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Just on Saturday, December 16th, 2017, the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, has awarded licences to Russian energy giant Rosneft to develop two offshore gas fields. This deal is allowing Grupo Rosneft to operate, and export gas that is produced at the Patao and Mejillones fields in the Caribbean Sea, for the following 30 years. The contract was signed by Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, who is a close ally of Putin, as well as a Russian official. For the next 30 years, Russia will now be allowed to sell and export all the gas and fuel that is made there, this includes liquified natural gas. Right now, Russia needs to show off their base projects and get approval from Venezuela before they can start anything though. Russia is currently trying to build a better relationship with Venezuela, so they will be able to make more of an impact in Latin America. Rosneft provided the Venezuelan state energy company, PDVSA, with $6 billion as an advance payment, in August. The total reserves of the two area fields, are estimated at around 180 billion cubic meters of gas. Russia has also stated that they are planning to extract around 6.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year, for 15 years. Currently, Russian companies are already involved in multiple joint projects with Venezuela, and currently, they have access to fields that are estimated to hold more than 20.5 billion tons of oil. At the moment, Venezuela owes an estimated amount of of $140bn to foreign partners and creditors. Russia has been helping Venezuela with their finances, and helped them after their oil-based economy crashed. The deal is allowing Venezuela to make small payments to Russia over the course of the next 6 years.
Why is it important (impact)?
I think that this is important, as Russia is a growing country that has made large impacts in the way the world is shaped today. This deal is allowing Russia to grow more and more financially and since it has a new business partner, Venezuela, they will only proceed to grow more, unless like something bad happens to their oil supplies. Russia is a country where when the oil prices drop around the world, they will suffer from a loss of money. 30% of Russia’s GDP relies on oil and gas prices. Between June and December 2014, the Russian currency, the ruble, dropped in value 59% relative to the U.S. dollar, because there was an oil price crash. Anyways, Venezuela suffered a loss as well when their oil prices dropped, since they too, have a large part of their economy focused in the production of oil. Russia has helped them in the past when they were in a bit of a mess, so the least Venezuela could do is to slowly pay them back through various offers and accepting trades. I wouldn’t exactly say that the Russians “took advantage” of Venezuela, but they definitely saw an opportunity to grow, and took it.
Winter break is almost here but before that is Secret Santa. For the last day of school we were suppose to make a treat or present that you made at home. We chose the people to make our presents for two weeks ago. The point of Secret Santa is to gift something for someone without telling them. The rule for us was we weren’t allowed to spend money on this gift. We had to make things at home like food and others. When drawing names we had a chance of getting someone from the grade 8 minischool or the grade 9 minischool. On the last day of school everyone hands theirs in and get their present. Remember that school will be on January 8. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!
This week at Alpha…
Christmas is just around the corner and we finally had the first snowfall of December 2017, on Tuesday, the 19th! With the snow, came people slipping and sliding on the icy sidewalks (though, Alpha did a pretty good job with the ones around the school), and snowball fights breaking out on the field. The snowfall also means a lot of work for the people tasked with keeping the building clean (and dry) because wet snow and mud are constantly being tracked throughout the school. All in all, the snow has brought a real festive atmosphere to these last few days of school before Christmas!
Hey Alpha, it’s Beta Minischool here!
The first quarter of the year has passed and Beta Minischool’s I.D.S projects are about a quarter finished. It’s amazing to see all the intriguing and fascinating project everybody is working on! For those of you who don’t know what I.D.S stands for I.D.S is an acronym. I.D.S, stands for Independent Directed Studies meaning that all these superb projects are being created on each students own time outside of school. I.D.S topics in Beta Minischool range from Virtual Reality development, to photography, mountain biking and instrument designing and creating! There are so many projects that are really amazing this year in Beta Minischool! Students are well ahead of their various projects with a quarter of the project done. All of these projects are quite interesting but several students are already ahead and have over 80 hours of work done.
