Friday, 30 September 2016

Poem for Friday: A Decision

by Ellen Latham

Should I turn left or right?
And then left or right again,
Or have I just done a loop?
How should I know which way to go
When every path is lit by bright garish lights
That beg for your attention, like the bright
Signs of a cinema, beckoning you in.
But which will lead me to the best show?

How will I pick the right one?
The perfect one.
Will I even know if I do pick the perfect one?
They say the Devil you know is better than the one you don't,
But what if you know no Devil, but instead a chorus of angels
Each one as tempting as the last.
How do make a decision that could have such wonderful consequences
Or such terrible successes? 

Why must I take a risk?
A risk is a risk for a reason; the outcome is unknown.
But what does it mean to make a safe decision,
To sign away the rest of your life without the danger of change?
Without the hope that something bigger and better will
Come along and sweep you off your feet.
Without that shiver down your spine
Or gleam in your eye at the first smell of adventure.

Or am I just making this up?
Maybe the decision is jumping up and down, waving its arms
And screaming my name around the next corner and I am
Simply oblivious.
Or maybe it's not that simple.
And I will have to turn left and right.
Or right and left.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

The Secret History of Cheddar Cheese

by Michaela Clancy

You may find yourself with some time to procrastinate this week and if so you could top up your knowledge on the beloved Cheddar Cheese!

We all have a mystery milkmaid to thank for the glorious substance we call cheddar, as she accidently left a pail of milk in the Cheddar Gorge caves until she discovered it a few months later and liked the taste. Many of the other villagers liked the tanginess of the cheese and set about making their own. The humble cheddar was born.

The cave remains at a constant 7 degrees which is the optimum temperature for maturing cheese and to this day this is still how Cheddar cheese is made. Below are some quick facts spanning throughout the centuries:

·         1170- King Henry II purchased 10,240lbs of cheese and paid the equivalent of $16.21 per lb!!
·         When King Charles I was in reign (1625-1649) the demand for cheddar outweighed the supply which meant that the only way to purchase cheese was through the King’s Court and even then there was a waiting list.
·         President Andrew Jackson (1829-1837) served a 1,400lb block of cheddar at an open house party in the White House
·         A 1,000lb cheddar wheel was served to Queen Victorian for her wedding in 1840. The average wheel of cheese weights 60-75lbs

How Blue Cheese Can Change Your Life

by Hermione Barrick

Blue cheese has much potential to improve your health, I would say the most valuable, suggested by many, is the idea that it helps to prevent cardio vascular disease, due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It is suggested that regular consumption of Roquefort and Camembert is the answer to the french paradox of why the french have the lowest mortality rate for cardiovascular disease in the developed world, as wine alone cannot be the answer.

Blue cheese's anti-inflammatory properties, are also well known for being an effective agent for treating Arthritis, a very common health issue that is experienced at the later phases of our lives, it helps by aiding in reducing joint inflammation.

Some of blue cheese's other most life changing benefits are its; low fat content which in turn helps weight loss, and ability to reduce cholesterol, a heightened case of which could block arteries and veins which is directly linked to strokes (ischemia disorder).

If you consume blue cheese regularly it can prevent hypersensitive reactions such as a runny nose, due to the high content of lactobacillus bacteria. Blue cheese is also rich in vital macronutrients such as phosphorus, which along with  performing other important functions in body, is necessary for healthy teeth and bones.

Blue cheese also has great ability to maintain oral health with its high level of calcium also allowing for strong teeth and bones which in turn leads to good oral health as the integrity of the tooth is most important in reducing cases of cavities, a lack of these is also due to the blue cheese's acidity neutralising properties. Osteoporosis, a very common medical condition, that is experienced mostly by women of elderly age than their male counterparts, can also be helped by blue cheese's calcium reserve as it helps to prevent deterioration of bone health.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Why Pride Still Matters

by Jasmine Nash

Picture this: your typical Friday evening out with your loved one at a standard fancy restaurant, the lights are dimly lit inside and you're enjoying a few generous sips of the house red while glaring over the menu but more importantly you’re admiring your partner and holding their hand to close the space between you and them. You're ready to order and the waiter approaches your table.

