Big Bad Code – Dylan

As my class has really jumped into our work, everything has really taken off. We have jumped right in to coding and designing simple “game-like” projects. Our first being a simple maze-like machine in order to practice creating objects and effects. Effects are a lot of fun to work with, not much is quite as satisfying as creating an invisible black hole effect that sucks a marble in.

As you can see there was quite a complex system of parts that were both visible and invisible, allowing for effects that seem to appear out of thin air. This lead to quite a fun element of surprise as the marble was rolling through the maze. Though slightly challenging, that project was quite a lot of fun. Continue reading

Fundamental Theories of Communism–Nina

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In last week’s blog post, I introduced the main topic of my independent seminar “Comparative Research on Development of Communism” and briefly explained my passion for understanding reasons behind varying interpretations of Communism in three countries. A theme of my research will be analyzing historical narratives of those people who experienced Communist rule, with consideration of people living under the systems and those outside of the systems. But before starting to examine Cuba, I believe exploring the basics of the Marxist Theory and different Communist ideologies will prepare me for in-depth research on the three countries. This week, therefore, I began to learn the fundamental theories of Marxism, Communism in Europe, Communism in Latin America, and Maoism.

marx-eng5The founder of Marxism is the German Philosopher, Karl Marx, who belonged to the larger group of Western thinkers that brought new, secularized solutions to questions regarding the human prospects. Inspired to initiate progressive changes pertaining to issues within institutions in Germany, Marx was determined to pursue his path in the field of philosophy. While working as a journalist in Paris, a center of European radicalism,  Marx began his critique on the revolutionary history of France. He soon discovered the “agent” of revolutionary change that was subjected to economic oppression at the time–the proletariat(working class). Due to the private-property-based economy, workers were unable to achieve satisfaction or attain self-development. Marx criticized this alienation of workers’ products and their producers(estrangement)and integrated this theory to later writings with Friedrich Engels. The video in the link above further explains the working conditions in which the more workers worked, the less they gained. This situation propelled Marx’s desire to unite the laborers for a revolution. Marx and Engels asserted in The Communist Manifesto that “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.” According to them, historical process is propelled by class struggles through the evolution of modes of production. They together shaped an ideology of a socialist society and fundamentals of a communist society: devoid of a political state, private property, exchange, and an industrial middle class. But, this theory lacked practical accounts of actual operations in such a system.

The establishment of the Soviet regime in 1917 sparked the spread of communism across the European political sphere, forcing nations to decide whether to accept communism. Communism in Europe began to shift away from Marx’s and Engel’s original theory as the German Communist League collapsed in 1850. Non-Marxists include Peter Kropotkin, a Russian revolutionist who advocated for anarchism and elimination of state and Alexander Herzen, a Russian writer who suggested an agrarian form of socialism and galvanized the peasantry.

Lenin

The rise of Leninism was also a prominent aspect of the development of Communism in Europe. Vladimir Ilich Lenin offered his interpretation of Marxism, considered social circumstances in Russia, and proposed the necessity of a centrally organized party to evoke revolutionary consciousness among the uneducated workers and dedication to promoting active efforts to overturn the capitalist society.

 

Different from the European historical context, the adaptations of Communist systems in Latin America were caused by severe exploitation of the peasant population and an influx of European immigrants. 1890s Latin America instituted a sharply divided two-class structure, increasing productivity, attracting foreign investment and foreign immigrants. Ideas of Marxism also spread through the continent with the arrival of Italian, German, and Spanish immigrants. Starting from the 1930s, leftists parties that supported anti-American nationalism prospered, leading to U.S. intervention in Guatemala to overthrow lefist rule. 

338-0418221405-fidel-obamalikeAs Cuba successfully became the first socialist country in Latin America following the Cuban Revolution, a “Cuban Model” of Communism was born. Under the leadership of Fidel Castro, the government forbade any political dissidence, endorsed improvement policies in areas of health, education, and social mobilization, and employed Guerrilla warfare techniques. However, it is important to note that diverse forms of Communism existed in Latin America, differing largely because of the various historical backgrounds and level of development in the countries themselves.

MaoAnother expression of Marxist ideology is Maoism, which is a broad term that includes Mao Zedong’s  ideologies, political philosophy, and vision towards party leadership in China. Born in a peasant family, Mao was intrigued by tales of rebelling peasants against exploitative middle class and bureaucracy. He became a leading force in rejecting the old Confucian norms of the society which were based on set of social relationships that placed high value on age and order. As Mao witnessed the deterioration of Chinese society under Japanese incursions, he joined the Chinese Communist Party(CCP) during his time in Peking University. His northern expedition and defeat of militarist leaders earned Mao a prominent role in the party. Ambitious Mao adopted series of strategies such as mass mobilization, the Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution. Mao’s emphasis on upholding the peasant class as the driving force of revolution distinguished Maoism from ideologies of Marxism-Leninism that believed in the strength of the urban proletariat. His personal background, China’s historical context, and Mao’s charisma with his tactics of promoting his theory shaped Maoism.

