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English 10, Lesson 135 – Song of Roland: Oliver and Roland

This week in class, I read Song of Roland, which is an epic poem that was written during the early 11th century.  The poem is a dramatized version of the Christian Crusade against the Muslims.  In the story, there are two army generals named Oliver and Roland.  They are written to be opposites of each other.  Roland is described as valiant while Oliver is wise.  In this essay, I am going to compare both of the men’s military goals.

In the poem, Charlemagne agrees to go into negotiations with the Muslim king.  But sends a man named Ganelon to the meeting on his behalf.  However, Ganelon betrays the Franks and makes a deal with the Muslims.  He agrees to help the Muslim king, Marsilie, kill Roland and decides that it would be easier to assassinate him if he is placed at the very end of Charlemagne’s army.

When Ganelon returns from the meeting, he requests that Roland be placed at the end of the procession, and he agrees.  Roland travels at the end of the army with Oliver and twelve knights.

While they are marching, Oliver sees the Muslim army, which is made up of 400,000 men.  They are very obviously outnumbered with only the 20,000 men in the rearguard and the rest of Charlemagne’s army too far ahead of them.

Oliver alerts Roland and urges him to blow the horn, signaling to the armies ahead that they need help.  Roland, however, refuses to call for help.  In his mind, asking for assistance would be shameful and cowardly.

This mistake, as you can guess, leads to the death of all 20,000 men in the rearguard.  Including  Oliver.

As you can see, Roland and Oliver have very different views of what to do during a battle.  Oliver wants to get everyone out alive, no matter what.  Roland is the exact opposite.  I have no doubt that Roland did not intentionally doom his fellow men, but he did not think of getting everyone out alive.  His thoughts are on his reputation and his pride.

Thanks for reading!

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English 10, Lesson 130 – Did Medieval Hymns Encourage Christians to Partake in Political Affairs?

This week in class, I started to read medieval Christian hymns that were written over a hundred years ago.  The hymns were created for people who were illiterate, but wanted to follow the Christian ways.  They served as guidance for those who needed or wanted it but could not read the Bible.  In this essay, I am going to discuss if the hymns approved of Christians joining political matters.

Each medieval hymn discussed different topics, like marriage or family.  Common topics were the Holy Trinity, Mother Mary, and martyrs of Christianity.  While the hymns were a great place of advice for those who needed it, they did not answer specific questions, like if Christians could join political affairs.  If you wanted specific questions answered, you would have to learn hymns that were based around that topic and figure the rest out for yourself.

While the hymns never specifically said if you could not join political affairs, they did not specifically encourage it either.  If I was a Christian who followed the hymns, I would join but stay true to the Christian values.  Personally, I think that is the safest way to do anything that you are not sure about.

Thanks for reading!

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English 10, Lesson 125 – Saint Augustine’s View on Christianity

For the past few weeks, I have been reading works by Saint Augustine.  If you read my last essay, you will know that Saint Augustine was a very influential person in Christianity.  In his works, he talked a lot about the City of God and the City of Man.  In this essay, I am going to talk about how his views on these two ‘cities’ can show readers how he viewed Christianity’s role in history.

Before I begin, I would like to first talk about the City of God and the City of Man.  When I first started reading his works, I assumed City of God was heaven and the City of Man was Earth.  But as I continued to read, I realized that these ‘cities’ are not places, but groups of people.  The City of God is comprised of people who believe in God and follow the Bible.  The City of Man is all of humanity, believers and non-believers.

Augustine believed that those who belong to the City of God should not create empires on Earth since they will be able to create bigger and better empires in heaven.  He used the example of Rome’s fall to prove his point.

When Rome fell in 476 AD, many blamed the Christians.  People claimed that the Christians ways had made Rome soft and kind-hearted, which led to their demise.  But Augustine defended Christianity saying that if the people of Rome had converted to Christianity, they might have survived.  He said that Rome did not belong to the City of God.  Therefore Rome did not have the protection of God, which is why they fell.

As you can see, Augustine’s view for Christians was essentially to abandon society and turn to God.  From what I understand, the City of Man will one day collapse, but the City of God is eternal.  The City of God is under God’s protection and no one can hurt you if you are under His protection.  Therefore, abandon society and turn to the City of God.

Thanks for reading!

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English 10, Lesson 70 – Optimism in Livy and Ovid

This week in class, I read History of Rome by Livy and Metamorphoses by Ovid.  In both books, the authors incorporated Roman mythology and their own thoughts of the human race.   In this essay, I am going to talk about the basis of optimism in each book.

To make the comparison more clear, I am going to examine each book one at a time.

In History of Rome, Livy focused on the horrible things that happened in history.  Unfortunately, there were a lot of these incidents.  He wrote about poverty in the early days of Rome, and how the rich can never be trusted because of their greed.  He wrote about how Romulus would kidnap women from neighboring towns to be wives for Roman men when the population started to dip.  He wrote about the assault of women and of riots that were ended with violent force.  From his writing, it is obvious that he did not have hope for humankind.  Personally, I thought that he seemed to be ashamed to be a part of the human race by the way he described the events.

In Metamorphoses by Ovid, he starts by outlining the evolution of man, which was very similar to Hesiod’s view from Works and Days.  Like Livy, he believed that wealth caused men to be corrupt which led to killing and evil.  He wrote of a being called Jove, who seemed to be his idea of God.  He described how Jove hated men and thought the best course of action was to kill them all with a flood, except for two righteous people: Pyrrha and Deucalion.  Pyrrha would create women and Deucalion would produce men.  I am sure you can see the similarities to the stories of Noah and the flood and the creation of mankind through Adam and Eve.

As you can see, Livy had a very pessimistic view of mankind and humans in general.  He decided that all men were corrupt and they were doomed.  In Ovid’s case, he agreed that humans were corrupt and evil, but believed that a new, pure line could come from Pyrrha and Deucalion.

Thanks for reading!

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English 10, Lesson 65 – Rhetorical Context of Cicero’s Orations

In my last essay, I described the story of Cicero and Catiline and the drama that unfolded.  However, I am sure a lot of you are wondering how Cicero managed to get a man exiled through pure rhetoric.  That cannot be possible, right?

In the beginning, Cicero threw vague accusations at Catiline, blaming him for conspiracy and uprising against the empire.  He turned the whole city against Catiline, then told him that he would not take legal action, but the Senate might.  He pretended to be concerned for Catiline and convinced him that his best option was to leave the city altogether.

Once Catiline left, Cicero then used his silver tongue to convince everyone that what he was doing was out of concern for the empire and the people.  He assured them that because of Catiline’s departure the threat was lessened, but not gone.

Cicero continued to paint Catiline and his ‘followers’ as monsters.  He made them look evil and disloyal to the empire.  He convinced the Senate, and the people, that they had to take care of his followers or he might return with an army and take revenge against them.

The people believed Cicero’s words and threw themselves into a state of panic, which let Cicero manipulate them in whatever way he wanted to.  The people themselves were blinded by their fear, unable to see how Cicero was twisting his words to make people comply.

As you can see, Cicero had the skill of rhetoric.  Though his schemes were horrible and his accusations unjust, you have to admit that he was a smart man.  He convinced everyone that the threat was a (probably) innocent man, when it was really him who was the threat.  This is a perfect example of the saying ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing.’

Thanks for reading!

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Business 10, Lesson 60 – App Development

For week twelve of the Business II course, I only did one lesson: Lesson 56 on app development.  In this essay, I am going to talk about this business idea and if it would suit me.

App development is simply creating your own app that solves or makes the lives of others easier.  Like the business ideas from week eight, this business allows me to get customers from all over the world and I can offer my services on freelance websites.

The only downside to the business is that it requires me to know how to code.  I am always open to learning to new things, but I have already attempted to learn how to code a few years ago and I have concluded that it is not an interest of mine.  As Mr. Emmons says at the end of every lesson, if the particular idea is not part of your interests, do not choose it.  Forcing yourself into a business you know you will not like is setting yourself up for failure.

App development is a super cool idea, and for those that enjoy coding and are good at it, this would be a fun business to run.  However, coding is not my forte and it is not something I enjoy (or am good at).  This business idea is not for me.

Thanks for reading!

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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 80, Essay 2 – St. Augustine

Saint Augustine was considered to be one of the most influential people in Christian history.  His writings were so great that they were frequently compared to the Bible.  In this essay, I am going to talk about what Saint Augustine did to deserve the title of ‘most influential’ in Christian history.

Saint Augustine was born to a Christian mother, but he did not join the religion until much later in his life.  He started out as a ‘troubled youth’ who liked to cause problems.  Throughout his life, he switched from one belief to another.  When he was a boy, he followed a school of thought known as Manicheanism, which is a belief that there has to be a good god and an evil god.  But as he got older, he started to develop more questions about the belief and eventually stopped believing in it because no one could answer his questions.  There was a short period of time where Augustine switched from skepticism (the belief where you cannot know anything for sure) to Neo-Platonism (the belief that evil is simply the absence of good).

As a young man, he befriended St. Ambrose of Milan, who was a well-known Christian bishop.  Not too long afterwards, Augustine converted to Christianity.  In 391 AD, Augustine became a bishop and started to explain Christian theories and beliefs in a skeptic or Neo-Platonist ways so that those who did not follow Christianity could still understand them. 

Augustine’s works Confessions and City of God was, and still is, very influential in Christian history.  In City of God he defended Christianity against those who blamed the religion for weakening Rome and leading it to its downfall.   He also taught about immortality of the soul, the importance of immaterial things, and how to find true happiness.  Throughout all of his books and teachings, he always came back to the same principle: God is the ultimate way to attain true happiness and peace of mind.

As you can see, Augustine was a very influential person for the Christian religion.  His story showed that you do not have to be a perfect, pious person to understand and follow Christianity.  He started out as a young boy who had hundreds of unanswered questions about the world and religion, and ended as a Christian bishop who answered all of these questions for himself and other young people like him.

Thanks for reading!

