The Pillagy

One of the book series I read over the Summer was the Pillage series. The series was by one of my favorite authors, Obert Skye. The book starts off in a normal town and the main character, Beck, is just a regular trouble kid. But then he gets called to the front office and told his mom has passed away. While attending her funeral, a person gets in the car he is in and tells him that he is leaving tomorrow to go to Kingsplot to live with his uncle. Kingsplot is a strange place and he finds out his uncle lives on a huge mansion on the hill. Beck is annoyed because his uncle will never leave the top of the tower and doesn’t even know he is there. When he is at school strange things start happening to him, like vines snatching bullies up, and lettuce that flies. He soon finds some friends and start exploring the big house. They were exploring the backyard and found a courtyard surrounded by a huge wall. Beck finds out that he has the power to grow things so he uses the power to grow a vine over the wall. When they get over they found a sack of really heavy, odd shaped stones. They later found a basement and explored it. In the basement they found a book talking about Dragonstones and how to grow and take care of the dragons. They drew a conclusion that the Dragonstones were the stones they found in the courtyard. The next day they went to the courtyard and Beck used his power to “plant” the stones. In a couple of weeks the plants were hatched and there were 7 dragons! They grew huge and wanted to pillage. It turned out the one of his friends, Milo, was the peddler from the book and was a wizard. He took Beck’s shape so the dragons would obey him and he told the dragons to go pillage Kingsplot. When Beck was at the mansion his Uncle burst into his room and told him that he had saw the dragons. Beck and his uncle, Aaron, had fought together to take down the dragons, but the last dragon could only be killed by eating one of them. Luckily Beck was at the right place at the right time when Milo snuck up on him in the form of his uncle Aaron and got swallowed by the last dragon.

That was only the first book. The second and third book are just as, if not better than the first. This is an amazing book series and I recommend you read it.

What topics in the classical world interest you?

“The classical world” are three words that cause most students to tremble. To them, it’s full of long winded speeches and a lot of boring history. Everyone has his opinion, but to hate the classical world screams ignorance. To me, the classical world is one of the most interesting topics of ancient history. It included the golden ages of both the Greeks and the Romans, which alone are some of the most momentous periods of human advancement in history. My favorite part of this period is the language they used to communicate.

If you could create a project to explore this interest what would it be?

I would want to study multiple languages. I would explore my interest of Latin and Greek language by starting a research project on the language used in that time and how it evolved into the languages we used today. I would translate old things, and examine old documents to decipher their meanings. I wouldn’t make it a career choice but would probably do it as a hobby.

Why did you choose Latin?

The number of languages in the world today is staggering. Some are variants of others, and some are so divergent to speak them fluently requires a change in the you think. I’m very interested in linguistics as a concept; how it was developed, how it evolves. Latin was one of the more stimulating choices for a world language class because of its age and pervasiveness in the modern world. I enjoy learning the communication system that was used as a basis for every Romance language around today. Perhaps no one speaks it now, but it had a pretty good run. Not only did it last for over eight hundred years, but it also exists still as a component other tongues. If it was good enough to last some three thousand years, then someone was doing something right. Using Latin makes me feel as though I am communicating with those ancient peoples from the Roman age. They might have not meant for their messages to be read two millennia later, but the fact that their ideas are somehow getting across a time gap that large is what I love about Latin.

How do you plan to use Latin after you graduate from high school?

The great thing about Latin is how much of it is still in use today. If one were to ask how I would use it after I graduate from high school, I would respond by saying that we all use it all of the time. We just aren’t aware of it. I don’t expect to be using classical Latin very frequently per contra. The medical and biological sciences are filled with Latin terminology, but I don’t plan to take careers in those fields. I do plan to learn other languages, so having knowledge of an influential mother language gives me a significant advantage.

How do you use Latin outside of the classroom?

