Sunday, 30 March 2014

Photography Club: Eye

by Katie Leader


 

Lewis Hamilton, Divergent and Rock n’ Roll Music

by Tim Bustin


I’m going to be perfectly honest here: this was written at the last minute. Upon spectacularly failing three very important tests yesterday, I rather forgot I had to write a Portsmouth Point article due in now. Failing to find anything I knew enough to write a whole article on, I instead thought of the first three things that sprang to mind and decided to write about them.
 
Today is the Malaysian Grand Prix, I have just finished reading the Divergent series (and the film soon comes out) and, also today, I will be living my not-so-secret double life as a wild rock drummer. So here it is: three things which will probably, overall, cover everyone’s interests.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton
(source: Wiki Commons)
Somewhere in the depths of my laptop lurks a wildly unfinished F1 article I started writing last year. It talks about (or would have) the greatest change in Formula One rules in a generation: out are the iconic, noisy V8 engines, and in are the quiet V6s; adjustments have been made to the front and back wing lengths; new weight restrictions are in place and only 100kg of fuel is allowed in the car at the start; KERS has become ERS, and all other manner of devilishly technical changes have been made, most of which the average non-engineering man or woman doesn’t understand. The upshot is, in what is a highly competitive, constantly adapting sport, all of the teams have had extra, and much more complicated, challenges to deal in this year’s winter testing than ever before in recent history.

That’s where Lewis Hamilton comes in. Putting aside how you may feel about him personally (although I’m sure most of you will agree that’s he’s usually the coolest driver on the track) he is undeniably a fantastic driver, proving this by almost winning the championship in his debut season, and then succeeding again in his second. Since then he’s finished fourth or fifth overall, and arguably this is because he has not had the fastest car, sometimes by a long way (see my article here).
 
Two years ago, he made a controversial move from McLaren to Mercedes. Initially, people wondered if he had made the right choice, but last year Mercedes shone whilst McLaren had their worst year in decades. But the real reason Hamilton moved was because of this year’s rules changes; when he visited the Mercedes garage, two years ago, and saw the work they doing to meet this year’s rules changes, he was so impressed that he decided to leave the team he had been with his whole career.

And it was the right choice. Because this year Red Bull are the ones chasing the spinning wheels of the Mercedes. In Australia, the opening race of the season, Hamilton qualified on pole (though retired later due to engine failure) and his team mate Nico Rosberg won the race by about 25 seconds over Red Bull driver Daniel Riccardo (who was later disqualified). And for this weekend’s Grand Prix, Hamilton again is pole, with Rosberg third behind him. So, though this article will be published before today's result, I predict that Lewis Hamilton will win this year’s F1 world championship. And, if it’s not him, it will be his team mate, Rosberg.

 Divergent

Some of you may be surprised (and probably more of you not) that the type of books I most enjoy are those such as Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, The Power of Five, Alex Rider etc. (but if any universities come asking holding copies of personal statement then, shh, it’s Michael Crichton’s techno-thrillers). A person who shall go unnamed (although their identity will easily be deduced from the following quote from her) badgered me for months to read Divergent, saying “OH MY GOD DIVERGENT, IT’S THE BEST THING EVER, I CRIED SO MUCH AT THE END, ISN’T IT THE BEST THING EVER, OH MY GOD!”. Months of shouting passed, and I decided it would be better to read the damn book than suffer death by fandom.  

So this is a sort of review of the book series, and a look at the upcoming film (released on the 4th April). I’ll try not to do spoilers and this will be my honest opinion of the series. The book is set in a futuristic society, where, in what is possibly the last city on Earth (due to wars), people are divided into five factions, depending on whether they are mostly selfless, honest, brave, intelligent or kind. However, there are those in the city who don’t fully fit into just one faction: these are the Divergent. The first person narrative is by Tris, a 16 year old who describes herself as rather plain looking, small and barely noticeable in a crowd. She makes a choice to leave behind her faction of the selfless, Abnegation, and join instead Dauntless, for the brave, and often reckless. She is Divergent, and deep down she is not only the selfless girl but the fearless, determined and brave fighter. As you may have guessed, if you have seen the trailer, the book later evolves into a much more sinister plot. It’s an interesting read because of the concept, but there’s also the excitement and plot twists/reveals.
 
Now for the criticism.

