The Constitution of 1791

The French Constitution of 1791, sourced from Wikipedia

The Constitution of 1791, although short-lived, was the first written constitution in France and marked the embodiment of the ideas and principles of the revolution, such as equality, liberty, and fraternity.

On the 20 July 1789, the famous Tennis Court Oath was sworn, which pledged to “not give up until a new constitution had been established for France”. And after two years of drafting, revision, and editing, the Constitution of 1791 was created as a direct result. This document was inspired and represented multiple emerging ideologies of the revolution, including the foundations of other famous concepts such as the Declaration of Man and Citizen; Rousseau’s Social Contract; along with the works of Voltaire and Montesquieu.

Most ideas of the constitution took place in 1789 but was never officially passed until it was accepted by the King until the 14 September 1791. But once it had, it led to many changes in the revolution. It abolished the Ancien Régime (eliminating unequal taxation and rights), marking the end of an absolute monarchy and the beginning of a constitutional monarchy. The Legislative Assembly was also formed — replacing the National Assembly as the main governing force — which consisted of mostly middle-class citizens, resulting in the ability to vote (as long as they weren’t women).

 

The King, who was under harsh criticism at the time, was mostly fine with passing the Constitution, as he could still keep his job. Though he no longer has full control over the country, he was still head of the government; only now, the Legislative Assembly was in charge of passing laws. This meant that the King had no more control over the army, no authority over local government, and had no voice in the Legislative Assembly.

 


 

Though there is no direct correlation between the new Consitution and my character Jean-Paul Marat, he adopted a lot of the ideologies, which would later be incorporated into publications of Marat’s Journal, L’ami du Peuple.

To finish things off, here’s a (translated) copy of the primary source in .pdf format:
http://wp.stu.ca/worldhistory/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2015/07/French-Constitution-of-1791.pdf

In-depth Post #6: Putting It All Together

As In-depth draws to a close, it seems like only yesterday that I started learning music production. It’s unbelievable how quickly time flies when you’re having fun! I’m really grateful towards my mentor, and I want to thank him for providing me with an exceptional mentoring experience, supporting me every step of the way, and being a huge influence on my learning. With the big night approaching, I’m anxious to present my project to everyone, and I’ve been working my hardest to make it the best that I can as this is my final In-depth project.

 

I had a brief talk with my mentor over Skype yesterday and together, we brainstormed ideas on possible presentations — including the theme, genre, and techniques involved in a particular type of presentation. In the end, we came up with an idea of remixing ordinary tracks into a song: creating a mashup of sorts. Essentially it means taking different clips from real-life situations, and editing them into one large song. This type of project really piqued my interest, as it isn’t something that I’ve done before, and seems like an interesting challenge to tackle. It definitely incorporates everything that I’ve learnt into one large-scale project, and even adds some additional elements such as audio and video editing.

From what we talked about, the steps of creating the project would look something like this:

  1. Gather sources of audio from different sources
  2. Slice the samples into proper lengths
  3. Creating the beat, melody, and harmony
  4. Edit the samples inside the song, changing pitch where necessary
  5. Mastering the audio
  6. Add video and sync to respective audio clips

Even though I still don’t know which clips I’ll use, I have a general idea of what I need to do and how long it will take me to finish each task. I’m aiming for the final composition to be around ~2 minutes, but it’ll probably end up being a little shorter due to introductions on-stage and all that.


Since my last post, I noticed that I’ve been spending a lot more time practicing by myself, and enabling everything that I’ve learned so far. As a result, a lot of my rough areas that I touched on in my previous most — percussion, tempo, and volume — have been smoothed out with continuous practice and some help from online tutorials. I’ve also picked up a bunch of knowledge on audio editing during the past few weeks, both by myself and by using the resources provided to me by my mentor in our previous session. Throughout the learning process, I noticed that there was much more to the world of music production that I originally imagined, and I learned concepts that I’ve never even heard of before.

