Tuesday, 31 January 2017

A Violation of Democracy, Justice and Humanity

by Charlotte Phillips

President Trump and the architect of the refugee ban, Steve Bannon
I don't know how to put into words how I felt about watching the news over the past few days- but unfortunately words seem to be the only form of power and protest that I have. I have never felt so disgusted, angry and emotional in the face of politics before: I always try to look at everything with an analytical eye, consider multiple viewpoints, and try and find a balance between my heart and my head. Right now, my heart and my head are in complete unanimity: the actions of President Trump are a violation of democracy, of justice, and of humanity. 

To many that will seem extreme, an overreaction; I think it is completely justified. The politics of the past in which division and discrimination were actively encouraged is being reignited through a series of executive orders, none more sickening than Trump’s ban on immigration and travel for everyone from certain (mainly Muslim) countries. I feel sad, I feel powerless, and I wonder how we have come to a stage where this injustice has been allowed to happen.

I strongly believe that if there are people exposed to undue suffering in the world, if pain and war, famine and hunger, persecution and disaster are abundant, then our common humanity should overcome any national barriers and national interests. This is considered an idealistic view (naive, even), but what is the point in being involved in politics if not to try and change the world a little- or a lot? 

Politics is the only way that we can take steps towards reaching a global goal of safety and everyone having a life worth living. Now is the time for big claims and statements such as these, because without idealistic, naive views like that, negativity will overcome positivity, and the progress we make will slow down and stop. 

I was gutted when Donald Trump came into power, and I am still gutted now- I refuse to ‘get over it’, I refuse to accept it, because I believe that normalising his way of running the world is damaging for everyone involved, even those who are under the illusion they will benefit from it. I knew I would disagree with everything his administration would implement, and I knew I would remain opposed to him throughout his term, but the actions of the past couple of days have exceeded all my expectations in the worst sense.

Trump’s talk of banning Muslims from America was one of his most contentious claims throughout the election campaign (and that really is saying something). The fact that he has started to put up these barriers so quickly, so strongly, and with so little consideration for those affected should not surprise me, but it has. It has epitomised everything he stands for and suddenly made me realise that this is happening- it is not a television drama, it is not a dystopian future- people are being rejected from the Land of Opportunity on the basis of their country of birth. 

Protests in support of those detained under the ban
Trump’s ‘travel ban’ affects people from Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iraq, and the order runs alongside a 120 day suspension of the USA’s refugee system- all in the name of keeping “radical Islamic terrorists out of the US”. Refugees are fleeing for their lives. People from these deprived and less fortunate countries need help, support, and open doors, not rejection and selfishness. In 2015, Trump justified his extreme views on Muslim immigration by claiming he does not want his country open to people who “have no respect for human life”. The hypocrisy both disgusts and terrifies me. He has no respect for human life. He has no respect for the needs of people fleeing war and terror. He claims to be prioritising America, but a man with so little respect for anyone who is not a white male can hardly make a claim to be protecting such a diverse country.

Why Animation Should Be Taken More Seriously

by Joe Brennan

With this year's Oscars less than a month away and as the reactions to all the nominations have flooded in, I feel as though one picture in particular should have been nominated for the best movie of 2016.

The film in question is not only my favourite film of 2016 but is up there with my favourite pieces of cinema ever created. This is partly a review of this film and partly a rant on the snubbing of animated films when it comes to The Best Picture Academy Award.

Now what film has triggered such a response from me- what caused me to put together an entire article about this? (Other than the deadline to submit something)?

The animation in question is Walt Disney Studios' Moana. The last few years has seen somewhat of a second animated renaissance with Pixar's Inside Out, Warner's The LEGO Movie and Disney's Frozen being some of the best films of the last decade. And if we are in a second Golden Age of animation, Moana is the new Little Mermaid (I'd say Beauty and the Beast - but that got a Best Picture Nomination).

Moana tells the beautifully simple and well known story of a girl who looks to the horizon and dreams of more than her life at home who has to go on a journey to save the world with the help of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Maui. What makes this film stand out from the hundreds of films that share similar plots is the heart. The love and care put into the performances, the script and the absolutely breathtaking animation. The decision to bring in Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda (genius) resulted in some of the best songs in any Disney musical to date (anyone who is still caught up in Frozen hype can just let it go). The stellar casting of newcomer Auli'i Cravalho as Moana provided a youthful life and energy (and a phenomenal singing voice) to a long line of Disney princesses.

Also, there's a silly chicken that could've become an annoying comic relief slapstick character for the little kids who couldn't comprehend the wit and complexity of the regular dialogue but Hei Hei The Chicken ends up being loveable and funny- a valuable addition to the cast.

I could write for hours on why I love Moana but that's not the main focus of this article...though it should be. 

I have more to say. Just a bit. 

The Rock's larger than life on-screen presence even in a purely vocal performance was charismatic and funny in every scene. The gorgeous animation and characterisation of the water (and everything for that matter) should be enough to get it the Best Animated Feature Oscar. The combination of music, performance, animation and writing (along with Baby Moana topping Finding Dory's spot of cutest animated character) should have been enough to push through genre and get it a nomination for overall picture, not just animation. But just as last year's Oscars struggled to represent minorities, I feel this year's nominations have a significant lacking in animated acknowledgment.

