Eminent Library Trip

I frankly came into this trip expecting to achieve next to nothing. This way, it’s nearly impossible to be disappointed with the results, no matter how bad they may be. Out of the four suggested categories of what we may want to get out of the trip, I decided to go with inspiration and bonding, however I would have been fine with only achieving one of them.

I doubted that SFU would carry books on Bill Nye, and I was half right. They did indeed carry three different books about Bill Nye, however they were all about a man that died sometime in 1930. I had high hopes for the book entitled “Bill Nye’s western humor”, but it turns out that book was also about our grave bound friend. Was there any relation between the modern day TV host and the pile o’ bones Bill?

I have no clue
As far as experience on a University campus goes, I wasn’t really in search of that either. This is because I live around a thirty minute walk away from the place, and I’ve already done multiple activities up there, ranging from leadership courses to diving. I didn’t have high hopes for finding anything new and exciting from our brief stay on campus.

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This left me with inspiration and peer bonding. Strangely enough, I found both of these in abundance, and in the same places. It was not the museum, tour or library that inspired me, but rather it was an all you can eat buffet and a trip on the big yellow sardine can. Many would be able to see how those promote bonding, but for an eminent person study they seem about as inspiring as a thesis on bricks. However, I found them inspiring in a way that I would not have expected. These two event created the theme of my trip: Fun. Although this is EXACTLY what we were told the trip was not meant to be about, I found my inspiration through fun.

By embarking on a project based trips, you associate your experiences on the trip with the project. For example’ If I were to be abducted by extra-terrestrials on the trip, I would then associate the eminent person project with alien abductions and human experimentation. i would longer enjoy the project, rather I would want to stay away from it. However, if I got to drive rally cars on the trip, I would associate the eminent person project with rally cars,, and I would very much so want to do the project again. This is why I found my fun experiences to be important, since they will influence how I think about the project. So what were these fun experiences?

First off would be the ride on the school bus, where we played charades and talked about “boy things”. Did I bond with peers? Yes. Was it fun? Certainly. Was it inspiring? Of course it was, I just spent the last quarter of this post explaining why having fun was inspiring.

Next is the Indian buffet, where i ate as much naan bread in one sitting as an actual Indian family of four would eat in a few days. This, to me, was blissfully fun. Next to me there was also an ancient ritual of testosterone pumped males known as an “eating contest”, which was also quite fun to watch. The meal also involved peer bonding, allowing me to check off both inspiration and bonding from the to do list.

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Throughout this trip, I think I learned next to nothing. Nothing that I expected to learn about at least. I cam prepared to rigorously study facts about a quirky scientist, but instead I became educated in what I think is even more important. I learned how these experiences can truly change someone’s perspective. For me, that is making the eminent person study seem more interesting, and more fun. This will strongly influence my eminent person study, as I will now be much more willing to dive deep into it, since I now associate it with positive things. I also learned more about some of my new classmates, and a bit more about some I had known from previous schools.

But most importantly, I learned to check the weather forecast before embarking on a partially outdoor trip.

Eminent 2014- Jane Austen

Is it already that time? The time that every 10 has warned me about? Is it already time to start eminent? I can’t really tell if I’m excited or not. I know I’m definitely nervous, maybe a little nauseous, and, quite possibly, eager. I also can’t tell if this eagerness is due to the fact I want to finish eminent so I can stop stressing or that I’m genuinely excited. But, nonetheless, I must step onto the crazy roller coaster that is the eminent project and get it done.

While slaving away on the computer, searching for the ideal eminent person to study, I found nothing. As I was trying to clear my mind, I decided to take a step away from all the homework and instead, read a book. Ironically, the book I happened to pick up was none other than “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen. At the time, I was half way done “Pride and Prejudice”. I thought to myself that if I enjoyed the book so much, I should do Jane Austen for my eminent project and research her life story and what inspired her to write books so that when I finished “Pride and Prejudice”, I would have a better overall understanding on the plot, characters, and the book in general. This is when I introduce you to my brilliant eminent person, Jane Austen.

