Are We Finally Ready to Acknowledge Global Warming?

Grace Murtha
How many times have you heard the term ‘global warming’? What do you usually hear following those terms? Instead of debating the legitimacy of global warming, we should be considering our next step in preventing major destructive impacts to our health and environment. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions are one of the biggest causes of climate change1. Although there are many ways to reduce these emissions, they are not feasible because they take too much, time, money, and physical space. Scientists are now using photo-electrochemical machines to mimic the natural process of photosynthesis1. Carbon dioxide can be both captured and converted into something advantageous and helpful, but a photocatalyst is needed to begin the conversion2. The photocatalyst technique ensures the reduction of not only carbon dioxide, but also other harmful substances like methane3. Direct air capture techniques have the potential to be much cheaper than other methods4. However, it is very important to be patient in choosing negative emission technologies3. Although they are almost always successful in removing CO2, scientists’ question whether or not these technologies are sustainable and cost efficient. For example, Bioenergy for carbon capture and storage is very costly4. Although there are definitely some issues regarding specific technologies, negative emission4 technologies as a whole have proven to be extremely successful in doing what they are meant to do4. Of course, on top of these technologies, we need to be working towards green, sustainable energy. We need to take action now. We have the information to begin. There should be no more debating, because climate change is happening, and it happens to pose an extremely significant risk on humans and our environment.

1. May MM, Rehfeld K. ESD Ideas: Photoelectrochemical carbon removal as negative emission technology. Earth System Dynamics. 2019;10(1):1–7. doi:
2. Simultaneous SO2 removal and CO2 reduction in a nano-BiVO4|Cu-In nanoalloy photoelectrochemical cell. [accessed 2019 Jan 23]. doi:10.1016/j.cej.2018.08.093
3. de_Richter RK, Ming T, Caillol S. Fighting global warming by photocatalytic reduction of CO2 using giant photocatalytic reactors. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 2013;19:82–106. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2012.10.026
4. Smith P, Davis SJ, Creutzig F, Fuss S, Minx J, Gabrielle B, Kato E, Jackson RB, Cowie A, Kriegler E, et al. Biophysical and economic limits to negative CO2 emissions. Nature Climate Change. 2016;6(1):42–50. doi:10.1038/nclimate2870

Chapter 5

Andrew Kang
English 123
Professor Grant Glass

Blog Post 4

Chapter 5

It was on a dreamy Sunday afternoon in August. As I looked outside the stain glass window, bright crimson red robins were soaring in the deep blue sky chirping away with one another. The sky consisted of occasional patches of white clouds, but as each fluffy white cloud passed by, the sunlight began to shine through the window reflecting on my new beautiful creation. Made out of only the most delicate elements I could find, the creature was ready to come alive. The creature slowly revealed its bright blue eyes that sparkled like the shining star. It began to inhale so softly and tenderly that you could barely notice each breath it took. I was filled with all new types of emotions as i only felt happiness and love for I have created life and a new son. The creature limbs were in proportion as his facial features could only relate to the most beautiful magnificent creatures that roam our planet. His clear, smooth skin glowed as my creature face was so vanilla and sweet as it began to smile. His smile was soft, like autumn leaves caught in a breeze as it was just enough to see a glimpse of his pearly white teeth. The creature lustrous electric blond hair flowed as his luscious cherry red lips were as red as the red robins flying outside. I had worked hard day and night for nearly three years for the sole purpose of creating life from scratch. The past three years I have deprived myself of rest and health, but as I look at my new creation, it was worth it.
Filled with joy I am now able to show my creation the bright side of humanity.

Final Project

For the final project, Amelia and I chose to do an adaptation of Robinson Crusoe through the form of a children’s book. The reasoning for choosing this form of adaptation is due to always wanting to write a children’s book. Through this project, I was able to do this. The preparation for the book was more than I pictured it to be. Making the outline was more difficult than I pictured in my mind.

In this project, we told the story of a little boy named Robbie. The moral of the story in which we decided to use for the story was always obey your parents. Throughout the book, the story of Robinson Crusoe is told with a little twist. The age of the boy has been altered to appeal more towards young children. This specific children’s book is used both as an adaptation as well as to teach children a lesson. The story goes on to Robbie falling off the passenger boat that he got on and eventually ended up on an island where he only saw one person, who also got stranded there. The book also started to promote and teach teamwork as the two boys built a boat together in preparation to get home.