2016 and early 2017 was arguably the best period of time for animation in history. With Zootropolis/Zootopia coming out in March and becoming my favourite Disney film for about 9 months, Kubo and the Two Strings surpassing all expectations, Sausage Party being...well... yeah, Finding Dory was a passable sequel to a classic. Even Trolls surprised me when it was a fun, enjoyable musical flick. Coming up in February, my most anticipated superhero movie of 2017 (as 
I've said beforeI'm not confident in Warner Brothers' DC Cinematic Universe) but there's one Batman that I can get behind:

Photography: Landscape

by Will Northeast

Monday, 30 January 2017

Protesting in Portsmouth

by Caleb Barron

This evening a short-notice peaceful protest took place in Guildhall Square in Portsmouth. The event, in response to the hate-filled, racist policies of Trump’s first few days in office (notably the ban on Muslim immigrants from seven majority Muslim countries from entering the US), was organised by ‘Don’t Hate Donate’, a small Portsmouth based charity dedicated to the humanitarian cause. The event organisers estimated 500 people were there to reject Trump’s administration and show solidarity for the protests currently taking place in American airports and across the UK.

It was an expression of unity, love and peace against the fearful times we live in. There were chants of ‘Build bridges not walls!’, ‘No Trump, no hate, no KKK, not fascists in the USA!’ and ‘Donald Trump, hear us say, let them in and let them stay!’. There were speeches from men, women, children, members of the Muslim community, members of the LGBTQ community, people from all walks of life coming together, building connections and rejecting the racism within the governments of the world. 

This was not without PGS representation as no less than 6 Sixth Formers braved the drizzle to make their voice heard: myself, Grace Goodfellow, Robert Merriam, Megan Baston-Steele, Gemma Webb and Floss Willcocks were all able to wave some placards, make some noise and (in Gemma and Floss’ case) sport some home-made anti-Trump T-shirts.

But what’s the point? We’re not American, we’re not directly impacted by these policy changes in the US and none of us have even had the opportunity to vote before. So why spend an hour and a half in the cold and wet with a group of total strangers shouting about a man whom we had no power to vote in or out?

There are two reasons: solidarity and political engagement.

Walls and All

by Tom Fairman

Donald Trump’s presidency has started in the most surprising manner for the world of politics; he has actually began to implement the policies he promised he would on the campaign trail! His signing of executive orders are based on the platform he laid out and yet the fact he has carried through on his word has caught everyone by surprise. However the fact that these policies are hurting the weakest in the world brings shame upon his embryonic presidency. To quote St Paul in 1 Corinthians, “God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong”.
The Beatitudes that Jesus sets out in the Sermon on the Mount offer a different set of executive orders at the beginning of a very different reign. They present a list of blessings and promises to a range of people from the merciful to the peacemakers, the meek to those who hunger for righteousness, the mourners to the poor in spirit. It is a collection that provides comfort and challenge at the same time and is aspirational and yet achievable. Most of all it is an inclusive list, created out of love for the individual whoever they are.
Jesus makes no discrimination in his blessings beyond the realm of the heart. Gender, creed or nationality make no difference to the promises that he makes. The dignity and respect for the person is held in the utmost regard and the choice is left to us whether we claim the blessing or pass it by. We are offered a choice of whether we want to show mercy to those in need or to close our doors to them; to hunger and thirst for righteousness or to turn a blind eye.
However the moral high ground that is being taken is a dangerous place to be. There is a saying that suggests the things we dislike most in other people is what we dislike most about ourselves. Trump has held up a mirror to us and the outpouring of anger needs to be paid attention to. We may not build physical walls to keep people out of our country, but what about in our hearts? Do we have a personal list of those who are not allowed in? Have we built walls to protect ourselves from whom we consider to be undesirable?

Sunday, 29 January 2017

10 Crazy Things About The Headmaster You Just Won't Believe . . .

by Caleb Barron

Moments in Time

by Tom Fairman

My little sister turned 21 this week, providing the customary opportunity for the extended family to come and gather and share in the celebrations. It was a great chance to catch up with all the news and to touch base with people who are close to us and yet, due to the busyness of life, we do not get to see very often. The compulsory questions about how you are doing provided a wonderful opportunity to take stock and reflect on what has happened and is happening in our lives.
Rarely do we have such a chance as to stop and reflect. The New Year provides an excellent opportunity for this, but when the treadmill of work and life begins again, we can be swept away, losing sight of the resolutions we have made and more importantly, the blessings we have received. We need these special moments, moments that are out of our ordinary routine to force us to do this; force us to listen to the lives of others and appreciate what we have in our lives at that present moment.
Another such moment I have had this week is when a former student found me on Facebook. It took a while to recall them and the class they were in, but the more I dwelt on it, the more I remembered about the class, the successes and challenges they had learning and the memories, good and bad, that were had with them. When you are teaching, you have a privileged position of being that child’s Maths teacher for the year. No-one can change that and for the four hours you spend with that child each week, you are their source of progress for that subject. They look to you to help them succeed and the moments that are shared together during that time are fixed forever.
However, when the year ends, you pass that child onto another teacher to form a new relationship. Inevitably their loyalty will switch and yours has to as well. It is safe to say some students cannot wait for this to happen and I hesitate to say some teachers may feel the same. Yet invariably a bond is made between the student and the teacher which makes this ending difficult. John the Baptist had a similar situation when he proclaimed that Jesus was the Lamb of God. He knew his followers would leave to follow Jesus and his time as their teacher would be over. His heart would have been heavy when he testified to Jesus’ nature, but consoled by the knowledge he had completed his task.

In Defence of Schizophrenia

by Isabella Ingram

No mental illness is stigmatised more than schizophrenia. Often met with a mixture of fear and a strange, wary pity, the illness’ reputation embodies all the stereotypical attributes of a deranged madman: fluctuating personalities and wild voices expressing murderous intent. The reality, however, is that schizophrenia is fundamentally misunderstood, and its slandered reputation can cause those who suffer from the condition yet more anxiety and concern.

Schizophrenia is often described as a form of psychosis, meaning that a person afflicted by the condition may have difficulty discerning their own thoughts, memories and ideas from reality. Contrary to popular assumption, the illness does not make sufferers more inclined to behave violently. Instead, aggressive behaviour is usually incurred by the misuse of drugs or alcohol. Despite this, however, schizophrenia is still assumed to encourage cruel and destructive conduct.

