Historical Thinking: What is Important in SS 10

Based on our conversations in class today, your prior experience, and the “Guideposts to Historical Thinking” handout, which historical thinking question do you believe is the most important to consider for a vibrant and challenging Social Studies experience this year? Why?

I believe that the most important question to ask in our Social Studies experience is that of how the history, on paper, relates to our lives in the 3-dimensional world. Anything that we learn in the classroom needs to be applied to our lives in order to make a difference. If history remains history and not experience, they are just stories to entertain, pedantic knowledge that does nothing except to showcase memory. It may sound easy, but it actually requires us to build connections with the text and to be careful not to impose current values on past societies. A guidepost to historical thinking states that “a fair assessment of the ethical implications of history can inform us of our responsibilities to remember and respond… [to] the past.” Understanding the context of why people did what they have done will present to us what has happened in its truth. It is important that we try to give credit to the wronged and shed light on the past, not just for history’s sake, but for our sake too. Our understanding of history can help us make informed decisions about issues in our own society, and that is what ultimately matters.

In-Depth Intro: Investing

It is finally time for another In-Depth project! The project is one of my favorite TALONS events, and I have thought long and hard about what I want to learn about. After some comparisons and evaluations, I got down to investing in securities, funds, etc. indepth

The reason that I decided to learn about investing is partially due to the eminent person project I completed earlier in the year. Even when I was younger, still in elementary school, my parents exposed me to some books that humorously talks about the importance of growing money. The vivid metaphors intrigued me and planted a seed inside. All of that helped me make my decision for this year’s project.

One of the Chinese books I read (I can’t find the English name, but it is written by a German author)

There are two possible mentors that can support me in my learning. One has already agreed orally and is experienced doing trading (he worked at a stock exchange). The other person manages my family’s stocks and is very professional, with many years of outstanding record. I might be able to Skype her since she is in China, but if not she can give me some pointers if I email her.


“In investing, what is comfortable is rarely profitable.”              – Robert Arnott

ZIP Proposal

The area that I want to focus on for this ZIP project is character development and characterization in different medias. Characters are at the heart of any story (without them nothing will be happening!), and they have the power to move readers through connections. The effective characterization of characters is something that may indicate a good story, whether conveyed through books or other mediums. It raises the question, then, of:

What are the criterias for a successful character in stories, and how does different media (film, book) differ in their ability to develop successful characters?

I hope to get out of this project a thorough understanding of the elements in creating an intriguing story through vivid characters, as well as the knowledge of how written and visual works differ in their ability affect the audience and convey meaning. I will also have acquired more analytical skill in literature. I plan on reading at least 2-3 titles.

I cannot say that I am a seasoned reader and movie critic, but I love reading and know how to use various strategies to aid in my reading. I also have access to a lot of movies, since we have many subscriptions to various services, so it will be easier for me to find movie adaptations. I may need the librarian to recommend to me good books, focusing on character, with film adaptations.

I am not exactly sure right now, but I think I will demonstrate my learning by doing a presentation (more likely), or by writing a compare and contrast essay. I probably have to write something during the course of the project, but I don’t want to make that my final, simply because I will probably have to do another ZIP on essay writing.

Below is a rough draft of my plan: (subject to change)

  1. Dec 8-13: background research, select the first book and finish reading. Write character notes, analysis
  2. Dec 13-15: watch film/others and collect notes (compare/contrast)
  3. Dec 16-18: select second book and finish reading
  4. Dec 19: watch film, notes
  5. Dec 20-22: presentation/final project

Value Investing, or How Not to Go Broke

Few outside the investment circle would have known him, but to those that lounge on Wall Street, it is as familiar as the names of George Washington or Pythagoras. He is Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing.

Graham was born in England, but he soon moved to New York with his two older brothers. His father died young at only 35, leaving his family in the care of Maurice Gerard, his uncle who is a civil engineer. Gerard quickly realized young Graham’s talents and nurtured them, later even becoming one of Graham’s first business partners. Graham then achieved the second highest score ever given on a national scholarship test and was accepted into the University of Columbia with a scholarship. He graduated the second of his class.

Upon entering Wall Street, he worked his way up, from the very basic job of posting stock listings to a highly respected investor. He used his natural talents of logic and mathematics to analyse the market and the companies behind them, opening a new path to investments. It is not just about looking at fluctuations and the DJIA, the company asset value, or insider information. By combining deep analysis into all parts of company data, he created a cult in Wall Street who followed his example to this day.

He had realized at the peak of career that he has a duty to pass on his knowledge and thinkings to those who need it. He went to teach at his alma mater, Columbia University, creating a popular course that many of the current world’s greatest investors sat through. His most famous student is perhaps Warren Buffett, with a net worth of 79.2 B dollars. Graham’s natural love of teaching able young minds and his talent for using examples and class debates to reinforce concepts made him a hugely popular teacher with many students travelling from remote places to see him. This group of students eventually became the Graham-Dodds ville, an intellectual village with many elites in Wall Street. The success of those who followed Graham can be clearly seen in Buffett’s 1984 speech of “The Superinvestors“. Graham’s brilliant theories in a world of chance helped many stand their ground even in crisis, and saved them from a fate of bankruptcy. He made his contributions to the economy by levitating investor’s faith in stock exchange after crashes and giving birth to many of the world’s greatest philanthropists. He ideas helped materialize the dreams of many who had nothing but their mind, their 200 dollars and their passion.

