Minded Statistics Mind Map

Mind Map

Recently, we had gone through all the materials covered by AP Statistics. As our teacher announced so far, we students, as separate groups, built mind maps to generalize the entire knowledge system inside the statistics class. I saw a lot of great mind maps from other groups that not only included the necessary things we have to know, but also demonstrated these things with innovative themes, like using some objects to allude to the processes of studying statistics.

The ideals and philosophy behind our groups’ construction were also clear. We separated the learned knowledge into four parts: Collecting Data, Exploring Data, Anticipating Patterns, and Making Inferences, with each part accompanied by certain structure of the plant body, while the plant itself is similar to we students, who are going to make our way to develop understanding about statistics.

The “root” – Collecting Data – is the basis of the entire plant. It is necessary to have good research methods in order to collect, analyze, and use the data we accessed, as root needs to absorb water and minerals from the soil so that the plant can grow taller.

The “stem and leaves” – Exploring Data and Anticipating Patterns – act as support for the plant. We have to harness statistical theories and methods to describe the overall data and predict the trends. Similarly, the stem structurally maintains the plant’s overall shape, where as leaves are required to make nutrients (sugars) through photosynthesis and transport them to the whole organism.

The “flower” – Making Inferences – could be regarded as a beautiful illustration of the plant’s characteristics. We need to infer from the accessed data to get evidence so that we could make conclusions. Like the determinate growth pattern of the apical meristem to floral part should be triggered by biochemical signals and environmental stimuli.

In fact, the plant we drew is a pea plant. It was used by Mendel to conduct research about genetics. Mendel utilized a series of statistical methods, like direct control of the variables, measuring the traits of pea plants, anticipating the probability of phenotypes, and checking his hypothesis using goodness-of-fit test. It was such these statistical methods that aided his generalization of the laws of inheritance. This event, on the other hand, enlightened us to sensibly harness our understanding of statistics and thus make contribution to the development of science, technology and society.

Hope all of you could finally get the “fruits” from statistics!

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Project of Albert Camus’ The Plague

Above is our masterpiece!

(We received the project assignment at the right beginning of the new semester. This project instructed students to interpret one of the four levels operated in Albert Camus’ The Plague: Literal, political, metaphysical, and existential. We chose metaphysical. Through a week’s work for it, we accomplished an artwork. Here’s our project reflection, and two corresponding quotes that help us create our painting.)

Part 1: Reflection of The Plague Abstraction Project

Literary ideas could be simply expressed using abstract objects, such as the different levels of thoughts made in The Plague. This book operates on four lens: literal, political, metaphysical, and existential, each of which could be interpreted using different viewpoints. We selected metaphysical level to create our abstract work through the project.

This process took us about half a day to accomplish our goals. First, we brainstormed about the structure of this artwork and its corresponding properties, like colors, shapes, and some highlighted objects. Then we bought the required materials: a piece of A3 paper, pigments, water, and a paint brush. While three other students of our group have done the purchasing or explaining the ideas behind our creation, Blake worked for painting and finished it before school.

The artwork we created so far was revolved around the metaphysical lens that generally emphasizes the presence of evilness and people’s reactions toward it. Therefore, through this understanding, we attempted to create a scene that there was a red bloody background – symbolizing the deaths in The Plague – and a bar that represents Oran’s isolation. Within the bar exists a black solid circle, which is the plague itself, accompanied by various things that stretch out of the circle symbolizing different people’s reactions.

In my opinion, our portrait of this lens was successful in capturing the metaphysical lens through the coloring, shaping, and highlighting of this artwork. We could envision many different reactions in respect to the plague simply through the objects themselves. Besides the red background and the bars, the gloomy color tone also makes the audience aware that the plague puts the entire town into distress. However, since most of our objects that are attached to the black circle were based upon the main characters, our work could also be misinterpreted as portraying literal lens of the novel.

Nevertheless, I gained deeper understanding about different ways to view the novel The Plague. Instead of focusing on the written texts, I tried to convert the main ideas expressed in this novel into a simpler, abstract painting. Through the project, therefore, I knew to make what seemed complex into a vivid imagery. Moreover, I got to appreciate other groups’ works, and understood that there were other lens successfully portrayed in their paintings. Their works gave me insights about expressing different levels of meanings through abstraction.

