Career Education Interview

I interviewed a mechanical engineer who provided his personal insight on the field and gave valuable information on his path to becoming an engineer. From the interview, I managed to take away three main pieces of wisdom in regards to building a career and navigating life:

  • Accelerating progress and reaching success starts with setting concentrated goals.
  • Expanding your network will open up opportunities.
  • Staying relevant and informed requires flexibility.

Eminent Introductory – Nikola Tesla

The present is theirs; the future, which I really worked for, is mine.

Nikola Tesla

What is one’s fate when they are too ahead of their time? Nikola Tesla—a remarkable inventor, physicist, and engineer—was a thinker unmatched with a vision for the future. Although Tesla’s name is now a byword for innovation and achievement, he was not always the acclaimed scientist most see him as today; perhaps Tesla’s contemporaries were simply not yet ready for his novel foresight.

As a revolutionary in the field of electricity, Tesla developed and invented many groundbreaking technologies that are implemented globally today, including the x-ray, remote control, the Tesla coil, induction motors, wireless technologies for telegraphy and telephone, the oscillator, and most famously, alternating current. Considered a futurist from the beginning of his career, Tesla predicted, advocated, and designed many systems intended for the future benefit of society and Earth. He promoted wireless technologies for worldwide communications, fought for universal access to electricity in every home, designed devices that he hoped would end human warfare, and lauded efforts in sustainability and the preservation of our planet.

Tesla’s supposed superhuman brainpower, photographic memory, and mental prowess marks him as one of the most prolific geniuses in history. It is commonly said that Tesla could envision detailed three-dimensional structures and mechanisms in his head. Yet, beyond Tesla’s intellect lies his eccentric personality and actions. Tesla was the epitome of a mad scientist, whose smarts were perhaps too great for his own good. What drove Tesla to design and invent such deadly, epic, and dangerous creations like the theoretical “death beam”? Why was Tesla so determined to prevail victorious in his infamous rivalry against Thomas Edison, attempting to prove that his dangerous alternating current would be better than Edison’s conservative direct current? I want to delve deeper into the contrast between Tesla’s inner and outer life—the difference between the mastermind on the inside and the madman on the outside.

Tesla faced numerous setbacks and challenges throughout his career; for every step he took forward, it seemed he would always be forced to take one step back. His esteemed laboratory burned down in 1895, along with his notes and prototypes, leaving Tesla with his whole livelihood taken from him. Many of Tesla’s dreams and plans were never realized due to lack of capital and funding from investors. Credit and honour for several of his inventions were stolen from him by other inventors.

It is vital we honour Tesla today for his work and numerous contributions to his discipline. His scope of genius not only was limited to physics, but spread to all areas of sciences, the arts, and engineering. His insight into the future and vision of a world powered by electricity was much ahead of his time. The technological marvels we’ve become accustomed to today are the brainchild of Tesla’s brilliance.

Tesla and I share an intense passion for technology and engineering. He and I could be viewed as farouche; both of us are reserved, shy, and introverted. Tesla was particularly known to be unsociable around the company of others. However, most qualities I share in common with my chosen notable are not my envisionment of an ideal individual. Instead, I aspire to emulate the many other traits Turing possessed that allowed him to endeavour great feats. One of my goals in TALONS is to become a better, more confident leader and individual. Not only does Tesla’s resourcefulness, determination, perseverance, and ambition exemplify traits of an excellent leader, but they are all also qualities I strive to follow myself.

Tesla’s story derives from his immigration to America, and rising up within his career as an unknown. As an immigrant, he faced a multitude of struggles and obstacles in becoming recognized within the scientific world, all while having to adapt to a new country and culture. Since I have never experienced the process of immigration firsthand, Tesla’s journey to citizenship and prominence is one I find difficult to relate with. To combat this barrier in my speech, I’ll make an effort to focus more on his unique character and personality, rather than the impact immigration had on him.

My next steps for studying my eminent person will be to contact individuals adept in Nikola Tesla’s work and seek potential experts to interview. For my eminent project this year, I hope to be able to find an expert on my notable and be able to interview them in person.

Independent Inquiry: Canadian History

In my inquiry on exploration and colonization in Canada, I created a podcast episode to answer my inquiry question: “what motivating factors instigated European efforts to colonize North America?”

Link to podcast episode on Anchor FM with full transcript


Works Cited

Canadian Museum of History. “Colonies and Empires.” Virtual Museum of New France, 2019, https://www.historymuseum.ca/virtual-museum-of-new-france/colonies-and-empires/.