The illness’ unjust reputation can largely be attributed to its ambiguous origins. The concept of “madness” has, of course, existed for thousands of years, but it was not until the nineteenth century that any significant progress was made in distinguishing and grouping different conditions. Prior to this, mental illnesses were viewed as forms of divine punishment or demonic possession, and many sufferers from illnesses such as schizophrenia were burnt as heretics. German physician Emile Kraeplin was one of the first to notice distinctions between different “abnormalities”, and in 1882 he used the confusing term “dementia praecox” to categorise symptoms we now associate with schizophrenia. The term – meaning “early dementia” – was used because Kraeplin believed schizophrenia to be a form of dementia that occurred within young people. However, this was discredited in 1911 by the leading Swiss psychiastrist Eugen Bleuler, who recognised that the illness was, in fact, not any form of dementia and thus rebranded it “schizophrenia”.

Unfortunately, this title is equally as misleading, as the term “schizophrenia” originates from the Greek words “schizo” (meaning “split”) and “phrene” (“mind”). This allowed for ideas relating to split or multiple personalities, inspiring fictional concepts of a Jekyll and Hyde complex, or quarrelling psychological voices. This is the condition’s greatest fallacy – “Multiple Personality Disorder” is a condition that is completely unrelated to schizophrenia.

Dealing With Sexual Violence

by Jo Morgan

Our pupils are growing up in a world where sexual violence is almost a normal part of growing up.
A recent report for the Women and Equalities Committee found that almost a third of 16-18 year old girls say that they have experienced unwanted sexual touching at school, nearly three-quarters of all 16-18 year olds claim that they hear terms such as "slut" or "slag" used towards girls at schools on a regular basis and over half of girls and young women aged 13-21 said that they had faced some form of sexual harassment at school or college in the past year.
To help protect girls and boys from the negative impact of rape culture it is time to start a frank dialogue about sexual violence in schools.
Is ‘slut-shaming’ challenged or reinforced in your school? Do your pupils understand the clear boundaries of consent or do they believe there is a grey area? Are all staff confident in challenging sexist language and sexual assault?
Whilst this is a difficult subject for any teacher to broach, steps can be taken to make the delivery of this subject and management of class discussions both comfortable and productive. Here are some strategies for teaching your pupils to recognise, challenge and avoid sexual violence.
Too often consent is viewed as a grey area. This myth must be dispelled in schools by teaching pupils about the law and by having open and honest discussions. There is no grey area when it comes to consent and this can be effectively demonstrated to pupils by showing them the following brilliant video:

Pupils need to know that legally in the UK, consent is no longer just the absence of resistance, it must be actively granted. This does not mean that a contract needs to be signed but that both people must be willingly and actively participating. If they are completely impaired or unconscious they cannot give their consent. Likewise, consent given in one moment does not equal consent given at any time in the future.

Is Serena Williams the Greatest Tennis Player of All Time?

by Oliver Wright

The Australian Open

Serena and Venus Williams
The 2017 Australian Open has been littered with shocks and records, consequently resulting in a very nostalgic pair of Singles finals. On Sunday, (at the time of writing) two of the modern greats of male tennis, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, are going head to head in a Grand Slam final for the first time since the Spaniard’s defeat of the Swiss at the 2011 French Open. With the pair being the dominating two players prior to the apparent beginning of the Murray/Djokovic era, it offers people to once more bask in the glory of the two majestic former world Number 1’s. Add this to the reigniting of one of the most prolific sibling rivals in sport, with the Williams sisters having fought out their 9th clash in a Grand Slam final, many tennis fans had prepared for a sentimentally brilliant weekend of tennis.

Serena Williams beat her sister Venus to claim her 7th Australian Open title and her 23rd Grand Slam to become the most successful tennis player to grace the Open-era of the game. Serena’s straight sets victory (6-4, 6-4) enabled her to pass Steffi Graf in the all-time list of major winners, with the top spot being only 2 Grand Slam wins away, the Australian Margaret Court topping the list with 24 major successes (the greater number of those coming before the professional era of tennis however).

The Match

Serena went into her 47th Grand Slam final as the clear favourite, ranking 15 places above her sister, and this showed through her breaking of Venus’s serve in the very first game. The latter quickly posed a comeback however, with the pair winning each other’s service games to make the score 2-2. The erratic start to the match whilst entertaining, proved too frustrating for the now seven-time Australian Open singles Champion, with Serena smashing a racquet during the third game, highlighting how the importance of the situation was weighing heavily on her mind. While Serena struggled to find her typical powerful rhythm, she eventually began to combat the intense pressure Venus was putting her under, capitalising on her sixth break point of the set to claim what evolved to be the vital break of the set, pressing on to take the first set 6-4. While many believed this was Venus’s opportunity to take her first major trophy in 8 years, they were soon shown to be optimists as the second set progressed, with Serena eventually serving out the match to reciprocate the comfortable score of the previous set.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

How Successful Was the Obama Presidency?

by Mark Docherty

With all the headlines revolving around how Donald Trump will fare in the White House and how successful or, more commonly, unsuccessful he will be, there has been surprisingly little coverage and reflection on Trump’s predecessor.  Obama is widely respected as a man around the world due to his likeable personality and calm and classy demeanor when addressing the country.  However, there are some who feel that Obama’s policy has been ineffective and that he has failed to live up to what was expected of him when he was elected in 2008.