We can’t wait to see the final products of I.D.S if this is just a quarter of what the finished projects will look like. The students here at Beta Minischool have been working hard on there I.D.S projects and it looks like their hard work will payoff in the end. That’s our update for the week here at Beata Minischool and we hope to update what happens with our I.D.S project soon.
In all the scramble to log as many hours as humanly possible, cramming as much work without defying the laws of time, each student trying for a 40, or if they procrastinated too much, a 30. Some just gave up in the final stretch, planning to do 30, or even 20 before the finish line. Some has been a good-two-shoe and done 40, or a staggering 50, months before the due date starts to be seen on the horizon.
To add the the frenzy of IDS check-ins, series of classes has been spent learning about China and Islam, religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism and much much more. In conclusion, it’s safe to say that most of us are quite knowledgeable in the arts of ancient religions now.
On top of all that, there’s the science fair check-in looming over us, keeping us in constant stress along with other projects and homework, such as the dozens of math questions, tons of ornaments being printed in our frantic rush for christmas decorations.
BETA’s in for a busy month!
This Week at Alpha
We have had a crazy last week of 2017 here at Alpha. With the first heavy snowfall of the year making it hard to get home, and tests, projects and exams piling up, many students have been counting the days left until Winter Break for weeks. However, ridiculous loads of homework aside, we have had an exciting week. Negative temperatures have been creeping into our thermometers for days now, but it has become really cold recently, and the hot chocolate sales have been popping up. One of the anticipated events of this month was the elementary school tradition of The Pancake Breakfast. This image, courtesy of the Alpha Twitter page, shows all our students enjoying their delicious meals. Because Christmas is upon us, half the school has been cracking down on academics, and half the school has given up. There have been a lot parties this week, and many lazy blocks of movies, and playing games.
The final and most mysterious of all things that have been planned for this week is the Ho Ho Ho Down, an event that has been explained to us ever so vaguely by teachers, and older students. All we know is that classes will be shorter, and that there will be competitions and a mysterious currency called Santa Bucks. Students have been hounding these from teachers and staff this week by performing good deeds, and paying attention in class. The reason is that we have been told that there will be $500 worth of prizes, so all we can do is wait and see what will happen.
This month has been a little shorter than the others in terms of actual length, but not at all in terms of workload. The BETA grade 8s have been working on a few different projects and topics during this month.
For Humanities, we have been doing in-depth exploration and research on some of the biggest and most influential religions in the world today. We kicked this unit off by doing research and a series of questions for the religions of Islam and Christianity. But this was just the introduction to our bigger project after that, the World Religions project. Every student picked a slip of paper on their box that would have one of six religions written on it (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Sikhism, Buddhism). Each student would research their religion and answer questions, such as how their religion has influenced the world, what its main principles are, and more. Our final test on this subject was on December 21st, during which we all got together in groups with one person studying each religion and worked together to answer the questions on the test.
In math, we have been doing a bit of variety. At the beginning of the month, Ms. Neumann brought in a mini Christmas tree that is currently sitting in the corner of the class. After we all worked together to calculate the approximate surface area of the tree, we got to work in making 3D models of ornaments that we have been printing and hanging on the tree for the past few weeks. The ornaments are designed to represent what Christmas and the holiday season in general means for each of us. After a little bit of mishap with some of the printing and what we all thought could very well be the end of our 3D printer, our little tree is now fashionably adorned with all our tiny creations.
After we had all finished our ornaments, we were working on calculating the surface area and volume of geometric 3D shapes. Cubes, prisms, cylinders, you name it. Both our pre-test quiz/review and the test on the unit itself were this week. If you haven’t noticed, lots of stuff was due for this last week, which is unfortunate but supposedly inevitable considering the time constraints we’re dealing with here.
And one extra little thing that we’ve been working on that cannot be categorized into a specific subject is our Secret Santa exchange. Every student both, grade 8s and 9s, drew and were assigned a specific student from either class that they would have to make a gift for. By make a gift, that means it has to be handmade and not just bought from a store. The exchange will be on December 22nd during each class’s respective Christmas celebration party.