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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 80, Essay 1 – Significance of Rome

It is no secret that Rome and Greece have had an enormous impact on modern-day western civilization.  But have you really looked closely to see what these impacts look like?  In this essay, I am going to briefly talk about the effects Rome has left on western civilization.

One of the smaller, and less obvious, impacts Rome has left, is their language.  The Romans spoke Latin, which is called a ‘dead language’ nowadays.  But what many people do not realize is that Latin is not completely dead.  In fact, it might never be.  Latin is very prominent in several European languages like Spanish and Italian.

Our architecture is also heavily influenced by Roman designs.  As is our art, literature, government, calendar, mythology, and religion.

As you already know, Christianity started in Rome, and while we cannot say that the Romans are the ones that created/introduced Christianity, it started to become more popular because of them.  Christianity became the main religion in Rome after the year 323 AD.

Despite the fall of Rome being over 1500 years ago, their culture and ways are still very prominent in our daily lives.  Almost everything in western civilization is based off or because of the Romans, who have preserved and modified the culture of the Greeks.  I think it is safe to say that the legacy of these two great empires will never die as long as western civilization exists.

Thanks for reading!

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English 10, Lesson 85 – Miracles of Jesus

This week in class, I read the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament.  The book described how Jesus would perform miracles to prove to the people that he really was a prophet of God.  In this essay, I am going to talk about how important these miracles are.

In the book, there were many miracles listed.  Jesus would heal the paralyzed and ill.  He was known to scare away evil spirits that possessed people, or calm the wind and seas.  There were even stories that he would bring the dead back to life and could produce enough food to feed thousands from one meal.  Stories of these marvellous, and seemingly impossible, miracles spread through the land and many started to come from Rome to meet Jesus and see his miracles with their own eyes.

I personally think that the miracles Jesus performed were important for two reasons.  One, it gave him publicity and a reputation.  These stories motivated people to come see and listen to what he has to say.  Two, it proved that he truly was a prophet of God.  After all, if a person claimed to be a prophet of God, you would want some proof to know that they are not a crazy person.

As you can see, the miracles Jesus performed were very important to the spread of his reputation during the beginning of his ministry.  Much like now, you need publicity to get you known, and even trusted, by the world.

Thanks for reading!

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Business 10, Lesson 40 – SEO Vs. Copywriting

For Week Eight of the Business II course, I only did two lessons: lesson 36 and lesson 39.  Both of these lessons gave two very interesting small business ideas that I can start as a high-schooler.  In this essay, I am going to compare the two ideas and decide which one would be better for me.

In lesson 36, Mr. Emmons talked about search engine optimization (SEO).  It sounds pretty intimidating, but from what I understand, there is nothing complicated about it.  When you Google a service and you see advertisements at the top of all the responses to your search, this is SEO.  For example, if you Google “movers in Singapore”, there will be advertisements at the top of the page from businesses that have invested the time to work on their SEO.

In lesson 39, Mr. Emmons talked about copywriting, which is writing advertisements for businesses to help them get customers.

Both marketing strategies have similar advantages.  They both can be done online, allowing me to get customers from around the world.  For both strategies, I can offer my services on online platforms like Fiverr or Upwork.

I cannot think of any disadvantages for copywriting, but I can think of one for SEO marketing.  I am not familiar with how SEO works or what is required for me to be successful.  While I am not opposed to learning, this will obviously take a lot of time and energy, and as Mr. Emmons and Mr. North always says, time is precious.

As you can see, both strategies are very practical for a high-schooler to do.  I will admit, neither of the ideas seem overly exciting, but it never hurts to go outside of your comfort zone to try something new.  If I have to pick between these two strategies, I would choose copywriting since I know that I am good at writing and it is something that I enjoy.

Thanks for reading!

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Biology 10, Lesson 170 – Bone Marrow

When you think of your bones you probably imagine them as the hard, white things in your body that keep you upright.  But have you ever thought about what your bones are made up of?

Our bones are so much more complex than you can imagine.  Each bone is made up of an intricate matrix of collagen, calcium, and phosphorus.  We also have thousands of cells and nerves inside of our bones.  This is why we feel pain if we hurt or damage the bone.

You have probably heard the words ‘bone marrow’ before, but I doubt you truly understand what it is.  I am sure you can imagine how crucial bone marrow can be to our bones from the name.  Bone marrow is found in long and flat bones like our shoulders, hips, and ribs.  There are two types of bone marrow in our bodies: red marrow and yellow marrow.

Red marrow creates red blood and stem cells, which can be made into osteoblasts.  Osteoblasts are ‘immature’ bone cells that help create the minerals our bones are made out of.

Yellow marrow is mostly made of fat cells and do not do much.  Their only job is to support the red marrow’s activity.  Something interesting to take note of is the yellow marrow’s ability to turn into red marrow.  If you have a serious injury, like a gun wound, and you lose a lot of blood, the yellow marrow will convert itself into red marrow to create more red blood cells to help make up for the loss of blood.

As you can see, bone marrow is a really interesting and crucial part of our bones.  Like many children my age, I have heard the term before on TV shows, but I have never considered what it may be and why it is important.  The human body never ceases to amaze me with how important every little cell and fluid is to our everyday functioning.

Thanks for reading!

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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 75, Essay 2 – The Romans and the Visigoths

This week in class, I spent a lesson learning about the Visigoths and their brief, but catastrophic history with the Romans.  When the Romans ruled the world as the strongest empire, they had many admirers, one being the “barbarians”, like the Visigoths.  In this essay, I am going to describe their history and how the Visigoths contributed to the end of the Roman Empire.

“Barbarians” were Germanic tribes that lived outside of Rome.  Despite their label, they were very developed, but not as advanced as Rome was.  The leaders of these tribes held a lot of respect for the Romans and their knowledge and hoped to join the empire through the army.  The various Germanic tribes tried to become a part of the Roman empire, but was rejected every time.

In 376 AD, a tribe known as the Huns attacked and looted the different Germanic tribes.  A certain tribe, known as the Visigoths, desperately asked to join Rome for protection against the Huns.  The Eastern emperor, Valens, allowed the Visigoths in, but not as guests.

Their weapons and children were taken from them, and the Visigoths were treated like animals.  Many families had to make the hard decision of selling their children into slavery for food.

One of the Roman generals was afraid of the Visigoths rising against the Romans as revenge for their poor treatment.  In an attempt to suppress the hostile feelings, the general invited the leader of the Visigoths to a dinner where he would be murdered.

When the Visigoth leader heard of the assassination plan, he urged his people to rebel.  Driven by their hatred for the Romans, the Visigoths destroyed Thrace (modern-day Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey).  Valens took up arms against the barbarians, but was defeated in the Battle of Adrianople in 378 AD.

Valen’s successor, Theodosius, incentivized the Visigoths to stay calm by giving them army assignments.  But after his death, the Visigoth emperor, Alaric, pillaged Italy in 395 AD.  Theodosius’ successor did not believe in appeasing the Visigoths, leading to the beginning of the Visigoth Rebellion.

Once the Visigoths realized that they would not get the treatment they were used to, they attacked the Romans again.  In a desperate attempt to protect his land, the Roman emperor started pulling troops from the Rhine River frontier, allowing Vandals and other hostile tribes into Rome.  Troops from Britain were also moved to Thrace to fight the various Germanic tribes that had invaded the empire.

By 410 AD, the Visigoths managed to fight their way through Rome to its capital.  Alaric requested to ‘sight-see’ once there.  But when his request was denied, and out of anger, he allowed his men to pillage the city until there was nothing left.  Satisfied, the Visigoths move to Sothern Gaul, then onto Spain where they settled down and created their own kingdom that survived until 711 AD, when the Muslims came along and defeated them.

As you can see, there was no lost love between the Romans and the Visigoths.  While I always believe there are two sides to every story (especially in history), I still think that Valens doomed his empire when he ordered his men to treat the Visigoths to be treated so inhumanly.

Thanks for reading!

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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 75, Essay 1 – Christianity Vs Greek and Roman Religion

This week in class, Mr Woods briefly talked about how Christianity departed from the ideals of Greek and Roman religion.  Besides the obvious differences, there were some subtle ones as well that made people start to like Christians over those who still followed the Greek and Roman ways.  In this essay, I am going to talk about these differences. 

The Christians started to gain popularity because of how kind they were. For example, if a Christian helped a poor man on the street by giving him money, the Christian wouldn’t expect anything back in return and they certainly wouldn’t brag about how great of a person they are for doing  a good deed.  But if a person who still followed the Greek and Roman way helped a poor man, they would expect something in return, like a debt that’s expected to be repaid.   This was part of Greek and Roman culture, and was considered normal.  Charity was never truly charity.

The Christians did not participate in infanticide or suicide, something that was very common before Christianity.  The Christians preached about being kind and compassionate to everyone, a complete opposite of what the Greeks and Romans believe in.  If you have ever heard any story about Greek or Roman gods, the common theme is always getting revenge or plotting the downfall of an enemy.

As you can see, compared to the Greek and Roman ideals, the Christians were kind and gentle.  Many started to favor the Christians and their religion which was more caring and empathetic than the tough, ‘dog-eat-dog’ mentality of the Greek and Roman religions.

Thanks for reading!

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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 70 – Contributions of the Monks to European Society

This week in class, I spent two lessons learning about monks when monasteries and monasticism first became popular.  Mr. Woods showed me that the monks, who seemed insignificant, actually impacted modern-day European society in subtle, yet big ways.  In this essay I am going to talk about these impacts.

The monks started out as people who wanted to reach a certain level of piety by sacrificing their normal lives.  But over time, they became helpers and teachers to those who lived around them. 

When the government started to falter and taxations became high, the monasteries became places of knowledge for those who wanted to learn real life skills like agriculture and metallurgy.  The monks copied religious and secular documents to preserve them for future generations to read and learn from, and they helped the locals with harvesting their crops and other things that required them to do physical labor.  Because of how involved the monks became in physical labor, people stopped viewing physical work as something to be ashamed of doing.

