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Every claim is expected to have evidence with which the claim-maker persuades people to believe his or her beliefs. This also applies to the claim made by Gavin Menzies, the author of 1421: The Year China Discovered America, arguing in his book that Zheng He’s discovery of America precedes that of Christopher Columbus. Throughout the book, Gavin Menzies constantly attempts to convince the readers with a haphazard collection of speculative evidence. Although the book follows the principle of providing evidence to a claim, it ultimately fails to develop them into corroboration. In order for an individual to quarrel over an history that has been accepted for 500 years, that individual should count on solid evidence, not conjecture. Thus, Gavin Menzies’ claim should not be accepted to any significant extent unless it is meticulously corroborated.

The reason being that this bold new account of Zheng He should be accepted in no way is because of the author’s method of collecting evidence and clarifying it. Most of Menzies’ evidence comes from his own conjectures, and dialogues with local people in places where he believes Zheng He and his great treasure junks had been; in essence, almost all of Menzies’ claims come from his own thoughts and primary sources. For instance, he alleges that American-Indians have Chinese DNA that he ‘thinks‘ was from Zheng He’s voyage; he fails to clarify why that DNA cannot be from the mass Chinese immigration into Americas in 17h century. Moreover, he never documents the discovery of Chinese anchors found in the coast of California, which supposedly links to the arrival of Chinese fleet in 1421. Of course, it is reasonable to use some of them in an argument. What’s not reasonable is when the those types of clarification predominate the argument; and this is where the author ultimately fails to be conceivable. And this failure the author makes casts a shadow of doubt whether the claims in the book is plausible or not.

When professional historians verify claims, they also consider cultural influences and circumstances that might have impacted on the arguments. The principle also applies to the Gavin Menzies’ claims. On one hand, Menzies somewhat considers the cultural impacts by mentioning the conflicts between Confucian scholars and Zheng He. However, on the other hand, he misses the major point by neglecting cultural value and current situation of China at that time. For example, Ming dynasty reigned during Zheng He’s time. During the era, Confucianism was the dominant philosophy; it valued many things- prestige, honor, culture, arts, education, ancestors, religion, filial piety, etc- but traveling around the world to make money like what Zheng He and his crew did was not the most ideal thing to do in China. Indeed, Zheng He’s expeditions were threatened in 1424 when other Confucianist usurped the authority of Yongle, the emperor who supported Zheng He’s voyages. Unlike Portugal and other European nations where expeditions were encouraged, China’s cultural values and circumstances were forbidding for Zheng He, making Menzies’ claim less tenable.

Some might question, if there were indeed opposing Confucian scholars and cultural values, how could there be credible sources that Zheng He had seven voyages? Indeed, there were seven successful voyages accomplished by Zheng He and his treasure ships. Nevertheless, the question still remains whether Zheng He had actually made an expedition on the Americas in 1421 or not, despite its incomprehensible reaction and unfeasibility of timing, is yet disputable. Under Emperor Yongle’s shelter, Zheng He was able to make stress-free travels until 1424, the year in which the Emperor was overthrown. Somehow, this Chinese explorer continues his voyage up until 1433. If what Gavin Menzies’s saying is true, why would Zheng He had ceased to venture into the Americas even further, when he first arrived on the coast of California, while he was under duty to collect tribute from possible vassal states? America’s vast land should have intrigued them to travel even further. Yet, Zheng He terminated the trip, and concentrated on Southeastern Asia in his next voyage. And how could he have traveled all the way from East Africa, to the Arabian Peninsula, and then to the Americas in one year? Ambiguity of the Menzies’ claim and lack of clarification prevent the readers to contemplate over the issue again.

No claim is to be utterly disregarded; one should think over claims up to certain extents for they have different color of voices and efforts. Nonetheless, any claims concerning history, especially when the history has been firmly accepted by professional historians, should have competent evidence along with clarification. That is how history has been built up so far. When an argument concerning history that relies on undependable sources and insufficient corroboration, such as that found in 1421: The Year China Discovered America, the argument does not deserve to be reconsidered.

These are my sources:

MLA CITATION
“1421 Chinese discover America | 1421 Chinese junk | who discovered China | Chinese junk Sacramento | Menzies China | .” 1421 the year china discovered America | Chinese discovered America | China 1421 | 1421 website | 1434 website. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2010. <http://www.1421.tv/extract.htm&gt;.

“World History Connected | Vol. 2 No. 1| Book Review .” The History Cooperative. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2010. <http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/whc/2.1/br_wills.html&gt;.

“1421: The Year China Discovered America. – book review | Science News | Find Articles at BNET.” Find Articles at BNET | News Articles, Magazine Back Issues & Reference Articles on All Topics. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2010. <http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1200/is_5_163/ai_97450837/&gt;.