One of the most surprising failures of Obama’s campaign was that, according to 58% of the Americans asked, race relations have worsened since the last Presidential election.  Racial tolerance was expected to be one of the strong points of Obama’s America but it seems that, since electing the country’s first black President, things have taken a turn for the worse on that front.  The deterioration of racial relations is seen as being one of the main reasons Donald Trump has been elected as the next President, with his anti-Islamic and Mexican stance reflecting the state of the country.  Certainly this is a step back for America and has seen protests against the treatment of African-Americans by policemen and the need for pressure groups such as Black Lives Matter to try and improve the situation.

Another of the main criticisms of Obama is that he will have no real legacy to be remembered for.  One might have expected his greatest and longest lasting achievement to be ‘ObamaCare’, his reforms on health insurance to make it more widely available.  However, this is set to be repealed by Donald Trump because of the impact ObamaCare has on businesses.  It has been argued that Obamacare is bad for businesses because they have to provide health insurance for employees and some Republicans claim it has resulted in the loss of jobs.  This is presumably why Trump is so keen to repeal it, as his interests lie in the business sector.  With the repeal of ObamaCare, the ex-President will lose his greatest achievement while in office, although his legacy could live on in aspects of what Trump passes as ObamaCare’s replacement.

However, there have also been areas in which Obama has undoubtedly been successful during his time in office such as his economic policy.  When he was first elected the US economy was in a terrible state and looked on the brink of collapse, but Obama managed to rescue the situation.  In 2008 the American auto industry was in danger of collapsing and General Motors and Chrysler were both heading towards bankruptcy, but Obama led a $80 billion bailout to keep the industry on its feet.  Obama’s optimism has steadied the economy on the whole, giving hope to people and businesses to continue investment and keep the economy on the road to recovery.  His economic policy has been an unqualified success and he has led the recovery from the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008.

Why We Are Fundamentally Selfish

by Gabriella Watson

The idea that all humans are incapable of expressing true altruism is explained through the theory of egoism. There are two types of egoism, ethical and psychological, but both theories show that every human action is fundamentally aimed towards maximising the individual’s self being. Ethical egoism is a normative ethic which attempts to give moral agents a guide as to what is right or wrong when faced with a moral dilemma. It is a teleological theory because it justifies its approach to life in terms of good consequences that occur as a result of living an egotistical life as the theory claims that it is necessary and sufficient for an action to be morally right if it maximizes one's self-interest. Psychological egoism differs from ethical egoism because it is a not moral theory. Instead it is a branch of human psychology as it takes the view that each person is only motivated by self-interest, even if it seems to be an act of altruism. Both branches of egoism, however, demonstrate that humans are intrinsically selfish.  

As a consequentialist theory, ethical egoism disregards the concept of altruism in order to achieve the greatest outcome for the moral agent. It claims that every decision ought to be based on achieving the most beneficial result for the individual which goes against the principle of altruism. For example, a manger interviewing two candidates for a post as his deputy recognises that one will do the job adequately and the other will excel in this position. An egoist would argue that the manger employs the less talented individual in fear that the more skilful employee might possibly supersede his job. This example contrasts with altruism because the manager puts his own self-interest over the success of his company and other workers. This idea further illustrates that humans naturally value self-regard over selflessness and is supported by philosopher Max Stirner who argued that selfishness is the root cause of every action, even when an individual is apparently doing “altruistic” deeds. He states that “I am everything to myself and I do everything on my account” .Stirner justifies this by claiming that each person is extraordinary and should reject any attempts to restrict or deny their uniqueness. In fact, he explains that for individuals to maximise their potential, they should be treated as the “highest being” and must concentrate all their actions on themselves and no one else.

Photography Club: Portsmouth in the Fog

Intrepid members of Photography Club braved the Dickensian fog this week to capture some eerie and evocative images.

‘One-Size Fits All’ Clothing: Is It Ethical?

by Rebecca Pascoe

Shops that sell ‘one size fits all’ clothing are a heavily debated topic within the fashion world, as they cause some controversy over issues such as body image and the message that is given out to girls across the world. This trend began in the American brand ‘Brandy Melville’, whose store only contains clothes that are one size, and this sizing relates to an extra small/small in normal sizes. American Eagle have also joined this trend with a range of their clothing. The business ethics of this can be questioned, as one could argue that the customer is being unfairly exploited and treated unfairly, by some segments of the women’s clothing market not being given a chance to buy the products.

However, it could be said that this is no different to other types of segmentation, and that there are thousands of other shops which do offer a diverse range of sizes. The main issue that brands such as this face are whether they are discriminating against certain body types, and making people who don’t fit their ‘one size’ clothes feel outcasted and as if they are not normal. This can contribute to negative body image and low self esteem, which is already a prominent problem in today’s society. Despite this, from a business point of view it does reduce production costs, meaning that the business can get a higher profit margin. But this doesn’t excuse the impact on the people.

The question is whether it is right for companies to brand their products as one size fits all when it is clear from surveys that the clothes do not in fact fit all people. This could be argued as false advertising. Some people would say in response to this issue that if you choose to shop at Brandy Melville, or other stores who operate a one size policy, that it is illogical to be unhappy and allow the clothes to make you feel bad, as it is a personal choice where to buy clothes. It might just make more sense for people to choose to shop elsewhere where they know they will find their size. Contrastingly, it isn’t just about personal choice. It is also about the marketing and the way in which young girls feel they should look. If these brands are presenting an idealistic image of what one size should look like, this can have very serious ramifications on today’s youth.

Is Politics Becoming a Television Game?

by Olivia Watkins

Recently with the election of a US president, who has more experience being a television celebrity than in politics, it would be fair to say politics has become a media game more than relative political experience. 

Donald Trump was claimed by many to be an unexpected victor of the presidential election and indeed the Republican nomination but is it really such a surprise?