Champlain, Samuel de. The Voyages and Explorations of Samuel de Champlain 1604-1616. Translated by Annie Nettleton Bourne, Williams-Barker Company, 1904, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.hn24pb;view=1up;seq=10.

—. Carte geographique de la Nouelle Franse en son vray meridiein. Chez Jean Berjon, 1613, France, http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/pam_archives/index.php?fuseaction=genitem.displayItem&lang=eng&rec_nbr=3919666.

Fidler, Peter. “Hudson Bay House 30 May 1795 Standard of Trade.” HBCA Archives of Manitoba, 1795, http://www.furtradestories.ca/details.cfm?content_id=244&cat_id=2&sub_cat_id=5.

McCliesh, Thomas. “Letters From Hudson Bay, 1703-40.” The Hudson’s Bay Record Society, 1965, London, http://www.furtradestories.ca/details.cfm?content_id=94&cat_id=2&sub_cat_id=6.

Norwich University Online. “Colonization of the New World.” 2015, https://online.norwich.edu/academic-programs/resources/colonization-of-the-new-world.

Reducing My Ecological Footprint

The Plan

My total ecological footprint calculated over the course of three days was 7.4645 hectares. Some of my classmates’ ecological footprints were 6.1 (Natasha), 7.2 (Kate), 7.89 (Joon), 8.8 (Amanda), and 9 (Tiffany) hectares, placing my footprint in the middle and possibly lower end of my peers’ footprint sizes. However, my ecological footprint is still massive compared to several other classmate’s footprints. For example, compared to Chanel’s footprint, which was 3.742 hectares, my footprint is considerably larger.

Calculation of my ecological footprint

The ten main actions I’ve identified that impact my ecological footprint are:

  1. Travelling in a private vehicle
  2. Consuming meat on a daily basis
  3. Taking long showers
  4. Buying food packaged in disposable plastic packaging
  5. Using converted land for my activities
  6. Changing into new clothes everyday
  7. Creating an excessive amount of garbage
  8. Eating food imported from outside of B.C.
  9. Buying brand-new clothes
  10. Spending money

From those ten actions listed above, I’ve chose the following five I will change to improve my ecological footprint:

  • Travelling in a private vehicle

Travelling by car alone is by far the largest contributor to increasing my ecological footprint, taking up 40% of my footprint. I will carpool with my sister to school, which should prevent having to take two separate trips to transport both of us to school. Since I live relatively close to Coquitlam’s city centre, I also have access to most shops, parks, and amenities I require within a walking distance from my home. I will try to walk or cycle whenever possible.

  • Consuming meat on a daily basis

Eating meat also has a major impact on my ecological footprint. Consuming less meat will drastically reduce my footprint. Additionally, I’ve always been curious about vegetarianism; I’ve had many friends in the past who were vegetarian and urged me to try a vegetarian diet. Choosing to change my meat consumption seems like an excellent opportunity to ease myself into having a meat-free diet. I will attempt to eat zero meat on weekends, only sticking to vegetarian meals. Throughout the rest of the week, I will try to limit myself to only one serving of meat per day.

  • Taking long showers

In order to lower my water consumption, I will cut down my showering time. Taking shorter showers will have an immediate impact on reducing my ecological footprint and should be an easy change that will not greatly affect my daily life. I will try to halve my time spent each time I shower from 10 minutes to under 5 minutes, which should also in theory reduce my shower water consumption by half.

  • Buying food packaged in disposable plastic packaging

A good chunk of the food I eat is packaged in plastic or paper simply for convenience. The unnecessary packaging coming from my food builds up over time, creating a lot of waste that impacts my ecological footprint. Making this change will effectively limit the amount of waste I produce. I will communicate with my parents to avoid buying food packaged in plastic. Using reusable bags to store produce will help alleviate the amount of plastic bags we use. I will also pack my lunch in a reusable container or Thermos instead of a disposable bag or plastic container.

  • Changing into new clothes everyday

My clothes usually don’t get too dirty throughout just one day, so it should be perfectly fine to wear them a second or even third time before washing. Changing into new clothes less often will also reduce the number of laundry loads done long-term, lowering my water consumption and electricity. To make this change, I’ll begin by changing into new clothes only every two days.

Realism was a contributing factor that affected why I chose to make these changes. These above changes are reasonable and realistic for me to achieve, whereas the other changes I mentioned are too difficult to do within the time frame provided.


Reflection

The easiest change for me to accomplish was wearing the same clothes as the day before. Rather than changing into a new outfit each day, I simply wore the previous day’s clothes instead. There wasn’t much effort required to make this change; if anything, this change has made my morning routine lazier than before.

