Category Archives: Science & Technology

Animation is no Easy Path

Animation is the displaying of different frames rapidly in sequence to give the illusion of movement. Animation is all around you, yet many people don’t realize all of the hard work that goes into animating an object.

Eighth grade project time offers an animation course taught by Sarah Detwiler for one trimester. During that time the students taking the class learn about different animation techniques as well as watching a great deal of animation. All of the students participating in the project time create their own flip-books as well as illustrating their own animations. Continue reading Animation is no Easy Path

USB Flash Drives: The Good, The Bad and The Corrupted!

Every day, we see flash drives. They come in all shapes, sizes and designs.

What is that?: A USB Flash Drive is a type of storage that transfers data from computer to computer. They can be very pretty and have a large amount of storage.

Who made that: The answer is three men from Israel. Amir Ban, Dov Moran and Oron Ogdan worked for the Israeli company M-Systems. They filed a patent in 1999 on a flash drive that had a cable connecting the USB to the memory drive. Later that year Shimon Shmueli had a patent for a similar flash drive. IBM and M-Systems partnered together  bring the flash drive to life. Many companies claimed to have invented it first. Trek Technology and Netac Technology have fought against it. But still evidence proves that M-systems had the first patent on the USB Flash Drive.

How does it work: The USB Flash Drive works with flash memory and integrated Universal Serial Bus (USB) interface. In English Flash Drives are stored on electrical storage, and can be reprogrammed.

When was it made: The first filed patent from M-Systems was filed in April 1999. IBM’s was filed in september that same year.

Where was it made: The first Flash Drive was made in Israel by M-Systems.

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iPad Mini: Small but Strong

Tuesday October 28, marked the unveiling of the new iPad Mini and the newest edition to the iPad  family was met with skepticism as well as intrigue. The 7.9” tablet is just the right size to hold in one hand without being too weighed down, and it is easy to fit into a bag or coat pocket. The iPad Mini weighs 0.68 lbs. and is only 7.2 millimeters thick, making it 23% thinner than its larger counterpart. However, there is one drawback: The iPad Mini costs $329 (more when you add Wi-Fi coverage), making it a little pricy for a Christmas stocking stuffer. The iPad Mini isn’t the only miniature tablet on the market, however. Its main competitor will be the Google Nexus 7.

The Google Nexus 7 has been on the market since mid-July. The screen may be smaller (only 7”) but it runs on the newest Android operating system, known as jellybean, which is reportedly very smooth and fast. The Nexus 7 has over 700,000 apps and it even has an artificial intelligence feature like Apple’s Siri. It also has one feature that the iPad Mini doesn’t have, called Google Now. Google Now is a screen that shows things like the weather, traffic, the time and even sports scores. The biggest drawback to Google Now is that you have to sacrifice some of your privacy. Google Now tracks your location and search history, and it even tries to figure out what your address is by using the location tracker to find out where the tablet is on most nights.

So which tablet is better? Well, here are the comparisons:

¨          Cost: The iPad Mini costs $329 while the Nexus 7 costs $199.

¨          Memory: Both tablets come with 16 gigabytes of memory

¨          Battery Life: Under normal usage, the Nexus 7 lasts about 10 hours and 45 minutes while the iPad Mini lasts around ten and a half hours.

¨          Apps: Both the iPad Mini and the Nexus 7’s app stores have over 700,000 apps.

¨          Camera: The iPad Mini has both front and rear cameras but the Nexus 7 only has a front camera.

¨          Artificial Intelligence: The iPad Mini has Siri , which is also on the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 4S. The Nexus 7 also has an artificial intelligence feature but it reportedly has trouble understanding questions.

¨          Books: Both tablets have books available, although the Nexus 7 is missing periodical content like TIME Magazine or Sports Illustrated and lacks the feature that allows you to highlight and look up a word.

All in all, there are pros and cons to both tablets. However, if I had to choose one to buy, it would be the iPad Mini. Even though it costs $130 more, I think it can do more than the Nexus 7 and I like that it doesn’t track your movements and search history. The difference in battery life is minimal and there is more content, be it apps, books or anything else. The artificial intelligence (Siri) is also much better. However, that doesn’t mean that the Nexus 7 is a bad tablet. They are both tough competitors and they are great additions to the ever growing electronics world.


Sizing Up the New iPad Mini by Walt Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, 10/31/12, section D1

The iPhone 5: Sensation or Slip-up?

The new iPhone 5 came out on September 21st, much to the delight of Apple fans everywhere. The sixth generation of iPhone is 20% lighter, almost three tenths of an inch taller and 18% thinner than its predecessor, the iPhone 4S. Now, a little more than a year after the death of Steve Jobs, reactions to the new phone are mixed.

One of the biggest upsides to the iPhone 5 is that although the length of the screen is longer, the width remains unchanged, making it just as easy to hold. The longer screen also allows for six rows of apps per page, rather than five. Another improvement is the download speed. Users say that downloads are blazingly fast. However, many fans are up in arms about one new feature: Instead of using the same charger plug as all the other iPhones, the iPhone 5 uses a different plug design. Adapters that allow devices using the old design to hook up to the new one cost $29. One GFS seventh grader said: “I feel each iPhone has gotten better, but they didn’t need to change that specific aspect.” There have also been some complaints of purple splotches showing up on photos taken with the newer, smaller camera.

