Trans Mountain Pipeline Project Update

In response to the approval of the trans mountain pipeline project, many protests have made an appearance in an attempt to counteract this motion. The morning of March 16, 2018, just a day after environment minister Catherine McKenna publicly stated that she stands by the government’s decision regarding the pipeline, a protester expressed her discontent in a very dramatic fashion. Now, not only was the pipeline approved by the environment minister less than 24 hours prior to the protest, Kinder Morgan was also granted a permanent injunction to ban protesters from disrupting work.

 

The scene that unfolded right before 8 am on March 16th resulted in an arrest. A 19 year old female protester had chained herself to a work truck partaking in the assembly of the pipeline, preventing it from moving. After refusing to remove the chains multiple times by the authorities, she was arrested for mischief. However, she was not the only one present at the protest this morning. According to Trans Mountain workers, “This morning, we had people physically obstructing our gates and some equipment en-route to our Burnaby terminal.”

Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster will probably collide with Earth or Venus

Remember that car that Elon Musk sent into space a little while ago? Well, it was originally intended to orbit in between Earth and Mars, but by using up all of the Fuel in the second stage, rocket, it will now be going to the asteroid belt. Wonderful.

 

Though it’s just a very large PR stunt, scientists from the University of Toronto, led by astronomer Hanno Rein, have managed to calculate the path of the roadster in the next 100 years or so! Despite the science seeming very frivolous, as a matter of fact the procedures used in this fun little experiment could contribute to how we track near-earth asteroids. Unfortunately the mathematics gets a little uncertain after 100 years, but it is calculated that there is a high probability in the next 3 million years that the car will crash into either Earth or Venus.

 

So, if a hypothetical space mission in the future were to encounter the car in space (before the crash) would it be in pristine condition? According to Rein, no it won’t. Micrometeorites would damage the windshield extensively, and all organic compounds would not handle solar radiation well. Metal stuff like the chassis will fare better in space, but the roaster won’t look so good after a couple thousand years of travelling through space.

 

Sources:

https://arxiv.org/abs/1802.04718

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/musk-tesla-roadster-crash-earth-1.4537407

Kim Jong Un impersonator

Relatively recently, in Pyeongchang, a man attending a women’s hockey game drew a couple stares from practically everyone in the stadium. Why you may ask? Well, this man was dressed up as the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, and was waving around a Korean Unification flag and posing for selfies. Needless to say, he was kicked out when somebody alerted security on his actions.

 

While he was there in the stadium, he managed to cause great confusion among a North Korean cheerleading delegation who gave very mixed (but mostly confused) reaction to his getup. This was when he was escorted away by security, all while complaining, “I just want to see the game, so what’s the problem? I’m about to miss my game.” Apparently it was for his own safety.

 

This is possibly the second time the man, who hails from Australia, has caused a stir at the games; given how there was a previous kerfuffle surrounding a Donald Trump impersonator and a Kim Jong Un impersonator who dressed up a posed for selfies at the opening ceremonies.

 

Given how things are in reality with the USA and North Korea, the future seems pretty bleak. Pyeongchang 2018 has done a wonderful job of lightening the news, and sometimes in turbulent times, we need a little more satire.

 

Sources:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-43063829

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2018/02/14/the-kim-jong-un-impersonator-wanted-to-meet-the-north-korean-cheerleaders-it-didnt-go-well/?utm_term=.5aef80f5ed7f

Chaos in School

On February 14th, yet another school shooting had occurred. This mass killing took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, located in South Florida. The culprit is 19 year old Nikolas Cruz, a former student of the targeted high school. He was armed with 7 rifles, one of which was an AK-47, and is currently charged with 17 counts of murder which consisted of both students and teachers. A user by the name of “nikolas cruz” had also previously posted a comment on YouTube stating,  “I want to be a professional school shooter.”, as well as an Instagram account under his name which showed many pictures of himself with his gun collection.

 

The deaths and injuries caused by school shootings affect everyone from family members to fellow students and teachers. To experience a close friend or loved one die at a presumably safe environment can cause a lot of trauma and emotional drawbacks. For one, parents that would expect their child to return home safe, having learned something new, to suddenly tell them that their child has been shot dead at school is extremely heartbreaking. Students at school that might have witnessed their own close friend and teacher take bullets to the chest can cause extreme anxiety and in even worse cases, PTSD.

