Necker’s Final Address

France has burned and risen from the ashes. Going from one tyrannical leader to another has thrown France into political turmoil, but it is over at last. France has been the superpower of the world, but the British have pulled ahead with their massive coal supply. The only hope France has to stay on top is to conquer and conquer, but I do not support war. Alas, I am but an old man who wants to retire in peace, and spend the rest of my days with my daughter. She has become a powerful voice against Napoleon, and I am glad she is so strong willed. She has grown so much from the small child I used to know, but I am not worried for her. As for the government, I am not sure what to think. I am sad that Robespierre went mad with power and committed crimes far worse than the king. It seems like an endless cycle of redirecting hate to different people, whether it be the nobles, or the enemies of the revolution, or even other countries. As much as I don’t understand the feelings of the poor, I wish that wealth didn’t have to motivate the people. Unfortunately, everybody wants to live better, whether it be the commoners or the nobles, and they don’t consider the big picture. I really tried to fix France’s problems, but I didn’t have the power to make it happen. I regret not being able to finish my work, for if I had succeeded, all this blood need not have been shed. But perhaps, throughout all this fighting, France has become stronger than it has before. The monarchy was not a successful way to run things, and the commoners are not nearly educated enough to run a successful democracy. The emperor Napoleon, although terrible, is perhaps the least worst option that France has. But it is none of my business. All I desire is to live the rest of my life in peace. Au revoir.

The death of a king

Seeing Louis’ head roll was a morbid reminder that I made the right choice to leave politics. The public’s anger at the nobles bubbled up faster and more violently than I thought possible, and Robespierre channelled that into the razor sharp blade of the guillotine. I tried to please the people by fighting for fair taxation but I lacked the power to enforce my idea. All I had was big words, and when the people realized that, they shifted their support to the radical Jacobins, who had the potential to make things happen. Despite my defeat, I’m thankful I was able to step down quietly. The king and queen were not nearly as lucky as me. They tried to flee, but were forced to go back. The people were determined to hold them accountable for the desolation of this country. I thought they got off easy when the National Assembly still wanted Louis as king in a constitutional monarchy. Still, I can’t personally condemn them for running away, which is essentially what I did. However, the rest of France seemed willing to condemn them anyways. In protest of the National Assembly’s’ decision, they stormed up to the Champ de Mars and provoked the National Guard until they shot into the crowd. If only I succeeded in getting the clergy and nobles to pay more tax, this wouldn’t have happened. But as much as I hate my defeat and being powerless, if being connected with the king means losing my head, I’m happy to give up my position and retire rich. Now that the monarchy has been disposed of, I’m sure that France will settle down quickly. Robespierre will lead well, for he will defend the revolution from corrupt enemies. I only hope he does not go overboard.

Clay Bowls

I recently was able to achieve one of my main goals for this project: firing clay. Sort of. I finally found clay, while I was walking by the Coquitlam River trail. I was too lazy to purify it so it had a lot of pebbles and too much water to shape properly. However, for my first try, I thought it was pretty good. Dakota and I built a fire to burn the clay. We still had a lot to learn about fire starting and used modern tools. Clay will fire at 600 degrees Celsius, and I’m pretty sure it reached that temperature, but I’m not sure how long it has to be heated. I left it in the fire for about two hours, and it turned out crumbly and brittle. I broke it really fast. Dakota’s bowl turned out better, as it had less rocks in it.

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It didn’t look like smooth clay pots, so I’ll have to purify them next time. (Dakota’s bowl is in the second picture and the smaller one in the third picture)

I also improved my tools by making a better adze. I used a flatter piece of rock that was easier to bind, and I also made indents with a stone chisel so the yucca leaf rope would hold it better.

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I went to go chop a branch in half and the stone broke. The good news was that the binding wasn’t the reason the tool fell apart, meaning yucca leaf is very reliable. I have a really bad habit of breaking my stuff.