Logic and mathematical thinking has always been part of my approach on the world, and the investment community have always been a jewel that I want to explore. Growing up in a foreign country with a middle class family, Graham had learnt to be confident of himself and to believe in his potential to achieve. His generosity and air of positivity are things that I look up to. I believe that his ideas on investing will not just apply to the financial field, but also the lives of everyone influenced by him.


Fahrenheit 451 – First Scene

After Montag reveals his hidden books to his wife and persuades her to read it along with him, it really impressed me about how much Montag has grown in his confidence in himself. His internal conflict is obvious and striking, a clash between everything he had known and the haunting shadows of books. Montag wants to find out more about the past, when books weren’t burnt, and he seeks the find out about what books trap between those dusty, yellow pages. Yet, he knew that if his supervisor found out, he would lose his job, and maybe his life. This conflict reaches its own climax as Montag witnesses an old woman who willingly embraced death with her books in flames when the firemen came. Montag is stunned and distressed, exclaiming to her wife: “There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine…  this fire will last me the rest of my life.” (54-55) Driven by that, Montag decides to leave his job and start reading, to find answers of his life and beyond. Montag’s change was almost predictable right from the start of the book, in that it follows the hero’s journey closely. He seemingly lack of thoughts and decisiveness could be due to the completely absence of education and philosophy. This is also a warning to our present society. Books are already starting to step down to TV, “Reader’s Digest” and magazines that eliminate the need to understand works of classic. Clarisse says that kids her age “all say the same things and nobody says anything different from anyone else.” (33) which sadly reminds me faintly of the present school system. TALONS is a different matter all together, but I have seem how countless would keep their silence and vote their support to the first voice that breaks the silence. In a fact-based education, in some countries more than others, kids learn that a question have only one answer, much like the straight-forward world that Montag lives in. Montag demonstrates a high level of inclusiveness and acceptance for new ideas among his fellow citizens. Clarisse shared with him that: “You’re not like the others. The others would walk off and leave me talking. Or threaten me. No one has time any more for anyone else.” (25) Perhaps that is what ultimately resulted in his turnaround.

Why Pi? In-depth 2017 Intro

We’ve arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. – Carl Sagan

Photo a Raspi took – daveakerman.com

In today’s world, technology has become an indispensable part of our lives, and for all the reasons, it improves our lives beyond what is previously imaginable. Our tech keeps evolving, and it is to the point now that we don’t need to

Pies – Giphy.com

think about “how to use it” when we have an IPhone in our hands. The creator of Raspberry Pi, a mini single board computer and also the object of my studies, noticed how people

Raspberry Pi model 3 – Raspberry Pi Foundation

started to have less knowledge of programming languages. As a result, he made the Raspi, aimed towards teaching and inspiring an interest of computing in children, but is also commonly used by D-I-Yers because of its low cost and ease of access. As someone who has always loved the idea of learning a programming language, plus making stuff that improves my life, I think there couldn’t have been a better project to do than learning the dynamics of the Raspberry Pi and to make a cool “smart” project with it.

We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. – Carl Sagan

When I say will learn about the Raspi, specifically, I mean I will learn about Python programming and electronics, which are the basis of creating anything spectacular with the Raspi. It is like how learning computer usually means learning to use Word and send emails. Computers are used for these things, and while the Raspi can do word processing and send emails, it is only in its best in a project, programmed to your will.

How the car may look like – http://imgur.com/

My project will focus on getting the technical knowledge down, like learning electronics, and then I will start to build my final project, a car that follows lines and knows to avoid obstacles in its path.

The final project, a self-driving car, is going to take some form of artificial intelligence. In computer science, a perfect “intelligent” machine is a flexible agent that perceives the environment and takes actions to maximize its chance of success at a goal. I plan for the car to be able to sense obstacles in its way, and thorough its “intelligence”, it will do some action to avoid it and keep going down the track it is given.

Let’s get Physical!

Learn about what the Raspberry Pi can do, helping children learn physical computing. (click on link above if video doesn’t appear)

I chose this topic because my dad is a computer engineer, and he had just recently discovered the Raspi. He bought one to serve as a smart TV box that can watch YouTube or browse the web. I had also read about a major advancement in one of the companies experimenting with the concept of self-driving cars. I thought then, to combine them together to make one of those cars you see in science fairs. View my schedule of next two months. I have changed my schedule in the contract due to incorrect calculations of how long the project is going to last.

My mentor is someone in my church whom I just discovered to have studied computers. He even knows about the Raspberry Pi, and that would be really, really helpful. Before, I was going to settle for someone who know Python, and there should be many of them, but now I can get help on the electronics sections as well. I had asked him to maybe give me some information about his schooling or experience, but he hasn’t replied me yet, so I could probably bring this up next post.

I hope to be able to put together more and more advanced projects using the Pi after In-depth project, in the fields of home automation and simple artificial intelligence, because my proposed final project is not a very “useful” thing considering that it is a toy. So I will still have a long way to go after the project is finished.

Zip project Day 1

So today is my first day of Zip. Coming to my mind is a bunch of information, and I don’t know where to start. I don’t even know what my project is going to involve. I guess I will begin by doing some research.

Anyways, my project is going to be on English pronunciation rules. I find that English is such a strange language that is, well, hard to say. Vowels have different sounds in different combination of words, and when they come together like in “toad”, they produce another kind of sound. This is an area that I haven’t thought of before, and I think its gonna be GREAT.

GIF from Creativemarket.com

I hope this will enhance my understanding of the English language, and will assist me in my future learnings of vocabulary and pronunciation.