April 2013 Official Newspaper of the International American School of Warsaw
Hooping it up... for a cause
We Can Do it!
TURN ON, TUNE IN, AND TUNE IN SOME MORE Academic Writing
To each her own gender role
Back to life First football triumph!
More than science! The 10th grade Physics Fair
Becoming our own masters
Troubles Being Teen
INTERNATIONAL AMERICAN SCHOOL • WWW.IAS.EDU.PL • SECRETARY@IAS.EDU.PL UL. DEMBEGO 18 • 02-796 WARSAW, POLAND • +48 22 649 1440
Turn on, and tune in by Linda Murphy
On January 11, 2013, defenders of freedom of the internet and campaigners for full transparency of government activities sustained a great loss. A key person in the struggle against the anti-social government actions, Aaron Swartz, was found dead. His death, officially determined as suicide, has shaken the community which needs leaders and icons, especially in this difficult time when the Internet (the second world of ours) is at risk of censorship and elitist divisions such as the countless attempts to eradicate our free access to the fruits of knowledge and culture. To make it clear, this is not an epitaph for Swartz. I don’t believe we need epitaphs for what has not yet come to an end. The cause that was in fact Swartz’s life still exists and carries on as long as we stand against government actions which limit our freedom, such as ACTA, Stop Online Piracy Act and other associated pacts of oppression. Some call Swartz an activist, others a revolutionary. Who is he really? I’d say it’s a little of both, in a new form.
Once what was voiced was heard and circulated amongst people of the city streets and market squares. Now, as the Internet acts as a means to this social life, what is voiced is typed and what is heard is clicked. Still, Swartz and others like him manifest the old ideal of a revolutionary, as immortalized by the Rolling Stones “Street Fighting Man”. The times have changed, but some things stay the same. It is no longer the 1960’s, when protest swept over America and Europe alike. The Vietnam War has ended; so too the Soviet Union and Apartheid. But what hasn’t changed is best illustrated by a quote from “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss!” Limiting access to cultural material has become an omnipresent practice. Swartz challenged the elitist aspect of the U.S. legal system, the PACER service. PACER is one of the countless initiatives which exists and yet should never be. It is a system which forces people in need of public court documents and archives to pay for their access “per page”. What’s more, the documentation and its storage are funded by public money. So, the people are forced to pay for what they have already paid for twice: once, for the creation of the documents (as all the costs were covered with state money; i.e. taxes) and twice, for accessing what is in fact property of every citizen of the USA.
INTERNATIONAL AMERICAN SCHOOL • WWW.IAS.EDU.PL • SECRETARY@IAS.EDU.PL UL. DEMBEGO 18 • 02-796 WARSAW, POLAND • +48 22 649 1440
tune in, some more by Michał Kolwas
Swartz then did something more, which might have contributed to such an attack on his person. He officially challenged SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), a bill which the movie industry has been trying to enforce in order to increase its income. The income of Hollywood in 2012 was an all-time record, and it looks as if the monster wants more cash.
Swartz managed to outsmart the government’s new cash cow. He downloaded 20% of the database and then made it public. For free. Her did not take a penny of revenue for himself. This caused a storm. Federal judges intervened in countless violations against privacy, such as the inclusion of classified personal information into public documents, such as names of minors involved in legal cases. The next target of Swartz was JSTOR, an online publisher of academic materials such as scientific articles. The company took fees for distribution, but did not pay the authors and actual owners of the work. It was taking the cash for what was intended as free. Swartz was arrested for breaking into JSTOR’s storage on MIT servers, and since was harassed by the U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, who representing the FBI and MIT as plaintiffs, launched a money-hungry crusade against him.
Here is the core of the whole case. Artifacts of culture should be freely available for the sake of equal opportunities for all people, no matter of their nationality or wealth status. That’s why I believe governments should not put restraints on internet distribution. The problem is that everyone in the endless chain wants to drain money for “services”, starting with basics such as communications, transport and elementary needs. Paid access to amenities. Paid transport. Paid access to drinkable water. Why don’t these thieves tax breathing or tax the air? Therefore, like Swartz we should resist what we perceive as unlawful government overreach and defend our rights to what is naturally ours, like a dog deserves the bone. We deserve legal equality, free access to culture and knowledge. I won’t officially say that it would be good to toss rocks at the authorities, accompanied by beats of “Street Fighting Man”. It would certainly be spectacular, one of those dire shows that causes me to grin with inappropriate satisfaction. But what I will say is that we should fight for what belongs to us in a free society, and by all means take part in that elegant style of revolution Swartz will now represent as an icon for change.
The overreach committed by Ortiz and the FBI brings up memories of infamous FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, the de facto head of a police state, collecting secret dossiers, using undercover agents to monitor “threatening” people, even though there was officially no investigation concerning any of them.
Back TO to lifeHER GEN RO by Linda Murphy
In the last months, students from 9th and 10th grade Creative
Performance, taught by Mr. Dr. McBride, were given the assignment to take images from the past and recreate them. Our first task was to find pictures that had meaning to us. Following this, we were told to come up with ideas of how to recreate them. After we all presented our pictures, we decided as a class which ones were the best and worthy of the process. Then we worked in groups and individually on specific “reenactments”.