This all seems pretty normal right?

Now the waiter's looking at your entwined hands and becoming distressed and distracted when you're telling him what you want to eat. He then turns away with no explanation and, soon after, a different waiter is taking your order. You're probably asking yourself why would he not be able to serve two people holding hands; it's normal and it's date night.

Now read that scenario again and imagine it is a same sex couple, does it make more sense to you? Although this scenario is rare and wouldn't happen as often as it used to in the UK and other big cities, this form of homophobia is still happening all around us.

Since 1969's Stonewall Riots in New York, the LGBT community have come an extremely long way. For example, the supreme court legalising same sex marriage in all 50 states in the US in June 2015. The question, 'Why do we need Pride, if homophobia is basically over?' has been on my mind and I came to a conclusion about why Pride still matters. The definition of Pride is: ‘a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements, the achievements of one's close associates, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired’ - and so since 1969 the LGBT community have been working for their own human rights, 50 years later and have come so far.

Why isn't there a straight pride? Because straight people have privileges that LGBT don't: they are able to walk down the street hand in hand with their partner everyday and any day they want without being verbally assaulted or even physically, they can go to the cinema and watch a film with a straight couple portraying romance as the main role without controversy and in a positive light, they never have to 'come out' to their families for being straight, they have the right to marry their partner in any state union and country they want, they are able to talk about their partner without being accused of shoving their sexuality in someone’s face. That’s just a few straight privileges but we don't need straight pride because everyday, on every TV show, on every street, there's a straight pride parade called life.

After Allardyce - What Next?

by Henry Percival

(source: Independent)

With Sam Allardyce’s England tenure coming to a swift end, who is the right man to take the Three Lions forward?

One of the bookies' favourites to take the job is current Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe. Howe, 38 is one of the youngest managers in Premier League history, but he is not right for the job! The sole reason being his greatest achievement, in football, to date is finishing 16th in the Premier League. Albeit he has done an absolutely spectacular job managing Bournemouth he is not the right choice for the vacancy.

Another name regularly thrown into the mix when there is an England vacancy is Harry Redknapp. Many people who I have talked to about this subject have all said that they would love to see Harry as England manager. Personally, as a Portsmouth fan, I would very much like to see Redknapp in the England dugout, simply due to the success he led us (Pompey) to. What the England players need is someone who has good man management. And Redknapp possesses this quality.

Another name thrown into the mixer is Alan Pardew. Pardew is fiery character. He tends to do a good job with teams who don’t have a very high expectation. Again he is a good man manager and a good manager overall. Newcastle’s thundering decline since he left them shows us that he is indeed a very good option. The downside to appointing Pardew would be that his teams tend to drift away towards the end of the season. And seeing as all the international tournaments take place at the end of the season, the time when Pardew’s teams struggle, he may not be the best choice.

A controversial choice for the manager would be Glenn Hoddle. Hoddle has been England manager before but resigned due to some offensive comments he made. Hoddle’s key strengths are that he can read the game extremely well and he has a continental approach to the game. He has the backing of Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer to take the job.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Is Economic Inequality Necessarily a Political Problem?

by Charlotte Phillips

So distribution should undo excess, and each man have enough” - William Shakespeare

Economic inequality is the accumulation of individual differences in economic resources across an entire country2. There is an apparent paradox when it comes to economic inequality in capitalist democracies: the majority should have the political power via their equally valued votes to reform a political system into one that treats them more equitably. Totalitarian states such as North Korea contrast this. Their political system leads to a situation whereby political inequality directly causes economic inequality, and there is no mechanism to redress this. Theoretically, democracies should have significantly lower economic inequality levels. In many cases they do. Why, then, is economic inequality so prevalent across the Western democratized world? And why does it constitute a political problem? The destructive cycle of economic inequality has been treated with relative indifference by governments across the world, despite overwhelming evidence to suggest that not only is inequality a political problem, but that there are political solutions.

