Category Archives: Academia

From one student to another. Or whoever may be interested.

Shakespeare Quote: Short Response

candle

Credit and link at end of article.

Heaven doth with us as we with torches do,

Not light for themselves; for if our virtues

Did not go forth of us, ‘twere all alike

As if we had them not.

This quote states a purpose of man’s life through a religious metaphor and explains the importance of sharing the ‘light’ with others instead of keeping it to oneself. Just as a torch’s purpose is to shed light on other objects, humans are called to be God’s instruments to spread goodness around the world. It is important to not limit one’s virtues to thoughts and ideas, but to show them in one’s actions in life. To continue with the theme of light, having a match in a dark cave and leaving it unlit would produce the same result of not having a potential light source at all. A person with virtues left unshared might as well be a person with no virtues at all.

Republished from English class 2012. Photo courtesy of J. Devaun.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Jack Diamond: A Brief Biography of a Canadian Artist

Source of photograph: utccanada.ca

Canadian Jack Diamond is an internationally acclaimed architect known for his simple and artistic designs. He was born November 1932 in South Africa and immigrated to Canada in 1964. He studied at various universities and received several degrees: Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Cape Town in 1956; Master of Arts degree in politics, economy, and philosophy from Oxford in 1958; and Master of Architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1962. He founded his own company now Diamond and Schmitt Architects in 1975.

From then on he has created many structures around the world including the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton; the Jerusalem City Hall in Israel; the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto; the Harman Centre for the Arts in Washington, D.C.; and the Southbrook Vineyards Winery in Niagara Falls. His works in progress include an addition to the famous Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg Russia (now completed). He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1995 and given the Order of Ontario two years later.

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, Canada
Source: dsai.ca/projects/four-seasons-centre-for-the-performing-arts-canadian-opera-company

Jack Diamond believes in creating buildings that are not for flashy display; but that are useful for the people using them. He thinks not only appearance, but functionality. “We were just interviewing for a project at a university in the United States,” he said. “The president asked us, ‘Have you ever designed a building that causes a car crash? Because I’m looking for an architect who’s going to design a building that causes a car crash.’ There’s a kind of group who is looking for a building that will snap your head, literally grabbing attention. But does it have any deeper ability to contribute to the life of the university, to the life of the faculty, to the experience of students, to its connection to the grain of the community? Do any of those matter at all? Diamond + Schmitt does not do car crash.” Whether people agree to his designs or not, there is no doubt that Jack Diamond is a master of his art form.

New Mariinsky Theatre

New Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia
Source: dsai.ca/projects/new-mariinsky-theatre-russia

Republished from a Geography research assignment in 2010. Being a dancer, I chose to display two performing arts theatres, but Mr. Diamond does a very wide range of work.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Sahtu Dene: Canadian Aboriginals and Uranium Radiation

Interview: The Dene People

Q: I am joined today by a member of the Sahtu Dene tribe from the community of Deline in the Northwest Territories. First of all, thank you for coming. What can you tell us about your community and the meaning of your names?

A: The Dene is an aboriginal group living in the northern boreal and arctic regions of Canada. Dene is the common Athabaskan word for people and Sahtu is our name for Great Bear Lake, the fifth largest freshwater lake in Canada and ninth in the world. Deline is located 300 miles from Yellowknife with a population of 800 and means “where the river flows”.

Q: Deline was featured in the film Village of Widows after discovering the devastating effects of radiation poisoning from uranium mines. But let’s start from the beginning, when and where did mining start?

A: Port Radium was owned originally by Eldorado and secretly became a government-owned mine in 1942. The men started work in 1932, mostly working as labourers and carriers for the unrefined pitchblende ore. From 1934 to 1939 we mined radium and between 1943 and 1962, uranium. It was seen as an exciting job opportunity and everyone was eager to participate.

Q: The Canadian government didn’t tell you of the dangers and effects of the substances?

A: Not at all. As far as we were concerned, the stuff was gold; it was worth a lot of money. I remember some of the young men joining training programs where they suffered radon gas exposure and cleaned up toxic hotspots without any protection from masks or even shower facilities. We did not know about the ore being health hazardous until 1945 when the government finally warned us about health and people started becoming sick.

Q: However, from what I understand, not only workers were affected by the effects. How did the radioactive ore spread through the community?