I also experimented with arrowheads. The yucca leaf is alright, but the stone arrow is still a little wiggly. Yucca leaf combined with pine pitch would probably do the trick. To make pitch, I have to mix pine sap with organic material like ashes and cellulose. I have plenty of ashes from the fire Dakota and I made for clay bowls, but I don’t want to kill a tree to gather sap. With any luck, I can find a freshly fallen pine tree sometime soon.

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Lastly, FIRE! except not really. Of all the primitive-truly-from-scratch methods of starting a fire, the bow drill has gotten me the closest. The hand drill (spinning a stick with your hands) is ridiculously hard core. I had to cheat and use pre-made rope for the bow drill, as you can see.

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The bow drill is made of five parts. (from bottom to top)

  1. The string

It should fit on the bow with a small amount of slack

2.  The bow

It should be about as long as your arm, and have a moderate amount of bend and elasticity. you would spin the drill by moving your arm back and forth.

3. The ember board

This is where the spinning drill generates heat and an ember.

4. The hand hold

This is what you use to put pressure on the drill.

5. The drill/spindle

This is looped into the bow, and will spin when the bow is moved.

I’m not exactly sure what I am doing wrong, so I’ll just have to experiment with different types of wood and different strengths of bows.

In the future, my goals are to start a fire with the bow drill, create a clay container, and survive a day in the wild. I know that with enough practice, I can achieve all of these things.

 

Jacques Necker in da house

I, Jacques Necker, am the finance minister of France. Unfortunately, France’s finances are in dire shape, but I have a plan to fix that. I know it looks bad, with peasants unable to buy bread and France over five hundred million livres in debt, but don’t worry. I know what I’m doing. When I was fifteen (1747), I moved from Geneva to Paris to work as a bank clerk. Over the next 18 years, I slowly climbed my way up the financial ladder, investing and earning wealth galore. I started my own bank with Peter Thelluson, and I grew even more disgustingly rich through loans and investments. However, I never aspired to hold political power. That is, until I met the love of my life, Suzanne Churchod, AKA Madame Necker (1764). It was a bit complicated, because I was already married and she was already engaged, but I’m rich so who cares. Two years later, she gave birth to my beautiful daughter, Anne.  Madame Necker came from a poor pastor’s house, and she inspired me to change France’s corrupt economic system. On June 1777, I became director general of finances. I could not hold supreme control because I was a Protestant in a Catholic country, but I was essentially in charge of the wealth. It was only once I reached the top that I finally understood how big my task was. I published the government spendings so the people could know what was really going on. I did omit a few things just to keep them from getting riled up, like the fact that France is in an economic downward spiral. I knew that the nobility and the clergy had to pay taxes if France ever wanted to get out of it’s debt. Like our American friends showed us, the people can overthrow the yoke of an oppressive monarch. Unfortunately, our American friends also showed us war is expensive. I’m trying to save France but Marie Antoinette can’t give up her diamond necklaces. I know she’s the reason that King Louis XVI won’t take me seriously. I’ve made enemies of not only the monarchs and their ministers, but the clergy as well. They’re too busy hoarding their livres to realize that the people are ready to tear out their livers. I’m trying so hard but the entire government wants my head. Little do they know that it’s their head I’m trying to save. I’m fed up with politics, but I’ll be back one day to save France. Just you wait.

~Jacques Necker, 1781

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“Imma steal yo girl edward”-Jacques Necker

Salut. I’m back in office again. Despite their disdain for me, the royals have called me back. The debt has gotten far worse. The king has been living large at Versailles, leaving me with the bill. Surprise surprise. However, I’ve learned my lesson this time. I won’t rely on others. None of the nobles can see the greater good of France. Saving France is my job, and my job alone. I won’t work with those populists Lafayette and Mirabeau who are all talk. I know I can make it happen.

