Guns, Germs, and Steel

Front Cover

Guns, Germs and Steel

 

888 Casa Kim
Unicorn St, Rainbow Town

May 14, 2015

Department of Geography
University of California, Los Angeles
1255 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA  90095-1524

Dear Mr. Diamond,

Hello, I’m a twelve year old boy writing to praise your book, Guns, Germs, and Steel. For my science class I had to read a book and write a letter to the author. I chose Guns, Germs, and Steel, and I’m glad I did. I was originally torn between Cosmos, and your book. Although I have an interest in astronomy, I eventually chose Guns, Germs, and Steel. Mainly because the question of Europe’s industrialization had been nagging at me for awhile. How come Eurasia was able to create vast colonial empires while The Americas was still stuck in the stone age? I was hoping your book would provide the answers. I wasn’t disappointed.

My favorite part by far, was when you discussed food production. I always knew food was important (well, that much is obvious), but I never knew how important it truly was. It hadn’t occurred to me the important role that large mammals played in the birth of Civilizations.  By providing large quantities of meat, labor, war machines etc. For example when you discussed how all the big mammals in the Americas and Australia became extinct in the ice age; which meant the Aboriginal Australians and the Native Americans weren’t able to create communities large enough to allow for full time bureaucrats. And not having densely nutritious crops to feed large communities; allowing them to gather and have specialized workers and professional soldiers. I didn’t comprehend how much livestock and domesticated crops contributed to centralized governments and states, until I read your book.

The book altered my perspective of Native Australians. Before I read this book, I didn’t understand or know much about the them. I knew about the European colonial empires, but I never understood why Europe was the one who possessed those colonies, instead of the Australians or the Native Americans. After you explained how Australia’s climate couldn’t support crops, and how all the large mammals were wiped out in the ice age. It helped to answer my aching questions.

I appreciated your use of personal experiences as an example to illustrate your points. It helped me to visualize what you’re saying.  For instance when you described the time you landed a helicopter in front of a tribe, and they glanced over and looked away. It brought to life your point about some groups resisting technology, and some groups embracing it. Especially in comparison to that other tribe who embraced it. Another example I enjoyed was when you wanted to hike inland, and you had to turn back because you ran out of water. It helped to give me an idea of how dry Australia’s climate really is. I really appreciated that you supported your text with personal experiences.

Reading your book answered a lot of my questions, but now I have even more questions that I want to ask you. For instance, what was the role of the Chinese in Oceania? I’m not sure if their ships were advanced enough, but couldn’t they have sailed and colonized Australia? And did the ancient nomadic hunters from the ice age really have the manpower to hunt all the large mammals in the Americas and Australia into extinction? Another one of my burning questions is why did the Australians dispose of the bow and arrow? I know you talked about how some societies dispose of new technology, but why did the Aboriginals dispose of theirs? Did it become useless? Wouldn’t at least one tribe kept it? I wonder if Australia had at least one cereal and one large mammal, would they have evolved from hunters gatherers to an industrialized colonial empire without European influence?

Anyway, thank you so much for writing this book, I really enjoyed reading it! I know the book was written awhile ago, but I hope you continue writing amazing books like this.

 

Sincerely,

Jett Kim

 

 

 

Fremont BBQ Extravaganza Review

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On Sunday I went to the Fremont BBQ Extravaganza. It was a really hot day but not as hot as the day of the Food Truck Rodeo. We were going to dress my dog, Remy as a hot dog, but then we forgot. I think he was glad we forgot.

20130602_140751-00120130602_140630-001I sampled some BBQ sauce from Bluesman BBQ. There were samples of (from left to right) mild, sweet spice, spicy and smoking hot. I really liked the smoking hot, not just because it was spicy, but because it had more smokey, BBQ flavor and the spiciness added to the flavor.

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There was a long line for the BBQ sandwiches. But we finally got our sandwiches. Unfortunately they were all sold out of grilled corn. But they still had the meat and some salad. Hee hee…don’t tell my mom, but I didn’t eat any salad. There were four kinds of meat, but we only bought three kinds. We got pulled pork, BBQ chicken and brisket. The fourth kind of meat was pastrami. I wish we also got the pastrami.

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I liked them all. I can’t decide which one was the best. And they were probably the best BBQ I’ve ever had in my life. No offense to anyone….even better than my mom’s BBQ ribs (no offense mom).

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My dog Remy really liked the pulled pork too. Pulled pork is his favorite. All because of our family friend, Kit Wah who bribed Remy with pulled pork at Lake Shasta, last year, in order to teach him to swim.

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There were many teams there, competing for the BBQ competition. I got to try a few different samples. One time I got a chicken sample and when I was down to the last bite, I drenched the entire piece in hot sauce and popped it in my mouth. It tasted amazing.20130602_142022-00120130602_144301-001

20130602_144312-001The man from Dances with Smoke started his BBQ grill with a flame thrower!! Warning: this is for professionals ONLY!! Do NOT do this at home. And they had a whole pig.

