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Denebola » Brittany Bishop http://www.denebolaonline.net The Award-Winning, Official School Newspaper of Newton South High School, Newton, MA Fri, 17 Jun 2011 02:00:19 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.2 Why We’re Addicts http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/why-were-addicts/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/why-were-addicts/#comments Mon, 06 Dec 2010 10:00:58 +0000 Brittany Bishop http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5131 Almost everyone has a compulsion. Whether it’s obsessive cleaning, nail-biting, or even chewing gum, compulsions are a natural aspect of human life. While many urges result from harmful and chemically addicting drugs, an ever-growing epidemic of psychophysical ‘€and sometimes unnoticeable’€compulsive disorders exist in everyday life.
While observing a compulsion, one must look at both the emotional connection to the act and any sections of the brain that are unusually abnormal centers for certain activities.
Every habit has an emotional origin. When we find ourselves in situations that make us nervous or scared, we develop compulsions. Even though most of us dislike and want to cease our habits, we are inclined to repeat them due to the relief the action has brought us in the past.
Sometimes even the guilt of performing the habit increases your stress level and drives you to repeat it again.
No matter what we do, whether it’s ridding ourselves of all germs or checking Facebook, we relieve stress in the most addicting and inescapable manners.
Although many compulsions result from nervousness, compulsions can become more serious and become routine activities, turning into an unmanageable burden in a person’s life.
For instance, one may need to touch a door handle three times before allowing oneself to pass through, while another may have to carry around hand sanitizer and use purifying wipes on objects before touching them.
According to neurobiology teacher Jordan Kraus, obsessive-compulsive behavior is definitely neurologically based.
“The disorder is the result of differences in how someone’s brain is wired and the amount of neurotransmitters their brain makes or how those neurotransmitters bind to receptors in their brain, Kraus said.
In patients with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), areas of the brain associated with anxiety, habit formation, skill learning, and irregular chemical levels in the brain are affiliated with the condition.
The chemical abnormality causes specific circuits in the brain to stimulate the same reaction by continuous triggering.
Whether these chemicals cause or correlate with OCD is still unknown, but once the affects take place, they aid in the continuation of the compulsive behavior.
Many of these compulsions can result from genetic encoding that naturally creates very apprehensive and tense people.
“Certainly biting your nails would be signs that one was anxious or uptight, Kraus said. “Absolutely everything is encoded in our DNA, even [traits like biting your nails].
Along with genetics, these urges may stem from uneasiness or the effects of past events.
Some last a few years while others last a lifetime.
Adolescents tend to maintain habits until they reach the point in their lives when they feel stable, or when they finally conquer their fears.
“Many of the addictions among adolescents, like caffeine and nail biting, are anxiety-induced, and so it’s an OCD also, but [resulting from] the pressure of life or school, psychology teacher Lily Eng said.
Contrarily, when young children are subjected to highly stressful situations, the neurotransmitters released can physically change their brains permanently.
These high levels of stress usually result in diagnosable medical disorders such as multiple personality disorder or abusive behavior, but they can also result in subconscious fears that trigger compulsions.
The real issue with these compulsions is how to rid oneself of them. If you have an anxiety disorder, like OCD, psychiatrists can easily prescribe medication that corrects imbalances in the brain.
If the habits are stress-related, relieving stress with meditation or working to face your fears can solve the problem.

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Whatever he writes turns into poetry http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/whatever-he-writes-turns-into-poetry/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/whatever-he-writes-turns-into-poetry/#comments Mon, 06 Dec 2010 07:20:07 +0000 Brittany Bishop http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5158 Senior Alex Frail crouches down and folds up the comforter skirting along his floor. Pulling out the old shoebox, he takes it in hand and sits down in his leather chair; slowly opening the top with his left hand, he examines the dusty contents: tattered pages and old notebooks.
In his other hand, he holds a pen, tapping it along the spine of a leather journal. He takes his fingertip and swipes it under the edge of paper, pulling it back onto a new page. He takes the pen and begins to scratch against the pages; the black ink seeps into words’€a poem.
Ever since the 5th grade, Frail has been writing for fun. Frail initially became interested in writing as a creative outlet, quickly finding his passion through the short stories he would write and the electronic pages of Word that he would fill.
At the beginning of high school though, Frail began writing poetry on a regular basis.
Coincidently, his love of poetry happened by chance. He simply digressed from his typical stories and wrote a poem one day. He instantly enjoyed the ability to prove a point or feeling within a few lines, compared to novels, which take hundreds of pages to establish.
Despite schoolwork currently getting in the way and his minimizing his free time, Frail tries to write whenever he can.
In class, Frail writes along the margins of his pages, or if he doesn’t have paper on his hands. “That’s how I remember most of my stuff. I won’t be planning or thinking of anything, and then ¦ something clicks, Frail said. “I’ll have an idea, and I’ll go scribble it down and then tinker with it.
Frail writes about whatever he’s thinking about at the time, or if he has a cool rhyme, he’ll jot it down to remember for later.
“I don’t have a general theme. I don’t write [just about] love, he said. “It’s kinda whatever I’m thinking about.
Sometimes, Frail tries to fashion some pieces of poetry after other poets. For instance, he has paralleled rhyme scheme techniques after his favorite poet, Seamus Heaney.
Frail keeps all of these works in a shoebox under his bed. “I gathered all of my accumulated works from 5th grade and all the years, Frail said. “It’s really not organized; it’s just where everything goes. It has a ton of poems and little scribbles of nonsense.
Frail continues to write short stories and has even completed two novels of 100 and 250 pages, respectively.
Even his submission to the Heintzelman, a writing competition that many in our school participate in, came out to be 40 pages long.
As for the future, Frail hopes to pursue writing as some form of work. “It’s certainly the thing I love doing the most, Frail said. “The problem with that is there are very few professions that have a promising salary. But, then again, I’m not that obsessed with money, so I can get by.
Hopefully in the future, when Frail releases his compilations of poetry or finally publishes that 250-page novel, he will be able to pull out his old shoebox and remember exactly where he started: from an old notebook and a pen.