Here’s a brief rundown of the different types of audio editing that I learn, and may use in my final composition:

  • Panning: Panning is the balance of audio towards the left and right ears, meaning that there are times that your left ear hears a certain instrument when your right ear does not. In all my projects so far, there is an absence of panning, which results in an equal distribution of sound between both ears. In other words, what you hear in your left ear is what your hear in your right; it doesn’t add an element of atmosphere into the composition.
  • EQs: EQs stand for Equalizers, and are used to adjust the loudness of certain frequencies. The range of frequencies vary depending on the genre of music; for example, rap sounds better with more bass, therefore it will be louder in lower frequencies.
  • Reverb: Reverb is short for Reverberation, which adds depth and fullness to the sound. It does so by adding a sort of echo to the background once the clip has finished playing, slowly fading out over time.
  • Phasers: Phasers are used to filter a sample through a series of peaks and troughs in the frequency spectrum. The position of the wavelength is being modified over time, leading to a sweeping effect (kind of sounds distorted).

I also learned a variety of techniques such as when their implementations in various situations. Definitely keep an eye out (or an ear) for these elements during my performance!

Overall, this year’s in-depth has undoubtedly been one of the most memorable projects that I’ll ever do in school. I’ve had an unforgettable mentoring experience, ended up learning loads of knowledge, and having a bunch of fun in the process. The project was an opportunity for me to venture into the musical world, and made me view music in a different light. It’s definitely become a hobby that I’ll continue doing in the future, but until then, I look forwards to the big night!

Thanks for tuning in!

Goodbye Science, Hello Revolution!

I’m quitting. Yep, you heard that right; I’ve given up on my scientific career and am instead pursuing one in politics instead. To be frank, the decision has been on my mind for quite some time, but just yesterday, the king — Louis XVI — announced the assembling of the Estates-General, providing me with the opportunity to step up. Of course, it wasn’t an easy decision. I enjoy my current occupation — working on heat, light, and electricity — as I’ve already established a reputation for myself and it pays well. However, seeing the state that France is currently in — in-debt of 12 billion dollars — the King and nobility are obviously doing nothing to make significant financial reform.

Of course, I’m not saying that we should kill the king; I still believe that he’s needed for Paris to function as a country. However, I’m not happy with the current people who are running the country. We, as the Third Estate — which make up 98% of the population — should be the ones making the decisions instead of those who don’t own any land. As I wrote in the last edition of my pamphlet — Offrande à la Patrie (Offering to our Country) — the king is mainly concerned with the financial problems of France (no surprise there) and is neglecting the needs of the people. Nobility and clergy are living the life, eating fois gras and songbirds, while we — the Third Estate — can barely even afford bread.

The problem is that citizens of Paris have no idea of what’s going on; all they know is that they aren’t happy about it. As touched upon by my friend Abbé Sieyès, author of the pamphlet “What I the Third Estate?”, France as a country should be run by the people. In other words, the Estates-General should be organized on heads rather than power. Currently, the system is organized with the first and second estates (around 2% of the population) being the main deciding force in decisions, and it creates a monopoly that treats the third estate unfairly: leading to problems such as unequal rights and taxation. What should instead by done is to abolish the idea of “First” and “Second” estates, as they are insignificant among the rest of the population.

Let’s face it: it’s obvious that the king isn’t doing a very good job at ruling the country, but he is doing a good job at keeping that fact hidden from the people of France. That has to change. Now that I’ve devoted my life to politics, I’m going to pick up my pen and I will write. And write. And write. About the issues of the third estate. About the corruption of nobility and clergy. I will write on behalf of the people, and become their voice.

Now that the meeting of the Estates-General is in less than a month, time is of the essence to make our opinions heard. Spread the revolutionary zeal. I’ve already left behind my old career. It’s now time to leave behind the old France, and venture into the brink of a revolution.