Poem for Sunday: Kayaking

by Nick Graham


(source: Wiki Commons)

 
The murky sea,

Writhes and churns,

A monstrous serpent,

Shadowed by clouds.

 

A chatter of adventurers

Take to the sea,

Carving through waves,

Ploughing onwards.

 

Locked in a battle,

A fight with the elements,

A test of skill and strength,

Of courage versus nature.

 

Slicing through the water,

Like a handful of knives,

Leaving no trace behind,

But an exhilarated trail of bubbles.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Sixth Form Centre: Exterior Nearly Complete

by Tony Hicks

With windows and other outer features installed, work on the outside of the building will soon be coming to a close and a focus on the interior will begin:






12 Things You Didn't Know About Portsmouth

PGS Archivist John Sadden is the author of Portsmouth - A Pocket Miscellany, featuring many fascinating facts about the history of the city. The book iwas recently featured in an article in Portsmouth's local newspaper, The News. Here are 12 facts included in the book:


1. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, compiled in the ninth century, states that in AD 501 ‘Port and his two sons Beida and Maegla came to Britain with two ships in the place which is called Portes mutha, and killed a young British man, a very noble man.’ It is the first known appearance of the name Portsmouth in a written source.

2. The city is home to 199,100 people, according to a 2010 estimate. It is the second most densely-populated place in the UK (after central London) and the 13th most densely-populated place in Europe.

3.The top floor penthouse at Gunwharf Quay’s ‘Lipstick’ Tower, which has an area of 4,000sq ft and enjoys 360-degree views, was valued at £4m in 2009. From the penthouse you can see the Charles Dickens ward where 56.6 per cent of children live in poverty.



4. Jack the Painter, one of several names given to an arsonist, has been described as the first modern terrorist. He planted an incendiary device in the dockyard rope house in 1776. He was hanged from the highest gibbet in Britain, 65ft above the dockyard gates. See this article on Jack the Painter by James Priory.

5. The Portsmouth ball-valve is the most common type of valve used in toilet cisterns.

6. In 1825 John Johnson and Henry Andrews were caught with a large and heavy trunk about to catch the London coach.They had taken receipt of it at the Star pub near The Hard, their fifth such trunk of the month. The corpses in the trunks – much sought after for anatomical teaching in medical schools in the capital – had been ferried across the harbour from Haslar burial ground.

7. George Meredith, the Victorian novelist and poet, was born at 73, High Street in 1828, the son of a tailor. He spent a miserable childhood in the town and later took to affecting vagueness about his origins. Writer HG Wells was bored rigid during the two years he spent as an apprentice at Hide’s Drapery Store, King’s Road. He later recalled that the period 1881-1883 was ‘the most unhappy hopeless period of my life’.

8. In 2003 Tate art gallery experts discovered that two Turner paintings of Venice were actually of Portsmouth.

The Arrival of Louis-Philippe at Portsmouth (1844)
- formerly listed as Festive Lagoon Scene, Venice c 1840-5. (Photo: Tate Britain)

9. The first co-operative society in Britain was set up in Portsmouth in 1796 by dockyard workers fed up with being ripped off by tradesmen. The aim was to offer an alternative by organising and controlling the production and distribution of goods and services under a system operated by and for the people.

10. Former prime minister William Pitt the Elder was involved in a freak accident in Portsmouth in the 19th century. A gale blew in a window of the Queen’s Room, Portsea, and shards of glass sliced through his neck. Mr Allsop, who owned the waxwork collection, was not best pleased.

Coming Out

by Will Wallace

Today, up and down the country, thousands of gay and lesbian couples will be entering into marriage, one of the most valuable institutions that exists in our society.

It should be fitting, therefore, that I have decided, on the same day, to reveal something really rather personal, yet undeniably important. My decision to do so has not been an easy one – that’s an understatement – and had you asked me about this two years ago, I’d have quickly laughed it off. But in recent months, it has become absolutely clear that what I suspected about myself was in fact true, and I finally have the courage of my convictions to do the right thing: to be open and honest.

It was Judy Garland who said we should “always be a first rate version of [ourselves] and not a second rate version of someone else.” Those words ring just as true today as they did in Garland’s time: there is no point in hiding from what and who we are; we should take pride in the people we are, and in the lives we live.