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There was also a bagel toss competition from Seattle Bagel Bakery. You had to toss the bagels onto a ring. It was very difficult. I almost made it on the last try. But we got sample bagels and they were really delicious and loaded with flavor. I got blueberry and my brother got a pizza flavor. I am still dreaming about those bagels now! Even Remy who doesn’t usually like any carbs, loved the bagels.

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There was an amazing brass band called Tuba Luba. With some of the most amazing music I have ever heard. It was really upbeat and they sounded great. They are playing again at the Fremont Fair on June 23rd. I want to go to listen to them again.

 

 * Photos by my mom

Mobile Food Truck Rodeo

By TheJarrett818

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 On Sunday I went to the Mobile Food Truck Rodeo with my family. It really was a rodeo!! It was so crowded, we could barely walk.

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We had Cajun food from Jemil’s Food Truck. We had Gumbo and a Cajun sampler. I liked the white rice part of the sampler. I liked the flavor and the sausage. I didn’t like the Gumbo that much.

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We also had a pulled pork sandwich called a Porchetta Sandwich from Evolution Revolution Food Truck. I enjoyed the pulled pork with the combination of spinach. I think the combination was quite good. There were a lot of juices, but the meat was not too fatty. I enjoyed the combination of the dry meat with the juices in the sandwich. 

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My dog, Remy, also enjoyed the pulled pork. He loves pulled pork!!20130505_125943-001

The weather was really hot, a little uncomfortable, but near the water, it was breezy. It was too hot to stand in lines. The lines were too long. The food was good, but it was so difficult to get the food.So we gave up and went to Cold Stone Creamery for ice cream. I may not want to go back there next year if it is just as crowded.

*photos by my mom

Ramly Burger

By TheJarrett818

From Wikipedia: “The Ramly Burger, also known as the Burger Ramly, is a Malaysian burger created by Ramly Moknin popular in Malaysia

The Ramly Burger is distinctive from most other hamburgers due to the unique way in which the ingredients are served. Rather than the usual method of stacking the ingredients within the bun, the patty in the Ramly Burger is first covered with the desired condiments, then wrapped in a thin layer of egg”.

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In America, there is a restaurant, called Kedai Makan that serves the Ramly Burger, but only on Fri and Sat between 12am – 2:30am. A few weeks ago, I got to stay up late till 12am to go to get a Ramly Burger. We went downtown and parking was horrible, but we were finally able to find a parking spot and we sat outside while waiting for our burgers. Luckily I brought a book. My brother and I were already in our pajamas – Kevin and Alysson were surprised to see us up so late!! We told them that we were staying up to try their Ramly Burger as a midnight snack.

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The restaurant is take out only, so all the way home in the car, the smell of the burger was killing me. It’s definitely worth the wait. But in my opinion, if you want to bring out the flavor, get it with cheese. It’s only 25 cents more.

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The chili is extra spicy so be warned and have some milk ready. And napkins. It’s very messy…do NOT eat it in the car!

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Kevin makes the Ramly burger with a sweet chili slaw, an egg wrapped patty, Worcestershire sauce, onions, Maggi seasoning, and brown sauce on a grilled bun.

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It’s kind of hard to describe the flavor. But I enjoyed the blend of all of the ingredients. Even if I don’t like some of the ingredients, I like the mixture of all the different ingredients. I feel like it goes well together and was not hastily chosen. It’s spicy, a little salty and very juicy.

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 I forced my mom to go back to Kedai  Makan a second time because I told her that I needed to go there at least two times in order to write this review!!

 The bad parts about the burger is….that it’s only available at 12am – 2:30am and only available on Friday and Saturday nights. I wish it were available at more convenient times and almost every day.

 

*photos by my mom

the Walrus and the Carpenter

By TheJarrett818

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I like seafood. And I like oysters. On Sunday, we went to an oyster bar called the Walrus and the Carpenter. They have a Happy Hour between 4pm and 6 pm and the oysters are cheapest during 4-5pm (the oysters are between $1-$1.25 each, during that one hour). We had to get in line 30 minutes before the restaurant opened and there was already a long line of people waiting. We sat on the floor in the hallway outside the restaurant, using our gadgets and reading. We took the last four seats and sat at the bar counter.

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We ordered five dozen oysters. I ate about three dozen oysters by myself. We also ordered marinated arauco olives, bread, little brown farm’s chevre (goat cheese) with cherries and also a seafood bisque.

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The oysters:

I liked the Baywater oysters the most, because they were the small kind that do not taste too sweet or salty. I also liked the Treasure Cove, but not as much as the Baywaters. The Baywaters were my favorite.

