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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Falun Gong: Religious Persecution in China


History of Falun Gong

At the height of the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong had it banned due to its links to ancient Chinese religion, but the ban was removed when a lab claimed to have found qigong energy (life energy). In the 1970s, the Chinese government began promoting qigong, a series of exercises designed to improve physical and spiritual health, to promote traditional Chinese medicine. From the late 1970s to the 1990s, millions of Chinese were drawn to qigong due to the purported health benefits, which resulted in many qigong organizations, magazines and much more.

In 1992, Li Hongzhi founded Falun Gong/Falun Dafa, which means discipline of the Dharma wheel. Li promised to install purifying wheels in the bodies of his followers to free them from all physical issues.

The government initially welcomed Falun Gong due to its core values of honesty, compassion and forbearance. It also filled the spiritual vacuum left by the Cultural Revolution, which resulted in Falun Dafa gaining upward of 100 million followers by the end of 1998. This all changed when state-run media began criticizing Falun Gong, which lead to 20,000+ practitioners peacefully protesting at the Zhongnanhai Leadership Compound in Beijing. The size of the protest surprised Chinese leadership and resulted in them banning the movement, even going so far as calling it a “heretical cult”.  

China was not initially successful in suppressing the movement due to Falun Gong practitioners moving to the United States and Canada. Falun Gong practitioners told Western media that China was threatening their religious freedom. The Western media dropped coverage on the persecution of Falun Gong because the Chinese government claimed that Falun Gong was a cult and they claimed that members immolated themselves in Tiananmen Square in 2001.

Beliefs of Falun Dafa
Falun Gong heavily draws from both Buddhism and Taoism, much like Buddhism, Falun Gong teaches that desire is the source of all suffering and attachments prevent practitioners from ending the reincarnation cycle. Falun Gong states that everyone accumulates karma and virtue throughout their lifetime, the ratio of virtue to karma will decide their next life.

To improve upon the ratio of virtue and karma, practitioners must increase their levels of Xinxing, which is the relinquishing of all immoral thoughts and it includes the 3 cosmic qualities of Zhen (Truth), Shan (Compassion) and Ren (Forbearance/Tolerance). According to Ian Adam’s “The Theories and Practices of Li Hongzhi:  Power of the Wheel the Falun Gong Revolution, he writes that Ren is very similar to the Christian value of charity, except Falun Gong practitioners are complete pacifists; they would not fight even in the direst circumstances.

From Taoism, Falun Dafa took the idea of inner alchemy, which focuses on the cultivation of Qi energy; this can be achieved by meditating and self-improvement, which results in accumulation of gong energy. Cultivation of gong energy leads to communion with spirits that will advise you, though Li Hongzhi warns that some of these spirits are evil.  

Persecution of Falun Gong
Since the turn of the century, the Chinese government has been relentlessly persecuting Falun Dafa, a 2006 report from the UN reported that 2/3 of Chinese torture cases were Falun Dafa practitioners. The persecution of Falun Gong practitioners has also been documented by the following: Amnesty International, the U.S State Department, The Human Rights Watch, The U.S Commission on International Religious Freedom, and other NGOs.

The Chinese Communist government fears anything that removes the people’s allegiance to the CCP, and they believe the diversity of thought is a threat to the communist regime. As a result, Falun Gong beliefs and practices are the most censored terms on China’s intranet.

Moreover, the Chinese government openly admits that they use the organs of executed criminals for organ donations; Falun Gong practitioners are also a source of many of these organs, though there is still a gap between organ donations vs. total transplants





Swoon Films: The Persecution of Falun Gong




Conclusion
All in all, Falun Dafa was founded by Li Hongzhi in 1992. The CCP welcomed its presence until the 1999 protest, which scared the Communist Party into persecuting and smearing Falun Dafa. Falun Gong draws heavily from Buddhism and Taoism and practitioners are pacifists until death. Finally, because Falun Dafa offers ideas that are different from that of the Chinese Communist Party, Falun Gong has become one of the most censored terms on the Chinese intranet and the government is currently using them for unethical organ transplants.  

