Who Killed Those Two Flies… and Why?

Spassky and Fischer continue to face off in the most anticipated chess match in history, but people are more concerned with…

 

Who killed those two flies…and why?

 

The Russians were suspicious that Fischer was using electronic devices or radiation to sabotage Spassky’s play, but it turns out that something even more sinister had taken place. When the Russians X-rayed and stripped down the chair, instead of finding electronic devices or radioactive residue, they found two dead flies. Now these two flies may have been killed by accident, but evidence suggests otherwise. Forensics have shown that the blunt force trauma which caused the deaths of the flies were not from Spassky squashing them with his large Russian bum, but were in fact two separate incidences carried out by hand. Fingerprints from many different people are all over the chair, which makes the odds of catching the killer slim to none. Officials are saying that waiting until the killer strikes again may be our only chance. One of our reporters had a opportunity to speak with a local fly about the situation. “VZZZZBZZZGZZZ” the fly said. A troubling day for her and her family. We will be keeping you up to date as details about the case are released.

Conflict Free Write

I ran through the woods, dodging every branch, tree and log that rose up out of the fog ahead of me. I knew it was behind me, chasing me down, maybe even gaining on me. But it didn’t matter, I didn’t care. All I knew was that I had to keep running. That my life depended on it. That everything I was, everything I knew would be lost if it caught me. So I ran.

Only I wasn’t running, I was flying. Falling might be a more accurate term. I had tripped over a tree root, and now I was falling. I landed, hard, on the ground, narrowly missing slamming my head on a rock protruding from the ground. I heaved myself to my feet, and stumbled, but I kept running. As I ran, I thought about what had happened, how I had gotten here, to this place. But I couldn’t remember. It refused to come to me, refused to appear. I almost laughed at the ridiculousness of the situation. I was fleeing through the woods, running from something I couldn’t possibly put into words, and I couldn’t recall how I got there.

My legs were getting tired, my breathing fast and hard. I had to rest, but what would I do, what could I do if it caught up with me? I decided I would think about it when it happened–if it happened. I had to keep running, but I couldn’t. So I slowed down, and threw myself against a tree, crouching, panting, trying to catch my breath. Trying to recover, so if I heard a snap of twigs behind me, I might have another chance at getting away. All I could do now was wait. Wait for my breath to become slow and controlled, or wait for the snap I surprisingly wasn’t dreading.

I felt it before I heard it. The presence of the thing. It brushed up against a bush, causing it to rustle. My heart quickened, my breathing becoming faster, as I prepared to take off, to keep fleeing.

So I ran.

Emotions

It’s the waiting that gets you. I’m just sitting there shaking, I’m not sure if it’s from the cold or the nerves that are settling into my stomach. The announcer at the in gate starts to call out the order “Stephanie is at my gate, Sarah in one, Liz in two, Nick in three, Hadley in four, Morris in five to complete.”

Oh geez… I’m in four. My stomach turns again. My head is pounding inside my helmet. I can feel every place it connects to my head my hair is tucked up inside, and I can feel Carousel taking a breath underneath me; I give him a pat. He’s been so good lately I need to stop worrying. Carousel is my third horse and I have had him for just over a year. This is our first A rated show of the season and if I want to place at the end of the year I need to do well at this show. Carousel still has a lot to learn but he’s getting there faster than I expected, he is very honest and wants to do his job as best he can.

Deep breath Hadley, deep breath, Carousel will help you, deep breath it will be fine, what’s the worst that could happen.  I keep repeating that over and over in my head, deep breath. My coach steps out from the announcer’s box and walks over. She just has to look at me to know that I’m freaking out, she has known me for way too long.

“Okay, breathe and let’s go over the track.” Andrea says. Right, where am I going?

“Pink going to the back, blue to the blue, gallop around to the yellow with the flowers, quick turn to the puzzle piece jump, left turn and gallop of the in and out, then steady for the green. The jump off is; blue, puzzle piece, green and the orange at the end.”

“Perfect you got it, once this horse goes it’s you, don’t forget to breathe.” Andrea smiles and goes back under the cover of the box.

I look out at the ring and go over the track again in my head. It’s okay, I know where I’m going, it’s going to be fine. I’m talking to myself, the nerves are definitely getting to me. My stomach does another flip, my heart beat is in my head, and the horse comes out of the ring and it’s my turn. Breathe.

I give Carousel a nudge with my leg to get him to go into the ring, we trot in and wait for the buzzer to tell me it’s okay to go to my first jump. The announcer calls “In the ring now we have Hadley  Madden and Carousel’s Conquest” then the buzzer loud and sharp and it’s time to go.

