The Cocoa Coast

One of the classes that I am currently taking this year is AP Human Geography. I’ve enjoyed this class a lot so far and am looking forward to continue learning so much from it. Recently, we started our agricultural unit, so we will be learning about how agriculture developed and how people shaped around it. To kick off the unit, we watched a short video in class about how cocoa affected the development of the Ivory Coast, and then we were told to write a small summary about the video. This summary is, however, in no way a complete summary of the relationship between cocoa and the Ivory Coast, but it still portrays the major points of the history of cocoa in this nation. Hopefully you learn something new, enjoy!

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Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) is the largest cocoa producer in the world, and cocoa has served as a huge factor in their recent development. The income from cocoa exports stimulated the development of infrastructure and international industry in the Ivory Coast. For this reason, the cocoa crisis in 1986 severely affected the economy of the Ivory Coast, as well as causing political and social turmoil. Because the economy was in shambles, most of what individual farmers produced had to be sold to pay for necessities, but people were still challenged to find enough food to feed their families.

Jobs are not an abundant thing in the Ivory Coast and when the global economic depression set into place many people were unable to find sufficient jobs to provide for their families. One of the main factors limiting the job market was the massive influx of immigrants, who occupied a large portion of local jobs in the Ivory Coast. The creation of new services lead to about 100,000 more immigrants coming to the Ivory Coast. Which of these immigrants, 80% of them were Muslim. And to add to the chaos, these immigrants brought conflict with them.

In 1999, the Ivory Coast had its first civil war, which centered around religious differences between the current population and new immigrants. The conflict continued throughout the next few years and when things finally started to settle down the country remained split in two. The rebel-based Muslims held the north and the government-centered Christians held the south. This conflict has since been quelled and the country remains one for now, but tension still remains between theses two differing populations. And in recent years, the situations of families has improved, as parents can now afford to send their children to receive an education abroad and live a better life than their parents had to endure.

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

 

Kosovo je Kosovo

Last week in my AP Human Geography class, we were assigned a project to research a known conflict zone and create a presentation to show to the class. We were given a list of about 40 different conflict zones to choose from and my group and I chose to research Kosovo. I’m fairly certain you are but if you aren’t aware where Kosovo is, it is the disputed territory of southern Serbia. There is, however, a lot more to Kosovo than just being a disputed territory, but I’ll leave the rest to my paper below. Enjoy!

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The Kosovo Conflict has mainly centered around the religious differences of the Serbs and Albanians. The largely Christian-Serbian community believe that the Muslim-Albanian community evicted them from Kosovo, which the Serbs view as the heartland of Serbia. Ever since Kosovo was declared a province under Yugoslavia in 1974, it has been referred to as the “cradle of the Serbian nation” as there are many Orthodox monasteries found in Kosovo as well as the blood of ancestors who died fighting for Serbia there, which gives the Serbs basis for their “ancestral” claims on Kosovo. However, at current times a majority of the population of Kosovo is Albanian, which is problematic as the actual province of Kosovo is found in Serbia.

The conflict itself has been around for quite awhile, but it has taken many different forms. For the longest time, the Kosovo Conflict has largely taken the form of tension between the Serbian and Albanian communities, which still continues to this day. However, near the beginning of the 20th century, the First Balkan War (1912-1913) marked the beginning of open violence involving these two communities, along with the creation of the independent Albanian state. More conflict later followed, such as World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945), which eventually lead up to the Kosovo War (February 28, 1998 – June 11, 1999) in the form of direct violence between the Serbs and Albanians. The Kosovo War took place in the Serbian-Albanian area, and the surrounding areas (Macedonia, Montenegro, Belgrade, etc.) as well as NATO were involved.

On February 17, 2008, Kosovo declared independence and has since been recognized as a sovereign state by 108 member states of the UN, but Serbia still refuses to recognize Kosovo as an independent state. The declaration of independence for the Kosovo people is a centripetal force that brings the Kosovo people together. However, the conflict of whom Kosovo belongs to still continues to this day. A common Serbian phrase “Kosovo je Srbija” meaning “Kosovo is Serbia” rallies support for the Serbian claim on Kosovo, while the Albanian and Kosovo communities entertain similar phrases, such as “Kosovo je Albanija” and “Kosovo je Kosovo.” These conflicting beliefs and ideals are centrifugal forces that create distance between these communities and are usually found at the root of conflict involving Kosovo.

This conflict is something that the Serbian, Albanian, and Kosovan people feel very strongly about and it affects them all in many ways. One of the most impactful actions that has been taken by the Serbian community was the massive deportation of Kosovan and Albanian immigrants that had come to the province of Kosovo. This deportation not only affected the immediate areas and relations between these communities, but it also affected many western European countries, as many asylum seekers from Kosovo have illegally crossed into these countries as they have been removed from the place they call home.