Works Cited

Ownby, David. “Falun Gong.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 25 May 2016, www.britannica.com/topic/Falun-Gong.
Stenudd, Stefan. What Is Qi Energy?, Qi Energy Exercises, www.qienergyexercises.com/what-is-qi-energy.htm.
“The Theories and Practices of Li Hongzhi.” Power of the Wheel the Falun Gong Revolution, by Ian Adams et al., Stoddart, 2001, pp. 75–115.
“WHAT IS FALUN GONG?” Faluninfo, Falun Dafa Info Center, faluninfo.net/what-is-falun-gong-2/.
“What Is Falun Gong?” GotQuestions.org, GotQuestions.org, 28 June 2017, www.gotquestions.org/Falun-Gong.html.

Winter, Max. “Falun Gong (Spiritual Movement).” Research Starters, Ebscohost, 2019, eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/detail/detail?vid=3&sid=92aaeb47-b47f-47d8-ad5e-237ede651e1a%40sessionmgr4007&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWNwaWQmY3VzdGlkPXM5MDU4NTU1JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3d%3d#AN=87321420&db=ers.
United States. Cong. Committee- Executive Commission on China Falun Gong in China: Review and Update  112th Cong. 2nd sess. Washington: GPO, 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Beliefs and Symbols of the Marthoma Church

The Marthoma Church was created 2000 years ago in the Indian province that would later be known as Kerala. The Church’s proximity to Hinduism and relative isolation from other Christian denominations in its infancy played a major role in shaping its beliefs. The later influence of both Catholics and Protestants helped shape the symbols and even the logo of the Marthoma Church. The worship of the church and its sacraments also have a traceable lineage. 

To learn about the history of the Marthoma Church, click here

Worship

The Marthoma Church uses the St. James Liturgy in its weekly worship because it helps the worshipper become spiritual and it reminds us of the message of salvation. One major feature is the Nicene Creed, which defines the beliefs of the Christian faith and explains how Christians are able to worship a God that is also 3 beings. It was created in 325 AD in Nicea and it is currently in use by the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, and various Protestant Denominations.
When the service starts, the curtain, illustrating the separation of heaven and earth, is moved, exposing the madbaha(altar). It faces the east because when Christ returns, he will come from the east and move to the west. Incense is used to symbolize the presence of God and it was used to represent respect.
Image of Seven Sacraments


Sacraments

The word sacrament comes from the Latin word, sacromentum, which means sacred. The church believes in 7 sacraments, which are the following:
  • Mamodisa (Baptism): The church encourages child baptism and during the baptism, the parents take an oath stating that they will raise the child to follow Christ.
  • Confirmation: Confirmation takes place when the child becomes 12. This is when the child declares that he/she will follow Christ in from of the congregation. This sacrament complements baptism because it shows the community that the parents fulfilled their oath and the child can now participate in the Holy Qurbana.
  • Confession: Confession is the acknowledgement of one’s sins and asking for forgiveness from God. Unlike Catholics, marthomites believe that confession is between you and God, there is no priest involved.
  • Holy Qurbana (Holy Communion): Qurbana is East Syriac for sacrifice, and it is typically referencing to the last supper. While the Catholic church believes in transubstantiation and Lutherans believe in consubstantiation, the Marthoma church believes that partaking in the Holy Qurbana is that God’s grace is given to the individual. This cannot be verbalized and is used to define one’s experience during communion.
  • Marriage: In Indian culture, marriage is not only the union of 2 people, it is also the union of families. During the ceremony, the bride and groom are blessed by God to start a family and it is a covenant between the man and the woman to be together until death. This sacrament is optional
  • Ordination: Ordination is an optional sacrament that separates a man from his peers to become an Aachen(priest).
  • Unction: Unction is the anointing of the sick and elderly with oil to allow God’s touch to be with them. It is also called the Sacrament of Lamps because the early church used lamps to complete this sacrament.
Marthoma Logo

The Logo

The logo of the Marthoma Church(seen above) consists of the following:
  • Lotus Flower: This represents holy living and it is a reminder to believers to be holy
  • Hand Lamp: This reminds believers to be lights to the world and bring followers to Christ. This symbol also reminds believers to study the Scriptures.
  • Ashoka Chakra: This is also seen on the Indian Flag and it represents the Church's roots in India. The chakra is representative of the cosmic order and life. The placement of the chakra in the center of the cross represents that life finds its ultimate purpose and salvation in Christ.
  • Motto: The motto, "Lighted to Lighten" is a reminder to the believers that Christ chose them to bring others to Christ.
  • Cross: The cross is placed in the middle of the logo represents that Christ is in the center of the Church's mission and to proclaim that all can come to Christ and be saved.