As you can see, the monks started as people who were seeking a divine life and ended up as helpers to the societies around them.  They helped in big ways, like in the preservation of agriculture and religious texts, and in small ways, like changing people’s views on physical labor. Many historians believe that if the monks never stepped in, we would not have the texts or agricultural knowledge that we do today.

Thanks for reading!

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Business 10, Lesson 25 – Cash Vs. Accrual

This week in class, I read Accounting Made Simple by Mike Piper.  In Chapter Nine, the topic of cash accounting versus accrual accounting was discussed.  For a person who wants to start a business, big or small, this is a very important topic to think about.  In this essay, I am going to compare cash and accrual accounting and decide which one is better.

Cash Accounting

Cash accounting is extremely simple, and if you are a teenager who lives with their parents and have no bills to worry about, you probably use this way of accounting.  When using the cash accounting method, revenue is only recorded when cash is received and expenses are only recorded when cash is paid.  This method is great for small, cash based businesses that carry little to no inventory.  It is also very easy to manage, meaning you can take care of it on your own and will not have to spend money on outsourcing the task of bookkeeping.  However, this method does not always show the full picture and open payments will often be forgotten.

Accrual Accounting

Accrual accounting is a little more complicated than cash accounting, but it is still effective.  Revenue is recorded when earned not when cash is received, and expenses are recorded when incurred, not when cash is paid out.  This method does not track cash flow, but it does track open payments, unlike cash accounting.

Example

To make this clearer, imagine you have a lemonade stand and you use the cash accounting method.  You bring 20 glasses to the stand every day and sell each glass for $1.  One day, your friend comes to the stand and asks for 10 glasses of lemonade, but cannot pay you the $10 today.  Your friend promises to pay you back tomorrow, and you agree to sell the lemonade to them.  The day continues and you sell the last ten glasses before going back home.  When you count the money, you see that you made $10 even though you sold $20 worth of lemonade.  Since you have not received the $10 from your friend yet, it does not get accounted for. 

I am sure you can understand how this is not a good accounting method for bigger businesses that deal with more money and inventory.  It is never good to have ‘missing money.’

However, if you used accrual accounting on this situation, you would account for the open payment (the ten lemonade glasses) and your statement would show that you did make $20 for the 20 glasses.

Conclusion

As you can see, both methods have their benefits and their shortcomings.  Personally, I think both methods are good.  If you plan on having a small business and not deal with open payments, the cash accounting method will meet all your needs.  But for bigger businesses that use open payments, it is in their best interests that they use accrual accounting.

Thanks for reading!

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English 10, Lesson 80 – Horace’s Personal Views

This week in class, I read the works of Horace, who was a Roman poet.  Like Ovid, it was easy to see his views and opinions through his writing.  In this essay, I am going to talk about his personal views and ethics.

At first, I thought Horace was a pessimistic and moody man who was obsessed with death.  He didn’t seem to view life as anything other than a sport.  The only major and inevitable event in your life is death.  But as I kept reading his works, I realized that he was actually a very sensible man and we share common views. 

The only correct analysis from my first impression of Horace was that he was definitely obsessed with death.  Despite this, he did not seem concerned about legacy and inheritance.  He did not believe in worrying about what happens in the world after you die.  After all, it does not concern you anymore.

Because of his unconcerned attitude to what happens after death, he did not understand why others would kill and lie for wealth.  His view, like mine, was to not equate wealth to your worth and if you somehow found yourself in possession of wealth, do not hoard it.  It will not help you in the afterlife. 

He also had a very strong belief in delivering justice.  He advised to not view other people’s faults too harshly.  Instead, view their shortcomings like you would view your own.  He also believed that punishments against those who broke the law should be fitting.  To deny a just punishment is to deny justice.

As you can see, Horace was a very smart and practical man.  He did not seem greedy or self-absorbed.  Out of all my reading assignments for this class, Horace’s poems were my absolute favorite.  I related to a lot of his views and his poems were beautiful.  Should I be concerned my views align with those of a Roman poet from 2000 years ago?

Thanks for reading!

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Biology 10, Lesson 160 – Osmoregulation in Marine Mammals

This week in class I spent a lesson learning about osmoregulation.  In simple terms, osmoregulation is the “maintenance by an organism of an internal balance between water and dissolved materials regardless of environmental conditions.”[1]  In this essay, I am going to talk about osmoregulation of marine mammals.

Every marine mammal lives in different conditions and has different processes of regulating the water and salt in their bodies.  For example, salmons are considered fresh and salt water fish.  The biological term for them is osmoconformer, meaning they can maintain equilibrium in their cells based on their current environment.

But for the marine mammals that are not special like salmon, they have their own struggles.  Saltwater animals have the risk of drinking too much salt and not enough water.  In response, the excess chloride (salt) ions are removed by active transport (the movement of dissolved molecules into or out of a cell through the cell membrane)[2] and leave the body through the kidneys or gills.

On the other hand, freshwater animals have the risk of taking in too much water and not enough salt.  Freshwater animals tend to drink little to no water and urinate frequently to rid themselves of the excess water.  They will then eat salty foods to balance the amount of water and salt in their body.

As you can see, each marine mammal has their own process of balancing out the water and salt in their bodies.  Salmon and other osmoconformer animals truly are fascinating and unique because of their ability to adapt to any environment.  But for the rest of the fish in the sea (and lakes), they will have to work to keep their balance.

Thanks for reading!


[1] Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “osmoregulation”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 21 Apr. 2016, https://www.britannica.com/science/osmoregulation. Accessed 5 July 2022.

[2] BBC. “Movement Across Cell Membranes”. BBC. https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zc9tyrd. Accessed 5 July 2022.

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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 65 – Life of the Christians Between Trajan and Constantine

It is no secret that during the years when Christianity was introduced in Rome, it was extremely hard for Christians to live their lives.  In this essay, I am going to talk about what it was like to live as a Christian during the reign of Emperor Trajan (r. 98-117) and Emperor Constantine (r. 306-337).

As evidence, a letter circa 112 AD from Pliny the Younger, a magistrate, to the Emperor Trajan asking him how he should go about his task. Pliny, at that time, was tasked with the job of finding and persecuting Christians. In Trajan’s response letter he reminded Pliny of their policy, which was effectively “don’t ask, don’t tell.” 

Christianity was considered illegal, but the Roman authorities did not actively go out “hunting” for Christians.  If someone was accused of being a Christian, they would be investigated and executed if found guilty. Despite not being hunted for, Christians were still extremely careful in fear of being seen and reported.  From Pliny’s letter, we can see how the Christians had to sneak around to pray and meet.

There is a story that Mr. Woods shared in Lesson 62 that showed how the Romans viewed Christianity during the reign of Trajan.  In the story, a man found his wife in bed with another man.  After that incident, he then found out that she was a Christian.  He told her to continue her affair with the other man because the shame of having a cheating wife was not as humiliating as having a Christian wife.

The persecution of Christians continued until 312 AD when Emperor Constantine halted all executions and punishments.  A year later, in 313 AD, Constantine passed the Edict of Milan, which accepted Christianity as a Roman religion.  Constantine himself was baptised before his death and declared Sunday as a holy day of rest.

As you can see, merely being a Christian during those years was fraught with danger.  If Constantine had not come into power, who knows how long the persecution of Christians may have lasted?

Thank for reading!

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Business 10, Lesson 20 – My Favourite Product Based Business

This week in class, I learned about product and service based businesses and their meanings.  In this essay I am going to talk about my favourite product based business.

Before I begin, I am going to briefly explain what product and service businesses are.  Product based businesses are businesses that sell tangible products to their customers (e.g. bookstores, stationary stores, clothing stores, etc.…).  Service based businesses are those that offer services to their customers (e.g. lawnmowers, pet groomers, electricians, etc.…).  There are also businesses that are product and service based.  The most common example I can think of are restaurants.

When it comes to shopping, I am not very picky.  However, my favourite and most frequented product based business is Kinokuniya.  For those that may not know, Kinokuniya is a Japanese bookstore chain that is spread across Asia.  There are also a few stores in the USA, but the majority of the physical locations are in Asia.

As you can see, product and service based businesses are everywhere.  Next time you go to the mall, try to see if you can find a service based business.  Odds are there are only one or two.

Thanks for reading!

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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 60 – Christian Beliefs Vs. Greek Beliefs

This week in class, I learned about the very beginning of Christianity.  A very different topic from the Greek and Roman topics I have been learning about prior to this week.  While watching my video lessons, I noticed that despite all of the differences, there are a few similarities between Christianity and Greek/Roman religion.  In this essay I am going to discuss these similarities.

I am sure that you cannot think of many commonalities between the two religions, and I cannot blame you.  Christianity is a monotheistic religion, meaning followers only believe in and worship one God.  On the other hand, Greek and Roman religions are polytheistic, meaning followers believe in and worship multiple gods.

Despite this, there are a few similarities.  For example, both religions require patience and prayer and are very focused on delivering justice.  Both religions have sets of rules for followers to live by.  But that is where the similarities end.

The Greeks view their gods as strong warriors and attributed human characteristics to them.  The Greeks are very focused on fierceness and strong warriors, which carried over to their religion.  On the other hand, Christians view God as omnipotent and loving.  Their teachings focus on love and peace, very different from the rough view of the Greeks.

As you can see, there a few similarities between Christian and Greek beliefs, but overall, the two religions are very different.  How funny it is that the two religions are so different from one another despite Greek works being heavy influencers over Christian morality.

Thanks for reading!

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English 10, Lesson 60 – Catiline and Cicero

This week in class I read the story of Catiline and Cicero.  In the story, Cicero accused Catiline of being a threat to the development of Rome and the Senate as a whole.  Because of all of the accusations, Catiline was forced to leave Rome for his safety.  In this essay, I am going to talk about what Catiline should have done to prove Cicero wrong.

