A Challenge for Mr. Murray

Welcome to a mostly anonymous semi-fictional BETA Bits o’ Business report!

You may have noticed the contraction in the first sentence. As other BETA Bit writers have mentioned, there was a Poetry in Voice competition in class! As exciting as this was, something else happened…

The week before the presentations:

“All Y’all that’s spicy!”  a voice blurts out.

Mr. Murray sighed.

The owner of the voice that uttered the contraction using sentence was rebuked, and the owner of the offending voice apologized. Profusely. Repeatedly. Whilst claiming it wouldn’t happen again.

Similar scenes play out in different forms all over the week.

Finally, presentation time arrived.

The Day before the presentations began:

A group of students are talking to Mr. Murray. The topic of Mr. Murray’s memorization skills are brought up, and a bet is quickly made.

The bet in question?

Can Mr. Murray memorize a poem of the student’s choosing in one night, to prove that it can be done?

Cries of the Iliad, the odyssey,  and other epics are heard!

Mr. Murray smiled in what appeared to be a confident manner.

The Wager was set. Should he lose, the class may decide an appropriate punishment.

Presentation day:

The suspense grew as students arrived on the day of presentations.

Poems were hastily recited.

Print-outs were read over.

Encouragements were received.

The first poems were read.

It is not my job to describe them. That, I leave to others.

Mr. Murray was questioned.

Where was his poem?

He regretfully informed the class that he had lost the bet.

However, the class could choose: Punishment or an Extension.

Someone threw around some words, full of contractions.

Mr. Murray grimaced.





The vote was tied.

Absent people were messaged.

Still the vote remained tied.

A compromise was suggested. An extension over the weekend, and a poem.

A poem using a contraction in every sentence.


On a random subject of the classes choice.


The weekend passed. Poems were presented. All of the presentations were amazing, but only two could continue to the next level. A vote was undertaken, yet I shall not publish the results.

Soon Mr. Murray shall present his “Poem”.

Mr. Murray asked for his topic, as well as contractions he must use.

For two minutes jumbles of frantic consonants were scribbled onto the board.

And then it began.

The class before, everyone was working on IDS. Certain people were very far ahead, or very far behind, and Mr. Murray performed his poem, where the few understandable words were about IDS, and how much had been completed, as well as how much more could have been done, had the class not been interrupted so many times.

There are two existing videos, but I do not have either.

It was hilarious. It was sad. It was unintelligible, and this BETA bits o’ business report is now finished.

Winter Olympics 2018 (Day 11)

On February the 9th,  the winter Olympics ceremony kicked off with Kpop performances and the traditional Parade of Nations. Winter competitors from 92 different countries have all traveled to Pyeongchang County, South Korea for this major event. For a first in Olympic history, North Korea and South Korea will have a unified women’s hockey team. Talk about a major event bringing people together, right? Anyways, so far, Canada has 6 bronze medals, 5 silvers and 7 golds from long track speed skating, figure skating, luge, bobsled, curling, hockey and more. Max Parrot and Mark McMorris won the first medals of the winter Olympics for Canada in the men’s slope style. Canada is currently in 3rd place and will hopefully beat their record from 2010 of 26 medals.


Here are the current number of medals won by the top 10 countries:


  • Norway: 29
  • Germany: 23
  • Canada: 19
  • Netherlands: 14
  • France: 13
  • U.S: 12
  • Sweden: 7
  • Austria: 10
  • South Korea: 8
  • Japan: 10



The Olympics are always an exciting event, especially since they only happen every 4 years, bringing people together to compete against or with each other. Fingers crossed for Canada!


To read more about this event, click on the links below.






Snow in Europe sets seasonal records

Lately, the snow has been starting to melt here in B.C, but snow storms have been setting records in parts of Europe. A rare snowstorm in Rome brought many opportunities for skiing, sledding, and building snowmen in parks and piazzas. Their schools were closed and even the trains, planes and bus services were slowed down. In fact, the army was even called by Italy’s civil protection agency to help clear the snow covered streets! All the snow was melted by noon, though freezing temperatures may cause the closure of schools for a second day on Tuesday.

