Saturday, 24 September 2016

England’s Resurgence In ODI Cricket

by Monideep Ghosh

Traditionally, English cricket has predominantly been dominated by success in the longer format in the form of test cricket; producing greats such as Graham Gooch, Alastair Cook and Alec Stewart. However, ODI cricket has always presented constant failure with no World Cup ever won despite hosted four of them and only a sole twenty twenty victory which was primarily due to an Australian side plagued with injuries hence resulting in a lacklustre performance. Despite this abysmal history, in the last twelve months after the disastrous World Cup campaign in Australia/New Zealand, England have proved themselves as the team to beat in this format after scripting phenomenal performances consistently against top nations in a variety of tough conditions thus suggesting to many that this possibly the greatest one day team England have fielding their history. The sudden change is due to a variety of reasons from the development of attacking mindsets to the introduction of individual superstars.

Joe Root. In the main, England's spectacular upturn has been built on a batting line-up that is as destructive, dynamic and boundary-hungry as any other on the planet. But, the rock coming in at the crucial number 3 is Root who has amassed 796 runs in 2016 alone at a very impressive average of 61.23 coupled with an equally sensational strike rate of 91. Due to the aggressive style of the openers Root has often had to come in early on in the innings and rarely disappoints by preserving his wicket while rotating the strike effectively and hitting the big boundaries towards the latter stages of the innings. The twenty five year old also chases magnificently as well as consolidating innings to allow the big hitters later on in the innings to express themselves and hence propelling England to an above par score. That being said, Root does also have a very vast attacking game with many different innovation which was purely demonstrated in his match winning innings of 83 of 44 balls which included 6 fours and 4 sixes and aided England to a world record chase of South Africa’s 229 in the recently concluded ICC Wt20 in India. An England side without Joe Root would struggle against world class bowling lineups and batting on difficult pitches- his value to this England ODI team is incomprehensible.

Jos Buttler has been in scintillating form in the last calendar year which has resulted in him brutally finishing off innings with a flurry of boundaries enabling England to score unreachable totals as well as chasing scores that would've been out of reach years ago. England have in the past lacked a middle order batsman that could really go through the gears and finish an innings off on a regular basis and with Buttler they have found a genuine ODI finisher as well as an excellent wicket keeper which only builds on his outstanding contribution to the team. In terms of statistics, in the last year the twenty six year old has bludgeoned 605 runs at 67.22 at a swashbuckling strike rate of 139.40. In the MS Dhoni mould, the Somerset born wicketkeeper has transformed how English cricket is viewed by his repertoire of shots as he can play 360 degrees round the wicket which is completely unheard of when associating shot selection with England.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Photograph: Porchester Castle At Dusk

by Jason Baker

An unusual view of Portchester Castle from the end of the Jetty last night.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Moral Choices in Everyday Life

by Rebecca Pascoe

Moral choices are not just the big decisions which are made on a large scale. We make moral choices everyday. The decision whether to keep or return the money found in a lost wallet or to tell a lie to protect someone’s feelings, or even something as simple as to give up your seat on the bus so somebody else can sit down. They are something unavoidable, so why is it that deciding on right and wrong in a real life situation seems to be more trivial than moral issues which seem to dominate many our conversations and debates, such as the legalization of abortion and changing the minimum wage. Surely the ethics that is happening right before us on a daily basis should be more important to us?

Everyday ethics doesn’t take the centre stage simply because the issues we face daily have become habit. Some people don’t even need to think twice before giving up their seat on the bus, whereas others just don’t want to. Perhaps one could say that the outcomes of the moral choices made on a daily basis are already decided by the personality of the person themselves, as surely a kinder more selfless person would be more willing to give up their seat. However, as well as this, it could be said that there are many other factors that influence the moral choices that people make.