I worked with Harriet Adeleke on an image that Nnenna Josakweker had brought to the table. We decided to work on the famous “We can do it” poster from 1943, created by J. Howard Miller. The image of a woman in work clothes flexing her bicep muscle was used as a piece of wartime propaganda, encouraging American women to support the war effort by taking up the industrial jobs vacated by the men. It has lived on as a representation of the right for women to work in fields previously denied them, and has promoted feminism. Harriet and I were proud to bring this piece of art back to life. The hardest aspect was getting the right pose and position. We didn’t have any problems with the clothes or makeup, but when the time came for the photo shoot, we discovered more challenges than anticipated. Harriet was the model for the picture, and since the original figure has a very specific look, it was difficult to get the exact expression in her face. Bold, confident, stern. Now as for Harriet, we all know she loves to laugh, which made the process of getting a serious face longer….but a lot more enjoyable. She gave a lot of character and power to the image and was a great partner to work with.
On a more personal note, Mohit Keswani recreated a photo of himself playing cricket when he was a young boy. We all know Mohit LOVES cricket. In the picture, he is wearing his cricket uniform, the same hat, and swinging the same bat. He managed to take the picture with his motion in the exact same form as when the original was taken—an impressive feat. Mohit did a great job in recreating a past memory. And Harriet and I? We were able to recreate a societal memory, a bit of culture. All the images may be frozen in time, but the ideals they represent—youth, innocence, feminine strength—they remain fluid and present. It is important to honor the meaningful moments from the past, keep them alive in the “now”, so that we don’t forget what is worth remembering.
INTERNATIONAL AMERICAN SCHOOL • WWW.IAS.EDU.PL • SECRETARY@IAS.EDU.PL UL. DEMBEGO 18 • 02-796 WARSAW, POLAND • +48 22 649 1440
O EACH TO EACH RHER OWN OWN GENDER NDER ROLE OLE by Razan Al-Enezi
The reinvented “We can do it!” image, produced by Linda
Murphy and Harriet Adeleke, stirred a debate about gender roles in society, how they’re based on stereotypes of “masculine” and “feminine”. Is a woman flexing her muscles “masculine?” A man who cooks “feminine”? Can a woman be both feminine and masculine? How does a culture assign which is which….and why?
like sports. That’s how the power of gender roles is internalized, by upholding unwritten social laws. Is this a problem? It depends. For example, if you’re a man, you’re assumed to be independent, aggressive, and ambitious whereas if you’re a woman, you are expected to be submissive, emotional, and caring. It’s fine to be an ambitious man, fine to be a caring woman. But notice how people associate “strong” with “ambition” and “weak” with “caring”. So it is really assumed that men must be strong, and women weak. A strong woman? This can be frightening. This idea is what Linda and Harriet’s poster challenges. Stereotyping individuals from childhood leads to misunderstanding; for example, the floated hypothesis that men and women should play their different roles, that both roles are important and necessary, and hence there is equality. This statement simply isn’t true. Men and women are equal because they are equal. It’s only our individuality that differentiates us.
Gender roles reinforce behavior deemed appropriate to our sex. They’re cemented at a tender age and upheld by people who’ve internalized the power structures of gender. Breaking this "natural order" is painful. For example, if you do something out of “character”, you're punished by those who are in character; thus, young boys might mock another who does not
Before World War II, it was expected that a man be sole provider for his family. Society discouraged women from doing a man’s work. Women were expected to be housewives, nurses, shop assistants, and secretaries. But the war changed all that. Women were needed to do the industrial jobs usually done by men and this necessity forced society to rethink gender roles. Women could do the work, as well as the men. And now they serve in the army, are pilots, and go wherever their will takes them. Where there’s a will, why should there be a gender role in the way?
China in need of ….canned air? by Aristianna Voureka
On February 15th, 2013, a 10,000 ton meteor exploded over the Russian town of Chelyabinsk, the most destructive meteor collision since 1908 (which also happened to take place in Russia). Events like this remind us how vulnerable we are as people, and how wealth and class have no absolute effect when it comes to our survival. These “futuristic” moments also remind us that we should be careful with what we wish for. For example: have you ever watched one of those science fiction movies, or read a sci-fi book, where people travel in flying cars and wear oxygen masks before going outside? For all we know these are just fantasies, but can these fictional plots ever be realized, like meteors falling from the sky? To my story: chaos ran loose when Chinese billionaire and philanthropist Chen Guangbiao turned the spotlight on himself by deciding to launch his own marketing “campaign”. His product? Guangbiao was to sell fresh air….in soft drink cans. The idea took shape when Guangbiao stood on a Beijing sidewalk, on a typical Wednesday, and handed out cans filled with what he said was unpolluted air from other areas of China and neighboring countries. The bizarre move took citizens by surprise and stirred many opinions; some thought his stunt was a joke just for attention. Joke or not, attention was given and thanks to Guangbiao’s boldness, more Chinese are starting to realize the problems their country is facing as a foul smog swallows up much of it. Guangbiao himself said in an interview, “I want to tell majors, country chiefs and heads of big companies—don't just chase GDP growth or the biggest profits at the expense of our children and grandchildren and at the cost of sacrificing our ecological environment." And as crazy as this might sound, the campaign seems to be working quite well! On the first day alone, the total canned air sold in Beijing summed $800, and it still continues to be sold in shops and even over the internet. One can costs about 8 Chinese Yuan (or 80 cents) and there are even flavors, like "pristine Tibet" and "post-industrial Taiwan."