That concludes the BETA happenings for this month. As we delve into the holiday break with a fresh bed of snow on the ground, remember to stay safe and get your winter tires.
This month at Beta has certainly been a busy one, with everyone scrambling to complete the final projects our wonderful teachers have been throwing at us. What with IDS check-ins, Science fair check ins, 2 math unit tests(!!!), and much more, we have all been going slightly crazy (our teachers included; Ms.Neumann has been known to cuddle up with Akira on the floor when it all gets too much). As you have probably guessed, we are all desperate for the winter break when we can finally relax (I mean not really, there’s still IDS to do/catch up on not to mention Science Fair- oh sorry am I being to negative?).
And being this close to the end of the year, we have all gotten a little bit chatty. This has triggered a new punishment in the Grade 8 Mini-School: Push ups. It’s pretty simple. If you are getting too distracted and talkative (usually in block 2 ‘cause that’s when we all wake up), Ms. Neumann and Mr. Murray have the right to say “(Insert name here)! 5 pushups!”. Usually followed by a “Hahahaha sucker” from the rest of the class and a “What???” or a “Ms. Nuhmann??”” (You know who you are), from the victim of the penalty. Then, the person just gets on the ground and does the- No, of course not? Who do you think we are, well behaved, kind and respectful kindergarteners?
No, push-ups take much longer than that, and the person doing them tries their hardest to make them as distracting and funny as possible, kinda like a “take that!” for our teachers.
“You make me do push-ups? I’ll make sure NO ONE is working! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA” (etc etc). It’s not a serious punishment, and Ms. Neumann is never reaaally mad at us, cause we’re her duckies! We’re great! But sometimes, the push-ups are totally useless (ok, all the time), and that person continues to be annoying. So what do you do, if someone in our class is annoying you
“Ms. Neumann, can I give (Insert name here) pushups?” Followed by a half yes half chuckle from our Scimatics teacher. That is the ultimate goal in our class. To have that in-deniable power over someone, to force your friends to cave-in to the work-out you order, to laugh evilly while watching them do their push-ups and calmly sip the hot chocolate you bought from the coffee cart that morning; It’s the best feeling in the world. Most of us have fallen victim to the push-ups at least once in our class; even the distributor herself.
It was a calm day in the mini-school; 2 work blocks (WHOOOO) due to the absence of our incredible Mr. Murray, and the fact that they were (like I said), throwing projects on us, and we needed some time to catch up. The 3D Printer was running, as usual, printing the last Christmas ornaments, when Ms. Neumann noticed it doing something strange. I won’t give you the details of her offense, but our wonderful educator said to herself, “Aw, now I need to do push-ups”. And of course, we all immediately encouraged the event, as she walked to the head of the class to prepare. She completed the punishment with a frequent push-uper (who was doing the exercise thanks to the orders of yours truly), and he led her in a very dramatic and very useless warm up.
Finally, they were ready, and got onto their hands and feet. 1! Each push of her arms was a glorious sight for us all, us who had all suffered so much in the same way! 2! Her face began to turn red, and we laughed until ours were as well! 3! She kept going, each one better and more enjoyable for us than the last! 4! We got out our phones and started filming the marvelous even and taking pictures, not wanting the moment to pass with no photographic evidence! 5! She had completed the set, getting up immediately, as if she could make us all forget it had happened, but we never would. Those push-ups will always be the best push-ups ever completed in our class, and I know we will never top them.
So there you go, person reading this blog. Push-ups have become a norm in the Grade 8 mini-school, but I bet Ms. Neumann wouldn’t want this posted without a disclaimer; We all love both our teachers very much, and all understand that the push-ups are just a fun in-joke within the class, and please don’t get offended or write to the school all mad saying “Do you know what my kid is doing in that class I am so offended right now!” I mean, I’ve never had to do any *hair flip*, but I bet with this slightly cheeky report, Ms. Neumann might give me some when I get to school tomorrow.
Sincerely, The girl in class who is “allergic to fun” (which one is it you’ll never know)