6 Degrees and Back to the Start

30/09/2011 § Leave a comment

See the .pdf file of 6 degrees of separation for A Walk to the Jetty by clicking this link: Six Degrees of Separation – Kari.

It’s great that we’re starting college research early, IMO… (continued)

29/09/2011 § Leave a comment

After analyzing the three colleges that I picked in the above chart, my final choice was the University of Cambridge. I chose Cambridge because out of the three colleges, Cambridge scored well on all of them. The cost, surprisingly, was cheaper than both La Salle in the Philippines and the University of Michigan in America. Although it’s still a quite expensive private school in a whole other continent (in England), it would be easier to afford than La Salle and U.Mich.

The academics and classes at Cambridge are also one of the finest in the world and one of the main reasons that Cambridge is the top school nowadays. According to Cambridge’s website, many videos have stated that the teachers and faculty members really look after the students.

The life/housing (the overall experience) at Cambridge also scored very high because firstly, it’s in London, in a whole other continent and the experience of being in another country and traveling in a place I’m not familiar with is exciting. There are also many housing choices that, although look kind of expensive, seem like they’re worth it and very comfortable.

My opportunity cost was U.Mich because it also scored very high on the candy-bar grid that I created for the three chosen colleges. Although I really wanted to choose this school, Cambridge won over U.Mich because of the cost of the college. Cambridge is $4,000 cheaper than U.Mich so of course I’d choose the cheaper university (that also happens to be the top college in the world).

It’s great that we’re starting college research early, IMO

25/09/2011 § 1 Comment

Article 1:

Summary –
Although a person’s level of education has been shown to have the most significant impact on his or her income, gender also continues to be an influential factor in the amount a person earns. Black, and white men with professional degrees earned approximately 24% and 49% (in that order) more than the women of their respective ethnicities, and black and white men with bachelor’s degrees earned 13% and 40% (in that order) more than the women of their respective ethnicities. At the end, the article mentions that white men with professional degrees earn twice as much as Hispanic women with professional degrees.

Compelling Facts –

  • “Hispanic women appeared at the biggest disadvantage. Among those full-time, year-round workers with professional degrees, white men make 104 percent more than Hispanic women over their working lifetimes.” – culture plays a big part too…
  • “The gender gap is narrower for blacks with professional degrees…” – I wonder why?

Opinions –

  • (Grace) I never thought that a person’s ethnicity and gender could make such a huge difference in his or her salary; the difference between the salaries of white men and Hispanic women is shocking. Even though changes have been made to prevent such racism, this study shows that it still exists in substantial quantities.
  • (Yurika) I found this article interesting because I was not aware about the inequality of the amount of income one gets according to their gender and ethnicity. I think that every person should be treated equally and instead of focusing on the person’s background/gender, the level of education and knowledge should be the main factor to decide on the amount of income one gets.
  • (Kari) It is true that education plays a large role in a person’s success in life. However, it doesn’t feel right that people of different races who are equally as smart as white men and white women don’t earn as much as them. Maybe intelligent students of Hispanic or African-American background don’t have the same opportunities as white men and women but they should be given those chances.
  • (Christina) We live in the twenty-first century. We have the tallest buildings. We have computers that weigh a little over one kilogram. We have flexible lenses that we put into our eyeballs that substitute for glasses. Mankind have achieved so much and yet we have failed to accomplish the most basic and important component as human beings. We have failed to abolish racism. I really hope that in the near future, that the color of skin and gender would not act as an obstacle to success.

Article 2:

Summary –
People who are talented, motivated, and creative are believed to succeed throughout their lives and are more likely to graduate from college compared to others. Although the college investment is a success for some people, it is a loss for the other millions of people. It is thought that many people are spending too much money on college for not much improvement in the subjects they take and to have a huge debt. As the years go on, spending a big amount of money on education become an disadvantage to many people’s future.

Compelling Facts –

  • “But millions of other people are paying more than quadruple what their parents paid 25 years ago (plus inflation) for a vague credential, not much knowledge or skills, and a crippling amount of debt.”
  • “Before long, spending four years in a lecture hall with a hangover will be revealed as an antiquated debt-fueled luxury good.”