A: Like I said, we knew nothing about the dangers of the ore mined from Port Radium; before the mine, there was no industrial presence in our area. The men carried around sacks of the ore and tailings so it got into their clothes, into their skin. At one point we sewed some of the sacks to make tents and we also filled sandboxes from the fine sand-like tailings. Radioactivity went into the animals, our food source, our lake, and drinking water. The substance surrounded us and became a part of our lives, so unfortunately really everyone was affected.

Q: The toxic substance must have a huge impact on the environment and land as well; how much of it is in your land and how has it affected your people?

A: Waste landfills and lake dumps are everywhere. The tailings were dumped around the site and over 1.7 million tons of uranium waste was dumped north of Great Bear Lake. Our land, animals, and people have now been living with radioactivity for over 70 years. The first death of a radium mine happened in 1953, and an ore transporter in 1960. Since then there has been many deaths from poisoning, cancer, and other sicknesses. There are many single mothers now in Deline, and the generation of young men in this village is the first to grow up without knowledge passed on from their grandfathers, fathers, and uncles.

Q: In addition to hiding the health dangers of the ore, is it true that the government did not tell you what the uranium was to be used for?

A: Yes, we had no idea that the uranium we were mining and transporting was to be used in the Manhattan Project to create the atomic bomb. When we realized our work was used for objects of mass murder, we were horrified. Hearing about the absolute destruction dropped onto Hiroshima and Nagasaki made us want to take back all our work and despise our sacrifices even more. Had we known that the ore was making bombs, we would have never worked produced it. Until this day, we feel regret for contributing to that disaster.

Q: You must have felt outraged that the government neglected your health and denied you the information that would’ve saved many lives. The Dene people were unjustly used for labour; what actions were taken after your meeting with Parliament in Ottawa in 1999?

A: Well let me just say that white miners were as uninformed and abused as we were. We realized that the government did not care for any of us, so we went to Ottawa to ask for major cleanup of our community and an apology for the cultural, economic, spiritual, and emotional damage that they have caused us. It was a small victory for us to even get a formal meeting with the leaders of our country. They didn’t grant us our wish at the time, but we raised significant awareness and were closer to getting the improvements we wanted.

Q: I know that your tribe visited Japan and attended the memorial of August 6, 1945 as a way to pay respect and restore inner peace with the Japanese people. Why did you feel the need to go and what was it like to visit Japan?

A: We felt it was our duty to offer them our condolence, and it was necessary for our inner peace to apologize and make amends with the people whom we hurt. It was a very emotional trip; we cried when we saw footage of the explosions and the suffering that we caused. We lit lanterns and talked to many people; by the end we knew we made the right decision to come – it was a releasing and gratifying experience.

Q: What accomplishments have taken place at Deline now, and what are the Sahtu Dene’s visions for the future?

A: In 2007 we succeeded in negotiating with the government and earned a contract of 6.8 million dollars to help clean up the wastes. There is still a lot to be done to get rid of the radioactivity in Deline, and we will continue to fight for our rights as people. We are still trying to understand how something so bad could come from our Mother Nature; we celebrate the world we live in and pray for a better future.

Q: Thank you so much for your time; this has been such an eye-opening conversation. We wish you all the best!

Republished from 2010 Geography class. It is a hypothetical interview inspired by viewing 1999 documentary Village of Widows by Peter Blow.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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World Heritage Sites: Nature and Culture Conservation Unite

Courtesy of famouswonders.com

MACHU PICCHU: A UNESCO World Heritage Site

A world heritage site is a place in any country of physical or cultural significance that is protected from major industrial changes. A list of world heritage sites is created and monitored by the World Heritage Programme and the UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization) World Heritage Committee, which is composed of 21 state parties. The program was officially founded on November 16, 1972, with several organizations contributing to its ideas and campaign. By 2010, 911 sites have been listed, with about 700 cultural and 180 natural. Sites such as the pyramids in Egypt, old cathedrals, and the Great Barrier Reef are recognized as treasures to the whole world and humanity, and so are preserved so that everyone can enjoy them.

Machu Picchu is a creation of the Inca Empire before the Spanish Conquest in the 15th century. It is often called “The Lost City of the Incas” and is believed to have been built for the emperor Pachacuti. It stands 2,340 m above sea level and is located in the Urabamba Valley in Peru. It is made with polished dry-stone walls, in the classical Inca style, with three primary buildings: the Intihuatana, the Room of the Three Windows, and the Temple of the Sun.

