Project Nim and Project Zan

We recently read the book Half-Brother by Kenneth Oppel. After we finished this book, we watched the documentary on the actual project, called Project Nim. This project was started in the seventies. During it, Nim learned 125 signs, but only used around 25 regularly. Also, unlike Zan, Nim was more animal like The project lasted until Nim was sold to a biomedical research centre called LEMSIP. At LEMSIP, Nim was used as a test subject, until the center was closed around 1998. After this, Nim was sent to Black Beauty Ranch. The ranch was home to animals that have been mistreated, or have been in research facilities.

There are several differences between Nim and Zan. While Zan was, most of the time, a cute little chimp Nim frequently bit, wrecked things and hurt people. Also, Zan signed often, and used different words and Nim didn’t sign as often. Nim was much more animal-like than Zan. Compared to Zan, Nim didn’t have any close relationships Nim only had the people that looked after him, and taught him. Zan had a closely knit family consisting of Peter, Ben, Sara and Richard.

For me, the most starling thing about the Nim, was how many injuries he caused, and how violent he was.. In the documentary, most of the project workers could rattle off a list of marks and scars they got from Nim. Also, when one person from the project went back into the cage at the black beauty ranch, she was almost killed by Nim. This was way more violent than anything that ever happend in Half-Brother.

The thing I found most positive about the documentary was that, even after all the time Nim spent away from the caretakers, when they came back to visit, Nim still recognized them. The other thing I found positive, is how good of a life Nim had at the Black Beauty ranch. Even though he was alone for most of the time, it is better than LEMSIP.

Also, there are similarities and differences between what happend to Nim, and to Zan. These start when the chips were born. Zan, was taken from the wild, while Nim was taken from a Lab. Later in life, Nim was sold, back to the lab were he was born. Zan was taken to Dr. Helson’s research center. These facilities were both alike in their likeness to a prison. They both used cattle prods, barbed wire and cages. Also similar to the book, Nim was sold to LEMSIP, while Zan was going to be sold to The Thurston Foundation, but was stolen by Ben and his mom. Nim and Zan were both saved from research, eventually. Zan never made it to the Turston Foundation, but Nim went to LEMSIP. He was freed  in 1998 when it shut down. He was sent to  Black Beauty Ranch, and died of a heart attack when he was 26 . When Zan was bought from Dr. Helson, he was sent to a chimp sanctuary also.

In conclusion, what happend to Nim and to Zan were similar, and different. Zan was more loving, and tender, while Nim was slightly more wild and feral. I think that Zan was more loved, and that was on purpose. I think that that Kenneth Oppel was trying to make a character that the public would like, and be attracted to, not a character that would be ugly, mean and disliked.

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The Horrors of Animal Testing

In class we are reading a book called Half-Brother, and it is written by Kenneth Oppel. In the book a chimp is being raised as a human. The main character, Ben goes to a presentation about animal cruelty. At the end of the presentation, a video about animal testing is shown. Ben is horrified because it shows a single chimp in a small cage, and the chimp is very stressed and is rocking back and forth and hugging itself. This is horrifying to Ben, because he knows that chimps are very social animals, and need to be with other chimps.

Animal testing is when drugs, medicine or cosmetics are used on animals to see the safe doses and the effects of the product on the animal. There are many types of animal testing, and most of the tests inflict intense pain on the animal. One of the most common tests is the Draize eye test. It is when a product is put into a restrained rabbit’s eye and left there for several days. This is used to determine if the product affects the eye. This test is horrible for a couple of reasons. One is that it causes intense pain for the rabbit, and the rabbit often dies before the test is over. It is also unreliable. Studies show that this test mistakes a serious irritent for a mild irritant ten to thirty percent of the time. Also, only five to thirty five percent of results are compatible with humans. Another test is called LD50. It is when a group of animals are exposed to a poisonous substance, and observed until at least fifty percent die. I think animal testing is very cruel, and causes countless animal deaths every year. It is thought that millions of animals die every year from animal testing. The most common animals used in tests are redents such as mice, rats and guinea pigs. Also, animal testing as a whole is very inaccurate. According to animal tests, lemon juice is a deadly poison, but arsenic is perfectly safe!