Opinions –

  • (Yurika) I believe that the college fees now a days are beyond the price one should pay to be educated. People should not have to become in debt because they want to learn and educate themselves. I agree with this article that people spend too much money on education.
  • (Grace) This article really makes the reader think about whether or not college merits the colossal cost. When I was in elementary school, I never doubted that my friends and I would attend college, but as I grew up I realized how expensive it was and how not attending college wasn’t such a shocking thing. In fact, people who don’t attend college sometimes make more money than those who attended top colleges.
  • (Christina) Why do colleges cost so much? Everyone wants to go. Because people want to succeed in their educational life they would do anything to go to a rather famous college. Colleges know that everyone wants them. So they make themselves expensive. Parents of students put themselves in debt to ensure that their kids will live a better life than them. But once people graduate from colleges, they sometimes do not get jobs that are perfect for them (see article below). So they are put further into debt. And unfortunate people work odd jobs (like McDonalds’ – Oh! The horror!) to pay off their debt (sometimes) until they die. Our society works in an inconvenient cycle. Maybe, this is my opinion, colleges should just make themselves less expensive.
  • (Kari) I concur that colleges nowadays cost a lot of money – far more than an average student can afford and one thought that is always in a high school student’s mind is if the money will be worth it. However, spending money on college is a challenge on its own because it is far better to plan exactly what you want to study instead of paying for the education just to be in college. College is expensive but I think that if you plan things right, it’ll be worth it.

Article 3:

Summary –
Students who have obtained college degrees are typically known to be more successful than students who haven’t. In today’s economy, even if one graduates from high school, it’s far more difficult to get a good job than it used to be. However, college degrees just don’t add up to much anymore. Requiring a degree to get a good job and a successful is getting ridiculous and costs a lot; time, hard work and money. Society is forcing students to attend college for the degree but in the end, it doesn’t benefit every student.

Compelling Facts – 

  • President Obama himself agreed that in today’s economy, “a high school diploma no longer guarantees a good job.”
  • “Does that mean that we should help more kids go to college — or that we should make it easier for people who didn’t go to college to make a living?”
  • “Online learning is more flexible and affordable than the brick-and-mortar model of higher education.”
  • “The tight connection between college degrees and economic success may be a nearly unquestioned part of our social order. Future generations may look back and shudder at the cruelty of it.”

Opinions –

  • (Grace) I think that this article had an interesting take on the college situation. I’ve never thought about whether the problem was inducing more students to attend college or if it really was a matter of improving the job situation for those who didn’t attend college.
  • (Yurika) This article made me question if college is actually necessary for students. It is quite disappointing to find that some people may not have a successful future even after all the time, effort, and money put into their education. Also, I have started to become worried that I, myself, will have a difficult time finding a job after I attend a college.
  • (Kari) There are a lot of good points in this article. I have noticed that a lot of people can be successful without degrees and it is a bit ridiculous that college degrees are required to get a decent job that you want to do. Another great point they bring up is that going to college to obtain a degree does take a lot of money and when a student can’t (or won’t) finish college, all they’ll end up with is debt. Also, it’s interesting to think that somewhere in the near future, requiring a degree won’t be a norm.
  • (Christina) This article made me think about the world we live in right now. Millions of students compete indirectly with each other to get into a college, so that a safe (money-wise) future is guaranteed. But this article states that many college students drop out and many others who do graduate have jobs that doesn’t need them. It sickens me that graduating a college is a necessity when statistics tell us that sometimes it does not benefit us at all.
I commented on Shi Jia’sMarie’s and Kohei’s blog. Kohei now has two comments.

It can’t get more imaginary than this.

19/09/2011 § 1 Comment

At first, I was a bit upset when we started learning about complex solutions because it meant that we could really no longer just write a simple “No Solution” as an answer for certain problems. Admittedly, I’m still a bit upset that there’s a bit more math to the work I’ll have to do during certain problems that involve finding the square root of negative numbers. The good part is that the concept of using i isn’t too hard; it simply takes a bit of time for me to find out what i-to-the-power-of-something will equal but usually I get it quickly.

One very good reason to have complex solutions is because the fact that it’s used commonly nowadays is sure sign of the potential of a human’s mental capacity. According to BetterExplained.com, “it is a testament to our mental potential that today’s children are expected to understand ideas that once confounded ancient mathematicians.” Also, although complex numbers are theoretical numbers that humans invent, they are useful and they fill in the blanks of numbers and ideas we don’t know how to explain completely. A little like negatives, there was a concept that was confusing and mathematicians in the past invented negatives or complex numbers to explain that concept as best as possible.

