Venezuela: Land of Petroleum

This year, for my AP Human Geography class, we were assigned a project in which we would be designated a country and required to pick out 4 current articles about that country related to the geography of that country and write a summary on it and how it relates. Through my summarizing and research I found out a whole lot about the current issues faced by Venezuela’s people, most of which have to do with smuggling.

Article 1: Overnight Border Closures

On August 12, 2014, the Venezuelan government, with the help and cooperation with the government of Colombia, officially shutdown the border between itself and Colombia. This was done to cut down on the massive and widespread smuggling operations between these two nation. Sources from the state’s petroleum and natural gas company, PDVSA, state that Venezuela loses 14% of its gasoline production to Colombia, but also to Brazil, although much less prevalent. The president also made the statement that if the trend of smuggling continues Venezuela’s lose of food products could top 40% of all imported goods. Officials say they have identified around 200 undiscovered smuggling routes which the majority of smuggled goods bypass, usually at night to avoid detection. They say closing public roads between the countries would root out those who use the secret paths. The widespread smuggling out of Venezuela is mainly caused by the cheap petroleum and food prices due to subsidization to keep the prices low. For example, a gallon of gasoline in Venezuela could cost around a penny at exchanges while it could cost up to 5 dollars in the neighboring Colombia. General in chief Vladimir Padrino Lopez made public that 10 and a half million gallons of gasoline and 12 thousand tonnes of food have been confiscated thus far. He also added that the shutdown would last for a minimum of 30 days depending on the success of the operation.

This article relates to geography by that it has to do with movement of goods between countries. The whole situation also began because of the physical geography of the land, plentiful gasoline and farmland, which lead to cheap prices. In addition to that, the landscape also makes it easy for smugglers to evade detection as the border is not guarded all the way along due to heavily forested and mountainous terrain. Finally, the cooperation between both the governments of Colombia and Venezuela is geographically relevant as well.

Article 2: Venezuelan Officers Linked to Cocaine Traffickers

In July of 2014, prosecutors in Miami stated the head of Venezuelan military intelligence was discovered to have been receiving bribes from a Colombian drug lord and invested his own funds into drug transportation and shipment of thousands of kilograms of cocaine. The prosecution was brought about due to the former military intelligence chief, Hugo Caravajal, being arrested with a US arrest warrant and drug charges in Aruba, a Dutch colony, where he was consulting for the Venezuelan government. In addition to this, experts state that these charges helped fill in some information between drug traffickers and the Cartel of the Suns, a group of Venezuelan officials and military officers suspected of having ties in the drug trafficking world. Although, Hugo Caravajal, was released by the Dutch government, days later, much to the liking of Venezuela’s president of cabinet who stated it was an “illegal kidnapping”.

This article is geographically-related because it has to do with the drug-dealing world which flourishes due to the warm humid climate of the area it is being grown. Also, technically, cocaine is an agricultural product so it also goes under the category of agricultural geography. The country is also becoming in-stabilized, as it is, because of poverty throughout the nation which was caused by low infrastructure and weak government after previous inefficient and corrupt regimes.

AP Go Po Summer Assignment

As you know, this year I am taking the AP Government and Politics class. There was no summer assignment over the summer, so last week our first project in the class was to finish the summer assignment by Friday. The purpose of the assignment is to teach us about current events and how it fits in with our class, so we had to find 6 different news articles that correlated with the 6 topics in our AP book and write a brief summary on each one about what we know about the topic and how the article fits in to the topic. The topics were Federalism, Political Beliefs, Civil Rights and Liberties, Public Policy, Institutions of Government, and Interest Groups. I put a lot of work into this project and I am happy with the results.

