R1

I have always been interested in aviation specifically fighter jets and the physics surrounding them and was a member of the RAF Cadets when I lived in London, which is why I chose to write my EE on the topic of aerodynamics. I chose to manipulate the wing form as this brings in D.T. another subject I have a lot of interest in. Due to my time at RAF Cadets I already have good foundational knowledge on aerodynamics and all my further research has been building on that which has definitely made tackling this very complex area of study easier. The biggest struggle so far would be working out the intricacies of my experiment as I’m using a wind tunnel and haven’t worked with one before which has made the experiment in my EE far more challenging, however, it has been enjoyable learning how to operate new apparatus and combining my two favourite subjects and an area of interest.

MUAY THAI – 2nd Reflection

I have been boxing for almost a year now and although I have been actively trying to avoid my academic life and active life colliding my schedule has left little to no time for boxing towards the end of Grade 11 although I do still go for 3 hours a week (Mon, Wed, Thu) I had hoped to be going far more often and to be engaging in two hour sessions to test my stamina and allow me to reach the next level quicker. I am also afraid that at the beginning of Grade 12 as my workload increases boxing will have to take a back seat however I intend to do everything I can to prevent this and will still set outside a guaranteed 3 hours a week to box no matter what is happening in school. This clash between my activities and my academics had actually improved my planning skills as now to ease my workload throughout the week and free up time to box I am far more productive over the weekend (which also means less last-minute homework), which reduces my stress levels on its own as I’m not staying up late at night writing essays or IAs as often now.

I don’t want to compromise on my boxing too much as I do ultimately want to pick up a second Martial Art (my 3rd in total) at my gym so that I can begin my MMA training as I do not yet know a ground Martial Art so I was considering Brazillian Jiu Jitsu but I am afraid that there will not be enough time to achieve this as I am struggling to find time to practice one discipline, scheduling a second and extra session for my MMA training could negatively impact my Academic Career as I will have far less free time to complete any work set.

Initiative for Peace Conference – 1 MONTH TO GO!!

This year I joined my school’s IFP Program and after working really hard throughout the initial 6 months (this is where the teachers evaluate you and your commitment and later use this information to select the conference facilitators) and making a conscious effort to participate more in debates and expand my social circle to help enhance my collaborative and communicative skills, I was selected for the Timor Leste Conference (my first choice).

I have been so excited to work on this trip and it has been a very unique experience for me as when we began this was the first CAS experience I had ever planned myself (project week hadn’t yet formally began) and I had never attended a formal conference myself before joining IFP. This meant that I had a lot to learn about structure tone and the types of activities that we would be working on especially as this IFP conference has been running for a few years in Timor Leste so future delegates already have expectations and preconceived notions about the type of content, activities etc. However despite how overwhelming the blank 7-day timetable looked to the group and me, we began dividing it up into daily themes and the logistical duties (organising the delegates in rooms, creating a booklet, cultural evening etc.) were also divided into groups of 4-6 people (across both East and Dover). Breaking this down into smaller chunks made the whole conference suddenly seem a lot more manageable as instead of a week I was now responsible for only a day and a half (although all facilitators assist on all days).

My one definite area of improvement in terms of planning for this conference would be my communication with Dover which is a key component of collaboration as this is a joint-campus project however we only see each other approximately once every 2 months and our schedules rarely line up (their project week and internal exams are at different times to ours so we end up missing two sessions for every event etc.). We definitely need to open a steady stream of communication especially at this critical stage as we are no longer brainstorming but rather filling in the schedule and gathering what we need to run the decided activities, we must ensure that we take everything we need to Timor as we won’t have as much as a wifi connection there so improvising activities on the spot and trying to create last-minute resources will be increasingly difficult there.

RDA – Leader Training

Today at RDA I undertook my Leader Training which is where I learn how to groom and manage the horses both before, during and after the session which was a really exciting experience for me as I used to ride horses in the UK but couldn’t continue after shifting to Singapore. This meant that being able to interact with the horses specifically and learn how to properly groom them and ultimately form a bond with them was a rewarding experience. This also aligns with CAS’s LO2 (developing new skills) as although I did ride horses in the UK I was never involved in the actual caring of the horses or any stable work.

As I really enjoyed spending time with the horses they picked up my energy and Shamus (the horse I was working with) was very energetic throughout the session which I think was a strength as from working with the less mentally able kids at the centre who are largely affected by your energy levels, I was able to maintain a positive and energetic attitude throughout the session. However, when grooming the horse I was hesitant to do anything to the horse’s hind legs (such as clean out their hooves which involves me picking up their legs as I have heard many stories and continuously been warned about horse’s powerful kicks. I need to improve my confidence in completing these tasks as Shamus does pick up on my hesitancy and sometimes takes advantage of it.

