Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations

One of the most successful and respected actors in Hollywood has now turned into the most resented following multiple sexual harassment allegations. The star of the popular Netflix series House of cards, Kevin Spacey, has been dropped by his publicist, talent agency, and some of his biggest roles.

Anthony Rapp, an American actor known for originating the role of Mark Cohen in the Broadway musical Rent, released a statement last month accusing Spacey of sexually harassing him in 1986, when Rapp was 14. Spacey’s response described the event as “deeply inappropriate drunken behavior”. Rapp’s statement was followed by many more accusations, including multiple young men from the not-for-profit London theatre where Spacey was artistic director for more than 10 years. “It seems the only requirement was to be a male under the age of 30 for Mr Spacey to feel free to touch us” wrote Mexican actor Roberto Cavazos, who often starred in plays at the theatre. “There are a lot of us that have a ‘Kevin Spacey story’.”

American film maker Tony Montana claims he was left with PTSD for 6 months after Spacey forcefully grabbed his crotch at an LA bar, and later followed him to the men’s washroom. British barman Daniel Beal has accused Spacey of flashing him 


outside of a hotel in Sussex when Beal was 19, and later giving him a £5000 watch to try to silence him.

Following these allegations, Spacey’s successful career has been shattered. The sixth season of House of cards has been suspended until further notice, and Spacey has been dropped as the recipient of the unique International Emmy Founders Award.

Successful Hollywood producer and former film executive Harvey Weinstein has also begun to witness the end of his career after sexual harassment and rape allegations from numerous women. In a recent New York times article, it was revealed that Weinstein has been paying off victims of his harassment and abuse for decades.

This has sparked over 70 women to share their stories of Weinstein’s misconduct towards them, including actresses Lupita Nyong’o, Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan and Cara Delevigne. As stated by the New York Times: “Accounts of Mr. Weinstein’s conduct seem to follow a common narrative; women reported to a hotel for what they thought were work reasons, only to discover that Mr. Weinstein, who has been married for most of three decades, sometimes seemed to have different interests”.  

Harvey Weinstein has been fired by the board of his production company, The Weinstein Company, and the company itself has been dropped as a producer of many upcoming films.


Thankfully we live in a time when we are beginning to shed light on serious issues in our society, and hopefully moving towards better lives for everyone.

B.C man runs for Zimbabwe’s presidential race

[above] Richard Kanyangu

Zimbabwe a country full of many prized natural resources, is one of the worst performing countries out there. Mainly because of it’s corrupt, inefficient government. Which is why B.C man Richard Kanyangu has decided to take this into his own hands. He left Zimbabwe in 1995 to study in the UK, now he is in Kamloops, and working as a nurse and pastor. He says that he spent too much time waiting for change and that “We’ve stood on the sidelines for too long hoping for the situation to change itself, but after 20 years of doing that, I’ve come to the realization that that is going to take someone like me to get involved in the process if we’re going to see anything good come out of the country.”

Richard’s competitor is none other than Mugabe, being the leader of the nation since its recognition in 1980. His policies have led to the 2009 hyperinflation that basically broke down the economy. Bring a promising nation towards nothing. Kanyangu believes it’s time for the rest of the world to get involved and help the people, quoting “We require and hope that out of this, the international community will put a mandate on whoever becomes the next president …  to actually allow international observers at the next elections,” and to  “make sure that at the end of the day the elections are free and fair and that whoever is in power is in power because of the mandate given to them by the people, democratically.”

He hopes to spread word of himself to millions of people, however the chances of that are very slight, as he has limited money and as Mugabe controls all media the hopes to appear there are also gone. However he states “We have people on the ground with us who are hoping to mobilize and get the word around”. He will be leaving for Zimbabwe in June, and staying there during the run-up to the election. Will he complete his quest to unseat Mugabe, or will he fail due to lack of resources, we can only wait to know.