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Federalism

To my understanding, Federalism is the concept of government in which power is divided between many levels. This is so there is not one central power that makes all the decisions. The article ties in with the topic of Federalism because it is about a dispute where the question of whether states can require voters to show proof of citizenship before handling a federal registration form for voting or not. Kansas Secretary of State argues against the Supreme Court that in Article One Section Two of the U.S. Constitution is says that the states get to decide who can vote in elections and that they alone can control the restrictions. Another side of the dispute says that the government put together this federal registration form to make voting quick and easy and if these changes are put into place that this would make it harder for U.S. citizens to register and vote if they do not own a birth certificate or other required document. The current resolution is undecided at the current time. This shows Federalism in the form that power is divided between the states and the federal government and that they should be able to make the decision of what restrictions are in place.

http://www.npr.org/2014/08/25/342525138/on-the-fall-docket-who-gets-to-vote-and-who-gets-to-decide

Political Beliefs

The term political beliefs can be defined very broadly. This refers to any belief or ideology of a person or group. It could be the goal of an interest group like the NRA and their belief that the 2nd amendment should be ensured. The article attached includes the political beliefs of president Obama. The article explains that Obama believes that greenhouse gases are a real threat and action should be taken. He shows this by supporting an international plan to reduce greenhouse gases at the UN. Some U.S. citizens support his decision saying that we need to reduce the amount of carbon going into the air, but others say that Obama needs to think before acting on this because this would affect the middle-class workers in the energy job clusters. The final decision has not been made at this current time.

http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/216084-climate-plan-spooks-dems

Civil Rights and Liberties

The terms civil rights and civil liberties refers to the freedoms that citizens of the United States of America are given and ensured. This could include anything from the freedom of speech, assembly, and press or the right to vote. My article ties in with civil right in the sense that it talks about the freedom of speech. The article is about a 16-year old, anti-abortion protester girl and a feminist studies professor’s encounter with each other. The girl named Thrin Short was with her sister when they were protesting against abortion in the University of California at Santa Barbara in the free speech zone. The feminist studies professor approached her and started to mock her. After the professor started a chant with other students, she grabbed the sign and walked into a building trying to get into an elevator. Thrin and her sister followed the professor and blocked the elevator door from closing so they could retrieve the sign, but this only ended when the professor pushed and pulled Thrin away from the elevator. This professor violated the girl’s right of free speech. There are groups backing the professor saying that protesters such as Thrin are wrong to protest with pictures of aborted fetuses are wrong, while many people also back Thrin saying that this professor was in violation of her rights and should be punished. The professor did receive charges of battery, theft, and vandalism last month.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/04/08/pro-life-teen-called-domestic-terrorist-in-petition-supporting-professor/

Public Policy

The term public policy has a very broad definition. It refers to any decision made by the government. These decisions include new laws, budgets, or any other ruling. Public policy has a great affect on the citizens of the U.S. and can change everyday life. The article attached very clearly shows public policy. This article talks about Barrack Obama, President of the United States, authorizing an air surveillance in Syria for recon on the ISIS terrorist group. The act of Obama authorizing this recon falls under public policy because it is a decision made by government, and this is one of the actions that the president, commander in chief, has to make during a time of conflict. The article also explains that Obama wants to attack ISIS without cooperation from the President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, so he will keep his reputation with the surrounding groups and countries. Apparently a combination of manned and unmanned aircraft were sent over Syria. But President Assad stated that the U.S. needed to coordinate any airstrikes against ISIS or they would take it as a breach of Syria’s sovereignty.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/26/world/middleeast/obama-syria-ISIS.html?ref=us

Institutions

The institutions are a foundation of social order which governs the actions or behaviors of a community. Institutions often create rules (laws) by which to govern. The article shows the ties between the institutions of government, specifically the presidency and congress. The issue presented in the article is about the ISIS terrorist group in Syria. President Obama wants to use airstrikes against the group but he does not know if he should seek congressional support or not. Obama says that as commander in chief it is his duty to protect the people of America, and after many Americans have been killed or held hostage at the hands of ISIS some kind of action must be taken. But many Congress members are now demanding that they get some kind of say. This is not the only problem about the airstrikes. If airstrikes are going to be used in Syria, then it would help President Bashar al-Assad, who is also at war with ISIS. The issue is not resolved yet but some kind of action has to be taken before this grows into a bigger problem.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/29/world/middleeast/obama-isis-syria-iraq.html?ref=politics&_r=0