A Far Green Country

By Alex Frail

There is a glade that I have seen
Beneath the sun in waves of green.
It lies beyond a narrow stream
Where lovers love and poets dream.

And round this glade are elder trees
That correspond upon the breeze.

They speak of earth and its inception
Unsoiled by our deception,
For no foot has marred their soil
Or delivered blood sweat and toil.

And so they whisper in the shade
Kept safe by their virgin glade.

I might have crossed that narrow river
But what could I to them deliver?
For trees whisper in earthly breath
Until we coax them to their death.

And so I left the trees in their glen,
And turned right back round to home again.

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TV networks kick off fall season http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/tv-networks-kick-off-fall-season/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/tv-networks-kick-off-fall-season/#comments Thu, 30 Sep 2010 08:01:25 +0000 Brittany Bishop http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4746 Along with excitement of new teachers, a new school year, and new classes comes the anticipation of the fall television line-up.
Every September, the TV stations dedicate one or two weeks each to end summer shows and begin to fill the stations with the premieres of both new and recurring programs.
There are multiple shows per night to catch audiences with their love interests, medical diagnoses, song choices, or the thrill of the kill.
No matter what it is you like, this September will surely have a TV show to pique your interest.
The CW seemed to kick off the month with its show premieres during the first two weeks.
From One Tree Hill to Gossip Girl, the drama on the channel is endless. The CW continues to fill its TV blocks with shows that attract people with its dramatic, fashion-forward edge.
The week following that channel’s main premieres came the key week for brand new shows that are being aired in hopes of becoming the next big shows.
Fox seems to contain some of the most prominent and popular shows of the month. House, for instance, premiered on the Monday of last week.
According to Dr. Hema Roychowdhury, South science teacher and huge House enthusiast, claimed the debut was just up to par.
“It was a decent bridge episode between the last season and this one, Roychowdhury said.
“I am more excited for the upcoming episodes from the previews that were shown.
Hopefully, as the episodes continue, the content will pick up.
Glee, another show from same network, seemed to be one of the most anticipated shows of the season.
Filled with drama, popular music for all ages, and a compelling plot line, Glee interests people of a wide demographic.
According to sophomore Victoria Yee, the music and outline presents a fairly accurate picture of high school.
“I like Glee because it reminds me of High School Musical, except it’s more realistic and the characters are really good, Yee said.
From there on, a plethora of the most popular shows come from a variety of channels ranging from NBC and ABC to HBO and Showtime.
For primetime television, these shows tend to drift towards the witty and clever humor, while the late night television focuses on the obscene, the explicit, and the violent.
As for NBC, Community and The Office seem to catch most people’s attention.
Community, in its second season, returns with the new recurring guest appearance of Betty White, while dealing with the constant love trials and clever wit that has always dominated.
The Office will begin its seventh season, which, to many people’s dismay, is Steve Carell’s last.
Many believe that this may be the end of the show, but there has been no confirmation or denial by the network.
For ABC, Modern Family returns with its family issues and comical, awkward situations.
As in every episode, the family members find themselves experiencing jealousy, getting into a dangerous circumstance, or trying to explain their way of life to those who don’t know them. Many South students are excited for the new season.
Showtime’s Dexter returns with its fifth, and possibly final, season.
Ending with one of the most unexpected and shocking finales, the show’s main character, Dexter, comes back to deal with the twist that last season so cleverly presented.
“The fourth season had one of the most suspenseful endings I’ve ever seen and I can’t wait to see how they continue the series, senior Phil Banaszek said.
As in every season, the viewers hope to see more suspense of Dexter’s kills and his ongoing internal struggle with his family and past.
HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, which already obtained a B+ from critics, began its first season.
The new program is centered in Atlantic City, New Jersey during the Prohibition era and follows political bosses and illegal alcohol distribution.
Senior Alex Frail said that the show “offers a gritty, realistic look into the formation of organized crime.
For anyone looking to find a new TV show, now would be the time to begin.
Whether you decide to start a completely new series or catch up on the last seasons of an existing TV show, there is a program for everyone’€plus, everybody can use a break from homework every now and then.