Even though animal testing is horrible, it has helped humans a lot, especially in the field of medicine. Some examples of medicine and surgeries that were tested on animals are: penicillin, blood transfusion, breast cancer treatments and  the TB vacine. Also, animal testing is used to ensure the safety of drugs before going into human trials.

Based on these facts, I am still against animal testing. Even though there are some good sides, I still think that the bad outweighs the good, and that animal testing is pointless and cruel.


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Halfway There

Now we are halfway through the year, and we have just finished mid-term exams. I am very happy with my exam marks because I got better marks this year, then last year. On my math exam I got 82%, on my E.L.A exam I got 94%, on my sci exam, I got 91%, on my social studies exam I got 94% also. This is way beter than last year, as all of my mid-terms last year were in the mid to high eighties. Also, all of my overall marks are over eighty, and if I keep them that way until the end of the year, I will get full exemptions. This year I have also been studying lots on my own and lots in the library, while last year, I had lots of help from my parents and studied mainly at home. This year, I probably studied for  about fifteen hours in total.

Also, with us being halfway through the year, we were told to write six word stories about our year so far. Mine was: working hard, having fun and collaborating.  I think it really summed up my year so far, and school in general. I really had fun the first half of this year, and I think I will have fun the next half as well. In the next half of the year we are learning about ancient roman religion and culture. We are still reading Half-Brother  with the kids in Wingham. It is pretty good, but, in my opinion the book that we read with them last year, The Book Thief , was better. Half-Brother is a very interesting idea, but I don’t really like the writing style. Right now, we are also doing french. We are doing a french  assignment, and in this assignment, we had to choose a topic and make, in french a folder of worksheets, and a test on the topic. Then we had to choose another group’s folder, and do it.

At the beginning of this year, the grade eights had to help the grade sevens with a lot of things. We needed to help them set up their blogs, and make google accounts. This was okay, and now they don’t need help much and know how to do most of the things that they need to do. Sometimes they  need a little bit of help, but they know most things now.

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Half Brother Predictions

Soon we are going to start reading the book Half Brother  by Kenneth Oppel . This book is about a family in the 70’s that is part of an experiment called Project Nim. They will adopt a chimp and raise it exactly like a human They will teach it sign language and act like it is a member of the family.  I think that the scientists think that they are saving it from animal testing and medical testing.

But, what will happen to him after the project? I think that there might be issues with animal cruelty laws and if it should be classified as  a chimp or a human. I think that the chimp’s parents have been poached and the chimp is an orphan. I think that the experiment also might have a funding problem and might be in danger of shutting down at some point and the family will be stressed and start to fight. I think that this will be a good book over all and will end up very good. I am looking forward to it and very exited for the book.

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Working Together!

Over the past two years, our classes in both Snow Lake and Wingham have done a lot of work over google docs. Last year we even wrote a book over google docs! When you are writing with people from across Canada, you can’t communicate well. That is the first thing we learned. Sometimes there tends to be arguments as we can only use the chat room to talk. Most of my experiences have been positive but our groups have had some arguments. I think that a lot of the arguments can be solved by compromising between ideas.

Working in google presentations with other people has been a challenge as well. This is because the old version of  google presentations doesn’t have a chat room. So, we are constantly moving between the chat room in our document, the presentation, and other tabs.

We are all making presentations in preparation for reading the book Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel. Our groups are working on  variety of  topics, but my group chose to do evolution as our topic. This was a problem, because when we were finding information, it was all very complex and some members of our group were plagiarizing from wikipedia. In a while we got over that and wrote it in our own words. We didn’t just write about evolution though. We wrote about the Galapagos Islands and Charles Darwin.

When we finished writing about this and actually started making our presentation. Our only problem was finding creative commons pictures. Most of the pictures were not creative commons pictures at first. We changed them up and I think it all worked out good in the end.

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Intrest Survey

This year the hive did an intrest survey. One thing I have in common with everyone in the hive is I brush my teeth everyday. There isn’t anything that I have in common with a lot of people. One thing I have in common with some some people is I love the Saskatchewan Roughriders! They are very smart people! Those people are me, my dad , Angel, Julianne  and Erin. Something unique to me is I like Sci-Fi science. On that T.V show the host tells how to build things from science fiction, like a lightsaber. The person I am most like is savastac. We both like science and want to get better at math.

