We’re Going On An Adventure! (To SFU)

Another day, another blog post.

We went on a field trip to SFU recently, and it was a lot of fun. Personally, my goal wasn’t actually to get books for my eminent person study, because she is so unknown to the general public that I assumed there wasn’t going to be any books about her. And I was right. So instead of focusing on the library aspect of it, I readied myself for being on a university campus and bonding with my classmates.

I would say the theme of this trip was knowledge, because we spent our time visiting the museum at SFU, searching their library and learning about the school. I learned how to use the book locating devices and that will help me when I need to check out books from my local library.

Enjoy some pictures from the trip!

 

From the museum
Haida stone carvings. Thought this was particularly interesting after having visited Haida Gwaii
Me and Emma being cool kids

 

 

 

Some food from our delicious Indian restaurant

 

 

Emma finds lots of books about her eminent person, Frida Kahlo

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing…

23 Sep 1969, Los Angeles, California, USA. Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
23 Sep 1969, Los Angeles, California, USA. Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Angela Davis: Political activist, scholar, social justice extraordinaire – and still going strong. Here’s a little background info about her life and rally for social and political change:

Born 1944, currently 70 years of age. Angela lived in Birmingham, Alabama USA, an area well known for segregation and nicknamed “Dynamite Hill” for the bombings it went through. She grew up in a tight knit black community, surrounded by her mother and community leaders, all of whom were influenced by the Communist Party. She was also influenced by her professor Herbert Marcuse in university, where she was 1 out of 3 black students in her class. Her first encounter with the FBI was an interview after attending a communist-sponsored international event for a youth and students festival. She became an assistant professor of philosophy at UCLA but was fired for her political associations with communism. When it was ruled that she couldn’t be fired for her politics, the regents of the university fired her for “use of inflammatory language” in her lectures. She was later arrested and charged for kidnapping, conspiracy  and murder when a guns used in a kidnapping attempt were traced to be registered under her name.

Being a woman, Angela Davis got a lot of notoriety as one of the “Top Ten Most Wanted Women” on the FBI’s list.

However, she did not take part in the kidnapping and was cleared after supporters of her cause rose up in protest of her imprisonment. That was the defining moment of her career. After being in a US prison, her passion about the social justice system solidified, and she has committed herself to this work for nearly her entire life.

 

I’m hoping this project will lead me into learning more about justice, and the different ideas people have about it. As I learn more about Angela Davis’s work, I intend to be doing some work of my own researching who decides how the justice system works, how we are currently fulfilling “justice” with our justice system, and what challenges it faces and points that can be improved on. Because of my eminent person’s area of expertise, I will probably focus on prisons specifically. For the same reason I’ll look at racial discrimination and inter-racial tensions in the justice system.

The Ferguson shooting is an example of how, even now, unter-racial tensions are still very much present within the justice system.
The Ferguson shooting is an example of how, even now, inter-racial tensions are still very much present within the justice system.

If I have time, I may dig deeper into my own wonders about culture: how can we preserve it without singling out or stereotyping individuals based on it? Last year, Lyle’s word sonder tied into this topic really well – but more on that later.

 In some ways, Angela Davis and I are worlds apart, despite both living on the same continent. She’s black, I’m white. Nowadays we may not consider this to be that different, but as the Ferguson shooting proved, there are still many inter-racial tensions between black and white peoples. Also, in Angela Davis’s lifetime, she experienced the segregated schools and black/white zoning that was commonplace in the 50s and 60s. Black people were:

  • more likely to get arrested for the same crimes as white people
  • rarely ever got paid as much as whites
  • and were denied economic loans made available to white people

Our age gap also separates us, and I have both the privilege of being white and the era of equality. However, this supposed era highlights the similarities between us: we’re both female. Though more acceptable today, feminism is still a widely spread issue, and takes place throughout all genders (not just women). angela-davisquotecompositebymeOn top of this, we were both born into middle-class families, and while schooling was definitely more difficult for her due to segregated schools, we both have the financial stability to go to post-secondary schools. This obviously opens up a lot more options for a career, and intellectual discussion for society’s advancement.

We both want to make a positive change in the world; however, in different areas. Angela was very politically involved from a young age, being in communist youth groups and growing up with politics embedded in her family life. I’m not – I’m more into sustainability and the environment. It’s only recently that I’ve started to take interest in politics since I’m getting closer to the voting age, and of course Mr. J has helped me realize that we need more people to care about where the country is headed.

As Dr. Seuss said in The Lorax, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

 

My personal learning goals for the year are to broaden my horizons and take meaningful risks. I’m curious about the prison-industrial complex, and why it is easier to go to jail than get a public education. Seriously, does that sound right to you?