Conclusion
All in all, The Marthoma Church's proximity to Hinduism and the later Catholic and Protestant influence has played a role in defining the beliefs of the church today. It is a church native to India and will continue to be "Lighted to Lighten" for years to come.

Works Cited

“SACRAMENT OF UNCTION OF THE SICK .” Sacraments of the Eucharist, 2014, www.copticchurch.net/topics/thecopticchurch/sacraments/5_unction_sick.html.
“Story behind the Logo.” Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, marthoma.in/the-church/story-behind-the-logo/.
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Nicene Creed.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 22 Mar. 2018, www.britannica.com/topic/Nicene-Creed.
“Mar Thoma Sacraments.” Marthoma Church, www.mtcjpr.org/?page_id=211.
“Sacraments.” Canadian Mar Thoma Church Toronto - Sacraments, Canadian Mar Thoma Church Toronto, www.canadianmarthomachurch.com/pages.aspx?section=sub&ID=57.
“Confirmation - Encyclopedia Volume - Catholic Encyclopedia.” Catholic Online, Catholic Online, www.catholic.org/encyclopedia/view.php?id=3247.
“The Mar Thoma Syrian Church The Holy Qurbana: A Study Material .” Marthoma Church, Marthoma Church, www.ctmarthoma.org/uploads/3/7/8/0/37804233/holy_qurbana_training_notes.pdf.


A Brief History of the Marthoma Church

Church Origins

Tradition dictates that in 52 AD, St. Thomas arrived on a trading vessel from Alexandria to Cranganore (Malankara), which was an early haven for Jews of the diaspora. He first went to the Jews of Kerala and then to the Gentiles. He had erected seven churches in the following locations:
  • Cranganor
  • Chavakad (Palur)
  • Parur near Alwaye
  • Gakamangalam
  • Niranam
  • Nilakkal (Chayal)
  • Quilon (Kalyan)
The Apostle Thomas ordained two bishops, Kepha and Paul, for Malabar and Coromandal (Mylapore). On Dec. 19th, 72 AD, he was impaled while praying in Mylapore.
The St. Thomas Christians (Nazranis) accepted the caste system. The rulers regarded them as a high caste and they were called “Nazarani Mappilas” (son of kings, or first kings). The Nasranis also had a sizable military force, and they protected the lower castes. Their status rivaled that of the kings. 
Locations of the Original Churches

Migrations to Malabar

Christians from all over the world journeyed to Malabar to escape persecution. In 293 AD, seventy-two families from Kaveripoopatanam moved to what will be modern day Kollam. Moreover, In AD 345, Thomas of Cana (Knaye Thommen) brought 400 Christians from Nineveh, Jerusalem, and Baghdad. The reason for their immigration to Kerala is unknown, but they were generously received by Cheruman Perumal, the ruler of Crangalore.
Cheruman Perumal gave Thomas and his people 72 privileges that were inscribed on 2 sets of copper plates (cheppeds). The original plates existed until 1498, though many copies abound, and his people
Copy of One of the Chepads
became known as the Kananaya Christians.
The Church maintained a cordial relationship with the Church of Persia. In 825 AD, a group of Persian immigrants led by Marwan Sabrisa and two bishops, Mar Sapo and Mar Prodh, landed in Quilon.

Portuguese Takeover

In 1502, Vasco De Gama found Christians in India and they asked him for protection from the Mahomedans. He was presented with a scepter, which made them loyal to Portugal. This led to the Portuguese establishing power in the 16th and 17th Centuries.
In 1592, Archbishop Alexio de Menezes arrived in Goa and convened the Synod of Diamper (Udayamperoor) to establish the dominance of Rome. Representatives were sent to various congregations to burn ancient Nazrani texts and impose Catholic rule.
The Portuguese had created dioceses in Goa and Cochin in order to convert the Nazrani Christians to Catholicism.