 

However, the friends and family of the injured and deceased won’t be the only ones that are affected. The family of the shooter will also receive backlash. The thoughts of, “I have been raising a killer and I didn’t even know,” and others alike, as well as blames of raising their child wrong can be just as emotionally damaging.

 

After this incident, there are now a total of eight school shootings in the U.S. this year. With that in mind, it is important to remember that all drills happen for a reason, whether it be a fire drill or a lockdown, and procedures should be reviewed every so often. When drills are scheduled, they should be taken seriously as they are to help prep you if a life threatening situation does occur. It is also important to be aware of others’ behaviors. If inappropriate or threatening comments and actions arise, informing a teacher, counsellor, or any adult with authority can possibly prevent an endangering incident.

 

Sources:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/02/14/florida-school-shooting-2018/338466002/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/02/14/injuries-reported-after-shooting-florida-high-school/338217002/

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/01/us/school-shootings-in-2018/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/14/us/nikolas-cruz-florida-shooting-suspect/index.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5412507/Florida-school-gunman-bought-seven-rifles-including-AK-47.html

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/15/us/florida-shooting-victims-school/index.html

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5583296/florida-shooting-shooter-nikolas-cruz-youtube-video-fbi/

 

The Fall of Theranos: The “Fake it Until you Make it” Dynamic

On a rainy winter day in 2013, the young me was reading a magazine article about a marvelous, world changing, innovative company called Theranos. With the young, inexperienced and easily impressioned mind I had (and still do to a lesser degree), I began to furiously scan the page; it featured a story that was particularly interesting to me.

 

The article shone a bright light on the brighter promises of a seemingly incredible company; a company that would revolutionize blood testing, creating a healthier and cheaper alternative. It praised the founder and CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, as a new female version of Steve Jobs. The young me was fascinated, I felt empowered that a female Stanford drop-out could possible achieve so much in so short a time. Elizabeth Holmes thought of an idea, and she did it. I felt enraptured by this story of great success. Inspired you may say! Elizabeth Holmes became one of the youngest self-made female billionaires; at her height earning 4.5 Billion! She built a business and medical empire that so many older people would envy.

 

Now Fast Forwards 5 years to the older and harder to impress version of me. Recently looking at the news, I discovered something; Theranos was a fake! I had been living a semi lie! The very company and founder i thought should set an example for all young innovators, turned out to be a total hoax! Elizabeth Holmes was charged with “major fraud”.

Let me explain before I get too far ahead of myself.

 

Theranos, founded by Stanford Dropout Elizabeth Holmes, promised to provide an accurate blood test for $2.99, using a few drops of blood, for a variety of different diseases. However, as an investigator soon found out, Theranos had none of that technology. All that the tests that were conducted were through traditional blood testing ways; the very thing that Theranos sought to replace. Theranos had promised a painless, cheap and fast way to exam people; an alternative much suited for people afraid of the blood-testing process. Yet they accomplished nothing. But they said they did.

 

As expected, there were outcries. During the climax of Theranos’ success in 2013/14, and after; with the promise of delivery and a fat paycheck; Elizabeth Holmes and her fellow con men had cheated various investors out of 700 Million dollars! Now articles were no longer praising her for her geniosity and ambition; but mocking her on her dishonesty and utter failure.

 

The symbolic black turtleneck that she always wore; in the beginning a symbol meaning a new age with another Steve jobs, now became another reason for people to point out the false illusion she created. Her self ambition and motivation; what makes her devote all her hours to experimenting and running 10k a day, now became a laughing stock.

 

On one hand; she deserves all of the criticism. 700 Million spent listening to a false mouth! Homes saw the empire she built crumble as she fought legal case after legal case; destroyed by a web of lies she herself created. She told investors that she developed a world-changing technology, that her tests generated billions annually in revenue, that she was about to modernize the health diagnostics forever. In reality, she led people on, she had none of those qualifications.

 

Her own net worth went from 4.5 billion to 0. She signed a deal saying that she would refrain from partaking in any public services for the next decade, and she would pay millions in debt. You could say she deserved every bit of it. I agree to some degree. However, we must not neglect the fact that this is very common.

 

Commonly in the Silicon Valley and elsewhere, the motto “Fake it until you Make it” seems to be popular and frequently put into play. Many of these people are young entrepreneurs; eager to mark their place in the world, to do or develop something that would forever be imprinted in History’s pages. Many of these people develop so called “technologies”. These they market out to be something great and remarkable, in reality not. Many people, are so determined to walk the road of success; that they purposefully choose to forget that they haven’t yet tied their shoelaces (forgive my terrible metaphor).