Its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments. [1] The natural setting, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, encompasses the upper Amazon basin with its rich diversity of flora and fauna. [1]

The estate was started around AD 1400 but abandoned a century later at the time of Spanish colonization. Although known locally, it was brought to international attention in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. [2] In 1981, Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary and in 1983, a World Heritage Site. In November 2010, Peru and Yale University reached an agreement in which all artifacts held in Yale from Bingham’s collection in the 20th century were returned to a Peruvian university.

Works Cited:
1. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/274
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machu_Picchu

Published from Geography class 2010.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Allegory in Short Film: Neighbours (1952)

Stop motion by Norman McLaren:

In the award-winning film “Neighbours”, concrete elements are used to powerfully express abstract ideas. The fence plays an important part as both a set and prop, and presents an allegory that is linked to the timeline of events in the film. The fence’s role and purpose change throughout the story, and its degradation can signify the transformation of the men’s relationship. Friendship between the two was found before the existence of the fence. The fence first appears as a territorial mark between the two properties as the two men claim their land. As the argument escalates, the pickets are used as a weapon as the men start a light duel. The fight worsens, and the blows hit by the wood get harsher and more deadly. As war is declared, the fence’s original purpose as a boundary is terminated and its destruction symbolizes the breaking of a barrier. The splintered wood decorates the coffins of the two men, portraying peace once more, and the end of a terrible fight. The fence’s state changes and each different stage can be related to the cycle of human relationships and the fomenting of war.

Published from November 25, 2010.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Asbestos: Mini Research

File:Asbestos with muscovite.jpg

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Asbestos is a mineral of fibrous crystals that absorbs sound, has textile strength, and a resistance to heat, chemical, and electrical damage. Its fibers can be woven into yarn or rope, and are easily added to a variety of materials such as cotton and cement, making it a versatile substance. The inhalation of these fibers has been proved to cause illnesses including cancer and asbestosis. Asbestos is used in many products from drywall roofing tars, to shoes and stage curtains, because of its fireproofing and insulating qualities. It became popularly used by manufacturers and builders in the 19th century as a common insulator and propelled the Industrial Revolution; however, asbestos has been used for as long as 4500 years in Ancient Greece when it was used in oil lamp wicks and ceremonial table cloths. The extraction, manufacturing, and processing of asbestos has been banned in whole or in part by over 60 countries in the world, including those in the European Union. Even though today, far less products in the home contain asbestos, it is still used because of new ways of containing escaping fibers. Canada has yet to ban asbestos and is currently the largest player in the global asbestos industry; over 40% of the world’s asbestos is found in a narrow belt of rocks in Quebec and over 300,000 tons of it can be exported annually to developing countries. The banning of asbestos is a difficult balance for Canada between saving jobs and economic profit or relieving the health hazards placed on workers and consumers from this multi-purpose material.

Written 2009. Since then, Canada’s asbestos industry has been winding down. For anyone who wonders what asbestos is…

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Le philosophie de Voltaire: Short paragraph en français

Le bonheur et le bon sens de vie

La philosophie de Voltaire est simplement que travail est le secret pour le bonheur véritable. Il croit dans un style de vie qui est introverti et qui concentre sur les tâches de soi-même. Voltaire a opposé l’idée de Leibnitz que tout qui se passe et un produit du cause et effet, et que tout arrive pour un raison, ou pour « les meilleurs du monde ». Voltaire admet qu’il y a de mal dans le monde, mais beaucoup des catastrophes, comme un tremblement de terre ou la mort, n’ont pas une explication que des humains peuvent comprendre. Il faut que nous n’inquiétions pas des grands problèmes ou des bavardages qui sont hors de propos à nos vies. Voltaire croit que les actions sont plus fortes que les mots ; des pensées doivent être appliquées pratiquement et traduites dans les efforts concrets. Le travail fait une personne heureuse par repoussant l’ennui et improductivité.  Essentiellement, Voltaire a dit que le foyer est la détermination sont important pour atteindre la potentielle maximum de chacun individuel et pour apprécier la vie précieuse. La vie significative est plein de bonheur est crée par se développer nos talents, travailler fort à nos buts, et dans les mots de ce philosophe remarquable, par « cultiver notre jardin ».

Thanks/Merci,
thebookybunhead

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