Is it possible that a man-made fiction can shape our reality, as well as the supernatural? How do we respond to meteor blasts, to diminishing fresh air? Maybe these events are here to show us that flying cars and space houses are not so far from today; or worse, that our time on this planet is limited. So next time you come up with a fantastical excuse for your missing homework, or the mysteriously half eaten cake, think it over well….because there is a chance your imagination is true.
Media and Culture
One Direction: Red Nose Day by: Harriet Adeleke
As a few of my peers know, I’m a big fan of One Direction (1D). Lots of people, especially in our school, refer to these boys as gay or ugly or whatever. But in fact, the haters are just jealous and acting childish. These boys are the sweetest things ever created. I may be an unbiased pop culture critic (ah-hem), but I love One Direction with my soul. Most people view celebrities as selfish rich people. Stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Beyonce for example. Some fancy them, others don’t. Like I’m not a very big fan of Nicki Minaj, but I won’t insult her because my sister is pretty much obsessed with her (My advice: if you don’t like a singer or group, then keep it to yourself. Someone else does!). We’re all entitled to our own opinions, of course. So I want to back mine up. The boys in One Direction are more than market-made teen idols. They’re trying to make a difference in the world, and that’s what this article is about. This past January, 1D took part in a Comic Relief charity tour in Ghana. They visited the city of Accra and recorded the official song for the “Red Nose Day” event, which was released on March 15th. The proceeds from the song will provide relief to some of the most impoverished places on earth. The videos of 1D’s stay in Accra brought me to tears. Seeing the band leader Niall Horan cry broke my heart. “I’ve seen the slums right in front of me!” he tweeted. “This is no joke! They really need our help! Poverty is real!”
Let’s think about being in these kids’ shoes for a moment. It’s hard to imagine. We complain about not having enough everyday and all these kids have is a dream. We complain about not having enough clothes or not wanting to be in school some days of the week. Meanwhile, they’d give anything to have different clothes for each day or a basic education. But we can get involved. All it takes is five pounds. Five pounds to make a difference and trust me, it really does make a difference. The boys new hit single, a cover of Blondie’s “One Way or Another”, can be viewed on YouTube. Instead of wasting money to create an artificial music video, they decided to film it themselves while they were on tour. These boys mean a lot, not only to their fans like me, but to complete strangers. They started off like many others. They came to the X Factor individually and were put together to form one of the best bands of our day. 1D not only inspires us, but they inspire themselves as well. I want to be in a band now because of them. If you’ve read this far, maybe your opinion has changed. Maybe not. There’s a lot more to 1D than just boyish good looks. They’re making a difference. Before you judge them, or any “boy band”, think again.
Hooping it up …for a cause by Linda Murphy
On March 14-16, girls from grades 6-8 participated in a middle school basketball tournament in Wrocław. They did not do this only
for sport, as the event’s main goal was to raise money for children suffering from cancer. Organizers managed to raise 10,000 złoty for the Children’s Hospice in Wrocław—that’s called “hooping it up”. The IAS team consisted of Sudi Kim, Oliwia Radomska, Cloe Zinn, Maria Larsen, Shikha Gianchadani, Marianna Olbrych, Ania Gutkowska and Pola Benecka (team photographer!). They were led by coach Maciek and were given a tour of the city while there. I had a chance to speak with Maria who told me the group enjoyed themselves very much. She mentioned that they did not score the highest total of points, but it didn’t matter because the cause was the objective. It’s great to see IAS students making an effort to participate in events that are both fun and difference making. May this trend continue, and let us all do our part to help those less fortunate than ourselves. Great job girls!
It’s just science by Mohit Keswani
On March 25th, the 10th grade staged the first ever IAS Physics Fair—something new and truly inventive. Four groups took part, plus a
magic table, all of us supervised by Ms. Sarika. Group 1 was led by myself (Mohit) and Tommy, group 2 Alex and Temi, group 3 Rohit and Linda, and group 4 Sunny and Damien. The projects ranged from a hovercraft to a ball launcher to a shock pen and an eco-battery (lemon not included!). All of the tables on display had their charms. Groups 1 and 3 featured multiple “small” projects, while groups 2 and 3 focused on the “big” (like the popular hovercraft). It will be unfair to judge any table as the number one attraction, as all of them provided an enlightening break in studies for the rest of the school. At the end of each 45 minute session, each class was treated to a magic show, which I conducted with no magic at all. It’s just science. And that’s the message we hope everyone received. We’re looking forward to the second annual Physics Fair next year—9th grade, you’re up to bat!