Drawn portrait of Jane Austen by her older sister Cassandra
Drawn portrait of Jane Austen by her older sister Cassandra

Jane Austen, born on December 16, 1775 in Steventon, a village in Hampshire, England, was an English writer whose novels and short stories have secured her a spot as one of the most read English novelists. She was born to Reverend George Austen and Cassandra Austen as the second youngest of eight children, six boys and two girls. Growing up, Jane lived in a tight-knit family, receiving a better education then most women of her time. At the age of 8, in 1783, Jane and her sister Cassandra were sent off to a boarding school to receive the basics of education for females which included a foreign language (French), music, and dancing. The rest of Jane’s education came from what her father and older brothers taught her and, of course, from her own reading. In the Austen household, it was common for them to act out plays and write their own. It can only be assumed that from these plays, Jane got her talents of improvisations, observation, and acting.

In 1787, Jane started taking more interest in writing her own stories, keeping them in notebooks for the future. These consisted of short stories, plays and poems that allowed Jane to focus on shorter writings before venturing onto novels and to also entertain by reading them out loud to her family. Unknown to Jane, the collection of stories and poems on those pages would one day become the “Juvenilia” and fill up three whole notebooks. Her first attempt at a full length novel was “Elinor and Marianne” which went through a series of editing, changing it into third-person narration, and was finally published in 1811 as “Sense and Sensibility”. It is unknown of how much the original story survived the editing process that made it into “Sense and Sensibility”.

Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice

She then began to work on a second novel, “First Impressions”, in 1796. The first draft was completed in 1797, when Jane was only 21. Like all her work, she read it out loud to her family and it quickly became a favourite. Her father had tried to get it published but was quickly rejected, the package not even being opened. Much later, in 1813, “First Impressions”, through a long process of editing, was published as  Jane Austen’s most popular novel, “Pride and Prejudice”.

With her exceptionally developed characters and plots, Jane writes with a strong sense of comedy and irony. Her ability to put characters in ordinary positions only to develop a more dramatic situation allows her work to still be read today. In all of her novels, a woman meets a man and through a series of obstacles, marries him in the end. Through the obstacles both characters gain the knowledge of a successful marriage and lose the trait stopping them from having a happy marriage. In “Pride and Prejudice”, Elizabeth looses her prejudice and Darcy looses his pride. Something that I admire about Jane Austen’s work is that she doesn’t make the characters perfect. Though her characters are deeply developed, they have flaws, like being stubborn or overly independent, just like everyone should. Her books take you on a journey through everyday life in her time and highlights human weaknesses.

I would like to believe that Jane and I have things in common though the most obvious is both of us being female. Jane’s books show the social standings of woman in her time, greatly relying on their husbands for a good living and social status. Woman back then received sexism in all aspects of their lives. They were less valued, didn’t received a great education and usually stayed at home, caring for their children and cooking a great meal for their husbands to come home too. This is where Jane and I are set apart. In this generation, I can do almost anything that men are able too. Women now can get a great education and do not depend on marriage for social status. Jane and I are on totally opposite ends when it comes to discrimination now and then which is oddly what we both have in common, we’re both woman.

I’m really curious as to how my eminent person study will turn out in the end. One of my main goals is to really improve my research and time management skills as well as overcoming my fear of public speaking! Also one of the main reasons I chose Jane Austen, to finish “Pride and Prejudice” with a new understanding!

Eminent Person- Mariatu Kamara

I have chosen to research Mariatu Kamara as my eminent person this year.

Mariatu was born May 26 1986 is the small village of Magborou in Sierra Leone. At the age of 12, both of her hands were cut of by Mariatuthe rebels of Sierra Leone’s civil war. After that she continued to face many, many conflicts in Sierra Leone. In 2002, a sponsor family was able to bring her here; to Canada. In Canada, Mariatu was able to get a proper education and became very involved with Free the Children and UNICEF to help promote education in her home country and in other countries like it.

I have chosen to research Mariatu because two years ago, I read a book she wrote on her life story called “Bite of the Mango”. She bite of mangowrote this story with the help of Susan McClelland. Her story is so tragic, it is an inspiration to know that she was able to over come all of the horrible things that happened to her in Sierra Leone, and still pulled through it all to become a kind, caring person.

It is very hard for me to even try and compare my life hers because all the conflict shes been through will be something I most probably will not experience. Both of us believe that public education should be available for everyone.