One thing seems to be affecting everyone is the new version of the Maps app. Previous iPhones used an iPhone version of Google Maps while the iPhone 5 uses a new “Maps” app developed by Apple. The new app is so bad, it prompted Apple CEO Tim Cook to publicly apologize. In his letter of apology, Cook said: “We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.”  You can find his full letter online at

Even though there are downsides to the new phone such as mediocre maps, purple splotches showing up on pictures, and the new plug design, the enthusiasm for the latest addition to the iPhone family has certainly not been hampered.


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, 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!

Behind the Scenes at the Franklin Institute

Behind the Scenes at the Franklin Institute
An Interview With Larry Dubinski
by Hannah Dubinski ’18

Ever wonder what it’s like to solve crimes? How about seeing ancient mummies?  My father, Larry Dubinski, gets to do all this and more every day in his work as Senior Vice President of the Franklin Institute. Recently, I sat down with my father and asked him all about his experience there.

What is the newest exhibit at the Franklin Institute?

CSI: The Experience.

What is the exhibit about?
The exhibit teaches about forensic science and other tools investigators use to solve crimes. As a visitor you are immersed in one of three crime scenes and you use scientific tools and principles to solve crimes. Click on the link find out more about this exciting new exhibit.

 How long will this exhibit be there?
Until January 2nd.

What is your favorite location in the Franklin Institute?
The Benjamin Franklin National Memorial.


It is a majestic place and one of the few national memorials in private hands. Additionally Franklin was one of the most important figures in the founding of our country.

What is your favorite traveling exhibit and why?
King Tut because it attracted the young and old to learn about the mysteries of ancient Egypt.

What is an area that many people may not know about?
The observatory with a giant telescope on the roof of the Franklin Institute.

Can you tell us more about that?
During the day you can look at the sun, and at night you have a spectacular view of the planets and stars.

What is the next traveling exhibit?
Giant Mysterious Dinosaurs.

What is the best part of your job?
Watching my kids learn from and enjoy the exhibitions.

What is the mission of the Franklin Institute?
To inspire a passion in science and technology.

The Banana Effect


by Cassie Coale        

Admit it. You’ve thought about it. Global warming, environmental footprint, carbon dioxide, we all have. The question is, what impact do we at GFS make? We have recycling bins, compost piles, even an Environmental Action Club. With all of this action, how big really is our school’s environmental footprint? Though we can’t find an exact number, we can estimate.  And it starts with bananas. I know I might buy about two bananas a week in the cafeteria.  At the end of the year, that turns into 104 bananas, shipped with many other bananas, using about 5 times as much gas as an SUV. Imagine all of the other kids buying my average of bananas. It’s a lot to think about. Starting with the cafeteria, every time a person throws away an imported fruit or any kind of food, they are also throwing away the gas from the truck, gas from the plane, energy from refrigeration, and the packaging that was used to get it to you. Also, most of the packaging is made of environmentally harmful materials, such as Styrofoam, and plastic.  You are even throwing away the energy used to make the packaging.

Sometimes we even underestimate things that seem to have always been here. Computers, for example. Buying and using just one computer, rapidly increase your environmental footprint. Every time you throw away a computer, you throw away even more than the food in the Cafeteria. Fix your old computers before you throw them away). When you print something out (though it is a necessity in Middle school) you’re still wasting a tree. Try recycled paper and use the other side. Then there are these things called sweaters. One of the easiest environmental solutions is an extra layer. As our previous president Jimmy Carter once recommended, “Don’t crank the heat up high! Just save some bucks to buy better sweaters.”

Our school is relatively environmentally friendly, and we really have done a good job keeping our footprint in check, but there are some things we aren’t entirely desperate enough to do anything about.  What are we going to do? Outlaw bananas? Never throw away a broken computer? In the Upper School, Middle School, and Lower School, we all have the same problems. It’s safe to say everyone in the school is trying to help the environment, whether it’s picking up a piece of trash floating by, or raising money to clean up oil spills. We all know that future generations are going to inherit the Earth, so let’s eat our vegetables! We pretty much have done everything in our price range to save the environment, but you know, with the new science building, and our awesome environmental clubs, GFS has a pretty green future.

Volt Up

By Gabe Goldberg 

Chevy has come out with a brand new hybrid vehicle . They have called this car the Chevy Volt.

The Volt has tons of new features such as electricity. The Volt mostly runs on electricity, but not completely. In the commercial, a man stops at a gas station. There is a kid there who asks why the man is there if he has a Chevy Volt.  The man says that gas will still help him go farther. The joke is that the kid knows that the chevy volt owner has to use the bathroom because he doesn’t need to fill up with gas. Watch the  Chevy Volt Ad

“It is very eco friendly and it is very stylish,” Alex Mirage, a sixth grader said. It is eco friendly because of how little gas it needs.  Simon Rabinowitz, another sixth grader says he would have this car and he wants it in blue. The car comes in many colors. Ishmael Bynum, another sixth grader asked what I thought of the car and all I can say is that is a big improvement for Chevy.

The Chevy Volt is cool and everybody that wants one should Volt Up. Read these impressive Volt Stats from

95 city/93 highway
300 mile  maximum range
can go between 25-50 miles without a single drop of gas
Around $44,000 for a 4 door hatchback gas/electric hybrid

The Volt has Goodyear 17 – inch wheels. You can get a navigation system adjusted in your dashboard. In a review, John Voelcker said that it doesn’t make any shift sounds. He also said that it “drives like a normal car” and its acceleration from stop is continuous.