Divisions within the St. Thomas Church

After 54 years of Catholic rule, the Nestorian church in Persia sent a bishop to the Chaldean Church. The bishop was captured by the Portuguese and thrown in prison, where he died under duress.
Enraged by his death, two thousand Malankara Christians rose up under the leadership of Archdeacon Thomas and took an oath proclaiming independence from Rome. This oath became known as the Koonan Kurishu Sathyam(Bent Cross Oath).
In 1665, Patriarch Mar Gregorius consecrated Archdeacon Thomas to Mar Thoma the First, the first Indian Metropolitan of the Malankara Church.
Mar Gregorius's arrival in Kerala created a schism within the St. Thomas Church. dividing the church into East Syrians(Puthenkoor) and West Syrians(Pazhayakoor). The East Syrians consisted of the Syro Malabar Church. The West Syrian division consisted of the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church.
Ancient Christains in India

The Reformation

Years later, Palakunnu Abraham Malpan (Malpan means professor) and Kaithayil Geevarghese Malpan were influenced by Anglican missionaries and they became concerned about the well-being of the Malankara Church and wanted to start a revival. They did not want to divide the church, they wanted to reform it. The main tenants of this reformation were as follows:
  • Removing Catholic Influences from the church
  • Sole Mediation of Christ
In 1836, he translated the Holy Qurbana from Syriac to Malayalam and he got rid of prayers to the saints, starting the Reformation. In 1841, a missionary by the name of William Bailey translated the Bible from Syriac to Malayalam, fueling the flames of the Reformation within the Malankara Church.
Metropolitan Chepat Mar Dionysius was not willing to accept these reforms and excommunicated Abraham Malpan from the church. Therefore, he went to his home parish in Maramon, where the congregation supported him. Abraham realized that he needed a bishop in order for the Reformation to gain momentum, so he sent his nephew, Deacon Mathew, to the Patriarch in Mardin. Mathew was consecrated as Mathew Mar Athanasius and he arrived in Cochin in 1843 with the backing of the Patriarch himself. Mar Dionysius opposed this and in 1852, Mathews Mar Athanasius received a royal proclamation declaring him the head of the Malankara Church. In 1868, Mathews Mar Athanasius ordained Abraham Malpan’s son to be Thomas mar Athanasius.
Years later, Joseph Ramban of Pulikottil, an opponent of the reformation, went to the Patriarch of Antioch, Peter III, and was ordained as Joseph Mar Dionysius and convened the Synod of Mulanthuruthy in 1876, where the church accepted the authority of the Patriarch of Antioch. Mathews Mar Athanasius died in 1877, leading to Thomas mar Athanasius to be the Metropolitan of the Malankara Church. After years of court cases, in 1889, the courts decided that Joseph Mar Dionysius was the true head of the Malankara Church, resulting in the excommunication of Thomas Mar Athanasius. After years of litigation, the reform movement only gained the Maramon, Kozhencherry, and the Kottarakara church. 

If you are interested in learning about the beliefs and practices of the Marthoma Church, click here.

The Church Today

Because of the faith of these reformists, the Marthoma Church currently has 1223 parishes divided into 13 dioceses all over the world with 852 priests in active duty. The church believes in Prima Scriptura, which means that the Bible is above all other sources. This is different from Sola Scriptura because it does not reject other sources.
Church Missions

Since 2003, the church has been working with the Choctaw and the Houma tribes in Alabama, Louisiana, and Oklahoma to reach out to foster faith and to provide mentoring for the parents and local leaders. Medical missions such as Home for the Homeless and foster care. For the past 6 years, restoration efforts were put in place to repair damage caused by Katrina for the Houma Indians in Dulac, Louisiana.

The Urban Mission Project aims to bring awareness to our members of the complex factors that influence poverty in poor urban communities ravaged by crime, poor education systems and homelessness.

The Diocese of North America and Europe has recently started the “Light to Life” project. This project aims to ensure that children in India obtain access to food, water, shelter and an education. Anyone can be a sponsor for these children. Each sponsor will be assigned a child and they will receive updates on their progress. Social workers will come to the children’s houses to ensure that the children are being raised in a nurturing environment. It is currently in the following places in India:

  • Ameri in Chhattisgarh
  • Kalahandi in Odisha
  • Dewas in Madya Pradesh
  • Vattavada in Kerala

Click here to donate to Light to Life

The Marthoma Church also has a mission in Mexico. The church has built a living complex for 45 families called “Colonia Marthoma” in metamoros Mexico to rehabilitate the families of poor fishermen. Food packets are provided on a weekly basis to minimize starvation and malnutrition, so that people can dedicate more time to find jobs. There are also children going to primary school and kindergarten in the complex. Middle school, high school and even college and medical students receive subsidies from the Marthoma Church.

Final Remarks

All in all, the origins of the Marthoma Church trace as far back as 52 AD. The St. Thomas Christians have a long history of providing refuge to persecuted Christians and share a history unique to themselves. Although the Marthoma Church has been influenced by Anglican beliefs, it is still a uniquely Indian and Malayalee Church.