Dangerously low temperatures were set by the storm elsewhere in Europe. Officials in Lithuania reported that the temperature dropped down to as low as minus 24 degrees Celsius and the storms were to blame for the deaths of at least three people over the weekend. People are currently being treated for frostbite and hypothermia at hospitals in Lithuania and Latvia. Germany’s temperature dropped to as low as minus 27 degrees Celsius and nearly minus 20 degrees Celsius in Moscow.

There were many snow related car accidents including one with the prime minister of Sweden. Luckily, he was uninjured. Hopefully, not too many other people were injured either.

About 1,000 soldiers in Croatia joined the clearing operations in the worst affected places where there were over 1.5 meters (or even 5 feet) of snow.

This huge snowy weather has been dubbed “The Beast from the East” by the British, saying that the source of these freezing temperatures was the Siberian Arctic.  

Climate researchers and scientists claim that the “Big Chill” in Europe is partly caused by the cold winds “locked” over the Arctic, spreading over Europe, releasing it’s icy blasts. The temperature in the Arctic have gone up and been unusually warm these past few weeks. The sudden drops in temperature may become more frequent as global warming saps up the icy winds around the pole.


Because of all this happening around the globe, we, as the main species on Earth, have to really start to be more aware of global warming and its effects. With melting glaciers, cities could be swallowed by the water, the Earth will become dry and many more terrible things could happen. Global warming is a terrible thing and we must all be aware of it and help slow it down!


Solutions to global warming:





Tsunamis, NAFTA, and Moons in the World Headlines!

Current Events

#1 Tsunami?

On around Tuesday 1:00 am, January 23, 2018, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit Chiniak, Alaska. When tectonic plates collide with enough force or a pressure build-up causes a sudden release of pressure, it can cause a violent movement and vibrations.

What are Tsunamis?

Earthquakes can generate waves, huge ones that are known as Tsunamis. Tsunamis are caused by the water displacement that can result from the shifting of tectonic plates. When the wave nears the coast, the water becomes more and more shallow. Since a wave isn’t just a flap of moving water, but an extended “column” of moving water molecules when the wave nears the shore, the energy is condensed, and a wave is formed. This is because the wave no longer has to travel through the entire depth of ocean water, but rather only the depth of the coast. The water will get pushed upwards to create what we traditionally call a wave. The energy to push the water molecules upwards is taken from the total speed of the wave. If the wave is not fast enough, the “top” of the wave will collapse, and the wave will “break”. How high a wave reaches when it nears the shoreline depends a lot on how fast it is moving.

What role do earthquakes play?

The sudden jolt an earthquake makes can create extremely fast waves, some of which can be moving faster than a commercial jet. When the wave reaches the shoreline, it can become a towering wall of water. And since the tsunami wave will displace water, when the tide retreats and the tsunami are over, it will draw in anything or anyone that is not in a safe area.

Even though the shockwave was from the Alaskan coast, it could still cause tsunami waves that are meters high when it hits the coast. And since the tsunami travels so fast, the distance will hardly slow it down.

Supposed danger zone

So what happened?

So why did we not hear breaking news about a tsunami that devastated coastal settlements? It turns out that the Earthquake was not the type that could have caused tsunami waves. Even though the earthquake had a high amount of energy, the tectonic plates did not slide vertically, but they moved more horizontally, not creating much of a shockwave. We were lucky this time.

The megathrust earthquake on the left would have caused a lot of water displacement, and thus a tsunami





Recently there have been many talks in the news about NAFTA. We have been so tied up with our IDS and Science Fair projects and might have lost contact with the “real-world”. So I decided to dig out more about NAFTA. What is it? Why is it important to Canada? What is happening now? What is next?

What is it?

NAFTA stands for North American Free Trade Agreement. There are three members in this agreement: Canada, United States and Mexico. It was established 24 years ago in 1994. The economic size of NAFTA is significant. It was estimated NAFTA GDP (Gross Domestic Product) was about 21 Trillion USD in 2016 (about 20% of the world’s GDP). This agreement allows free trade among the three member countries by eliminating the trading barriers.

Why is it important to Canada?