Part 2: Analysis of quotes from The Plague in metaphysical level

Quote: Generally speaking, they did not lack courage, bandied more jokes than lamentations, and made a show of accepting cheerfully unpleasantnesses that obviously could be only passing. In short, they kept up appearances. (Part 2, Chapter 10)

Analysis: While the plague is expected to put the whole town into silence and fear, there are certain citizens who, surprisingly, would express their feelings in an extreme way. Instead of focusing on the plague, they seem to be indifferent toward its existence, pretend to continue normal lifestyles, and even accept the truth. This absurdity of actions makes us aware that different people conceptualize the world in different aspects, and thus behave distinctively to the society they perceive. They surely are the observers of this entire catastrophe, but they have different perspectives about it.

Quote: Rambert said he’d thought it over very carefully, and his views hadn’t changed, but if he went away, he would feel ashamed of himself, and that would embarrass his relations with the woman he loved. Showing more animation, Rieux told him that was sheer nonsense; there was nothing shameful in preferring happiness. (Part 4, Chapter 20)

Analysis: Confronting this plague, people may differ in their reactions throughout the passage of time. Rambert, though occasionally attempts to escape the town to seek his wife, changes his decisions through the impact of Rieux. The dynamism of his changing actions imply the transformation of his original viewpoints about the plague and the isolation of Oran. The interaction between the two characters also illustrates that in the face of evilness, they both decide to fight against the plague, though Rieux regards it as a necessary duty, while Rambert does this job through a moral conflict between rightness and wrongness.

Status

Bourgeoisie’s Anxiety

Nowadays, more and more families decide to send their children study abroad. Despite those definitely rich people who regard the tuition fee as an ignorable fraction of their income, more and more middle classes, including my family, also make this choice. What’s different, though, is that we have to make plan to use money.

No need to mention my motivation beyond studying abroad. The core question is, why would my parents overcome the challenge of great cost and support my education? From the beginning of my high school life, anything about testing, studying, and applying is tied to certain expense.

Standardized tests are necessary part for our profile. However, registering for a test is, though not that costly, still countable to my parents’ weekly salary. For rich students’ ideals, it is good to test frequently and show the greatest score to the application office. But for the relatively poor students like me, I have to decide when is the most suitable schedule for me to plan a test and guarantee that I cannot lose the chance to best behave myself at that time. You now perceive the stress. Moreover, lack of context also puts stereotype threat to me. I must to confess that rich people really experience more about the world, and they have greater insights to certain questions. It seems inevitable for me to be considered less knowledgeable.

Cram school. Yes, in this generation full of intelligent people, it is common to see many students studying in such a place. We see from a lot of institutions hosting such auxiliary classes that their advertisements are great lists of students who get high scores on specific tests, thus implicitly propagating the effectiveness of aided education. But the cost is even far higher than the standardized testing fee itself. When preparing for such an exam, rich students really put great efforts in cram school. On the contrary, I am not able to assess the class simply because I have to seriously manage my cost. Furthermore, there are many academic competitions that require exceptional skills on certain subject field, and I heard my peers taking part in the course and got big, big, big prize. Is the prize really big? Or, it is just exaggerated by those cram institutions. Well, at least my careful listening to the school class and self-study technique work for me to win prizes important for my career interest.

College application is more of a big deal, even the cost of testing and studying is relatively too cheap to be mentioned. Of course, the application fee is not expensive, but the expenditure beyond the college application could be so enormous for some students who get to… Oh, the next thing I am going to say may be sensitive. Due to incomplete statistic, the majority of the international students in my district take agencies. You might not know this, let me explain this term to you. Generally, the agency is an institution which manage registered students’ materials and give them advice about the best way to succeed during application period. Sometimes, students who get to agencies earlier in high school do extracurricular activities out of their suggestions. It seems that the applicants who do not have an agency but apply by themselves are heretics, and even my community of international applicants make a term for this – DIY applicant. I am not completely DIY, though; I just use another way to aid my application, that is to ask help from seniors and my own school’s counselors. They are totally free and are glad to solve my problems.

We bourgeoisies are really not in advantage about these matters. However, we have different mindset from those of rich students which put more emphasis on intrapersonal intelligence. To make ourselves more self-aware is to make ourselves more outstanding.

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Review of my 2016

A new refreshing year is awaiting. With just thousands of seconds to count down, here I would like to casually reflect back my life in 2016.

First, I want to share my personal developments. Through this year, I achieved a lot of skills, like winning a national prize, being able to play electric piano, etc.. These new things I learned were memorable, because they came from my commitment. Moreover, I also made plenty of new friends that had distinct backgrounds. Together, we could share ideas and talk about things we were interested in. I also got to know more deeply about Chinese culture. I visited a lot of great natural sceneries and their corresponding civilization. Those things make me more prepared for introducing my culture to people from other countries.