 

In their minds, they think they can just swing it. Similar to the thoughts of a student; “I don’t actually have to know the contents of this test, as long as I pass it, it will never come up ever again!. They think that if they aren’t ready in the present; somehow in the future everything will work out. “Hey, the Investors won’t be mad, as long as I give them the money they want, everything will be solved!”

 

Many young innovators depend (and believe) in the hope that once they get their feet off the ground, everything will be forgiven. Alas, they invest their dreams in something hypothetical. In Holmes’ case, her beginning was smooth. She probably figured that somewhere over the course of these years she would develop the needed technology, create an even more successful company, satisfy the innovators, and everything would become the past. That was too much of a gamble.

 

So altogether, many of the news we hear today cannot be entirely true. I for one, thought that Elizabeth Holmes would become the new Steve Jobs. Many people trusted in the deliverance of Theranos. Yet we were all left disappointed. We cannot entirely formulate our own opinions without learning the true story. We cannot hope for something without learning more. Hope is always beneficial to the human mind; but utter disappointment isn’t.

 

Also, the second moral is, if you want to become invested in something, if you want other people to follow suit; make sure your dreams are reliable. Theranos, the clever play on words between “Therapy” and “Diagnosis”; the company that was supposed to change blood testing forever, never got to. However, I truly believe that in the future, things will improve, new technology will be invented; and the shadow left by Theranos will become the light casted by another company.

The Death of the Great Stephen Hawking

The month of March has been a tragic month indeed. Tears were shed all over the world when the incredibly inspiring and famous; one and only, Stephen Hawking Died. I for one, have been greatly affected by his passing.

 

Stephen Hawking was my personal hero. During the course of last year, I was introduced to his theories; Hawking Radiation, Black Hole Paradox, and a few of his books. I used to spend hours pouring over his books, trying to decipher a meaning over the information seemingly encoded on the page. His remarkable ideas inspired my last year science fair project; and invoked in me a newfound interest in science.  

 

I began to look up the author of the words I was reading. What utterly intelligent, humble, human being, could possibly explain such a seemingly complex scientific concept to someone as scientifically inexperienced as me! Apart from his fame, and the fact that I wasn’t living under a rock (completely), I felt compelled to know more about him. And so that is how I discovered an amazing story.

 

Stephen Hawking, at the young age of 21, was diagnosed with ALS. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (motor neuron disease) famous for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that everybody seems to be doing. Sadly however, ALS is incurable and most of its victims usually die in the span of a few years. Stephen Hawking was different. Afflicted with what might be considered a rare mutation of ALS, he died 50 years later then his expected death date; and during the span of those decades, he managed to inspire people everywhere in a plethora of different ways.

 

When we think of the vague term “scientist”; usually, in addition to the ancients: Einstein, Newton, Copernicus, Curie, Edison, Tesla; we might also think of Hawking. Why? Because he was one of the most famous and publicized modern scientists. In addition to being the subject of numerous articles, books, documentaries and a movie; he was also the bringer of shocking discoveries to the scientific, and public community.

 

As I mentioned above; Hawking revealed a Black Hole Information Paradox. As some may know, when a Black Hole uses up all it’s stored energy; it will disappear, along with anything hypothetically in it. Therefore, the information and things stored inside it will disappear. That however violates one of the most basic rules of quantum mechanics. He caused uproar in the scientific community; but revelations everywhere else. He semi defied even the rules of science itself. He discovered things that would seem unimaginable elsewhere.

 

Stephen Hawking’s ideas have generally been accepted as truth. His discoveries have always been a topic for great discussion an eye-openings. Like the instance when he completely shattered the very definition of the word “Black” in “Black Hole” through the discover of Hawking Radiation; which Black Holes hypothetically emit. Through various ways (for instance; Stephen Hawking being one of the only people admired by Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory) he has gained something of a celebrity status; which he deserves. When Stephen Hawking shared his opinion that there were in fact aliens in this Universe of ours; searches on extraterrestrials soared. That just goes to show how much an impact his ideas and opinions have on the general public.