Canadian economy heavily relies on trading. It does not matter we like Trump or not, the most important trading partner of Canada is our southern neighbour, the U.S. Maintaining a free-trading environment in North America will benefit Canadian consumers and suppliers in many aspects. As consumers, we could get access to cheaper products as these products could be imported to Canada without additional customs fees. Also, it means we could get a wider variety of goods produced in the U.S. and Mexico. For Canadian producers, we could get access to the larger market outside of Canada with low exporting fees. With the free trading agreement, it could also attract investment from the U.S. For general Canadians, NAFTA means more job opportunities in the U.S. and Mexico and allows people invest freely in the U.S. and Mexico.

What is happening now?

Trump administration had initiated a renegotiation of NAFTA shortly after the election in July 2017. The goal of U.S. in this negotiation is to reduce the U.S.’s trade deficit, i.e. increase the amount of U.S.’s export value and reduce its imports. Since then, there have been many intense negotiations andat times the U.S. threatening to walk away from NAFTA.

Last week there has been a week-long negotiation at Montreal. The most crucial resource for B.C. is probably the softwood lumber import duty. As for me, dairy products are the most important. The U.S. proposes to end the limits of Canadian imports on dairy products (milk, cheese and poultry).

What is next?

According to the experts, the U.S. is unlikely to walk away from the NAFTA entirely, although there could be potentially significant changes.

Also, Tuesday last week (Jan. 23), Canada, together with other members of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), agreed to move forward with revising TPP agreement without the U.S. TPP is a trading agreement with 13 Pacific countries. TPP helps opening new markets, although geographically far from home. TPP allows Canada rely less on NAFTA. Maybe I will write something about TPP the next time something comes up.







Once in a Blue Moon

Tomorrow morning (January 31), we will have a “once in a blue moon” opportunity to see three moon phenomenon happen at the same time: a Supermoon, a Blue moon, and a Blood moon. Last time this happened was in 1866, 152 years ago. So this is a truly once in a lifetime event.

What is a supermoon?

It is a full moon at a point in its orbit where it is closest to Earth. This point is called perigee. When this happens, the moon could appear up to 14% larger and 30% brighter compared to the usual moon. People call this larger and brighter moon a Super Moon. On a contrast, do you know there is a term called “micromoon”? This is when a full moon at a point where it is furthest to Earth. This point is called apogee.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


What is a Blue moon?

There are an old and a new definition. The older definition of a Blue Moon is the third full moon in a season which has four full moons. Now the commonly acceptable new definition is the second full moon in a calendar month. So a Blue moon has nothing to do with its color, and it would look the same as usual.

What is a Blood moon?

A moon during a total lunar eclipse would look red and is called a Blood moon. During an eclipse, Earth blocks the sunlight to the moon. Theoretically, the moon will be invisible. However, the Earth’s atmosphere filters the sunlight’s green to violet portion and passes through the reddish light. The reddish light is bent twice (when enters and leaves the atmosphere) and illuminates the moon. This is why the moon looks red.

Photo of the Dec. 20, 2010 total lunar eclipse from Cochranville, Pa. taken by Kevin R. Witman, using a Meade LX50 10″ Schmidt Cassegrain telescope and a Canon XS DSLR camera. Credit: Kevin R. Witman

I’ve already had my telescope set up to watch this event assuming I could wake up around 5 am. But with the unpredictable weather we have, the moon might not be visible at all. So our best bet might be watch livestream at NASA Television https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html#public.








The Women’s March

2018 Women’s March

The 2018 Women’s March took place on January 21 on the anniversary of the 2017 Women’s March. This powerful event attracted hundreds of thousands of participants, in hundreds of cities, towns and suburbs all over the world!!!

Women protested against President Donald Trump and addressed women’s rights, health issues, equality, diversity, and the inclusion of everyone. They rallied voters and candidates for the upcoming midterm elections in the United States with the new movement “Power to the Polls”.

Power to the Polls was launched this year as the new agenda of 2018. It carries a new message with a goal of increasing voter participation and encouraging more women to run for office as strong advocates for women’s rights. A national voter registration tour has begun and will target swing states to gain new voters, engage impacted communities, and bring in a leader that will reflect everyone’s values and elect more women to the office.

Many strong and influential women shared their personal experiences and took part in events.

Actress and producer Viola Davis delivered a fantastic motivational speech urging women to continue supporting each other and never become submissive.