Also, complex numbers are useless when calculating headings and orientations (North, East, South, West). Again derived from the information from BetterExplained.com, instead of using cosine or sine, one can use complex numbers to find directions easily. (See the article for the actual explanation.)

I would think that using complex solutions in a quadratic simplifies a quadratic more. Instead of leaving the quadratic in its form with a negative in the discriminant, we could use i to simply it a little more and end the equation with two answers using that contain i. It’s more work but in my opinion, I think it cleans up the equation instead of leaving lots of numbers in there.

References:

Self evaluations on death and dancing and spiders

14/09/2011 § 1 Comment

I gave myself a low 9-10 range for this blog post; basically a 9. I think I deserve a nine on MYP criterion A because overall, I know these concepts and I am knowledgable about how it works. I gave a (very) thorough and accurate summary of the activities (maybe it was too thorough and too long but that doesn’t lose me any points so for now, it’s okay). I also provided a complete and correct list of the concepts we covered in both activities in little sections whenever the concepts were mentioned during the post.

I gave Nutcha a comment that I think was pretty helpful because she later came up to me and asked for my help to fix the grammatical errors in her blogpost. I think I helped improve her blogpost. In addition to the ‘way to improve your blog’ comment, I also complimented her on knowledge of her real-world connection and all the concepts.

I was able to connect all of our concepts to the activities we did in class but I feel like it wasn’t thorough enough. Maybe this is because I really should focus on the connecting of concepts instead of the summarizing next time — and I will be focusing on that next time. Also, I thought that my real world connection was quite developed but not to a level that it was fully developed. For example, I covered incentives, income and some consequences, but I could have worked a lot more on opportunity cost and trade-off.

I deserve a 6 for MYP criterion D: organization and presentation. I thought that the majority of the information was relevant; history on the black plague, background on the real-world connection, etc. but there might be a couple of sentences that are unneeded, like the narrations of what happened in class that I could have omitted.

I used a structure and tone during the blog that made it a little bit more interesting to read but was still informative and appropriate to the task. I sequenced the topics chronologically, therefore it is logically organized. It makes sense that I went through the activities and tasks in order of which was done first. I do pay attention to my audience – other students and Mrs. Welbes – therefore I made the reading a little more fun than a normal Economics Blogpost (which sounds boring). The presentations and expressions are clear but I feel that they’re not concise at all. I just think these three blogposts are really long and I want to stop that.

I documented all of my sources, including the graphic images that I thought would brighten up the blogposts (instead of having a lot, a lot, a lot of writing and nothing else) and the articles I read for my real-world connection. As mentioned: I think the language, style and visual representations (images pulled up from Google Images) are appropriate to the audience and purpose. But I still only deserve a 6 because the posts were so bloody long.

Dancing With Death (fin.)

11/09/2011 § 2 Comments

Dancing With Death: Real World Connection
In Which I Reveal How Much Of A Spider-Man Fan I Am
 

We can see consequence, income, incentives and possible a opportunity cost and some trade-offs in Hollywood again. 

If you’re at all interested in movies, comics, actors, Hollywood, Spider Man or Universal Studios Japan (because of the Spider Man ride), then this real world connection will be beyond interesting for you. It definitely was for me.

It’s been on the news for a while now but Andrew Garfield was set to play Peter Parker in the new ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ back in 2010 and the filming for the movie has been completed. A trailer was recently released last month.

Of the five economic terms that we learned in class during the past two activities, we can see a bit of everything in Andrew Garfield’s decision to accept the Spider-Man role for the new Amazing Spider-Man movie.

Incentive is really rather obvious in Garfield’s decision to play Peter Parker. According to interviews of Garfield, he’s been a fan of Marvel and of Spider-Man since he was two-years-old and it has been his dream to play Peter Parker in a movie since then. If you were a huge fan of a cartoon character and you were an actor and you were offered the opportunity to play that character’s part in a new movie, you would take it too. This probably isn’t his only incentive though. The previous three Spider-Man movies collected a whopping $2.5 billion and Spider-Man continues to be one of the most loved superheroes known to the world today. With that kind of pressure and praise holding Spider-Man’s legacy up, there’s a high chance that Andrew Garfield’s income after this movie will be a lot more than 30 pounds. That could be another one of his incentives — the money. Also, though, I’ve learned that good actors can spot good roles and Garfield obviously saw a good character in Peter Parker. That might be another incentive of his — getting the good role before anyone else got it.