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…

UGAMUNC 2016

Last week, it finally happened. The UGA Model UN Conference took place on the days of Feb. 5th – 7th and it was amazing. Unfortunately my partner and I did not win an award during this conference and actually only one freshmen from all the competing high schools won an award at all! I was a little disappointed that we didn’t win an award but that did not stop me from having an amazing time at this conference. It was an experience in itself to imagesdebate the unusual topics of: prison reform, cigarette smuggling, and the illicit trade and use of legal drugs, which are not usually discussed on an international level, with students around the state that share this interest of Model UN with me. I also got to spend some quality time with my fellow Model UN teammates in the hotel lobby at 2 am and then have to wake up 4 hours later in order to make it to the conference on time. So I’d say overall this conference was a success and I can’t wait till the next one! 

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(This was the position paper that my partner and I were required to write from Kazakhstan’s point of view in order to inform ourselves on the topics)

Topic I: Medication Fraud and Illicit Use of Legal Drugs

The illicit trade and use of legal drugs and counterfeit medications is not often discussed on a global level as it is usually overshadowed by the sale of illegal drugs and medications. The Republic of Kazakhstan is greatly affected by the sale of counterfeit medications as roughly 30% of all medications in Asia are counterfeit. As well as counterfeit medications, the issue of the illicit use of legal drugs is very prevalent because of high cost of illicit drugs like cocaine, amphetamines and methamphetamines in Kazakhstan. The cost of these substances severely limits their spread in Kazakhstan. This does, however, open up a larger market for the emergence of homemade products like Desomorphine, which is made from more common codeine medications, or the use of drugs like tropicamide, which is a drug used by opticians to dilate the pupils.

With the illicit use of legal drugs at large on an international level, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) was established to address this issue. The creation of the INCB led to the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988, which provided the legal basis behind the actions of governments to effectively identify and prevent the dispersion of counterfeit medications and legal drug shipments used for illicit purposes. It is also required under the Convention of 1988 that a report be published that contains recommendations and observations about the weaknesses of the Conventions’ efforts. Since the creation of the INCB, significant advancements has been made to lessen the dispersion of precursors (chemicals uses to create illicit drugs) on an international level; however, the drug problem still poses a very serious threat to well-being of the international community.

Even after all the progress made by the INCB and United Nations to help resolve this problem, the Republic of Kazakhstan still views this issue as a severe threat to the Kazakhstani people and see it vital for international community to increase efforts to effectively intercept and contain counterfeit medications and precursors within their state to bring a halt to the illicit trade of these products overseas.

Topic II: Cigarette Smuggling

Cigarettes are ranked as the most internationally smuggled legal substance, yet surprisingly it receives very little attention from the international community. This multibillion-dollar business is traced back to the roots of corruption and organized crime. In addition to costing the international community approximately 40 billion dollars a year, cigarette smuggling is a huge contributor to the growing threat of cigarettes on public health and well-being. As of now, more than 10% of adults die early deaths from cancer caused by active smoking and it is estimated that one billion people, if not more, could die from tobacco use in the 21st century. The large influx of cigarettes through smuggling is the root of this issue and it is very concerning that some of the biggest culprits of the illicit cigarette trade are actually the cigarette companies themselves. Companies like Philip Morris International, Imperial Tobacco, and British American Tobacco produce a huge surplus of cigarettes which inevitably leads to the creation of a many billion dollar black market for the product, which in turn funds organized crime and terrorist groups that pose a threat to international security. It is even more shocking that these companies are able to pay off any country that questions their motives in the form of millions of dollars in settlements.

Despite the huge scale of international cigarette smuggling occurring, there has been surprisingly little action taken by the international community to prevent this. The UN has acknowledged it as in issue in the past, as in their prosecution of the Tribert Rujugiro Avabatwa, an African tobacco magnate found to be funding a guerilla insurgency and committing numerous human rights breaches. In 2005, the World Health Organization drafted the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), a worldwide initiative to curb tobacco use. It was one of the most popular adopted UN initiatives, ratified by 40 different states, but many countries show little concern over the issue and refuse to ratify it, such as the United States. While they have performed a few crackdowns on specific large-scale smuggling operations like this and made feeble attempts to curb global tobacco smuggling, further action is required by the UN to solve this massive problem.

Topic III: Prison Reform

The issue of reforming prison systems is highly complex, as it involves human rights, the conditions of the prisons, health, and many more issues. The nation of Kazakhstan has been a large center for changes in this area, as the country decreased its prison population from over 78,000 prisoners in 2000, to a mere 49,000 in 2014, with only 284 prisoners per prison. Human rights abuses have occurred at some point in nearly every country on earth, and there is no shortage of examples of these. However, it was not until the events of WWI and WWII that international law involving the denial of human rights and political, racial, and religious discrimination came about. For the next several decades, huge changes were made to protect against mistreatment of prisoners and basic human rights, but there were still many breaches of these, including abuses in North Korea, Russia, China, and even in the United States. Today, there is still much need for reform, in areas such as overcrowding, disease, and special populations of prisoners.