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Student Obsessions http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/student-obsessions/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/student-obsessions/#comments Thu, 10 Jun 2010 09:20:27 +0000 Brittany Bishop http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4582 In a sea of students, a world of obsessions swirl through the minds of those walking down the halls. Everyone thinks of something different, from a specific boy to their favorite pasttime. Here, we’ll dive into the minds of a few students and their favorite obsessions.

Boy Bands? Can’t Get Enough
By Brittany Bishop

For me, two bands are everything. Despite the embarrassment, I can’t help but immerse myself into these groups, these seven boys, along with their bodyguards, their families, their managers, and their street team leaders, lives. I am obsessed with two bands: The Jonas Brothers and Honor Society; I know everything about them. In the last 365 days, I have gone to a Jonas Brothers concert, two Nick Jonas and the Administration concerts (two nights in a row, along with meeting Nick), five Honor Society concerts, and three rounds of promotion for the bands.

Now, I’m sure most people will turn the page upon the mere mention of these bands, but that’s because they do not understand how they make me feel.

With every concert, every picture, every live chat, and every song, a new piece of appreciation forms. It’s not just their appearance that attracts people, mostly teenage girls, to these boys, but their morals and their actions (even if they do come off slightly forced every once and a while).

Still, it’s truly difficult not to crack a smile when Joe calls a girl during a live chat and pretends to be her principal, or when Andy Lee makes jokes about Mike’s body rolls for a good ten minutes straight. It’s also hard not to feel proud to be a fan when both bands continuously raise money for important funds like diabetes, the Salvation Army, or the Special Olympics.

They use their fame for good and in the best way possible.

Most bands also do not give to the fans like these two do. Most bands don’t have meet and greets, or make funny videos, or have live chats, or go to a friend’s house to make up for leaving early from a house party two years prior. Most bands aren’t so kind.

With every song comes a new depiction into the lives of these seven boys. They speak directly from experience and, being young, allow the fans to grow up with them.

Yes, that sounds a little cheesy, but with every interview and every song, you can learn something new about them.

I also happen to be lucky, already having the chance to meet Honor Society countless times, spending time with them exclusively because of one of my friends. Having met them first hand and being able to joke with them in person changes my outlook on them. Being familiar with them makes me proud to say that they are truly who they make themselves to be: honest, funny, amazing gentleman.

Finally, half of the fun of the bands is the friends you make. Going to concerts, or even talking online, allows fans to make an endless amount of friends, all of who connect and understand each other just because of one or two common interests.

The Jonas Brothers and Honor Society are binding factors for teenage girls, and maybe the rare guy fan.

Madonna: The One and Only
By Justin Quinn

Madonna. It is more than a name. It is an attitude, a way of life. And I have been living it since I was eight years old. It all started at summer camp in music class when we played freeze dance.

The counselor put on Madonna’s then new “Music album, and it all went downhill from there. That year for my birthday, I asked my parents to buy me the album, which I overplayed on my portable CD player for the following months.

While still young, I bought “American Life when it was released a few years later, but my major Madonna-awakening was in 2005, when I discovered the masterpiece that is “Confessions on a Dance Floor.

Fast forward to July 2006, the best day of my life, the first time I saw Madonna live. The Confessions Tour was magical.

From the time I bought my ticket to the night of the show, Madonna was all I talked about (ask anyone who knew me in seventh grade).

I still remember the rush I felt as the giant disco ball descended from the ceiling of the Banknorth Garden, and the video projections of horses were so loud, the floor shook. When the disco ball opened and Madonna emerged, I was lost in a Madonna-induced bliss. I saw Madonna again in 2008 during her Sticky and Sweet Tour, another amazing, unforgettable experience.

I still get goose bumps thinking about the image of the whole arena jumping to “Like a Prayer.

I spent a long time immersing myself in Madonna’s back catalogue to find a world of music spanning from the 1980s to right now. I have since bought all her albums (in multiple editions) and seen all her tour DVDs and movies she has acted in (and I attest that Madonna is in fact a good actress). Currently, I have 492 Madonna songs on my iPod, including studio albums, concerts, remixes, and unreleased tracks.

The thing I discovered about Madonna is that she is more than just the music.

I fell in love with her music, but I have grown to respect and admire the person behind it as well.

Madonna tells us never to go for second best, become better than we are today, and save the world, which are all qualities that she demonstrates herself and inspires other to do. She is a self-determined woman, and I hold a great amount of respect for her.

She knows what she wants and this value is apparent in her music, motivating me as I get pumped for a big day, dig through the last mile of my run, or am in need of inspiration.

This may seem crazy but Madonna, her music, and her message is an integral part of my life.

She is inspirational to fans across the world and although universally accessible, her music is undeniably personal.

I feel lucky to be a fan and, to quote Madonna, “you can love me or leave me, but I’m never going to stop.

Lost in a World of TV
By Gabe Feldstein

It’s 9:00 pm. The screen is black. Boom! All of a sudden, an eye is staring at you.

Whose eye is this? It’s Jack Shepard’s eye. He is covered in blood, his own blood.

He is in a jungle. A woman is screaming. Who is this woman and why is she screaming?

It doesn’t matter because you are experiencing the first few moments of one of the greatest network television shows ever.