Interest Groups

Interest groups are an organization of people that strive to achieve a policy goal. These groups try to get their point out and into the government, whether it is abolishing abortion or ensuring freedoms and rights to everyone. This article talks about the interest group called the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA wants to ensure that every citizen of the United States can have their 2nd amendment, the right to bear arms. The NRA attracts people and politicians to their cause by holding an annual gathering where politicians have a chance to speak. This provides a grand opportunity for politicians that are pro-gun rights, so they can gain popularity with the NRA for the upcoming 2016 election. The article also mentions opposing figures like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg that are funding the gun control campaign against the NRA.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/24/nra-gathers-as-gun-debate-cools-shifts-focus/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vaporwave



Music can get really weird when people have nothing else to do but mess around with audio and try to make unique sounding tracks. Vaporwave is a genre of music that is categorized by dreamy sounding beats, sometimes using old songs slowed down and chopped up to a bite-sized version of what it once was. Vaporwave is characterized by appropriation and imitation of pop culture artifacts from the 80′s and 90′s. It has associations with the period’s cyberpunk. Visually, it is related to net art, pop art glitch art, collage, and pixel art, but it is not limited to these. Its source material ranges from elevator music, corporate music and art, infomercials, video game music and graphics, early internet graphics and MIDI, and television and radio transmissions. The appropriation and imitation are done in a style that is deconstructive, recontextualizing the material and emphasizing artificial elements. Daniel Lopatin’s 2010 release, Chuck Person’s Eccojams Vol.1 and James Ferraro’s Far Side Virtual are regarded as a catalyst for the genre – perhaps backgrounded by the 1980′s revival that started to take root in the early 00′s and maturing by the late in the decade. The genre would later on be solidified by Ramona Andra Xavier who also goes by aliases including Macintosh Plus, New Dreams Ltd, PrismCorp, Laserdisc Visions. It’s a lot of fancy philosophy but in essence it’s really just poking at the shallowness of the layman’s artistry in the 20th century.

That, or you could just call it weird ambient music.

The Broken Shins

This summer I started to listen to music. I’ve always liked music but I never really listen to it for fun before. Well, I started listening to a lot of Coldplay, my mom and dad liked them a lot so I had been hearing their songs since I was very little. I really love Coldplay‘s music; it’s “rock” but its smooth and mellow. One day when I was lookingTravis_-_The_Man_Who_album_cover up when the band first began and what were their influences when I came across the name Travis, I did think much of it at the time but months later when I saw that name again I looked more deeply into it. It turned out to be a Scottish band with music that influenced Coldplay a lot. I listened to some of Travis‘ music this summer when I was doing my daily workouts required for my summer class and I really liked it. It was sort of the same smooth, mellow rock that Coldplay has but it was a little more folk-y. One of their albums, The Man Who, had a couple songs that I found to be really awesome. They were Writing To Reach You, and Why Does It Always Rain on Me?. Both of which were extremely catchy and had great melodies. There were a couple other songs I really liked but were from different albums, one was called Sing, from The Invisible Band, and a single, titled CloserI found Artwork-BrokenBellsthis band for the second time through an application called Pandora which is a music radio station program where you can created “stations” of your favorite songs or artists and it plays songs from that artists but also similar songs that you might like. So for example, in my Coldplay album Travis songs come up. I also have been listening to another band called Broken Bells which is my new favorite band. I first heard one of there songs on a video where the music was played in the background, then I researched it separately and found the music. Broken Bells is a group project between James Mercer (of The Shins) and Brian Burton,Wincing_the_Night_Away aka Danger Mouse (of dozens of groups such as Gnarls Barkley, Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse, etc.). The whole first album, Broken Bells, and most of the second album, After The Disco, and just purely awesome. While listening to my Broken Bells radio on Pandora, I came across yet another band called The Shins, this was where James Mercer originally came from. It’s another indie rock band with more excellent songs. Out of there five albums my favorite is Wincing The Night Away, but all there songs are great (well… the majority). So now I have tons of music to listen to including others I did even mention like, Miike SnowThe Black Keys, and Muse.