Once the story goes on, the boy’s face adversity and hardship when they come in contact with a storm. They learned to stay together and remain calm until the storm passed. In this part of the book, another moral was portrayed. The moral depicted that there is going to be adversity and hardship, but that is not a reason to give up ever. This is one of the strongest morals through the book in my opinion.

This book created a flashback for me to my childhood. It reminded me of the many books I would read that portrayed the same morals throughout. This story of Robinson Crusoe creates room for many morals to be placed inside when creating a children’s book. This gives room to the author and illustrator to have fun with the making of the book. Each children’s book has a specific meaning to a child upon reading it over and over during their childhood. In this case, the concept that remains in children’s head is what lesson is being taught at the end. There is always a happy ending in most children’s books and that is what they remember as they grow into young adults. The foundation of children’s books is what creates the kind of people we have walking around on this earth today.

This is what inspired me so much to create an adaptation to Robinson Crusoe. I remember many books from my childhood and the many lessons that were taught through them. For me, I have always wanted to create a book of my own for children to read and be able to reflect upon as they grow up into adults. I really enjoyed this assignment and being able to create this adaptation children’s book with Amelia.


Although it seemed like Frankenstein in Baghdad was not the class favorite, I did enjoy the novel very much. I found the plot-line of a monster seeking to avenge the innocent people who died to make up his body very intriguing. I viewed whatshisname more as a heroic admirable figure until the later half of the text, as his morals changed to make him out as more of a villain. For example, he has few qualms in murdering anyone, good or bad who got in his way. However, as much as I enjoyed the plot and whathisname’s development, I didn’t agree on the ending as I felt Hadi deserved better as Ahmed Saadavawi wholly mistreated Hadi. In this adaptation of the original Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Hadi is drawn from the original character of Victor Frankenstein. However, unlike Victor Frankenstein who deserved a cruel ending, actions did not necessarily warrant his suffering in the end.  Though Hadi was not the most pleasant person in the novel and he repeatedly demonstrated many selfish intentions like when he tried to trick an poor senile lady into selling her house, Hadi was never purely cruel like Victor Frankenstein. I do not necessarily believe that Hadi deserved a wholly happy and fulfilling ending, yet  the mutilation of his face as well as the false accusation that Hadi is Whatshisname all seemed overly cruel. The primary reason I believe Hadi deserved a better ending than Victor Frankenstein is that he did not intend to build Whatsitsname so it would come to life and wreak havoc in Bagdad. Victor on the hand thought that he could play a god-like role and create a new being. Furthermore, Victor could have prevented his creation numerous times from becoming a monster had he been  more accepting and nurturing. This was not a possibility for Hadi as whatshisnames morals were already set when coming alive therefore making Victor and Hadi objectives differ.

Loneliness as a Theme in Wide Sargasso Sea

Loneliness as a Theme in Wide Sargasso Sea

The setting is early 19th Century Jamaica and the Emancipation Act has just freed all slaves by law. One of the protagonists, Antoinette, is a Creole, meaning that she has mixed European and African descent. The implications of these two facts mean that the young girl is resented by the Jamaican community for being part of a white, former plantation-owning family, and she is not completely accepted by the European community either, due to the fact that she is not entirely European. Since her birth, it would seem that Antoinette was fated to live a lonely life. At a young age, her father drank himself to death and she was left to the care of her mother. She later loses her younger brother to a fire and she essentially loses her mother soon after to madness. Antoinette is perpetually alone and often has dreams of being in hell, but the truth is that her reality is hell. Her husband later marries her as an arrangement for money and the dominoes continue to fall. Mr. Rochester has a difficult time relating to Antoinette due to the difference in culture and family history. Rochester then begins to suspect that Antoinette has madness in her blood and projects that image onto her, even arbitrarily calling her Bertha. Antoinette has now lost her husband at this point and is beginning to internalize the madness that was projected onto her. The truly sad part of the adaptation is the fact that the reader gets the impression that Rochester does not want Antoinette, yet he is also not willing to free her from the marriage.

Characterized as a feminist novel, “Wide Sargasso Sea” veered off from traditional feminist works of its time. It is true that Rhys demonstrated that Bertha was multi-faceted and had a deep and troubling childhood, but the relationship between womanhood and madness is still present. Antoinette did not give me the impression that she was strong and independent, rather I received the impression that society can alienate women and men attempt to control them. Certainly a strong take on the status of society, but much can be said about the message of Rhys. Loneliness, control, and alienation can all have detrimental effects on the psyche. It is important to be cognizant of the implications that our actions can have on people and we must understand that everybody has a past that has shaped them into who they are today.