“I am speaking today not just for the MeToos, because I was a MeToo. But when I raise my hand I am aware of all the women who are still in silence, the women who are faceless.”

Watch her speech here:


Actress Natalie Portman spoke of her first encounter with objectification at a very young age. “I opened my first fan mail to read a rape fantasy that a man had written me. I understood very quickly, even as a 13-year-old, that if I were to express myself sexually, that I would feel unsafe. And that men would feel entitled to discuss and objectivity my body.”.                                               

Watch her entire speech here:


The Women’s March continues to inspire and change lives. Let’s keep updated on the upcoming 2019 Women’s March and hope that it is as successful as the first 2. On behalf of everyone involved in the 2018 Women’s March, “Look Back, March Forward”.


Creative Presentations in Electricity!

Coming into the new year, everyone had their creative juices restored after a long winter break. In order to harness this creativity and use it to its fullest potential, Ms. Neumann has challenged us to make a presentation about the current war between Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla. However, this was not to be just an average presentation, but rather, she challenged us to create a creative and different presentation that is engaging, doesn’t have any negative views on these scientists, and has to be full of accurate facts that show how they were as scientists. As the presentation time rolled around, we saw all sorts of different and creative means to show off this newly acquired knowledge. Those presentations ranged from videos, to drawings, to memes, to personality test, and even a roll of film.


The videos we saw in class were mainly focused around “dank memery”. The likes of Sam and Nathan showcased their talent to create original, funny content while still making it educational. Their audio was clear and easy to understand. Peter and Josh also created a video which was much more tame but still memelicious nonetheless. Both groups were able to finish and present a true masterpiece during class, and proof of it is that the entire class enjoyed it very much.

Harry and Shaw-Ern made a creative twist on YouTuber “Jacksfilms” video “THE PRIVILEGE QUIZ”. They ask a series of questions which all have 3 options to answer with. Depending on which answer you chose, you’d get a certain amount of points and by the end the total number of points you have accumulated will determine whether you are more like Edison or Tesla. The majority of the class were smack dab in the middle, between Edison and Tesla.

Quinlan, Celina and Sunnie all did amazing work for their presentation. Quinlan and Sunnie both drew Edison and Tesla’s faces and then added a lot of information around it. Sunnie’s was very clean and elegant whereas Quinlan focused a lot more on the information. I’m still not sure if Quinlan intentionally made Edison look like one of the moai statues on Easter Island, but it was a nice touch. Celina created a short story were Edison and Tesla are attending a wizardry school, and a competition to use electricity effectively put Edison and Tesla up against one another. Everything in this category was very well polished but the Grammy goes to Celina for the inclusion of Edison and Tesla as bug eyed anime characters.

The memes created by Brian and Spencer are worthy of being included in the next edition of Meme Review (link in the description). Many lunchtimes were put into the making of these top quality memes. The editing was done very well, and there is definitely no lack of creativity when it comes to the vast selection of memes. Everything from “do you know da wae?” and “understandable, have a great day” made this a very interesting and enjoyable presentation.

The last presentation, by Chloe, featured a fake roll of film with pictures drawn onto it. In other words, each major scene in Edison and Tesla’s life was summarized by a picture, and text, all written on one frame of the film. This was done very well, and led people to believe what it would actually look like if it were played in a movie theater.

All in all, having a creative presentation at the start of the year was a great idea, and resulted in some amazing projects.

This week at Alpha…

Students of Alpha have been busy for a few days, now. With tests galore, there’s been no time to socialize, eat, sleep, or do any other type of homework. Studying for tests has been, in a manner speaking, plaguing students, and apparently the only cure is to get said test over with.

A bit of a break for our brains this week. Alpha-ites can admit an honest happiness on the subject of the three tutorial days this week. Even if they were coming in to school those past few days, it is nice to have a break from the constantly piling up homework.

Even with the tutorial days happening for most of this week, there have been events to blow your socks off! These include the fantastic performance by the Alpha dance club, Dance Extravaganza, and Alpha’s annual open house.

Next semester, here we come! It’s hard to believe that the year is already half over, and yet, somehow, time really does pass that quickly. But don’t get too excited for summer break, the year is only half over! Still half left…

From Beta