Everyone knows who Donald Trump was, everyone knows his message, whether you were watching a pro or anti-trump media you would be exposed to his message. Ironically, by criticising him so heavily in the media Trump rather gained more attention, and therefore more support.

With programmes such as Saturday Night Live and media broadcasts such as Buzzfeed negatively portraying Trump to the extreme, it creates a backlash from his supporters of positive propaganda while also alienating some moderate people who then see him as the victim of the media, and if so how much of the bad things he did are solely negative propaganda. In addition, by some more liberal media not attacking Hillary Clinton in the same way some people believe that the media is covering for her and therefore will more readily believe any accusations Donald Trump throws at Hillary Clinton.

In this way the use of satirical comedy about politics painting either Trump, Hillary or both to the extreme ironically aided him. He got more, effectively, free television time portraying his message than anyone else, and while it shocked many, evidently it also gained him support - arguably in part due to people perceiving him as the victim of a bullying media who are portraying him worse than he actually is. Trump spent only $10 million on television advertisements but has benefitted from an estimated $1.9 billion in free media coverage. In comparison, Hillary Clinton spent $27.9 million in paid advertisements and benefitted from an estimated $764 million in free media attention. This displays how important media coverage is in modern politics. By all this television time, positive just aid his cause and some of the more outrageous things he's done are dismissed or at the very least overlooked as simply being untruthful propaganda aimed at him from an accusatory media.
It is also significant that it was the media star not the former first lady who won the presidency. It shows what type of place the digital world is developing into, one where political correctness is being shunned, where television becomes reality and the game played online and virtually is the game played on the real world stage. It is now more a game of who can accuse the other the loudest, who can get their message delivered on the most screens - be it displayed in a positive or negative light.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Will Your Bra Give You Cancer?

by Floss Willcocks

In the past few months there has been an increasing number of news stories targeting health issues. Most health advice from trusted medical professionals can be argued as extremely important information for the benefit of our lifestyle, such as taking regular exercise, brushing your teeth and eating a balanced diet. We observe these recommendations with a pinch of salt (quite literally sometimes). Everyone treats themselves to a greasy Chinese takeaway once in awhile, despite knowing that it's filled with salt, sugar, fat and additives, all of which our doctor wouldn't recommend. 

The government suggest an hour of vigorous exercise every day, but what percentage of us really manage to get up and get sweaty every day of the working week? We aren't afraid to take some risks to our health every now and then, despite what the experts have been telling us for years. The biggest threat we are more than aware of but choosing to ignore is antibiotic mutation. It would only take one random switch in the genetic code of a bacterium to spread a killer antibiotic-resistant disease, yet doctors are under increasing pressure from patients to prescribe them for every common cold around. Even worse are the industrial farms where animals are being pumped full of them to prevent risk of losing profit.

However, some recent health advice has got the world panicking. Articles which are being published in the news all over the world confirm the idea that we have very little fear of the threat of a disastrous pandemic or an obese population. We are all scared instead of that one big killer - cancer.

Here is a list of several everyday foods and products which have recently been proved to “give you cancer”.

Sausages, bacon, burgers, ham, beef, steak, etc
Researchers are still trying to pin down exactly how red and processed meat cause cells to become cancerous. There are links to bowel cancer, but the fact is that 61/1000 UK residents will develop bowel cancer at some point in their lives anyway. By avoiding these meats you will lower your chance of developing it by only 0.4%.

Crispy roast potatoes and burnt toast is the most recently discovered “culprit”. While scientists have identified the acrylamide in overcooked foods to be linked vaguely to cancer development in mice, they haven’t established that it is definitely a carcinogen in humans when consumed at the levels typically found in cooked food. Still, the media couldn't resist issuing new health warnings; to “ditch the smoky barbecue this summer”, and “aim for a golden yellow” colour on all cooked starchy foods.

OK, there's no hiding the fact that these aren't exactly great for your health. You can't argue that your body is unaffected when your stomach actually has to force it back out of you in the toilet of the nightclub, but cancer isn't the biggest concern of yours if you're a heavy drinker. The bad news is you’re going to get liver disease, pancreatitis, heart disease, diabetes, weight-gain, reduced fertility and (more than likely) a lifelong addiction as well. Alcohol is a difficult one, because we all like a drink every now and then, and when we do we ignore all these health warnings because we like it. It's knowing our limits, that's the choice we all have to make.

On top of these, here are a few things which the Daily Mail have claimed to increase your chances of developing cancer...

Why We Need Answers About the Trident Test Debate

by Layla Link

It’s a simple question, but somehow our Prime Minister could not answer it. Did she, or did she not know that something had gone wrong with our nuclear weapons, when she asked MPs to vote to renew the costly Trident system? Questioned by the BBC's Andrew Marr on Sunday, Prime Minister Theresa May refused four times to answer questions about when she had been aware of the “misfire”.

The Trident system was acquired by the Thatcher government in the early 1980s as a replacement for the Polaris missile system, which the UK had possessed since the 1960s. At any one time there is one submarine armed and at sea, one underground, and two in port or on training manoeuvres. One submarine can carry 8 missiles and 40 warheads. HMS Vengeance, one of the UK's four Vanguard-class submarines, which are 150m long, more than an airbus A380, returned to sea for trials in December 2015 after a £350m refit, which included the installation of new missile launch equipment and upgraded computer systems. According to the Sunday Times, the unarmed Trident II D5 missile was intended to be fired 5,600 miles from the coast of Florida to a sea target off the West coast of Africa - but veered towards the US.