Modern Art: Ackland

Our trip to the Ackland was a completely new experience for me, and while I most definitely enjoyed it, there were certain pieces that I felt did not deserve to be a part of any exhibit, specifically The Batture Ritual by Jeff Whetstone,  and Looking At The Sea by Howard Hodgkin. I believe both pieces are creative in their respective ways, but placing these pieces of art in Ackland feels like a slight against the creative spirit of art. Art, to me, evokes emotion, and these works failed to do so in unique ways.

To start, The Batture Ritual is most definitely an artistic piece of work, but I do not consider it to be a piece of art. I fully accept that I may be uncultured in this regard, but watching a video of a river with things occasionally happening on screen revoked little to no emotion from me, and I was forced to get up and stand before I dozed off. The concept behind this work is a solid one, and video is definitely a great medium for conveying emotion and feeling, but this piece failed to do that, and in doing so failed to reach its desired status of “art piece”.

In Contrast, Looking At The Sea succeeded in drawing emotions out of me, but it failed to bring out anything meaningful. I was mainly agitated, because I personally didn’t consider this to be anything. It looked nearly exactly like the art I made at my RA’s event in Ehaus,  and that was most definitely not a piece of art. The lack of structure, as well as the seemingly mediocre method this work was done it made it feel as if someone was pulling a prank on the class by showing us this art. I know my reaction wasn’t unique, as both Robert and Sam found the art to be pointless.

I personally didn’t find them to be art, but I also agree that I may be in the wrong here. Art is incredibly subjective, and this is just my perspective on two of the works we saw at Ackland. I may not agree with them but I do understand that they may hold some value to others, and I can respect that.

The Sword of Damocles, 1812 – Richard Westall

In Richard Westall oil painting, The Sword of Damocles, it depicts an ancient moral parable told by the Roman philosopher Cicero dating back to 45 B.C.. Cicero’s interpretation of the tale focuses on Dionysius II, an authoritarian king who was once controlled Sicilian city of Syracuse during the 4thand 5thcenturies B.C. He made more enemies than friends while ruling despite all his money and power. Dionysius was continuously threatened and feared assassination during his reign. Then it was Damocles, a courtier, who proclaimed how delightful and pleasing Dionysius life must be being king. Of course, Dionysius was not pleased with this and said “do you wish to taste it yourself and make a trail of my good fortune?” (Andrews 2016). In Westall painting, it depicts Damocles accepting Dionysius offer being seated on a golden couch. Damocles was living lavishly as he was served by plentiful amount of servants, fed the finest foods and drinks, and being able to admire material riches. The lavish life that Damocles was beginning to fall in love with as king came to an abrupt end when he noticed a razor-sharp sword from the ceiling hanging right over his head. Immediately forgetting about how he was just admiring how “easy” Dionysius life seemed to be upon realizing that sword was only being held up by a single strand of horsehair. That ended his ability to feel as if his time as king was going to be glorious and effortless. After being psyched out by the dangling sword above, Damocles removed himself from the role not wanting to be as wealthy and fortunate as he thought Dionysius had it.

The tale of Dionysius and Damocles was depicted fittingly by Westall. The audience, as well as Damocles, was able to understand how being so high in power brings a lot of physical and mental stress such as anxiety and depression but can do as far as death. There truly is never a sense of happiness and peace when one is centered in such an unstable and energy draining environments. Cicero’s tale had such a lasting impact that the phrase “Sword of Damocles” is used still today in situations where one has an impending threat or insecurity. Another being “hanging by a thread” which is something that I actually use but I was not able to determine where might that statement come from. The phrase explains the danger or unsteadiness of one’s actions to not feel as if they can continue on. Dionysius clearly was able to convey his point by using the sword and one might see this as a little exaggerated or extreme but it ought not to be despite all the riches depicted in the image. Like Damocles it was hard to see through one’s material wealth of gold, servants, performs, foods, drinks, and luxurious clothes which makes Dionysius use of a sword being hung by a horsehair even more insightful on how tiresome and vigilant his position is as ruler. Despite how death is an inevitable event, we should take Dionysius’s advice by encouraging his urgency to make the most of the one life you are given and to not “judge a book by its cover.”