“Alterdestiny: Book Review–Gavin Menzies, 1421: The Year China Discovered America.” Alterdestiny. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2010. <http://alterdestiny.blogspot.com/2005/06/book-review-gavin-menzies-1421-year.html&gt;.

“Review of 1421, the Year China Discovered America – RPGnet .” Roleplaying Games & More – RPGnet . N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2010. <http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/9/9233.phtml&gt;.

Furnish, Timothy. “Is Gavin Menzies Right or Wrong?.” History News Network. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2010. <http://hnn.us/articles/1308.html&gt;.

KRISTOF, NICHOLAS D.. “1492: The Prequel.” The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2010. <http://www.nytimes.com/library/magazine/millennium/m3/kristof.html&gt;.

Gunde, Richard. “Zheng He’s Voyages of Discovery, UCLA International Institute.” UCLA International Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2010. <http://www.international.ucla.edu/article.asp?parentid=10387&gt;.

“Yongle – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yongle&gt;.

Photos: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Columbus-ohio-christopher-columbus-statue-2006-tight.jpg

What is Love?

What is love?

To define love, according to dictionary, love is “an intense feeling of deep affection.”

Well, the question is ‘to whom or what do you feel this emotion?’

We feel the love toward many things: opposite gender, parents, families, friends, pets, babies, etc.

For me, I have strong love toward people around me.

Friends and families are one of them.

When I meet friends, I have ‘mild love’. I want to do good things for them, and I always wish them good luck. Good friends make me happy, and if I don’t interact with friends even for a day, I get lonely and depressed.

For families, I feel ‘comfortable love’ and ‘vital love’. I rely on family heavily, and family is source of energy of my life. Without family, my life not only gets uncomfortable, but it also gets meaningless.

For opposite genders (girls, since I’m a boy) to whom I get attracted to by human nature, I possess ‘burning love.’ It feels like as if you are depressed when you are not getting along with her well, and it feels like I’m flying when the relationship goes well. And in most cases, this kind of love is inconsistent and fluctuating. And since this type of love is ‘burning’ love for me, I can describe the love as a box that contains unknown result. When the box is completely burned, I can expect many different results: marriage, disappointment, catastrophe, divorce, etc.

If I add all types of love above, love as a whole becomes my life. Thus, love is my life.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/zenera/99662895/ <- photo source.

Our government is considering to dispatch auxiliary troops to Peace-keeping Operations (PKO) for Haiti, the unfortunate nation with subverted government due to the recent catastrophe. Its purpose is to maintain public order, and support reconstruction of fallen Haiti. Kudos for the effort; from this, one could hope that it would work as catalytic effect to further develop helping society in the global world. However, our government’s goal of eradicating extreme poverty cannot be solved only with the efforts. Our government should do more than just the efforts, and seek other ways to help those nations in other parts of the world.

Although it is one of the most common ways to aid impoverished nations, giving financial support for LEDCs (Less Economically Developed Countries) is an effective way to help. In order to do that, there not only needs governmental effort, but also aids from private capital. Using power of media such as promoting campaigns to attract public attention would be a powerful strategy. As a member of OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), our government should be accountable for cooperating with the public to be able to give greater help to the others.

However, solely distributing money would not be as effective if looked at long-term scope. The real help we can offer is providing skills for their future. In that way, the nations in other parts of the world would be able to get a source in which they could rely on at a long-term degree. Our government itself had a dramatic success in economic development with industries: first initiating with processing trade with chemical fiber, then slowly evolving into construction industry, and then to semiconductor industry. One thing to notice is that our nation didn’t have a single natural resource we could rely on, and that led us to customize ourselves to other industries that we could actually depend on. This way of introducing customized industries for each nation would give confidence for them to develop in autogenous way.

Yet, even introducing customized industries for poor nations would not shine at its real worth if there is no education. Education is their future. Education is the first step they need to take to end the poverty cycle. Think like Barack Obama, who is now apportioning 5.7 billion dollars in education department solely for incentive purposes. Act like Korea, who has provided enough paper for Laos schools to have enough copies of textbooks for every students. Providing education along with helping them understand the importance of it is a vital strategy for grand design of eradication of poverty.

We are like teachers; we experienced few years more than the other parts of the world. Our job is not about solving problems for students. Rather, it is about giving little nudges for the students to self-actualize, so that they can face the problems by themselves without the teachers’ help. MEDCs (More Economically Developed Countries) can exist as MEDCs as now at the presence of the other parts of the world. There are some helping hands offered to them, but we still have a long way to go. Calamitous consequences will befall us if we neglect them. So let us not ignore those people who share the same sky as us.