Yours truly,

Jean-Paul Marat

niceme.me!

 

So I didn’t have much time to put together a meme, but nevertheless, I was able to throw a couple of things together. For this project, I chose to focus on animated gifs, as they are mathematically proven more effective than static pictures. Here’s some brief calculations:

1 picture = 1000 words
a 30 second gif @ 30fps = 900 pictures = 900, 000 words

As you can see above, the average gif is theoretically worth 900, 000 words — hell, I don’t need to be writing all this now, I’ll just let the gifs tell the story:

View post on imgur.com

The inspiration from this gif came from a video  I saw a week ago which talked about a guy admiring his new fence that he built to keep his dog in the yard, which ended up failing spectacularly. When I originally viewed it, it reminded me of the wall that Trump was planning to build between the US-Mexican border in order to keep the Mexicans — or “rapists, criminals, and druggies” as referred to by Trump — out of America. As I learned from my PhD in meme-ology, this specific sort of meme is funny and goes viral quickly due to the analogy that it creates. In this specific instance, the fence constructed refers to Trump’s wall, and the dog refers to the population of Mexicans.

Anyways, the message that’s being conveyed is that the wall is a dumb idea, and that it’s a complete waste of money. As discussed in class about a month ago, Mexicans can simply use a ladder/rope to scale the wall; additionally, the idea of a wall costs a lot of environmental (disrupting the Rio Grande/Colorado River), as well as conservation issues. This can be related to the “physical environment” big idea and also to the “collective identity” of the Mexican population with the false stereotype that Trump is constructing.


 

Lastly, my second meme doesn’t include that much content wise, but it was an idea that occurred when I was doing some research on the Hamilton musical. Here it is (cringe warning):

View post on imgur.com

I don’t really enjoy re-visiting memes that have been overused and have become obsolete, but I couldn’t help but make the connection between the two. In the live musical, when Lin-Manuel Miranda replies with “Alexander Hamilton”, the audience laughs due to the fact that it’s a sudden change in tone. That’s what makes it similar to the John Cena meme because it’s known for its unexpected appearances. Again, this doesn’t really relate to any of the big ideas, but it has some correlation with some of the curricular competencies in making connections.


So… yeah, that’s basically it for memes; I had a lot of fun making them, and learned a lot of things through the research that was conducted in the process. Thanks for reading!

In-depth Post #5: Gaining Momentum

To be honest, I didn’t find much time to work on my project during Spring Break; my trip in China took up most of my break! Now that I’ve settled myself back in Canada, I started spending a bit more time working on my project (I even fell asleep midway — screw you jet lag), and finally got to finish what I had been working on for a while! You can listen to it below:

Overall, I think that it sounds pretty nice; I tried to incorporate everything that I’ve learned so far. However, there are still a bunch of rough spots from time to time, and through learning new skills and continuous practice, I believe that I’ll be making fewer mistakes in my compositions. I also sent it to my mentor, and he was thoroughly surprised by the progress that I’ve been making. Even though we didn’t get the chance to meet up since I got back from China, he’s been providing really detailed and helpful feedback on the song above. On our back-and-forth exchange on Skype, here are a few points that he brought up that I should focus on in my next composition:

  • Drums: “The percussion matches the song genre, but its accompaniment to the piece is choppy in general. Especially in the start after the ‘rise’, the drums start rather suddenly; I would suggest using something like a fade-in to make the transition more smooth.”
  • Volume: “Great job on the variation of volume throughout the song, it was effective from start to end. One quick thing though — make sure to always keep the volume of the main melody audible throughout the entirety of the song. To my ears, the notes were too quiet right before the drop.”
  • Tempo/Rhythm: “Minor flaw and doesn’t take away too much from the song, but the notes were a bit off at times and didn’t match the beat throughout the whole song. When you use a keyboard, I would recommend using a metronome set to the song’s tempo (128 bpm?)  and/or using a function that snaps to the nearest bar.