~Jacques Necker, 1788

 

Well, that was awkward. Despite the my best efforts and the rising tension of the peasants, the nobles still didn’t change anything. I left on July 12 out of frustration, knowing  nothing would change. Little did I know, that me, the hero and representative of the poor,  actually provoked some breechless dudes to go storm the Bastille on July 14. In a panic, King Louis XVI again asked me to be finance minister. How could I refuse? I was touched that the peasants cared. On June 19, I came back. This time, I’ll carry through with my ideals. The third time is the charm. Or so I thought. After much bluster, I ended up doing nothing. I realized it would take some head rolling for the monarchs to see the power of the common people. And that’s exactly what they did. Not only has the third estate separated from the Estates General and promised to form a new constitution, regular women marched 30 km to Versailles, and after killing the guards and waving their heads on a pike, they brought the Monarchs back to France. I thought that France could be restored peacefully, that all we had to do was balance the budget. I now know that it’s not money that needs balancing, but power. I am not a fighter. It is not my destiny to be a soldier. I will go back to my family and spend some more time with my daughter. The only thing I can do now in these chaotic times is raise her to be the women she shall become.

Jacques Necker, 1799

Mememememe

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The first meme is essentially wordplay. Yay bad pun dog.

The second meme represents one of the main reasons why lots of people remain ignorant about current events. I have an irrational fear of being facepalmed for asking stupid questions. I’m not passionate about activism and I have no motivation to educate myself about current events, so I generally learn about the world through word of mouth. However, most topics are pretty sensitive and saying the wrong thing (with completely good intentions) will get you stabbed with a fork. That is why I don’t like political correctness. It’s lessens the effect of abuse on minorities, but it also stops me from asking weird questions.

2 cobblestone and two sticks….

I can’t believe that Indepth is next month. I know I’m really far away from my goals, but I’m glad I stopped worrying about mentor based stuff and grades, and just focused on remembering why I chose survival skills. I’ve shifted slightly in my focus, from surviving in the wild, to primitive technology. Building tools is definitely the funner part.

Over spring break I found a fallen cedar tree and I was able to get super strong bark from it. I used the bark strips to bind a rock to a stick to make kind of an adze. Hitting the handle with a rock to shape it over and over sounded exactly like Minecraft. I also read in Scientific America that tool making helps shape your brain, which is probably why my inner caveman enjoys this.

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Unfortunately, the handle is too small. The original stick I was going to use broke, so I replaced it with a smaller one. The stone is a little wiggly as well, so it won’t be effective at cutting down any trees. However, it may be useful at gathering bark from dead cedar trees. I also gathered some more rocks that I can potentially make other tools with. Sedimentary rock is great because it flakes into thin sheets easily. I was able to create an ax head, a knife, a chisel, and some arrow heads.

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I realized that crafting with stone is a lot more efficient if I take a rock and smash it apart with a bigger rock, and then look at what pieces I can use, instead of carefully shaping a rock and refining it like they do in primitive technology. I have a lot of access to raw materials and limited time and energy, so it’s a lot more economical to make stone tools this way. The difficult part will be finding out how to attach the stone tool to a wooden handle.

PLANTS

I was able to locate cattails at colony farm. I will go sometime next week to harvest some. Everything about them is edible, and their leaves have extremely long fibers that grow up to 4 meters. They are strong enough that some people make chair seats out of their leaves. Cattails also have fluffy seeds (like a dandelion) which help them spread extremely fast and take over ponds, and they can grow almost anywhere with a continuous source of water.

Another useful plant is the cedar tree. One thing that surprised me about forests in B.C. was that I thought they were very diverse. However, I only saw three or four different species of large trees. This was useful because I didn’t have to look very far to find a fallen cedar. Aboriginals used this tree for weaving and basket making, and they would gather it by cutting a section of bark off the tree and peeling it upwards. This way, it was sustainable. I don’t actually need the bark, so I generally gather from dead trees. I peel away the rough outer bark and get the inner bark for rope making. It has a pinkish colour and smells a bit like raw hot dogs. I have no idea if it’s just a random coincidence, but I wasn’t able to find any connection online.

 

MENTOR QUESTIONS

What kind of learning opportunities exist to reinforce new learning?