First football triumph!
by Tommy Le
March 23rd, Warsaw Poland. Saturday morning I reached
the Meridian School’s Futsal Hall for the Meridian Principal Cup. In previous years, IAS had lost to every team in the tournament. During warm-ups, coach Maciek called us down for a pep talk. We decided that our aim was not to give up many goals and maintain a solid defense.
Our first match was with Lauder-Morasha. Our defense was strong and we managed to pressure the opponent with attacks and fine passes. Then, striker Jakob Daniluk broke through with our first goal. We were ecstatic! Morasha counter-attacked and evened the match. But when the referee whistled the match over, the score was 5-3…in favor of IAS! Jakob scored all five goals. The result blew our minds. Coach Maciek congratulated us and our spirits were high. In our second match against Meridian I, we faced players that were bigger and stronger. We played great defense the entire match. Just one minute was left and the score was 0–0. We prepared for the draw. Then, suddenly, the referee blew his whistle and signaled for a free kick. Robert Raptis was fouled near the goal! Meridian I prepared their wall and Robert planned his attack. Robert decided shoot straight at the wall and the ball went under the feet of the jumping opponent, leaving space enough for it to spin into the bottom-left corner. The atmosphere went wild! Meridian I argued that the free kick was unfair, but to no avail. The final whistle blew: IAS 1–0 Meridian I. We had secured our position in the semifinals and giddy players posted the news on facebook. Our next match was against Gymnasium 99. This time, we were determined to win.
The match began well, as we scored the first two goals. However, they counter-attacked and evened the score at 2-2. But we were determined and won the match 4–2. We had won our group. In the semifinal, we were up against Gymnasium 24, a team that played to four draws in their group matches. This gave us confidence. We won the match easily, 4–1, and were headed to the finals. Guess who? Our nemesis—Meridian I. We got lucky the first time with the free kick. And now, they wanted revenge. We studied their players before the match and they were staring back at our souls, consumed with anger. We decided on a different game plan, to go on the attack. Jacob Daniluk scored the first goal. Then Meridian I got their equalizer. Payback. But then our brave Daniluk crippled their defenses and scored, giving us the advantage. After many successful saves on our end, they got their second equalizer—an embarrassing goal that sailed by the goalkeeper’s blocked vision. Then it happened, the last minute—déjà vu. Again a foul by the goal, again a free kick awarded to Robert Raptis! He shot it into the back corner and gave us the winning goal. The referee blew the final whistle. We couldn’t believe what we achieved. The local crowd was silent and I pinched myself just to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming. Championship match score: IAS 3–2 Meridian I. Jakob Daniluk, with 13 goals in all, was given the tournament’s “golden boot” as top scorer. Coach Maciek lifted the cup for the school. Check it twice: IAS is a champion.
Technology and Leisure
ROBOTS, LIFEGUARDS AND BEER by Sunny Dong
Technology has taken us quite far if you think about it. A few years ago, the idea of smart phones was astonishing, but now it has become a cultural norm. Now we just sit around and wait for further news about new Apple products…but what if we expanded our thinking? What about the real endgame of the technology dream—the creation of fully functional robots that we anticipated a decade or more ago? The drones that we hear about in the military are one step. We use them as toys and tools and of course as security measures; but what about human-like robots? Have we entered the futuristic era that we dreamed of and still envision in movies? When we hear the word “robot”, we imagine the humanoids that commonly appear in action movies, for example the “Terminator”. But in 2013, robots have served us in more realistic forms. Last summer, the robotic lifeguard “Emily” saved people from drowning for the first time. A father and his son were caught in a riptide along the Oregon coast and Emily dived in to save them. You’re probably imagining a human-like lifeguard, but Emily actually looks like a coffin. It’s a controllable floating boat-tube that obtains quite the speed. The small motorboat-robot is faster and more efficient than an actual lifeguard with his swimming strokes. Emily speeds across the water to help distressed civilians and she provides safety until a person can help.
Apart from saving people’s lives, what else can robots do? Well, they can help out in restaurants and homes. Willow Garage of Menlo Park, California has been developing a home friendly robot for a long time now. The CEO, early Google employee Steve Cousins, has sped up the development. Although it isn’t at its final stages, the robot can freely fold laundry and help around home. It can help around the kitchen and the dining table too. It can serve plates and of course, beer. The robot can also help the disabled with their needs. We can expect a lot from Willow
Garage in the near future. Given the rapid pace of innovation, who knows what the robot will be able to do by 2020. Serve a martini?
As a kid born in the final years of the 20th century, it seems as if I was born rather a millennium ago. I was always dreaming of the distant future where robots and I could become friends, like the Jetsons family and their robot Rosy. That day is here. And since we are currently at the age of transformational discovery, we will undergo some memorable decades of surprise and change to our lifestyle….until perhaps we all become lazy and fat while letting the robots do all of our daily chores, and our heroic deeds too.
Troubles Being Teen
Becoming our own masters by Nnenna Josakweker
If we traveled back in time to a college classroom of 1900,
what would we find? A professor standing at the front of the room lecturing, students sitting in rows taking notes on paper, some interaction between the students and the professor—probably not so much between students. We would see books, pencils, a chalkboard and erasers. There wouldn’t be laptops, projectors, iPads and iPhones. No one would be surfing the web or sending instant messages to people in another classroom or on the other side of the world. Today all these signs of technology are visible in colleges and high school and on down the line.