I did not like the Effingham because it was too salty and I did not like the cucumber sweetness (but I like cucumbers – I’m eating cucumbers right now!).

If you like big oysters, order the Judd Cove. I thought the Judd Cove was okay. I didn’t like it that much. But I don’t like big oysters, I only like small oysters, like Kumamotos.

When I left, my tongue had a coating of creaminess and taste of the sea, from the oysters. I like that feeling.

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I really enjoyed the marinated auraco olives (which are green olives) because it had a lot of flavor, but it wasn’t like black olives. I also enjoyed the soup because it had a lot of seafood flavor, but also a creaminess and milkiness.The goat cheese with the cherries and bread were amazing!! It was an awesome combination because the bread was a base, the cheese added a saltiness and creaminess and then the cherries brought a tartness and sweetness.

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Overall, I really enjoyed the restaurant but if you want the cheaper price on oysters, be sure to get there between 4pm and 5pm. But make sure you get there 30 minutes at least before opening. 

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You can also read the Walrus and the Carpenter’s blog.

 * photos by my mom

Theo Chocolate Tour

By TheJarrett818

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One of my favorite foods is chocolate. My favorite types are dark (like, 95% dark, which is quite bitter), white (but I don’t like that you don’t get health benefits with white chocolate) and milk chocolate. And I like to learn how my favorite foods are made. So i went on a Theo chocolate tour. Theo chocolate is one in about twenty chocolate makers in America. Most chocolate companies are chocolate melters, not chocolate makers. Chocolate makers make chocolate from scratch, starting with the cacao beans; chocolate melters start with chocolate and melt it and add stuff to it. And Theo is the first Fair Trade chocolate company. Also all the chocolates that they make are Organic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

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I tasted the 85% dark chocolate and I really liked it. But most other people disliked it, probably because it was bitter and most people don’t like bitter tasting food. The only bitter food I like is dark chocolate.

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I had the opportunity to take a tour of the Theo Factory, and got lots of free samples, where I found out I loved cacao nibs. Cacao nibs are crushed cacao and has no sugar or milk powder. Theo chocolates has a lot of unusual and simple flavors that I enjoy. For example one of the simple ones is Mint and one of the unusual ones is Chai Tea. I love them both!! The Chai Tea reminds me of Indian restaurants.

Most cacao comes from the cacao line which is 20 degrees north and south of the equator. The Cocoa beans used to make chocolate come from the Theobroma Cacao plant. Which is what the Theo chocolate company is named after. The plant produces pods, which have seeds that are inside the Mucilage, which helps the seeds to ferment.

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I also learned how the chocolate was made! Our tour guide’s name was Molly. And she was good. I won’t tell you too much, because it will ruin the tour for you.

On the day that we went on the tour, the holding tank had 5,536 pounds of chocolate!!

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i really enjoyed the experience  but the room where they make the chocolate is very hot, so don’t wear a coat. And you have to wear a hair net, so no hair gets in the chocolate.

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At the end we ended up in the chocolate shop, where they had Theo chocolate that was only found at that shop, like the monkey bar! The monkey bar is this amazing milk chocolate bar with dried banana,pretzels,and almonds! It is limited edition, but it’s four dollars and is amazing! Also anything behind the glass wall is 10% off on the day that you take the tour.

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I really recommend going and taking the tour, it’s only six dollars! I hope to take a class at Theo’s Chocolate University one day!! If I do take a class, I will write about it here.

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Zeeks pizza review

By TheJarrett818

For the first time in my life, i went to a restaurant without an adult, with my friends. In this post, i will talk about my experience and how the food was. The very first time I went to a neighborhood pizza restaurant called Zeeks (with an adult), we ordered a ‘kitchen sink’*, a pizza with almost everything. It was a little more expensive, but only by a few dollars. It had bacon, mushrooms, sausages, you name it! So that was the first time i went.

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The second time i went to Zeeks, it was with my friends and no adults (there were four of us in total). We had a custom pizza, one with pineapple, basil, Canadian bacon, and bacon. I suggest you try it, it was an amazing pizza! We also got a ceasar salad, one of the best salads around, i think. We also got bread sticks, which my friends liked, but i didn’t. We also all got drinks, and the waiter came around a lot, asking if we needed refills. At the end we didn’t want to do the math for the tip, so we gave about a 40% tip, but the normal price was about $40 for a large pizza, a full salad, breadsticks, and 4 drinks and refills. I really enjoyed the pizza and I suggest that you go there.

 After eating we hung out at the park, but it was raining so we walked home. But we stopped at a convenience store and bought candy for dessert. 

 

*Kitchen Sink: Canadian bacon, pepperoni, Italian sausage, chicken, bacon, mushrooms, black olives, green peppers, roma tomatoes, fresh garlic and fresh oregano layered over mozzarella and our fresh tomato sauce 

$18.95/small – $22.95/medium – $29.95/large