Second, I would like to discuss about school life. During this year, I gained a lot of declarative knowledge that is practical. And I got to pursue my career interests with more opportunities to broaden my vision. I did a lot of researches about chemistry and biology, which really enhanced scientific skills. What’s more, my environmental protection organization goes well, and successfully survived “the Great War of hundreds of clubs”. I honorably became a peer tutor this November, when I was already stepped into college application period. Certainly, the senior 2 (grade 11) life was so busy that I experienced great GPA downfall this year. No wonder flaws of grading and evaluation rumored around my class, I was more optimistic because I really learned a lot of things. The final exam for this semester is coming, and I am sure to fight back the downfall and save my GPA and make my dream more approachable in this senior 3 (grade 12) moment.

Third, testing. At the beginning of this year, my standardized test score was so low that I even considered quitting the international curriculum, but after months of endeavors, I am very glad to achieve such great scores in TOEFL and ACT. Moreover, I accomplished a great miracle: No mean to brag, I was the first person in Shenzhen Middle School who got a full mark in SAT Biology test. Many special occasions did happen, though. During the AP exam period, one of my dearest relatives passed away, while my parents held this as secret until I completed the last test; all the June ACT tests in Hong Kong were cancelled, compelling me to take another one in October.

Is 2016 a perfect year for me? Seriously not. Chaotic situations frequented around the society, shuffling my view of the world many times. Sadness, joy, leaving and reuniting… too many things to be listed. However, I mentally grew up much more than I expected. Instead of escaping from aversive occasions, I would like to take relatively wise actions to dispel those troubles. Looking back, I saw many twists about certain aspects, but those things generally came out to be good in the end. Of course, I will not easily give up in 2017, because I am going to boost up and catch the goals of getting into my dream university, to get involved into the competitive but enlightening education system. Still, the future is full of uncertainty, but I would live my best in the present.

Oh, there is only about half an hour left. So, with the last sincere wish for everyone, I would like to conclude with the most commonly used sentence: “Happy New Year!”

An ugly photo

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Rejected by ED – Bad News, or Good News for me?

Today, the college I applied for early decision has notified the admission results for all its applicants. At the moment I clicked the mailbox, my heart bumped so tightly, then loosely, then tightly again. This awkward sensation continued until the result was clear in front of my eye: “Dear Fan … I regret to have to let you know that we are unable to offer you admission.” Suddenly, I did feel something constraint was released, but did not feel anything sad at all. The little sentence that came out of my mind was “Well, this college is so cool that it just rejected a student who is going to shade great lights on it.”

Or, maybe not? In fact, this college is not of my first choice, but I did throw out a chance to ED it, because its fancy description of its biology majors catches my eyes. The drawback is, however, that I may not be so well behaved in the not-my-favorite, and the tuition fee is a bit high. So, I just wait until now to see the consequence.

My objectives now seem stereotypical for those “perfect” Chinese applicants, but there is a little trick with ACT test. Because when I hand in the application form to that ED college, my October ACT has not been released, so I have to fill in my April ACT score. The April score is decent, but not satisfactory in the present moment, because I truly made a progress during the half year period. Logically deducing, using my April score to apply for that college is risky, because my April result shows I am in 96th percentile of the examinees, while that college requires, presumably, 98th, or even 99th percentile. This is the gap that seems small but actually very steep, as you know about the normal distribution: The number of top 4% students is four times the top 1% students. That seems that I have only about a quarter of those top 1% students’ chance to be admitted, while not all the top 1% are eligible for admission. Unfortunately, when the satisfying October score is released, there is no time for me to send the corresponding report to my ED college.

Subjective information? It should be taken in account too. Well, I am confident that at least there is nothing fake, wrong or disappointing with personal statements.

During admission, we are not fond of geographic conditions. But it turns out that we still need a temperature range that is fit for our body conditions. Do not judge me through my slightly chubby bear-like appearance; I am really not tolerant of even below 0 degree Celsius. Glad that my ED college decided not to make me solely stand in its cold air. Otherwise, my nose would get a tough time sneezing in that chilly temperate climate. I live in Shenzhen, and been to Israel… Experiences tell me that, subtropical monsoon or Mediterranean climates might be better.

All right, enough for chit chat. There is a phrase remind me: “Good things are a long time in coming.” Certainly, my personal history has a lot of situations that are similar in their influence in my emotions. Initially I am depressed, but as I progress toward, I will twist up to the summit and enjoy the fruits of success. Just like when I was in 9th grade. At the beginning, I was only, to say, in upper middle position of my junior school, and people around me did not expect that I could even get into the top 8 high schools in my city. Many excellent students had already get enrolled into some of the famous high schools through early decision. However, as I worked hard for preparing the entrance exam, I got in Shenzhen Middle School! ACT score, too, does give me a lot of enlightenment on that. And I think it is time to boost me up to a higher level of education that I look upon to. Wish me good luck in the following months!

