Zombies: Vodou to Pop Culture

For technology class we had to write a research paper on… zombies. Yep, my teacher thought if he wants us to write a great research paper he thinks we should write about something we like. And he thinks every kid loves zombies! Anyways here’s my paper. Warning: it’s silly.

       Zombies. They are a very common theme in recent and past pop culture movies, games, and books. The idea of zombies or the undead originated in West Africa’s Vodou religion and was taken to Haiti in the slave trade. In 1937 while researching the folklore of the people in Haiti, Zora Neale Hurston came across a case where a woman appeared in a village. A family said she was Felicia Felix-Mentor, a relative who had died 30 years ago. Yet when she was examined by a doctor and was X-rayed she did not have the leg fracture that Felix-Mentor had. Although, Zora was told rumors that the women had been give a powerful psychoactive drug. The modern picture of a zombie was characterized in the 1954 novel “I Am Legend” and the 1968 film “Night of the Living Dead”.

       In current movies and TV series makeup artist make regular people look like zombies by using makeup or sometimes facemasks. Another technique is fake blood make with water and red food colouring and maybe some thickener. This can make for some very genuine-looking undead. Masks can sometimes help the wearing look as if flesh is cut or ripped open. The way the makeup artists of the hit TV series “The Walking Dead” make their actors undead is they put a layer of waxy clay which they put of face from the forehead to the chin then they smooth it out. Lastly they can peel away or cut into the clay to make it look as if the actors skin is cut and mutilated. Contacts with handpaint blood stains or white haze can be worn to further add to the dead look. Many extras are need for and undead army so many many extras are chosen. Each extras is also carefully sculpted into a zombie. Although there are so many extras in there perfectly painted face that the horde can look very ominous.

       Finally the debate over fast versus slow zombies which has been around since the 2002 movie “28 Days Later”. Although some people say that the “zombies” in 28 Days Later are not actually zombies. Max Brooks, an author who has written numerous horror stories including zombie stories and the books which has been adapted into the film World War Z, has defined zombies as “slow-moving, minimally cognitive predators who are technically dead and suffer from natural decay”. The zombies in 28 days later are not slow-moving and are therefore not zombies. Zombie lovers are split between fast and slow zombie lovers. Fast zombie lovers state fast zombie make books and movies are intense and terrifying, while slow zombie lovers say they fast zombies are overwhelming and creepy. Slow zombies tend to be the undead or a supernatural creature, they were what the vodou religion developed. Fast zombies are more intended to be an infection or virus, sometimes a science experiment or alien life form. Current movies that have fast zombies include 28 Days Later, World War Z, and the remake of the 1978 movie Dawn of the Dead.

       My opinion of zombies is are a good theme for horror books and movies. I think fast zombies are better for action movies and games while slow zombies are great for building up tenseness in a book and some dark movies. I personally don’t like zombies in the generic sense and think they are overused and not interesting. I do however like zombie which are alien life or disease. This is shown in the Dead Space series of video games. The zombies are slowing walking undead but infected by an alien lifeform. In the end I think the undead are a good theme in many books and movies.

Slavery Apology Paper

For AP Us History one of our assignments was to write a speech about slavery in the United States. We could either apologize and compensate, or not.

This nation has had many dark times. Although they in themselves are negative, they give us an opportunity to change for the better or look toward the future. The enslavement and oppression of the Africans during the earlier years creates a dark stain on this country’s history. African natives captured and sold by other nations and tribes were shipped to America in droves on packed vessels with little food, dirty water, and unsanitary conditions. Once here their outlook was not much better. While some slaves were given housing and adequate clothing, many were forced to work in unforgiving conditions and were punished for slight offences in inhumane ways. Surely their treatment was unfair. However, I do not believe it to be my right or responsibility to apologize or compensate for the suffering during the period. Any amount of money or words would not heal the wounds caused by American slavery. Moreover, it is more productive to look to the future and use that terrible event as an example for an undesirable society. It is the responsibility of both the white and black youth of America to look to the future with a hopeful gaze and not look backwards with a resentful glare.

Slavery is morally wrong and yet conditions for the slaves in the past were not all horrible. We know how they were fed and kept after. Some enjoyed hearty meals and good lodging. But, they were treated as property. Let it be noted that at the time many saw nothing wrong with the concept of slavery. This, and not the mistreatment of the slaves, was the true cause of the issue. Throughout American history blacks have been disenfranchised because whites felt that they were simply on a higher level than the blacks, made evident with the introduction of the Jim Crow laws, voting barriers, and law-enforcement injustices. Back when our country was still young, blacks were owned as pieces of property and treated as pieces of property. We cannot hate the slave owners for this, but we must resent the fact that they thought this way. There is an old saying: “The cruelest slave owner is the nicest to his slaves.” If one treats human beings well, but still owns them as property, he admits their humanity and still is content with holding them back from freedom. The goal for the future is to make sure this type of thinking does not occur again in our nation.