For those that are not familiar with the story, Marcus Cicero was a well-known Roman politician and lawyer who served as a consul in 63 BC.  He was famous for his rhetoric, which is what eventually brought Catiline down.  Catiline, who was a member of the Senate at the time, had private organizations on the side, which became the basis of Cicero’s allegations.

Cicero started to hurl accusations at Catiline in front of the Senate, but they were so vague that it was impossible to prove their truth.

It is unclear in the oration if Catiline was allowed to talk while Cicero was presenting his ‘case’ to the Senate, but if I were Catiline I would have demanded that Cicero show some evidence to the crimes that he claimed I committed.

I find it extremely odd that throughout the whole ordeal, Catiline never once denied the claims Cicero was declaring.  If he did, it was never written, but Catiline had many opportunities to demand proof or to show the Senate that his private organizations were not a threat to Rome.

In my mind, the only reason Catiline never did anything was because Cicero’s accusations may have had some truth to it, and he was afraid of getting outed.  In the end though, it did not matter.  Catiline was asked to leave Rome and spent the rest of his life as an exiled man.

Thanks for reading!

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English 10, Lesson 55 – The Court Systems in Works and Days Vs. The Eumenides

Throughout the past few weeks of the English 10 course, I have read multiple Greek plays and literary works.  The two works I will be concentrating on in this essay are the Works and Days by Hesiod and The Eumenides by Aeschylus.  In this essay, I am going to compare the cause and effects of events in each story.

Works and Days is a book written by Hesiod dedicated to his brother, Perseus, who bribed the court into giving him all of their deceased father’s property.  Hesiod felt cheated out of his property and wrote the book in an attempt to make his brother see that what he did was wrong.  Hesiod stated that he thought the court was not comprised of righteous people and that the two of them should settle the matters between themselves.

The Eumenides is a play in a trilogy called The Oresteia following Agamemnon’s son, Orestes, and how he avenged his father’s murder.  Agamemnon was murder by his wife and her lover, who were later killed by Orestes.  In the play, Orestes called upon the gods to defend him from the Furies, spirits who were tormenting him because he killed his mother.  Orestes had faith in the court to deliver the punishment they see fit.

Personally, I think that the comparison of courts is not completely fair.  Firstly, the crimes being discussed in each work were not equal.  In Works and Days the crime is having something stolen by a family member.  In The Eumenides the crime is murdering a family member.  I am not condoning stealing from a family member, but compared to a murder, it feels insignificant.  Secondly, the court in Works and Days were made up of humans, while the court in The Eumenides was comprised of gods, who were supposedly more pious than humans.

As you can see, the characters in each story had very different opinions on their court systems.  Hesiod did not trust the system, while Orestes had complete faith in the system.  Perhaps Orestes trusted his court system because the gods were judging him and not humans who could be bribed.

Thanks for reading!

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English 10, Lesson 50 – Orestes’ Actions

This week in class I read the second book in the Greek play trilogy The Oresteia.  This play is called The Libation Bearers and it focuses on Orestes, banished son of the deceased Agamemnon, getting revenge on his mother for murdering his father.

In the play, the Greek god Apollo tells Orestes to murder his mother and her new lover to avenge his father.  Desperate to deliver some sort of honour for his father, Orestes agrees and kills his mother and step-father.

After reading multiple Greek plays in English and History class, I have realized that all of the characters are very emotional.  They also do not seem to have the same morals as people today do and let their emotions decide their actions.  With this in mind, I wonder how Orestes would have acted if he lived in the 21st century.

If Orestes lived in 2022, he would, hopefully, have a more logical mindset that is not centred around death.  Seeing as nowadays we do not follow the Greek gods, the event of Apollo instructing him to commit murder can be disregarded.

I believe that Orestes would have tried to find a way to get proof against his father’s murderers.  In the play, it is not stated if Agamemnon’s murderers left any evidence behind, but I can imagine that Orestes would have tried to find evidence of the crime if he was not already aiming for murder.

Orestes would have brought the case to court with evidence, real or fake, to present to the judge.  He would have done anything to put his mother and step-father in jail, even if he must lie to do so.

In the play, Orestes was portrayed as a strong young man that wanted to avenge his father.  I have no doubt that if he did not talk to Apollo, he would have figured out a more logical and less bloody way to bring justice against his mother and step-father.

Thanks for reading!

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English 10, Lesson 75 – Ovid’s View of the Gods

This week in class, I read Metamorphoses by Ovid.  The book is a compilation of short stories about the various Greek gods and their escapades.  In this essay, I am going to talk about what I learned about Ovid’s views of the gods from how he writes about them.

Throughout the book it is clear that Ovid views gods as beings that have more power than humans, but have the emotions and volatility of humans.  Like humans, they have no control or responsibility of their emotions or sexual passions.

In one of the stories, Cupid makes Apollo fall madly in love with a human girl named Daphne.  The poor woman becomes so overwhelmed by Apollo’s attempts to gain her favor that she prays to become a laurel tree to escape him, leaving a heartbroken Apollo to mourn the ‘death’ of his love.

In another story, the mother of Apollo and Artemis, Latona, becomes thirsty and goes to a nearby pool for a drink of water.  However, there are men at the pool who tell her that she cannot drink.  Latona prays to the heavens to help her, and the men are turned to frogs as punishment for denying a goddess a drink.

There are several other stories with similar themes, but the most common ones are humans being turned into objects of nature by the gods.  Another very common theme is innocent humans getting caught in the petty fights of the gods.

However, there is one story that has a different theme from the others.  In this story Ovid shows how volatile gods’ emotions can be and how desperate they are to enforce their power over man.  In this story, a satyr (a mythical creature that is half-man and half-goat) named Marsyas, challenges Apollo to a flute duel, and names the other gods the judges of the contest.  Apollo accepts the challenge, and his fellow gods rule him as the winner (obviously). They tell Apollo to do what he wants to with Marsyas, leading to the flaying and death of the satyr.

I personally think that it is very foolish to challenge a god to something and appoint his friends as the judges, but I also think that Apollo did not need to kill Marsyas because of a flute contest.

After reading Metamorphoses this week, I think it is safe to say that Ovid did not think highly of the gods or their actions.  Humans frequently got involved with the gods’ affairs by sheer luck, or unluckiness.  Those that try to discredit the gods or wrong them are quickly punished, usually being turned into a being of nature where they cannot cause trouble.

Thanks for reading!

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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 40, Essay 2 – Epicureanism

After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, his generals fought to claim one of his many lands as their own.  The large empire Alexander had managed to acquire was split up into separate kingdoms by his generals, marking the start of the Hellenistic Period.  During this period, many monumental and historic discoveries were made, like the first exploration of the central nervous system.  There were also many worldviews that started to be formed.  In this essay, I am going to talk about the worldview known as Epicureanism.

Epicureanism is the worldview that is aimed at pleasure.  Unlike the Hedonistic worldview, which is often confused with Epicureanism, those who follow Epicureanism believed that you should go about obtaining pleasure in logical ways.

For example, Hedonists were very focused on the pleasure of the senses: getting drunk, indulging in their favourite foods, etc.  While the Epicureans agreed that this gave the person pleasure, it was a two-second pleasure and usually ended with the participant being uncomfortable once the ordeal was over.  The morning after getting too drunk is very unenjoyable, and is the opposite of pleasure.

Epicureans believed that sense pleasure was just as important as pleasures of the mind: doing things you enjoy, having good friends around you, doing anything that gave you long lasting pleasures.  They believed that these things were better than the pleasures Hedonists participated in.

As you can see, the Epicureans had a very interesting and enjoyable worldview compared to the Hedonists.  They focused on long term pleasure and happiness, not two-second pleasures that would end in discomfort.  I personally would not mind living an Epicurean life.

Thanks for reading!

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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 40, Essay 1 – Liberty of the Ancients vs Liberty of the Moderns

This week in class, I spent a lesson reading an article comparing liberty of the Ancient Greeks to liberty in Western Civilizations nowadays.  It is no secret that the Ancient Greeks contributed to a lot of modern-day customs in Western Civilization, but the definition of liberty is not one of them.  In this essay I am going to compare the Ancient Greek’s idea of liberty to the modern-day Western idea of liberty.

To the Greeks, liberty meant having a say in government affairs.  If they could have a vote in political matters, they thought that they had liberty.  Nowadays, however, if we were only given political freedom, we would feel robbed.  Our idea of liberty is being allowed to follow whatever religion we want, the ability to carry firearms, and to have our own ideas and views on various matters.  In Ancient Greece, if your views on political or social matters differed from the rest of the population, you could be exiled for no reason other than the possibility of being a nuisance to the city-state or simply having a different opinion than the majority of the people.

As you can see, the Ancient Greeks had a very different idea of liberty compared to the liberty we know and enjoy today.  I know that if Western Civilization switched to Ancient Greek liberty, many people would feel robbed.  Do you think the Ancient Greeks would have felt robbed if they used our liberty?

Thanks for reading!

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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 35 – Medea

This week in class I read Medea, a Greek play written by Euripides.  The play is a tragic story following a woman named Medea in 431 BC. In this essay, I am going to be talking about what we can learn about the Greeks’ attitudes toward foreigners and women from the events Euripides writes about.

The Story

First, let me summarize the story of Medea.  Medea was a foreign woman (not from Greece) who fell in love with a man named Jason, who was from Corinth.  Medea made the decision to leave her home for Corinth, where she married her love.  The couple had two children together, but Jason’s loyalty to Medea soon dwindled to nothing.  He cheated on Medea and married the daughter of Creon, Lord of Corinth. 

Overwhelmed with grief and anger, Medea starts yelling curses to her ex-husband and his new wife in the streets.  When Creon found out about Medea’s behavior, he banished her and her two children from Corinth.  Medea was near hysterical when she found out.  She could not go back to her homeland because she was exiled for falling in love with a foreigner, and no other Greek cities would take her in. 

In desperation, Medea formulates an evil and cruel plan for revenge against those who had wronged her.  She pretended to accept her banishment, but begged that her children be allowed to live in Corinth.  When Creon agreed to the Medea’s request, she sent her children with lavish and extravagant gifts to Creon’s daughter as a way of ‘thanking’ him for his mercifulness. 

