End School Begin Summer

While this was probably the best year in school I have had I’m still very excited for a break and lots of free time this summer after we return from the Europe trip. This last Thursday was a kind of high point of the school year in terms of work and stress. From now until the last day of school (in two weeks) all my classes are wrapping up and we are preparing for some final exams. After that is the trip to Europe which is sneaking up on me. I’m very excited to see unique cities and have unforgettable experiences in those 3 weeks. Once I get get, I have so many things and hobbies I want to pursue. I am going to get my driver’s license in the couple weeks after we get back, I want to continue practicing guitar and getting better which I haven’t had time for lately. In addition I want to do some juggling, Rubik’s cube, handwriting, language learning, shorthand, maybe a job etc. There are just so many things I wish to do… I’m hopefully going to have a busy summer. :D

CONVENTIO LATINA ET ALIA

Last weekend was the Georgia Junior Classical League Convention and I along with 23 other Latin students (including Nicholas) went to represent our school among 2000 other students. I went last year and this convention was just as fun. There were lots of activities, exams, and overall Latin fun. I won 4th place on the Ancient Geography exam and 3rd place in Modern Myth Creative Writing. I was hoping for the geography award yet the Modern Myth award was a total shock. I almost didn’t even enter the writing (Pollena’s Tears from a previous post) into the competition because I didn’t think it was any good. Apparently there weren’t many submissions. Anyways, it was fun and a great experience and I can’t wait for next year.

Next, I was giving another award! Yeah! This time… it was still for Latin but I don’t mind. :D The award was a Milton Honors Award for Latin 2 Honors. Last night, I went to a ceremony for these awards. It was pretty fun, we got some Mexican food afterwards…

That’s about it! I went to LatinCon and got a couple awards, then I came home and got an award.

Pollena’s Tears

Most classical myths either contain a lesson for how to act or a creation story for some aspect of nature. When I created this modern myth for Latin class, I decided to choose something relevant to me and modern humanity. The great terror and plight that is pollen…

Pollena was a beautiful and compassionate tree nymph of the forests of Italy, who was loved to wander through the woods and care for her plants, especially the flowers. One spring, while she was sleeping in the grass, she was startled by a group a men coming from a nearby town, trying to take a shortcut through the small forest. These men carelessly stomped over the flowers which Pollena had planted and watered just days before. When Pollena, who was watching these men from behind some nearby bushes, saw her poor flowers being trampled over, she froze. Because the flowers were so important to her and she was too shy to approach the men who unknowingly destroyed them, Pollena started crying yellow nymph tears, which also happen to carry magical powers of life-giving. Her cries were so loud and piercing that the men who crushed her flowers heard and went to look for her. When they found and approached her the men tried to calm her but to no avail. They soon grew tired as their attempts failed, and left quickly from the forest, becoming increasingly annoyed.

For many weeks Pollena cried and cried, and eventually the Olympians and all the nearby humans noticed the annoying and deafening screams as well as a more pressing matter. The flowers and plants which Pollena greatly cared for had gone untended and began to wilter. The gods and goddesses quickly brought together a meeting to find a solution to this problem. After much discussion and debate, Ceres volunteered to fix the issue, because is the one most affected by the damaged done to the plants in the world. She travelled to the forest and approached the young nymph, who continued to cry and shed  millions of tears. Ceres then inquired about why she was crying but like the men before her, she got no response other than the waterfall of yellow tears. After a lot of frustration and desperation, Ceres decided to turn Pollena into a tree in order to end the cries in a respectful and peaceful manner. The people and gods alike rejoiced at the peace and quiet.

Pollena, now in tree form, ceased to scream and yell because she was unable, but she was still very sad about her flowers, and was still able to cry which also annoyed the goddess and the citizens of the nearby town. So Ceres made of deal with the tree nymph, she was not allowed to cry, except during the season of spring, in which this whole ordeal took place, when she could let out her emotions without interference. Now, every spring, as Pollena remembers that traumatic time in her life, she cries floods of yellow tears, healing her flowers and bringing new plant life into the world, due to her magical tears flying throughout the Earth spreading her care. However, humanity, not caring about the good her tears do for nature, become irritated, remembering her cries and the great annoyance she caused the world.