In the past race relations between black and white peoples have been dire. They degraded during the 50’s and only recently have gotten better. When Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, it was a dream for the equality of man in this nation. I ask you now America; are we truly equal now, or does prejudice and backwards thinking still lay underneath the fabric of our society? Perhaps instead of monetary compensation, black Americans would more appreciate being accepted in society as hardworking, honest Americans. I ask America to use the past as an example for the future. Are relations today better than they were fifty years ago? Yes. Could they improve even further? Absolutely. They must. They must if we are to call ourselves the land of the free. There is no ambiguity allowed in the American system of justice.

Twinkie Compression Lab

I was excited when I did my first formal lab in 7th grade. What was the lab on? My science group had to find out how many textbook drops I takes to compress a twinkie to less than 1 cm flat. (Weird huh?) It did not take very long to finish the experiment, so the real work was doing the lab report. Here is what I came up with.

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Title of the Lab: Twinkie Compression Lab

Problem Statement: How many textbook drops does it take to compress a standard twinkie to 1 cm flat or less?

Research/Background Information:.

1. Compression is compacting a solid so it takes up less space.

2. The ingredients are a factor in the experiment, because if the sponge cake was made with a thicker ingredient the cake would be harder to flatten.

3. Compression decreases the space an object takes up, but the mass stays the same.

 

Variables:

Independent – Number of textbook drops

Dependent – Height of the twinkie

Control – A regular twinkie.

Constants: Same textbook every drop, always drop from 30 cm, a regular height twinkie.

Hypothesis:

If the textbook is dropped 4 times from 30 cm, then the twinkie will be less than 1 cm flat.

Materials:

Eye goggles, lab apron, regular Twinkie, textbook, paper towels, and 2 metric rulers.

Procedural Steps:

1. Gather materials.

2. Wrap textbook in paper towels.

3. Place Twinkie on a paper towel.

4. Place ruler standing up next to twinkie.

5. Drop textbook from the 30cm mark onto the Twinkie.

6. Use second ruler to find out the height of the Twinkie and record on table.

7.  Do steps 5-6 again until Twinkie is less than 1 cm flat.

Measureable Results and Observations:

Number of Textbook Drops

Height of the Twinkie

0

3.5 cm

1

2.5 cm

2

1.5 cm

3

1 cm

Summary and Conclusion:

How many textbook drops does it take to flatten a Twinkie to 1 cm flat or less? The group followed the procedural steps to answer the question. When the group dropped the textbook for the first time they realized that the Twinkie decreased by about 1 cm. The second time the book was dropped it decreased about 1 cm again! On the third drop the Twinkie was finally compressed to less than 1 cm. The group drew a conclusion that if the textbook is dropped 3 times, then the twinkie will be less than 1 cm. The conclusion does not support the hypothesis, because it took 3 times to flatten the twinkie not 4.

Bridges!

This year for one of my quarter-long connections (ex. P.E., Art) I had technology. Now in technology, since this is a very broad subject, we could choose a two person project from about twenty. Its sort of like a raffle, where when one is chosen, the next person can’t. Each project has a different subject, and I ended up choosing bridges, because I was called toward the end. At first I was kind of unsure because we had been writing down  pretest questions and vocab but then we started building our bridge. We built the bridge with balsa wood sticks which we cut with an X-ACTO knife. We then glue the pieces together on a blueprint we had designed earlier. Each day we design the next side or top then glue the pieces we cut down. The pretest question for the bridges unit were not in the videos and reading sources were we were supposed to look for them in. So I helped rewrite the test so the question could be found. When the the post-test came around it was fairly easier than I expected, maybe because I helped write it. Now that were done with our mini-units we will be starting a bigger end unit which the whole class will do. I am eager to see how it goes.

It’s Not A Cheese

Lyle, the team cheese mascot.

The robotics club is another after school event that I am affiliated with. It consists of many of my current friends and is an interesting experience because of the unique atmosphere. It is rare to see some kind of semblance of project management in a school setting. The whole point of robotics is to build a robot that does things, and in order to speed up the process the club is split in to different teams, whose purpose is to work on one aspect of the robot. All the teams communicate with a project tracking program and all work is synchronized and logged. It’s a very interesting system and it even works for the most part, because there are a few old robots from past years. I’m stuck on the coding team right now, but I hope to be moved soon, as there are many unagreeable characters and I am not doing much to help; I could be more useful elsewhere. It’s pretty amazing how a bunch of highschoolers can get together and actually be productive to the point of building something that serves a purpose such as the robots we make. It is an experience I enjoy.

The Pearl Literary Map

My first big project this year in L.A. was a literary map for the book “The Pearl” by John Steinbeck. If your’e wondering what a literary map is, it is when you find quotes from the book describing setting and draw a map with it. Here is how I did it.

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Quotes from the Pearl

“The brush houses of the fishing people were back from the beach on the right-hand side of the town, and the canoes were drawn up in front of this area”(Steinbeck 14)

“They came to a place where the brush houses stopped and the city of stone and plaster began, the city of harsh outer walls and inner cool gardens where a little water played and the bougainvillea crusted walls with purple and brick-red and white”(Steinbeck 8).