Unbeknownst to the princess, the gifts were laced with poison, and when she touched the gifts she died a slow and agonizing death.  When Creon found his daughter, he was horrified and held her body close to him, causing him to die in the same way as his daughter.  Medea did not want people to blame her children for the death of their lord, and killed them, thinking it was the best way to protect them from the people’s judgment.  She then killed herself, leaving Jason to deal with the aftermath of the deaths.

What We Can Learn

In the play, the chorus (ensemble) treats Medea as an object instead of a person.  They view her as replaceable and useless.  When Medea was banished from Corinth and other Greek cities would not take her in, it shows how badly foreigners were treated.  The incident was out of Medea’s  control, yet she was the one who was getting punished.

Conclusion

As you can see, from ancient plays you can pick up little things about the culture if you pay enough attention to the events and the people’s mannerisms.  Personally, I disagree with Medea’s punishment.  I believe that Jason should have been punished for being disloyal to his wife, not Medea for something that was not her fault.

Thanks for reading!

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Biology 10, Lesson 140 – Hunger

This week in class I learned about the human digestive system and how it works.  In this essay, I am going to be summarising the process of hunger and satiety in your body.

The feeling of hunger is created by the ‘hunger hormone,’ scientifically known as Ghrelin.  This hormone gets released into your stomach when your blood sugar starts to get low.  Once you eat, your stomach stretches, telling your Enteric Division that you no longer need to feel hungry.  The Enteric Division, nicknamed ‘the second brain’ because of how intuitive it is, is a mesh of nerves along your alimentary canal that controls the entire process of digestion.  The alimentary canal is a tube-shaped organ that begins at the mouth and ends at the anus.  Once your stomach stretches, the Enteric Division triggers Peptide YY (PYY), a hormone that shuts off the production of Ghrelin, causing the feeling of fullness.

As you can see, the human body is insanely complex.  The simple of function of informing the body that it needs food involves many different organs and hormones to work together.  I cannot wait to learn about the other amazing things the human body can do.

Thanks for reading!

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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 35, Essay 2 – The Peloponnesian War

This week in class I learned about the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars.  The Peloponnesian War started nineteen years after the Persian War ended, which gave the Greek city-states time to recuperate.  In this essay, I am going to be covering the same topic I did in my last essay: what started the war and why it is significant.

After the Persian War ended, the two Greek alliances (Delian League and Peloponnesian League) remained intact, but did not intermingle with one another. 

Athens promised the other city-states in the Delian League that if they sent money, Athens would build a strong naval force for the Delian League to use.  The other city-states agreed to do so, and sent money to Athens.  After a while, the Delian League became suspicious of Athens.  Not only did Athens move the Delian League’s treasury from the island of Delos to Athens itself, none of the city-states who had sent money had been given any information on the naval force Athens promised to create.  Instead, they heard stories of Athens rebuilding themselves.

Many tried to leave the league after hearing what Athens was doing, but the power-hungry state refused to let them leave the alliance.

As time went on, Athens became more powerful, causing Sparta, the second most powerful Greek city-state at the time, to fear their growth. Athens started to not only oppress their allies, but Sparta’s allies as well. 

In 431 BC, the Peloponnesian League invaded Athens.  The leader of Athens, Pericles, suggested that the people hide behind the ‘Long Walls’ (it is exactly as it sounds).  A year later, a plague broke out behind the walls, killing majority of the people and Pericles himself.

This leads to a six year stalemate (421 BC – 415 BC), where Athens sends their men out to Sicily in an attempt to conquer them.  This fails, however, when the local men attacked the Athenians and blocked off the harbor mouth, making it impossible to leave.  50,000 Athenian and Delian League men lost their lives that day.

The war ended in 404 BC when the Spartans allied with the Persians by offering a few of their city-states for their naval assistance.  The Delian League gets dissolved and the Spartans established the “Thirty Tyrants.”  Like Athens, the Spartans became arrogant and ambitious with their newfound power.  The Thirty Tyrants were overthrown in 371 BC, toppling Sparta’s growing empire.

The war is significant because while the Greeks were fighting one another, Phillip the Second of Macedonia (father of Alexander the Great) was patiently waiting for them to exhaust themselves so he could strike.

In my opinion, the Peloponnesian War is one of the messiest wars I have ever learned about.  A lot happened in the span of 27 years.  What I find funny, is that the war started because Sparta disliked Athens’ arrogance, yet they also became arrogant years later once they won the war.  Moral of the story: learn from those that came before you, or you will suffer their fate.

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English 10, Lesson 45 – Aeschylus’ View of the Trojan War

This week in class I started reading the first play in a Greek trilogy called The Oresteia.  The particular play I am reading is called Agamemnon.  The Oresteia is a trilogy centred on the events of the Trojan War.  In this essay, I am going to talk about what we can learn about the author’s view on the war based on what he wrote.

Firstly, who is the author of these plays?  The author’s name is Aeschylus. He was considered to be the “father of tragedy” and wrote over 90 plays.  Unfortunately, only seven plays survived the tests of time, and there is debate over whether some of these seven plays were written by Aeschylus.

The play I read this week is the first in the trilogyThe play focuses on the Greek hero Agamemnon and his son, Orestes, during the Trojan War.

In the beginning of the play, Agamemnon expresses his desire for favourable winds for the Greek soldiers he was sending to Troy. To ensure this, he believed he would have to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia, to the gods.  The description of her murder is horrifying, even if it is written in old English. 

The chorus does not say that the sacrifice of Iphigenia is wrong. Rather, it is Agamemnon’s attitude towards the sacrifice that was inappropriate.  Aeschylus describes Agamemnon’s attitude as “profane” during and after the incident.

Because of Agamemnon’s “unholy” attitude towards the sacrifice, the gods did not answer his prayers and made the journey difficult for the soldiers.  Aeschylus describes it as “casting a shadow over the soldiers.”

Once they landed in Troy, the war dragged on for a long and bloody ten years. The play described how the war ended with no clear winner. Instead, there was a stalemate where each side lost more than they gained.

Many plays during that time romanticised the Trojan War only focusing on the heroes and victories.  Aeschylus, however, focused on the more gory and unpleasant reality of the war.  There was no clear winner and both sides suffered terrible losses.

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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 30, Essay 1 – The Persian War

This week in class, I learned about the Persian War (also known as the Greco-Persian War).  It lasted fifty years.  Starting in 499 BC and ending in 449 BC.  In this essay, I am going to be talking about how the war started and why it is so important to Western Civilization.

The story of how the war started begins in the late 6th century when Sparta tried to interfere with the Athenian’s political affairs.  As expected, the Athenians were not pleased by this.  They feared the Spartans might be trying to conquer them, as Athens and Sparta were the two most powerful Greek city-states at the time.  In 507 BC, the Athenians sent representatives to the Persian Empire, asking for an alliance against the Spartans.

The Persian king at the time, Darius the First, did not know who the Athenians were or where they came from, but accepted the alliance.  What was surprising, however, was that their agreement was beneficial for both parties.  All of Persia’s alliances with other countries were always arranged so that Persia would be dominant over the other country.

Years later, in 499 BC, the Ionian Greeks in Asia Minor rebelled against the Persian Empire with the assistance of Athens.  The Athenians tried to convince Sparta to join, but they were involved with a religious ritual at the time and declined the ‘invite.’  The rebellion led to a five year long battle, with Persia emerging victorious.

The new ruler of Persia, Xerxes, started to try to create alliances with the other Greek city-states against Athens with the idea of ‘punishing’ them for breaking terms of the alliance.  However, this fails, and the majority of the Greek city-states, including Sparta, sides with Athens.  This is where the Delian League and the Peloponnesian League is formed.  These alliances will be important in the next Greek war.

The Greeks and Persians then engage in a series of battles in the span of fifty years, with the Greeks winning the war in 449 BC.

Why is this war important?  Personally, I think that there are two main reasons.  One, if the Greeks lost, the Persians would have conquered and absorbed them.  This would have caused a lot of Greek culture to be lost and Western Civilization may not have as much Greek influence as it does today.  Two, despite Persia burning Athens to the ground during this war, Athens gained more power and money because of their allies from the Delian League.  This will eventually contribute the start of the Peloponnesian War.

As you can see, the Persian War is not ‘just another war.’  If it did not end the way it did, Western society as we know it may not exist.

Thanks for reading!

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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 25 – Spartan Society

This week in class, I spent a lesson learning about Sparta and their culture.  In Ancient Greece, Spartans were thought of as the fiercest and strongest warriors, and I am sure you will agree when you hear about how society worked in Ancient Sparta.

Sparta was centred on having a strong military force.  The society did not approve, or allow, weakness of any kind.

At the age of seven, boys would be separated from their families and placed into military schools.  Usually, this would be the last time the boy would ever see his family again.  At the schools, they were provided with the bare minimum.  They had enough food to survive, but not enough to feel full.  They had enough clothing to cover themselves, but not enough to keep them warm. 

Once they reached adulthood, the government chose wives for them, but they were not allowed to live with them.  The men were forced to live in military barracks to remind them that their fellow soldiers were their real family, not their wives.  However, if the men managed to sneak out of the barracks to visit their wives, and were not caught by a superior, no one would persecute him.  This principle was taught to them as children.  If they got caught stealing or sneaking out, they would be punished not for doing the crime, but for getting caught.

Spartans were tough people.  Unlike the Athenians, they did not have much care for literature or art unless it was about war.  Spartan soldiers would train hard every day, and were the only civilization to ever treat war as a holiday and not as a terrifying and life threatening event.  Spartans also believed that any kind of profession that was not in the military or contributing to the wellbeing of the nation was low level work and were left for the slaves.  However, despite all of Sparta’s strict rules and merciless regiments, they gave their women more rights and respect than any of the other Ancient Greek city-states.