But what constitutes a political problem? The word “problem” naturally implies negativity, so perhaps to fulfil the rubric of “political problem”, economic inequality needs to be having a negative effect on politics. But this demands an answer to the much less temporal question of what, exactly, is politics? This essay will focus on three of the main components of ‘politics’ as a concept: the political ideology and setup, the politicians and policy makers who run this setup, and the population whom it affects. A discussion of the ramifications of economic inequality will aim to demonstrate that economic inequality is truly a political issue, that has significant effects on each of those components.

Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz warned that democracy is “in peril” due to economic inequality3. It is easy to cast aside inequality as an occurrence limited to developing countries that are rife with corruption and poverty. Yet in industrial democracies, even those considered liberal, severe economic disproportion is damaging the political systems that we uphold as the fundamentally fairest form of polity.

One of the most basic demonstrations of this is the direct negative correlation between inequality and a population’s democratic engagement. Abstention levels of poorer American citizens during elections are significantly high2. The United States has the highest levels of income inequality of all the advanced, industrial states, with the bottom 40% of the population earning just 0.3% of national income. At the other end of the spectrum, the richest 0.1% (some 16000 households) earn 5% of national income4. This stratification sharply divides Americans into distinct socioeconomic groups, which are far less fluid than many politicians of the day would like to admit. The concentration of power and influence over political decisions often lies with the wealthy, because money can be used to influence the media, politicians themselves, and a host of other factors affecting the political process3. Where rich individuals are especially rich in comparison to poor individuals, the poorer citizens have comparatively less power, influence and therefore interest in their political system. Indeed, a cross-national research study found that “those in the highest income quintile are 68% more likely to participate [in elections] than the lowest-income individuals”4. Furthermore, countries with a lower Gini coefficient have far lower abstention levels. The Gini coefficient is the standard numeric measure of economic inequality in a country, calculated so that if 10% of the population earn 10% of the national income, and 20% earn 20% of the income, and so on, the Gini coefficient is 0- perfectly equal. A Gini coefficient of 1 would apply in a hypothetical situation whereby one individual earns the entirety of a nation’s income5.

‘One person one vote’ seems to be making an unhindered transition to ‘one dollar one vote’. This is not an issue limited to the United States. Across the democratized world, the preeminence of the wealthy voter against the disadvantaged voter reduces the incentive for poorer voters to use their enfranchisement. The unfortunate irony is that for many poorer citizens, or even ‘middle-class’ citizens, a more liberal or left-wing government could reverse some of these barriers and increase efficacy, through implementation of increasingly progressive taxes and policies that typically benefit those on lower incomes. But if these voters don’t vote, a government that could benefit them cannot get into power. Without sustained efforts at reducing economic inequality and reigniting political interest, one side of the political spectrum will hold an intrinsic advantage over the other. This clearly contests the elemental democratic values that are so prized by advocates of democracy.

Although disillusionment, with the consequence of unenforced disenfranchisement, is a significant issue, an alternative outlet for dissatisfaction with economic inequality is a gravitation towards the alluring promises of populist politicians. Those who are seemingly fed up with ‘the establishment’- the precise definition of which seems to be perpetually ambiguous- can be attracted towards the “unrealistic promises of change” offered by political demagogues3. The proof of this can be seen with the unexpected switch of many Labour voters and would-be Labour voters to UKIP in the United Kingdom’s 2015 general election6, the unprecedented rise of Donald Trump, and the increasing popularity of France’s answer to Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen7. As with all politicians, but more intensely with this kind of politician, there is a huge difference between what is pledged and what can actually be delivered. Hence the people can only be disappointed, and the system can only be damaged by those who exaggerate in a ploy for power. The unlikely event of populist rule would almost inevitably lead to increases in economic inequality, after regressive policies further the immiseration of lower-income classes.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Stop Setting Your Power Fantasies in World War One

by Robert Merriam

Two months ago the first trailer for  next year’s ‘Wonder Woman’ film came out and it looks alright. I’m all for a ‘Wonder Woman’ movie because as a character she’s much less of a blank slate than many other superheroes; many may champion the film as a feminist work simply because it contains a female protagonist but feminism is woven deep into Wonder Woman’s DNA. Her creator: William Moulton Marston invented Wonder Woman in 1940  right after was done inventing the lie detector (no really). Marston was vocal about his belief in the potential of comic books and as a result was given the opportunity to create his own superhero by DC comics.