The prison-industrial complex is a termed coined by Angela Davis to describe the state of prisons in the US.
The prison-industrial complex is a termed coined by Angela Davis to describe the state of prisons in the US.

Eminent will help especially with developing me interpersonal and technology skills when preparing for interviews, and gathering resources and synthesizing information. I’m going to try and connect to more people this year, have more informal discussions with classmates, and reach a mutual understanding between my person and myself about how we relate to each other. Hopefully this project will lead to the discovery of new interests, and go in-depth on the passions I share with Angela Davis: equality and acceptance. I want to develop my understanding of  who I am, what I really believe in, and find or make a place for myself in the world – though I suppose that’ s more of a life goal than one for just this year!

Eminent 2014-Meet Margaret Sangar

Another year, another eminent person, and I’m actually excited this time! Well, not that I wasn’t excited last time, but as Mr. Jackson so wonderfully explained it- sometimes we mistake excitement for nervousness. I’m not entirely sure why I’ve identified as excited rather than nervous this year- maybe it was the success of last year’s eminent, maybe it’s because I know what to expect, maybe it’s because I’m very interested in my person- Margaret Sanger.

 

MargaretSanger-Underwood.LOC

 

Margaret Sanger was born in 1879 in Corning, New York, one of the eleven children born to a working class Irish Catholic family. Her mother passed away from tuberculosis when she was nineteen, at the age of only 50 years due to the strain caused by eleven childbirths and seven miscarriages. It was this firsthand experience that prompted Margaret Sanger’s support for the legalization of birth control. Her beliefs about contraceptives were furthered after being witness to the dangerous back-alley abortions that poor immigrant women were faced with during unwanted pregnancies while working as a visiting nurse in New York City’s Lower East Side.

Right around this time, a law know as the “Comstock Act” was in place, one that criminalized contraceptives, making Margaret Sanger’s beliefs literally illegal, and she spent most of her life fighting this law. By the time Sanger got into her senovideventies she had won many legal victories, but birth-control options were still limited. She wished for an easily accessible and usable pill for contraception, and now was not only concerned about women’s health, but also about the possible effects of excess population growth on the world’s limited natural resources, something we still struggle with in the modern day. This wish was granted in 1951 when Sanger met Gregory Pincus, a expert in human reproduction that was willing to attempt the creation of a contraceptive pill, as well as a sponsor, Katherine McCormick, a well known suffragist that Sanger had known since 1917. Their efforts led to the first oral contraceptive in 1960, known as Enovid, and, four years later, the removal of the Comstock Act.

 

So there you have a brief auto biography of this woman who managed to do so much with her time on earth. I guess I chose her because first of all, the whole issue of birth control/population growth is a really interesting topic to me, as a female who will have to make the choice of having kids later in my life and as a human on planet earth that is responsible for the effects of a large human population. And perhaps it’s also somewhat linked to my value of freedom- the idiocy of not allowing the use of harmless technology for the reason that it gives women power. Power simply over their own bodies, which to me seems like common sense, but I realize that I take this for granted. For the longest time, women were not allowed control over their own bodies, but Margaret Sangar was able to give women their rights, empowering women across the globe. Having just come back from a We Day where the theme was empowerment, I realize that it’s one of the most useful gifts you can give. Simply, it’s the gift of opportunity.

 

I realize the topic of contraceptives is a bit controversial. I believe in something that others may not, but my goal for this project is to become comfortable with expressing my beliefs and values. I want to be able to talk in front of a room full of people about something I support, without fearing the fact that some might disagree, because I need to learn to tell myself that that’s okay, and having a topic like this is really going to force me to achieve it.

 

Happy Eminent!

(It sounds like a holiday, should it be a holiday? We should make it a holiday)

 

 

 

 

My Eminent Person – Larry Page

“Basically, our goal is to organize the world’s information and to make it universally accessible and useful.”
– Larry Page
Co-founder and CEO, Google

Picture of Larry Page
Picture of Larry Page, co-founder of Google

I’m pretty sure everyone reading this post has heard of Google before – the search engine responsible for providing with all the information we will ever need. One of the minds behind this revolutionary site, is none other than Larry Page; 41 year old entrepreneur, computer scientist, and the co-founder of Google. As of 2014, his net worth is estimated to being an whopping 32.7 billion dollars.

Larry Page was born in East Lansing, Michigan on the 26th of March 1973. Both of his parents, Carl Victor Page (father) and Gloria Page (mother), were computer experts. Though both parents were computer experts, it was his father – a professor and pioneer of computer science and artificial intelligence, that sparked his interest when he gave young Larry a computer of his own at age 6. He led a normal life, and ended up graduating from the University of Michigan, with a bachelor of computer engineering. Larry was passionate about technology, and after working for a few years in the tech industry, 24 year old Larry Page decided to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science at Stanford University, where he met his friend and colleague – Sergey Brin.