World Barista Championship 2017 (WBC)

This past weekend (Saturday November 11, Sunday November 12), over 60 competitors from 58 nations all over the world competed in the World Barista Championship in Seoul, Korea. An international competition for those who make coffee their passion, this was none of your typical Starbucks coffee. These professionals can work up to 60 hour weeks leading to a competition, where participants have 15 minutes to prepare four espressos, four cappuccinos/milk drinks, and four signature drinks for judges.


During this time, they are judged intensively in many different categories, such as their confidence, style and ease, as well as how they explain their drinks to the judges and if they finish under the allotted time or not. A tiny spill, or not enough of an explanation on a drink served? Points docked. Stumble with a few words, or presentation a few seconds more than 15 minutes? More points docked. Not to mention the quality of the drinks themselves. Certain taste notes, flavor profiles, and aromas are critical, and even the slightest mistake in anything can result in disaster (point wise). If the participant doesn’t explain to the judges how he/she wants them to drink the presented coffee, guiding them through the experience, he/she can lose many valuable points. They are even judged on what music they play in the background and what they wear. Presentation is everything.


This year, Canadian Ben Put came in fourth overall, this being his fourth WBC. Put introduced a geisha flavour profile based presentation, exploring the concepts of processing and how it changes the coffee.


The World Barista 2017 Champion is Dale Harris from the United Kingdom. He did his presentation on the aromatic compounds of coffee, and how they affect the ways we see coffee.


If you want to watch some of the competitors and their presentations, you can check out this link:




Report Cards

Hello BETA Minischool,

We hope that you are all doing well and hope that your child is enjoying the program thus far. As many of you know, we have report cards coming home soon and we just wanted to clarify what you will see. You may have noticed that they are not directly attached to MyEd. This is because we have physical copies that will be handed out on the 23rd of November. We have reviewed the reports with the students to ensure they know where they are at. Please email myself (Mr. Murray) if you have any questions or concerns!

“Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field”



Mr. Murray

This week at Alpha

This week at Alpha,

Our class, along with the other two mini school classes and the grade 8 discovery class embarked on a journey to the 30th annual Vancouver Writers’ Fest that took place at Granville Island.

First things first, as if there wasn’t a better way to start off the day, the scheduled buses were delayed to almost 45 minutes late. Thankfully, we arrived at our destination just as our first presentation was about to start so we were lucky to not have missed any of it.

The theme of the two performances that the grade 9 mini school attended that day were based around slam poetry. While both of the shows featured 4 poets, the whereabouts of where the poets came from varied. In the morning performance, the artists showcased were the Vancouver slam poetry team; “Van Slam.” As the art of slam poetry falls into a more modern and progressive category of art, the fact that there was so much diversity in the Van Slam team really did a good job of representing the inclusivity and acceptance of the slam community.

One thing the first performance had that the second performance lacked were the team poems, now, though it makes sense why that was so as the first group was a team whereas the second were individual presenters. But from a personal standpoint I felt that the group poem was a neat touch to the overall presentation. Another thing about the morning show was that the perspectives of which the poets saw the world and wrote from was difference and seemed in a way more raw than the other slam poems I have listened to in the past. Doing so gave the poems more character and put situations that most do not get experience into perspective, especially in terms of emotional weight. For example, the issue addressed by Spillious, a transgender woman, was society’s reaction to someone out of the ordinary. One of the most impactful lines in her poem, was the opening, “I am wonder woman, when people look at me they wonder, man, or woman?” This particular phrase resonated with the audience as in so few words, it described so much.

After the “Van Slam Special,” we were allotted a chunk of time to go for lunch and explore the island before the afternoon show. Granville Island had a lot to offer when it came to interesting stores and quirky trinkets. In fact, there was this one magic store, “Clownin’ Around Magic” that really caught the attention of a handful of students within the mini school. The store carried magic props of all sorts and it was quite the experience to look around at all the different items.