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Interstellar Hitchhiking

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books are known as a trilogy in five parts. These were amazing books. By far the best i’ve ever read. Their amazing author is Douglas Adams. Douglas Adams is one of my favorite authors. He has a style of writing that you can recognize instantly if you’ve ever read one of his books. For those who love sci-fi I fully recommend these books. One of the things I liked about these books is they are so funny!

I’ll give you a summary of the books. The main character’s name is Arthur Dent. The story starts out with him trying to stop a crew of builders from demolishing his house. Later that day he meets a seemingly normal guy named Ford Prefect. I say seemingly normal because Ford is actually an alien from Alpha Centauri. He waves down a space ship  with a devise called an electronic thumb. In doing this he saved Arthur from death as the earth was about to be demolished to construct an interstellar freeway. If anything I’ve said has interested you then by all means read these amazing books!


So long and  thanks for all the fish!


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About me….. again.

Hi, my name is Alexander. If you’ve been reading my blog you know a bit about me. If you’re new here welcome! There are some things you need to know about me. I absolutely love books and I am currently reading a good one called Ship Breaker. Some of my favorite books are The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the Percy Jackson books.

I love traveling. I go somewhere at least once a year. Last summer I was in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. I went to see the Canadian war museum,the canadian museum of nature, the CN tower, the parliament building and Saint Joseph’s Oratory.

I’m not a big television watcher. But I like watching nature shows and big bag theory. I also don’t mind spongebob square pants. Even though i’m not a big t.v watcher I love video games, and online games. I’m currently playing a free trial of a game called Eve Online.It’s very fun. As for other things I love walking, rock climbing and zip-lining. Oh and, always know where your towel is! Bye.




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My Dad found this video on youtube. I laughed, but then thought what I would do if I saw this in an Apple Store. I think I would probably run out of the store, but keel over laughing halfway out of the store. The last thing is: that guy has problems.

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The End of The Wave.

At the beginning of these chapters Laurie is trying to get up into the stands to see the football game going on at their school. Brad stops her, and commands her to do The Wave salute. Brad says the he doesn’t want to have people do the salute, but The Wave is making people do it.

Sunday afternoon, Laurie gets the Grapevine staff together at her house to put together the newspaper against The Wave. She says that it is taking away their freedoms of speech and thought.

Laurie meets Amy the next day in the library to talk about the newspaper. Amy argues that the only reason that she is against The Wave is because she is not the most popular kid in the school anymore. That some parents say to their kids ” Why can’t you be like Laurie Saunders.”

Copies of the paper circulate the school. The Wave members are aghast, and they say that Laurie has to be removed. David said that he would do it. Later that night, David sees Laurie walking home from school and pushes her down on the grass. She starts to cry, and David is horrified that he hurt his girlfriend over the wave. They go to Mr. Ross’s house and say that it must be stopped.

The next day at school, Mr. Ross says that they are going to meet with the national wave leader. They all go to the auditorium to see the ” leader” Mr. Ross pulls down a screen for a projector and a video of Hitler appears on the screen. The students are horrified, and Mr. Ross says that they would have put on the brown uniforms and been part of the Hitler youth.

If I was a Wave member at the end of the chapters, during the meeting with the so called “leader” I  would have been horrified. To see the images of Hitler and the  holocaust, and Mr. Ross saying that Adolf Hitler would have been their leader. All of the horrible things The Wave had done would have came back to me at that moment and I would have felt horribly guilty. I would have apologized to everyone that I even thought had been hurt in any way by The Wave. I also probably would have sulked around for a few days, and not have any of my friends over until I was feeling better.

I think the ending of The Wave would be both shocking, and satisfying to any who read it. The book was very good, over all but not very well written. I the author didn’t really describe anything’s or anyone’s looks except for Laurie. I also didn’t really like the way he wrote the book. It didn’t have very many funny parts, but I guess that was to be expected, given that it was a tragedy, and was based on reality. I often find that reality is not very funny. Anyway, it was okay, but could have been a little better.

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