28 September 2011

Merry Christmas! By Marion

The madness of Christmas shopping has already begun though it's only September! But, apparently, it's not a problem in the UK or the USA where ribbons and Father Christmases are already invading the stores.
But is it not too soon? Summer has only just ended and Christmas is three months away! Every year, buying Christmas presents begins earlier and earlier...

27 September 2011

A glass of wine a day to keep the doctor away? By Clotilde & Clémence

This article comes from the New York Times and was published on September 21st 2011. It deals with a dispute between two teams of researchers about the discovery of a longevity gene.

This idea took off when a substance found in red wine was reported to activate sirtuin, which increases life expectancy by 40 percent according to the American scientists... They say the research is promising, whereas the British team consider the research to be going nowhere because the wrong experiments have been carried out...

The longevity gene is a wonderful discovery but we are at the very beginning of research and scientists are still debating if it really works. Should we take this recent discovery seriously? We all wish to live longer and to, one day, be able to see our great-great-grandchildren, do we not?

Before publishing this kind of research though, it would have been better to be sure of the results, so as to avoid giving people false hopes...

26 September 2011

25th September 2011: Results of the senatorial elections in France. By Camille from Saint-Eugène

The Sénat is the upper house of the French Parliament. Its members are elected for a six-year mandate by Deputies of the "Assemblée Nationale" and certain other elected officials.
Gerard Larcher, the President of the Sénat since 2008, may deputize for the President of the Republic in the case of incapacity or death. Every three years, another politician takes the place of the last president. The powers of the Sénat are almost as extensive as those of the "Assemblée Nationale", although the latter is empowered to override the decisions of the Sénat in cases where the two houses disagree. There are 348 senators of different political parties like UMP (Right), SOC (Left), UC, CRG-SPG, RDSE, RASNAG. 
Dominated by the Right since the beginning of the Fifth Republic, the Left has won an absolute majority for the first time this September 25th 2011. For the first time since 1958, the Luxembourg Palace had become Socialist... This is a real revolution in French politics, and also of the Fifth Republic. Next Saturday, members of the House will vote their new President.
With just seven months to go before the general elections, France's unpopular President Nicolas Sarkozy has gotten another signal of just how difficult his effort to retain the Elysée will be!

Have YOU found it? By Nicolas, James, Antoine

Space junk...

A NASA satellite the size of a bus hit Earth last Friday, between 6pm and midnight. Experts had said that there was a 1-in-3,200 risk that the satellite would crash on human habitations...

The satellite could have crashed anywhere and scientists said that they could have announced the exact place only 20 minutes before impact. In the end, they did not...

The 6,2 tons satellite was most likely to have crashed somewhere between southern England and northern Italy, i.e. probably France!

Mark Matney, a scientist at NASA, said: "We know it is going to hit somewhere that covers most of the inhabited world, unfortunately..."

Like peas in a pod... By Justine

 ULTra PRT pods at Heathrow Airport.

In September 2011, Heathrow Airport presented a new mode of transport: pollution-free, battery-operated personal transit pods. They journey between the terminals and the car parks every 34 seconds along tracks. Every pod contains four passengers with their luggage. Inside, a screen allows passengers to choose their destination.

It seems to me that this futuristic mode of transport presents numerous advantages. Indeed, it is faster than the bus and more ecologically-friendly. Undoubtedly, other airports will be interested in this system.

Edouard, no old hack, hacks at hackers!

On the website of the BBC, in a news item dated 23rd September 2011, we learn that the FBI has arrested a key member of LulzSec. 

"LulzSec" is the hackers' group behind a series of attacks on Sony Pictures Entertainment, the US Senate, the CIA and the British NHS, between May and July 2011.

Cody Kretsinger, the alleged hacker, was caught by the FBI during a morning raid. 

The FBI was behind ten other raids carried out in San Francisco, Montana, New Jersey and Minnesota to arrest members of Lulzsecf and of Anonymous, another hackers' group. 

A Tweet by Sabu (a founder of Lulzsec) explains that a lot of members are now in jail.

Hackers are able to attack every institution in the world, even the most powerful like the CIA. The consequences of this violation could be dreadful for many people. The security forces seem to be incapable of stopping them. The FBI arrested Mr Kretsinger several months after his crime...

What do YOU think of these hackers? Comments please!

DSK chimps again! By Dylan

The former head of the IMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn will now have to face Tristane Banon who accuses him of trying to rape her in 2003.

Banon said DSK was "like a rutting chimpanzee"...

This BBC News article was made just after the scandal with the hotel maid in New York. It will be interesting to see if DSK will manage to clear his name again... However, his political career is already destroyed, so will he have enough strength to stand this latest accusation?

The link to the article : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15034704

22 September 2011

22 September is CAR FREE DAY! Article by Timothy in Terminale L at Sainte-Marie

Wikipedia article

Car Free Day? If you've never heard of it, well, it's an important international event during which people are encouraged not to use their cars for a whole day. In France, very few people have ever heard of Car Free Day...

In France, most people only think about getting the car of their dreams, in other words: a super expensive, super cool and absolutely overrated polluting machine. Sure, it’s got all the cool gadgets that make you feel like James Bond but, really, do you need it that badly? Can't you use public transport instead?

Of course I need my car!” most people will say, but sometimes people should think a little bit more about the world around them and less about themselves...

If everybody tried to stop using their car for just a day it could change the world for more than a day because it would also make people think more about a world without cars: less pollution, less waste, less danger, less cost, less noise, less stress, less road rage...