You are experiencing the first few moments of Lost.

On September 22, 2004, Oceanic Flight 815 departed from Sydney Australia, headed for Los Angeles.

Oceanic 815 never got there. The plane crashed landed on an island in the middle of the ocean, where a bunch of confused strangers would have to make do with this new fate that some higher power had granted them.

Now, this is not a story with a happy ending. This isn’t Gilligan’s Island, this isn’t Survivor, and nobody is going to get a million bucks after a month.

This is reality. People live, people love, and people die.

Now, what is it about Lost that is so good? Personally, I can’t really describe it, but I can say that since I was admitted into college, I have watched an absurd amount of that show in all my new free time.

I probably watch so much of it for one of two reasons. The first potential reason is that it is genuinely one of the best shows of all time, and to not watch it would be missing out on a part of television history.

The second potential reason is that I am an idiot, susceptible to the juvenile ploys and hooks the show uses to pull me in every time I watch.

Honestly, it is probably the latter. Lost pulls out all the stops: eerie music, seeing dead people, a fat guy; you really can’t help but buy in to such a catchy show.

Everything about the show is done knowing exactly what effect it will have on the viewer, except in the most recent season, which is simply putrid television.

When there is a close-up on John Locke’s face as he stares at what either may be a ghost, monster, or strange combination of both, and then the show suddenly cuts to commercial, the people who make the show know that the viewer is going to be sitting through that commercial break heart pounding with bated breath.

At times, Lost is more than a TV show, it is a way of life. For seniors, getting home after a long day of sleeping through classes and barely paying attention, nothing is better than coming home to an episode of Lost. It’s refreshing; Lost is a source of drama and mystery in the monotony of everyday second semester life.

Wizarding Wonder
By Lily Fein

The premiere of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was a week earlier, and even though I had gone to the midnight showing in full costume, I still wasn’t satisfied. To fulfill my Harry Potter needs, I saw it for a second time, again in full costume.

It’s moments like this that define my obsession with Harry Potter. Since 1997 when the first book was published, Harry Potter has been a major part of my life. At first, I just listened to the audio books in the car with my family on long drives, but soon I would immerse myself even further into Harry Potter’s world.

From Hogwarts to Hogsmeade, Dumbledore to the Dursleys, every essence of the Harry Potter series intrigues me. Rowling’s quirky writing style and complex story line sucks me into a magical world. I can’t count how many times I’ve read the series and every time, it gets better and better.

Maybe I love the stories so much because no matter what is going on in reality, Harry Potter is always there. Maybe it’s because Harry kicks so much butt. Maybe it’s because when I was little, I was desperate to become a witch myself. For whatever reason, I have fallen hopelessly in love with the Harry Potter books.

Dumbledore is like my second dad. The countless morals he passed to Harry, I have also taken to heart. He has taught me that it is the choices I make that define me, to not fear death, and to give everyone a chance to redeem themselves. The lessons he has taught me prove that Harry Potter isn’t just another silly kid’s book.

However, the aspects that make it so youthful and fun for kids to read also entice me. Every book is full of laughs and comic relief that contrasts with the dark magic threatening Harry’s world. Whether it’s Dumbledore exclaiming, “Alas, earwax! or Molly Weasley screaming “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU B****, I know that J. K. Rowling will mix humor perfectly with the increasing intensity of Harry’s world.

My friends think I’m crazy, and I can understand it. They love to laugh at the video on Facebook of me crying about the death of one of the characters. But in the end, it’s so worth it; I wouldn’t trade my obsession with Harry Potter for anything.

After all of these years, I know this isn’t just a phase. Ten years from now, I’m sure I’ll still be dreaming about throwing back butterbeers with Rubeus Hagrid.

No matter how many times I relive Harry’s seven years fighting Voldemort, I want to know more and more.

Even though all of the books have come out, I still embrace every Harry Potter related opportunity I get.

Like just this year, I went to a Harry Potter concert with musicians in the Wizard Rock genre. It was totally dorky, but the love for Harry Potter was immense. In the end, I don’t care how dorky it is.

I’ll love Harry Potter for the rest of my life, and I don’t care what anybody thinks about it.

The Power of Magic
By Leigh Alon

Imagine a world of creatures, sorceries, enchantments, artifacts, spells, and mythical beings. No, not Hogwarts, but rather Magic the Gathering, a card game which has kept some students around South occupied for endless hours.

While the intricacies of the rules are nearly impossible to understand without some experience, the basic idea is that one has a deck of 60 cards, 20-24 of which are mana, or resources. Resources are spent by casting spells upon an opponent until they lose the game. Cards vary greatly in rarity and value, with the most sought after card being the Black Lotus, with a limited print run, originating 15 years ago.

Although this may seem like merely another run-of-the-mill diversion, the competitiveness and environment in which Magic the Gathering is played in is quite unique and offers to its players much more than a temporary alleviation of boredom.

Players attend tournaments where they advance upon continuously winning matches against opponents they are pitted against.

After nine 50-minute rounds, only the top eight players remain, and they play in a final match. Even obtaining cards is an experience, as magic players attend drafts, called Friday Night Magic, in which each player opens a pack of cards, picks one, and passes it on in a circle until all the cards are taken.