Scipio Africanus… VIDEO

Done. No more. This is the last you will be hearing of this Scipio Africanus guy. This last project was a video in which we had to write a script, and create a film with pictures and music. This was not very fun and I found out I’m not great at voice recording. The video is not great but here it is…

Weekend at Last

This last week was a long one, not much going on with Testing or Project but as we are starting new units there is a lot of new information. I’m so happy it is finally the weekend and my mood improved even more when I was told next Wednesday would be a half-day which is always awesome. Here is some stuff that’s been going on…

Lately I’ve been getting very excited and interested in furthering my Japanese studies and have learned quite a bit of new and useful things. I seem to go through month-long phases of “favorite subject” switching between Japanese (usually) and Latin (sometimes), and now I feel like if I were to only choose one, I would definitely pick Japanese. Last week students from Hokuzan High School in Okinawa came for a 10 day stay in Milton as part of our sister-school partnership. It was neat to talk to and interact with these Japanese students as last year when another group stayed my Japanese skills were not sufficient.

All my other subjects have been going along fairly well, World History is interesting and very easy at times, but sometimes is draining and boring. Latin is going great, still doing more projects… In a couple weeks we will be going to the Georgia Latin Convention one weekend and I’m pretty excited for that. Chemistry is interesting and more applicable to real life during this unit so it’s far more engaging as we are learning about heat energy and heat transfer with problems relating to calories and calorimetry. Math is not my favorite class and this unit hasn’t changed this but its still fine. At last, there is Literature where we are starting to read Catcher in the Rye which many students seem to like but I find kind of off-putting as it seems the whole book is just Holden complaining about the things he doesn’t like. Anyways, school’s been good and my hobbies have been fun but I’m just so glad I can take a break from all that these two days.

Another Place: The Movie

Along side Jane Eyre, in Literature class during the past couple of weeks we read a more contemporary novel, Another Place at the Table, which is a collection of stories from a foster mother. At the end we had to do a project relating to the book and I put together a soundtrack for a possible movie adaptation that could be created for the book.

APATT CD Cover

The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby

This song’s main theme is loneliness and despair among other things and often references churches, which reminds me of Gracie and her abandonment and early life before being taken into the foster care system.

Andrew Jackson Jihad – Who Are You?

The song’s lyrics are all about the theme of child abuse and abandonment, a theme at the center of Another Place at the Table. The song discusses neglect and as well regret and loathing of an absent or unqualified parent.

Noah and the Whale – Shape Of My Heart

The lyrics are about the emotional scarring that stays even after the physical damage is healed and how pushing down those feeling only worsens it. This is similar to how every foster child that Kathy took in had problems that maintained years after they were removed from the terrible situation that harmed them.

Tears for Fears – Mad World

I think these lyrics would really resonate with foster kids in general, and can also be applied to those helped by Kathy as well. The words make remind me of the constant changing and moving around of the children and their feelings of hopelessness and sorrow in their chaotic lives.

Muse – Guiding Light

Kathy Harrison brought in the most poorly treated and abused children and was there for them whenever she was needed. She acted as an anchor in their chaotic lives. Guiding Light is about being someone who is always by your side when things are at their worst.

The Shins – Nothing at All

My idea for these lyrics are that they are describing a change of location or belief and the realization that we shouldn’t be bond by our past and instead we should be content with where we are now. It relates quite a bit to the change of lifestyle of each foster kid and their problems associated with their pasts.

Broken Bells – The High Road

This song is about the things that happen in our lives that are terrible (death, abuse, abandonment, drug addiction, etc.) and how we shouldn’t let these things take hold of us, which is good advice to both the foster children (for their abuse and hard life) and Kathy (for her difficult time caring for some of the kids such as Audrey, and her remorse when David’s brother died).

Phoenix – Everything Is Everything

In my opinion, the lyrics are stating everything counts, even the harmful and terrible events. One can’t just erase these memories and move on, they are terrible and shouldn’t have happen but they shape who that person is and it’s part of who they are. Again, this is relating to the foster kids, as they are the focal point of the book, and what they may be feeling about their situation.

And here a link to a YouTube playlist of the songs I used in the Project.

Slides of Scipio’s Life

What! Another Scipio Africanus project? Haven’t you done like a hundred of those… yes, yes I have. Anyways, this the second to last project relating to my famous roman, Publius Cornelius Scipio. This one is a powerpoint presentation where I talked along with it and described Scipio’s life and accomplishments. Also, I got 100 on it! Yay!

As I can’t seem to embed the presentation in Traubi… Here’s a link to presentation. Just click to go to the next slide or start an animation.

How to Make Vive la Cáke

For World History class, I wrote a recipe for the French Revolution. I used historical figures and event but in the manner of a recipe, including ingredients and directions. It was pretty fun to do as well.