As this project goes on I hope to learn more about the person Mariatu is today to see what type of impact the events of her childhood has on her modern self. I also hope to be able to find more connections between her and I because I hold a great deal of respect to her and understanding the ittle connections might help me grow as a person.

Eminent Introductory Post: Sadako Sasaki

Another year, another stressful November to come. It’s that time of year again, the most talked about project in the TALONS program itself: The eminent person project. Coming back this year as a grade 10, I’m glad I know what to expect. I can gladly admit, I had no idea what I was doing last year, and sometimes I want to rewind and fix the mess that was my project last year. However, that was the past, and I have high hopes for myself this year. This year  I am really aiming to get that interview I missed last year, and to as always, improve on my public speaking. I can already feel the improvement from just last year. I want to aim to exceed all my expectations as of right now. Let’s get started! As you can probably tell from the title, my eminent person this year is going to be Sadako Sasaki.

” I will write peace on your wings, and you will fly all over the world”

Sadako Sasaki, an ordinary girl who dreamed of just making it day to day. Sadako was only two years old when the atomic bomb dropped by the Untied States exploded only about a mile from ground zero in Hiroshima. Sadako only 2 years old then, was blown out the window still living when her mother found her and they fled their home. Her grandmother ran back to the house to retrieve something, but was never seen again. Most of Sadako’s neighbours were killed, however, she was left almost unharmed, or how it seemed on the outside.

Growing up, she was the fastest runner in her class and was well respected by her peers. It was during an extremely important relay race, she felt dizziness, but she brushed it off thinking it was only the exertion from running the race that made her feel sick. However, the next couple races ended up with her out of breathe and close to passing out. At  the age of 11, she passed out after a race, and couldn’t get back up. She was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with leukemia. At that time in Japan, people call the disease “A-bomb disease” because it affected many children that survived the atomic bomb several years after due to radiation. Her family was told she only had close to a year to live and she was put in the hospital.

Sadako middle in the front row
Sadako middle in the front row

Shortly after, her best friend Chikuzo came to visit her at the hospital. That day, Sadako was given hope when Chizuko brought origami paper. Chizuko told her the old Japanese legend that if a sick person folds a thousand cranes, they are given one wish. Sadako ended up trying to fold cranes out of anything from medicine wrappers to paper out of the garbage. She never gave up and was cheerful until the end. On October 25, 1955 Sadako died peacefully with her family around her, in the hospital.

Hundreds of paper cranes (http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2011/088/6/8/paper_crane_rainbow_by_fraeuleinamok-d3cs91c.jpg)
Hundreds of paper cranes (http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2011/088/6/8/paper_crane_rainbow_by_fraeuleinamok-d3cs91c.jpg)

There’s been many versions of how many cranes she ended up folding. Some say she finished folding a thousand cranes, but the most famous version is from the book ” Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” saying she folded a total of 644 cranes. Her saddened classmates ended up finishing the rest of the cranes and started a cause that raised enough money to build a monument in her honor. The monument is known as the Children’s Peace Monument located near where the bomb was dropped. Visitors all over the world still fold cranes to place beneath the statue reading the same wish engraved on the statue “This is our cry, This is our prayer, Peace in the world.”

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes book (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/13/Sadako_and_the_thousand_paper_cranes_00.jpg)
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes book (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/13/Sadako_and_the_thousand_paper_cranes_00.jpg)
Opening ceremony for Sadako's monument
Opening ceremony for Sadako’s monument

Sadako’s story has had a big place in my heart for the past six years. In elementary school, I knew nothing about the world war, however I remember reading “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” in fourth grade. It’s one of the only books that still stand out to me, and I even attempted to fold that many paper cranes in elementary school. I find that the connection between Sadako and I is actually strangely strong. During world war II, Japan and China were actually on opposite sides (Axis and allies) and I remember growing up and learning about the world war from my grandma who was alive during that period. I also visited Pearl Harbor on Oahu Island, Hawaii during middle school. I feel like with some knowledge ahead of time, my eminent project may actually succeed and hopefully, even better than last year! We’ll just have to wait and see…

Dad and I visiting Pearl Harbor in 2011
Dad and I visiting Pearl Harbor in 2011

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.