I pick up the canter and head for the first jump. The first one is always the hardest. I’m holding my breath as my stomach flips around. I’m three strides out to my first jump, leg on for support and three… two… one…  jump. We are in the air, I feel Carousel stretch out under me to get across the jump, his front legs come down softly first then his hind end. I feel the power underneath me and finally I breathe. We’ve got this. I put my leg on to encourage him to go faster, his step gets bigger and longer and we are covering so much ground every step, it’s like we are just floating across the ground. He is flowing and I can feel him having fun too. He is eating up the ground, each stride getting longer than the last one. We come to our second jump and he flies we gallop down to the third and soar over it. I push a bit harder to the yellow jump and I realize how well he is jumping. I slow down for the turn coming up so I can make it as tight as possible the next two jumps are a blur, it’s just so much fun to be out here with this horse, he is a once in a lifetime horse and he’s doing his job for me and with me. He wants to do his job, he wants to win just as much as I do and we are going to win that ribbon together.

We have a double clear round and when we leave the ring the announcer calls “Hadley Madden and Carousel’s Conquest are in the lead with the new time to beat.”

I can’t believe we are in the lead. He was such a good boy and he jumped his heart out. I’m so excited that was the best round I have had with Carousel all season. There is only one horse after us to complete the class. Andrea comes out of the announcers booth smiling at me.

“Great job! You both looked amazing, I told you there was no need to freak yourself out.” Andrea tells me

“Thanks!” I say, I just can’t wipe the smile off my face, even if we don’t win I couldn’t be happier with Carousel.

The horse is finishing up the jump off. The time is going to be close. There is only one jump left and the times are almost identical. I’m holding my breath just waiting to hear what happens. The horse’s back leg just hits the top rail on the last jump. The pole rocks in the cup for what feels like a year, but it drops with a thud on the ground.
We won! He won. Carousel was amazing and all the nerves I had before are gone and replaced with nothing but love and affection for this animal. He’s more than my pet, he is my teammate and I couldn’t have done it without him, he was a star. He won the ribbon.

Seperate Them

I have looked at this “motorcycle” and what I have decided is that the classical view is exactly the same as the romantic view. When I look at it romantically, I can see that there is a piece of cardboard attached to an electric screwdriver, rendering it useless. If I look at it classically, I see that the screwdriver is being robbed of it’s true potential. Together, they do not have quality, because they do not work in unison. However, if they are separated, they can be seen in a different light. Suddenly the screwdriver becomes useful; now the end is exposed and can be used as a tool once again. The tool piece could also have just been taken off, new ones with different end shapes could be attached and detached. Now the screwdriver has quality.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance  (Robert M. Pirsig)

The Not Haunted House

According to my co-workers, the house that I have just moved into is extremely haunted. It’s not. It’s not that I am a huge skeptic or anything, I just haven’t experienced any kind of paranormal activity. Two months ago, I moved to this small town for my job and found this amazing house right near the office where I work. The house is absolutely gorgeous. It has Georgian-style architecture, with beautiful dormers, four stories, a huge porch, a pool in the backyard, and large columns in the front. It’s my dream home. Shockingly, it was within my price range and I rented it immediately. I have quickly learned, however, that this house has a reputation. A bad one.

Several people told me that there was an old rumour that several murders took place in the house. At first, I was really freaked out. I went home every night fearing for my life, hoping that some ghost wouldn’t murder me in the night. I waited for any sign that there was a ghost in the house with me: flickering lights, footsteps, actual ghost sightings, etc. Nothing. I even invested in some ghost-hunting equipment and set it up around the house. I bought security cameras. Still nothing. This sounds terrible, but I sort of wanted my house to be haunted, because I would be kind of like a mini-celebrity in this small town. People would say, “You’re the gal that lives in the haunted house? Bless your heart. You are so brave.” I would become the town hero. The local news would be dying to interview me. People would ask for my autograph at the grocery store. Kids would do “MY IDOL” projects about me in school. I might even make national headlines. If only my house were actually haunted.

As I settled into my new life, loneliness crept over me like a dark cloud, consuming every moment of my day. I live alone, I have no friends at work, and my life pretty much revolves around my boring job and my not haunted house. One day during my lunch break, while I was microwaving my bland, leftover chicken, some guy I work with named Brad came up to me and starting chatting about my apparition-free house.

“How’s the house? Have you seen any ghosts yet?” Brad said, chuckling. Obviously a skeptic. He probably was expecting me to say something along the lines of “No, I haven’t” or “That’s just an old rumour”. Out of desperation, I lied, “Actually, yes, I have. There have been a lot of weird things going on. I saw a figure walking up the staircase the other day. And just yesterday, I realized that my steak knives have been moved. I am truly fearing for my life. The spirits seem to be growing angrier with each passing day.” I hoped that he believed my big, fat lie.