There are indeed many around the world who have found this game intriguing, and therefore, some major tournaments have attracted hundreds and even thousands.

Senior Jason Gens attended one such event when he went to a tournament hosted at the Hynes Convention Center, where over 1500 magic enthusiasts from around the world attended, including many professional magic players who have gained much notoriety in the magic community.

Gens also placed 16th out of 259 people when he attended magic nationals. It’s these big tournaments and the interaction with other players that make magic so fulfilling for him.

“Magic is so much fun for me because I get to travel around the country and meet new people. Because Magic is also a strategy game, I work with other people to improve my play and decision making, Gens said.

Junior Jacob Tepper also enjoys being part of the unique combination of people that magic tournaments attract. “You’ll find mainly nerds, but there are kids who are ‘Ëœnormal’ like us. It’s interesting to see all the different types of people, and I would normally never interact with these people, but they play magic and I play so it’s something to converse about, he said.

As fun as it may be, Magic the Gathering does carry a social stigma that many of its most avid fans acknowledge.

“I never bring up that I play magic unless someone asks me. It’s not that I’m a closet magic player or anything like that. Most of my friends already know that I play magic and so it’s not a problem, but it’s just not something I would bring up in conversation, Gens said. 

Tepper is also affected by the stigma as people often pass judgments because of his involvement with magic. He, however, believes Magic the Gathering’s reputation is unjustified.

“Most people are surprised probably because it seems like only nerds play magic and I’m not a “nerd, but that’s not really true. It’s basically the same as playing video games but for some reason not nearly as accepted, he said.

As Magic fans continue to be lured by the game, many will undoubtedly attend an upcoming tournament in Hartford, Connecticut next week. Whether it’s the close knit community or the complicated strategies that keeps magic fans hooked, Tepper sums up the sentiment of many magic addicts with a simple statement: “it’s just a really fun game, that can be absurdly complex, which is probably why I love it.

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Opposing Viewpoints: Dissection is wasteful and uneducational http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/opposing-viewpoints-dissection-is-wasteful-and-uneducational/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/opposing-viewpoints-dissection-is-wasteful-and-uneducational/#comments Thu, 10 Jun 2010 08:10:15 +0000 Brittany Bishop http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4496 Every year, millions of animals are killed for dissection in schools and universities in the United States, with an estimated 170 different animals species used. From animal brains to fetal pigs, the spectrum of dissection seems to be endless. Providers ship animals all over the country for students to cut up with scalpels and other tools as a part of scientific education.

What is the main point of dissection, you may be wondering. It is to learn about the bones, muscles, and internal organs of the designated animal. In the case of AP and Honors Biology classes at South, teachers force students to cut up poor fetal pigs, each of which is only approximately the age of three months out of the four-month birth cycle. Therefore, the pigs are mostly developed for the students to observe. Other animals are also dissected for classes such as Anatomy and Physiology.

Most people understand the basic concept of dissection: cut up the animal, observe the body parts, learn their names, and take a recognition test. What people do not know is how providers obtain the animals in the first place. For our fetal pigs, for example, slaughterhouse workers, who disregard the fact that the mother pigs are pregnant, kill pigs for meat. Upon slaughter, the employees take out the fetal babies, send them off to a lab to be prepared, fill their veins with latex, and then submerge them into formaldehyde to preserve the body. A truly lovely picture, right?

Although I have no objection to eating meat, for it is a primal and natural instinct of all animals, the idea of cutting up a poor, innocent animal for solely knowledge seems completely illogical. After having multiple classes with the burden of the experiments, I have learned very little, even after being forced to use tools upon the pigs and watch the dissection closely. Teachers try to show us where the body parts are with the aid of an educational guidebook; however, many of the people in the Biology classes have learned barely any facts from the direct dissection itself. In reality, basic pictures or virtual dissection would suffice for learning anatomy.

Besides moral objection, the idea of dissection can be nauseating. Sitting in biology class on the first day of dissection was a nightmare.

The first cracking open of the bucket, filled with chemicals and pigs and the image of the lifeless body being pulled out of the container will scar me forever. That same night, simple pieces of meat, all of which were not pork, repulsed me to the point where I could not eat them because they resembled body parts of the poor animal that we had to dissect earlier in the day.

Along with the animal itself, the smell of formaldehyde does not ease the stomach any more than a decaying animal. Any time that I smell something that even slightly resembles the chemical, a feeling of nausea overcomes me because I immediately return back to the image of a dead animal.

What upset me the most was the relative lack of alternatives for dissection, or at the least the reluctance of teachers to allow students to have a substitute or a choice. After asking my teacher to perform virtual dissection, which South does provide for students, I was so kindly refused. Virtual dissection, especially if filled with informational diagrams and photos, teaches students the same concepts that a dead animal does. Other options include detailed models of animal anatomy.

A combination of the two forms of education provides students to learn both hands- on and factual information of animals just as well as any real dissection. The alternatives from the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights and the Norwegian Inventory of Audiovisuals contain thousands of substitutional methods for animal use in education.