Works Cited

  • “Heritage.” Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, marthoma.in/the-church/heritage/.
  • “Historical Divisions of Mar Thoma Nasranis.” Historical Divisions of Mar Thoma Nasranis, Nasrani Foundation, www.nasranifoundation.org/articles/historicaldivisions.html.
  • “Mar Thomas Sabha History.” Marthoma.org Mar Thomas Sabha History, Sabha News, 28 June 2008, www.marthoma.org/portal/publish/FEATURED/Mar_Thomas_Sabha_History.shtml.
  • “Mission Board.” The Marthoma Church: Diocese of North America and Europe, The Marthoma Church, www.marthomanae.org/website/portaltemplate.php?mainmenu=MISSION&submenu=Mission+Board+&subsubmenu=&subsubsubmenu=.
  • “Mtc-Urban-Missions.” Mtc-Urban-Missions, Neighborhood Missions Ministry of Mar Thoma Church, Diocese of North America & Europe, 2018, www.mtcurbanmissions.org/.
  • “Saint Thomas Christians.” New World Encyclopedia, New World Encyclopedia, 10 Aug. 2015, web.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Saint_Thomas_Christians.


Quantum Computing: What is it?

Introduction

All computers, from Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine No. 1 to the HP Spectre I used to type this very piece, run on a base 2 number system binary. The two numbers are 1 and 0, which signifies on and off. Although this simple language has enabled computers to render high end graphics, create music, and can even allow IBM’s Watson to defeat Jeopardy’s reigning champions in 2011. Now computer scientists and physicists are teaming up to utilize the strange world of subatomic particles to greatly increase the processing power of computers. Quantum computers(aka non-classical computers) will be able to tackle problems that classical computers are currently incapable of doing. To truly understand how these computers operate, one will have to understand some basic principles of quantum mechanics.

What is Quantum Mechanics?

First and foremost, quantum mechanics studies the behavior of matter and light on the subatomic scale. This field of study attempts to explain the strange and contradictory nature of the subatomic universe.

Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics

Quantum mechanics was birthed from Max Planck while studying the “ultraviolet catastrophe”. According to the laws of classical physics, if you created a black box that does not allow any light to escape, then the box would be producing infinite amounts of ultraviolet radiation and heat, however nothing happens.
To explain this conundrum, Planck assumed that light is not a wave, but rather, it is made up of particles, and he built his equations assuming this was true. In 1905, Albert Einstein concluded that light is both a particle and a wave. In 1926, Gilbert Lewis called these light particles, photons.
In 1913, Niels Bohr formulated the Bohr atomic model to explain the structure of atoms using the principles of quantum mechanics. This was later revised to consider discrete states, where electrons jump between orbits, though in reality, the atomic model is not flat.
Erwin Schrödinger devised a mathematical formula that explained Louis- Victor de Broglie’s wave hypothesis, which dictates that matter has the properties of both waves and particles and that their wavelengths are related to their linear momentum. The Schrödinger equation is used to learn the following about an orbital:
  • The size of an orbital (n)
  • The shape of an orbital (l)
  • Where the orbital is oriented in space(m)
Bohr Model

Schrödinger's Cat

Schrödinger also devised the famous Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment to explain superpositions. A superposition is defined as an object that exists in multiple states at once. In his thought experiment, he asked people to imagine a cat locked in a steel box. The box also has a Geiger Counter linked to a bomb. The rate of radioactive decay is random, so there is no way to predict when the bomb will explode. Once the radiation reaches a certain level, the bomb will go off and kill the cat. If someone was to open the box, then the bomb will go off, thereby killing the cat. Until the box is opened, there is no way of knowing if the cat is alive or dead, so the only way to know anything about the cat is to assume that the cat is both simultaneously dead and alive (superposition). Therefore, the cat could be in one of the states, they are alive, dead, or a superposition that is both dead and alive at once. Once you find out if the cat is dead or alive, then the superposition does not exist. 
What Schrödinger's Cat can teach us?

Spin

In 1928, Paul Dirac demonstrated that particles have a 4th quantum number which describes the “spin” of the electron. The spin is the angular momentum of the electron’s electromagnetic field. In Schrödinger’s equation, it is denoted as ms. The spin plays an important part in non-classical computing due to a feature called quantum entanglement, which will be covered later.