This is all completely trial and error. Just going out and experimenting is the best way to learn. The weather is also super nice, which really makes spending time outside a lot more enjoyable. There is plenty of how to’s online, and plenty of nature trails, so I’m never short of opportunities to practice what I learn. What’s great about primitive technology is that anybody can practice it anytime to reinforce their learning.

What kind of opportunities exist right now to accelerate your learning?

I had lots of free time over the spring break, which allowed me to progress from planning to build stuff to actually building stuff. I think I just need to make more time to stay at that level of actually doing stuff. I haven’t gone to any formal mentorship lessons or classes in a while, so that may be something I still want to look into.

As I don’t have a mentor, these are the only two questions I think I can truthfully answer 0_o

 

What is Racism?

For my document of learning, I wanted to talk about police shootings and minorities. Nazlie mentioned the Peter Liang case on class and Frank posted on the forum about it.

Police brutality has become a huge problem in the U.S., and recently, Peter Liang, an Asian American police officer, was declared guilty of manslaughter for killing Akai Gurley. This has gotten a lot of public attention from Asians protesting that white police officers are above the law. Furthermore, there are several different points that suggest he is guilty or not guilty. Initially, being taught in the ways of yoga, I thought people could just hug it all out and end the racism. However, I received so much new information that I pulled a Hilary Clinton and ended up flipping sides continuously.

The Case:

Peter Liang and his partner were patrolling an apartment building with a high crime rate. Peter Liang had his gun drawn for self defense and was climbing an unlit stairwell. Akai Gurley and his girlfriend opened a door, surprising Peter Liang, who fired. The bullet ricocheted and hit Akai in the chest. He then fled and later collapsed. The two officers debated over who would report the shot. The officers never administered CPR or made an attempt to save Akai’s life. Peter Liang’s partner later claimed it was because they had never been properly taught CPR.

 

Criminally negligent homicide

-Peter Liang did nothing to help Akai Gurley

-The gun had an 11.5 pound trigger

Accident

-The bullet ricocheted off the wall

-It was a dark stairwell and Akai fled as soon as he was shot so it was possible that he did not immediately see Akai Gurley get shot

Realistically, ricocheting a shot in near darkness to intentionally hit someone would be impossible. If we don’t factor in his race, the main reason why he was convicted was because he did nothing to save Akai Gurley. After some research (thanks Wikipedia), I found that criminally negligent homicide means killing someone accidentally when you are responsible for their life. Peter Liang shot Akai unintentionally and did nothing to save him, so the sentence fits. However, There’s a lot more going on than one Asian guy shooting one Black guy. Both police officers were rookies, and Akai Gurley was arrested over 24 times. The building was definitely dangerous for a cop to be in, and holding out a gun for self defense is understandable in those circumstances. Sending in two poorly trained cops who didn’t know how to provide CPR shows that the police system itself isn’t functioning properly. Akai Gurley was killed by Peter Liang. Peter Liang was thrown into a dangerous situation too early by the police system, and maybe farther back, the system failed Akai Gurley and forced him into crime. Unfortunately, blaming the system for everything isn’t going to do anything.

The people BLM don’t like to talk about

I want to make it very clear that I respect black people and I know they have to deal with a lot more racism than I do. I just want to point out that the racism isn’t one sided. There’s a lot of talk about police officers killing black people, but not a lot of talk about black people killing police officers. Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley killed two cops for revenge against Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and then killed himself. The two cops who were killed, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were not involved in any of those cases. I had never heard of this case, until my dad brought it up. People are too polite to point fingers at minorities, so we end up seeing black people as only victims. Likewise, the articles I read tend to leave out the fact that the black victims had criminal records or were aggressive. I understand why, because it’s disrespectful to talk bad of the recently dead, but it is also misleading to the generally uninformed public like me. I’m not trying to trash talk black people. I think it’s terrible that black people are abused and killed by the police for minor or non existent crimes. I think it’s terrible that so many blacks are resorting to crime because racism leaves them jobless. The purpose of this was to show that racism isn’t as simple as the majority hating the minority. Nobody is right or wrong and both sides have victims and terrorizers.