It was also fairly easy to change my transportation habits and reduce my time spent in a car. My schedule worked out well with my sister’s, allowing us to carpool together to get to school. I usually either biked or took the bus to get around town. As an added bonus, the cycling I did was also good practice for my adventure trip.

Finally, I found changing my habit of taking long showers to be an easy change. When I was first starting to implement this change, I set a timer for 5 minutes each time before I showered. My shower routine now has become so ingrained into my memory that I don’t even keep a timer anymore to track my shower usage.

One change that was surprisingly difficult to achieve was avoiding food packaged in disposable plastic packaging. Throughout this experience, I’ve discovered that a good chunk of products found in grocery stores comes in unnecessary packaging. I initially thought it would be simple to execute this change, thinking that I’d only need to eschew convenience items such as individually wrapped snacks, drinks, and canned foods. Contrary to my belief, I realized many basic food staples are packaged in plastic or Styrofoam, including meat, cereal, eggs, and bread. Although some plastics are recyclable, like milk cartons, the process of manufacturing the carton still requires energy and materials, creating an impact on my ecological footprint.

Changing my diet to consume less meat was the most difficult change to make. I had to do a significant amount of research on vegetarian recipes. At first, I felt unenergetic and nauseous, most likely as a result of malnourishment; throughout the process, I learned how to get the nutrients and minerals I required after eliminating meat. Although the change was challenging, it was also a rewarding and fun experience as well. The change has given me the chance to try out new food options I wouldn’t have previously considered; I went to a vegan restaurant downtown (MeeT in Gastown) and it was delicious!

It was a challenge to work around my family’s lifestyle and diet. Since my family wasn’t involved in my attempt to reduce my ecological footprint, it was an arduous endeavor to try carrying off my changes. For one, making my own separate vegetarian meals from my family was a bit of a nuisance. I’ve become so accustomed to my usual way of life with them that making these changes has made me feel like a detached part of the family. A second obstacle I encountered was my busy calendar and running out of time. I couldn’t find time some days to prepare a meal or pack lunch, meaning I had to occasionally get a meal packaged or wrapped in plastic for convenience. Sometimes I needed to arrive at a location on time or urgently, making a car ride unavoidable. It was difficult to implement my planned changes while working around my hectic schedule, forcing me to temporarily put my changes on hold in order to tend to more pressing matters.

In the future, I hope to continue on improving my ecological footprint by maintaining the changes I’ve made recently and taking steps to reduce my footprint further. One step I will take to improve my footprint is to invest in energy and environmentally friendly options for household appliances. I will work on changing the lights in our house to LED lights, which are energy efficient and have a considerably longer lifetime expectancy compared to incandescent and compact-fluorescent lights. My family is also considering changing our toilet to a water-saving, low-flow toilet that will reduce our water consumption. Another step I will take is to reduce my meat consumption even further and to consider eliminating some meats from my diet altogether. I will try to mainly eat only wild seafood and avoid eating meats like pork, chicken, and beef, which all have a much heavier impact on my ecological footprint. My uncle is pescatarian, which means I can ask him for his input and experience with diet. Lastly, since my family plays an integral role in determining my daily routine and diet, I will also take a step to inform my family members about their ecological footprint and help them make a conscious effort to convert their current habits into a more sustainable lifestyle.

In-Depth Post #6

Over the past four weeks, I’ve been working on my latest composition (which I will be exhibiting during In-Depth night) that has nearly 200 tracks; although the number of tracks is daunting, a majority of them are filled with recordings for the use of extreme vocal harmonization, which gives my composition a unique and neo-funk flair. With assistance from my mentor, I learned how I could record my voice in different voicings and layer the recordings to create a “wall” of chordal sound. By stacking tens of voices on top of each other, the end result is a vocal section that sounds as if a choir or group sang it, even though the effect was only produced with one person.

However, the staggering number of tracks also presents challenges along the way. One obstacle I’ve been facing is having to manually balance and mix the numerous tracks down to a stereo master track. The process is tedious and has taken up a majority of my time. Nonetheless, in order for the final product to sound professional and generate a good impression, a proper mix is vital—therefore, the time meticulously spent on mixing and mastering will be worth it overall.


In Edward de Bono’s How to Have a Beautiful Mind, the author explains that “concepts are the parents of practical ideas” (107). One example of a concept my mentor and I discussed during our most recent session was musical “texture.” Texture is how melody, harmony, and dynamics are combined in a composition; in other words, texture can be described as how thick or thin the layers of sound are. This concept of texture can be broken down into fundamental ideas, such as monophonic and homophonic textures. Texture is a broad concept, referring to the relationships between a composition’s materials and how they intertwine to create a cohesive whole.