In this way, I use Latin almost every day outside of the classroom. When trying to figure out the meaning of a Spanish phrase, for example, I can use my knowledge of Latin to find the derivatives. I subconsciously do this every time I’m out shopping or visiting public space. The most prevalent use I have of Latin is in relation to English. I use Latin to extend my vocabulary and make my speaking and writing more interesting. Having a comprehensive knowledge of Latin grammar gives me a sufficient understanding of English grammar due to the parallels between the two.

Sometimes I translate Latin passages on my own when I’m bored. I guess that counts, too.

What I Am From

My first LA project/paper this year was a poem where we write what things do we remember from our early childhoods. This poem was also to be write in a style were we say “I am from” then a memory or experience. I fell really good about mine even though I wrote in one night. Anyways here it is.

I am from the smell of freshly baked snickerdoodles,
from playing games like the floor is lava or Rummy 500.
I am from drawing and doodling on a rainy day,
and reading about history and looking at maps.
I am from laying under the glowing christmas tree,
from playing games with my brothers,
from watching sci-fi movies and TV shows.
I am from listening to techno and progressive rock in my dad’s Nissan Titan.
I am from laughing hysterically with my family at the dinner table,
from inpenetrateable pillow forts to lazy afternoons,
from road trips across the country.
I am from playing my Lego Racers game,
and actually building lego creations.
I am from stressing about school projects,
from hard work and then play.
I am from swimming everyday in a hot summer morning.
I am from difficult crosswords puzzles,
from Sweet Tomatoes after a hard workout.
I am climbing trees like a monkey,
from running and hopping around like a madman.
I am from the sound of violin and ukulele being played on,
from practicing juggling to solving a Rubik’s Cube.
I am from folding square paper into magnificent pieces of art.
I am from a homey place of comfort and happiness.
I am from Alpharetta, Georgia.

First week of school

This last week was a very special week. It was the first week of school! This year I’m in 7th grade (half-way through middle school!). I like all of my teachers this year. They all have a different teaching style. This is a lay out of my day. Enjoy!

I start out with my L.A. teacher, Mrs. Butterworth. On the first day in L.A. we took a Multiple Intelligence Test to learn what our learning style was. I was best in the visual learning style. Here is a picture of my results. (Click to enlarge)

For second period I have Mrs. Major for Social Studies. We start off every class with a question of the day. One of the fun things we did last week was a human map. Everyone in the class got a country or body of water and we had to make an accurate map using the part we got. I think I’m going to like that class.

I have homeroom with Mrs. Boggus for third period which is in the portables. Since it’s in the portables I have to walk through the 600 hall to get there, so I see a lot of my 6th grade teachers.

After homeroom I go to lunch and get picked up by my first connection teacher. My first connection is Orchestra. I’m doing a lot of cool sheet music like “Dinosaur Damage” and “Alpha Beta Alpha.”

For my second connection I have technology with Dr. Bell. Since connections are only for 9 weeks I have 2 units in that class. My first unit is a “Two Person Project,” which is a subject like Tech & Civ. (which I’m doing), Bridges, etc. and you have to do certain assignments depending on what subject you’re doing. But the unit I am really looking forward to is the second unit, because we are building 6 ft. tall hot air balloons!!

Then I have life science with Mrs. Godfrey for 6th period. The first assignment we did in class was called a puzzling reality. For this assignment we had a bunch of weird shapes and we had to make them into a square. With my table partner we figured it out pretty quick, but once we were done our teacher gave us a little square and told us to make another square using that new piece. The whole class could not figure it out. There was one minute left in class and our teacher was starting to collecting the pieces when my table partner and I figured it out! I like that class a lot and I am thinking that is going to be my favorite class.

For 7th period I have math with Mrs. Mayo. She is a pretty cool teacher. On the first day of school we had to go up to the front of the class, roll a die, and say something about us depending on the number we rolled.