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Why biology?

When first encountering the discipline – biology – I felt greatly astonished by its ability to help me explore about wonderful secrets about life: I knew how people grow, live, and have their common physiological processes being fixed and integrated. But in the real world, there are much imperfection in human bodies such as illness. Nowadays, medical technologies have been developed to an advanced level, improving much better in their treatments toward serious diseases. However, this development still does not benefit congenital ones.

I have met a younger child called Rain who was the son of my mother’s good friend. The first thing I noticed was his strange appearance. He was shorter than I expected, possessing a stagnant eyesight. Having a round face, big nostrils, and thick lips which even let me thought he was an alien, he kindly smiled and said hello. Forging my fear of approaching him, I kindly introduced myself and talked about what are going around my daily life. Rain, in turn, started long speech about his experiences. Though his illogical flow of words, with murmured pronunciation, was once difficult for me to understand his sentences, I finally came to fathom what he was talking about. From that day on, we became friends and frequently trade information between each other.

Still, my mother, being aware of Rain’s abnormality, asked his parents about what’s the problems with his appearance and speaking. The response was shocking: Rain got Down’s syndrome since he was born. His parents, though could not initially accept his strange outlook, raise him with the regard that he is a normal child. But years passed by, his parents discerned that there might be some problems. After sending Rain to have a professional physical examination, his parents were stunned at the addition of a chromosome. I thought that he could be normal again, but my mother told me that this disease could not be cured since it was inborn.

I could not bear the truth even though it was strongly corroborated. Hiding this secret to Rain, I gained deeper approach to him after series of recreational activities. In definition, Down’s syndrome had its patients unable to cognize the world holistically. But I saw his painting, which once really enthralled me by the portrayal of the animals and plants. Beside this, I admired his dancing skills which had the paces being coordinated and rhythmed. Even I could not reach that high standard. In general, I could perceive many of the life’s best details being captured by his little body, sparkling great amount of his knowledge of the world to me. Nevertheless, I did know that he could get out of the sufferings of his inborn disease.

Through high school study about biology, I came to know about more things about the virtue of lifeforms. There always exist materials of inheritance – genes – that can determine people’s physical and behavioral traits since their birth. But when abnormality comes, such as the alteration in humans’ chromosomes which hold many of the genes, people’s traits will be disrupted, forming some distinct but negative characteristics for them that prevent their life from proceeding like a normal person. Though in the present, there have not been cure for such diseases, gene therapy, a branch of the bioengineering, started to apply in various treatment toward different inborn diseases that were caused by only small changes in people’s genes.

But what about those diseases resulting from the anomaly of chromosomes? Basing on this question, here I apply for the college I applied for with the aim to seek the answer. Through various fields of research opportunities offered by the university I applied for, I could gain a lot of insight into the solution of many of these human sufferings, not only for the theoretical one, but also in the realm of real-life application, which could authentically provide the innocently influenced people with hopes to live a happy life.

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Adventure Time’s Impact on Myself

Since I was twelve years old, Adventure Time has been my favorite cartoon series. Not only for its social influence, this TV program is considered as one of the cartoons that fit people from different age groups. It mainly tells the story about Finn – a teenage boy born in the land of Ooo, and Jake – a magic dog having metamorphic power. They take various adventures to discover unsolved mysteries about the world. At the same time, a lot of troubles come to disrupt their original thoughts and leave me with suspense. Meanwhile, there are also a large amount of awkward matters that sometimes would be very important in pushing the entire story forward. With the development of Finn and Jake’s relationships with many other characters, this story gradually become more and more complex, and there are a lot of unanticipated incidents that would happen abruptly to change the audience’s mind.

Although the style of painting seems immature, the plot seems to be full of insights and there is almost no exaggerate depiction of those characters’ behaviors. For real, the main cause of my favor for this cartoon is that there are many moral questions worth being considered among the story line. However, those problems, with Finn and Jake’s ability to discern good and evil within specific occasions, could be quelled when certain effective actions are taken. For instance, some characters initially considered as antagonists actually do not intend to do something bad. On the contrary, there are a lot of story regarding these characters’ personal experience that shape their personalities and behavioral patterns. One of this kind of characters that I pay attention to is Ice King, who kidnaps a lot of princesses at the beginning of the story. At first, Finn and Jake seek to fight against him, but one day they discover that Ice King is originally an industrious archaeologist but faced a tragedy: After he put on the magic crown – discovered in an ancient site, which gave him power to produce ice, he became old and mad, leading to his wife’s divorce with him. From then on, Finn and Jake decide to help him out of the influence and successfully persuade him not to kidnap princesses. Moreover, as the story progresses, they find out that Ice King has been good to one of their friends during her childhood, which further explains that he, as well as other ostensibly vicious character, is able to be friendly if people change their viewpoints. Even though Ice King has done a lot of notorious deeds in the land of Ooo and troubled Finn and Jake a lot, the problem is eventually put to an end with peace.

