All posts by Zach Love

The Holiday Season: Where NOT to Go

The holiday season: the time to receive presents, meet family, and wait all night for Santa to come. But sometimes, you want to “get away from it all”, and enjoy a relaxing vacation. We WERE going to give you the places that you should go, but there are so many locations, it would be better to list the places that you shouldn’t  go!For one, going to an outdoor water park in the middle of December may not be the brightest idea ever. However, you’ll have a blast sledding down the slides. Just don’t go on the curly ones. But if you absolutely HAVE to go to a water park, you really should go to an indoor water park, where there is actual water, and ways to contact the hospital.

The Arctic would not be a good choice, either, considering the travel prices would be ENORMOUS, and the neighbors are not exactly friendly. Not to mention the incredible cold that has frozen many other vacationers. But it’s all worth it to meet Santa, right?

Ah, the beach. You can play in the sand with friends, go surfing, and eat sand-filled sandwiches. In the summer. In the summer you can do all these things at the beach. Unfortunately, winter on the beach could find you JUST a bit cold wearing only a pair of swim trunks. You might also be slipping and sliding instead of swimming and snorkeling.

The moon would not be a good place to vacation during the winter. Or any other time, really. The cold vacuum of space would most likely freeze you to death, regardless of the season. Also, you may possibly choke to death from lack of air. Just a small deterrent. That astronaut suit that’s been lying around in your closet for years would be a good thing to bring if you DON’T want to suffocate. You might have to bring a bigger suitcase, though because those astronaut suits really take up a lot of space! (Side note: If you do have to bring a lot of baggage along American Spacelines would be a good choice [Baggage is free of charge!].

So, in total, do not go to these places during the holiday season. Ever. They could involve death by starvation, freezing, suffocating, and possibly getting murdered by Santa. Who knows who the guy REALLY is.

~ By Zach Love and Sam Istvan

Camping Trip Comparison

Everyone has fond memories of their Middle School Camping Trips. Bonding with friends, cooking and eating good food, swimming in an ice-cold waterfall, those are the things that people remember.

In the Middle School, students in sixth and seventh grade take a trip to go camping for 3-4 days  at the beginning of the school year, to bond and make friends without the use of electronics. Instead, they engage in activities like whittling together, swimming together, and hiking (a lot) together. They all go by homeroom, to avoid mass confusion. This article is going to describe the upsides and downsides of each annual camping trip, and choose which one is the best.

6th Grade

The sixth grade camping trip is the first real school trip that lasts more than a few days. The homerooms travel north, to Hickory Run State Park, a campground located in a dense wood in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Each person gets assigned to a lodge, along with some bunkmates, which can range from one to twenty. The lodges are just that, lodges. They are literal small log-cabins, with one big room, two beds, and two closets. The beds don’t really contain a mattress, or anything besides wood, so whoever brought a sleeping bag will be comfier than not. There are screen windows, and a porch outside. There is no electricity, so the more flashlights, the better.

The lodgings don’t have running water, so the nearest bathroom is a short walk away. That doesn’t have electricity, either, but it has running water and gas lamps, a good place to gather. Naturally, since woods often contain bears, the food is stored in a kitchen, which DOES have power, in order to cook. The kitchen is connected to a large mess-hall, which has a fireplace and rustic furniture. At Hickory Run, the 6th graders cook their own food, which can range from nauseating to delicious. The activities mostly are hiking to beautiful places like the Boulder Field, journaling in scenic places in the woods, the infamous stream hike and waterfall and the best part is; you’re allowed to bring a camera to bring home some new desktop wallpapers!

Rating: 7/10

7th Grade

The next year, students go to Camp Mason, which the supplies list says is “located north of the Delaware Water Gap in rural Warren County, near the Appalachian Trail.”

It is also located in a woods, but is more populated. The cabins are much, much different than Hickory Run. There are about 30 kids to a cabin, split into two parts. Each person gets a part of a bunk bed, and there is a small common room in between the sides of the cabin. The cabins have working lights, electricity, and indoor bathrooms, as well as central heating and cooling. The lodgings are all divided up, girls on one side of a road, boys on the other.The food is stored in a mess hall, as well, but it is already prepared for students, but some are disappointed at the lack of quality and abundance of neon colored drinks.