Dissection should not necessarily be removed from schools, but there should be a choice for students to decide whether or not they want to perform the procedure. Teachers should ask their students prior to dissection whether or not they want to participate, while also giving them a choice for alternative suggestions. By giving students a choice, animals can be saved, mental scarring can be avoided, and morals can be upheld within the student body.

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APOCALYPSE? http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/apocolypse/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/apocolypse/#comments Fri, 21 May 2010 08:01:12 +0000 Brittany Bishop http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4334 Natural disasters have occurred since the beginning of time, but with an increase in incidents and a growth in deaths as the years continue, environmental awareness and 2012 prophecy concerns have increased. In 2010 alone, the world endured over 30 natural disasters, from earthquakes and volcanoes to floods and mudslides.

The prophecies of doom include catastrophes such as earthquakes, a magnetic field shift, and an asteroid or comet hitting the earth. Even the calendars of ancient civilizations such as the Mayans predict the end of the world, claiming the final day to be December 21, 2012.

Although these prophecies are a little far-fetched, implying that December 2012 will bring total demolition or transformation of the modern world, the escalating disasters occurring around the world warn the people of Earth’s current state.

The number of reported natural disasters has enlarged by over 4000 percent since 1990, rising from 10 reports a year to over 400. Another study claims that global losses caused by weather-related disasters since the 1960 has grown by 8 percent on a year-to-year basis. Much of the increase is probably due to significant improvements in information access and also to population growth, but the extent of increase still warns the world of catastrophic fate.

In the first few months of 2010, the world experienced major earthquakes and aftershocks. In January, a massive earthquake with a 7.0 magnitude hit Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the country’s worst earthquake in two centuries. The tragedy left more than a million homeless and claimed over 100,000 lives.

Soon after, an earthquake of 8.8 struck Chile, one of the strongest ever recorded. It left central Chile in shambles and killed more than 700 people. Tsunami warnings were also    broadcasted, and   the quake even may have caused long-term effects, possibly disturbing the earth’s axis.

China is the latest country to have been hit. A 6.9 magnitude earthquake, leaving at least 589 people dead and 10,000 injured, struck the Qinghai providence in mid-April.

Finally, and most recently, the eruption of glacier-covered Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull plagued the world. Since 1821, the volcano has laid dormant and unknown to most of the world until this eruption. Due to the glaciers, the volcano caused flooding, and soon after, the actual eruption, winds, lava, heat, and ash inundated the entire region.

In comparison to previous years, the number of casualties from natural disasters in 2010, which in March was at 200,000 people, is exceeding the norm. Although the deaths are pinned on one major disaster, the Haiti Earthquake, the severity of the disaster, as well as the number of disasters taking place around the same time, is frightening to many.

Over the decade from 2000 to the end of 2009, the yearly average was 78,000, according to the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR). For the 1990s, the average was 43,000. Although experts say that the increase is partially due to the increase in urban population, the number of deaths is too high this year to claim the population growth as a reason.

In January 2010, the United Nations even countered the argument that global warming is the reason for all the destruction. The climate science panel of the UN faces new controversy for incorrectly linking global warming to an augment in number and severity of natural disasters such as earthquakes.

The panel suggested that part of this increase was directly due to global warming. Researchers have found insufficient evidence to claim a statistical connection between worldwide temperature increase and catastrophe losses.

Of course, there is still speculation that global warming and human activity in general will lead to the end of mankind either way. Even though humans can try to stop global warming, nothing has truly made an impact on the effects of fossil fuel and green house gas emissions.

Warm temperatures have caused melting in Antarctica and other glacier-filled areas. An enormous iceberg broke loose from the continent of Antarctica in early February. The size of the iceberg may harm global weather patterns due to the disruption of ocean currents. According to experts, this could ultimately cause less temperate winters in the North Atlantic due to the slow production of colder and denser water.

Global warming can also cause hurricanes and tsunamis, which lead to the demolition of buildings and human deaths, and can result in larger disasters, such as earthquakes.

If the temperatures continue to increase, what could happen to environments, climates, habitats, and other factors of the world? The delicate balance of ecosystems could fall apart entirely and everything could come to a bitter end.

Humanity truly has no idea if the world will end in 2012, if people will die from  increased disasters, or if the whole thing is just a conspiracy. What we do know is that the trends in natural disasters are increasing, scarring the earth and foreshadowing some larger form of destruction, whether it is stoppable or not and whether it is in two years or a hundred.

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The problems and pains of Semi http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/the-problems-and-pains-of-semi/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/the-problems-and-pains-of-semi/#comments Wed, 14 Apr 2010 06:23:06 +0000 Brittany Bishop http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4082 It’s that time of year again. The trees are budding, the birds are singing, and people are scrambling madly to find a semi date.

Even two entire months before the annual event, most of the junior class is already suffering from pre-semi anxiety. What dress should I buy? How will I pay for the ticket? And most of all: Who. Will. I. Go. With?

Whispers of “do you have a date? and “who are YOU going with? fill the air as Semi swiftly approaches.

Although you can easily buy a ticket without a date, people are either relieved that they obtained one before that fateful increase in ticket prices or, for the unfortunate others, stuck with the burden of paying ridiculous amounts of more money, a whopping eleven dollars.