Marston, through intensive study of all female communities (because why not), concluded that women were the superior gender but that due to the time and effort required for child rearing and domestic work they were held back from their true potential. His two wives agreed. He claimed however that, given the advance of technology, women would soon be free of this burden and would rise to their rightful place as rulers of humaity. Just so we’re clear this was in the 1920s, white women had just received the vote in the USA so it’s safe to say Marston and Wonder Woman were both way ahead of their time. Wonder Woman herself is akin to Captain America in the way she so clearly resembles an ideology, just as Captain America is an embodiment of ‘greatest generation’ America, Wonder Woman is basically radical-cultural feminism incarnate. This gives stories containing her almost limitless potential to explore some really interesting themes.

It’s all the more unfortunate then that I currently have absolutely no interest in paying to see the new Wonder Woman film. The fact is I don’t want to see a superhero film set in the First World War. This might seem like an odd stance to take but I think it’s well founded. I believe the filmakers have made a serious (perhaps very American) mistake with regards to the interchangeability of the First and Second World Wars. World War Two has occupied a massive space in pop-culture ever since it began, countless films, TV shows, books, video games and comic books (including Wonder Woman’s first) have been created as propaganda, as Historical accounts and often as entertainment.

The suitibility of any tragedy for adaptation into an entertainment medium is debatable but European Theatre World War Two tends to be deemed more acceptable than others on the basis of who the enemy was at the time. It’s pretty hard to argue that the Nazi regime was anything but evil which is probably why most people don’t have any trouble witholding empathy when Brad Pitt scalps one of it’s members in ‘Inglorious Basterds’ or Indiana Jones melts their faces off. It’s questionable whether or not this kind of demonisation is healthy for our society but that’s a topic for another day.

What Went Wrong and What’s Next for Hampshire Cricket?

by Oliver Wright

Hampshire CC has been relegated from County Championship Division One after suffering a 6-wicket loss against Durham. This failure, accompanied with their not qualifying for the latter stages in the limited overs competitions, capped off a fairly dismal all-round season for Hampshire. However, Director of Cricket Giles White has stated that he believes his team can battle back next season in Division Two, and that there are still a number of positives to look forward to.

The defeat to Durham ended their slim hopes of survival, which were slightly encouraged by Warwickshire’s beating of Lancashire at Edgbaston. Hampshire had left themselves in a strong position on the final day, and with a win being the only result that would preserve the hosts’ tenure in the top tier, they declared in the morning session, setting the strong Durham unit a target of 296 to be chased down in a minimum of 78 overs. Unfortunately, a second-wicket stand of 162 between Mark Stoneman (137) and Scott Borthwick (88) cemented Hampshire’s fate, leaving the squad to contemplate a season that yielded only two wins in the longer format.

This disheartening campaign could in part be blamed on a plague of injuries and absences that have affected the county. Opening batsman Michael Carberry being diagnosed with cancer and Coach Dale Benkenstein having to leave the club due to family reasons were just some of the problems Hampshire faced in 2016. Furthermore, Captain James Vince and all-rounder Liam Dawson were away on international duty at different points over the summer, and, although it is brilliant to see our young players progress to play at higher standards, the absence of these key members of the team was felt, with White commenting that when a league is as competitive as the County Championship was this season, ‘the amount of injuries we’ve had would stretch us, whatever squad size we might have.’