Now onto the afternoon show, to kick off the event, the winner of the 2017 slam poetry contest recited “Wolf Lake” by Elizabeth Bachinsky. Needless to say, her performance was a showstopper and she recited it with so much expression and emotions that it gave the illusion that she was the one in the situation the poem depicted. Though all the poets were fantastic, one in particular that I want to mention was the poet that came all the way from the UK to give Vancouver a taste of her art.

Overall the field trip was a great eye opener and paved the way to our own pieces of slam poems from the BETA mini school. And that was the highlight of this week…



BETA Bits of Business

After our 3 day introduction on DNA with student presentations, we finally took our next step into our science topic. This time, BETA 9 experiences with extracting DNA from a strawberry. Though the procedure was a bit on the more difficult side as it was all aural instructions, we managed to pull through and finish the DNA extraction.


A photo of DNA taken through the microscope

Thanks to Ms. Neumann, our class was able to experience and get our hands on something super cool! Our first step was to get a thawed strawberry and place it into an airtight bag. Next was the fun part, we got to crush the strawberry into mush. Everyone had different methods of doing so- squishing it with finger, sitting on it, slamming it on the table, smashing it with a water bottle… all quite interesting methods, but it did the job. The next step was to add 10 millilitres of the DNA extractor liquid, which consisted of salt, dish soap, and water. After gently mixing the two liquids together, and trying not to produce bubbles and foam (that kind of backfired on some of us), we had to filter out all the strawberry gunk via cheesecloth and into a test tube. Though several people ended up spilling all of the strawberry mush, most of us reigned successful. The last step was to add isopropyl alcohol. We had to tilt the tube 45 degrees and carefully make two full squirts in order to create a layer on top of the strawberry juice.

After that, we slowly noticed tiny bubbles begin to form and a translucent light-pink, sticky substance in the between the alcohol and strawberry juice. Ms. Neumann then handed out long stirring sticks with small circular hoops attached to one end, much like a bubble wand. We used the stir stick to gently pry the translucent substance out of the mixture, and by stirring in a circular motion, it allowed the extracted DNA to stick to the hoop. We then proceeded to place the extracted substance onto a microscope slide, then we placed a slide cover on top and pushed down to try and get rid of any air bubbles. Afterwards, we placed we slide underneath a microscope, where we were able to see the results of our DNA extraction.

After a lot of focusing, this is what we saw through the microscope

That’s all for today from 🅱eta 🅱its of 🅱usiness! See you all next time!


BETA Bits of Business

A few weeks back, BETA 9 made play dough for our sexual and asexual reproduction stop motion films!


The process of making play dough was extremely chaotic even though we had written instructions to follow. In partners, we first had to gather all our ingredients, which consisted of flour, water, oil and cream of tartar. It was interesting seeing the different methods people used to measure out each ingredient, as we only had liquid measuring cups. Though this resulted in a mess, we managed to get the job done.


The next step was to actually make the play dough. We started off by placing a giant measuring cup filled with water on a hot plate, and then added oil. Gradually, as the liquid combination became a bit hotter, we added flour while stirring to prevent burning. Eventually, after the flour, water and oil mixture was one consistency, we stirred in the cream of tartar. After what seemed like hours of mixing, the play dough was finally set for kneading and coloring. Each group made a different color of play dough. Most people made the play dough into a ball and indented it with their finger to make a small hole for the food coloring. Then we proceeded to push, turn, fold, and repeat. Though most groups reigned successful, a few of us made some rather… interesting colours.  


Water and food coloring ended up everywhere, but after a good chunk of time, the class was able to pull through and clean up both the class and the hallway.


Our next step was to start and set up our stop motion film sets. Many of us found several creative ways to prop up our devices, in order to achieve the best angle, and lighting. Some students chose to go above and beyond by animating tiny details and paying attention to background movement. Many of us ran into small problems and issues along the way, such as; shadows, which made one frame significantly darker than the others. Movement, which caused the camera to go off center. And last, but definitely not least, background noise. For many students, it was hard to find the perfect location with decent acoustics, and no students wandering around. It was a difficult process, but the all the groups managed to pull through in the end, and produce some extraordinary results.