The first is where we stand in society. Teenagers, for example, could be said to struggle with moral decisions more in everyday life. This is maybe because they have less experience in the world or perhaps because of the pressures and problems that all teenagers are sure to face at some point in their lives. During our teen years, it is a time when many are struggling with their sense of personal identity and fitting in with their peers, which is why their moral compasses may be slightly warped at this time. Take the example or peer pressure. A teenager who would usually have no interest in drugs, or bullying, may go against their own personal values in order to be accepted by their peers. This doesn’t mean that they are intrinsically an unethical person, but they may act in an unethical way because of the conflict between the need for acceptance and obeying their own values. Because of this, moral choices for teenagers and adolescents could be seen as more difficult than it is for adults who don’t face these kinds of pressures in their everyday lives.

For some, religion is the main factor that influences how we behave morally. The code of conduct for the specific religion then becomes the code of conduct for its followers, meaning that when faced with everyday moral choices, the religious believer would do what their religion teaches. So for Christianity, which says ‘love thy neighbour’, a Christian should be expected to give up their seat to someone more in need than them. However, a problem arises here when the beliefs of a religion don’t benefit others, as we have seen recently in the case of extremist groups who believe they are following the morality of their religion by hurting others. Although they believe they are doing what is right, the majority of people, including those from their religions who are not extremists, would disagree, and their actions would go against the morality of most people.

What's Next for Novak?

by Oliver Clark

Going into this season, Novak Djokovic, the best tennis player in the world of the last half decade, had his eyes on one thing. The previous season had seen him take the Australian Open for a 5th time, a 2nd US Open and a 3rd Wimbledon crown. Yet he had once again missed his opportunity of completing the Grand Slam Quartet, as he came up short to Stan Wawrinka in a 4 set Classic in the final of the French Open. I remember sitting there, watching Djokovic trying to address the crowd only to be muted by a 3 minute standing ovation from those at Roland Garros. I was beginning to ponder, is this something he simply cannot do?

One year later, my pondering was out of the window. After taking the title in Australia like taking the proverbial candy from a baby, he went on to dominate in Paris, eventually beating Andy Murray in the final. He had done it. He could now justify his position among the all time greats of Federer, Laver and Nadal. Less than a month later, he lost in the third round at Wimbledon to Sam Querry. He then proceeded to have an up and down couple of months, winning some small events but losing in the first round of the Olympics to a returning Juan Martin Del Potro. Before the US Open, he was co-favourite for, alongside Murray, who had just come off a Gold Medal victory at the Games.

Things didn't go to plan. At least for those trying to cause an upset and beat Novak. Jiri Vesely had to withdraw through injury before the 2nd round match began, and then Mikhail Youzney retired a mere six games into their match. Jo Wilfried Tsonga lasted 2 sets before succumbing to a knee injury, resulting in Djokovic having played a mere 7 hours of tennis before reaching the final. Compare that to his opponent Wawrinka, who had played a colossal 15 hours, coming through fierce battles against Britain's Dan Evans, Juan Martin Del Potro and Kei Nishikori. It had been a bizarre tournament, with favourites Nadal and Murray losing before the semi finals, and Djokovic seemingly not breaking a sweat for the first 13 days.

The final was set to be a classic. Djokovic took the first set on a tie break before Wawrinka hit back in the second. A close third would eventually swing in Wawrinka's favour. The fourth set will go down as one of the most emotionally enthralling I had ever seen. Djokovic was beginning to show his lack of match fitness. Stan's powerful forehands were flying all over the court, and Novak was beginning to struggle with the physicality of the match. In clear discomfort, he called an injury time out, something he has been criticised for doing too frequently throughout his career. Commentators suggested that he had cramp, but it was clear that this was something worse as Djokovic was beginning to fall apart on the court.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Photography: Winter Robin

by Tony Hicks

Praises and the Link to Procrastination

by Eleanor Barber

Contrary to the belief that praising children will improve their self esteem and their want to learn, in some cases it can actually be detrimental to the two aspects and can even lead to children seeing certain praises as a punishment instead.