As the need for prison reform at the international has risen, the UN has increased their effort to bring to pass these changes by passing several resolutions including the “Compendium of United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice”, passed in 1992, which was updated in 1992 to respond to emerging threats and to stay on top of the ever-changing international community. Within this, four themes for future interventions regarding prison reform were created: prison management, alternative measures and sanctions, social reintegration, and pretrial detention. More recently, the UNODC created the Handbook on Prisoners with Special Needs in 2009, outlining protections and rights for the proper treatment and maintenance of prisoners with a vulnerable status in prison, such as: prisoners with mental health care needs, ethnic and racial minorities and indigenous peoples, prisoners with disabilities, older prisoners, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender prisoners, prisoners with terminal illness, and prisoners under sentence of death. The creation of these many regulations has greatly bettered the global prison situation; but reform is still required in many countries.

The actions of the UN in the past have been highly successful in reforming worldwide prisons; however, the Republic of Kazakhstan believes that prisons should be more secure in order to insure international safety. Not only that, they view prisons as a responsibility of the government, and should thus be handled by the government, instead of being privatized, so that human rights issues may be avoided.

Model United Nations

Ever since I joined the Northwestern Model United Nations club in 8th grade, it has been one of my favorite things to do and it has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. And when I say it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, I’m not joking. Participating in Model United Nations has helped me progress my problem solving, speaking, and most of all my interpersonal skills. The experience of representing a country, that I might start off knowing absolutely nothing about, and then becoming a player in resolving issues that affect everyone around the world is something that is unmatched to anything that I’ve done before.

But maybe I should start off with a little background on what Model UN really is. The whole basis around this activity is to create an exact simulation of the United Nations with students representing the countries involved. Like the real United Nations, Model UN conferences are split up in many different committees that discuss current topics in the real world. e.g. Security Council, General Assembly (and the different partitions of the General Assembly), Human Rights Council, etc. These committees (again like in the real downloadUN) only work to resolve the parts of these current issues that pertain to that specific committee. So let’s take the topic of cyber security for example as that is a largely debated topic in the UN in recent years. The Human Rights Council would focus more on the humanitarian related issues about this topic, while the Security Council would focus more on international conflicts and related issues. This adds an extra layer of variety to the Model UN conferences as you can choose a committee depending on what perspective you want to debate this topic on. And last but most definitely not least, every conference, you are assigned a country to represent in committee and you must see the topic from the viewpoint of that country. And this is what I think really makes Model UN amazing. You must research the topic and learn enough to be able to discuss it effectively, but you also have to research that topic as viewed by YOUR country not just the United States or first world countries. Then you have to represent your country accurately by what they believe, not just by what your own morals are. For example, if you are representing a highly censored country on the topic of Internet censorship, you would want to try to convince others for more restricted censorship because that is what your country wants not because that is what you personally want. This allows you to view some of the topics you might feel strongly about from different perspectives. This is also helps further your speaking skills as you have to persuade other delegates to see the issue from your viewpoint.

So now that I’m done with that little rant there :P , what I’ve been meaning to say is that next weekend I am going to UGA for my last (and largest) conference of the year. I’ll be representing the country of Kazakhstan in the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime. I’m really pumped for this conference as it is three days long and I’ll be doing something I love from sunrise to midnight almost everyday. I plan to win an award this time, so I’m coming prepared! I’ll let you know how it goes!

 

Tomodachi Junior Summit in Mie

My Japanese teacher has recently made me aware of a scholarship / opportunity to travel to Japan for a week to discuss international relations and global sustainability (free of charge :P ). This got me thinking that I would definitely want to visit Japan and this seemed as good an opportunity as ever to do so. The trip’s main focus is international communication but I assume that because it IS in Japan I will have plenty of chances to see the country and talk with some people. The summit is taking place in Mie, a region South of Tokyo and towards the end of the week, there is a proposed trip to Tokyo itself. Although there is a slim chance of me being accepted, as there are most likely thousands of applicants, I can only hope I get selected. :D

The Light of the Unknown

As we advance further into our poem unit in Literature class, we have learned more about the types of form poetry. One of the most recent types of poems we learned about was the villanelle poem. This type of poem employs the use of repetition of lines 1 and 3 in the poem to form a structured thought. We were tasked to write one of our own villanelles in class and I have enjoyed writing this poem very much. Enjoy!

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The Light of the Unknown

Don’t fear what lies inside deep space

And miss a chance, you could explore.

All that may be unknown, embrace.

 

Confront the dark with a straight face,

And let her guide, as your mentor.

Don’t fear what lies inside deep space.

 

Don’t be dismayed by false disgrace.

And times of which you ask, “what for?”

All that may be unknown, embrace.

 

And once you feel at your birthplace,

You’ll find the key for that stage door.

Don’t fear what lies inside deep space.

 

And as you enact that coup de grace,

They call your name and cheer, “encore!”

Don’t fear what lies inside deep space.

All that may be unknown, embrace.