The impact of technology on our learning environment is significant. The introduction of information technology has not only changed our lifestyle, but it has provided us a new way of thinking - a new way of looking at problems and solutions. It is giving us more options, perhaps more confusion too. Technology can be an aid to students who once played the role of classroom tutor. All these former “nerds” won’t have to sit for hours trying to teach a solution in algebra. Now, they can just turn a shoulder and be like, “Google it.” Is technology in schools bad? It has some negative impact. For example,the study environment gets polluted with media—hence, minds of students become distracted! Easy access to the virtual world makes us lazy physically and intellectually. With the presence of technology, critical thinking and skillful analysis, the basics of intellectual development, are gradually vanishing. Also, technology has become so powerful and efficient that it has made teachers not only less active, but more importantly, substitutable. Think
about the interactive nature of some learning websites, and then compare to a teacher reading from the class textbook. In this case, the technology is both good and bad. But the real difficulty regarding technology and education is outside of the classroom. Many students do not see them as a pair. Instead, they choose technology over education. For example, instead of writing an essay, we go first to our video chat room or Facebook or the X-Box. To a considerable degree, we have become so dependent on technology that it is changing what it means to be human. No offense, but some able-bodied teenagers are obese because half the day is spent in front of a screen. Students are not as active and hard working as they were in the past. Anything you want, you can look it up on the internet and it’s there. We don’t even have to go outside to shop. Just download, order, wait for the mail. We’re losing our ability to set goals and the single-minded focus to achieve them. You have to have a purpose in life to move forward. Vegging in front the computer defeats that purpose. Technology welcomes us with open hands but at the same time it enslaves us; it’s becoming our master. Humans are acquiring the right technology but for the wrong reasons. That’s the problem! And this is what we will have to face for many and many more years to come; like the saying, “nothing good comes easy.”
Our Virtual World
To Facebook To Facebo and back and back by Oliwia Budny
I keep hearing: “When I was your age, instead of playing with that computer I was playing with a ball” or “Leave Facebook and do something useful” or “Because of that internet you're becoming a zombie!” I'm probably not the only one who has heard such words from our parents, grandparents or older siblings...
I've never really cared about these comments. I don't remember even taking them into consideration. “Times changed,” I thought. The world is changing and so are we. That's life, since always... Recently, I came back home and my first action was opening my laptop and visiting our favorite social network. I was shocked when I didn't notice a green dot by the names of my closest friends. Then I was shocked twice. What happened that they are offline….and what happened with me that I'm shocked?! Maybe those anxious about computers are right and we are wrong. If you are not on Facebook, you don't exist? Maybe today the old proof for being, “I think, therefore I am”, can be replaced with a new version: “I am online, therefore I am”. The more people can see me online, the safer is my residence in the world. If Facebook activity is an illusion, that “to matter, means to be seen”, then maybe it's time to end it? Try something else??
Kate Baldo, a school psychologist in New York, has noticed that, “Teenagers lose some basic social abilities because they are totally absorbed by their ipods, cellphones, video games. I can observe that everyday in the school hallway where young people can't say hello to each other or make eye contact.” “Right!” I thought. Making eye contact announces trouble, sacrificing that precious time for going under the surface. That would mean a suspension of further pleasures, sliding deeper into other tempting surfaces. You know what I mean….links, pages, virtual spaces… During my first days off Facebook, I thought about the good and bad sides of life on the internet. Facebook gives me a chance to contact so many people daily. I can “meet” people that live hundreds kilometers away. That is a great advantage of this type of social activity. Such virtual relations let us break immediately some uncomfortable connections. Ending relationships with one click protects me from the effects of more intimate relations. Another plus, there are no contradictions and misunderstandings, which comprise the nightmare of living “outside”. Getting to know somebody on Facebook is free from suspicions that the move I just made was a mistake...an irreversible mistake.
I turned off my profile. Let's see if I disappear. Or maybe I'll appear in a different dimension. I'll change the flat screen meetings for real ones! A week without Facebook!
k ook Another advantage is that, above all, I can create my identity. I always look good, I'm smart and funny. I can update my personality anytime I feel like it. Today, I can be into football and tomorrow fashion, posting and liking suitable sites. I know everything about people that they want me to know. I know what is the current most popular meme, the song everyone is crazy about, the biggest parties, blah blah blah. We couldn't have that without the virtual world. That is one of the major reasons we are constantly going back to it….and having less and less time for the real one. Disadvantages? Of great impact living in the web is seeing social relationships and obligations not as something lasting and long term, but as snapshots. Short moments that are just a small part of the whole constantly changing process. The ability for fast multiplying interpersonal contacts causes that the relations are short, shallow and less lasting than real friendships. We are getting used to that and feel disgust towards anything that smells like a long-term commitment. What starts to be more important are not shared memories, long walks or talks or just spending time together but “being in sight”. We just need to inform everyone what we are doing, what we think, what we dream about, what we regret, what we are happy or upset about…
In the best case, Facebook is full of excitable pranks and gags, you know, the stuff that keeps a circle of friends together and laughing: how much we drink, what we “don't remember”, where somebody passed out or had a casual encounter. The worst part is that this connection has no other sense except for the need of informing, reminding everyone about yourself. The more I write on my wall, the more often people will read it, the greater chances I have to become popular from being popular…I am online! I am! But how are my thoughts useful anyway? A week without Facebook and what came of it? Clean room, a couple of books read, all the episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” watched. I activated my account after exactly a week. Nothing changed. Someone is in a relationship, someone posted new photos and someone is throwing a birthday party. Good that I'm back on Facebook, because I might have missed it… Conclusion? Who cares, I came back and everyone would do the same because that's how it is.