In the end of our brief exchange, he supplied some useful resources that I could use to improve my compositions. Most notably, he sent me a link on the subject of music theory, regarding the role that percussion plays in a song, and some quick tips. I did feel that this was a large area that I had yet to improve on, as I didn’t learn much about it, and it’s definitely one of my focus areas for the next few weeks.

Throughout the project so far, my mentor has supplied me with many learning opportunities, and his goal is to make sure that I keep improving (what a great mentor, amirite?) Probably one of the biggest examples of this can be seen above, through his extensive feedback that he provides me. By identifying my areas for improvement, he provides me with the opportunity to further expand my knowledge on these topics, and as a result, be able to produce better music. Additionally, this lets me focus on specific areas, rather than targeting everything at once, which as an end result, leads to more efficient learning.

The one thing that I feel is going particularly well is the freedom of learning what I want, whenever I want. Rather than lecturing me on every topic — or in other terms, following a set curriculum — Mr. Turpin lets me explore by myself, and facilitates my learning in a way congruent to the Autonomous Learner Model. There isn’t a set due date for a specific project or a certain assignment that I need to complete, but rather, I’m free to work on whatever I feel like.

In the next few weeks, I can’t wait to get started on my next project and incorporate everything I’ve learned, as well as all the feedback that my mentor has provided me. I’m finding both the project and the mentorship experience to be more enjoyable than I initially envisioned it, and I’m glad that things are working out the way they are.

Stay tuned!

 

DoL #2: Trump’s Trump Card

American Politics are interesting, to say the least. But this year’s election has gained a lot of media coverage — even more compared to the last few years — due to the “interesting” candidates that are running for president. One of those candidates is Donald Trump, a new face in politics who seems to be gaining a lot of traction due to his absurd ideas, such as building a wall between the US and Mexico, or banning Muslims from immigrating.

“Look at those hands,” Trump said. “Are they small hands?” Source: Jeremiah Warren

Due to the above, the last thing you would expect is for him to gain so much support; after all, he’s racist, relatively inexperienced with politics, and comical. So, why is he so successful? From the research that I’ve done, it boils down to two main reasons:

1. Trump has a clear and consistent persona. Candidates don’t have much time to introduce who they are to people, so the clearer and more simple someone’s persona is, the better. Trump is and has always been clear with his ideas and opinions, and has not changed his views depending on the audience he’s talking to, or over time on what the polls favor. Hilary Clinton, on the other hand has amassed millions of dollars from large corporations, and because of that, shifts her views depending on who she’s talking to — the general public, or corporations. From looking at the amount of money raised by politician campaigns, Hilary is leading by a huge amount, and most of that comes from donations from these large corporations. She uses this money for advertising, which leads to a high poll standing, but at the same time, is trying to hide the fact that there are these huge corporations supporting her in the back. This is also why she’s more successful ($195 mil raised) than Bernie Sanders($96.3 mil raised), even though they support similar problems and Bernie has had 26 more years of experience in politics than Hilary.

Relationship between news coverage and poll standing (Figure 1). Source: Washington Post

2. He uses the media to his advantage. Think about it — Trump has become so successful in the presidential election with spending only a fraction of the money of his competitors. Just take a look at these statistics: “Where each campaign is spending its money” (Galka). Trump has spent considerably less than most candidates, but the reason to why he’s so successful is due to the coverage he’s able to get through the media. Trump has gotten more news coverage from sites like CNN/Fox News/NBC than all his Republican rivals combined (Buncombe), and that means free advertising for him, which leads to a higher poll standing, as shown by Figure 1 to the right. You’ll see that the relationship is pretty much linear, which further establishes the fact. But at the same time, it’s not because news companies choose to cover Donald Trump in their headlines, but they are forced to do so. News broadcasting companies in the long run need to make money, which comes from views, which are amassed by topics that interest people. Donald Trump is the perfect example of this; he breaks the rules that politicians are bound to — formality, language, content — that may have never existed in the first place. Because of this, we as the general public, are drawn into it because it’s unique, and completely “insane”. The 2nd GOP debate, for example, smashed records with CNN, with a total of over 23 million viewers — a record for CNN. Again, it’s not that they want to give Trump free coverage, but it’s because we force them to, even if it might be unconsciously. If CNN were to put on a broadcast with Jeb Bush talking about the economy, the end result is that very little people watch it, and that’s because most people find it boring.

