English – Danny Raven Tan

My second Writer’s Fortnight session was extremely different from the first one. Danny Raven Tan is a Singaporean artist. I found myself identifying with him quite a lot in the beginning. He talked about how he believes in passion and expression, which I completely agreed with. When he moved on, he talked about his own story. He dealt with pancreatic cancer, his mother has dementia and his father passed away. His story was very moving and he said that he had once hated the reminders of his struggles in the past, like the scar on his body. But someone brought to his attention that scars are just your survival stories and that, “every scar tells a story.” This really influenced his art work, not in the sense that he painted about cancer and things he struggled with, he realised what it meant to live and what it meant to feel like you were dying and he portrayed that in his paintings. I thought this was quite an interesting way of expressing what you have been through. I love art, I love to draw and I doodle all the time and although I’m not so serious about painting and doing it for a living, it is a really big part of me and it is a way I express myself and my thoughts when I’m forced into silence. I thought that I could even use what he said and his way of expressing in my songs.

English – Marc Nair

At first I was a bit confused because I didn’t really know what to expect. To be honest I was wondering whether I would be a bit bored, despite the fact that I love writing. I ended up really enjoying listening to Marc Nair’s experiences and his poems and how he tries to be different from other writers. I thought it was cool how he started off saying what other writers did and how he was going to do it differently and I liked that because it was something different and his poems were just as unique. I thought that his writing style was unique in the sense that he was so incredibly descriptive and although he was so descriptive, sometimes it would seem as if he outlined what he was talking about instead of going right through the middle. But that didn’t take away from the message and the effect of his poems. I also found myself comparing his poems to my own, and the songs that I write. With my poems and songs, it’s often really hard for people to understand what I’m writing about and what the actual message is because my descriptions are so vague that you really have to think about every word and how they each have a different meaning. I liked how I thought that he seemed to outline a subject slightly, because I know that I do the same, except on a much higher level. I enjoyed listening to how he used the descriptive words to paint a picture, something that I don’t do very often when writing poems because I feel like when I hear poems that means that I have to have minimal writing. But listening to him recite his poems and proving my instinctive thoughts was refreshing and I was inspired to create something similar where I really do push the boundaries. When writing poems, I also find it very difficult to break out of rhyming everything. I think this is because of how I’ve grown so used to writing songs, which is why it was interesting to see how Marc Nair created a piece of writing that was so obviously a poem, but didn’t have the same structure that I was used to writing myself.

People often lean towards their habits and what they are comfortable with, and you can especially fall into that habit when creating art. But art is about expression, no matter what form and he was able to identify those habits and try and break away from them.

DP – About Me Page

(My ‘About Me’ page for my partner, Cara, is currently incomplete)

This is my current About Me Page for Cara. It is incomplete because I was having trouble thinking of a good way to display information that was pleasing to the eye and not too cluttered. It was challenging because there is a lot of information that has to fit in a small amount of space so I was trying to think of different ways I could make this work.

English – Article Analysis Reflection

Q1: In what way did this lesson help advance your understanding?

It definitely made me more aware of just how many sides you can look at a story. It also helped me to understand how to identify bias and fact and separate them.

Q2: In what way did this lesson make you question your previous learning?

I usually just read one or two articles and they are similar so I build my own opinion on the situation through that, but there are so many other stories and people and perspectives to consider until you can get close to the truth of a situation.

Q3: In what ways has this lesson inspired you?

It has inspired me to be more careful when I read articles on the internet to get information because when I write my own things based on the articles I have looked at, I don’t want my readers to be absorbing knowledge that isn’t close to 100% true.

Q4: What are you still unsure about?

I’m unsure of whether I am actually good enough at identifying features in articles that tell me more about the author and where they are coming from when they write.

Geography – Three Gorges Opinions

In terms of the Three Gorges, I think that it was almost equally positive and negative. Out of the three categories, social, economic, and environmental, the disadvantages outweighed the advantages.

Social disadvantages: the Three Gorges caused flooding in villages and is not aesthetically pleasing so the villagers don’t like it. The Three Gorges caused cracks in village buildings and houses, making villagers afraid for their safety and their family member’s safety. The cracks make it very hard to keep warm at night in the winter because it allows the cold to seep in. Many homes have been lost because the Three Gorges dam caused the water level to rise meaning that some houses went under water.

So although the Three Gorges provides water to a 12th of the world’s people, the people living nearby have to suffer the consequences. I think that the wellbeing of the people who live near the dam are a lot more important because their lives are the ones that are being negatively affected, and there are a lot more ways to provide energy.

Environmental disadvantages: There are many environmental impacts such as, rubbish floating into the river, water level rising, and natural disasters becoming more severe. This has caused annual fluctuations – an increase and decrease in water which affects the soil, making it unstable. Landslides can happen due to this, and collapse into the river, causing water to rise even higher, therefore putting more houses under the water. China’s carbon emissions were also high due to this, but they are currently trying to reduce it. Also another negative effect, which I think is really upsetting, is that the Yangtzee river dolphin is extinct. With the help of the Three Gorges dam.