Another concept brought up was the mixing process, which involves blending together tracks into a final product. There are differing methods to how this concept can be carried out, including panning, adjusting volume levels, applying audio effects, and using automation. Instead of looking at each element of mixing individually, understanding the concept of mixing allows me to envision how each idea connects to each other.


De Bono also emphasizes the importance of searching for “alternatives” during discussion. He suggests that “there can be alternative perceptions or ways of looking at something […] [which] can lead to different judgement or actions” (136). Throughout this project, instead of continuing to focus on creating one specific genre of music, my mentor provided an alternative where I could explore varying other genres outside my comfort zone and expand my production abilities to different styles of music. My mentor was extremely open providing feedback on any genre of music I composed, claiming he “would never not take a listen [to a composition] just because [he didn’t] like that [style of] music […] All music deserves a chance to be heard.”A different mentor with a more traditional music background or skills specializing in a particular genre, such as classical music, may not have offered me the same alternative as my mentor.


This year I have opted to perform an onstage presentation rather than a learning centre, as I believe that the loud and hectic environment of the learning centres isn’t suitable for my in-depth project’s needs. It would be a struggle to share my compositions without detracting from the audio quality. My presentation will consist of a video montage showcasing snippets of recording. The aim of my presentation is for my audience to gain insight and a brief glimpse into how different instruments, effects, and tracks combine to create a full composition. Instead of focusing on the intricate details of music production, which can be difficult to grasp for those with little musical experience, my presentation will scope in on broader concepts, such as layering tracks, the technologies and instruments I used, and the overall process of creating a musical composition from start to finish.

The one point I hope to get across to my audience is that music can be created by anyone with the right tools and equipment; with today’s accessibility to music production technology ever so abundant, musicians only require ingenuity and creativity in order to produce music. By showcasing the technologies I used throughout my learning, like DAWs (digital audio workstation), MIDI recording, and acoustic microphones, I hope to reveal to my audience a “behind-the-scenes” peek at what goes into the creation of today’s songs we stream online and hear on the radio.

Animal Farm Guided Inquiry Final

1. What conditions are needed for revolution to occur? Based on your readings so far, what is the single most significant factor leading the animals to revolution?

In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the unjust and poor living conditions imposed on the animals causes social inequality to be the most significant factor in leading the animals to revolution. One contributing circumstance that affects the decline of social equality is an imbalance in labour between the animals and the humans. Major gathers the barnyard animals to reveal the disparity between the lavish life of humans and the miserable life of animals. He claims that “man is the only creature that consumes without producing,” highlighting how the higher social status of humans causes them to lose their work ethic and toil (2). The realization that animals face constant labour while humans have time for leisure leaves the animals discontent. Reduced rations and care for the animals is also cited as a cause for inequity between the animals and humans. Although the humans are “capable of affording food in abundance to an enormously greater number of animals” than the farm contains, the animals are left unfed and hungry (2). They refuse to tolerate the minimal food and shelter provided by the humans, wanting a fair payment of resources for their effort and work. The animals are also given less opportunities than humans to gratify their lives. Even after suffering through a miserable life, “no animal escapes the cruel knife in the end” (3). While the humans are given the opportunity to prosper and live a fulfilling life, the animals are faced with death and the impending doom of meaningless labour. Unlike humans, animals receive a disparate chance to stay alive, further fueling the contrast in social treatment between the two groups. Overall, the unfair conditions posed on the animals culminates in the consideration of revolution against their human controllers.

2. To what extent does power and privilege, or a lack thereof, affect the beliefs and actions of individuals in a revolution?