The activities range from canoeing, to rock climbing, high ropes, giant swing, team building to good old-fashioned hiking. At night there is a bonfire with smores and journaling by flashlight.

Rating: 9/10

8th Grade

Rating: ????

The 8th grade camping trip is held in June as a culmination of the Middle School experience and I am hoping that the best is still to come.

~Photos by Jessa Agner and Will Terry

Capoeira

By Sam Istvan
What if you were a slave in Portuguese-settled Brazil in the mid-1550s. You have a horrible life and are forced to exhaust yourself every day. You’d probably want to escape, right? That is the environment that the art of Capoeira was invented in. Recently, our middle school was treated to an assembly on this 500 year old art form by a group of talented performers from Project Capoeira from the Bella Vista section of Philadelphia.

Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art. It began in the 16th century between African slaves at work in Brazil, mostly working on sugar cane plantations. There were many more slaves than Portuguese colonists at that time. Rebellion was continually coming up, but it was always shot down by the fact that slaves were unarmed and many disagreed on what they should do if they were to rebel. Despite that, there were still runaway slaves. Capoeira was developed at that time. It was a fighting style that slaves could use when they were caught trying to run away. The slaves formed groups, kind of like small villages, in hard-to-reach spots. They were called Quilombos and this is where they practiced Capoeira. Despite Quilombos’ carefully planned locations, Colonial Troops continually watched the Quilombos. Martial arts were not allowed to be practiced by the slaves so they needed a way to be able to practice Capoeira without the Colonial Troops realizing it.

To do this, the slaves added rules to it to make it kind of like a game and they also added music to it. This effectively misguided the Troops to believe that it was just a dance or a game. This way, slaves were able to develop skills in the practice of Capoeira and use it when they ran away and were caught by the Colonial Troops. Portuguese soldiers repeatedly stated that, “it was hard to catch them because they defended themselves with a strange moving fighting technique.” When the slaves ran away now, they did it in groups with their whole Quilombos. The governor from one of the provinces in Brazil even said, “It is harder to defeat a Quilombo than it is to defeat the Dutch invaders.” Now in modern times it is mostly done as a game or as a dance as it was mistaken as by the Portuguese troops.

The art of Capoeira usually does not focus on knocking down or destroying the opponent, rather it emphasizes skill. The competitors often just try to takedown their opponent allowing the opponent to recover and get back into the game. It is also very common and expected to slow down a kick inches before hitting the target, so that you can show superiority without injuring the opponent. If an opponent clearly cannot dodge an attack, there is no reason to complete it. However, between two high-skilled competitors, the game can get much more aggressive and dangerous, even though they try to avoid the public seeing those kind of more violent games.

Capoeira might just be another form of a martial art, but it sure has a cool history.

Philadelphia’s Future

What will Philadelphia look like in the future? That has been the question on many people’s minds. Sorry to say, there won’t be nano-robots to take care of our every need, or hovercrafts and personal rockets. According to newsoffuture.com, the future won’t be much different. This is because as stated on the site: “The world has changed a lot in the last 150 years, but we humans are driven by the same basic needs as we were 150 years ago, food, sleep, the feeling of being appreciated and loved. Will this change in the next 150 years? No.”

The article basically says that there will be no future clichés, sorry to say. There will be many technological advances, maybe a primitive virtual reality system based off of our 3D technology, but nothing very fancy. According to the website “The Guardian”, by 2050, our planet will reach 9 billion! Not long after that, we will all be crammed, and we will need more space to expand. All of our forests will be cut down, and we will attempt to terraform to another livable planet. It may be the point where we will become extinct, as no more trees means significantly less breathable air. Not to mention the effects of global warming intensifying. But it’s not as black and white as that. Technological advances will help us a lot. As the article says: “Some claim that computers will, by 2050, achieve human capabilities.” The movie Back to the future II depicts our cliché of the future, even though it says that they are in 2015. There are still hovercrafts and robots, etc.