Andrews, Evan. “What Was the Sword of Damocles?”, A&E Television Networks, 17 Feb. 2016,


Dear Mary Shelley

Dear Mary Shelley,


You grew up in a household of writers. Even though you never knew your mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, her legacy inspired you growing up. She was famous across Europe for her feminist works, especially her push for women’s education. You were known for idolizing her works, and yet you chose a completely different form of writing. Even your father was a philosopher who was known for his radical ideas about extreme individualism. What was it like to grow up in a household where writing was a central theme of life? Did you ever feel pressured to continue the writing legacy of your mother?

Even once you became older, you still found yourself in company with writers. You fell in love with Percy Shelley, who himself was a writer. Additionally, you were close friends with Lord Byron, who supposedly inspired you to write Frankenstein. The community of writers that you surrounded yourself with encouraged writing. I wonder how your peers treatment of you varied from how they treated each other. Did they believe that you could write as well (or better) than they could, or did they look down on you because you were female?

Once you began writing, what aspects of your life inspired you to write Frankenstein, one of your most famous works? The detail is so intricate, and the characters are so fascinating, that it leads me to wonder who inspired the characters. I am aware that you had a lot of tragedy in your life, and that is reflected in your writing. Was Victor based on the men you knew in your life? He is egotistical, vain, and incredibly intelligent, and I wonder if you wanted to honor the person you based him on or point out his flaws. Was Victor’s mother based on your own, or at least what you imagined her to be? Did your father find a representation in Victor’s father? When William died, did that remind you of other losses in your life?

What was the publishing process like for you? Nothing that I have read has discussed what the publishing process was like specifically for Frankenstein. Even though you were around many writers, was the process as easy for you as it was for your male counterparts? Did you have to hide your works like Jane Austen? Or disguise your name like the Bronte sisters? Even though there were many women writers during this period of time, many of them did not write in the Gothic style with a combination of horror and science fiction. In fact, there were not many science fiction writers at all, and your work is regarded as one of the first early science fiction novels. Were you aware of the trail you were blazing? Or was writing more of an outlet for you, meant to channel the sadness in your life, not to change the world?



Katherine Hendry


Works Cited

Kuiper, Kathleen. “Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 26 Aug. 2018,

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “William Godwin.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 31 Mar. 2018,

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Mary Wollstonecraft.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 6 Sept. 2018,

“Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation,


Ackland Visit

For my third blog post, I wanted to talk about our visit to the Ackland on the 13th of November. I guess it was only fitting that on one of the rainiest days of the entire semester, we looked at a good deal of paintings that had to do with the sea. The feeling that I associated with two of the items we looked at during the visit, was a sense of serenity. The painting, “River Landscape with Fisherman” from 1643 was very true to its title. In the painting, the water is very still, there are multiple boats on the river. You can see people on these boats, who we can presume are fishermen, there is even a dog seen on one of the boats in the foreground. The sense of calm is further exemplified by the bluish sky and the wispy clouds. We can see a town in the background of the painting and due to its proximity, the town does not look very big. I feel like this what was somewhat purposeful in that it just further denotes the importance of the boats. The purpose of this painting, in my opinio,n is to showcase a moment in history. Based off the context given by the description at the Ackland, this was painted in the 1600s by a Dutch painter that went by the name of Salomon van Ruysdael. In the 1600s, the Dutch were the number one exporters in the world due to the establishment of the Dutch East India Company, which was the world’s most powerful trading company.