As you can see, the city-state of Sparta was not one to be trifled with.  They valued discipline and toughness.  If a child did not show these qualities by the age of five, he or she would be killed!  In Sparta, there was no room for the weak.

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English 10, Lesson 40 – Hesiod’s View About Mankind’s Past and Future

This week in English class, I read and finished Hesiod’s epic poem ‘Works and Days.’  Hesiod was a famous Greek poet who lived between 750 BC – 650 BC.  He wrote ‘Works and Days’ for his brother, Perseus, in a way to convince him to give him (Hesiod) their deceased father’s land after the court ruled in favor of Perseus.  In the poem, Hesiod talked about his beliefs of mankind’s past and future.  In this essay, I am going to briefly explain his views.

Hesiod believed that there were five races of men created by the Greek gods.  The Golden race, the Silver race, the Bronze race, the Demi-gods, and the Iron race (supposedly our race).  He believed that as time went on, the races became even worse than their predecessors. 

The Golden race lived during the reign of Cronos, before his children (e.g. Zeus and Poseidon) overthrew him.  This race lived seemingly perfect lives.  They never had to deal with depression or hardship.  The prospect of old age did not bother the Golden race, and they spent their days surrounded by wealth and luxury.  The Golden race worshipped their gods, winning their good graces.  In Hesiod’s eyes, the Golden race was the best and most pious of all the races.  When they died, they became spirits, watching over the future races of men.

The Silver race came after the end of the Golden race.  Like Hesiod believed, they were far lower than their forefathers.  They stayed as children for years and lived short lives.  They did not participate in the sacrificial rituals and worshipping of the gods, which led to their death caused by an angry Zeus.

The next generation was the Bronze generation, who were violent people.  There is not much to say about them besides that they loved power and violence.  Eventually, their love for aggression overpowered their love for their fellow man and they destroyed one another.

After the Bronze generation perished, the gods created the next generation known as Demi-gods.  This term may sound familiar for any Percy Jackson fans.  Demi-gods were half man and half god.  This generation was considered to be heroes by the regular men.  They were noble and strong, and fought in many well-known wars.  Most notably, the Trojan War.  However, their constant participation in these wars caused the death of majority of the race, making Zeus take the remaining Demi-gods away from the regular men to a place called the “Blessed Islands,” where they lived happy and carefree lives, much like the Golden race once did.

The final race is us, known as the Iron race.  Hesiod believed the Iron race to be the worst out of all five that existed.  This race will always be sorrowful and unhappy, and will extremely evil and unjust.  Hesiod was convinced that the Iron generation was doomed by Zeus, and one day, he will exterminate them like he did the Silver race.  Hesiod believed that the main reason the Iron race will be so much worse than all the others was because the Iron race will be the only one that has females in it, causing this generation to be at a disadvantage (how rude).

As you can see, Hesiod had a very depressing view of the future.  But it is obvious he had a lot of respect for those that came before him.  I cannot help but wonder if Hesiod was a happy man.  After all, if you believed that the mighty god of sky will wipe you out because of the sins of your generation, wouldn’t you be living in a perpetual state of doom?

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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 20, Essay 2 – Plato’s Perfect Society

Plato was an avid follower of Socrates before his death.  After Socrates’s execution, Plato’s passion to join the Greek government diminished and he instead became a philosopher.  In one of Plato’s works, he talked about what he considered to be an ‘ideal’ government and society.  In this essay, I am going to be summarising his ideas.

Plato believed that the best government has to be based off of the best soul.  He also believed that the soul has three parts: spirit, rational, and appetite.  He considered appetite to be the worst part out of the three.  It always had to be tamed by the spirit and rational parts of the soul.  Plato also thought that there are four cardinal virtues of the spirit: wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice.

In Plato’s perfect society, there would be three classes: the guardians, auxiliaries, and everyone else.  The guardians would represent the ‘wisdom virtue’ of the soul.  The auxiliaries would represent courage.  Temperance would be the social classes and the justice of the state would be that everyone keeps to themselves and solves their own problems.

While the lower class would live a relatively normal life, the guardians and auxiliaries would live a life that we would consider to be odd.

Auxiliaries would not be allowed to own private property and should live with their fellow auxiliaries.  This would be so the lower classes would not have to worry about their superiors overthrowing them.  The highest two classes would not be able to have families in a way that we would consider ‘normal.’  They would reproduce at appointed times with a person chosen by the state (for eugenic reasons), then once the child is born, he or she will be placed in a government nursery and raised there.

As you can see, Plato’s idea of a perfect society seems quite alarming compared to the lifestyle and society we live in today.  I believe we should consider ourselves lucky that modern-day Western Civilization did not follow Plato’s idea of a perfect society.

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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 20, Essay 1 – Socrates and the Sophists

This week in class, I spent a lesson learning about Socrates and his views.  He had a very unique teaching method of going up to strangers and asking them questions, somehow educating them in the process.  One of Socrates’s opinions, that Mr. Woods focused on what his disagreement with the Sophists’ worldview.  In this essay, I am going to be talking more about this disagreement and how it eventually led to Socrates’s demise.

The Sophists believed in a worldview called relativism, which is a worldview that states there is no absolute truth and that one standard law should not be enforced on everyone. 

To demonstrate this, here is an extreme example.  I am opposed to murder, like the government, and I will never do it and I think those that commit the crime should be punished.  But another person believes that murder is okay and it is not a crime.  Therefore, the state (or government) should not be allowed to enforce punishments on those who believe murder is not a crime because there is no absolute truth.

I am sure you can see how twisted this worldview can become and also how it contradicts itself.  If there is no absolute truth, then how can we know that this worldview is the correct one?

Socrates was strongly opposed to this worldview.  In fact, his own worldview was the exact opposite of the Sophists’.   Socrates believed that everyone had a soul, meaning that there have to be absolute rights and wrongs.

Eventually, enough people, mainly the Sophists, complained about Socrates to the government and he was trialed for “tainting the minds of the youth.”  The government eventually decided that he should be sentenced death by poison.

As you can see, Socrates and the Sophists had two very different worldviews.  In today’s society, we follow Socrates’s worldview.  We were raised knowing that there are absolute morals, unlike what the Sophists’ believed.  But if we were raised in a Sophist worldview, what would we think of Socrates’s ideas?

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Business 10, Lesson 50 – Possible Business Opportunities

This week in Business class, Mr. Emmons went over four different small business ideas that are viable for students.  All four opportunities looked very interesting, but the one that piqued my interest the most was book publishing.  In this essay, I am going to talk about why this opportunity appealed to me the most.

Before I talk about the business opportunity, I would like to quickly discuss my own business idea first.  If you have been reading my business essays for a while, you may already know that my small business idea is to write and publish my own e-book on Amazon Kindle. 

Naturally, I was very curious about this business opportunity when I clicked on the lesson.  Mr. Emmons talked about how I can help other authors who do not want to go to a traditional publishing company, or do not want to deal with the hassle of publishing their books. 

During the lesson, Mr. Emmons said something that made me think that this business opportunity can be very good for me after I publish my own book.  Mr. Emmons said that if you have already published other people’s books, then your new customers will trust you more.  But if I have already published my own book, new customers will feel confident in my abilities, especially if I start as a teenager.

As you can see, book publishing is a business opportunity that ties into my own business idea.  At the moment, I am only certain that I want to publish my e-book as my business and nothing else.  But it is good to know that I have other business opportunities if I ever want/need them.

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Biology 10, Lesson 20 – Adrenaline

Imagine, you are walking through the corridors of an old, most likely haunted, house.  The floorboards creak every time you step on them and there seems to be an unpleasant energy in the air.  Your heart is pounding and you get shivers every time you pass a door, expecting something to jump out at you.  Right as you are about to turn a corner, a figure jumps out of the shadows yelling “Boo!”  You scream and see your whole life flash before your eyes.  But then you realize, it was only your friend trying to play a trick on you.  The two of you laugh it off and you place a hand on your heart, which is now racing faster than it was before.

You know that the sudden increase of heart rate is due to something called adrenaline, but do you know what causes the adrenaline?

Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, is a hormone that triggers your fight or flight.  This hormone breaks down your glycogen (a large molecule that functions as a kind of energy), which explains the sudden burst of power you feel.

Going back to my example from earlier, when your friend jumps out at you, three big chemical reactions happen inside of you in a matter of microseconds.  When your body gets the shock of seeing a figure lunging at you, a chemical signal is sent to your cells.  This signal then triggers a series of chemical reactions inside of the cell, preparing it for the epinephrine.  One of these chemical reactions activates the breaking down of glycogen, giving you the energy you require to run out of there if you really need to.

As you can see, adrenaline is a lot more than something that happens when you get scared.  It is a whole process that can get activated and completed in a matter of seconds.  Even though I have not reached the anatomy of the human body in this course yet, I am constantly learning about the chemical reactions our body can do.

Thanks for reading!

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English 10, Lesson 20 – Long-Term Optimism in the Psalms

This week in English, I continued looking at the Psalms.  Throughout the Psalms, one message is repeatedly stated in different forms: God will always deliver justice.  In this essay, I am going to talk about how that one message should give humans long-term optimism.

In the Psalms there is not a paragraph that states “you should have long-term optimism because…”, but the Psalms does give you certain pieces of information that should make you have long-term optimism. 

The Psalms state that God will defeat the evil-doers, but will never desert those that stay on the righteous path.  This is promising that God will serve justness to those who are deserving.  It also states that God will always reign supreme.  This tells us that we do not need to worry about another power overthrowing Him like we would worry with human leaders who promise justice.

As you can see, the Psalms give multiple examples for us to understand why we should have long-term optimism.  If we know that we are following the right path to the best of our ability, we know that God will reward us for it, meaning we always having something to look forward to.

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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 15 – The Cyclopes from The Odyssey

This week in class, I spent a lesson going over the incidents of The Odyssey by Homer.  The story is about a man, Odysseus, coming home from war and the trials he faces on the way.  One of these trials is his encounter with a Cyclopes.