While students strive to find the “perfect date, most settle for close friends or just that random guy from math class.

You know the one: the strange kid who cheats off you and cracks weird jokes. Or maybe even the girl from North that you don’t know at all. Or in a rare instance, the convict. And despite the supposed chemistry between the couple, most of the time, they’re just friends.

Now that the most important factor is decided, there is always the dress, the shoes, the nails, and, of course, the hair. For guys, it’s easy.

All they have to get is a suit, and as long as he matches his date with corsage and tie, he won’t get murdered (just kidding, really¦ we won’t destroy you).

But honestly, if a girl suggests that a guy dress a certain way, he should agree (as long as it’s reasonable). A simple red tie and white corsage won’t kill you.

While we understand that guys are probably feeling a ton of pressure right now as well, they all must pall in comparison to the worries we face. We have to be careful in choosing either flats or heels –while universally flattering heels are clearly the way to go (they tighten your butt, lengthen your legs, and tone your calves), god forbid that you wind up taller than your date.

Also, the pressures of finding the most flattering dress is more than any of the opposite sex can comprehend. There’s the length, the color, and the style.

And sometimes, the perfect dress is completely sold out online, except for size 17. What a bummer. And finally, if you happen to go to semi with a certain senior, you might get some honesty box threats.

And what’s next after all of this craziness? The ride, the group, and the pictures.

Guys and girls seem to differ greatly when it comes down to these final concerns.

From what we’ve heard, girls want to go with their best friends. But what if their dates aren’t friends? Will it be awkward or a complete mess? Do the guys really care at all? It doesn’t really matter though because the guys will be forced to go anyways.

To be frank, girls only want pictures so that they can show off their date and dress, create a new Facebook photo album, and spend the next 48 hours stalking everyone else’s pictures.

By the end of the weekend, we’ll probably have seen at least 1,000 photos from semi alone, maybe more.

Soon enough, Semi will be here, filled with its bar and bat-mitzvah party glory (minus the games), and once you find that lucky someone and everything comes together, it hits you. The hardest part of your junior year is over. So, how about those SATs?

Get at me.

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Community Service Reaps Rewards http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/community-service-reaps-rewards/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/community-service-reaps-rewards/#comments Wed, 14 Apr 2010 05:45:33 +0000 Brittany Bishop http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3995 Community service: colleges would like to see it on your application. Whatever it is’€volunteering at a soup kitchen, doing work for a charity’€admissions offices love to see students giving back to their communities.

According to Barbara Brown, Newton South’s college and career counselor, schools look to see that students have contributed in some way to the broader community, not necessarily just their city.

“There are a huge variety of things [that students can do], and colleges don’t talk about that in specific terms, Brown said. “They know that kids do a variety of things. There are kids who go and work in orphanages in South Africa; there are kids who work at the Newton Public Library; there are all kinds of ways to show that you have some sort of commitment to other people.

Although colleges do not require a specific number of hours, Brown explained that it is not sufficient to have done just one small piece of community service. Doing the Walk for Hunger one time in eighth grade isn’t considered community service.

Students must involve themselves in many activities that better society to have completely fulfilled community service requirements.

New Community Service Bill Passed by Senate:

Need-to-Know Facts

- South will implement a program recognizing all eligible community service completed between the end of 8th grade and the end of 12th grade, if the hours total more than 20.

- An official certificate of completion will be made available at the end of Term I for seniors applying to colleges, and near the end of every school year for the other classes. Certificates may be distributed at other times on an as-needed basis through the guidance offices.

- The bill may be altered to include a statement defining “community service so that fake service isn’t accounted for (eg. 24-hour church sleepovers that actually only involve a few hours of service).

- Responsibility for tabulating community service hours may be transferred from guidance counselors to other staff members.

- The senate believes that Newton South is not ready for a mandatory program. Such a dramatic change would bring the school from no program to a controversial extreme. This bill will allow for a middle ground, perhaps a step in one direction to be completed in the future.

- The bill serves two purposes: rewarding those who do community service regularly, on a school-wide basis, and encouraging others to participate more.

Brown noted that most students who come to her office have done something. “It may be a one-day walk, or two different one-day walks, or raising some money. I’m finding that most kids nowadays do, said Brown.

According to Brown, over the last five years, the community service field has expanded. In the past, students did not do enough community service to note on their resumes.

Brown described the different reasons for growth: a combination of singular family contributions, community needs, college pressures, and the overall rise of aid and assistance in today’s world.

“Kids have watched their parents become more involved with community service, Brown said. “Newton South is very community service-minded. They work very hard on different causes, and I think it’s absolutely wonderful that kids have really taken a lot of the stuff on [for] themselves.

On the other hand, Donna Gordon, head of the Community Service Club, said that students at Newton South have always been very involved in community service. Since she started managing the club, the number of kids engaged in volunteer work has stayed the same.

So, are kids working more on community service? Although there may not be a boost to the community service club, students seem to be doing more.

With an increase in volunteer opportunities and a growth in the level of students’ involvement in community service, students definitely seem to be caring more about their society and giving back for the sake of giving back, rather than just for college.