I Am From

Last week was the second week of school, so we actually started to learn. One of my first assignments of the year was the “I Am From” poem. I received this assignment in Language Arts. It has been the first LA project for many years as both of my brothers have had to write an I Am From poem in 8th grade. And when I told them I was doing it they gave a silent sigh.

The whole point of this assignment is to introduce yourself to the class and teacher(s). I was having some trouble with it, but once I finished it I was very proud of it. So without further ado, here it is.

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I Am From Poem by: Nicholas Kreitz

I am from a family of five.

I am from Georgia, born and raised, with caring parents that want me to succeed.

I am from fresh cinnamon rolls while watching the Thanksgiving day parade,

from candy baskets on Easter Sunday,

from sparkling grape juice on New Year’s Eve.

strawbery milj

I am from strawberry milk summers.

I am from silent mornings reading on the stairs,

from countless times going cover to cover with Fly Guy.

I am from board games, cards, and video games,

from hanging out with my two extraordinary brothers.

I am from life-long friends, all the way from elementary school.

I am from toothsome, thirst-quenching watermelon and grapefruit after a long night at the pool,

watermelonfrom savory, tempting cheese biscuits and homemade pizza.

I am from my Gameboy Advance and Gamecube battles with friends.

I am from biking with my family on the Greenway,

from many vigorous hours with training wheels.

I am from road trips to Bat cave, North Carolina,

from s’mores, hot dogs, and campfires at night.

campfire

I am from root beer, pizza, and epic Dungeons and Dragons sessions.

I am from Murder in the Dark, Manhunt, and Zombie played cooperatively with my friends.

I am from dinners to celebrate birthdays and special occasions,

from sushi, steak, seafood and valuable conversation.

I am from studying, reading, and working hard inside the classroom and at home.

I am from watching Stargate before bed with my dad and brothers.

I am from a fluffy cat named Spice and a hug from my mom at the end of a long day.

Shochumimai

This school year I was lucky enough to test into the Japanese 2 class. I am still at a very basic level, but Japanese is a very difficult language to learn. The difficulty comes from the inability to read it until you master a completely new set of symbols easily 500 times larger than the Roman alphabet. This is a shochumimai, or summer postcard. It is Japanese tradition to send these to friends at the end of every summer. All cards have the phrase “shochu omimai moushi agemasu” written on them. This roughly translates to “I would like to give you a summer greeting.”

To Bob

How are you? My summer was very busy. In June I went to Valdosta, because I am skilled at the Latin language. To many people Latin is hard, but to me it is exciting. I went to GHP. I use the things I learned everyday. 690 students were there. One thing was not good. Of all the sports, swimming is my favorite. However, there was no swimming there. How was your summer. See you later.

From Alex

 

 

First Week of School

Last week was the first week of school for me in 8th grade. But this was no normal first week of school. I sort of had two first days of school. You will understand what I mean when you read this, so here we go!

The first day of school was like any other. I saw all my friends again, went to my pride class, and wait anxiously for the bell to ring so I could find out what my next teacher wouldNMS Building be like and if I had any friends in that class. Oh, and before I get too far, my pride teacher (also my Language Arts teacher) was named Mrs. Deal. She used to be a 6th grade teacher and some of my friends even had her for Language Arts before. They all said she was a really nice teacher and she lived up to the expectations.

This year in 8th grade my first classes of the day are connections (Physical education, orchestra, art, etc.), so the first class I went to after pride was orchestra. The first day of orchestra was like most of my other classes would be. The teacher introduces him/herself (in this case though I have had the same orchestra teacher since 6th grade so everyone already knew each other). Then, we get handed a syllabus for the class which need to be returned the next day. And finally, we just talk and sit around unless we have a learning styles test to be completing.