 

Conceptual Understandings – Reasoning

Reasoning allows us to draw conclusions via a process of deduction but, often falls victim to hidden premises in the form of our experiences and assumptions of the world.

A simple example of the use of deduction to draw conclusions from two premises would be:

If A is Green,

And I am A,

Therefore I am Green.

In this scenario, our premises are “if A is green” and “I am A” and our conclusion would be “I am green”. In such a simple example it is easy to see how we have been able to deduce that I am green as there are two very clear cut premises and very little room for any alternative interpretations of the statements or any hidden meanings of any sort. This would be an example of pure deductive reasoning as there is simply no space for any personal experiences, stereotypes or biases to affect the conclusion. If you are colour blind you can draw this conclusion, if you don’t know the meaning of the word green you will draw this conclusion, and even if you are morally opposed to the concept of green or colour in general, you will draw this conclusion.

However, in the real world it is rarely so clear cut if the premises were (as we saw in class):

A bachelor is an unmarried adult male,

James is 18 years old single, still in high school and living with his parents,

There may be conflicting opinions on whether or not James is a bachelor if we simply follow pure deductive reasoning we will arrive at the conclusion that James is a bachelor as he is an adult, male and unmarried. Here is where our assumptions of the world and personal experiences play a role, we tend to still view him as a minor although he is 18 and a legal adult because he hasn’t yet graduated from high school and because we see him as a minor it is quite ridiculous to expect him to be married. Then on top of this from watching TV and media and reading books the commonly held definition of a bachelor is a playboy type usually in their 20s/30s or an older man who is unmarried, very few people when they hear the term bachelor think of boys in their late teens. This stereotype we hold plays a role in the conclusion we would draw as James doesn’t fit what we would define a bachelor as although he may fit the definition the premises give because he doesn’t fit with our stereotypes and assumptions we conclude that he is not a bachelor.

A line of reasoning being valid does not mean the conclusions drawn are true, as there may be many cognitive biases and personal paradigms or misinformation (gaps or errors in personal knowledge) playing a role throughout the process of drawing conclusions.

There are two forms of reasoning; valid and invalid. An example of valid reasoning would be.

If A is B,

I am A,

Therefore I am B.

This conclusion is clear cut and indisputable with clear links between each statement and an obvious, traceable line of thinking followed. In an instance of invalid reasoning there are usually either no links between the statements (as seen in Example A) or all external factors such as general knowledge, not the assumptions/paradigms we hold, have been ignored (as seen in Example B).

Example A:

Dogs have fur

Cars are blue

Therefore, I like cheese.

Example B:

Australia is in the southern hemisphere.

Australia is a country

Therefore all countries are in the southern hemisphere

In Example A there is clearly no links between any of the statements and no clear line of thinking so the conclusion is invalid but this is, of course, an extreme example, in Example B is that yes there are clear links between the statements and conclusion and a clear line of reasoning to be followed but that doesn’t mean that we have arrived at a true conclusion. This case although it is far fetched does illustrate how gaps in knowledge can play a role in reasoning as any person reading this with basic knowledge of the layout of countries would know that that conclusion is irrefutably false, in this instance your own personal knowledge aids with the process and truth of the conclusion wherein the earlier example people’s personal knowledge was hindering the process of deductive reasoning.

Reason doesn’t create or establish truth but rather leaves a clear, traceable line of thinking that can be used as evidence to strengthen the validity and certainty of the conclusion.

In many instances, perfectly valid reasoning doesn’t result in true conclusions, even if the premises are true (take examples C and D for example). This proves that reasoning does not create truth as if it did false premises with valid reasoning would always result in true conclusions which as we can see in Example C it does not.

Example C:

Cows are Green

The President of the US is a cow

The President of the US is green

Example D:

The Sun is round,

This object is round,     —–> (In this example ‘object’ refers to something such as a ball or vase, not a planet or star)

This object is the Sun

Reasoning does serve a very important purpose in the certainty of the conclusion, however, as in many cases we might show our reasoning to try and convince someone that we are correct and in that case valid reasoning (provided they don’t check the truth of our premises) would help in convincing them that our conclusions are true

Confirmation Biases

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation Bias is when we unknowingly disregard any information that disputes or challenges are current belief or view on that matter and put more value on any information that supports it. A very mundane example of this in my own life would probably be within your standard High School drama, when through your friends etc. you have only heard negative things about a person (possibly because they fought with someone you’re close with) when others tell you good things about them you tend to quickly disregard them and stick with your initial impression of them. On a larger scale, this could be applied to stereotypes of people and their cultures etc.