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Basket Making

Tools

So far my efforts have been going towards making rope, but I realized that once they dry out, they crack :( The fern rope I made looked really nice and was decently strong, but once it dried, it lost its pliability. I have since then turned my efforts toward basket making.

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So far, I only have the bottom done, but I will weave ferns in to make the sides. It will make a decent container, but I doubt it will be strong enough to transport anything. I modeled it off the basket from primitive technology, but I made two main mistakes that I will not do on the next attempt.

  1. I used three sticks instead of four, so the basket is a hexagon instead of an octagon. This gives it a lack of framework and stability
  2. I used different types of plants for the frame and for weaving. Not only does it make the basket look weird, it also makes the basket imbalanced, with some parts stronger than others.
When the basket is done, I will probably use it to store dry leaves and plant scraps for tinder.

I also found a good rock for a celt/axe head. It’s really strong and flakes off in small chips. I want to find/make a good stone hammer or chisel because grinding it down would be too slow.

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Food

After reading through the survival books, cattails are my new favourite plant. Not only do they look awesome, but they can also be used for food and ropes. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any nearby, so for my survival trips I will mostly be eating blackberries from Himalayan blackberries. They are a lot better than licorice ferns, and, as I have recently learned, some fiddle heads are toxic so I should be wary of eating them. I have also learned

Fiyah

I have gotten really good at using a magnesium sparker, but I still want to learn how to start a fire from scratch.

Future Aspirations

I haven’t dug for clay yet, and the weather is too wet to make a furnace, so I’ll be postponing that. Spring break is coming soon so I hope I can spend that time doing big stuff like shelters and tool making and food gathering. I’ll see what happens.

 

Questions

  1. What has been my most difficult mentoring challenge so far?
I think finding a committed long term mentor has been tough. I haven’t been able to find one yet… but I am hopeful, mostly because procrastinators are just really optimistic people. I’ve only asked two people so I have to stop being lazy and get serious about finding a mentor.
2. What is working well?
During the Mount Seymour trip, I took the opportunity to ask lots of questions to our guide. I learned a lot about wildlife that will be useful. Cedar trees are toxic but have strong bark. Hemlock and silver firs have edible needles high in vitamin C. Whiskey Jacks are not afraid of humans. Overall I really enjoyed learning how to survive a night.
3. What is not working well? What could be done so it works well?
I should be focusing on the doing instead of the dreaming. I chose this skill mostly because there’s not a lot of planning, but mostly practice and hands on trials. I want to stop planning to build shelters and start building shelters. I really had a lot of fun building snow caves and I want to keep learning like that. The best way to stop dreaming is to start doing.

Survival Skills Part 3

 

TOOLS

I have finally made my Himalayan Blackberry rope with Dakota. It is pretty strong, but it is kind of a pain to de-thorn. I tried some different styles of twisting, but braiding is the only way that seems to work. It is about five feet long and pretty durable, but not very polished like the rope in primitive technology. I am still trying to find better alternatives.

vinenenslicing thorns

Strength: Medium

Availability:High

Processing Work:Medium

Overall Effectiveness: It is definitely the most efficient rope to make so far.

 

I have also begun collecting and drying sword ferns to see if their fiber is usable, because ferns require less processing.

I have been told by many different sources (including Ms. Mulder) that stinging nettles are great for rope. I haven’t seen any so far, and more importantly, I don’t know how to process them without stinging myself, so I’ll have to look into that.

 

FOOD

I was hoping to rely on dandelions for my future survival trips, but I realized that DANDELIONS DON’T ACTUALLY GROW IN FORESTS. My forest is quite dense in ferns, so when the fiddle heads come out in spring, I think that will be my main food source, along with licorice ferns.

Fiddle heads are the unfurled parts of a growing fern, and are pretty tasty when cooked. Ferns on average produce seven heads a year, so the sustainable practice is to harvest three from each plant. They are regularly eaten by regular people in dishes like salads and kimchi. (fun fact: fiddle heads are also called Croziers ).