20 September 2011

Bright spark! By Florent from Saint-Eugène

BBC News video

'Litre of Light' is a development initiative to light the homes of the poorest in the world. The video talks about the Philippines in particular.

To light their homes, the inhabitants slide bottles filled with water in their roofs. This system is very practical because the sun light from the outside passes through the water in the bottle by refraction and brings the light inside the home or workshop for free!

It's practical, economical, ecologically irreproachable, and helps Third World countries develop.

17 September 2011

Are you blind?! By Etienne from Sainte-Marie

Sacks on the brain!

The facts explained in this video are fascinating! Blind people seeing realistic scenes or figures? That's amazing! Indeed, these results help us answer a question put by Breuer, in an article co-written with Freud: Can we live without the use of a sense (and more generally, what is the role of senses)? Sachs gives a scientific, empirical answer to this metaphysical question: no, we cannot! We might be blind, yet the parts of our brain related to vision work. Hallucinations have huge psychological importance, in so far as they reveal what we WANT to see or the desires deep in our minds...

Tatooine twaddle... Article by Etienne from Sainte-Marie

NASA’s Kepler spacecraft telescope has discovered a two-sun planetary system, which has made astronomers push ever further the frontiers of what they thought possible, find new ways of measuring, and change their theories, and, once again, prove how uninteresting their job is...

This NY Times article, NYT, written by Dennis Overbye, shows us, once again, that being a Physicist is just plain boring. These scientists build theories, they say “Hey, there must be a hadron there!” or “Wait! This orbit can’t be real!”, and then they try to prove their silly theories. Fine, we’re looking for a particle or a planet, we find something resembling it, and we get paid. Is THAT an interesting job?! And the worse, as shown in this article, is that whenever they discover a new, quite interesting thing, like a two-sun planetary system, a little-known science-fiction author actually found it years before!

Alternative solution for Pacific Islanders? By Sybil & Corentin from Sainte-Marie

Over the past four years, Greenland had lost around 15% of its permanent ice cover, exposing a new island that was hidden under the ice. This island is called “Uunartoq Qeqertaq”.
Is this alarming news? If the Earth continues to warm up this fast, will we all still be alive tomorrow?

No future? By Romain & Benoit from Sainte-Marie

This is an article from the Washington Post, published on the 15th September. It deals with the Afghan war, young Afghans' opinions about it and the reintegration by the U.S Army and Afghan government into society of the youngest insurgents...

The war is still going on, so what should these young people “reintegrate” into exactly? America needs to leave the Afghan territory sooner rather than later...

Utopia... Article by Lucas & Adeline from Sainte-Marie

The small Pacific States are threatened by the rising sea, according to the sixteen countries of the Pacific Islands Forum. Several islands have already felt the effects of climate change...
It is important to do everything that is possible to save these people ; the solution could be floating islands.
We think it is a good solution and a technological breakthrough.

Flashman & Sarko have a riot! By Carole Darbes and Justine Rabier from Sainte-Marie

Mr. Cameron and Mr. Sarkozy went to visit the Lybian people to congratulate them for liberating their country, but was this the only reason for their coming?
The UK Prime Minister and the French President, surrounded by bodyguards, travelled from Tripoli to Benghazi. Despite what they say in their great speeches, we believe they don’t really care about Lybia or the Lybian people. It is strange that they now care about Lybia, after having supported Kadafi for so long... Is it because Lybia is a country with a lot of oil? And do they not also want French and British firms to help rebuilt Lybia?

Don't pop off! by Vanille & Hannah from Sainte-Marie

Want a healthy movie? Then share your popcorn with ten friends
Did you know that one large tub of popcorn is equivalent to 3/4 of a days calory intake, according to a study detailing the alarming amounts of fat, salt and calories in different popcorn tubs in three movie theatres? A large tub of popcorn can have up to 1200 calories, so you should share it with an entire row and eat it kernel by kernel, slowly, in order to avoid dying prematurely...
The article by Karen Barrow is shocking. Now we will think twice before gobbling up gigantic amounts of popcorn!

Seeing double... By Valentin & Martin from Sainte-Marie

It is not Tatooine, the planet in the Star Wars saga, but a real fact: NASA has found a planet orbiting two suns!
"Kepler-16b" is probably an uninhabitable cold gas giant like Saturn. Discovered by the Kepler telescope, launched in 2009, this planet is about two hundred light years away. The discovery is the first confirmation that a planet circling around two stars actually exists. The Kepler telescope proved the existence of the double sun thanks to an eclipse, when the orbiting planet passed in front of one of the two suns.
The discovery of this configuration demonstrates the variety of planetary systems within our galaxy. There are still many things to discover in our universe...

13 September 2011

Wave goodbuy! By Gael from Saint-Eugène

What are the effects of Wi-Fi and mobile phones on our health? In the article from The Guardian, we can see a woman who is speaking about her experience with this technology. She says that she has had to live in an insulated living space because of the effect of electrosmog. This is a "new" disease caused by communications technology. These people can't be around other people and living in developed places is impossible for them. She explains: "My face turns red, I get a headache, my vision changes, and it hurts to think. Last time [I was exposed] I started getting chest pains - and to me that's becoming life-threatening..."
Unfortunately, I think that now it’s too late; nothing will stop progress and we will live in a world with always more and more "waves". There is only one solution for people who get sick: to live in isolated places like in the West Virginia mountains where this woman found refuge...

7 September 2011