I recently found out that people who are particularly prone to procrastination are children who grew up either with unusually high expectations put on them  or exhibited talents early on and then after when they started to do average it was met with concern from teachers and parents. These factors can lead to people especially older children, who are still in a learning environment such as teenagers , being very self critical of their work even if they got one of the top marks  because they should have "done better".  "Gifted students" from as early as reception can exhibit signs of low self esteem and persistence after a setback.

The solution  to have adults who are less likely to procrastinate is relatively simple but it starts very early in the persons life, as soon as they start to understand others around them.  The solution is to tell them that they worked hard, not that they did good at the certain things due to their intelligence or their talent.  Intelligence and talent are innate skills, that people have no control over, however with hard work and determination they can become better than people who viewed themselves as being talented in the field. "Gifted children" tend to count their intelligence or talent as a trait and as something they can't change whereas the children praised for effort see intelligence differently and as something that can be improved upon.

Research by Dr Carol Dweck has shown  that when emphasis is placed on effort instead of talent,  it's easier for a child to see mistakes as a learning opportunity, rather than something they will never be good at. Children who were praised for their effort had a more open mindset and were willing to do more challenging work than children praised for their intelligence, who were reluctant to put themselves in situations where they could fail or even simply not be the best in the particular field. "Gifted children" often see failure as the end of the world and have difficulty overcoming failures and continuing with the certain thing they are trying to do, this is due to the fact unlike their peers who were praised for effort they find it hard to see that they can learn from their mistakes so do not try to do things outside of their comfort zone.  The children who were praised for effort liked to compare their results with people who got higher scores so they could learn from their mistakes. This is contrary to the children praised for their intelligence who compared their scores with children who scored lower so that they reassure themselves that they were still good.

This does not necessarily stop in childhood but can carry on until university and even later on in life because adults praised for intelligence do not ask for help because they feel like they are meant to be smart and to know all the answers, so aren't sure what to do when they need help as they didn't like to ask for help as young children.  Although there is no evidence that  "gifted children"  experience more anxiety  and depression disorders they are being particularly prevalent in children and "gifted students" who spend more time inside doing homework due to pressure put on by themselves than outside may be particularly vulnerable due to an increase of social isolation.

In conclusion children who are praised for their hard work instead of their talents tend to do better after a setback, thus being less likely to procrastinate and exhibit less signs of low self esteem than children who were praised for their effort. 

Monday, 19 September 2016

Can We Define Football as a ‘Religion’?

by Alex Gibson

Football is played by hundreds of millions in over 200 countries worldwide. It is estimated that over a billion people tuned in to watch the World Cup final between Argentina and Germany in 2014. It undoubtedly connects the masses: the likelihood is that, regardless of where you are on Earth, you’ve heard of Cristiano Ronaldo, you’ve heard of Manchester United and you might even have heard how badly our national team did in the Euros. This made me wonder, what else connects this many people? The answer was simple: religion. Throughout history and still nowadays, a religion still brings millions, and in some cases, billions together. However, can we go as far by saying football is a religion?

The obvious place to start is, how do we define ‘religion?’ One of the dictionary definitions is ‘a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.’ My friend, who actively goes to Church, says ‘the belief in and reverence for a supernatural power.’ In comparison, my Religious Studies teacher thinks that it is ‘more than just enquiries about God’ and that it is ‘having an identity, living in a shared community and following certain religious practices.’ This means that ‘religion’ can have a subjective definition, but mainly follows the idea of being interested in or worshipping something. Is that not what people do with football?