V i v e   l a   C á k e

Serves: 20 Million

Cook Time: 10 Years

Prep Time: 41 Years

Ingredients:

  • Louis XVI

  • A handful of severe war debts

  • 1 teaspoon of the First Estate (Clergy)

  • 1 teaspoon of the Second Estate (Nobles)

  • Many, many cups of the Third Estate (Peasants, Bourgeoisie, etc)

  • A prison filled with weapons and arms

  • A pinch of Jacobins

  • 1 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen

  • Maximilien Robespierre

  • 1 power-hungry general (preferably a Bonaparte)

  • A few foreign interventions

Directions:

  1. Put Louis XVI in the bottom of a large bowl.

  2. Pour in the first 2 estates and fill the rest of the bowl with the 3rd Estate.

  3. Add war debts are you stir for about 40 years.

  4. When you start to see the poverty and unrest cover the mix, Louis should be putting together the Estates-General. As the assembly forms the Third Estate should rise to the top, separating from the rest of the mix. When you see this, just scrap the Third Estate off and put in a different bowl.

  5. Add the armed prison and wait as members of the Third Estate storm it and take up arms.

  6. Crush up the 1st and 2nd estates as well as Louis XVI into a fine powder.

  7. Put the 3rd estate back into the original bowl on top of powder.

  8. Mix up again and add the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and the pinch of Jacobins, this should form the National Convention and the First Republic.

  9. Add Maximilien Robespierre and wait as the mix goes through the Reign of Terror, becoming fragile and unstable.

  10. Stir for another few months then add a power-hungry general, I used Napoleon but any will work.

  11. This should stop the instability from rising.

  12. Now you must top it off with some foreign wars, conquests, and intervention to stop the cooking process before it gets too revolutionary.

  13. The cake is now completed, you can tell because the end product is very similar to the original mixture with a few more liberal ideas and parliamentary power.

Final Product:

Now we have the final product, a cake, 10 years in the making. In the end, although the process was long, arduous, and revolutionary, the effects were not so much. Starting with a King, we also end up with one too, plus lots of bloodshed. The biggest effect of this cake is that it inspired many other cakes to be made in other places, although having different and less complicated recipes.

nap cake.jpg

Timeline:

1748 – War of Austrian Succession

1789 – Estates-General

1789 – National Assembly

1789 – Storming of Bastille

1791 – Legislative Assembly

1792 – National Convention and First French Republic

1793 – Louis XVI executed

1793 – Reign of Terror and Maximilien Robespierre

1795 – French Directory

1799 – French Consulate (Napoleon)

1804 – Napoleon becomes Emperor

1814 – Napoleon defeated and exiled

1815 – Louis XVIII restored to throne

1815 – Napoleon returns and is defeated again at Waterloo

 

Chemistry Literature Review: Biofuels

Ech. A chemistry essay… Over the course of a couple months we’ve worked on learning APA citation format and writing Literature Reviews on science journal articles! I decide I would like to research and write about biofuels and alternative fuels as that’s a very interesting topic for me. I learned quite a bit during this process about different biofuels and how they’re made but I’m glad I finish it this.

Since the first development of the steam engine, what we use for energy has been primarily fossil fuels which have polluted the air and land. In a pursuit of cleaner and cheaper fuels, there have been many new ideas for the production and refinement of new energy sources. These include microalgae biofuel, methods for their production, and reasons they would be a good biofuel candidate; ethanol and how to efficiently pretreat corn stover to yield the most ethanol; and mixing normal diesel fuel with microalgae oils and ethanol for cleaner emissions. Much research today is being dedicated to this relatively unexplored and urgent topic.

A promising future for biofuels may be in the cultivation of microalgae for fuel as microalgae grow incredibly easily, have very high biomass and contain plentiful amounts of oils for their size. This is primarily due to the microalgae being extremely efficient at photosynthesis and lipid production, which are oils/fats used in biofuel production. The microalgae are also very resilient to environmental changes and grow very quickly, meaning they can be grown with relative ease. Some microalgae species can have more than half of their total biomass from triacylglycerides, a fatty acid, which means producing and refining the biofuels takes less space and produces more. (Pandey, 2011) In fact, microalgae can complete a full growth cycle every three days, making it produce the most oil per acre of any plant used to make biofuel. (Saddam & Yusaf, 2015) Some research from Kokkinos et al. (2015) has concluded that “the produced biodiesel from the microalgae biomass achieved an unsaturated FAME (standing for fatty acid methyl ester, which are fatty acids commonly found in biofuels and methanol) content between 49 mol% and 59 mol% and a range of 2.2 – 10.6 % total lipid content.” This is much more rich in oils than corn ethanol and coupled with the fact that microalgae are so easy to grow in large numbers, more research and studies are being focused on this type of biofuel. In addition, other studies have even shown a few species use significant amounts of CO2 in biomass growth which would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, benefitting the environment in another way. (Pandey, 2011)