I discovered through my research last week that various socialists and communist leaders around the world all strived to achieve the “perfect” society proposed by Marx and Engels, but the nature of the societies these political leaders lived under and strategies they adopted were distinct from Marxist communism. For example, Lenin applied the fundamentals of Marxist ideology to Russia and brought forth a system ruled by an active, organized party; Castro utilized his understanding of Marxism in developing his Cuban Model based on a central government against the U.S. and directing movements against a divided class structure; Mao implemented his experience in the peasant class into constructing an ideology mobilizing a revolution. The Marxist ideology is indeed only posed as a general formula and a visionary theory that requires other countries’ own adaptations based on their circumstances. Reading overviews of Communism in different areas this week strengthened my understanding of the reasons behind varying applications of Marxist Theory. I also learned to be more aware of the danger of overgeneralizing the term “Communism” because of the underlying diversity that is often overlooked. With this realization in mind, I would begin my research this week on Cuban Communism and its expression of the Marxist Theory in depth!

Citations:

Image:

Agastia, Dharma. Managing communist-phobia in Indonesia. The Jarkata Post, 3 Feb. 2017, http://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2017/02/03/managing-communist-phobia-in-indonesia.html. Accessed 10 Sept. 2018.

Berry, Sam. Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels – The Communist Manifesto. 22 July 2015.Communist Leaders. 2 June 2017. Steam Artwork, Valve Corporation, steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=938329002.

Vladimir Lenin. 31 Aug. 2017. marinaamaral, MARINA AMARAL, http://www.marinamaral.com/blog/2017/8/31/vladimir-lenin. Accessed 24 Sept. 2018.

Rott, Ivan. Cuban communists approve landmark econ reforms. Freedom Phenix.com, Ernest Hancock, 18 Apr. 2011, http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/News/088028-2011-04-18-cuban-communists-approve-landmark-econ-reforms.htm. Accessed 24 Sept. 2018.

Mao Zedong. Liberapedia, liberapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Mao_Zedong. Accessed 24 Sept. 2018.

Video:

Karl Marx on Alienation. Produced by BBC Radio 4, 2015. Youtube, 2018 YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ4VzhIuKCQ. Accessed 23 Sept. 2018.

Sources:

Jian, Chen. “Maoism.” New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, edited by Maryanne Cline Horowitz, vol. 4, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2005, pp. 1335-1341. Gale Virtual Reference Library, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX3424300450/GVRL?u=west66701&sid=GVRL&xid=24b05b85. Accessed 24 Sept. 2018.

Megill, Allan. “Marxism: Overview.” New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, edited by Maryanne Cline Horowitz, vol. 4, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2005, pp. 1357-1364. Gale Virtual Reference Library, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX3424300454/GVRL?u=west66701&sid=GVRL&xid=80088e12. Accessed 24 Sept. 2018.

Rees, Tim. “Communism: Europe.” New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, edited by Maryanne Cline Horowitz, vol. 2, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2005, pp. 414-421. Gale Virtual Reference Library, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX3424300151/GVRL?u=west66701&sid=GVRL&xid=18462c2e. Accessed 24 Sept. 2018.

Wiarda, Howard J., and Esther M. Skelley. “Communism: Latin America.” New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, edited by Maryanne Cline Horowitz, vol. 2, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2005, pp. 421-424. Gale Virtual Reference Library, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX3424300152/GVRL?u=west66701&sid=GVRL&xid=d26bb6c1. Accessed 24 Sept. 2018.

Compiling Materials and a Procedure – Nick

    The past two weeks have been anything but dull. Whether it was doing addition background research, watching videos of people building acrylic tanks, or reading in textbooks saying that ocean acidity could possibly not be a factor in the effect on the growth of corals worldwide. However, the most taxing task throughout these two weeks has been compiling a materials list and a long-term procedure. Continue reading

Socio-political research on birth rates – Jason

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    I grew up hearing that my home country, Japan, is aging. I grew up being told that people of my generation would have to support older generations’ social welfare in the future. At the same time, however, I had never felt a serious sense of danger until I started studying abroad. As I lived 6000 miles away from my home, the notion of my country steadily aging and shrinking on the other side of the globe suddenly became alarming to me. The concern for my country eventually became a motivation for me to start conducting research on dissecting determinants of birth rates from an interdisciplinary approach.