For my last class I have Spanish with Mr. Franco. He is a really cool teacher and has a really good teaching style. Plus Spanish was already one of my favorite classes and it’s the last class of the day. So overall it’s a really cool class.

After that I go to the gym to wait for my bus. Well, that’s my schedule for school. I have a lot of cool teachers this year and I think this will be a really cool year.

 

 

 

Europa Universalis IV

Until recently my favorite game was Europa Universalis III (EU3). It is grand strategy game were you take control of a country and make decisions and create diplomacy to take your country through history. I really like the complexity and historical feel to the game. About a week ago EU4 came out which added and tweaked just about everything in the game. I had had to relearn a lot it, but the changes were worth it. They added everything from monarch points which you use to manipulate your country like building factories to declaring war on another nation. They also added more historical events such as the Burgundian Succession and the foundation of the Ambrosian Republic of Milan. These make the game feel more historical but doesn’t limit your choices to change it. My first game has been with Austria. So far I have conquered small territories of southern Germany, reclaimed the title of Holy Roman Emperor, became of an Archduchy, and much much more. I really love this game even though there are some balance issues with countries being WAY too aggressive… France *cough cough*. But the developers of the game may look into to this to change it but meanwhile I can live with it. This game is one of the most perfect games I’ve ever played.

Thank You For Arguing Analysis

At the beginning of the book, Thank You For Arguing, the author uses the first chapter to explain the importance of rhetoric on a daily basis. First he encounters rhetoric during an argument with his son, and goes on to explain how badly he failed at trying to go a whole day without it. He states that when a person uses blunt facts to try and explain things or get their way, many people will be resistant to it and end up resenting that person. He says rhetoric is necessary for peaceful interactions as it furthers one’s goals while making others believe that they’re getting the best end of the deal. The term concession is used to describe a rhetorical method that lets others have some of what they want while in reality, the one using the method is fulfilling their plans. Seduction is another method of persuasion the author notes. It is persuading someone by appealing to something they desire, whether it be food, sex, or anything else. The author uses personal experience to thoroughly illustrate these forms of argument, and provide a basis for methods that will be discussed later in the book.

The author chose this passage as the introduction to the book because persuasion is the essence of rhetoric. Rhetoric is the essence of getting along with others. There will always be cognitive dissonance as some will think differently from others, but this dissonance maintains the relative peace in society, because though one may come out of an argument with less than the opponent, they can be satiated by believing that they have gotten something worthwhile out of the deal.  Also, many rhetorical methods serve the purpose of convincing a person or many people to take some kind of action, whether it’s accepting an idea or changing a behavior. The passage sets up the premise of rhetoric and explains a few mechanics, while using amusing language to create an introduction aimed at luring the reader into the book. (This itself is a method of rhetoric, which he reveals in the passage.) The passage serves the purpose of explaining the book’s premise and making the reader hungry for more.

Into the Wild Analysis

Reading news stories on current topics can be a simple and easy way to get some information, and the short nature of these articles help writers stick to the point and get their message across quickly. When turning a news article into a novel, different writing techniques have to be used. Instead of short and concise writing, the author has to capture the attention of the reader while still conveying accurate information. Krakauer’s novel does this perfectly. The writing style in Into the Wild uses a hybrid of descriptive language and common journalism practices to create an engaging story while still using fact and eyewitness testimonies to ensure the legitimacy of the tale. It’s a unique and very effective writing style.

Krakauer uses a form of descriptive journalism to keep the reader entertained. The style is quite similar to a fiction work, in that it uses figurative speech to set a scene and paint a picture of the different types of environments that the main character, Chris McCandless, traverses. Figurative language, such as similes and metaphors used to describe the varying landscapes, can be found throughout the book. Krakauer also makes the characters in the book interesting and developed by adding a lot of dialogue and characterization. None of this is fabricated however, as all characters in the book are real people, and this makes for a more authentic experience. As a journalist, Krakauer is effective at telling a story through what, to him, are unconventional methods. This keeps the reader hooked on the story and also facilitates the message of the book getting to the reader. With his writing, Krakauer can make the reader feel like he is experiencing the events in the book even though it’s only told through journal entries and eyewitness accounts. This style is effective in keeping the reader engaged while communicating the important parts of the story.