I could say I have had a personal experience with this, to an extent. I remember, some years ago, going to a cup match with a friend. The team I was ‘supporting’ was against a squad who were several divisions higher. I recall the opposite team scoring and a two, three second period where the crowd deflated. However, almost as quickly as the noise had stopped, it erupted again with a greater magnitude than I had ever heard before: there was this overwhelming belief that this team could (and eventually would) go on and come back from this. What struck me was that, there was such a deep-rooted belief and support for this team, so similar to the deep-rooted following in a religion, in a deity or in a practice. The Bill Shankly quote is a wonderful one for me: ‘Some people believe football is a matter of life or death. I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.’ The fact is, in numerous cases, this is true. What is more important than life or death? Again, I find myself going back to that answer: religion. Some may say that is exaggerating but for those fans who have stuck with a club for years, it is simply not the case.
There’s the issue of the following. A mainstream religion has millions and billions of supporters. According to FIFA statistics back in 2007, over 270 million played The Beautiful Game worldwide. This would make it the fifth largest ‘religion’ on the globe, approximately 100 million below Buddhism.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Photography: Comedy and Tragedy

by Seb Algiri

Tales from the Archives

Alfie Perry-Ward and Katie Sharp undertook work experience at the Conan Doyle Archive in Portsmouth over the summer. Here is their account of their time there - featuring ghosts, mummies, ectoplasm  . . . and much more. 

Monday 18th July
We were first given a tour of the Portsmouth history archive and the Conan Doyle archive as well as the library in general. We were made aware of the high security regarding the archives, which contain some of the only copies of certain materials that exist throughout the world. One thing that struck me was the meticulous nature of storage in the archives which took into consideration the temperature of the room, its humidity and the possibility of chemical damage. The specificity of knowledge required of an archivist is staggering.    
  The Richard Lancelyn Green collection was especially intriguing to me because of its sheer number of objects, articles, letters, phenomena and records that all related to Conan Doyle or Sherlock Holmes. I was both impressed and confused by one or two individual of objects that had been archived. I wondered, for example, what the historical value of a dog that you can dress up as Sherlock Holmes really amounted to. Why would anyone need to study such trivia? It was then brought to my attention that the dog has recently been used in a PhD concerning the investigation of fandom pre-1930. In this context, the dress-up-dog entailed critical historical usefulness.  
 I think it made me realise the significance of things that are seemingly insignificant. We often don’t realise the importance of the mundane objects in our lives that will shape an investigation that a future historian may conduct. Everything that we accumulate and all the things that we write down are instantly primary sources. This only exalts the importance of the archivist, whose dedication to making the primary sources easily accessible expands the possibilities of historical investigation tenfold. The role of the archivist, in a manner of speaking, transcends time as they are directly involved in the investigation of someone who may not even be born yet!
The first day, if anything, made me appreciate such an occupation.

Tuesday 19th July
For the second day, Alfie and I worked on a project to help the production of an app. This app will allow the user to go on a walking tour of Conan Doyle's life in Portsmouth, and while the tech-savvy people create the app, we were tasked with sourcing the pictures to be shown on the tour, using the resources available in the library and the archives.
As we had to find photographs of buildings and streets from the 1880s, we were presented with a few challenges- some stops on the tour had not been photographed, as at the time the houses were insignificant. Some of the other places no longer exist, either due to demolition or bombing, causing us to learn how to cross-reference in the records to find what we were looking for.
We also took a trip to the Portsmouth City Museum to look at their Conan Doyle exhibition, most of which was also taken from Richard Lancelyn Green's collection, which showed us again that he had far too many items to be just a simple fan of Conan Doyle!
All in all, trying to find the pictures was very interesting as it caused us to look through records of our city from over 100 years ago, and we learnt to use initiative to find the tough pictures!

Wednesday 20th July
As well as continuing the walking tour project, we put together an exhibition entitled "Conan Doyle on hols" which showed Doyle's travels and family holidays. We concerned ourselves with the techniques required to carefully handle delicate books in order to prepare them for display. We used acid tape to bind certain pages together and photo albums on certain pages. It was fascinating to flick through photos that are nearly a century old. We felt a great sense of achievement when the exhibition was complete but our efforts seemed belittled by how quickly people observed the exhibition before moving on, rather fleetingly!
We continued collecting photos for the app project which, at times, became a very stressful process. When one spends ages trying to find a single reference with no result it is so frustrating. Equally, when you do find the material it is incredibly rewarding. One thing I did notice was that you can start looking at one thing and end up somewhere completely different which leaves you questioning what your initial intention was. You can get lost in the archives!