However, every team in the Division has to cope with situations like this on a yearly basis, with injuries just being a by-product of a busy schedule. In all, you could argue that Hampshire simply did not have enough strength in depth for the top division, as this was the second consecutive season they had needed a win off the final day to survive. In 2015 they managed to pull off an improbable escape, and although they battled hard to repeat these heroics this year, the urgency came to their performances far too late. It was almost like they did not realise the danger until it was virtually inescapable, as the better of their performances came in the latter part of the season.

PGS Open Morning: The Big Bang!

by Tony Hicks

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: Portchester 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.

The Ideology of Aesthetic Realism

by Naeve Molho

Aesthetic: concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty
Realism : the quality or fact of representing a person or thing in a way that is accurate ad true to life

Aesthetic Realism is a unique philosophy offering an alternative outlook on life.  The movement was founded by Eli Siegel in 1941 and concentrates on 3 main factors: firstly, to never gain a sense of contentment or glory within the world, secondly every person is to ‘like the world on an honest basis’ and finally the idea that beauty within art will gain you beauty within life, therefore uniting opposites. 

At first one may perceive this philosophy  as a happy, idealist concept; however, throughout its years the ‘cult-like formation’  has faced numerous accusations of mind control as well as holding some very controversial beliefs.  When understanding Aesthetic Realism it is important to take note that the foundation of their ideas convey a great sense of intellect and culture, and therefore have inspired numerous artists; however, it is also clear that there is an issue when one reads into AR’s beliefs too literally. 

As mentioned, a key belief within AR is that ‘ all problems stem from one's contempt for the world’; despite the innocence of this viewpoint, Aesthetic Realists take the idea one step further by stating that ‘contempt causes insanity’.  Eli Siegel even thoroughly believed that contempt  was the  biggest sin and was the reason for all mental illnesses, his most controversial view being that homosexuality stemmed from contempt. This theory of contempt of happiness and peace stretched as far as this statement from their NY Times advertisement: ‘When the United Nations studies Aesthetic Realism there will not be war’.

However, over time light was shed on the cult's methods and their authoritative and controlling attitude over its members was exposed.  It was slowly uncovered that the cult was able to exert enough power over its members that they used methods of mind control.  Gradually members were pushed into marriages with other members and strongly encouraged to cut off all relations with family.  The mind control would occur during consultations as Paul Grossman remarked ‘ Their technique is forceful in a subtle kind of way.  They tap right into the negative side of your self-identity, all of them feeding off each other’. However their strict regulations have led to self destruction as the numbers of its present members dwindle dramatically after they discouraged members having children during the 1970s (as this would mean less time spent on AR and more focus on the kids).

Psychology: A Report from Prague

by Amanda Wood

During the final days of the Easter holidays, I was lucky enough to attend the biannual EFTPA conference in beautiful city of Prague. For non-members, that’s the European Federation of Psychology Teachers Associations – you can see why we stick to the acronym, it’s not exactly catchy! Travelling with friend and former colleague, Helen Gibb, from Blandford School, we decided that we would travel overland and take in a few other European countries ‘en route’. My journey started at around 5 am, on a National Express coach to Victoria, before taking the Eurostar to Brussels. Our next leg comprised a wonderful journey on the ICE train to Cologne, where we spent the night, after visiting the magnificent cathedral, dating from 1248. Next morning, saw another early start and another train, this time to Frankfurt, and then onto Nuremburg. At this point, we thought we were about to board our final train to Prague, however it transpired that the last leg was, in fact, by bus! Several hours later we arrived at our breath-taking destination.