Qubits

Non-classical computing uses the ability of particles to exist in multiple states at once. It uses quantum bits(Qubits) to store information. However, unlike classical bits, qubits can be either 0, 1, or they can be both a 0 and a 1 at the same time.
This allows for vastly superior processing power in comparison to a classical computer because 1 qubit would be able to hold more information than a classical bit.

Quantum Entanglement

Non-classical computers also take advantage of quantum entanglement to work effectively. Quantum entanglement means that if one particle spins in one direction, then the other particle will spin in the opposite direction. If we were to know everything about the particle, then the superposition would be lost and we would just have a classical computer.
How do Non-Classical Computers work?


Applications of Non-Classical Computers

These computers can be utilized in a broad array of fields ranging from medicine to engineering. D-wave’s quantum computers can be used to reduce the damage caused by chemotherapy by creating thousands of simulations of the patient being injected with varying doses of chemo drugs and radiation to find the optimal dose that does the least damage to the human body.
Non-classical computers are also capable of discovering new drug treatments by testing thousands of molecular structures as they grow in size to find stable proteins that researchers can then replicate and study. The Boston Consulting Group believes that this will create a market worth $20 billion by 2030, with an additional $7 billion from chemical, material sciences, and other material-intensive industries. Google and IBM has expressed interest in quantum computing because it can significantly reduce the time to solve unstructured searches. Currently, GPUs(Graphics Processing Units aka graphics cards) are primarily used to solve these problems. The Boston Consulting Group predicts that quantum computing will create a $20 billion market as quantum computers replace GPUs. It can be used to create more accurate weather forecasts, hyper-personalize advertising, and much more!
Despite these remarkable capabilities, non-classical computers will not replace out current laptops. This is because they will take more time to do mundane tasks such as watching YouTube videos, playing computer games, and writing documents. They take more steps to complete these tasks than a classical computer. They go through every possibility till it finds the best solution.

Conclusion

All in all, quantum mechanics is the study of matter on a sub-atomic level. This branch of physics has the potential to revolutionize Information technology by dramatically increasing the processing power of computational devices via the use of quantum entanglement and superpositions. Although, non-classical computers can revolutionize the fields of advertising and pharmaceutical research, they are not a replacement for classical computers. Rather, they are an aid to classical computers. Although non-classical computers will not be replacing your desktop or your smartphone, they still have the potential to revolutionize the world we live in.

Works Cited

Beall, Abigail. "Inside the Weird World of Quantum Computers." WIRED UK. WIRED UK, 02 Aug. 2017.
Web.Bonsor, Kevin, and Jonathan Strickland. "How Quantum Computers Work." HowStuffWorks. HowStuffWorks, 08 Dec. 2000. Web.
Ekspong, Gösta. "The Dual Nature of Light as Reflected in the Nobel Archives." Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media, n.d. Web.
How Does a Quantum Computer Work? Dir. Derek Muller. Youtube. Veritasium, n.d. Web.
"Quantum Mechanics." PBS. Public Broadcasting Service, n.d. Web.Squires, Gordom Leslie.
"Quantum Mechanics." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 24 Feb. 2017. Web.
Russo, Massimo, et al. “The Coming Quantum Leap in Computing.” Https://Www.bcg.com, BCG Henderson Institute, 16 May 2018, www.bcg.com/publications/2018/coming-quantum-leap-computing.aspx.
Vella, Matt. "9 Ways Quantum Computing Will Change Everything." Time. Time, 6 Feb. 2014. Web.

Sonny: The Mobile Game Review

From Armorgames and Krin comes a re-imagining of the cult classic Sonny! This mobile game was released on Android in 2017. This game is a magnificent reboot of the Sonny series and it breathes new life into the franchise, while keeping the gameplay fundamentally the same as it was in the original.

Synopsis

Much like the 1st Sonny game, you (playing as Sonny) are about to turn into a zombie when Louis injects you with some sort of serum. You keep all your mental faculties, but you cannot remember anything prior to your resurrection.
Louis names you Sonny and he shows you how to use your newfound abilities. He is then murdered by the very people meant to save him, the ZPCI (Zombie Pest Control Incorporated). After you take care of the ZPCI soldiers, you get onto a lifeboat and move towards the mainland. During your travels, you bump into a medic in a robotic suit (Veradux), a mad scientist (Dr. Herregods), a rogue ZPCI soldier (Karantha), and a witch hunter (Zakk), who is the last of his tribe.
As you and your newfound friends travel across the world, you realize that there is an evil plot to destroy humanity and create super-zombies, much like Sonny, but evil.
Now Sonny and his eclectic group of comrades must battle hordes of zombies, super-zombies, cyborgs, and even a velociraptor with guns grafted onto it to save humanity from this newfound super-zombie threat.