Licorice ferns are ferns that grow on trees, and get their name from their taste. However, I can attest that they taste really really bad. I’d rather not eat them unless there’s nothing else.

 

 

WATER

I’m not that worried about water. B.C. has really clean water and I live near the Coquitlam River, so there’s plenty available. Water usually doesn’t have to be treated if it is clear, cold, and fast running. It is hard for micro-organisms to survive in these kinds of conditions.

 

FIRE

It’s too wet to actually start a fire in the forest but I am getting the hang of using magnesium powder and fire steel to start a fire with dry toilet paper.

 

SHELTER

The permanent shelter Dakota and I plan to create will most likely be the thatched hut from Primitive Technology. Six-eight saplings are driven into the ground in a regular polygon and tied at the top to form a dome. It will then be covered by a ton of ferns.

We will probably cheat and use semi modern tools because hand made stone axes don’t grow on trees. We’ll see how it goes.

 

FUTURE GOALS

By next blog post I will

-have found clay

-begin work on a stone axe

-get the criminal record check from my mentor

 

MENTOR QUESTIONS

What went well?

I though the listening-talking ratio worked very well. I didn’t have force myself to ask a lot of questions to fill the silence because my mentor was super knowledgeable about nature. The questions and answers went back and forth quite nature-ally.

What relationship problems were there?

I struggled a lot finding a time that worked with all three of us, mostly because I requested meetings with little time given in advance. Planning is undoubtedly my weakness but it is slowly improving throughout the year, as I am now giving more notice in advance. There was also the struggle of having to inform Dakota about my thoughts and receiving his thoughts. There were a lot of mix-ups and last second changes to our schedule. I now realize that having a partner makes in-depth more fun, but the work load is definitely not reduced.

 

The post which must not be named AKA document of learning numero uno

Where I was

I ended socials ten on a really nice note with a rap battle against James. I never documented it because I didn’t know we were supposed to blog… Knowing nothing about Canadian History or government, I learned quite a lot. Unfortunately, it was more depressing than exciting learning about Aboriginals and the residential schools. The nice part of socials 10 was that I began to understand what values the different parties of the Canadian Government held, and how the election worked. However, although knowing more about Canada was nice, I was looking forward to something more violent and fiery like the French Revolution

Where I am

I feel like socials 9 has had a rough start. I don’t talk much and it feels like nothing new is being discussed. I don’t really know what to think about the discussion. There’s not much to argue about Columbus. The class has already established that he’s not a good guy in a not good society, and that he doesn’t deserve a holiday. I prefer debate style argument where people actually clash their ideas against each other, instead of defending the under-represented minority one sidedly. It’s important to recognize minorities, but it shouldn’t be everything. I want to work more on introducing arguable topics.

The big idea I chose is

“Disparities in power alter the relationships between individuals and between societies.”

Well, duh. This is the main cause of why settlers were able to steamroll their way through America. The Aboriginals were unable to compete with the advanced technology and got nearly wiped out. The main theme revolved around how absolute power ends badly for the weaker side. All of this is pretty self explanatory. I want to learn how to delve deeper into this big idea and state more than the obvious.

The core competency I chose is to

“Make reasoned ethical judgements about controversial actions in the past and present, and whether we have a responsibility to respond (ethical judgement)”

Being real, I was probably going to pick the shortest core competency and roll with it, but this one really spoke out to me. This is the so what/who cares of socials. Is Columbus still worth talking about if everyone he directly affected has been dead for 500 years? Why should we care about angry peasants in France? This topic really fires me up and I hope I can get some serious arguing going on in the class.

Where I want to be

I want to talk more. I know that sharing ideas is crucial if I want to thrive, and not just survive. I know I should take it upon myself to introduce topics I want to talk about . As for the things I am looking forward to, I really am excited to learn about revolutions, how they start, and how they resolve. The two revolutions that come to mind for me is the Cuban revolution, because my eminent person Che Guevara was a key figure, and the French revolution, because the roleplay was frequently mentioned last year. Despite the rough start, I am optimistic about the future of socials nine.