One of my motivations to attend the conference was the dual opportunity to meet up with fellow psychologist, John Crane, who has been a senior examiner and workshop leader for IB Psychology for many years and has worked at the International School of Prague since 1988. I first met New Yorker, John in Berlin, six years ago when we originally started teaching IB at PGS. He was the course leader and gave us an outstanding weekend of tutelage, which undoubtedly laid the ground for our excellent success over the years. John has lived in Prague for 28 years, bearing witness to the revolution of 1989, following the fall of the Berlin Wall. He is an expert in cross-cultural differences relating to peace and conflict and an avid historian and traveller. This made him the best possible tour guide and we were delighted that he was able to show us around the city he loves and sharing many fascinating and personal tales, that we would not have heard on a more formal tour. As we stood in the centre of Wenceslas Square, he told us about the general strike and how he was one of the tens of thousands who waved and jingled his keys in the air, an action which today, still symbolises the Velvet Revolution and the end of Communism in what was to become the Czech Republic.

John also took us to Municipal House, a stunning monument to the golden age of Art Nouveau. Here, he treated us to a local herbal liqueur known as Becherovka, served in a beautiful frozen crystal glass, in what was supposedly the oldest bar in Prague, amusingly known as The American Bar. We also visited the beautiful gothic Powder Tower and the fabulous astronomical clock in the Old Town Square, said to date from 1410. John also took us out to a wonderful traditional Czech restaurent where we caught up with everything new in the world of IB Psychology, accompained by another IB examiner friend, Judith Silver, who I had met on our very first IB training in Athens.

Having said our goodbyes to John, who in true IB style was off to China the next morning, we met up with other delegates for the EFPTA conference including friends from Finland, Denmark and Iceland. The conference was opened by EFPTA president, Hannele Puolakka and the key note was delivered by Dr. Iva Stuchlíková and Alena Nohavová from the University of South Bohemia, who introduced us to some of the challenges of teaching Psychology in the Czech Republic. Following this, all delegates took part in a series of interactive “Active Learning” sessions. Our group was led by led by two lovely ATP members, Jackie Moody from The International School of Luxembourg and Harpa Hafsteinsdóttir, from MH College in Reykjavík. During this session, we made several new friends from Iceland and Denmark. A ‘carousel’ of group activities ensued, requiring little to no teacher direction and we dutifully perambulated in a clockwise direction, experiencing a veritable smorgasbord of psychological teasers, including story boarding, quizzes, jigsaws, labelling and model-making games. Interestingly, our favourite activity involving matching stereotypes held about various EU nations, which has of course a slightly more poignant feel to it now. It was fascinating to find out whether our EU friends shared the same of different stereotypes of other nations. These fun tasks allowed us to think about cultural differences and potential classroom activities to support the learning of research methods and statistical analysis.

Photography: Gosport at Sunset

by Tony Hicks

Some shots of yesterday's sunset over Fort Blockhouse, Gosport.

Book Review: The Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson

by Ilana Berney

The Dragonfly Pool was written in 2008 by Eva Ibbotson. Set during World War Two, the book centres around an eleven year old girl called Tally Hamilton, the daughter of a poor doctor in London. However, the book does not solely take place in the city; at the beginning Tally is sent off to boarding school in South Devon but the story soon progresses to be set for several chapters in the fictional country of Bergania.

From the outset of the book we have an indication of the warmth and joy that Tally and her personality brings to many people. This welcoming but also inquisitive personality is what drives the story forward and how Tally finds herself in many of the interesting and magical situations and places within the story. We follow Tally from London to the supposedly “stuffy boarding school” through a train journey where we meet many of the key characters of the story and discover, along with Tally, that ‘Delderton Hall’ is not exactly what Tally expected it to be. Known as a ‘progressive’ school, Delderton Hall is a unique school where classes are optional and taught by exceptional and inspiring, is somewhat mysterious, teachers. Tally at first finds it difficult to fit in to the new style of living and teaching but soon finds her feet and makes good friends with her classmates.

The story truly begins when Delderton discuss an invitation to a folk dancing competition held in Bergania (a fictional country in the middle of Europe). After discussion with strong arguments for the trip being led by Tally and her friends, a folk dancing group is put together and travel to the competition. However, the competition does not exactly go as planned…. Several incidents occur which lead to Tally running into the mountains to clear her head where she meets a boy called Karil by a dragonfly pool (hence the name of the book), who gravely needs her help.