In fact, there exists a lot of personal conflicts among different characters, including Finn, who always wants to find out what his family is, and Jake, who is born to be distinct and thought to be ominous. But due to the help from other characters, they come to understand that such issues are inevitable, and the best way to reduce the pain is to optimistically and bravely embrace them. As time goes by, people soon will diminish their negative comments and come to approach you without aggression.

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HE As Harmony

In China, there is a word (or could be regarded as a single letter) called “He” that emerged more than two thousand years ago. As a representative of a special regional culture, it was created for the teaching of Confucianism – a traditional ideological system that took dominance all around the area. In the present world of communication, large number of Chinese words were translated, increasing the cultural diversity among the globe, and it is commonly accepted that “He” could be generally translated to “harmony”. However, in my opinion, this word should not be seen as that simple, because the cultural sediments behind it is so grandiose that people could not actually comprehensively understand what it means.

Traditionally, “He” contains the meaning of “peace”, which has the function of preventing military fights. Confucius used this word to successfully persuaded emperors from different clans to stop firing. It is also useful during daily life, for the communication to be effective and bring happy-endings. When I am going to solve some conflicts with other individuals, it is deep-rooted in my mind, reminding me of not acting violently. Moreover, “He” has its social importance, with various institutions including governments, schools, offices and hospitals applying it as a symbol of “harmony”, which explains why it is generally translated into this word. There, people could suitably confine their behaviors and do things they want to do within virtual moral standard. As a result, it extracts diverse aspects of life into a simple word, which could not be directly illustrated through translation.

Vocabulary Brainstorming

Word 1: comprehensive

adj. of wide scope; inclusive; thorough

Because students are studying at school, they have comprehensive marks and comments given by their teacher. And they may go to comprehensive university after graduation. So we can see, “comprehensive” is a word which is widely used in our daily life. The synonyms of this word are integrated, compositive, synthetical.

Word 2: solstice

n. the time of the year when the sun is either farthest north or farthest south of the equator; the first day of summer or winter

It is usually used in geography and astronomy. As we all know, when it is about June 22 or 23, the sun illuminate on the Tropic of Cancer straightly, and everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere has the longest day and the shortest night. Inside the Arctic Circle, sun lights for whole day. But the Southern Hemisphere has the shortest day and the longest night. And the whole night is inside the Antarctic Circle. However, when it is about December 22 or 23, this situation should be turn upside down.

Word 3: allegory

n. a symbolic story in which people, settings, or actions represent ideas or moral qualities

Aesop’s Fables is well known around the world. And this book is famous for its allegories. These allegories are pretty interesting, and the author added a little irony into them. So allegory may be very funny, but we can’t ignore its meanings and metaphors.

Word 4: attrition

n. the act of rubbing away, wearing down, or weakening due to friction; loss of personnel due to retirement or death

In physics, attrition is similar to friction. It means that when something approach the ground and someone is dragging it, the force produced between this thing and the ground called attrition or friction. Also, it can means somebody who is so haggard that he or she may feel very somnolent and sleepy.

Word 5: symposium

n. a meeting for discussing a particular subject; a collection of writings on a subject

There are many kinds of meetings such as congress, forum, exhibition, board, council, commission, committee and so on. Symposium is the meeting for discussing a particular subject, so it is about some academic things. We might discuss mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology. These are all called symposium.

Word 6: panacea

n. a supposed remedy for all diseases or problems; a cure-all

We can find that if we read this word carefully, it is similar to penicillin, which is a kind of medicine used to vanquish some kinds or bacteria and fungi. In real life, panacea don’t exist. And we also can’t defeat all sorts of diseases by using panacea. So when we will make the panacea come true? We don’t know.

Word 7: imbibe

v. to drink; to drink in or absorb; to take in with the mind and keep (as in ideas or principles)

It is often used in some special situations and places such as bar and café. And when someone is participating in a party, “Imbibe!” is a sentence to cheer up.

Word 8: effete

adj. no longer able to produce; worn-out; lacking vigor or moral courage; decadent

The agriculture may use this word to describe the situation of a piece of field. This field is very sparse and it even can’t cultivate any plants. So effete is a word used to describe the bad situation of the field.