Science and Health
An Amazing Discovery by Mohit Keswani
DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is a topic studied by every student of biology (whether he likes it or not!). As our biology teachers tell us, 60 years ago scientists Watson and Crick discovered the double helix of DNA, now one of the most recognizable natural structures ever documented. DNA has been called many things, king of m o l e c u l e s, blueprint of life, but originally it is said to be genetic code. It is a material closely related to chromosomes and genes.
Recently, researchers at the Cambridge University discovered a four-stranded DNA structure within human cells. This discovery could totally change our understanding of human DNA, and open doors for cancer treatment and a new world of medical treatment. The researches have published a paper proving the existence of what is officially called “Quadruple DNA”. They have been doing research for the past 10 years, and finally have achieved something. They say it is still a mystery but we could be at the start of something revolutionary. In the past, G-Quadruple DNA already had existed in lab experiments, but never in human cells until the Cambridge discovery. In order to track more information on quadruple DNA, the scientists developed a protein antibody capable of binding only to G-Quadruple DNA, so it could differentiate from the double helix.
The quadruple structure can form at any time, but is particularly common during a stage of cell replication, which is something cancer cells undergo very rapidly. By targeting the quadruples, it may be possible to target genes within cancer cells and disrupt their ability to spread throughout the body. So, it might bring a change to the way doctors approach their treatment of cancer, and from there can originate new modern therapies. The recent findings have not been able to be correlated to RNA, which means some of their information could be inaccurate. But consistently giving proofs and evidence to support the idea will do the world a world of good. It may not only bring more cancer patients to health, but also provide treatments that save time and money. Lastly, the evolved treatments could reduce side-effects typical to traditional methods of treating cancer, because it will be easier to directly attack the cancer cell using robotic surgery. It’s still too early to draw conclusions, as scientists do not know how the body will respond to potential treatments. But all in all, the discovery of Quadruple DNA will likely change many lives and bring development to the ways of medical science and biological treatment. One amazing discovery could lead to many more, so biology students beware—our field is constantly changing, and we should always be prepared for something new to happen!!
Destination Vietnam A War Torn Paradise by Tommy Le
From sandy beaches to the blue sea, war memorabilia to exotic cuisine – in Vietnam, everyone will find something to suit their taste. Previously
occupied by the French, and later devastated by an American-Soviet proxy war, Vietnam has transformed into an attractive holiday destination. Vietnam has evolved in infrastructure and hospitality, offering beaches free of charge, clean water, soft sand, palm trees and homemade delicacies delivered to tourist hotspots. You can also find native villages in the mountains and war museums featuring American and Vietnamese tanks, airplanes and other weaponry.
If you love beaches, the feeling of a natural paradise, and the nostalgia or a war torn past, you should visit.
NHA TRANG Early in the morning, you will find in large woven baskets mangoes, dragon-fruit, papayas, lychee and many other exotic fruits. For lunch, large iron cauldrons filled with freshly cooked lobsters and crabs straight from the sea. For dessert, some sweet coconut milk followed by sweet rice pies. If you’re bored with sunbathing, you can always go for scuba diving or snorkeling. Many tourists also take boat trips to the nearby islands, where they can observe fish and corals while sipping a nice cup of Vietnamese coffee. Boat trips often end with impromptu concerts where tourists perform songs from their native country, so be prepared and keep your repertoire up-to-date!
HO CHI MINH CITY To explore Vietnam’s history, visit Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon. You will find various war museums and can see what has become of the city taken over by the North. The most compelling sight is the Cu Chi tunnels. Located in the Cu Chi district, this 250 km tunnel complex was built by the Vietcong and North Vietnamese Army. There’s also a war museum, a Memorial for War Heroes and a tourist favorite – a souvenir shop selling soldiers’ helmets, toys made from bullet shells, bullet fragment key-chains, necklaces and more makeshift items.
VUNG TAU Vung Tau is home to the most famous seafood restaurants in Vietnam. But beware: people there love to scam, so always ask for the price of each dish and return any dishes you didn’t order. All you need to do is state that you are a “culinary expert” or food critic for CNN and they will back off. They might even treat you like a king. This is just a taste of Vietnam…to get the true story, you have to visit and make your own discoveries. I guarantee you will.