It is this principle that has led me to where I am today – slightly concerned what people will think, but filled with an overwhelming excitement about where tomorrow will take me. It goes without saying that this article could be the start of something very new for me.

Today, I am coming out.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

'Dookie': Pop Punk Milestone

by Hope Hopkinson


Following up to the 20th Anniversary of Dookie (Green Day’s third studio album) at the beginning of February, I thought it would only be appropriate to write my first album review on exactly that.

In 1994, Californian punks Green Day hadn’t been what one would call an entirely commercially successful band. With two rather ‘unpolished’ albums (1039/Smoothed out Slappy Hours and Kerplunk!) produced by Bay Area Record label ‘Lookout!’ to their name, they admittedly had relative success in the underground 90s punk scene, but only slight, if any, mainstream recognition. So nobody expected this trio of 20-somethings to come up with a major label, multi-platinum selling album, right? But, you guessed it, that’s what we got; in the form of an angst-ridden teenager, more commonly known as Dookie.

Right off the bat, an immediate difference from the past two records is implicit. The opening track ("Burnout") starts with the surlier and noticeably more polished voice of frontman Billie Joe Armstrong following a barely distinguishable drum intro by snarling, “I declare I don’t care no more! I’m burning up and out, and growing bored, in my smoked up boring room.” It’s the perfect opening line for the now major-label trio - showing that they’ve both matured, with the higher production standard, but also remained true to their roots, being more concerned about smoking weed (hence the name ‘Green Day’) than worrying about their former underground punk circle calling them sell-outs. Musically, it’s what one may refer to as the stereotypical pop punk structure: a two-minute burst of punchy, distorted guitar, but Green Day being Green Day, they managed to take this structure and make it their very own, with Armstrong’s unique vocals and drummer Tré Cool (Birth name: Frank Edwin Wright III)’s energetic fills. Overall, "Burnout" is, in my opinion the perfect introduction to what would be a monumental album, even 20 years on.

The album then features two songs that could be interpreted as ‘filler’ songs. While they would stand out from the catalogues of quite a few of the bands in similar genres, they are strategically placed in Dookie to ‘set the stage’ as such for the string of the album’s best hits that follow, so are mostly overshadowed.  The first of these two songs is the slightly vacant ‘Having a Blast’, a just shy of three-minute package with lyrics full of bile and anger, singing the soliloquy of a suicide bomber with music much more timid in contrast. Despite the rather serious subject matter, Armstrong manages to play it off as if it’s a careless send-off to a past lover, with the refrain “To me, it’s nothing” being repeated numerous times throughout. While not a key piece of the album, it should definitely not be overlooked, both musically and lyrically.

 

The second ‘filler’ song is entitled "Chump", a short and sharp number, with the narrator expressing their hatred towards an unidentified being. Although it’s punchy and likeable in its own right, perhaps its most memorable moment is the guitar swells and drum grooves used to close the song, in a way, laying out the red carpet for Dookie’s first big hit.

The big hit in question is of course, "Longview".

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Chewing Gum

by Siena Hocking and Rosie Bell


Globally, gum was valued at $26bn and around a billion packets of gum are bought in Britain every year. Chewing gum is described as a constant problem around the UK, where the government spends £150 million each year on cleaning it off the streets.

However, the average spent on chewing gum in the UK is £281 million. There have been many arguments as to whether a tax should be introduced on chewing gum. In 2005, there was £5 million spent on researching the development of biodegradable gum and anti-litter messages on packs, which were ultimately unsuccessful.

Negative effects of chewing gum
Chewing gum can increase your junk-food intake, as people chew gum to avoid food cravings and avoid unhealthy foods; however, those who chew gum are less likely to eat fruit and vegetables due to the minty flavour making them taste bitter. It is shown that those who don’t chew gum have less nutritious meals.

Chewing gum could make you fart and burp more due to swallowing excess air causing gastrointestinal problems
Unlike the widely-believed theory that chewing gum is bad when you swallow it, it doesn’t stay in your stomach for 7 years, as some think, as saliva keeps it moving through your digestive system as with regular foods. For blockage a large amount of gum must be swallowed. However, when gum is chewed, the enzymes and acids that are activated are released without food intended to digest causing overproduction of stomach acids which could cause problems with digestive systems.