Some of the things we were marked based off, included:

Communication, which is how well we were able to explain our concept of reproduction, using the correct scientific terms, while still making it easy to understand.

The creativity of the script. Again, similar to communication, we had to make sure we portrayed our concept well, while still making it creative and fun! This included the details of the storyline, and how the presentation was pieced together as a whole.

The creativity of the art, which, of course, is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Things like small details, and originality were major influences here.

Lastly, collaboration. I would say this is pretty self-explanatory. We were assessed based on how we chose to use our in-class time to benefit this project.

Overall, both the play dough-making and stop motion films were extremely fun projects! Our class really enjoyed them, and everyone had a blast. Not only were we covering our studies thoroughly, we were also given the opportunity to show our understanding in an interesting and creative way.


That’s all from Beta Bits of Business!~


Japan Launches the 4th Michibiki satellite

On October 10, Japan has launched its 4th Michibiki satellite as part of the QZSS (Quasi-Zenith Satellite System). The satellites loop over Japan and Australia, allowing uninterrupted coverage of the area, and engineers plan to switch to this system in April. The new Japanese GPS can locate devices with a very high accuracy (within a few centimeters), while the commonly used U.S. GPS has an accuracy of a few metres.


The QZSS project uses multiple satellites placed around the zenith of Japan, allowing them to pinpoint location much more accurately in urban or mountainous areas. Four GPS satellites are needed to determine a position, and because of skyscrapers and mountains, the signals can receive some interference. This causes some issues with the navigation system, which is not only used for cars, but also air traffic, monitoring, weather forecasting and earthquake detection (very necessary in Japan). This will also improve the range of GPS tracking and navigation.


The satellites will orbit in a figure-8 pattern, and upon the project’s completion, it is estimated that 8 satellites will be available at any time when combining the new satellites with the previous GPS system. Now with 4 Michibiki satellites operational, the QZSS “constellation” will have reached its operating capacity, and will become operational in 2018. In the future, further plans will include a total of 7 satellites being placed by 2023.

Hong Kong Activist Sentenced For Throwing Sandwich At Former Leader

On Tuesday October 31st, Hong Kong politician and activist Avery Ng Man-yuen of the League of Social Democrats was found guilty in court for throwing a tuna fish sandwich at former Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying. The incident occurred at a polling station on the legislative election day, September 2016, when Ng, on his way to vote, attempted to throw what he described as a “smelly fish sandwich” at Leung, although he missed and instead hit a police officer, officer Lau Wing-kwan, who later noted that it left brown stains on his vest.

Ng had brought two sandwiches to the polling station, one for his breakfast, and one what he called a reminder to Leung that the poor of the city couldn’t even afford such a meal some days. He claimed that he’d planned to hand Leung the sandwich, but when blocked by police, he’d decided to throw it, expecting Leung to catch it. He also added that Leung’s “very smug expression” had invited him to “bring it on” and hurl the sandwich. Leung testified that he felt panic when the sandwich was being thrown.

Ng has been sentenced three weeks in prison, but was released on bail pending an appeal. Judge So Wai-tak said the sentence was to discourage the use of violent means to protest against government policies, but that he acknowledged the fact that as the weapon was a sandwich, it justified a shorter sentence.

Expressing outrage over the three week sentence, Ng’s colleague Leung Kwok-hung told reporters that he was hoping to do an experiment and “buy 1,000 sandwiches to see how much they will hurt when thrown at a person.”

Volunteer Criminal Record Check Mentor Letter

Mentorship Letter Alpha Secondary Beta Minischool

Hello Parents,

Hope you are all doing well and that your child is enjoying this class so far (we do like to give them work;)). I have attached a form for the Volunteer Criminal Record Check (click the Mentorship Letter link above) if your child does have a mentor that is not either myself or Ms. Neumann. It is a fill in the blank style document but please feel free to contact me if there are any issues. Thank you very much. 


Mr. Murray