Brad looked shocked as he walked away without saying anything, and I giggled when he was out of sight. This might be easier than I thought.

The next morning, the usually quiet office was buzzing. When I walked in, everyone looked at me. People crowded around my desk, asking a million questions about the house.“Everyone, please, one question at a time!” I bark, “I will confirm that my house is in fact haunted by a demonic presence. But not to worry, I intend to stick it out and find a way to get rid of it!” This was a total lie and I knew it, but I had to give the people what they wanted. “You brave soul,” says one half-dead old woman named Linda Sue. I heard a few other people whispering about how brave I was to continue living there even though it was haunted. I was beaming.

With each day, the lies became bigger and bigger. I told wild stories about being attacked by ghosts, seeing dead bodies in the basement, and having knives thrown at me by angry spirits. One of my elaborate stories included a ghost locking me in the basement for two days. To give my story credibility, I skipped work two days in a row and watched all ten seasons of Friends and ate like 5 bags of Cheetos. When I came back, everyone was dying to know all of the details. I pretended to be psychologically scarred by the experience, and as a result my boss gave me a whole week off to “recover”.

What was amazing to me was that everyone actually believed the stories that I was telling. Nobody ever asked for proof, which was great for me because I had none. My “haunted” house quickly became the talk of the town. The local newspaper wrote an article about me. People stopped me in the streets to ask me about the house. Unfortunately, as the subject became more talked about, people started asking to come over, especially since Halloween was just a week away.

My boss, Sharon, calls me into her office one day.

“S-Dawg, Share-bear, Sharonator, what’s up? How’re the kids doing?” I ask. I obviously have become very close with the locals because of my recent rise to fame. I’m like the local Beyoncé now.

“Please call me Sharon during work hours. Anyway, I think it would be a fantastic idea to have our annual Halloween office costume party at your house, since it’s, you know, haunted and all. And as a fun party activity we could go ghost hunting in your house,” she says. Oh no. This can’t be happening. If people come over, they’ll see that my house is totally not haunted and everyone will think I’m a phony. Life would go back to the way it was before all of this: boring and lonely. This is my worst nightmare.

“I don’t think that would be a very good idea…” I mumble, not sure what kind of lie I could tell to get out of this one.

“Why not? It’s the perfect location,” Sharon snorts.

I take a deep breath, trying to buy some time to fabricate an excuse.

“Honestly, Sharon, it just isn’t safe. I wouldn’t want to put any of my coworkers’ lives at risk,” I lie.

Hopefully she buys it.

“Nonsense. We’re having the party at your house, end of story,” Sharon snaps.

This is not ideal. This is the worst possible situation ever. What am I going to do? Telling the truth at this point is so not an option. I need to come up with a plan. After a few hours of pacing around my ghost-less living room, I’ve got it. I will create a fake haunted house experience for my coworkers and hopefully they will think that it’s real. I will make it so realistic that everyone runs out of my house screaming in terror. If I can pull it off, this will be my biggest feat yet.

Tonight is the night. Everything is prepared. There is a knock at the door. The first guests have arrived.“Welcome to my haunted house! Please make yourself comfortable…if you can,” I say. A few adults dressed in ridiculously risqué costumes look around my foyer expectantly, like they are waiting for some guy in a mask to jump out and scare them. As more and more barely-clothed people arrive, I’m starting to get nervous. My reputation is on the line here. What if I can’t pull this off?! Maybe I should just tell the truth….NO! This is my only option. The plan will work.

For the first fake paranormal encounter, I will create fake footsteps. Easy enough. While everyone is enjoying party snacks and drinks in the living room, I run into the kitchen where I hid my heavy boots earlier and stomp really loudly a few times. I can hear the living room go quiet.

“THE GHOST! IT’S HERE! EVERYONE, GET OUT YOUR GHOST HUNTING GEAR!” I hear someone say from the living room. Oh great. They brought actual ghost hunting gear?! These people are nuts. Quickly, I hide the boots in my pantry and run into the living room, using my best acting skills to look afraid.

“I saw the silhouette of a man in the kitchen! Definitely a ghost!” I exclaim. Everyone crowds into the kitchen, looking around.

“I don’t see anything,” Brad the skeptic snickers. Before anyone else can agree with him, my pre-recorded ghost noises start playing upstairs.

“WHAT WAS THAT?!” one fossil of a lady shrieks. My guests are beginning to look slightly terrified.