The clean-up for gum in the UK is massive and expensive as jet sprays and specialised chemicals have to be used, costing a town centre around £20k; in some districts, there can now be an on-the-spot fixed penalty notice of £75 for dropping gum on the street.
A tax on chewing gum of 1p would be to generate an income from the large purchases of gum to help pay for the clean-up, as the cleaning up of every 5p piece of gum costs 10p

So why do people chew gum?
People chew gum as it has been proven that there are cognitive benefits. It turns out there’s an excellent rationale for this long-standing cultural habit: gum is an effective booster of mental performance, conferring all sorts of benefits without any side effects. The latest investigation of gum chewing comes from a team of psychologists at St. Lawrence University. The experiment went like this: 159 students were given a battery of demanding cognitive tasks, such as repeating random numbers backward and solving difficult logic puzzles. Half of the subjects chewed gum (sugar-free and sugar-added) while the other half were given nothing. Here’s where things get peculiar: those randomly assigned to the gum-chewing condition significantly outperformed those in the control condition on five out of six tests. The sugar content of the gum had no effect on test performance.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Photography Club: Eye

by Iona McKitterick


The 2014 Budget: The Flaws

by Christopher-James de Wilde


 
On the 20th March, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced his most recent Budget review. Although it was received quite well by the media and public alike, various concerns were raised as a number of measures left many questions unanswered whilst some issues were left unaddressed entirely.
Here is what I believe to be the biggest flaws in the budget review:
No reformation of business rates- Serious reform of business rates and the way they are calculated has been a request for over a decade. They are often far too high, restricting investment and development (with consequent negative effects on the economy as a whole). They also do not adequately vary for businesses in different regions (many businesses in the north are paying far too much whereas thriving businesses in London are not paying near enough). Finally, they often do not take into account the type of business and their subsequent profit margins. For example a café might have to pay the same business rate as a successful law firm simply because their buildings are of a similar size.

£119 billion cap on welfare- Despite a small adjustment in 2018/2019, this cap will not account for inflation. If the economy returned to old high inflation rates (unlikely, however, only 5% or so necessary for a few years) this will not be sufficient to pay the approximately 20 million families receiving some form of benefits. Any change in this cap would have to go through Parliament first, so, whilst being highly unlikely that the Government would vote against extra being spent on welfare (if it was necessary), it is in in the simplest form changing benefits from a right to a democratic privilege, which is unacceptable.

The beer duty reduction is political - Finally, the duty on beer being reduced by 1p might make Osborne quite popular, but, if you take the average beer to be about £3.50, you would have to be drinking a pint every day for a year before you would receive your one free pint - that is, if this 1p reduction is even passed on to the consumer.

The 2014 Budget: The Winners

by Tom Fuller



The Cabinet taking advantage of new cuts in beer and bingo duties
(source: web.orange.co.uk)

On the 20th of March, George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced his most recent Budget review. Some of you may have read news articles or seen reports on the Budget and who it has affected. But how does it affect you and your family?

Here is a short summary of the 5 biggest winners resulting from the recent budget:
 
1) Anyone earning less than £100,000 per year. The tax-free allowance and the 40% tax bracket have increased slightly: to £10,500 and £41,865 respectively. This means that your parents or older siblings are likely to have more disposable income as they will be paying marginally less tax

2) Beer, Cider and Whisky drinkers (more likely to affect you). The duty on beer has been cut by 1p, with the duty on cider and whisky being frozen (possibly to please the Scots before the referendum?) This will mean your favourite pint of lager on a Saturday night out is 0.3% cheaper. 

3) Pensioners. After the biggest shake up of pensions since they were brought in, the necessity to have an annuity has been scrapped, which means pensioners have more access to their money. Also a new savings bond giving 4% interest for the over 65s will be started soon.

4) Bingo players. Probably not that relevant to any of you, but the rate of duty on bingo has been halved from 20% to 10%. This is due to the rapid decline in the number of bingo halls in recent years.

5) Finally, firms that export or invest. To try to boost GDP growth, £1.5 billion has been given to the UK exports finance scheme and the corporate investment allowance has been doubled to £500,000. This is likely to cause AD to increase.

Photography Club: Water

by Olivia Smitherman


How to Eat Vegetables For Breakfast Without Feeling Like You’re Eating Vegetables

by Breakfast Editor, Melissa Smith

Ah, the humble vegetable. All too often it assumes a subsidiary role on the plate, cowering in one corner while meat and potatoes take the limelight. Even rarer still do we see it in any form at all before lunchtime strikes (and no, no matter how many times you say it, bacon does not count as a vegetable).