Another view is of the economy. Almost all of the presidents and governors and even mayors have promised us a better economy, more jobs, and less power to the government. It’s easier said than done. To be able to do that we will need a lot more resources, and that links to another theory, which is relatively dark. According to The Guardian website, our planet will run out of resources, especially oil. As it says on its article: “Earth’s population will be forced to colonize two planets within 50 years if natural resources continue to be exploited at the current rate, according to a report out this week. A study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), to be released on Tuesday, warns that the human race is plundering the planet at a pace that outstrips its capacity to support life. In a condemnation of Western society’s high consumption levels, it adds that the extra planets (the equivalent size of Earth) will be required by the year 2050 as existing resources are exhausted.”

So if we don’t stop our consumption of resources, we will either die out or have to terraform (Move our society to another inhabitable planet or turn an uninhabitable planet into a livable one) but by then we won’t have the resources to change a planet into a livable one, or maybe even create a space shuttle to get there. So the entire future of the planet and maybe even our race sits on our shoulders at this time. (No pressure!) The good news is that we will be way ahead in terms of technology, and life will be generally better. That is the future of Philadelphia. Have fun before that happens!

The End of the World?

People say that December 21, 2012 is the end of the world, because the Mayan calendar ends at that point. Some people have tried and prepared for it, doing things such as quitting their job, spending all of their money on spam, and going around insulting people, because what do they have to lose? Actually, it turns out the world will not end on December 21st. “Why?” you ask. Well, there is a period of time in the Mayan calendar called a baktun, which is approximately 394.26 years. That is the end of the Mayan calendar. Every time a baktun is finished, it restarts itself, much like at the end of the year. You must buy another calendar to have it continue next year. We are in the 13th baktun, and it will end at December 21st. All those who ruined their lives because they had nothing to lose, you are going to lose it all on December 22nd. That is the reason that the world is not+ going to end on December 21st, 2012. Or January 1st, 2000, or 1874, 1878, 1881, 1910, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1941, 1975, 1984, and 1999, when the world was predicted to end.

Watch this for more informative ( and hilarious) information : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hzF3vkmY28&list=UUmQXOAse-VnzuXHebX5I77g&index=5&feature=plcp

Weird Laws

   Here we have listed 15 of the wackiest laws in the U.S, to either keep people safe, or just complete nonsense.

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   In New York, the penalty for jumping off a skyscraper is death.  (“Oops, I “fell” off a skyscraper.”)

   In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to sing in the bathtub.  (How do they catch you doing that?)

   In Connecticut, you can be stopped for biking over 65 miles per hour.  (“Steep hill, eh?”)

   In Kentucky, it is illegal to carry an ice cream cone in your pocket.  (“*Gasp!* is it legal if it melts?”)

   In California, elephants may only walk on Main Street, if they are on a leash. (“Will it fit on the sidewalk?”)

   In Mississippi, you can be arrested for disturbing a church service (What if you have to go to the bathroom?)

   In Wisconsin, butter substitutes may not be served in jails.  (“Sir, I was guarding the prisoners, when one attacked me with butter substitutes, and I was in the hospital for a month!”)

   In Arkansas, it is illegal to mispronounce its name (“’Are-kansas? Ark-a-saw?  Irken-sauce?’ ‘That’ll be 10 years for you, mister!’”)

   In Idaho, it is illegal to shower with the door of the bathroom open.  (What?  Will a robber come in and steal your clothes?)

   In New Hampshire, it is illegal to pick seaweed off the beach.  (Is it an endangered species?)

   In Alaska, it is illegal to push a moose out of a plane.  (“Mooses away!”)

   In New Jersey, it is illegal to wear a bulletproof vest while committing a murder.  (“20 years in jail!  Wait, was he wearing a bulletproof vest?  50 years!”)

   In Texas, it is illegal to convict someone to an unlucky number of years in jail.  (“’13 years in jail!’  ‘  Jail for you too!’  ‘Oops.’”)

   In Massachusetts, it is illegal to eat peanuts in church.  (“Peanuts! The food of Satan!!!”)

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   As you can see, there are some pretty idiotic laws out there, though they never get enforced.  I wouldn’t advise trying them though.  (Especially the New York building thing.)  You never know…