True, Mrs May wasn't in charge when the alleged misfire of the Trident missiles system took place-reportedly aiming off at Florida, rather than at its target. However, the incident reportedly happened a few weeks before MPs voted to renew the UK's nuclear weapons system in July, days after Mrs May had become prime minister following David Cameron's resignation, when MPs backed the £40 billion renewal of Trident by 472 votes to 117. During the debate, Mrs May told MPs it would be "an act of gross irresponsibility" for the UK to abandon its nuclear weapons. Yet 52 SNP MPs voted against it, as did 47 Labour MPs, including party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The March to Restore Progress and Sanity?

by Georgia McKirgan

REUTERS, WASHINGTON ― In what may wind up being the biggest single-day demonstration in American history, millions of women and men took to the streets around the country Saturday to call for gender equality and express opposition to the Trump administration. How many millions is an open question.

This weekend has seen a huge number of demonstrations across America and around the world, following the inauguration of President Donald Trump. The demonstrators, who are mainly women, are demonstrating to preserve the advances in gender equality won over the last 50 years. The election of a self-confessed sexual predator to the most powerful elected office in the world has shaken people everywhere. His talk of taking America back to an earlier, imagined world with more traditional values and his railing again 'Political Correctness' makes people concerned that all the advances in equality over this period are under threat. They worry that he wants to take America back to a time when there were few opportunities for women in the workplace, to a time when abortion was illegal and a time when women could not apply for a credit card. The direction of social progress was taken for granted but there is widespread concern that this may be reversed.

For his entire campaign, the conventional wisdom was that a Trump victory was impossible. At the start of the campaign, The Huffington Post covered him in the Entertainment section. For him to win, he would have to break every rule of modern politics. He didn't have a conventional organisation on the ground, he was at war with his party leadership, he insulted large sections of the population, he criticised a celebrated war hero, he was wildly inconsistent, he lied, he was the first Presidential candidate in recent memory to refuse to release his tax returns, he admired brutal dictators more than elected leaders and he was recorded discussing his history of sexual assault, or as he described it, "locker room talk". In the first Republican Debate, Trump was challenged by the moderator, Megyn Kelly on his history of offensive and sexist comments about women. He could have responded by apologising for his past  mistakes, admitted  that this behaviour has no place in modern society and committed to being a better person in the future. What did he do? He doubled down and made a joke out of it by suggesting he was only referring to Rosie O'Donnell, a Trump critic he had previously described as "a disgusting slob".

Trump winning the election should have been impossible but despite losing the popular vote by 3 million votes, he won enough votes in the right places to comfortably win the Electoral College. Just saying 'President Trump' reduces people to head-shaking disbelief.

This is the background to this weekend's demonstrations. His election has galvanised people to take action and millions of women around the world have taken to the streets in the company of an army of celebrities ranging from Madonna to Amy Schumer  to Emma Thompson. Having said we have just witnessed an impossible election, are the demonstrations we have seen this weekend the start of a fight back? Will this be the start of a movement that will restore sanity and resume the march of social progress? As inspiring as the demonstrations have been, I am troubled by a number of things. Not for the first time, Donald seems to understand something about the country that the 'experts' have missed. He reached for his trusty Samsung phone and took to Twitter:

"Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn't these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly."

As much as it pains me to say it, he's not wrong.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Terrorism First-Aid Initiative: Interview with Brigadier Tim Hodgetts CBE

by Thomas Locke

Damage to the the London Underground train
involved in the terrorist attack at Aldgate tube station (Photo: PA)
“We give people skills that can save lives” Brigadier Tim Hodgetts has told The Portsmouth Point.

citizenAID™, developed by experienced UK civilian and military clinicians, Tim Hodgetts, Keith Porter, Andrew Thurgood and Peter Mahoney, consists of an app, handbook and website that help the general public to save lives in a bombing, stabbing or shooting incident.

The reason that this training is so vital is due to the “therapeutic vacuum” between when you call 999 and when the emergency services arrive. Tim told us that “Although we have fabulous emergency services, we need to be able to do something to keep people alive or to save lives before the emergency services can arrive”

He says that first-aid is a “really important life skill because you never know when an incident is going to happen” and that “we need a critical mass of the public who are able to do something useful if they are the bystander when an incident happens”

He has said that “I think that we have pitched the level right with citizenAID in terms of making sure they understand safety messages to keep themselves safe” and “we give them [the public] skills that can save lives but can be relatively simply understood by all levels of literacy and education.”

The initiative has been supported by the counter-terrorism police. He has said that “while general first aid training prepare you for everyday emergencies, what citizenAID™ is designed for is to help the public in a shooting, stabbing or bombing incident” . These incidents are “unusual but not impossible to be involved in.”

He continued to say that “Because of recent events in Europe over the last eighteen months or so, together with colleagues, we decided that now is the time” citizenAID™ wants to generate a “critical mass of people who will have some basic understanding of what to do in these specific situations.”

Brigadier Tim Hodgetts spent “25 years developing systems that have spread around the world for professionals in how to manage multiple casualties after a bombing, a train crash, a plane crash, any kind of incident.”

“By providing free materials that people can download, such as the app, it means that it is accessible to anybody who wants to make themselves prepared.”

“The #1 Trending App”
Since its launch, Tim has told us that “it is already growing faster than we have ever anticipated” On the day of the launch, the citizenAID™ website received over 1,000,000 hits, their FaceBook Live video received 400,000 views and their app was the #1 trending app across Google Play and iTunes. Tim said that “We have identified something that the public is interested in”.

Build Up to the Super Bowl: Conference Championship Matches

by Henry Percival

Today is quite an important day for our cousins across the pond. It is today that we find out who will play for the chance to win the Super Bowl, later on this year.