Although the writing style is colorful, it is in no way exaggerated. Krakauer walks the tightrope between imaginative and imaginary. He backs up his story with fact and eyewitness accounts of what transpired. The people he interviewed met Chris personally, so there is no “he said she said,” corruption of information. The dialogue in the book also came from his talks with the people who knew McCandless, so the reader can interact with the raw information when placed next to Krakauer’s illustrative and through descriptions. He even uses Chris’s diary as a primary source, which gives a first person feel to his narrative. He followed McCandless’s path as he picked up information, and experienced firsthand where the events he describes take place. As a climber, he also has experience of what kinds of hardships McCandless went through on his journey. Krakauer was an Alaskan journalist, the state in which McCandless disappeared, and is thus amply qualified to describe those regions in great detail. This makes the story a reliable source for information on the disappearance of the young man and gets a journalistic story out to the world in an intriguing and engaging format.

Krakauer uses a combination both informative journalism and fiction-esque writing to create an entertaining novel. People are fascinated by real events, and Krakauer turns a news story into a fully developed tale of a young man on a journey to find himself. His style makes the reader feel they are there at the scene of the crime, just as a good journalist’s writing should. What makes it unique is that he can maintain this along the full length of the novel. The writing style employed in the creation of Into the Wild is effective in both entertaining and informing the reader.

Finishing My Summer Assignment

In my last article I explained my summer project for my AP class and showed my first of 5 required summaries. Here are my other 4 I have completed plus links to the original article.

This article is addressing the topic of Legislative Branch: Supreme Court/Civil Liberties/Civil Rights. The article is from newrepublic.com, which is a liberal news source. The article explains the court case of Fisher v. University of Texas, which was recently before the Supreme Court, and is about affirmative action. A few years ago a case came to the Supreme Court called Grutter v. Bollinger where Barbara Grutter didn’t get into the University of Michigan, apparently because she was white. The school used points to determined who got in. If you got good grades you got points, but you also got additional points for being a minority such as African American. She sued the school and eventually the case went all the way up to the Supreme Court. It was finally decided that schools could not use race to decide who gets in, because this goes against the 14th Amendment. Last year another affirmative action case, looking at race, gender, or religion to benefit a unrepresented group, went to the Supreme Court. In Fisher v. University of Texas, Abigail Fisher, a white female with excellent grades, was denied entry to the school. The Court said they had thought they had made themselves clear in the Grutter and Bakke (another affirmative action example) cases. The University of Texas was getting around the Supreme Court’s ruling by accepting students from areas where minorities lived over their white neighbors. This article shows how the Supreme Court dealt with those cases relating to affirmative actions and what they decided on them.

This article is addressing the topic of Federalism. The article is from foxnews.com, which is a conservative news source. The article explains the ongoing discussion about whether or not criminal backgrounds should be looked at when applying for a job. The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) is a federal law enforcement agency which enforces laws against discrimination at work. About half a year ago they posted a guideline stating that looking at criminal backgrounds is discriminatory because a higher percentage of convicted criminals are African-American. After this guideline was posted, numerous lawsuits were filed against companies for turning down an applicant because of a past arrest. Various state attorneys are fighting back against the “gross federal overreach” as they called it. The EEOC is saying they are trying to protect certain classes, in this case former criminals. The states are saying they are trying to protect their citizens and customers by supporting criminal background checks for job applicants. This article shows how the state and federal government debate with each other, and the struggle for power between state’s rights and interests and the control of the federal government.