Haiti Earthquake

Haiti Earthquake

Thesis Statement: Crisis is opportunity

Life is like an unstable stock market; there are numerous factors that change the perspective of life. And there occasionally are negative factors, or in other words, crisis that often fail us. However, those crisis can work as catalytic effect to overcome the current slumps, and to grow to be a much better of us. For example, subprime mortgage crisis, the  global economic depression that emerged from United States of America, failed numerous businesses, and born newly emerging powerful entrepreneurship. If one looks at Hyundai car, it has stimulated itself to make the crisis to be an opportunity to usurp other companies. As a result, Hyundai’s recent progression in sales of cars in United States had increased significantly, while most of other businesses shrunk. Crisis is opportunity, if and only if one is prepared, and determined to go through the crisis.

photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ericskiff/192312245/

Sujin Lee
English Block B
Due: Feb 23, 2010

Dracula One Paragraph Essay

In Dracula, Bram Stoker uses gothic elements to effectively capture the reader’s attention. Death,  blood, graveyard are some elements of gothic. These were all new for the readers during the Victorian Era. “There, in one of the great boxes, of which there were fifty in all, on a pile of newly dug earth, lay the Count (Chapter 4).” Who would’ve imagined a normal, nice man being a vampire? One of the elements used throughout the book is the horror in calm atmosphere. That makes the readers feel anxious. “I started, for it amazed me that I had not seen him, since the reflection of the glass covered the whole room behind me (Chapter 2).” Dracula not appearing in the mirror creates a weird feeling. Jonathan can see him but the mirror does not reflect him grabs the readers’ attention. What makes this more interesting is that Dracula is such a gentleman so Jonathan does not doubt him. Powerful themes such as vampires and death helps catching the readers’ attention. And Bram Stoker’s use of gothic elements are definitely new and catchy because of his unique style of writing.

—————————————————————Correction————————————————————————–

  • second sentence, where the sentence start with ‘death’, the sentence should be “Death, blood, and graveyard are some elements of gothic.” And to improve the sentence, it should be like “Death, blood, and graveyard are some gothic elements.”

•    It would be better to merge second and third sentence. “….. gothic elements, which were all new for the readers during the Victorian Era.
•    Sujin, it would be better to insert a transition before putting the quotation.
•    Don’t abbreviate would have to would’ve
•    The rest seems fine!

To listen to the recording of this, click on the following link, and listen to ‘Jaeook reading Sujin’s’ audio file:

AUDIO RECORDING

What is a nudge?

The dictionary meaning of the word ‘nudge’ is to prod (someone) gently, typically with one’s elbow, in order to draw their attention to something. However, the new definition of nudge, according to Cass Sunstein and  Richard Thaler, is having greater influence with less effort.

For example, there’s an airport in Amsterdam and there was man’s toilet. People didn’t aim properly so that the toilet had a lot of spilled urine. But when the airport drew a fly figure in the middle of the urinal. More than 80% of urine being spilled was reduced.

Another example, there was a place where people often threw garbage at so often in YongDungPo-Gu, Korea. Despite all the efforts including making warning signs, and CCTVs, people didn’t stop to throw their trash at this place. However, as soon as the mayor decided to plant flowers there, not a single trash could be found.

Now did you understand the concept of ‘nudge’? It is so simple, yet so great. How about using these kind of strategies to solve problems?

p.s. photos could be found at “http://www.flickr.com/photos/24987280@N00/2779565052/&#8221;, and “http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=102&oid=003&aid=0002885538&#8221;

It had been a long semester. I was new to the school when the first semester started; everything was so confusing: those Macs we’re supposed to use for everything, new subjects, pop quizzes, new cultures. But somehow, I got over it, and here am I, writing the reflection of the first semester.

First off, I was amazed at the school facilities: swimming pools, squash room, soccer field, and three gyms! And the school itself is so big that it took me several weeks to be thoroughly accustomed to the school paths.

It was kinda weird to eat lunch at 10:45, to be honest, but after months of eating lunch at that time adjusted my stomach to accept food at that time. The way of paying lunch, I felt, is interesting; you charge money into your own ID card, and you use that card until the money runs out. “Another digital thingy,” I thought.

Friends were easy to make at our school; everybody was friendly and nice. One thing I felt uncomfortable about was people’s obsession with grades! I lived in a country where there was very free in terms of studying and stuff. But in the school now I belong to, grades are the priority to anything.

But I’m getting used to everything in current school. Participating in JV basketball team made me to like my school way better. Yeah, I like the school! There are many more opportunities than my previous school.

Just one thing I think our school should improve on is the frequency of teachers’ leaving; lots of teachers leave the school very quickly.

Except that, the first semester life in my school has been great, and I look forward to having another great one in second semester, too!

p.s. the image can be found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/4192169839/