In the archives, Alfie and I found a variety of interesting pieces. A shared favourite of ours is Nina Mdivani's book, entitled "The Magnificent Mdivanis". I particularly liked the front cover that she made where she called herself "Princess Nina Mdivani Conan Doyle", and the drawing of a crown on the front of the folder.
I was also interested in the spiritualism section. Here, I found many photographs of spiritualists purportedly producing ectoplasm, with some even showing the ectoplasm lifting a table! There is also a strange photo of a person "holding hands" with some ectoplasm! Most of the ectoplasm photographs are confusing, particularly as the look of the ectoplasm changes in each photo, for example in some the substance looks like cloth, yet in others it looks leathery… This lessens the credibility of all of the pictures of ectoplasm, but it is interesting none the less.
The spirit writings were also interesting, but one that caught my eye was a letter that was supposedly written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, so it seemed more relevant in the collection than other spirit writings. The handwriting in the letter is slightly less neat than Conan Doyle's normal handwriting, yet it still does look like his handwriting, and his signature is the same! If the letter was faked, the person who faked it would need to be dedicated to replicating Conan Doyle's handwriting for it to be taken seriously, and as it looks reasonably similar, either the letter was a good fake or Conan Doyle's spirit actually did write a letter!

Poetry: Winners of the 2016 Leonardo Competition

Each year, pupils from Years 7-10 enter the Leonardo Poetry competition. This year's theme was 'Human Rights'. The winning poems are presented below:

You Come From by Dulcie Langley (Year 7)

You come from faded clothes and fading hope
Worn thin soled sandals treading over a dusty,
Desolate landscape.
Ragged tents that bear the scars of countless
Batterin'g explosions.

You come from experiences beyond your years
That have etched themselves upon your sunken face
Chiselled cheekbones and deep unfathomable
Brown eyes that yearn for security and peace.

You come from strict regulations and regimes
Robotic people who hold no personality despite their pain
Stripped of their identities by hatred’s merciless hands.

You come from aching stomachs and aching hearts
An unspoken fear of growm’g to care
For those who suffer alongside you
Too vulnerable to offer yourself
To emotion's powerful clutches
Lest they disappear.

All you desire is to speak out
To voice your frustrations
Have the chance to succeed
But your hopes and ambitions for the future are
Discarded by those who hold your happiness

You are told you do not matter
That your characteristics are worthless
Should be forgotten.

Yet you come from the invaluable love of a family
Each hug and kind gesture provides your heart a beat
For without these guiding lights in your day
Your purpose would slip into the surrounding darkness.

Life by John Yu (Year 8)

Life is the water and we are the animals,
It comes and goes like a bright running stream,
Yet we try to catch it and desperately hold on,
Urged to embrace it till the ends of time,
As it runs through our fingertips and flows beyond.

Some refuse to drink from it yet others cannot,
Their chance stolen by those who attack and prey
Yet all cannot drink more than their share
And watch in vain as their life continues to flow
To infinity and the darkness beyond.

Protected and treasured, the most holiest of waters
Hated yet loved, denied yet accepted,
Though blockaded with dams to hinder its progress
As we try to drink it to our desire
We continue oppressed as it flows past our eyes.

The stream of liberty, the stream of salvation,
Unhindered by custody or the restraints of laws,
Fragile compared with the elements of hardship
Yet it becomes a part of all of us, of security and peace
Its beauty unblemished by the hardships it suffers.

The thing we crave so hard to find,
The one thing that we cannot afford to lose
Valued and kept so dear in our hearts:
It is life - the symbol of freedom
It is life - the only one
It is life - the protected and endangered
It is life - the dearest of all.