecting the solar panel and wires to it.

Friday: Finish the project and color it with acrylic paint.

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Blogpost #1

Previous Ideas:

I wanted to create a project that uses solar energy or electrical energy. My first idea was to construct a DIY vacuum cleaner using recycled bottles. The vacuum cleaner would be small and easy to carry and could be used for daily purposes. We are sometimes bothered by cleaning dust and little piles of dirt on the floor, because it would be too much to carry a huge vacuum cleaner to just clean scattered dust, hence a small vacuum cleaner would be the solution. Especially this mini vacuum cleaner is made of recycled bottles, which is good for the earth

My other idea was to make a gun that shoots out confetti for parties or celebrations. This project is more of an entertaining creation compared to the mini vacuum cleaner. But the confetti gun won’t be as useful as a cleaner and would also be very difficult to make.

Current Idea:

My final decision was to make a solar powered fan that cools down your hot summer! It will be a very convenient creation. First of all, it won’t be a manual fan, but instead a fan that spins automatically. Manually functioning fans are very tiring, it doesn’t cool you down, instead, makes you sweat more. Using the solar energy to power the fan will solve the battery problem that many fan projects face. Since it uses solar energy, the fan won’t run out of battery and will not need to be charged. The solar panel will absorb the sunlight and transfer energy to the fun in order to spin it.

cons: It will be difficult to attach the solar panel to the fan itself, but if I don’t stick them together, the whole project will be placed on a board and that will be very inconvenient. In order to solve this problem, I’ve decided to use a small solar panel and add it maybe on to the fan, but this still needs to be tested.

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