“Is part of it college driven? Maybe, said Brown, “but I think it’s really, for the most part, coming from good reasons.

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Does the Apple Fall Far from the Tree? http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/does-the-apple-fall-far-from-the-tree/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/does-the-apple-fall-far-from-the-tree/#comments Wed, 24 Mar 2010 08:16:15 +0000 Amanda Sands http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3848 Maybe not, but in this neck of the woods, the wind is picking up…

Cultural clashes have existed since the beginning of humanity, often appearing in literature, television, and the general progression of history through time. Differences in custom, social class, and etiquette are some of the main reasons for familial conflict in today’s world. Pop culture has embraced this aspect of life, such as in the novel The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, or the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Even the musical theatre industry has adapted familial conflict in Fiddler on the Roof. In our country, and even in our own school, hostility and opposition arises within families due to contrasting cultures, religious beliefs, and political views.

Every household has a generation gap that accounts for certain differences between the adults’ and the kids’ day-to-day life’€simple choices that range from the appropriate way to dress or dating, to more controversial topics like political party or religion. Many young people feel as though their parents come from a different world.

Parents were born in an entirely different era, however, and they all grew up in distinctly dissimilar cultures from those of their teenage children.

Parents often have different outlooks on life due to past experiences and learned morals derived from their upbringings.

Naturally, the same was true when they were children themselves: if a teenager of any generation hasn’t been ordered to change her clothing or to turn off his loud music, then he or she is rather lucky.

America is characteristically diverse; it’s a melting pot of hundreds of cultures and traditions. Like in any society of mixed beliefs and customs from varying backgrounds, disagreements will emerge.

South, a school containing a variety of different backgrounds including students who are either first generation Americans with foreign parents or who are immigrants themselves, is precisely the same way.

The teenage immigrant commonly faces struggles that many of his peers typically don’t worry about: maintaining his cultural heritage or sustaining the traditions of his birthplace. Because the American lifestyle differs considerably from his mother country’s culture, arguments over social status, fashion choices, relationships, and even arranged marriages will begin to tear apart his family.

From the beginning of time, children and their parents have been at odds with one another. Especially when the folks come from a different neck of the woods, the apple certainly does fall far from the tree.

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Sophomore Speeches: Taking one for the Team http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/sophomore-speeches-taking-one-for-the-team/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/sophomore-speeches-taking-one-for-the-team/#comments Wed, 10 Feb 2010 08:47:50 +0000 Brittany Bishop http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3619 Members of the Speech Team face more pressures and bias during the Sophomore Speech competition than people realize. Although the speech competition attempts to stay fair, the classroom stage of the competition can inhibit the best performers from moving on due to prejudice in their classmates’ votes.

Voting can easily be biased based on pre-existing opinions of the students’ performances rather than the quality of the actual speeches themselves. Since students can vote for whomever they like, they can vote unfairly without any proof of their actions.

Even teachers, as well as students, judge and joke about the Speech Team members involved in Sophomore Speeches. In one classroom, a teacher joked to the students that Speech kids shouldn’t win this year because they’re all robotic.

The students in the class involved in Speech admitted to feeling incredibly targeted since they work just as hard on the entire speech-creating process as the other students.

For the most part, sophomores have claimed that they judge Speech Team members more harshly than other students because of their experience in public speaking.

Sophomore Annie Humphrey explained that she overheard students saying that they did not want to vote for any students on Speech Team because they thought the Speech members had an unfair advantage.

Most students have a black and white outlook on the matter: the Speech Team members will undoubtedly do better than other students. This assumption, however, is not true. As has been proven by precedent, many students not on Speech Team advance further in the competition than Speech Team sophomores.

The unfortunate fact is that most students are not aware that most Speech Team categories are completely different than the Sophomore Speech format.

The general body of Speech members is familiar with memorization and performance, but there is only one category, Original Oratory, where the student has to write a speech to memorize and perform. Even so, the performer has different time restraints and topics.

Speech members also feel added pressure to the competition due to the expectations brought on by their peers. Sophomore and Speech Team member Jackie Lebovits says that students on the Speech Team are more comfortable speaking in front of others, but that is the only advantage.

“For me, I still get nervous because I’m not used to reciting my own words, having to memorize the piece, or even knowing everyone in the room’€which I find adds pressure, Lebovits said.

Another Speech Team member, sophomore Allie Haber, acknowledges the bias of her classmates as well. “I definitely feel like I’m being ranked on an entirely different scale just because my class knows I’m on Speech Team. They expect something better from me before I even open my mouth.

Speech Team is not an exclusive team that requires auditions. Anyone can join the team, and it is not fair for people to complain that Speech Team members have an advantage when these people could just as easily join the team.

According to sophomore Daniel Bender Stern, another Speech Team member, there are students who join sports teams, which could help them in Wellness, and students who are politically active, which could help them in classes involving current events.

“No one complains if a student on Math Team excels in math class or in Math Olympiads. We have just as much of an advantage as anyone who has ever performed [on stage or in public], Bender Stern said.

Every student creates an advantage by what he or she devotes his or her extracurricular activities to, and no one should face prejudice because of the interests he or she takes part in outside of class.

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