This article is addressing the topic of Interest Groups. The article is from npr.com, which is a mainstream news source. The article, which is a transcript from a radio interview, explains the Supreme Court’s decision to revoke the Voting Rights Act and how the NAACP reacted. The NAACP’s (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) President Benjamin Jealous states that our country has changed a lot in that discrimination is less common, but also says some places haven’t changed enough.  According to Jealous, one such place is Kilmichael, Mississippi where an election was cancelled in 2001 because they were having a black majority for the first time. He said that the Voting Rights Act was working and we have used it multiple times just in the past year to correct voting discrimination. Jealous states that he thinks the Supreme Court should have expanded on the Act in some states with past issues such as Alabama or Mississippi, while “wiping” it from states with no past problems. This article was talking about the NAACP, a very powerful interest group, and it’s reaction to the Supreme Court decisions.

This article is addressing the topic of Executive Branch: Presidency. The article is from nytimes.com, which is a mainstream news source. This article talks about the position of President of the United States and how a group of former White House chiefs known as “No Labels” seeks to improve its efficiency. In the article the author, Peter Baker, explains how a group of former White House chiefs of staff have put together a plan so the next president may get more power in reorganizing and appointing his “team” in order to make the presidency more effective. But in return he must get involved more often with lawmakers, reporters, and the public. Their plan proposes to give the president the power to send specific items of spending bills back to Congress for re-voting. It also proposes renewing the Reorganization Act which last lapsed in 1984 and reorganizing parts of the federal government. There’s also a similar plan to make the congress more effective. Another proposal is to give the president the option to send legislation to Congress two times a year that could not be changed, but only approved or rejected. This article talks about the current powers held by our President and discusses ways that this position can be improved.

Can we do it?

Near the end of my 6th grade year I got a interesting assignment in Science. The assignment topic was “which planet (other than Earth) would best support life in our solar system?” I thought about it for a awhile and started writing my paper on Europa (a moon of Jupiter), but then I change to Mars due to a lack of information.

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The question of which planet, other than Earth, could best support life can be answered in many ways. To answer it, it is necessary to find out how to sustain life. Additionally there must be a planet that meets these requirements. Utilizing these steps will allow someone to find a planet that can sustain life as explained below.

Some of the requirements to sustain life are water, an atmosphere, food, temperature, and sunlight. These elements are needed to keep life because they are the perfect combination for hosting life.  Water is needed because more advanced life forms are made up of mostly of water. Food is also needed because without it life forms could not grow or keep themselves alive. Sunlight is also important for because it gives organisms vitamin D to stay healthy and it allows plants to produce food and stay alive. Temperature is a very important factor for life because if it is too hot, the lifeforms will burn, and if it is too cold, they will freeze. Last but not least, the atmosphere is needed for life. Without it all of the air would escape into space and life could not exist.

Mars would be the best candidate for a planet to settle on. It has three of the five requirements for life. Mars has two polar icecaps with plenty of ice on both. Humans could melt the ice to get water, one of the required elements. Mars also gets plenty of sunlight to keep life healthy and for plants to grow and create food. Mars also has a atmosphere. It is thin, but if the water was released it would quickly grow thicker. As for food, it is not on Mars, but with the water and sunlight it could be grown. The temperature’s high is 23°F and the low is -125°F, but if settlers released water and grew plants, this would naturally terraform the planet and adjust the temperature.

The planets Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus are gas giants. The reason they could not support life is because the pressure on those planets is too great and it would suck in and crush any life. The reason Mercury can’t support life is because it doesn’t meet any of the requirements,  and during the day it can reach 801°F and at night -279°F. The main reason Venus cannot be inhabited is because its thick atmosphere creates a huge greenhouse effect and raises the temperature of the planet to a high 864°F(hotter than Mars), and one night lasts 5,832 hours!

As demonstrated above this process shows how easy it is to find out if a planet might be suitable to sustain life. Other planets are a lot more like Earth than people would think. Doing this activity reveals a whole new variety of ideas, and shows that colonizing another planet might be reality.