The truth is, in our warp-speed society, breakfast has come to take the form of anything we can shove in a bowl or a toaster and consume in two seconds flat with minimal effort other than taking the milk out of the fridge. Now I’m not saying that Cheerios should not be seen as an independent food group in itself (I would be the first to front this campaign), but I do think that the time has come to introduce a little variety into the morning routine. 

I don’t think I need to go into the reasons why vegetables are good for you. If you are at all confused as to why cauliflower beats cake or beetroot beats brownies, I suggest you go read a book or two and return at a later date. For the convinced, however, our green friends need little introduction. But why eat them for breakfast, you ask? Because I say you should, that’s why (there’s also the small point that many of us don’t actually get our essential 5 a day on a regular basis and, even so, an extra leaf or two won’t hurt, will it?).

I do understand that a chunk of broccoli at 6 in the morning may not seem like the most appealing thing, which is why I present you with these ingenious options that make stomaching our spinach a breeze. And don’t worry, each can be made in minutes (or prepared beforehand), making them perfect for busy mornings or to grab and go. You’re welcome.

1) The Green Smoothie

 



 

I promise you this isn’t nearly as alarming as it looks. Green smoothies have really caught on recently, partly due to their amazing health benefits and/or more people wanting to pretend they’re drinking slime. Personally, I love them for their versatility and the fact that they’re so quick to prepare. If you’re really short for time they’re great for shoving in a flask and grabbing on your way out the door.  

The possibilities for these really are endless, there are so many flavour combinations to try out. I’ve given a basic recipe, but feel free to sub in different fruits, greens, liquids and extras (i.e. nut butter, seeds, cocoa powder, spices) to find what you like best. And before you ask: no, you can’t taste the spinach.

Basic Green Smoothie:

 Ingredients:

 - ½ frozen banana, chopped before freezing (note: try to use frozen fruit instead    of ice to make it cold, you don’t want to water it down!)

-  1 small banana, chopped

- 1 big handful spinach

- 120ml  (1/2 cup) milk of choice (I use almond, but use whatever you like)

- 1 tbsp peanut butter

- 1 handful oats

- dash of cinnamon

Just blend and enjoy! This should keep you full for hours. If you have more time, try eating (drinking?) it from a bowl and sprinkling granola/more fruit on top.

Detox Green Smoothie:
 

 

This one is great for starting the week on a healthy note and getting the metabolism going, or when you may have overindulged just a tad at the weekend. Enjoy it for breakfast or as a healthy snack between meals. If you’re feeling fancy, you can even put it in a wine glass like me (see above). The straw is obligatory optional.

Ingredients:

- 70-80g frozen pineapple chunks

- 1 small banana, chopped

- 1 big handful spinach

- 60g chopped cucumber

- 120ml  (1/2 cup) water (or coconut water)

- a few fresh mint leaves, roughly torn

- ½ tsp ground ginger

- dash of cinnamon

- 1 tsp maple syrup/other liquid sweetener (optional)

 Again, just shove it in a blender and there you go.

2) Carrot Cake Porridge

 

 
If, like me, you are a big fan of both porridge and carrot cake, this is for you. Granted, it doesn’t taste exactly like the real thing, but we’re trying to be healthy here. What do you take me for, some kind of healthifying cake wizard?

I have to admit, my love of putting vegetables in porridge has nothing to do with the health benefits and everything to do with the fact that it increases the volume of the porridge. I mean, vitamins are great and all, but who doesn’t want even more porridge?!