Judging by the description of the Cyclopes (plural), they did not have a civilization formed.  In fact, it seemed like there was zero interaction with one another.  They were described as tough and mean creatures, only taking care of their animals and keeping to themselves and their caves.  In my opinion, the cyclopes were stupid, for lack of better verbiage.  They did not have the mental capacity for our definition of civilization.

The story of the incident between one of the Cyclopes and Odysseus is very interesting.  If you are a fan of Percy Jackson or a Greek enthusiast, you may already know this story.  But for those that are neither, like me, here is a quick summary of the story.

It begins with Odysseus and his men arriving at the island where the Cyclopes live.  Every night, Odysseus would lose another man from his crew to one of the Cyclopes’s insatiable appetite.  Tired of losing his men, Odysseus and his remaining men come up with a plan to escape the island without losing another man.

Odysseus offered the Cyclopes a glass of wine, and right before the monster fell asleep, he asked for Odysseus’s name.  The latter then told the beast that he was “Nobody” right before he fell into a drunken slumber.  Once asleep, Odysseus’s men plunged a heated wooden stake into the Cyclops’s eye, blinding him.

The Cyclopes, furious and in pain, tried to find Odysseus and his men, but they were escaping to their ship by tying themselves to the underbellies of the Cyclops’s sheep.  After all, why would the Cyclopes hurt his animals?

Enraged, the Cyclopes calls upon his father, Poseidon, god of the sea, to curse Odysseus and men with a rough and stormy journey home because of what they had done to him.

As you can see, the tale of Odysseus and the Cyclopes is very interesting.  There are more details to the story, which I left out to keep the summary brief.  If you find the story intriguing, I recommend going online to find the full version, which is a lot more entertaining than my brief summation.

Thanks for reading!

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English 10, Lesson 15 – Historical Sanctions in the Psalms

This week in English, I looked over Psalms 1 – 15.  In each one, I noticed a recurring theme, ethics and sanctions.  This seems to be a common theme throughout all of the Bible stories I have looked at in this course so far.  In this essay, I am going to be talking about the importance of the sanctions in the Psalms.

If you read my last essay about the ethics and sanctions of the story of Noah and the Flood, you would know that I compared ethics and sanctions to cause and effect.  In the case of the Psalms, I can do the same.

The Psalms stated that disbelievers and wrongdoers would face God’s sanctions.  Those that chose to not believe in God and those who strayed from the up righteous path would face His punishments.

The threat of God’s sanctions is something that is present in every story.  In the story of Adam and Eve, God punished them by sending them to Earth.  In the story of Cain and Able, God punished Cain for murdering his brother.  In the story of Noah and the Flood, the people of Earth were punished with a flood.

I am sure you can think of more stories from the Bible where God enforces his sanctions on those who disobey Him.

As you can see, sanctions are extremely important in the Psalms and stories from Genesis.  I have no doubt that sanctions are also important in other stories.  God’s sanctions are the basis of every story.  If you do wrong, you will be punished.

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Biology 10, Lesson 10 – Metabolism in Simple Terms

Metabolism.  I am sure you have all heard of the word.  Before this week’s lessons, I only knew it in the term “high metabolism,” which to me meant “something the human body does that can make people thinner.”  But after this week’s lesson, I now know why it “makes people thinner.”  Would you like to know as well?

The definition of metabolism is “the chemical process of your body turning food and drink into energy.”[i]

The process of metabolism has two main functions, catabolism and anabolism.  Catabolism is the breaking down of molecules causing a release of energy.  Anabolism is the opposite, the building of molecules causing the buildup of energy.  Catabolism makes the body lose tissue, and Anabolism makes the body gain tissue.

If you ever hear someone say that they have “high metabolism,” that means that certain person’s body catabolizes more than it anabolizes, which makes them naturally leaner than others.

Even though metabolism is a natural thing that your body does, it can be managed.  For example, to speed up your metabolism you can drink more water than sugary drinks.  It is also advised to not skip meals as your metabolism will adapt to it quickly and will start breaking down your muscles to provide your body with the energy it needs.

Fun fact about metabolism: men tend to have a higher metabolism than women because “they have more muscle mass, larger bones and less body fat.”[ii]

As you can see, metabolism is a really cool function your body can do.  If you are like me, and have never studied biology or the human body, you probably knew what metabolism was, but did not actually understand what the use of it is.  Hopefully after reading this essay, you have a better idea of what it does.


[i] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/21893-metabolism

[ii] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/21893-metabolism

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Business 10, Lesson 10 – Franchise Vs Independent

This week in Business, I learned about the pros and cons of having a franchise and having an independent business.  In this essay, I am going to be comparing these two types of businesses.

Franchise

One of the best examples of franchise businesses are big fast food chains like McDonald’s or Chick-fil-A. 

Franchises offer less risks, but can also present less rewards.  They are easier to start compared to independent businesses since the franchisor will provide you with the supplies you will need and educate you on how to run the businesses.   However, the franchisor also gets to share your profits and they are in control of all of your advertisements and campaigns.

Independent

An example of an independent business is the small lemonade stands children set up in the summer.  They are the independent “owners” of their business.

Independent businesses have more risks than a franchise does, but if your business kicks off, you could get bigger rewards than a franchise.  An independent business can be harder to start, since you begin with zero reputation.  However, starting an independent business means you are the sole owner and you can keep 100% of the profits and have full control over campaigns, advertisements, etc.  As Mr. Emmons pointed out in the lessons this week, not many independent businesses survive very long, but if they do, they usually attain great success.

Conclusion

As you can see, independent and franchises both have their advantages and disadvantages.  For the purpose of my business (selling books I write through Kindle), I will obviously go with the independent business model.

Thanks for reading!

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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 10, Essay 2 – The Minoan Crete

This week in class I spent a lesson learning about the Minoan Cretes, an Ancient Civilization that was forgotten by history until the year 1900 when British archaeologist, Arthur Evans, discovered it.  In this essay, I am going to be talking about this fascinating and mysterious civilization.

The Minoan Cretes lasted from 3600 BC to 1400 BC.  For those that do not know, the island of Crete is located in the Mediterranean Sea and is near Libya and Egypt.  It is now part of modern day Greece.

Their language, known as Linear A, has not been cracked as there is not enough of it for historians to be able to decipher it.  They have only been able to pick out a few words.  Otherwise we know nothing about the Cretes from their writing besides the fact that they were aggressive accountants.

The Crete’s religion is also a mystery to historians.  The only thing they could understand was that the people were very devoted to the religion and it seemed to be very Feminocentric (centred on women).  They worshipped goddesses and appointed priestesses, not priests.  They also seemed to participate in human sacrifices.

Their art, specifically their frescos, show some very interesting things, one of them being people jumping over bulls.  Many have speculated that the jumping over bulls is a ceremony of their religion, but I personally think it may have been a sport that people participated in. 

The Crete’s pottery is also very detailed.  The jars are what Mr Woods described as “egg shell thin,” implying that the Cretes managed to get specialists to make them.  But from where, we do not know.

Their buildings were not fortified, suggesting that they were a peaceful civilization and did not go to war with their neighbours.  However, this lack of protection contributes to their downfall later on when the Mycenaean Greeks come down to conquer them.

It seems that in 1600 BC the Cretes destroyed their palaces, then rebuilt them in a new fashion.  The design of the new palaces makes historians think that the Cretes were using a redistribution system, which is the government telling people how much of a certain thing they need to make or grow.  Then the people would bring the goods to the palace, which would get redistributed back to the people in whatever amount the palace deems enough.  This means that the people were not allowed to freely trade with one another.

Around 1425 BC, the palaces were destroyed yet again.  The reason for this is not known, but it does not create that big of an issue as the Cretes were conquered by their Northern neighbours, the Mycenaean Greeks, around that time.

As you can see, the Cretes are a fascinating civilization with lots of mysteries and unknown details about them.  There is also not much to talk about besides their culture and lifestyle as they did not seem like a warlike civilization.  There are so many unanswered questions about this civilization, you cannot help but get caught up in the mystery of it all.

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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 10, Essay 1 – Hector in Book Six of The Iliad

This week in Western Civilization I learned a lot of interesting things about the Minoan Cretes and Mycenaean Greeks.  I also looked at the sixth book of The Iliad.  In this essay, I am going to talk about one of the characters in The Iliad.

The Iliad is an epic poem about the Trojan War.  In the story we meet Achilles, a warrior who is tired of never getting recognized for his accomplishments.  When the Trojan War arrives, he refuses to go into battle.  During the battle, his close friend asks if he can wear Achilles’s armour to scare the Trojans, which Achilles’s agrees to.  However, during the battle Achilles’s friend dies, sending him into an enraged state.  He joins the war and goes on a killing spree against any Trojan he sees.  Achilles then targets the Trojan war hero, Hector, who is terrified of the enraged Greek and spends two days running away from Achilles. 

Eventually, he yields and decides to face the man he has been trying to escape from.  When the two face each other, Hector asks for mercy.  He states that he will not harm Achilles and he requests the same courtesy.  But, he understands if Achilles wants to kill him and asks for his body to be given back to his people so it can be buried in his homeland.  Achilles, however, is too furious to listen and kills Hector, then drags his body around with his chariot.

Later on, Hector’s father (also the King of Troy), Priam, comes to Achilles and begs for his son’s body back.  He reminds Achilles of his own father who has the luxury of imagining his son coming home to protect him in his old age, while he does not have this luxury because of Achilles’s actions.  This makes the Greek hero pity Priam, and he agrees to not only return Hector’s body, but to spend nine days mourning the Trojan hero and three days of honouring and celebrating his memory.

From the descriptions we get of Hector, I would say that he is a man who is extremely loyal to his country and has a strong love for it.  Despite his slightly cowardly actions by running from Achilles, which can be excused since I know I would have done the same, I believe that Hector is a man doing what he believes is right.  In this case, he believes that protecting and fighting for his country is the right thing to do.