From the above information, it’s understandable to see how media exposure related with poll standings, but it doesn’t answer the question: “Why do so many people support Trump?”

Probably the most distinct feature about Trump is his persona: He’s simple, energetic, and amusing to say the least. To most Americans, Trump has a simple answer to anything. Yes, he may be wrong most of the time, but it’s really the way he expresses himself that gets across to the audience rather than the information that he’s actually conveying. It’s how human brains are wired — research has shown that what really matters is how you say it not what you say. Instead of sugarcoating his words in a layer of complex, specific words intertwined with terminology, Trump keeps his responses informal and simple, which is easy enough to understand for most Americans. “People like the idea that deep down, the world is simple; that they can grasp it and that politicians can’t. That’s certainly a message that I think Trump is radiating.“said John Hibbing, a psychologist at the University of Nebraska.

What’s more, Trump says things that most people are afraid to say, in the fear of being judged. It’s not that he’s provocative, but rather, he’s saying what many feel, but can’t say. It’s surprising to see the sheer amount of people who support his ideals; many people dislike immigrants, are racist, and/or don’t feel that climate change is an issue. In a way, they’re using Trump has a human meat shield — they support him from behind, don’t want to be judged by others, and stay anonymous. This way, the criticism for these opinions are targeted towards Trump rather than his supporters.

On a similar note, those who support Trump have interesting demographics, as seen here:

Demographics of Trump Supporters Source: http://politicsthatwork.com

As society progresses, ideals change as time goes on, and those ideals that Trump supports are considered to be rather normal many years ago, but unacceptable in today’s society. This is seen by how most people support Trump are middle-aged, compared with the supporters of let’s say, Bernie Sanders with the majority being millennials.

The problem with this is that even though millennials support Bernie, many of them are shown to abstain from voting, or are yet too young to vote. This leads to a drop in support for these candidates, and an increase in support for Trump.

 

Maybe you’re scrolling through Facebook or browsing Twitter, and you see article after article regarding the presidential election. Then you think: “Why do I care? I’m Canadian.” or if you’re not old enough/not going to vote, maybe something along the lines of “Why do I care? I’m not even going to vote.”

Even so, it’s important to understand just why the presidential election is so important. The role of president shouldn’t be taken lightheartedly, as it isn’t a game. The next president — whether it be Hilary, Trump, or someone else — plays a significant role in the future of America, which in turn, influences us in many ways. A president acts as a commander-in-chief, and has the power to influence the entire military, economy, and environment. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t feel comfortable in handing nuclear launch codes over to “The Donald” (which is under the assumption that he doesn’t blow up America before he blows up other countries). The current election is super important to us, just as it is to the rest of the world. America is one of the, if not THE superpower country in the world, and whatever decisions made by the president has the ability to influence all of us.


Overall, the way the election is headed now, it’s still hard to know who will become president of the United States for sure. However, it is projected that Donald Trump will win in the Republican Party, while Hilary will win in the Democratic Party. It’s also interesting to see the diversity in the pool of candidates this year, each have their benefits and downsides, and it’s hard to tell which one would make a better president. Due to the fact that there are multiple outstanding opinions on the multiple candidates, there isn’t a specific set of steps that we are able to take. For now, it’s important for us to keep supporting the ideals that are important to us, such as climate change, racism, or the economy. Even though we don’t live in America, that doesn’t mean that we’re not able to make a difference.