Ingredients:

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Photography Club: Jump

by Georgia McKirgan



The ‘No-Makeup Selfie’ Craze: charitable act or narcissism masked as charity?

by Isabelle Welch


The 'no makeup selfie' fundraising phenomenoem has led to an exponential interest in cancer. Unfortunately, it has also sparked a cancer awareness vs. narcissism debate: is it a fun way to increase awareness of a good cause or a publicity scam masquerading as fundraising? Either way, the viral trend has been a success for charity, resulting in donations of over £2 million within just 48 hours.
According to the Independent, Cancer Research UK received more than 800,000 text donations in 24 hours after the initial sharing of the donation code on a variety of social media pages. Twitter reported that in 24 hours it had 83,000 mentions; Instagram saw 59,000 posts from Thursday to Friday.
The trend continues to grip social media, with an announcement made by Cancer research UK, that over  £2 million had been donated to its cause by Friday.
Recently, you will have found your newsfeed subject to even more selfies than usual, as girls post barefaced pictures in a bid to raise money for charity. Alongside their photo, girls post the hashtag #nomakeupselfie and a nomination of their chosen friends to ‘bare all,’ thus continuing the viral chain.
Many have used their no-makeup selfie to recognize someone battling the disease or in memory of a loved one.
Celebrities such as Beyonce and Holly Willoughby have followed suit, posting their own pictures to help the trend gather momentum.
The “selfie” craze has not been without criticism. Commentators have questioned the intentions of women, especially of the more high profile posts, suggesting that self-promotion rather than charity was the underlying motivation. Ironically, for Beyonce, having posted her selfie which proclaimed to be her “just rolled out of bed look”, was heavily criticized for her arrogance.

PGS Model United Nations Conference 2014

PGS hosted its sixth Model UN conference this weekend, involving nearly 100 delegates from Portsmouth Grammar School and Springfield School.

 


On Friday evening, lobbying in the Memorial Library allowed people to meet their fellow delegates and to choose the resolutions for debate the following day. This was followed by dinner in the Dining Room and a challenging quiz, expertly hosted by Secretaries-General, Charlie Albuery and Julia Alsop.
 
Delegates re-convened at 9 am on Saturday, to listen to an inspiring speech in the Memorial Library by co-Secretary-General, Julia Alsop, on the importance of the work completed by the United Nations. And then delegates headed to their committees to begin their important work.

The Security Council, chaired by Daniel Rollins and Alex Quarrie-Jones, succeeded where the real UN has so far struggled, solving the current crisis in the Crimea. The council also developed a very effective new trouble-shooting task force, the Tactical Worldwide Emergency Response Committee (TWERC). However, it proved unable to reform the Security Council itself to better reflect the current balance geopolitical power balance. The award for most amusing delegate went to Alex Quarrie-Jones (primarily for being the driving force behind the TWERCing initiative); the highly commended delegate was Rebecca Lecompte of Springfield and best delegate was Tom Harper.

The combined Human Rights and Science & Technology committee, chaired by Julia Alsop, Sampad Sengupta and Becky Turner, had a busy day, which included an attempt to bring certain species back from existence and a complex debate over ownership of the moon. A further discussion over ownership of the sun led it being renamed "Kim Il Sun" at the behest of North Korea's delegate. While the most amusing delegate was Tim Bustin, there were two highly commended, Megan Hall (Springfield) and Pippa Noble, while the best delegate was Sam Gardener.

Meanwhile the newly formed UNESCO committee, chaired by Ben Schofield, Katherine Tobin and Hugh Summers, came up with a cultural solution to the current political isolation of North Korea, with India introducing a resolution requiring the 'Hermit Kingdom' to take up cricket and rugby. Russia's intervention offering to provide troops to support this initiative may have been counter-productive, resulting in the resolution, sadly, failing - but only just. Rather more convincingly defeated was North Korea's own attempt to eliminate gay rights. Representing North Korea was Rob Bendell, who won the committee's award for best delegate, with Louisa Dassow (India) highly commended and Matthew Randall the most amusing.

The Economics committee, chaired by William Bates and Oliver Hedges, also saw significant activity on the part of North Korea, which attempted, but failed, to get rid of all economic sanctions. There was also a resolution aiming to transfer the global economic system from capitalism to communism, which fell short only by one vote, after an impassioned debate. The committee also found time to explore globalisation and counterfeiting. Most amusing was Luke Stevens, highly commended was Tom Ross of the Democratic Republic of Congo and best delegate was Caleb Barron of India.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

The Mystery Surrounding Flight MH370

by Grace Gawn


Two weeks after its disappearance, the international search for the Malaysia Airlines plane is still on-going, although the discovery of debris in the South Indian Ocean earlier today seems significant.