Belief Bias

Belief Bias is when we think our reasoning or argument for a conclusion we are absolutely certain of is a lot stronger and valid than it really is. A good example of this is when I’m defending my or a friend’s actions or point during an argument and I think I’ve thought of a rock solid argument but when I look back on it properly I realise that I wasn’t actually making much sense and it was quite a weak point especially if I’ve decided that whatever I was defending was actually in the wrong.

Hindsight Bias

Hindsight Bias is when looking back on the past you find everything that happened very easily predictable. A good example of this is when you’re thinking about how or why someone reacted the way they did to something you said/did etc. and suddenly it seems perfectly obvious that that was how they would react, but in the moment that was one of the last things you would’ve thought.

Fundamental Attribution Error

Fundamental Attribution Error or FAE is when we overuse people’s personality to explain their behaviour, especially when that is not the case e.g. saying someone is an atheist when they are given an atheist stance in a debate even if they themselves are religious. An example of this would be; say when you’re listening to a friend rant about someone they had an argument with and you say something along the lines of that’s just who they are, or when you’re explaining somebody’s behaviour by saying the same thing.

Logic + Reason in the Context of Arguments

The structure of any logical argument begins with a number of ‘factual’ statements, (for our purposes we’ll only be using 2 although in real life there are usually a couple of statements) which we are going to refer to as the premises of the argument as they are the statistics, facts or rules that any logical argument is built from. The conclusion of the argument is their stance on the matter, e.g. pro-life or pro-choice and the validity is whether their line of reasoning seems logical and you can clearly see where they have drawn off their original premises if you can’t follow their reasoning or it simply doesn’t match up then their argument is invalid.

The trivial part of this concept is that two people can start with the different yet equally factual and true premises and both follow a logical line of reasoning leading to a valid argument but their logic results in contrasting conclusions. For example on the topic of abortion someone who is pro-life might have the premises that murdering people is wrong and abortion is murder which would lead them to the conclusion that abortion is wrong, which is a valid argument, on the other hand, someone who is pro-choice may have the premises that murder is wrong except in self-defence and abortion is self-defence leading them to a valid conclusion of abortion not being wrong. They are both equally valid arguments yet completely contrasting which is the difficulty here, if you are faced with two equally valid arguments how do you choose one over the other? Personally, I feel that I would go with the one already supports my view of the topic which is a way of placing my own bias onto what is supposed to be a decision made solely on reason and logic. This is how legal systems and really the politics of most countries operate with the big decisions being made in this way which begs the question: how far can logic and reason take us in reality?

Maths Conceptual Understandings

Maths seeks to prove theorems explaining the world of mathematics through a process of deduction and induction.

To keep Maths as close to the ‘truth’ as we can we aim to prove every theorem and new discovery by tracing it back to the core axioms that we hold as certain (note not truth), if there is a clear process leading to the formulae/theorem that clearly follows the laws and axioms of mathematics then we can hold this as certain. The mathematical process of getting from our core axioms to this new formulae or theorem is a process of deduction (especially in the cases of finding a value etc.) and occasionally induction which is simply the process of using different ideas and facts to draw a conclusion which in a mathematical sense could be applying axioms etc.

Maths is a surprisingly social/ collaborative subject yet maintains the individual and solitary subject we stereotypically view it as.

As we saw in the video played to us in class many many mathematical discoveries could simply have never been reached without fellow mathematicians collaborating and publishing their work. In the video Wiles would have never been able to find a solution to Fermat’s last theorem without the research papers and work of mathematicians worldwide (e.g. the Japanese mathematicians) and his fellow colleagues at Cambridge, yet the fact that he isolated himself and worked in secret for 7 years shows the solitary, closed off nature we tend to associate with mathematics and mathematicians.

Although it is not typically seen as one Mathematics has the potential to be an emotional subject with revelations and highs and lows of its own.

People rarely view Mathematics as an emotional subject or one requiring creativity, however, as we saw last class for those who are dedicated and passionate about mathematics it can be a very emotional experience. It was quite a shock to see words such as revelation as this word has religious or at least philosophical connotations when many see mathematics as a subject that should be and mostly is devoid of emotion, much as the sciences are.

Art Conceptual Understandings

The Arts allows us to gain a deeper understanding of other people’s interpretations and perceptions of the world and it’s events in a way that Maths and Science would never be able to.

Believe that all 3 of these subjects serve distinct separate purposes where Art is to entertain, shock and generally both display and invoke emotions, Maths is to make sense of the world around us intern of numbers whereas Science is to explore and understand everything we see in our lives and everything we don’t. This is not to say that the areas don’t overlap; one can easily find beauty in Science and Maths especially as it studies the natural world something which the majority of people find beautiful, however, Art doesn’t have to be beautiful or pleasant at times it displays the artist’s emotions and anguish through it not being visually appealing in the standard ways a startling representation of the realities of war and brutality such as Guernica would never occur when researching Science or Maths, unlike the simple beauty of a flower or a starry night sky.