After orchestra, I went to P.E. There is not really anything special about this class, but I and really enjoying our first unit, as we are doing games and activities with Frisbees (disc golf, ultimate Frisbee, etc.) and I am actually good at doing these activities.

My first academic class of the day was math. The teacher for this class is Mr. Pearson. Mr. Pearson is an awesome math teacher that taught 7th grade last year. I was supposed to get him, but then I got moved into another teachers class. He is also infamous for givingbook out math homework on the first day of school and he did not break his record this year.

After math, I went to Mrs. Chiodo’s class for Spanish. She seems like a really cool teacher. And for the few days I had her for Spanish she was.

And now the time is 12:50, I have still not had lunch yet. But lucky for me I will go to to lunch next period. 6th period is Language Arts. For this class, I have Mrs. Deal again, so I do not need to explain.

After 6th period, I goto Mrs. Rankart’s class for Science. I have lots of friends in that class and Mrs. Rankart is one of those teachers that make you look forward to having their class everyday. We played an “icebreaker” game with a beach ball to get to know everyone in the class.

My last class was Georgia Studies with Mr. Brennan. The first thing we did when we walked into the class was take a pre-test, but Mr. Brennan is an amazing and funny teacher.

After I got home on my first day, I really liked my teachers, but one thing was on my mind. I was not in the AP Gov class. I knew I made a high enough score on the SAT in 7th grade to qualify, so I was really confused. As it turns out this year they are only using your writing and reading scores from the SAT to qualify you since last year some kids who had really classhigh math SAT scores did not do well in the class. My combined writing and reading score was 940, but the qualifying score was 1000, so I did not show up on the list. After explaining this to the principal, she decided to put me in the AP class. I was so excited and could not wait, but I knew this would make me have a whole new schedule.

So on Thursday after I learned I was in the class, I went to school and got a schedule change in the middle of 4th period (Mr. Pearson, Math). After looking over my schedule, I was shocked at how much it had changed. Other than connections, all of my teachers and classes had changed. And this was the start of my second first day of school.

The classes were basically the same (except for AP Gov), I just had different teachers. And my schedule now goes like this (4th period Science with Mrs. Brening, 5th period Language Arts with Mrs. Street, 6th period GA studies/AP Gov with Mrs. Skimmel, 7th period Math with Mrs. Wiley, 8th period Spanish with Mrs. Ziolkowski). I like all of my new teachers a lot (maybe even a little more than my old teachers) and I will enjoy these classes for my last year in middle school.