However, the fact that it has taken so long to locate the aircraft and the 239 passengers and members of crew that were on board, in an age when sophisticated satellites and other technology would seem to make such an untraceable disappearance impossible, seems particularly unsettling. What is even more disturbing is that there seems to be no explanation available as to why the plane encountered difficulties. From a combination of the natural human desire for explanations (as Gregory Walton-Green explored in this article) and the almost complete lack of conclusive evidence concerning the aircraft available right now, a series of theories have arisen both within the world's media and across the internet. I have researched three current theories:
 
1. Although you might consider a Boeing 777 plane, weighing in excess of 300 tonnes, too big to hide behind the presence of another aircraft, aviation enthusiast and hobby pilot Keith Ledgerwood has argued that the aircraft flew unnoticed over Pakistan and India by following a Singapore Airlines 777 so closely that the two planes would have shown up as one blip on the military radar. He proposes that the Malaysia Airlines flight, MH370, would not have shown up on the Singapore Airlines flight, SIA88, system as the transponder was disabled.

2. An alternative claim has been made that 20 of the passengers on board the missing plane were senior staff at a technology company called Freescale Semiconductor, whose Facebook page is now inundated with accusations suggesting that their employees were involved in the disappearance. Last summer, the firm announced it was creating a team of specialists dedicated to producing ‘radio frequency power products’ for the defence industry. This, alongside the announcement earlier this month that 11 of these new gadgets would be released for use in ‘high frequency, VHF and low-band UHF radar and radio communications’, have fuelled suspicions of their involvement. ‘Beforeitsnews.com’ writes “it is conceivable that the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane is ‘cloaked', hiding with high-tech electronic warfare weaponry that exists and is used”.

Sixth Form Centre: Window Fitting Begins

by Tony Hicks


As you can see, it's been another busy week on site. Windows started to be fitted yesterday.  





Thursday, 20 March 2014

Kleptomania: An Exploration of a Modern Phenomenon

by Holly Govey




 “Thou shalt not steal”

Albeit one of the most well known of the Ten Commandments, as well as an undisputed rule of humanity, stealing is an intrinsic part of our society today.
Unfortunately I doubt whether many among us are able to candidly deny having committed an act of theft in our lives, whether sneaking an unguarded crisp from a friend, “borrowing” money from parents’ wallets or simply copying a piece of homework. However, most people would argue that such offences do not merit significant punishment and that as far as ”real” thefts are concerned, they would never dream of taking something that they didn’t own simply for material gain.
The fact remains, however, that stealing has become a ubiquitous yet surreptitious enemy within our civilisation. This sly adversary feeds on the weak, targeting those who succumb to what Buddhists refer to as the “three poisons of life: greed, hatred and ignorance”, stimulating an impulse to fill the great “void” in their lives. This sounds sceptical to me. If everyone stole a mug every time they wanted a cup of tea, Costa would go out of business and a world without Costa would not be worth living, regardless of the sharp moral decline in society.

Worryingly, this antagonist seems to have tunnelled its way into daily life as, according to the Daily Telegraph, everyday shoppers admit to stealing on average £15 a month through self service tills. Furthermore, many of these ordinary criminals attempt to rationalize their behaviour by blaming a lack of surveillance, claiming that such thefts are “easy to get away with” and that shop theft is a “victimless crime”. However, such protestations cannot remove the fact that, whether accidental or intentional, taking items from shops without paying is internally damaging to society and that these costs are passed onto the store and even the other shoppers themselves.
On the other hand, it must be acknowledged that some people resort to stealing out of necessity, such as taking food when on the brink of starvation, and such cases may be understood, if not justified. Motives for stealing, however, are not limited merely to environmental factors and personal situations but can be accredited in some cases to internal, psychological impulses caused as a result of a behavioural disorder known as kleptomania.
This disorder is often characterized by a failure to resist the impulse to steal trivial items that are not needed for personal use or monetary value. Many individuals experience tension before stealing, which is gratified by the act of theft, to be replaced by feelings of guilt, embarrassment, anxiety and remorse. As a result, Kleptomaniacs may hoard the stolen items, give them away, dispose of them or clandestinely return them. Although the causes of this disorder are somewhat unknown, psychoanalytic theories link compulsive stealing to childhood trauma and neglectful or abusive parents, and suggest that stealing may symbolize repossessing the losses of childhood. It is often regarded as a form of addictive behaviour and has been shown to be associated with other behavioural and substance use disorders as well as being linked with traumatic brain injuries.