Another attraction in Cu Chi is the firing range where real soldiers train to shoot. At times, tourists are allowed to try out 10 different guns ranging from the AK47 to the M16. The guns shoot live ammunition, purchased for roughly $2 a piece. Some advice: don’t go crazy shooting bullets. I saw a German couple fire a 100 bullet round on an M249 SAW (Heavy Machine Gun), costing them $200…and they can’t even take the souvenir bullet shells past the airport. So, try out every weapon and shoot about five rounds from each just to get the feeling.
Be a Veg Being a meat-eater or a vegetarian is an individual choice.
There are multitudinous reasons based on science, health, religion and culture that can shape and even change our thinking. I have written this article to help us think over the matter more seriously.
People in this world become vegetarian due to different motives; some want to have a healthier life, others love nature and want to reduce pollution and animal suffering. Now, I am not saying that eating meat should be prohibited, but there are more benefits to being a vegetarian, both for us as individuals and for the environment. I will begin with scientific reasons. If you start eating a vegetarian diet, you will reduce the amount of diseases within your organism. According to National Center of Health Statistics, a vegetarian diet is healthier because it does not consume animal fat and has less cholesterol. Instead, it has more fiber and it is antioxidant-rich. So if you want to be healthier, stay away from doctors and start a vegetarian diet. A vegetarian diet can also cause weight reduction because it includes less saturated fats and emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plant-based proteins, all lower calorie foods. People believe that we get protein from meat. The average human body needs 40 grams of protein a day. A typical breakfast containing a glass of milk, slice of bacon and piece of toast totals 40 grams. If we include lunch and dinner we will see that a normal meat eating diet contains more than 40 grams a day! It is excess which is most unhealthy for us. A vegetarian diet, including protein rich nuts, beans, soy and some greens, has all the protein we need. Now, lets get to the religious or ethical point of view. The most obvious justification for vegetarianism is the golden rule of “do unto others”….just imagine someone killing you, cooking you, and eating you! How would you feel?
Now you might think, how can I compare animals and humans, but actually we have evolved from animals. They are sentient beings, like us, and I don’t know how the conscience remains unaffected by eating a dead being. Animal intelligence should not be questioned. Our union is at a much deeper layer. For example, if you see a man hitting a dog with his cricket bat, your instincts would be to stop him. You would take action because you know this animal has its own rights to be free of harm. Every animal on this planet, whether it is a mammal, amphibian, fish, reptile, insect, we are all earthlings. And all earthlings have two things in common: the desire to live and to be free of pain and suffering. Though we tend to diminish them, all animals have feelings, just like us. If we put our hand to a flame, our natural reaction is to jerk it back. If we do the same with an animal, it will have the same reaction. But if we put a vegetable to a flame, it will just burn. It does not have feelings, it does not have a nervous system. This is a proof for what we can eat naturally. And I haven’t even spoken about reincarnation yet! But I won’t put you through it….let’s move on to the environmental and cultural reasons. A vegetarian diet cleans the environment because raising animals for food in large scale industrial complexes causes air and water pollution. From here originate diseases. The top two diseases, heart disease and cancer, are produced from non-vegetarian food. On the cultural side, attitudes vary. In the U.S., eating a pig is
getarian by Mohit Keswani
normal while dogs are pets. In China, dogs are food. In India, cows are sacred, and in Muslim and Jewish states, pigs are off-limits. So everywhere there are different sets of customs. What this really shows is that culture is just a story, a kind of “make believe”. So the question is, what is natural to the human species? The answer to that can be given by an example. If we take a 3 year old and put him in a room with five different animals, a cow, dog, cat, pig, and chicken, what is he going to do? His instinct is not to prey on one; rather, he will choose to play with all of them! This just shows that we don’t choose our own diet. Our parents have chosen it for us, based on the culture they have. This is not natural. What is natural is that all of these animals are our companions. Is it such a crazy idea? Not for people like Einstein, Newton, Darwin, Da Vinci, and Gandhi…they were all vegetarians. Healthy mind, healthy body. To my final example: milk. We have all been taught that milk makes our bones stronger. Now, this information is preposterous. 75% of the human population is lactose intolerant. This vast majority suffers from diarrhea and digestive problems due to drinking cow’s milk. Cow’s milk is produced for baby cows. It is not for humans. The time in life when humans need milk is their infancy, and that’s when we
receive our own mother’s milk. The #1 cause of food allergies among infants and children is cow’s milk. The country which has the highest consumption of milk—the U.S.— also has the highest rate of osteoporosis; that is, weak bones! Any product that comes from an animal has animal protein. That animal protein is high in sulfur. When we put that in our body, it becomes acidic. Our body is not supposed to be acidic, but rather alkaline. So our body has to neutralize. It releases the calcium and the bones become weak. That is how cow’s milk, thought to be good for the bones, is actually bad for them.
I’ll stop here. But you shouldn’t! Consider all these basic reasons for being vegetarian: it is good for us, it saves energy and precious resources, it is better for the environment, it is better for our animals companions, it is good for the spirit and mind, it is good for the world. Do you want a better world? Step one—be a vegetarian.