Continue reading

The Website – Alina

how-to-setup-website

Hey guys, welcome back! You might remember that in my last blog I mentioned a study-hall sign-in website, which is part of the main focus of my project, and I promised to come back with more details on that, so here I am. Before I dive in though, I just want to provide some quick updates on my quest for answers regarding the manipulated plane ticket prices. Continue reading

Why We Changed Our Name – Sabrina

I changed the name of my nonprofit from Project G.I.R.L to The Girl Narrative this previous summer 2018, and I don’t think I could have made a better decision for my business.


For the first 4 months of being Project G.I.R.L, things were going as any new business was going; we were beginning to build our foundation, our audience, and our marketing plan for the future. Later on, there were several issues that presented themselves that caused me to seriously reconsider our name.

 

1. Project G.I.R.L is great…but it’s generic

 

a. When I really got to thinking about it, When you hear the name Project G.I.R.L, you have no idea what we do, who we are, or what our goals are. It is beautiful and fantastic but is overall too generic. When you are building the foundation of your business there are two incredibly important things you need to have: consistency and clarity.  

 

2. There were other organizations that had similar names

 

a. I remember when I was interviewing Gauri Kapoor, CEO and founder of the after-school program The Girl and I (read our article about her daughter in the program here!), she got confused because she tried to look us up, but found another nonprofit organization. This was also not a one-time-incident. We were constantly confused with other organizations that sounded similar or had similar elements to Project G.I.R.L

 

3. Our message wasn’t clear

 

a. This is the biggest reason that we changed our name. Project G.I.R.L tells you nothing about what we want to achieve or why we are important. You would be able to guess that we had something to do with young female empowerment, but other than that, you would have no idea what we do.

LOGOThe Girl Narrative is unique, our own, and clearly states what we do. We TELL the Girl Narrative. We tell the stories of strong young women to inspire girls to be limitless. Now, with our new name, our partners like March Against Revenge Porn, Nonprofit Jenni, Live Girl (and more!), our audience, and our future customers (HINT! HINT!) will be able to find us, know us, and connect with us better. It doesn’t make it effortless, running a business is never effortless, but it does make things a little easier.

Signature

Sabrina Schoenborn 

CEO and Founder of

The Girl Narrative


Citations:

Kapoor, Gauri. “Home.” The Girl And I, http://www.thegirlandi.com/.

Schoenborn, Sabrina “Mahika Chopra.” The Girl Narrative,

https://thegirlnarrative.com/mahika-chopra/

Juliett, Leah. “#MARCH AGAINST REVENGE PORN.” March Against Revenge Porn,

marchagainstrevengeporn.org/.

Hargrove, Jenni. “Home.” Nonprofit Jenni, http://www.nonprofitjenni.com/.

West, Sheri. “Home.” LiveGirl, golivegirl.org/.

Schoenborn, Sabrina “Home.” The Girl Narrative, http://www.thegirlnarrative.com/.

 

 

 

Medicine in Ancient Civilizations– Yuchen

In the past week, I focused on exploring the origin of medicine from various ancient civilizations. The field of medicine is by no mean a modern product of scientific advancements, but rather a product built upon the accumulated knowledge of human civilizations for more than one million years. Continue reading

Genitourinary Cancer Research – Dhillon

From an early age, my family was touched by cancer, one of the most infamous diseases in the world and one of the leading causes of death in the world. I was first directly impacted by cancer when I was eight years old, and my grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I witnessed the struggles he endured both physically and mentally from his prostate cancer, and the chemotherapy treatment he underwent. However, he was undeterred and due to the great care he received and his strong will; his cancer went into complete remission.  

I continued to be fascinated by cancer and how our own bodies can seemingly create a disease out of itself. My interest in cancer, however, was further propelled when I was introduced to Dr. Sumanta Pal – an esteemed oncologist at the City of Hope Hospital in Duarte, California who specializes in genitourinary cancer, serves as the co-director of City of Hope’s Kidney Cancer Program, and has multiple patents. During the summer of my Freshman year, I was fortunate to intern under Dr. Pal, and analyzed the social dialogue of prostate cancer within Twitter. Since then I have continued my relationship with Dr. Pal and have continued to learn about cancer and the many different forms of treatment. Continue reading

Bank Account Model – Baiting

In the past two weeks, I continued my learning on First Order Linear Differential Equations. In this blog, I will focus on the Bank Account Model. If you find this blog is interesting and would like to learn more from my primary source, please go here.

Bank Account Model:

When you are putting money into your bank account, what would you care about the most? While I guess the answer for me and many will be the interest. So in this model, we will look at the logarithm behind the (theoretical) interest system. Continue reading

1968: An Intro To My Research – Nawal

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I am finally able to start my independent seminar! This first post is more of an explanation and outline of what I will be doing, rather than me beginning research. This semester I will be studying around 3-5 different events from the year 1968 and doing in depth research into them and seeing how they affect the present. I have decided to focus on events in the US rather than around the world, since it is what interests me the most.   Continue reading