I find the presidential election this year to be enormously intriguing, and it’s definitely a topic that I’ll keep following over the next few weeks to come. At the start of the term, I didn’t know much about politics, but after doing a lot of research and keeping up to date on current political events has led to me having a better understanding on the topic. I’ve added it to my list of personal goals for Socials, and I can’t wait to dive even deeper.

In-depth Post #4: Sampling

Over the past two weeks, my main focus for my in-depth project was to work with sampling. No, not the “sampling” when you try food at Costco, but sampling audio, which in music terms essentially means the process of taking audio from another source. Most music you hear on the radio isn’t made from scratch, but takes audio from other sources: whether that be loops, sound effects, or background music.

My last meeting with Mr. Turpin was a week ago, but instead of having it in-person, we talked over Google Hangouts (an online video calling service made by Google). This was due to the fact that Spring Break was coming up, which leads to him being relatively busy with his school classes. Nevertheless, our brief meeting was still as interesting as ever, and as mentioned previously, sampling music was our main focus.

A sample consisting of fast attack followed by primary and secondary decay

He talked about what, how, where, and when to use audio from other sources, and what he said really intrigued me; that it differed from genre to genre and we quickly went over the most common sounds that producers use such as bass drops and music loops. It turns out that sampling was more important than I thought, and can completely change the tone of a song. They can create tension, add effects, and best of all, a ton of them exist in free sample packs throughout the internet.

In terms of our mentoring relationship, I feel that my mentor and I have a much deeper connection than what we used to have. We’re now able to communicate more effectively than before, due to the fact that we’ve built up a lot of rapport over the past few mentoring sessions. Especially in the past meeting — even though it was online — I felt that we were both focused on what the other person was saying, and showing a great amount of respect for each other’s opinions. We were both adding and contributing to the conversation, which led to it being more interesting, and made the experience better for both of us. I’m glad that we’re able to have this connection now, as being able to communicate effectively was a huge problem at the start. Due to us still getting to know each other, the conversation was rather one-sided, with it being more of a lecture than a conversation.

Because of this, my learning has been gaining a lot of momentum recently. I’ve pretty much learned everything there is to know about the FL Studio interface, and I can use the software without any confusion. By having my mentor clarify the questions I had — and with some help from my trusty friend Google — I’m more familiar with music production, and am running into less issues in general. However, I feel that our mentoring relationship could be even better if we can both work together to solve the minor conflicts that we have from time to time.

An example of this would be in our mentoring session ~3-4 weeks ago where we discussed what would sound better in this timeframe of the song. What happened was a small argument that could have been quickly resolved through listening to each other’s opinions. Instead of focusing on why I think this is better, it would be better to look at things from a different perspectives. I’ve only realized it now, and will be sure to implement the strategy the next time a conflict arises.

As for my current progress, things are going along steadily. I don’t have a track to post for this week — it’s still in production — but it’s going to feature everything that I’ve learned so far. My project ties in nicely with social class as well, as we just finished a remixing project which was a great opportunity for me to exercise my skills. Throughout the course of the remixing project, I was able to sample audio from multiple different sources into a final song. If you haven’t heard it yet, you can listen to it here:

Remixing the free encyclopedia

https://soundcloud.com/polunom/wikipedia-remix

I noticed that music production is a more time-consuming activity than I initially thought, and creating something that sound “good” takes a lot of

tweaking and editing before I’m satisfied. Something that may originally take only a few days may extend on and on for weeks because of this. In the song that I’m currently working on, I’m focusing more on choosing instruments that blend well with each other, and implementing a lot of the knowledge that I’ve learnt: a bass line, a melody, a harmony, and even throwing in some audio samples c;

I’m looking forwards to finishing my next song, as well as perfecting it in the weeks to come. I’ve had a lot of fun with music production, and hope to learn even more in the future!

Stay tuned!