In the AFC conference game, we have the New England Patriots hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers. This promises to be an interesting matchup, with the most successful team in NFL history (the Steelers) coming up against the most successful team since the turn of the millennia (the Patriots). Both sides have had fantastic seasons, particularly the Patriots, who started the first 4 matches without their star quarterback (and greatest of all time in my opinion) Tom Brady. Since his return, Brady has led his team to becoming favourites to life the Vince Lombardi Trophy. However, they mustn’t get complacent with their favourable odds. The Steelers offer dangerous offensive capabilities with wider receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell. However, I think the Patriots defence will be more than up to the challenge of containing the Steelers. From a slightly biased point of view, I place the Patriots as favourites to win the contest and go on to the Super Bowl.

Colour Psychology

by Eleanor Barber

Le Chat Aux Poissons Rouges by Henri Matisse
Colours can affect the way we think and feel. This is why certain colours are used to show different things - red often implies danger, blue represents calmness. Banks often use blue to calm the people and signs are often red to warn people of potential dangers.

Our reaction to colours stems from our primitive instincts. Some people may think that colour is subjective which means that the accuracy would change for each person. However colour is not subjective, it is the response that is subjective. You could view blue as a colour that calming and soothing, where as others may view it as a cold and harsh colour. However, as humans we rely on the combination of colours to tell us about possible dangers. We can see dangers through the combination; for example if you saw a grey sky over a predominantly white and blue landscape you would be more tempted to stay inside compared to if you saw a blue sky over a colourful, flower filled landscape  you would be more tempted to go outside.  Blue is also predominantly associated with blue skies, which evolutionarily we associate with no storms arriving. This is why blue is often seen as a colour of stability and calmness.

Why You Should Listen to a Voice from the Clouds

by Tom Fairman

Our latest inset day was based on the topic of Mental Health, with an emphasis on helping to develop resilience to deal with mental health issues. The topic was well chosen as it coincided with Theresa May’s announcement on the same issue.There is nothing like being told to pay attention by the Prime Minister to keep you focused and engaged during inset!
During the course of the presentation, we were shown a short video of Andrew Curran, a paediatric neurologist, describing how to listen to student’s problems. Paraphrasing slightly, he described how being understood increases one’s self esteem which increases their self confidence and, through the lymbic systems release of dopamine, allows them to learn more effectively and deal with their problems with more resilience. Andrew summed it up by saying if a student felt loved for the individual they are, they will be able to learn.
This strikes a chord right at the heart of each one of us. Too often we are defined not by who we are, but by what we have achieved. We seek affirmation of our actions as a way of evaluating our self worth, counting our value by the number of clicks or likes we have had on our latest post. We can be trapped by seeing what we do as a replacement for who we are. As a parent, it is a trait we can easily build into our children. How often do we praise our son or daughter for something good they have done rather than for the fact that they are our son or daughter? Praise and worth are easily woven together at a young age.
There has been a lot of work done in this area and there have been many wonderful poems and self-help memes designed to counteract this. They speak of how you are special and unique, that no-one is allowed to define you and no-one else can be you. The emphasis is that you are not defined by the opinions of others and you are the one in control of how you see yourself. It is wonderfully liberating to not be at the mercy of the next criticism designed to knock you down or waiting for the next piece of praise to pick you up. However I find there to be a flaw in this logic: me.
To know you are special is completely incredible, but I know who I truly am. I know the light and dark that is inside of me; the mistakes I have made. I know no-one is perfect and somedays I can believe that I set the bar and I am a unique creation, but there are days when the mistakes seem to loom larger than the good deeds and the balance sheet is tilted significantly away from special. Self-criticism can be more damaging and last longer than anything that comes from outside. What happens in those moments? Where is my resilience then?

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Live-blogging the Trump Inauguration

by Katie Sharp

Like a lot of people, I’m currently preparing for Trump’s inauguration. I’m waiting for the events to begin, with a notebook in hand, and to be quite honest I’m not sure what I’m expecting. Will Trump reveal himself to be an impostor, will the The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse arrive, or will it be a genuinely normal inauguration, I don’t know. I have a bingo square that I made from common Trump phrases and actions at the ready, including some phrases that the bookies have identified as likely. If you bet for “Make America Great Again” to appear in Trump’s speech, you would make almost no profit- it is almost guaranteed that he’ll say this.

16:15- thinking about how great Michelle Obama was over these past 8 years. And Joe Biden. And Barack Obama, of course. I can’t believe that they’re actually leaving so that Trump could take the presidency. I guess they have no choice though, but I think that Obama would have been being sworn in for his third Term right now if it was possible.
16.24- Obama and Michelle have left the White House for the last time. I’m going to miss Obama’s jokes, like the video of his birth (aka, the Lion King) that he played at the White House Conference.
16:27- Trump looks remarkably miserable for a man who is about to become the most powerful man in the world. He definitely doesn’t have a face as friendly-looking as Obama.
16:28- Pence’s hair is as white as the new Cabinet. The cheering for him isn’t as loud as I had thought it would be. One solitary wolf-whistle.
16:31- Trump looks grumpy and gave the camera an awkward thumbs up
16:32- Obama has been civil to Trump and I don’t know how he is managing it. To be the first Black president, only to be followed by Trump- it must be sad for him.
16:33- The inauguration begins…
16:39- Just remembered that the American public successfully allowed George W. Bush to be president for two terms. Hopefully there isn’t a repeat of that.
16:53- Pence to take his oath. In some angles, Pence doesn’t look quite human.
16:54- I can’t believe that Pence replaced Joe Biden. Does that mean that right now, Pence is Obama’s VP?
16:55- More patriotic choir singing. I know that for some, this is a great and emotional occasion that should last as long as possible, but I personally would like this to be over as soon as possible.
16:58- I’ve changed my mind, I wish this choir would sing forever if it meant that Trump was never sworn in as president.
16:59- God help us all.
I can’t believe he’s actually taking the presidential oath.