 

Stephen Hawking also inspired a younger generation of minds (like mine) to learn more about the wonder of our Universe and all within it. Through the publications of numerous books, written by him, he patiently explains mesmerizing ideas to people who want to learn.

 

His life has been filled with an incredible amount of obstacles. But he never gave up. Confined to a complex wheelchair; and unable to move, bend, or talk without the help of advanced technology, he still managed to share all his concepts with everyone in the world. Whereas many people in his condition would have suffered from depression and given up on trying to change the world; he never did. Instead, his brain helped create some of the biggest milestones in the 20th and 21st centuries!

 

Altogether, Stephen Hawking was a great man. He contributed a whole bunch to the development of science, ALS Fundraising, Human knowledge, and to the world in general. Many children, critically ill, can look up onto this great “scientist” as a hero (like I did) and look upon his example to try and beat the circumstances to achieve their dreams.

 

Stephen Hawking, the man who should’ve died more than five decades ago, soared through the heavens instead. He even died on March 14th, International Pi Day; what a incredibly symbolic way to end such a memorable life!

 

Stephen Hawking has done so much for the world in general. Where would our Black Hole Knowledge be without him? He is someone who will definitely shine in the pages of History and the textbooks of Physics. He is definitely someone who deserves all the recognition and respect he received and much more. In conclusion, Rest in Peace Stephen Hawking; you will forever be remembered, your legacy is imprinted in the Universe.

*Acclaimed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking was arguably the world’s most famous scientist, owing his scientific acclaim to theoretical work released in the early 1970s that explained how black holes end and how the universe began.

Sudan: the last male Northern White Rhino

 

Hello! It’s a member of the minischool here reporting on the current events this month. As some of you may have heard, Sudan the last male Northern White Rhino was in deteriorating health in early March. He was 45 years old, a very advanced age for a rhino, and due to age related issues and infections, his health started worsening. On March 19th, 2018, Sudan was euthanized by his caretakers as his health suddenly declined. In 2015, another Northern White Rhino was also euthanized at the San Diego Zoo. That leaves only 2 Northern White Rhinos in the world, Najin and Fatu, both female. Sudan and the females were unable to create offspring as they were too old. Now, it’s up to scientists to try and bring back this critically-endangered species. They are hoping to fertilize an egg from one of the female rhino with the sperm of a dead rhino and implant it in a female Southern White Rhino as a surrogate.

 

The reason why there were so few of these rhinos left is because of poachers. They kill the rhino to get the horn which is so precious in the black market, paying more than what gold or diamonds would. This is a sad example of how us as humans are affecting the planet. Why do we value these animals below us? Why do we think it’s ok to kill them so we can earn some money? It’s not right. Us as humans have such a greed for money, and look what it has done. We’ve driven an entire species close to extinction.

 

Sources:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/03/01/endangered-rhino-who-found-fame-tinder-deteriorating/384214002/

 

http://abcnews.go.com/US/northern-white-rhinos-death-san-diego-zoo-leaves/story?id=35372013

 

Indigenous Rights in Canada

As we all know we are all newcomers to Canadian soil. Indigenous people have lived here for far longer than any of us have, yet they still lack some of the rights that other Canadians citizens have. Crime and suicide rates in Indigenous communities are higher than others, and while we may think we are doing good after abolishing things like Residential Schools, yet still racism continues in modern day Canada.

Recent events have brought light and conversation to these issues once again. On August 9, 2016 Colten Boushie, a 22 year old Cree man was killed by Gerald Stanley, a white farmer. According to the defendant, Colten and his friends were attempting to rob Stanley’s Farm. Gerald fired three shots, and shot and killed Colten. They claim that the gun went off by accident, due to a common issue with guns called hang fire, where there is a distinct time between when the trigger is pulled and the bullet comes out. This was apparently persuasive enough for an all white jury to declare Gerald Stanley not guilty not just of second-degree murder but also the minimal charge of manslaughter on February 9, 2018.

This caused outrage in the Aboriginal community all across Canada. Protesters filled the streets, petitions were signed, and the government was put under a lot of pressure to speak out about it. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the family of Colten Boushie, as did the federal minister. They vowed to reinspect Canadian courts, and to root out what is, in its essence, systemic racism in the Canadian justice system.