“The scurrying procession came at last to the big gate in the wall of the Doctor’s house. They could hear the splashing water and the singing of caged birds and the sweep of long brooms on the flagstone. And they could smell the frying of good bacon from the Doctor’s house”(Steinbeck 9).

“Now Kino and Juana slid the canoe down the beach into the water, and when the bow floated, Juana climbed in, while Kino pushed the stern in and waded beside it until it floated lightly and trembled on the little breaking waves…Kino could see them clustered in the haze, riding over the oyster bed”(Steinbeck 16).

“The procession left the brush huts and entered the city of stone and plaster where the streets were a little wider and there were narrow pavements beside the buildings…the news of the approach of the procession ran ahead of it, and in their little dark offices the pearl buyers stiffened and grew alert”(Steinbeck 47).

“The country, as it rose toward the mountains, changed rapidly. Now there were long out croppings of the granite with deep crevices between, and Kino walked on bare unremarkable stone when he could and leaped from ledge to ledge”(Steinbeck 78).

My map.

Science Fair Project

This year in Physical Science Class were are required to do a science fair project for one of our big grades. It will also be put into a school-wide competition which might lead to a county, then state, then maybe nation-wide science fair. me and my partner are going to do an experiment were we try to see which materials are most resistant to the effects of acid. Our materials are going to be wood, copper, stainless steel, aluminum, and were still thinking about the fifth. Our acid is either going to be Hydrochloric Acid, usually found in bathroom cleaners, or Sulfuric Acid, found in car battery acid. Were are going to let each of the materials sit in a cup of the acid for 3 days each and repeat the process 5 times. This is to make sure one of the data collected isn’t a mistake. We are still researching the effects of the acids to see which one is right for our needs. And yes we will use caution when dealing with the acids. I’m still really excited about our topic and I think it will be fun to carry out.

Toga Tailgate

I am an officer in my school’s Junior Classical League. It is more commonly known as the Latin club. Last week we had an event known as the Toga Tailgate. This was the third year the club hosted this event, but it was my first year. It was pretty chill. It consisted of a bunch of nerds sitting around talking about random things while eating some burgers and eating very unhealthy chips. It was a tailgate so we went to the game afterwards, obviously, but it wasn’t as interesting as I thought it would be. It was the first American Football game I have ever seen in person. It wasn’t that great. I liked the tailgate better.

The club also does a few other events throughout the year. We have daily academic competitions called certamen and every year we go to State Convention, which is full of nerds talking about random things while eating unhealthy chips. This year is special, however, as the National Convention is being held at Emory. This will be the first time that the Milton Junior Classical League goes to a National Convention, and everyone is looking forward to it. Apparently, it’s just as fun as State, except the food is better. So I’ve heard.

Mmm, Mmm Metrics!

For my first major science project this year I was assigned to choose a recipe, convert the ingredients into metrics, and finally write a review of why I chose this recipe, how did people like it, etc. The recipe I chose was Apricot Oatmeal Bars. This is what my project looked like.

 

Ingredient

*Detailed description

Measurement in

Metric Units

Measurement in

English Units

Jar of Apricot Jam

371.4g

13 ounces

8 dried apricots in 4ths

75.4g

1/3 cup

All-Purpose Flour

400g

1 ¾ cup

Packed light brown sugar

228.5g

1 cup

Ground Cinnamon

4.7g

1 tsp

Fine sea salt

3.5g

¾ tsp

Baking Soda

3.5g

¾ tsp

Old-Fashioned Oats

400g

1 ¾ cup

Coarsely Chopped Walnuts

114.2g

4 ounces

2 melted, unsalted butter sticks

228.5g

1 cup

1 beaten, room temp. egg

N/A

N/A

Pure vanilla extract

4.9mL

1 tsp

Recipe Review

I chose this recipe because it was both a family favorite and a fun dessert to make. The apricot bars smell like a batch of freshly baked cookies. The apricot treat has a crunchy top and a soft middle. We cut them up into little squares and served them with a cold glass of milk. I got compliments from everyone in the forms of “Mmm…” and “Ahh…”

To make the oatmeal bars, first you need to empty 1 jar of apricot jam into a bowl. Then, you need to add the dried apricots to the bowl and stir. That is the filling of the bars. Now, get a stand-up mixing bowl and add 400g of all-purpose flour, 3.5g of baking soda, 228.5g of brown sugar, 400g of old-fashioned oats, 3.5g of fine sea salt, and 4.7g of ground cinnamon. Attach the mixing bowl to a stand-up mixer and start mixing. While it is mixing, add 1 egg, 2 melted butter sticks, and 4.9 mL of pure vanilla extract. Now that you have finished the crust, put half of it into a metal pan and flatten it, so there are no holes for jam to leak out from. Next, spread the filling on top, but leave at least half an inch of space from the filling and the edge of the crust. Finally, put the rest of the crust on top and put in the oven for 25-30 minutes on 175°C. Let it cool and Enjoy!