There are both positive and negative consequences that may follow his decision of playing the part of Peter Parker. Because the previous Spider-Man trilogy received so much praise and good reviews (and just a lot of love), there are high hopes for the new installment in the Spider-Man media and if the majority of the Marvel fans don’t appreciate and don’t like Garfield’s portrayal of Peter Parker, he’ll be receiving a lot of nasty reviews. However, if all goes well and he gets nominations for his portrayal of a teenage Spider-Man, and overall, if people just love him more (which can’t be possible because people love him so much already, including me, hee hee) because of his Spider-Man role, Andrew Garfield will be receiving good critiques, great reviews, and he’ll be wanted for more great roles. Famous directors, well-known producers, praised Golden Globes actors and actresses will respect him more — life will be that much better for Andrew Garfield.

Finally, as a really random but highly relevant trade-off that Andrew Garfield probably gave up was his diet. Okay, he was originally skinny but in taking the role of Spider-Man, he really had to toughen up and work-out and really get physical for this role. Therefore, a possible trade-off could be giving up freedom to choose his diet and exercise habits to do a better job in portraying Peter Parker for the Spider-Man movie.

It might sound stupid but it’s totally relevant in an actor/actress’s life.

Overall, we see positive and negative consequences, a lot of incentives for Garfield to accept the role of Peter Parker and a bit of a trade-off in his daily life — all these economic concepts just because Andrew Garfield decided to do the right thing and become the all new Amazing Spider-Man.

I commented on Nutcha’s blog.
Also: If I’m writing too much, please tell me now so I can improve it in later blogposts.

Dancing With Death (cont.)

11/09/2011 § Leave a comment

Dancing With Death: The Black Death
A Little Bit Of A Lot Of History

The second activity actually had to deal with dancing with death. We actually danced with death.

The Black Plague was the topic of our second activity. The Black Plague is also known as the Black Death or the bubonic plague. It was primarily an endemic disease centered at Mongolia but after people started making decisions that would impact the rest of the world negatively as a consequence, the black plague became an epidemic disease that killed all over the world. (How’s that for speaking like an economist?) People tried to escape the plague using ships but all they did was spread the sickness further West and into Europe.

Other background information is that during the time of this huge Black Plague epidemic (1347 – 1350), the majority of the world was run under a feudalist system, as seen in Japan, the United Kingdom, some parts of Europe and other parts of Asia. Kings were at the top of the food chain and ruled everything and anything. The Nobles were next and they helped the king rule different portions of his land because there was so much to keep track of. The Knights came in third because the King ruled so much that even the Nobles had a bit too much to keep track of. The Knights would take care of portions of land, too. Finally, Knights had their own peasants who would do the actual physical labor of taking care of the land the king owned.

I’m not very fond of this king.

As a side note, we had to remember in class that slaves and peasants are different things. Slaves are specifically someone who is bought and sold, not really categorized as human, they are berated and have been downgraded from the level of humanity, most likely because of their race or because they were a prisoner of war. Peasants are slightly luckier, they are simply people who are bound to a piece of land, there isn’t any racial issue which identifies a human being as a peasant and they are not bought and sold as slaves are. Peasants are actually quite useful.

Plus, if you were still a peasant after the black death epidemic – aka, if you were lucky enough to survive, your life would be turning around. You win.

This is because before the black plague, kings, nobles and knights took their labor force for granted and didn’tknow how valuable peasants actually were to the survival of their land. After the black plague came a Peasants’ revolt that demanded a better life for the peasants. They won the rebellion because the number of peasants that actually survived the bubonic plague was so scarce and the kings, nobles, knights, they all knew how much value a peasant family actually held. Afterwards, peasants were paid to work on territory and had more freedom to move and live wherever they wanted and even try new farming methods.

You could say that the Black Plague held a lot of influence over changing the world because the unfortunate worldwide epidemic changed the feudalist system and modernizing different societies. The feudalist system began to crumble and peasants were given more incentives to try new farming methods and live in different places and try new things. (Originally, their incentive was to please their lords but after obtaining more freedom, all of that changed.)

||
—Economic-term explanation time—
incentive: these can be positive and/or negative – they are what motivate people to do something.