People thought this meant a step forward, and that these types of horrendous verdicts would come to a stop only to find that on February 22, 2018 a once again mainly white jury found Raymond Cormier not guilty of second degree murder of fifteen year old Tina Fontaine. In August 2014, her body was pulled from the Red River, covered in a duvet, and weighed down by rocks. Her story was just as sad, with a terminally ill father who was murdered in cold blood and an alcoholic mother, Tina frequently ran away from Manitoba Child Services. Once again, outrage came from all over the country, many people criticizing the jury for not learning anything from the Colten Boushie case. Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Grand Chief Sheila North stated that the entire system has failed Tina, and that we need to do better for our young people.

What does this tell us? This tells us that change does not happen overnight. In does not happen in weeks either. During the Harper government many cries about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Children seemed to be ignored. However the Trudeau government has promised to take action and has showed steps to helping to combat deaths like Tina’s, and all we can do now is understand that this will take time, but this does not mean we should sit idle and allow for this injustice to continue.

Weapons at School

Some extremely intriguing events have happened around the world, but what I will cover first is the USA’s expectation to arm volunteering teachers with firearms in the hopes to prevent more school shootings. However, it’ll be interesting to know that law enforcement agents on the Florida School’s premises were hiding behind vehicles, while the shooter ran loose inside the school. So the US government came up with a plan that was mediocre at best, which was to equip teacher volunteers with firearms to prevent school shootings, however, in an interview, Trump himself stated that the teachers he has talked to does not want to bear arms to take part in the prevention of school shootings, saying that “When the time comes that I have to decide whether or not to take the life of one of my students to prevent more deaths is not a decision I want to take.” Practically all teachers are not on board with this seemingly absurd idea, as we can see multiple trained professional agents of the law failing to stop school shooters, how can educators, with only basic and rudimentary firearm training take down a shooter that has none to little regard for their own lives? I personally think that this proposed course of action would hardly make a dent in school shooting related casualties, however, it will cause stress and complication to a great deal of students and teachers.

    Another topic I will cover is coincidentally, also on the topic of firearms and the United States of America. A whole lot of people are talking about how Trump’s military parade is “Flashy and a waste of money.” Trump claims that a military parade would bolster the nation’s spirits, but currently, there’s more criticism than praise on the topic of the parade. I think a parade would be great, as America hasn’t had a large military parade recently, but everyone’s a critic.

Falcon Heavy Launch

One of the most broadcasted, and incredible scientific achievements of the past year is the launch of Elon Musk’s Falcon Heavy. The launch, of the mega-rocket on February 6th, will forever go down in history as a moment of human civilization’s pride.

The Falcon Heavy, dubbed the world’s most capable rocket flying, bested only by the Saturn V rocket, last flown in 1973. The next rocket to be near the Falcon Heavy payload was the Space Shuttle, at just over a third of its payload. With more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, and the ability to continue even after multiple unplanned engine shut downs (that haven’t happened yet), this launch could be considered historical in terms of advancement in the field of rockets.

Elon Musk, the inventor and business magnate, has done something quite remarkable! Using the 27 engines it has, the Falcon Heavy will equal the thrust of 18 Boeing 747 jetlines, to go up into the heavens above. Various doubts have arisen before the launch; will it be an incredible launch or an extravagant fireworks display? However, now we know that the Falcon Heavy was successfully, and that somewhere in the skiers, Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster still floats around.

The Falcon Heavy, sent itself, roaring up into the heavens, all 141,000 lbs of it! That, in itself, is the epitome of how advanced earth’s rocket technology is nowadays. 64 tons! 64000 kg of weight that manages to fling itself up! And now that rocket has launched his car into space, which will be orbiting on a path to the asteroid belt for who knows how long.

However, one of the aspects I found the most striking, was the fact that Mr. Musk and his colleagues weren’t part of NASA or any other registered government agency; they are private scientists, researchers, inventors and people who are doing things without the support of government. I feel that this says something about the future; that if we want to, if we strive to, accomplish of feat of great magnitude, that we don’t need to be in public domain, we can do it ourselves. Such an advance in rocket technology, done by a private company. That guy sent his car into space!

Even though SpaceX (Elon Musk’s company), does not compare to NASA in many ways, it still has achieved extraordinary feats. It has figured out a way to cut the cost of launches down exponentially, and made truly reusable rockets.

 

http://money.cnn.com/2018/02/05/technology/future/elon-musk-spacex-falcon-heavy/index.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_Heavy

https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/17/17019796/where-is-roadster-website-tesla-spacex-elon-musk-falcon-heavy