However this disorder touches only a small percentage of the general population, with the prevalence of kleptomania approximated at 0.6 percent; therefore, the preponderance of thefts must be attributed to other more complex causes. By analysing some of the incentives for which people steal (although not exclusively) I have attempted to shed some light on the reasons for which thefts occur.

Review: 2666 by Roberto Bolano

by Henry Cunnison


2666 is a long and, at times, difficult book. It is evident Chilean author Roberto Bolano, who died before the book was published, meant it to be his master work. Many critics believe he has achieved it. Some have gone as far to call it “a landmark in what’s possible for the novel.” While it is perhaps too soon to categorise a book of such complexity as a classic, it has certainly been the most affecting book I have ever read.
2666 is split into 5 parts: the part about the critics, about Amalfitano, about Fate, about the crimes and about Archimboldi. Although these parts do occasionally intersect, they are largely self-contained (Bolano wanted them published individually) and run concurrently. The stories are ultimately linked by the city of Santa Teresa, a faithful, though fictionalised, recreation of the Mexican border city Juarez. Santa Teresa is a city that on the surface appears to be booming: everyone has a job, factories are being developed etc. However, hundreds of women have been murdered in what is regarded as the worst serial killing spree in the world. And yet no one seems to care. Only the part about the crimes specifically charts the violence committed against women in this city, but the murders are a feature in all the other sections to some extent.

One way in which 2666 is so bewildering is that it has no real plot. Events happen, yet by the end of the book no decisive progress has been made. In many ways the reader is back to the beginning. It is not so much a novel as a series of scenes loosely linked. At some points 2666 descends into madness. This is especially true of the part about Amalfitano, as it follows the titular character as he loses his mind. Yet so many themes flow through the novel. Among these are: sexism and corruption in the Mexican state; racism; politics, from France to the USA; and, perhaps above all, the nature of a masterwork. On this final topic Bolano, through the character of Amalfitano, rages that too many are afraid to:
“take on the great, imperfect, torrential works, books that blaze paths into the unknown…They want to watch the great masters spar, but have no interest in real combat, when the great masters struggle against that something… amid blood and mortal wounds and stench.”

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The Impact of Music on Teachers

by Henry Ling and Kelvin Shiu


Music is a something which everyone can say they love, yet when someone says they love music this does not tell us much, due to the multitude of different genres of music that span the globe. So we decided to look into the musical tastes of some of the teachers in our school and to gauge an idea of the different types of music enjoyed by our teachers.

Ms Bush:
Favourite genres: rock, hard rock.
Favourite artist: Robert Plant
Favourite song: “Something Like You” by Adele



 
Mr Doyle:
Favourite genre: 80s pop, (likes anything which isn’t heavy metal)
Favourite artist: Shirley Bassey
Favourite song: “You Needed Me” by Shirley Bassey
Favourite album: Shirley Bassey’s, Live Concert 1997


 
Dr Galliver:
Favourite genres include: funk, folk and country
Favourite artist: Kate Rusby
Favourite song: “Grand Central Station” by Mary Chapin Carpenter

 

Mr de Trafford:
Favourite genre: modern rock
Favourite artist: Muse
Favourite Song: changes so often he does not have a favourite song
Favourite album: Tower Of Song (songs of Leonard Cohen) by Various Artists




Mr Lemieux:
Favourite genre: rock
Favourite artists include:Chuck Berry, Blues Brothers, Sheryl Crow
Favourite song: “Let’s Stick Together” by KT Tunstall
Favourite album: Led Zeppelin iv by Led Zeppelin


 
Mr Crénel:
No favourite genre as there´s such a wide range
Favourite artist: Avicii
Favourite song: “I Need A Dollar” by Aloe Blacc

 
Mrs Casillas-Cross:

Favourite genres include: Pop, Jazz, R&B, soft rock
Favourite bands: New Radicals and Plan B
Has no favourite song
Favourite album: 19 by Adele



Mr Dunne:
Most listened to genre: Indie
Favourite artists are Kate Bush and John Grant
Changeable favourite song
Favourite album: The Dreaming by Kate Bush



Mr McPherson:
Favourite genres include: Jazz and a little Rap
Favourite artist: Miles Davies
Has no favourite song; however, does like “Batches and Cookies” by Lizzo
Favourite album: Kind of Blue by Miles Davies