What Scientist or Mathematicians study may be directly linked to current events, for example, chemical weapons or artillery during a war and Mathematicians may be dedication gather time to breaking down the enemies code, but other than the general if they are developing or combatting these aspects they must be pro-war or defending their country there is no interpretation or perception of the world or it’s events involved in the Scientific Method or the meticulous strategy Mathematicians use. In these subjects especially Science they function best when they are devoid of emotion and heavy influence from an individual. Art however or at least what I believe is good Art aims to invoke emotions in their viewer and display the artist or a factions perceptions of reality (Guernica for example if we’re sticking with the war example), filling in the gaps left behind by Science and Maths.

The Arts seek to make us reconsider the motives of and question authority and whether it’s values and ethics coincide with ours (particularly political Art).

This Conceptual Understanding is most relevant to political Art or pieces that aim to showcase the flaws or open people’s eyes to the realities of society as a whole. The purpose of this Art is not too please our eyes and brighten up the living room, its purpose is to shock us, to force us to think or as one of the videos we watched in the class said Art should “ rip away the scar tissue [of everyday life] and make us bleed”. An example I have for one of these pieces is the song Thoughts and Prayers by grandson which is in response to the Florida school shooting specifically and the lack of action taken by politicians and officials after any mass-shooting due to lobbyists and ties to the NRA or as the song says “money is the motive”. Another example of a song that aims to display the flaws and make people think instead of just  typing thoughts and prayers out of habit rather than anything else, and then letting the incident slip from the front of their minds would be This is America by Childish Gambino which is in protest to once again the shootings that have occurred and the racism felt by the African American community.

Through this Art forces us to at least on a subconscious level to consider if what we are being told, the action or lack of being taken or the legislation being passed etc. is really in line with our personal values and beliefs, and therefore can inspire change.

The Arts allows us to experience more of life than we ever would physically be able to without it, through the use of both personal and shared knowledge.

Physically, there are only so many places we can go to, only so many experiences we can have. Socially being born in one race or class generally means we cannot experience the trials and tribulations of other classes or races even if we know about them, Mentally there is only so much we are willing and capable of doing in our lives. All three of thee aspects form our lives and our experiences to some extent and all three of them limit us and our access to everything this world has to offer and our understanding of the people surrounding us. Art, however, can to some extent share the experiences of others, it is one thing to know racism exists it is another to see or get a sense of the emotions experienced by those who face these issues. For example A Tale of Two Hoodies by Michael D’Antuono. This experience not only broadens our horizons as individuals but helps foster change as it is a lot easier to understand others problems when you can follow their thought process and what has brought them to this point which is impossible with nothing but cold hard facts.

 

Nature of Mathematical Knowledge

Within mathematics the concepts of true and certain are no longer synonyms, well carried out Maths without errors following all the rules or axioms that we have learnt and implemented would be 100% certain but does that make it true? You can be certain of your answer and can trace back the steps you followed to arrive at it and be absolutely certain that your answer is well certain but your answer being true is a completely separate concept.

 

All of Maths stems from axioms which are the ‘rules’ or ‘laws’ of Maths and all of our axioms make sense in the real world or at least on the plane they are supposed to serve their purpose; we can all go and test and see for ourselves that the rule ab=c means c/b=a we can be certain that this rule is accurate but does that mean it is true? Another concept we are all familiar with is the triangle; 3 straight sides, meeting at 3 vertices with all its interior angles adding up to 180 degrees, we now know that is wrong or at least wrong when you draw the triangle onto a sphere then the angles can add up to 270 degrees and other numbers that are a far cry from the 180 we grew up hearing. Yet the idea of 180 degrees is one we still use and apply and it has still brought us to many new formulae and concepts that we can prove our accurate and certain, which leaves the question how can something false yield provable accurate formulas for our reality, and if the base axiom is false isn’t everything derived from it also false?

 

Well no, for all our purposes as long as the triangle remains on a 2D plane it’s angles will add up to approximately 180 degrees and we can use other axioms to explain why for example the parallel lines which by following the axioms of corresponding angles and how angles in a straight line add up to 180 degrees we can easily prove this and it serves our purposes. This relates back to the concepts of truth and certainty within Maths we can be certain of our answers but whether they are true or not rests on the truth of the axioms we used to derive the answer. This sounds simple enough as long as we make sure our axioms are true then all our Maths will be true, but proving the truth of an axiom is incredibly difficult. For years and years, the belief of angles in a triangle adding up to 180 was absolute until Euclides (?) thought to put them on a sphere thus disproving the theory. Perhaps all of our axioms can be proven false in ways we simply haven’t devised yet but for now, they serve our purposes and have given us certain answers and concepts.