The First Week

This last five days was my first week in High School. At first I was fairly nervous to go to a new school with a new system and new people but within a day I got used to it and actually like it more the Middle School. My schedule is as follows: AP Human Geography, Latin I, CCGPS Accelerated Geometry, Honors Literature, Honors Biology, and lastly Japanese I. I really love my schedule because there is not one class that I dread going to or NOT look forward to taking. AP HuG (Human Geography) is really interesting and I think it will be one of my favorites. Human geography is different than physical geography as it is relating to humans and their influencing and being influence by the environment. In the class we will Milton_High_School_(Milton_GA)_02be discussing political borders, cities, importance of certain locations, rivers and trade, natural resources and their effect on a country, etc. My teacher’s name is Mrs. Kratzert, she is a young, energetic and fun teacher whose very pregnant. This was just a little surprising to me because from just her name I thought she would be old, boring, and strict but she is the complete opposite of that. My next class is Latin. I’m really excited about this class because I love history and languages, both of which we will be studying in this class. We will be focusing mainly on vocabulary and grammar and not as much on speaking for we will be primarily translating text. I am also joining the Milton Junior Classical League (Latin club) and will be participating in that as well, which I am also very excited for. My Latin teacher is Mr. Marsh, he is very kind and has a good sense of humor. After that is Geometry. I though I would like this class because one, it’s math and I don’t usually enjoy mathematics in general, and two, Alexander said the teacher I have, Ms. Augustyn, is mean and strict. Both of these things turned out to not apply to this class. I am very easily understanding and enjoying the information we are getting and Ms. Augustyn is very kind and funny. Next class is Literature. I had already been introduce to the main things we would be doing this year because I had done a summer reading and writing assignment for this class where I read the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and annotated it. I was a little wary of annotation in general since I hadn’t really been taught how to do it in the past but this week I got some very nice tips on how to get the most out of the text through deeper reading (annotating). In Literature, my teacher is Mrs. Paine, who turns out milton-high-school-911-dedicationto be the mother of one the students from my Middle School, and in my Latin class. She is very kind and is also really funny. After this class, which is an hour, just like all the others, I have Flex, which is a sort of study hall/free time to do homework, study, or just converse. Next I have lunch which is sort of an extension to Flex since I usually eat during Flex. After lunch I have Biology. I wouldn’t say I dislike Biology, because I don’t, but it’s the class I enjoy the least. That’s just because my teacher Mr. Henderson is kind of strict and not really energetic. I’m sure I will come to like the class in a few weeks though. And last but definitely not least is Japanese. I would say it’s my favorite class. I just really like study the language and culture and I can’t wait until we start writing in hiragana and katakana (maybe not kanji for a while) because I love to write in Japanese. My teacher is Mr. Moorman, he’s very fun and energetic and excited to teach us. He is my favorite of my new teachers and this is the class I look forward to throughout the day. I can’t believe I feel like this but I actually look forward to school (for now).

Bat Mitzvah

On Saturday, I went to, my friend, Marin’s Bat Mitzvah. I was still recovering from a sickness and wanted to get as much rest as I could so I would be able to attend the party. I skipped the religious service part at 10:30 and just went to the party at 12:30.

When I arrived I saw all the adults in the front of the temple. One of them noticed me and said that the rest of the kids were in the back so I headed back to the back of the building to group up with some people I knew.

The party was like most birthday parties but you could tell there was a lot more effort put into it, so it would be a very special birthday. The whole party took place in a big room near the back of the building. When you walk in the room was sort of split in half. To your right, was an area of tables and a couple of table with food on them. To your left, was where all ballonthe action was happening. The main area of the left was the dance floor. They played a lot of music and people were dancing and this was also the area where some games would take place. But this was not the only thing on the left, they had a photo booth. I never went to it, but it was pretty popular as people were lining up for it for most of the party.

Soon after I arrived, it was lunch time and everyone could start getting food. I got together with two of my friends and got some lunch. Oh, and the whole party was themed about the Dr. Seuss book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” So most of the food had names from Dr. Seuss books like one of the foods was called green eggs, no ham and it was an egg with a green filling (I did not eat green eggs no ham). I just stuck to something simple and got some Caesar salad, which just happens to be my favorite type of salad, and some fruit kabobs.

After lunch, we played some games on the dance floor. One of the first games was a presentscavenger hunt. If you wanted to play you dragged a chair onto the dance floor and sat down. The DJ/organizer lady for the party (I’ll just call her DJ) said to get an item like a fork and then took away two chairs. If you did not have a place to sit down you lost. I got pretty far until there were about eight chairs left and I did not get back to the dance floor fast enough. We played a lot of other games too like limbo, hula-hoop contest, and this game where you gathered in a circle joined hands and had to pass a hula-hoop around like on a chain and if the music stopped while the hula-hoop was on you, you were out. But the one game that I won with my friend Tristan was How much do you know about Marin?

After playing those games, talking with my friends, and dancing there was not much left to the party. It passed pretty quickly and the last thing that happened before I had to leave was the candle lighting ceremony where Marin had 13 candles and she dedicated each candle to important people in her life like her parents, grandparents, etc. It was a really cool party and this was a very important day for my friend Marin and I was glad to be invited and share that moment with her.