Can Heat Shock Proteins Fight Cancer?

by Jerin Mathew, Raunak Mukherjee, Lloyd Morgan  and David López-Lázaro

Can heat shock proteins be the answer to molecular deformation, aging, cancer and spinal cord injuries?

research paper based on study and work on genetically modified organisms and heat shock proteins


The world of science is constantly evolving, month to month, year to year. New discoveries are being made and new techniques are being discovered. In this research paper we will be discussing the impact of a genetically modified organism (GMO) that we have created and formed as a group called DJLR55. The main aim was to tackle a variety of issues including: injuries (mainly ischemic), ageing, cancer, molecular deformation and spinal cord injuries. Nevertheless, what we found was that heat shock proteins (HSPs) are arguably the most versatile proteins ever discovered in the medical field; it can be used to treat/prevent some of the biggest mysteries in the scientific world. Although there are various ethical dilemmas and obstacles that prevent the imminent approval of a treatment like ours, there is definitely a foundation for future developments to occur.
Immortality is a phenomenon that humans have strived to achieve since 3000 BC. Through designing DJLR55, we believe we are now one step closer to making this dream into a reality. This research paper will be comprised of the applications and adaptations of DJLR55 (Figure 1). The GMO we have created consists of a strong promoter11 called J23100. As a result it can always express the gene no matter what the conditions. It is also made up of HSPs, meaning that in certain cases (as explained throughout this paper) it will be expressed to carry out a function - this is all joined to a backbone called pSB1AC310 which has a high copy number of 100-300 per cell. The ribosome binding site (RBS) is called BBa_B0030 and affects the number of copies of the protein that is produced12. The RBS in DJLR55 has a strength of 91.84% relative to B0034- meaning it produces a relatively large number of copies. Finally the terminator used in DJLR55 is called a Rho-independent terminator13. This is a typical terminator that works by creating a hairpin loop to end the transcription process.
Figure 1. Shows a diagram of the structure of the GMO DJLR55
To begin with, a GMO is described as the adaptation of an organism by changing its genetic structure either by inserting genes from another species, the ‘deletion’ of genes or by the mutating of the genes in order to create an organism that has the favourable qualities the researcher is looking for. This process can occur in nature without the influence of man or can be created in a laboratory environment where a syringe is used to insert the DNA into the nucleus of the host. Another way in which this can be done is where the DNA of one organism is transferred to that of another organism through an electric pulse (also known as electroporation2).

The thought of modifying the DNA inside an organism had occurred well over three decades ago. For instance, the first recombinant DNA molecule (where the DNA would have been separated from two organisms and then pieced back together to form one double helix molecule) was thought up and created by Paul Berg, (who constructed this by combining the DNA of a monkey virus and that of the lambda virus). Nonetheless this discovery was short lived; as little over a year later, Boyer and Cohen created the first ever GMO by creating a bacterium that was able to survive in the presence of Kanamycin (a type of antibiotic). Since the mid 1970’s there have been many advancements in the field of GMO’s- the making of genetically modified plants is a prime example.
As aforementioned, there have been a lot of advancements within the past few decades in this field. However we are now at a stage where these GMO’s have been created and can treat a myriad of problems the human body may face. In fact DJLR55 is specialised to help prevent aging, cancer and the protection of cells from stress and other injuries as well as regulation of the immune response. This is done by producing HSPs which are then used in research studies to help further the scientific knowledge in the topics mentioned above.


Molecular deformation

According to the works of Tower, (2010) ‘Heat Shock Proteins and Drosophila Aging8’, and Benjamin-McMillan, (1998) ’Stress (Heat Shock) Proteins1’, Drosophila melanogaster is a fruit fly that responds to heat and oxidative stress and one that produces oversized polytene chromosomes, shown in Figure 2, in their salivary glands in these conditions as mentioned above21. It rapidly transcribes HSP 70 to enable enzymes and other proteins to remain intact under stressful conditions20.

Figure 2. An image showing oversized polytene chromosomes22