The Adventures of Blondelle by Lilla Orly
Chapter 3, A Curious Prop The following hour at the Olympia concert hall was very busy. All audience members were told to return for questioning. Several more police officers had arrived to aid with the search of Gaby Deslys’s body. Blondelle, being the natural storyteller she was, had no trouble whatsoever when being questioned by a burly officer. Frederic, on the other hand, was having a hard time. “So you’re telling me you came here with your parents?” asked the husky-voiced policeman. “Yes, well, no,” said Frederic, looking anywhere but at the officer before him. Blondelle stood a few paces behind the officer, gesturing wildly with her arms to help Frederic in the right direction. “So is that a yes or no?” asked the man, agitated. Frederic looked pleadingly at Blondelle. She nodded her head vigorously. “Yes,” replied Frederic. “And where are they now?” “Th-there,” Frederic pointed in no direction in particular. “Right, I think that’s enough. Next!” shouted the officer, clearly relieved to be finished with Frederic. “Let’s get out of here,” whispered Frederic to Blondelle, “all this interrogation business is setting me on edge.” “Are you kidding?!” Blondelle replied.“This is possibly the most interesting thing to ever happen in Paris, and you want to leave?!” “Yes! We’ve done all we can, now let’s go.” “I’m not leaving,” said Blondelle, crossing her arms and glaring at Frederic. “I-I,” Frederic began to weaken against Blondelle’s piercing gaze. “Alright fine!” “Good. OK I have a plan. We need to find a way to get underneath the stage; we might be able to find something useful there and...” Blondelle’s voice faded. She had noticed a large figure slipping through the front doors. Without hesitation, she began weaving her way through the crowd of anxious, tired, and curious men and women. She stepped out into the dark night and looked around for the familiar shape she had seen. “Hey!” she shouted, noticing the man turning a corner to her right. The man spun around, recognizing Blondelle, and sped around the corner. This didn’t come as a shock to Blondelle, and she wasn’t worried that her suspect would get away. She knew Paris like the back of her hand. She ran into the nearest alley and quickly made her way through the labyrinth of dark streets and narrow passages. She made a sharp turn and exited into a main street, where, just as she had hoped, the large, mustached man she had met backstage, ran into her. “AGH!” he screamed as they collided. “Well, if this isn’t déja vu then I don’t know what is,” Blondelle joked,“do you remember me from earlier today? We bumped into each other after Mme Deslys’s performance.”
“I don’t recall ever meeting you,” he answered menacingly. “Where are you off to, Monsieur?” asked Blondelle, taking on the air of a detective. “None of your business, girl.” The man’s voice was becoming increasingly austere. Blondelle became tired of his bitterness. “Alright sir, I’m no Sherlock Holmes, but I can tell that you’re looking particularly suspicious. Running away after I spotted you at the scene of the crime? Sounds like you’re hiding something. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been questioned by an officer yet,” Blondelle lied, “and I don’t see a problem in telling them that I saw a strange man sneaking away shortly after Mme Deslys’s death...” “I,” the man’s tough appearance began to falter as his forehead creased and his shoulders dropped. “OK, you’re right I was backstage, but not for the reason you think! I would never kill Gaby. I loved her!” “You loved her?” Blondelle asked, surprised. She then remembered the envelope she had found earlier and pulled it from her pocket. “You mean Gaby wrote this letter to you?” “Where did you get that?!” the man’s voice thundered. “In Gaby’s dressing room. But answer my question. Did she write it for you?” “No. She didn’t. That’s why I was backstage. Lately, Gaby had been acting very strange. She wouldn’t talk to me very much and when she did, she seemed distracted. I assumed she had been seeing someone else. So I snuck into her dressing room during her performance to see if I could find anything to prove my theory. That’s when I found that.” The man’s voice cracked and he began sobbing. “I was in her dressing room when I heard shouting and I was afraid I would get caught. So I resealed the letter and made a run for it. I just can’t believe she’s d-dead.” “I’m sorry Monsieur...what’s your name?” “Vincent Bardeaux.” “Well thank you Mr. Bardeaux, I’m sorry for your loss. I promise I won’t say anything to the police.” They shook hands and Blondelle walked past him, returning to the theatre. When she arrived at the hall, she saw Frederic outside. “Where have you been?!” he shouted. “Interrogating a suspect. Where have you been?” “I found a way to get underneath the stage,” answered Frederic proudly. “Perfect! Lead the way!” Instead of going inside, Frederic led Blondelle around to the back of the theatre where a stage door was held open by a piece of wood. “Policemen are standing guard by the other entrance,” explained Frederic. He then led Blondelle to the stage where a small door was open. “Ooh! Bravo Frederic!” Blondelle squealed, clapping her hands with delight. They crouched and entered the opening. It was dark, but for a small red bulb that cast an eerie light upon the space. The expanse of the room was filled with racks of costumes and trunks. Blondelle opened the trunk nearest her and began pulling out props. “What are you doing?” Frederic hissed. “Having a bit of fun!” Blondelle giggled, throwing a feathery boa around her neck. She made her way to the next trunk and opened it. Blondelle let out a blood-curdling scream. Inside the trunk lay Gaby Deslys’s body.
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Official Newspaper of the International American School of Warsaw. issue 19