Leaders with an overwhelming majority of power and privilege over a group easily persuade individuals to follow ideologies, beliefs, and perceptions that benefit their rulers. In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the pigs exert considerable power over the farm animals, granting their control over the farm’s rules and principles. Using their status of authority, the pigs alter the Seven Commandments to a single commandment claiming “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others,” implying that pigs are at a more elite social standing than the lesser farm animals (40). The farm animals mindlessly follow the new doctrine without questioning the change, submitting to hard labour while taking no notice to the pig’s lavish spending and human-like behavior. By effectively removing the existence of the previous commandments and formulating a new tenet, the pigs demonstrate that those in a position of power can force beliefs on others through a credence of truth from superiority. In a similar manner to imposing beliefs, Napoleon’s eminence allows him to manipulate the animals into idolizing him as the exemplar figure of the revolution, in conjunction with asserting a belief that the revolution’s leader can do no wrong. Under the leadership of Napoleon, the animals form a habit of “[giving] Napoleon the credit for every successful achievement and every stroke of good fortune,” regardless of whether Napoleon played an actual part (27). By gaining control, Napoleon increases his prestige as the supposed leader who led the animals to victory during the revolution, ensuring the farm’s loyalty to himself. Power can affect a group by restricting what commoners can celebrate and praise, limiting freedom of thought and expression. Lastly, the pig’s ability to read and write confers to them the responsibility of control and maintaining order over the farm animals, providing them with full influence on constructing the perspective all animals must abide by. For example, applying their writing expertise, the pigs determine that “the general feeling on the farm [should be] expressed in a poem entitled Comrade Napoleon,” admiring the leader’s prowess in a glamourous light (27). The pig’s composition of the poem exaggerating Napoleon’s accomplishments cannot be amended by the other animals despite their disagreement, as only the pigs can write. Since solely the pigs have the privilege to comprehend texts, they alone can convince the animals what to perceive and say. Altogether, the animals are affected by the power and privilege of the pigs by accepting the ruler’s dogma and ethics as truths.

3. In your opinion, was the revolution successful? Were there any other options available to bring about the animals’ desired change? If so, what might have been done? If not, why was revolution inevitable?

The outcome of the inevitable revolution unsuccessfully justifies the animals’ initial values and reveals the animals’ reliance on humans to maintain order. Even though the revolution pursues autonomy from humans, the difficulty in resisting human convivences of life guides the animals towards neglection of their own morals. After the up rise of the pig’s dictatorship, the farm animals “[look] from man to pig, and from pig to man again […] but already it was impossible to say which was which” (44). The possibility of freedom from mankind urges the animals to revolt as a solution to remove the impeding factor on their independence. Although the goal of the animals was to eliminate human contact and disassociate themselves from man, the pigs inherited human traits and mannerisms, violating the original aim of the revolution. While the revolution intended for the animals to reach social equality and fair treatment, the animals form a social structure dividing themselves into classes of varying status, contravening with the revolution’s primary intention. After the revolution, “the animals themselves [are not] any richer−except [for] the pigs and the dogs,” implying that the pigs and dogs hold superiority over the other animals (38). As humans are the gatekeepers to determining which animals are to be spared or slaughtered, the animals only choice to remove humans from the equation is to revolt against them. However, without man to make the decisions regarding the treatment of the animals, the animals’ social hierarchy is decided by themselves. Those with power and privilege rise to top, favouring themselves in treatment and comfort, disobeying the revolution’s maxim that all animals deserve equality. The animals also suffer with little food and inhabitable living conditions, contrary to the expectation that the revolution was supposed to gain increased food rations and achieve a comfortable life for the animals. Despite dubious claims that the farm was stocked with food, the animals “[are] often hungry and often cold, and [are] usually working when they were not asleep” (33-34). The animals’ lives are no better in terms of comfort and livability compared to their time under Mr. Jones, proving the revolution unsuccessful in bringing prosperity to the farm. Overall, although revolution for the animals is unavoidable in order to withdraw humans from interfering with the tenets and societal values of Animalism, the realization of the animals’ dependence on man sends the insurgent animals into decline, demonstrating the revolution’s failure.  

Animal Farm Guided Inquiry – Paragraph #1

What conditions are needed for revolution to occur? Based on your readings so far, what is the single most significant factor leading the animals to revolution?

In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, social inequality is the most significant factor in leading to the animal’s revolution. One contributing circumstance that affects the decline of social equality is an imbalance in labour between the animals and the humans. Major gathers the barnyard animals to reveal the disparity between the lavish life of humans and the miserable life of animals. He claims that “man is the only creature that consumes without producing,” highlighting how the higher social status of humans causes them to lose their work ethic and toil (2). The realization that animals face constant labour while humans have time for leisure leaves the animals discontent. Reduced rations and care for the animals is also cited as a cause for inequity between the animals and humans. Although the humans are “capable of affording food in abundance to an enormously greater number of animals” than the farm contains, the animals are left unfed and hungry (2). The animals refuse to tolerate the minimal food and shelter provided by the humans, wanting a fair payment of resources for their effort and work. The animals are also given less opportunities than humans to gratify their lives. Even after suffering through a miserable life, “no animal escapes the cruel knife in the end” (3). While the humans are given the opportunity to prosper and live a fulfilling life, the animals are faced with death and the impending doom of meaningless labour. Unlike humans, animals receive a disparate chance to stay alive, further fueling the contrast in social treatment between the two groups. Overall, the unfair conditions posed on the animals culminates in the consideration of revolution against their human controllers.