There are so many negative environmental impacts which completely outweigh the one advantage which is that it’s renewable. The Earth gave them the Yangtzee river in the first place, why are they destroying it in return? 

Economic disadvantages: The government needs to pay for the repairs of the cracks in townspeople’s homes since they themselves can’t afford it. The costs for making the dam were very high, around 22.5 billion US dollars. In the winter there isn’t much electricity, and a few more disadvantages.

The economic advantages outweigh the disadvantages but I think that there are many other ways that electricity could be created that is more environmentally friendly and is not so taxing on the townspeople.

Overall, I think that all the time and money going into making the Three Gorges dam was a bit of a waste because they could have put all that effort into something that doesn’t effect the environment and the townspeople as negatively.

English – Video Storywriting

We had to write a story in English based on what we observed happening in a video. The video had no sound and it was quite fuzzy so it was hard to tell what was happening but here is my story:

I watched from above. Today, the variety of different people who walked in through the swinging doors of the store had only one thing in common: shorts and a t-shirt. Gone were the warm jumpers and snow covered coats, now small dresses and skin-baring clothed people walked around the store.

I noticed two people in front of my everlasting eyes. I watched them cruise around, before focusing their attention on a small, aluminium box. I had seen these men before. One was a giant, always wearing the same red cap on his head. The other had long brown hair that brushed over his ears. I often saw them look intently at these aluminium boxes. I thought nothing of it as they usually walked past it. Today was different. They both peered over at the cashier, where a short man stood, with a small white name tag saying: Flinn. Flinn often seemed kind to the customers, always giving a smile.

The two men swung the small door open, grabbed a few drinks and tried to hurry away to the door, where they could escape. But they had been just a second too late as Flinn caught them making their way past the cashier, two bottles in hand. He confronted them and asked them to pay. The red capped man grabbed the front of Flinn’s shirt and growled, pushing him into a candy laden stand before both he and his friend stalked out of the store door in victory.

I wrote in the perspective of the security camera and we had to write a story in 20 minutes, and were only allowed to write 250 words, and not a word over.

Word count:  247

DP – Technology, Friend or Foe?

DP – Technology, Friend or Foe?

The big question for today is, “does Replika have the potential to teach us how to be a better friend?”

Replika is an artificial intelligence app that you can talk to. After many hours of speaking to it, it starts to act like you.

I’m honestly quite sceptical about being able to be good friends with a robot in your phone. We spend so long building friendships and trust in real life, but what would it be like just to sit down and text something for so long that you start to feel like it’s a real person. It is a robot, and if anyone else had access to whatever conversations you were having, they could possibly learn a lot of personal things about you, if you had those sorts of conversations with your robot. We watched a video on how Replika came to be and what it does. I did think that Replika could be good because you could vent to the AI without being worried that they were going to judge you. When I was reading an article on it, I picked up a quote that linked to my few positive opinions on it. “Create a best friend within your phone.” If you use the app then it is possible that you get to make a new best friend and that relationship would be built because the AI would get to know you and all of your experiences. I don’t like the idea that you can talk to AI that is so smart and so human-like that you could possibly and eventually start to feel like it is one. I am curious about but also very uneasy. In the video they said, “in some ways Replika is a better friend than your real friend,” but in my opinion, I would never want to let that happen. It’s weird for someone to become so attached to something that is pretending to be human. I wouldn’t want to lose connections with my friends whom I have spent many years getting to know. What makes my friends better is that they can physically be there for me and they understand emotionally.

I chose to have this picture in my post because in my opinion, if we keep going down this path of trying to make AI seem like humans, it could lead to robots having their own mind. I don’t mean the robot apocalypse but it would be really weird if robots started living among us as humans.

Here is a video of what people think is the best and worst thing about technology in terms of friends:

A question I have for you is:

Would you mind having an AI for a best friend, instead of all your friends in real life?


Physics – What would it be like to fall into a black hole?

If you were ever to go near a black hole, the gravitational pull would grow larger and you would start to feel your feet pressed against the floor of your spaceship harder. The closer you get to it, the more your body starts to stretch out due to a force called tidal force. Eventually the tidal forces would grow so strong that they would rip you apart.

If someone were to watch you fall into the black hole, they wouldn’t actually ever see you reach it. As you’re falling towards the black hole, the gravity would cause any light coming from you to be redshifted. This means that you would seem more and more red as you get closer to the black hole. You would be harder to see and harder to identify.

TEDx Finishing The Poster

We were continuing to make the TEDx poster, but this time trying to see if we could fit in any of the quotes we wrote down during the beginning of the lesson when we watched a video with the man who started the quest for a World Peace Day, Jeremy Gillie. My three quotes were:

  1. “This has to stop.” – Talking about violence
  2. “They were the people who believed in peace.” – Talking about Afghanistan
  3. “By working together we can create peace one day.” – This is the one I chose

We didn’t really talk to our partners about it but I do think that I needed to because I was really unsure about how I to add the quote in. Here is the presentation on my process in making the TEDx poster.

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