Now For The Actual Activity Itself

The activity in class involved a lot of quick math. Unlike the Planning A Dance activity, this one was completed in much less time. We were to pretend that we were nobles in England before and after the Black Plague struck and the majority of the kingdom was wiped out. I owned 1,000 acres of land but because I’m a noble, I don’t know what to do with it so I have 15 peasant families come in to take care of the land for me. Each family automatically gets 30 acres of farmland in order to feed themselves so that’s 1,000 – (30 x 15 = 450) acres which gives me 550, but wait, I need my own 100 acres of farmland because I have a family of 7 girls and 9 boys and my spouse eats twice as much as me and I still have servants in my mansion. 100 acres will have to do.

Getting back on track, I have 450 acres of farmland left. I have the option of giving a family 30 acres of land for them to grow food to sell at the market. That will give me £2 of income. Or, I could give them 150 acres of land to take care of a flock of random sheep that I could own and they could produce wool to sell at the market and get me £5 of income. The question is: what’s the best way to do this so that I maximize the rest of my 450 acres and get the most income possible?

||
—Economic-term explanation time—
income: money received regularly through work (or investments)

After a bit of math, the class figured out that the most income you can produce is by giving each of the 15 families an extra 30 acres of land so that you get (15 x £2) £30 for income a year. I’ll just assume that £30 was worth a lot back in the mid 1300s.

Also, we were asked if letting a peasant from a neighboring estate move into your estate would be an economically smart choice. The answer is no, that peasant better stay out of my land because letting him move in would mean that I would have to take 30 acres of food-production land from one of the already existing families and give it to the new family so that they can feed themselves. I would only have £28 of income a year because the new family, with their automatic 30 acres, takes away £2 of my original £30 of income.

Afterwards, time passed from 1345 to 1352, the Black Death has basically finished and thankfully I survived. However, now I’ve dropped down to 10 peasants. Again, they all automatically got 30 acres of land to feed themselves and I needed my 100 acres of land because although two of my girls and one of my boys died, the rest were all teenagers by then and thus, they ate twice as much as they used to. 30 x 10 = 300 + 100 (my acres) = 400. 1000 acres – 400 = 600 acres leftover.

The objective is the same: how could I maximize my leftover acres (a lot of leftover land) and still receive the most income through the work my peasants do for me?

Eventually, the class figured out that if I give two families 150 acres each to take care of sheep, that would give me £10 pounds (2 families x £5). That leaves me 300 acres and if I give the rest of the eight families 30 extra acres to grow food and provide me an income of £16 pounds (8 families x £2), I would have the maximum income of £26. In other words, 240 acres of the remaining land would be used for food production, 300 acres would be used for sheep grazing, and I would be receiving £26.

A very important note: from our original leftover acres of 600, we subtracted 540. This means we still have an extra 60 acres of land that are not in use.

Finally, we needed to make a decision whether letting a peasant move into my estate would be an economically smart choice. In other words: is it smart to let another peasant family move in with me?

It is.

I have 60 acres of land leftover and they would use 30 acres for their own lives while they could use the other 30 acres to produce food for me, therefore giving me another £2 of income to give me an overall yearly income of £28. It would be very smart to let another peasant family move in.

Also: would it be smart to pay this new family because of the new ‘peasants are free’ way? It would be smart — if I paid them only £1. We need to take into consideration that this new family is earning me £2 a year. Even if I lose that £1 paying them, I’m still earning another pound that will eventually add up. Therefore, inviting and paying a a new peasant family would be economically profitable and would only offer positive consequences. (Of course, unless the peasant family decides to ruin my life in a completely unexpected way.)

||
—Economic-term explanation time—
consequence: these can also be positive or negative; they are the results or effects of an earlier action/condition; there are always consequences in the future that follow economic decisions

Components of Economic Thinking

All of the below stated terms and ideas are part of the components of Economic Thinking. We covered the first part of Economic Thinking in the previous blog about chocolate almonds. The other three parts (part 2 – 4) are:

  • Choices have costs. Every decision consists of having to give up something completely or give up a little bit of something to get more of something else (aka opportunity cost and trade-off).
  • People respond to incentives in predictable ways. In the activity, I paid a peasant to work for me because I knew that 30 acres would be used to my benefit. I also gave all of my peasants extra portions of land because my incentive was to earn more income.
  • Consequences lie in the future. Every economic decision involves a consequence in the future that can be positive or negative. The economic analysis of these possible consequences help us make the best decisions.

Not going to lie, that was a lot of math, not as many pictures, but a lot of interesting role-play in which I actual have a bit of fun pretending to be a dictatorial female noble with too many children and a lot of peasants to spare.

 

This is the PDF where I did all the math for the activity and where some of my notes are. TheBlackDeath

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