In addition to algae, other more traditional methods of biofuel production, in this case ethanol, are still being research and applied. Corn biofuels are made primarily with corn stover (the leaves and stalks left over after harvesting) and to achieve more efficient refinement, a pretreatment process must be completed before the corn stover can be processed any more. Some recent research conducted by Bondesson, Zacchi & Galbe (2013) has concluded that adding sulfuric acid as a catalyst to the steam pretreatment of corn stover in producing ethanol has a significant effect of the glucose yield of the corn. The pretreatment with the sulfuric acid catalyst produces 78% glucose opposed to the normal pretreatment procedure which had a yield of 86% glucose. The glucose acts as an inhibitor to the ethanol refinement process which is better. Experiments and research such as this display advances that are being made in recent years to create cheaper and more efficient methods of biofuel and alternative energy source production.

Yet another attempt to transfer from a fossil fuel system to more use of biofuels is blending microalgae oil and ethanol with current diesel fuel to reduce greenhouse emissions. Saddam H. Al-lwayzy and Talal Yusaf (2015) have researched the development of a diesel fuel mixture that is supposed to be more environmentally- friendly and still performs at the original capacity of fossil fuel. The biodiesel mixture, reported to form a very homogenous and viscous liquid, which is a combination of British Petroleum gasoline, 100% ethanol, and oil from the Chlorella protothecoides microalgae, when used, produces 18.75% less hydrocarbon emissions versus the regular petroleum diesel when the engine is at 2900 rpm. In addition, the biodiesel mixture produces 16.7% less carbon monoxide exhaust at 1700 rpm, at higher speeds the difference is significantly less, almost being the saem. Their research has resulted in data showing the diesel mixture of 80% diesel, 10% ethanol, and 10% microalgae oil has significantly reduced amounts of hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide emissions without hurting the performance of the engine too severely. (Saddam & Yusaf, 2015)

The technology and methods used in producing biofuels and alternative energy sources are constantly being researched and improved upon. There is plenty of research being performed on the use of microalgae biofuel as well as how to increase the algae growth. New methods and processes are being developed for the corn stover to ethanol steam treatments which will increase the ethanol yield. And finally, new mixtures of biofuels and fossil fuel diesels are being developed to reduce carbon emission from engines. These studies are useful not only now, in reducing pollution and increasing ethanol production efficiency, but also to a gradual transition from fossil fuel to biofuel as our natural resources run low. Each study represented here have cited their reasoning to the experiment as an attempt to research more into the field of alternative fuels in order to help keep engines and cars running after the inevitable draining of the earth’s oil, coal, and natural gas supplies.

References:

Al-lwayzy Saddam, & Yusaf, T. (2015). Combustion of Microalgae Oil and Ethanol Blended with Diesel Fuel. Energies, 8(12), 13985–13995. doi:10.3390/en81212409

Bondesson, P., Zacchi, G., & Galbe, M. (2013). Ethanol and biogas production after steam pretreatment of corn stover with or without the addition of sulphuric acid. Biotechnology For Biofuels, 6(1), 230.

Kokkinos, N., Lazaridou, A., Stamatis, N., Orfanidis, S., Mitropoulos, A. C., Christoforidis, A., & Nikolaou, N. (2015). Biodiesel Production from Selected Microalgae Strains and Determination of its Properties and Combustion Specific Characteristics. Journal Of Engineering Science & Technology Review, 8(4), 1-6.

Pandey, A. (2011). Biofuels: Alternative feedstocks and conversion processes. Kidlington, Oxford: Academic Press.

 

Japanese Culture Festival

Last Wednesday, as part of being in the Milton Japanese Honor Society, we put on a Japanese Culture Festival across the festival across the street at Northwestern Middle School. For the past couple weeks we had been planning different station and activities that students could go up to during their lunch time and check out. This is how it was done a few years ago when I was still at Northwestern and it worked great. Only kids who were interested would go learn to write their name in Japanese or do some karate. This year my friend and I decided we would run the traditional Japanese game station and show people the games Shogi (Japanese chess) and Go (unique territory-claiming game). But because the Middle School administration said putting on a festival in this manner would be a “risk to the students” they changed the schedule a day before to only allow students to visit the festival for 10 minutes with their homeroom class and have the whole event forced on every kid and not letting them stay for more than a couple minutes per station. Understandable, my teacher who was helping set up the festival was pissed, as were we. I was worried we wouldn’t be able to put on our game station but it worked out that much. Even with all the changes and interference by the school admins, we did out best and, in my opinion, produced a nice and culture festival, getting middle school kids interested in Japanese, and having a total of zero festival-related injuries. I really liked the opportunity to learn these games and play and teach them to middle-schoolers. I particularly like the game Go which is a very interesting and engaging strategy game, I may buy a board and some pieces…