(from The New Yorker)

17:00- Well, Donald J. Trump is officially the US president, Obama is the former president.
17:01- the BBC voiceover just cheerfully reminded me that Trump now has the nuclear codes. Thanks, BBC.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Review: La La Land

by Ananthi Parekh

I can honestly say when I walked into the theatre to watch La La Land I had no idea what I was about to watch. I'd like to say I had no opinion of the film prior to watching it, and that this review will be completely objective, but much of my reasoning for going to see the film was due to the fact Emma Stone is one of my favourite actresses for numerous reasons. However apart of my pre-love for Emma Stone, a fondness for Ryan Gosling and a love for musicals I really did go into the cinema with nothing more than high expectations and a blind hope that the film would reach them. La La Land without a doubt met and exceeded every expectation I had for it.

Directed by Damien Chazelle, La La Land tells a story of an actress named Mia, played by Emma Stone, and a jazz pianist called Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling. The two characters are both passionate and talented in their own right. After a series of coincidences that bring the two characters together, they begin to be torn between their careers and each other. After the film won a record-breaking 7 Golden Globes, my expectations for the film were exceedingly high; furthermore with a Dad who has worked on a number of films, I can't help but judge films for their production value as well as general enjoyment. However when the credits finally rolled down the blackened screen I'd be lying if I said I wasn’t welling up.

The story itself was textbook, cliched even, and on reflection Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling really did carry the whole film, with there being very few, if any other significant characters; however, despite the story being nothing unique, the execution, production and writing of the film was breathtaking. The cinematography alone was something even my dad considered art work, but one of the most beautiful aspects of the film was the music.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

How Social Media Has Influenced the Youth of Today.

by Harry Leggett

Technology can be a blessing and also a curse. Time wasting or time saving. Increase productivity or profoundly hinder productivity. All of these questions are ones that we can ask ourselves when analysing the modern day and the impact technology has on it. 

Communication has become so simple, easy and accessible but has it become too easy? Are we substituting social interaction for “group calls” or such things. Recently my sister visited Australia for six months, 30 years ago this would mean that I would potentially have zero contact with her over that period of time, however thanks to the power of WhatsApp, Facebook and FaceTime my family and I were able to stay in contact with her on a daily basis. The concept of time space compression, suggests that technology has made communication across the planet so easy.

This can be a real gift, however what are the cons to this. There is a phrase used which goes like this “what goes on the internet, stays on the internet.” When applying for a job or any application, the interviewer will often use Facebook or twitter or other social profiles to see what the person applying gets up to. This means that if there is even a slight relation between the interviewee and an inappropriate post of sorts onto the internet, this can significantly hinder there chances of getting that job or place. This means for todays youth who are creating profiles on social media sites from the age as young as 11, there decisions as a pre-teen can have repercussions on their later life. Is it the job of the parents to restrict their Childs use of social media and use privacy settings provided, or is the job of schools to educate children in the world of social media. 

Another issue which has only become an issue in the last 15-20 years is cyber bullying. A survey was done during 2016 which produced these results. Over half adolescents and teens have been bullied at some point online. More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced threats over the Internet. Over 25% of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their mobile phones or on the internet, however we must remember when analysing all the dangers of social media, that it is not always social media which is the problem, it is how we use it and what we use it for. From these statistics it is very easy to conclude that the issue is social media, should we ban it, is it having a positive influence on children and young people? However I believe it is not social media which is the issue. Much like many morale issues and other issues we have to understand the problem and how to combat it. I feel like the misuse of social media should not go unpunished, and we can see in front of our own eyes the ever changing law and seeing the prosecution of misuse of social media starting to gain momentum in its charges. 

The Importance of Appreciating the Ordinary

by Libby Young

For the youth of today, aspirations for the future are never far from our minds. A popular aspiration is to become successful- but what does this entail? In today’s society, where constant glimpses of celebrities’ lives repeatedly show almost parallel worlds of lavish ostentation, the indications of true success are commonly perceived to include excessive wealth and power. However, not everybody is able to achieve these standards. Indeed, the ideas of wealth and power could hardly exist if they were achieved by everybody due to their comparative nature. Yet the millions of people who do not reach these levels are not and should not be considered “unsuccessful”- indeed they may be better off than those at the top.

Due to our tendency to equate wealth with success, many stumble into the trap of attempting to work themselves to the bone in order to satisfy their goals. Whilst drive is certainly an important attribute, too much can be detrimental. Bronnie Ware, a palliative nurse who counsels the dying in their last days, compiled a list of the most common deathbed regrets. According to her study, the second most common regret was working too hard, with many expressing the wish to have instead spent more time with close family and friends. Out of the top five, there were no references to wishes for more wealth or more power, only desires to have been truer to oneself and to have maintained social interaction. One thought provoking regret was the simple wish to have let oneself be happier.

Moreover, whilst it appears that wealth ceases to become important in life’s final days, it may also be true that only a certain amount is necessary to feel content throughout the majority of a lifetime. Many people idolise the extravagant lifestyles of the few, and daydream about a life spent without difficulty. However, research has suggested that although households with higher incomes were considered “happier” (happiness being difficult to quantify) than those with lower ones, there does exist what is known as the “comfortable standard”. Once this level of wealth has been achieved, earning additional income did not lead to additional levels of happiness.

In addition to this, there are the challenges that a life spent saturated with every desire presents. Many are familiar with the tale of the sword of Damocles: a wealthy and powerful king offers a man the opportunity to live his luxurious lifestyle, on the condition that a sword is suspended above the man's head by a single horsetail hair. Eventually, the unrelenting danger causes the man to beg to be released. Although a classical tale, the truth of it still remains poignant today- that great power often dangles on the edge of a great downfall. Indeed, many classical authors seemed to agree with the sentiment: Euripides wrote in his play Medea: “Excess brings no benefit to us, only greater disasters on a house, when God is angry”.