As you can see, Hector does not get a lot of page time in the story, but from the one incident where he is described, you can get a good sense of his character and who he is as a man.  Before this class, I have always been extremely hesitant to read epic Greek poems.  But from my lessons this week, I learned that when you have someone to explain the story in modern day English, like Mr. Woods did for the lesson, the story can be very interesting. 

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English 10, Lesson 10 – Ethics and Sanctions of Noah and the Flood

This week in class, I learned about the story of Noah and the flood.  You are probably already familiar with the story.  In this essay, I am going to be talking about the importance of ethics and sanctions in the story.

Before I begin, I would like to do a quick summary of the history.

Years after Adam and Eve left the Earth, the people became disbelievers and overall wicked.  God creates a flood to wipe out the entire human race so they can start over.  However, before He does this, He informs the only good man left, Noah.  God tells Noah to create an ark for his family and two of each animal so they can repopulate the Earth.  When the flood comes it lasts forty days and forty nights.  When it is finally over, Noah sends a dove out.  At the first attempt, the dove comes back emptyhanded.  But when Noah tries again, the dove comes back with an olive branch.  When Noah tries for the third time, the bird does not return, implying that it found land.

In the case of this story, I like to relate it to “cause and effect.”  The cause was the people’s ethics, which is described as wickedness.  The effect was the sanction, the big flood that wiped out the population.

As you can see, ethics and sanctions are very important in this story.  Once you lay out all of the information, it will be easy to see that the whole reason the flood happened is because of the people’s ethics, leading to God’s sanction.

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English 10, Lesson 5 – Hierarchy in Genesis vs. Hierarchy in the Islamic Theology

This week in class, Dr. North went over the first few days of Creation.  He also went over the hierarchy of God, the humans, and the serpent in great detail.  In this essay, I am going to do a brief comparison of the Bible narration versus Islamic Theology.

Hierarchy in the Bible

In Genesis, it is said that God created Adam as an image of Himself.  Of course, Adam was only a human and was not an equal to God, but he was considered an image of Him.

God gave Adam the job of naming the animals, but when he saw how each of them came in pairs, male and female, he became lonely.  God then created a companion from his rib.  This companion is the woman who will later be named Eve.

At this point in time, the hierarchy is God, then Adam and Eve, who are considered equals.

Later on, a serpent convinces Eve to eat the fruit from the Forbidden Tree.  Eve in turn, convinces Adam to eat the fruit. Once they have consumed the fruit, they become aware of their nakedness and cover themselves with fig leaves.

When God comes down to the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve are, He asks why they are wearing the leaves.  They explain that they ate the fruit from the Forbidden Tree and realized their nakedness.

As punishment, God sends Adam and Eve down to Earth, but not before lowering Eve’s status.  She is now subservient to Adam and will suffer the pains of labour.  He also removes the serpent’s legs, forcing him to slither around everywhere.

Now, the hierarchy is God, then Adam, then Eve, then the serpent.

Hierarchy in Islamic Theology

There is no hierarchy between God, Adam, and Eve in Islamic Theology.  God created Adam, and from his rib, Eve.  The human being was His best creation and He ordered all beings in heaven to bow to Adam.  However, Satan refused, claiming that he was created from a smokeless fire and that Adam was created merely from dirt; thus he had a higher status.  But Satan did not know the knowledge that God had bestowed on Adam.

Adam and Eve lived in Paradise until they were tempted by Satan to eat the forbidden fruit.  Once that had happened, God sent them down to Earth to live for “a while” and God, from time to time, would send Messengers to convey the message of the Oneness of God.  Those who believe and repent for their sins would enter Paradise, and those who disbelieve would enter Hell.

Conclusion

As you can see, the blame lies not with Eve alone.  Adam and Eve were deceived by Satan.

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Business 10, Lesson 5 – Parts of a Business

This week in Business class I learned about the different structures of a business, and the three main functions within the business. In this essay, I am going to be using my acting school as a demonstration of these three functions.

The three functions of a business are Sales and Marketing, Operations, and Finance and Administration. 

Sales and Marketing is advertisement/promotion.  Operations is how the product is produced and sold to consumers.  Finance and Administration is how the business uses their income.  Typically, a CEO oversees all three of the functions, making sure they run smoothly and efficiently.

Sales and Marketing

My school has quite a few different marketing strategies.  Before COVID-19, my school would go to hospitals to sing for the patients.  They also require students to wear a uniform which consists of a shirt with the school logo and leggings (or shorts).  Many of the students commute wearing the uniform since it is casual and convenient.  Before classes, there will be tons of children walking around the nearby malls or travelling on the train wearing the school logo. 

This is a subtle, yet effective way of getting their name out.

Operations

Operations is how the product of the business is produced and sold to consumers.  In this case, the “product” are the classes my school offers to students.  These classes are taught by teachers who are involved in the local theatre scene and have theatre experience.

For example, one of the teachers at my school is a graduate of LaSalle, an acting college in Singapore.

Finance and Administration

The school uses consumers’ dollars to pay the rent for their location and to give the students better sets and props.

For example, this semester we are doing Into the Woods Jr for our semester show.  For our show, the school is building a legitimate set for us to perform on, which is quite costly to do in the location they are currently in.

Administration also includes insuring compliance with regulations and laws, filing and paying taxes on time, and supporting Sales and Operations people.

Conclusion

As you can see, every business relies on these three main functions.  Even schools operate using these functions.  Think of any business like Walmart, or even your local grocery store, I bet you can identify each of their three functions fairly easily.

Thanks for reading!

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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 5 – A Brief History of Events from Abraham to Moses

This week in Western Civilization Mr. Woods briefly reviewed humanity’s early history, starting with Adam and Eve and ending the review in 70 AD when the Roman prince, Titus, attacked Jerusalem.  In this essay, I am going to briefly talk about all of the main events that happened between the time of Prophet Abraham and Prophet Moses.

Before I begin, I would like to give a disclaimer.  The events described in class are the Biblical version of history.  Since I am a Muslim, I will be talking about the Islamic version. 

Abraham

Abraham was originally from the Babylonian city of Ur, which is situated in modern day Iraq.  When Abraham tried to call his people to worship the one and only God, they tried to punish him by burring him in a pyre.  After this incident, Abraham left Ur with his wife Sarah and his nephew Lot, and moved to the precincts of Jerusalem.  After many years of his marriage to Sarah, he married Hagar, who bore him his first son, Ishmael, in his old age.

God commanded him to move to the desert with his wife, Hagar, and infant, Ishmael.  Some years later, he had another son with Sarah whose name was Isaac.  He would thus travel between those two places.

When Ishmael was in his preteens/teens, God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son and seeing that he was completely devoted to God, He replaced the sacrifice with a goat.

Subsequently, through Isaac, Abraham had Jacob and Esau as his grandsons.

Jacob and Joseph

Jacob had 12 sons through multiple wives.  They are known as the Tribes of Israel since Jacob was also known as Israel.

One day, the older sons took one of the younger sons, Joseph, along with them on a trading trip, and out of jealousy that Joseph was Jacob’s favorite, they threw him into a well.  A trader rescued Joseph and sold him to the king in Egypt.  Joseph was granted wisdom of interpreting dreams by God and in an important interpretation of the king’s dream, he was elevated to a high position within the king’s court.

Eventually, Jacob and his entire tribe moved to Egypt and lived with Joseph. 

After about 400 years, after the king had been defeated by a pharaoh, the tribes of Israel had become slaves.  Through one of Jacob’s descendants came Moses.

Moses

God chose Moses to be one of his prophets to deliver his message of the Oneness of God, as he had done with Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.

God in his Infinite Wisdom, created circumstances where Moses grew up in the Pharaoh’s household.  In his adulthood, he killed a man and escaped to modern day Upper Arabia.  He married and lived there for 10 years before deciding to go back to Egypt.  On his way, he saw a burning bush, and that was his first meeting with God. God instructed Moses to deliver the message of the Oneness of God to the Pharaoh.

After the Pharaoh rejected his messages and ridiculed him, God instructed Moses to take the children of Israel/Jacob out of Egypt and into freedom.  You have all heard of the story of the parting of the sea and the drowning of the Pharaoh and his troops.

Once freed from the Pharaoh’s grasp in the Sinai Desert, Moses ascended Mount Tur and met God one more time where God gave him the Commandments on tablets.  On his return, he found his people worshipping a golden calf that they created themselves.  He ejected the disbelievers from his tribe and threw the golden calf away.

From there he made his way to Jerusalem, but because of the unwillingness of his people to fight the natives living there, they ended up wandering in the desert for 40 years.

Moses eventually died, never having set foot in Jerusalem.

Conclusion

As you can see, this is a very brief history of events that happened from Prophet Abraham to Prophet Moses.  You may have noticed that the stories of Islam and Christianity overlap in quite a few places.

Thanks for reading!

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Business 9, Lesson 175 – College Tuition

Throughout this course, Dr. North has touched on the topic of college many times.  Each time he advises skipping the first two years of college by taking CLEP courses and to only enter in your junior year.  Even then, he advises to do college from home if you are able to.  This way of college is much better than the traditional way as it saves your parents money.  In this essay, I am going to talk about would I be better off if my parents will give me a college graduation present: half of the money they presently plan to pay for my college costs.

Before I begin, I would like to state that Dr. North gave this essay prompt with the assumption that the student would follow his plan.  I personally think that this idea is a great one, however I unable to implement it.  CLEP exams are an American program.  Now that I live in Asia, and will probably be doing college in Asia, CLEP exams have no meaning to any college.  No college will accept CLEP credits.

But for the sake of the essay, let’s pretend that I go to an American college and I use Dr. North’s plan.

At graduation my parents give me half of my college tuition funds.  Would this benefit me more than them paying for my tuition?

Yes, I think so.  Assuming that I only pay for junior and senior year of college, I would have only paid half of what my peers did.   Then, when my parents give me half of my college funds, I will have gained the amount of money I paid. 

As you can see, my parents giving me half of my college tuition as a graduation present is better than them paying for all of my college experience.  With the money I can find my own apartment and have funds in my savings for when I join the workforce.

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