Sonny Combat Trailer



New Features

Evo-Bar(Evolutions): This is a new feature for everyone familiar with the Sonny games. You get the Evo-bar in Stage 2-4 of the game (the Teras Jungle). After you attack with Sonny several times, a yellow bar will fill up. When it does, you are able to “evolve” an ability. When you hold on an ability, you are presented with one of 3 evolutions of that ability. You can even evolve abilities on cooldown and you can evolve the same ability multiple times, though you can only have one evolution per ability.
I love the evolutions because it adds an improvisational element to the game. It also allows you to balance or enhance your builds on the fly. If you pick a bad evolution during a fight, then it may ruin your chances of winning the battle.
Strains: Strains allow Sonny to control an element in a game. Elements include the following: Ice, Shadow, Lightening, Fire and Nature. You are able to gain 2 strains in the game, the first strain is learned at the end of Teras Jungle after you defeat the Corrupter and the second strain is learned at the end of the Thunder labs stage after you defeat Celeste.
I love the strains because it provides another new feature for Sonny fans to enjoy as well as allow players to customize Sonny to the play style of the player. Because you get to pick 2 strains, you can either balance out your builds or you can further enhance them.

Different Strains Sonny can have
Pros
Gameplay: The game play is very addictive and the controls are easy to remember. The tutorial explains everything very well. Most enemies and bosses require one to plan which allies you will use as well as what abilities you will bring into battle.
Story: The story revitalizes the Sonny series and brings it into the mobile platform. It also lets people new to Sonny to enjoy the games.
Soundtrack: David Orr has outdone himself once again. The soundtrack for Sonny is epic and makes playing the game even more enjoyable. To listen and even purchase some of the songs, go here (https://davidorr.bandcamp.com/album/sonny-complete-soundtrack).
Cinematics: The story board style of the cinematics made it fun to watch and made it feel like I was reading an interactive comic book.

Cons

Listed below are some features that I believe can make the game better:
PVP: I believe that a PVP would give players the opportunity to battle each other and add an element of fun to the game. I also think it would also be fun to challenge other players and seeing different builds fight each other.
Voice Acting: One of the best thing about both the Sonny Games is the superb voice acting. In the mobile games, there is a very brief amount of voice acting from random characters along with some random grunts. I was looking forward to hearing some good voice acting while playing the game and I was disappointed that I heard very little of it.
Items with dark defense in Blackhall Keep: At Blackhall Keep, most of the enemies use the shadow element and there are no items in the shop that give your team any shadow protection, adding some items with shadow resistance will make this level of the game much easier.
Ability to control AI: Another feature that Sonny fans are familiar with is the ability to have some control over the AI of your allies. This feature was not in the mobile games and as a result, I lost several battles because Veradux and Dr. Herregods attacked when I wanted them to heal.
I believe that having some control of the AI will add another level of strategy for players to mull over as the grind through the game

Tips

Here are some things I have learned while playing the game:
The only item with shadow defense until you beat Blackhall Keep
  • Don't spend all of your ability points on one ability, it is better to have flexibility so you can change builds as needed and so you can save money from having to constantly respec every few fights.
  • Control builds will be more favorable near the end of the game.
  • Do not sell any legendary items (purple items), particularly the plasma barrier you get in the Thunder Labs and it is the only item you receive that has any shadow defense going into Blackhall Keep.
  • Fully upgrade Bleed. This ability is very useful, especially against enemies with high defense and HP.
  • When fighting Grosk, be sure to have Reform or any ability that can remove debuffs because Burn gives a lot of damage. Be sure to stun him when he uses hunger strike because he gains a huge amount of health. 

Final Verdict

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed playing the Sonny mobile game. The game was addictive and has lots of replay value. It allowed me to play a game I enjoyed as a child. The mobile version manages to keep what makes Sonny great while adding some new features. This is a game I recommend for people who are familiar with the Sonny franchise and even newcomers to the series. This is a fun game for everyone to play. I hope that there is a Sonny 2 and it is just as good if not better than this one.

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