The second item that I saw, that kept with this theme of serenity was the video called “The Batture Ritual” by Jeff Whetstone. The part of the film in which I sat through, I got to see a man fishing in the night. The video was filmed in a wide-shot and for that reason the man looked very small amidst a giant sea and the encompassing darkness of the night. The sound in the video was very minimal, as you were able to hear the soft splashing of the water, the horns of the steamboat in the distance, as well as the sounds of insects and birds. There is was no movement in the camera, which once again added to a sense of calm due to lack of action. The interesting thing about the movie, the film wavered between being boring and being somewhat striking. The reflection of the steamboat onto the river was incredibly beautiful, we are shown the interaction between nature and the industrialization of man, and despite what initially I found to be somewhat flat cinematography, turned out to capture on of the most astounding images i’ve seen in a while. Als,o I found a certain choice in the film to seem somewhat Avant-Garde, especially the close-up shot of the fish breathing, it almost looked as if it were suffering, which also made the whole experience feel very grotesque. I only found that to be off-putting and uncomfortable. I really don’t understand the purpose of that shot besides maybe giving the audience a more upfront view of nature, I just found that it disrupted the pre-established tone of the video which was much more tranquil. But there could be an argument of how there is a shift in scale, as bigger objects such as a human being and a steam-boat are given are smaller in scale in respects to the space in which they occupy, and this is shown through the wide-shot. While the close-up on the fish blows up the image of it and there is a sense of claustrophobia. The focus on the fish shows how even the smallest objects, such a fish, can have great weight if shown in a certain style or perspective. There was more gravity to the shot of the fish than anything else in the film, so maybe this is trying to show the significance of focus in media and the power that it possesses.

In the Ackland Visit, I was not initially impressed by the paintings that were associated with rivers/water but as I attempted to delve deeper into their purpose and what significance that they possess, I found myself asking questions about the feelings that the painting gave me and the reasons for they exist in the first place. Sure there is a commonality in that both these pieces were calming to me for the most part. In contrast to the item we saw, which was called “Looking at the Sea” which was much more abstract and gave me this feeling of chaos. This is painting that I personally didn’t see very much purpose to and it left an unwanted pretentious taste in my mouth, because of how abstract the message of the painting was. Maybe, it just wanted to emulate the chaotic nature of the ocean or maybe it delves deeper than that. Yet, I digress, I guess the two works of art that I talked about prior both showcased the beauty that exists in the interaction between humans and nature. Both works exemplify tranquility and an appreciation for nature and its gifts.

Ackland Paintings

The Ackland Art Museum located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina is filled with a wide variety of paintings and works of art that are rich in culture and history. Along with the original intent of the artist when they created their artwork, much of the paintings are open to interpretation by the person viewing it, which is one of the qualities of art that makes it appealing.

The first painting that we looked at was Solomon van Ruysdael’s River Landscape with Fishermen. This painting depicts the landscape of a very serene river with small boats and a town in the background. Overall, this represents the very simple lifestyle that the Dutch people partook in during the 17th century, as trade and other economic activities started to be on the rise. At that time there was a large separation between the wealthy and the poor so this is probably what it would be like for the less economically stable group.  A good portion of the painting also has dark clouds pushing out the nice white ones. Although there is no way of knowing Ruysdael’s true intention when he painted those clouds, this could be his way of foreboding troubles that may be occurring in the near future as a result of these new economic activities of the Dutch. Another aspect of this painting that stood out to me is that no one is in the canoe alone. Even if these people don’t seem to have much, they have other people around them that can make a hard days of work a little easier.


The second painting we looked at was Howard Hodgkin’s Looking at the Sea. One of the biggest differences between this painting and the one that was previously looked at, is that this one is more abstract; therefore, it is open to much more interpretation. The brushstrokes and the varying shades of blue make the painting look very chaotic, but the small slivers of gold paint highlight the beauty in all the messiness. The red/orange paint along the edge of the painting make the waves and sea seem more powerful and sort of aggressive. This painting definitely brings the sea to life by giving it a personality. At some parts, like the top of the painting, the sea seems very calm and approachable, while at other parts, like the bottom corner, it seems full of drive and anger.

The first two paintings that we looked at fit into the book of Robinson Crusoe by relating to the idea of the sea. Crusoe was so fascinated with the sea that he willingly threw away his previous life to travel and explore it with no real intention in mind. While one painting is more abstract, the other one clearly shows a real-life scene. I think that these paintings capture the juxtaposition that was consistent throughout Crusoe’s time on the island. At certain moments he was at peace and knew exactly what he was doing on the island, while at other times, it was total chaos in his mind. In the book, there were times when it was almost as if Crusoe had come to accept the island as his new home and the fact that he would probably be lonely for the rest of his life. In contrast, there were other times when he longed for a companion and thought about building a canoe and venturing outside the confines of his island. In a similar fashion, the people in the first painting seem to be okay with their way of life. They seem content with the simple lifestyle they have and don’t appear to be worried about the future. On the other hand, the more abstract painting captures the more adventurous side of Robinson Crusoe who has the motivation and drive to go out and change his condition, even though he doesn’t really take action until other people stumble upon his island and in a way forces him to.