While pursuing his Ph.D, he had to decide on a dissertation theme. Together with Sergey Brin, they came up with the idea of linking web pages together, along with extracting patterns from large amounts of data. This project was initially called “BackRub”, where the two explored backlinks and weighing the importance of a site. Consecutively, the PageRank algorithm was created (names after Larry Page), and two pair decided that they could build upon and improve the search engine that was currently in use. They later renamed BackRub into Google (derived from the term googol meaning a 1 followed with 100 zeroes). In 1996, the first version of Google came out. It looked something like this:

Early version of the Google search engine

Not the most appealing, but this was the backbone of what Google is today. They raised over a million dollars from family, friends, and various other investors, Larry Page and Sergey Brin were ready to bring this project into the commercial world. They founded Google in 1998, and the site was receiving over 10,000 searches / day. Though Google started in Larry’s garage, it quickly moved to a few offices followed by an entire complex named Googleplex – the famous headquarters in Mountain View, California that provides even recreational and exercising facilities! Google continued to flourish and in August of 2004, Google went public with an IPO that raised over $1.67 billion. In 2006,  Google became a company of more than 10,000 employees, and an annual over income over $10 billion. To this day Google has acquired technology giants such as Android, Motorola, VirusTotal, and most importantly, YouTube.

Now, why did I choose Larry Page? First of all, he’s the definition of eminent, meaning that if I think about the most eminent person I know of, that would be either Larry Page or Sergey Brin. I find that Larry has a lot in common with me (notably interests in technology). As a grade nine, I’m still not sure to this day what I want to be and how I will achieve that. I believe that the eminent study of Larry Page will answer many questions I have. Unlike many projects I’ve done in the past, I’m really excited to begin my study on Larry Page.

Eminent Person 2014 Intro Post – Banksy

I set into my Eminent Person 2014 project with a goal in mind, and that was to do this year with passion, ideally a lot more of that than last years. So for this reason, I’ve chosen someone who I frankly care a lot more about than my Eminent person last year – Jimmy Wong.

My Eminent person this year has one little twist, and that’s that no one actually knows he is.

Banksy, my eminent person this year, is a world famous graffiti artist operating in England. He is however, completely anonymous and despite his blatant displays of work on public walls and other spaces that have large regular traffic, has never been caught. Banksy is known for his contempt of government labeling graffiti as vandalism, and his work primarily involves satirical works on government, poverty, and social justice.

There is only a little information available about Banksy, most of it from the book Banksy’s Bristol: Home Sweet Home. According to the book, Banksy is a male born in 1974, he was born and raised in Bristol, and was the son of a photocopier technician. He was trained as a butcher, but became involved with graffiti during the ‘Great Bristol Aeresol Boom of the 1980’s’.

Bansky has never sold his work, although many auctioneers have sold the graffiti works to buyers, with some ‘pieces’ selling for as high as £30, 000. These deals are under questionable legality and the actual removal of the work before it is covered up or washed off by city workers is left to the buyer. To me, this shows Banksy is not interested in money, as he could easily be making a lot of bank (haha) off of these pieces, but chooses not to. I believe he is far more invested in the cause of spreading awareness of the issues he paints about than in the fame or money he has the potential to accrue as a result.

I am interested in studying Banksy, because becoming as eminent as he has without ever revealing his identity shows me he has a sort of humbleness that not every person of his stature might have at this point in their career. I respect that about him and find his views on issues interesting and similar to mine.

Because there is so little information on Banksy, I can’t draw many conclusions between the two of us besides our views on the world. He has painted images talking about public display of gay affection (See police picture above), poverty, first world versus third world, and much more.

Over the next few weeks, I will be going much more in-depth into the work of Banksy. My goals for the project are to go into the idea of being both eminent and anonymous, and modern eminence in a man who is still alive.

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Introducing your Eminent Person

My Eminent Person Is:

David Suzuki

DrSuzuki-computerSm

  • Reference to goals or intentions for the project.

I want to know how his knowledge of being a zoologist, and mainly an environmentalist, changed the world into a better place and how the ecosystem can become a more eco-friendly place.

  • Reflections on similarities or differences in race, gender, class, religious faith, or significant aspects of eminent persons life and your own.
    • Similarities:
  1. Japanese Canadian
  2. Male
  3. Atheist
  4. Wears jeans a lot.
    • Differences:
  1. Has a Ph.D in zoology
  2. Has had his own radio station AND TV show
  3. Won an Alternative Nobel Prize
  4. Is known as “Eminent”
  •  Personal goals for learning throughout the year.

I want to have better time management and LEARN