Suddenly, the TV in my kitchen turns on. But that wasn’t one of my tricks. I always keep the remote in the drawer next to my sink, and when I check, it is still there. Uh oh. My cookbooks start flying off the shelf. Another thing that I didn’t plan.

“Are you behind all of this?” another skeptic asks.

“No! I promise, I’m not!” I yelp, telling the truth for the first time since I moved here. Now I’m really panicking. Muffled voices are coming from the living room, but everyone that came for the party is in the kitchen. I’m freaking out right now.

“EVERYONE NEEDS TO LEAVE, LIKE, NOW,” I scream. What if someone actually dies? I’d have to move probably. I’d get fired from my job for sure, which would be so not ideal. And the worst part would be that my house would possibly be haunted for real with an actual ghost after that.

“Dude, chill. We’re here for the ghost hunt, so obviously we wanna see some ghosts. I wanna to see someone get possessed,” a young intern says. Everyone else nods in agreement and looks at me expectantly, as if I’m supposed to bring out the ghosts that I’ve hidden in the closet like party favors. There is no way that I am getting these people to leave.

“Ok…um, then follow me this way,” I murmur, terrified of encountering an actual ghost. I’ll just have to continue with the scheduled tour and hope that whatever was causing the real paranormal activity would just go away until the party is over. I show the guests the basement where I was allegedly locked in for two days, and the fake scratch marks where I tried to “claw myself out”. I showed them the “real” skeleton in the closet (that I had purchased on Craigslist for $49.99). Thankfully, they seemed to believe my lies. Maybe the plan would work after all.

It’s time for the grand finale. If all goes as planned, my co-workers will run out of my not haunted house screaming. Hopefully. I gather everyone in my living room.

“So, as you can see ladies and gentlemen, I am living in a real life haunted house, where I risk my life everyday so that you don’t have to,” I lecture to the crowd. Okay, maybe that last statement was a bit exaggerated.

“Thank you so much for coming tonight, and I hope you all have a-a-a-aa,” I stutter. My eyes roll back into my head. In an effort to make this performance as real as possible, I have watched The Exorcist at least five times now, and I am pretty much an expert on “demonic possession” (if that is even a real thing). I fall to the ground and begin to roll, screaming incoherent words and generally making a fool of myself. Everyone looks terrified. My plan is working.

“Is she possessed? What do we do?!” someone in the back yells.

I point to a piece of paper that I wrote on before the party, that says:

“DON’T FREAK OUT TOO MUCH IF I GET POSSESSED, IT HAPPENS MORE OFTEN THAN YOU’D THINK.”

Everyone looks at me strangely. Uh oh. Have I taken this lie too far? Are they starting to see through this charade? Is this whole thing too crazy to actually be true? This is getting ridiculous, even for me. I seriously hope no one has seen The Exorcist. For my final, shocking stunt, I turn my back on the crowd, fill my mouth with some of the split pea soup I have concealed in my jacket pocket, and proceed to spit out the soup towards the crowd while screaming my head off. I didn’t realize how disgusting this fake exorcism would be. The worst part will be cleaning this mess up. Ew. Why did I think this would be a good idea?! I fall to the ground, exhausted from my extremely believable acting performance. I lie there for a minute, then stand up. I almost take a bow, but I stop myself.

“What happened?” I ask innocently, as if I wasn’t just spewing split pea soup all over my living room. As if I have no memory of the ahh-mazing performance I just put on.

Everyone stares at me, stunned.

“You…uh…started going crazy all of the sudden…we weren’t sure what to do….” someone mutters.

“I must have been possessed. It has happened several times before. It used to only happen about once every two weeks, then it started happening more and more, and now it happens nearly everyday,” I say casually, forcing a single tear to roll down my face. I know that this situation is totally impossible and if anyone at this party actually knew a thing or two about REAL demonic possession, my whole act would be totally busted.

“Um, okay,” Brad the skeptic scoffs, “That was weird.”

The rest of the party follows Brad out the door, and soon enough everyone is gone.

A few hours later, I am alone once again in my home and I am feeling pretty good. Everyone believes that my house is haunted and I can go on with life as a small-town celebrity. Maybe I’ll even tone down the stories a little bit in the future. Maybe.

As I settle on the couch to watch to TV, I hear something upstairs. It sounds like footsteps. No. This can’t be happening. I’m just hearing things. Yeah, I’ve probably just convinced myself that this house is haunted because of my thrillingly authentic performance. I am a true method actress, after all. Wait…  There it is again, louder this time. It sounds like someone is walking down the stairs. Uh oh. Maybe I was wrong about this house not being haunted…

My First In-class Literary Essay

Jim Hawkins is a young relatable boy filled with a good sense of adventure, so when he was asked to go off to a faraway island he obviously says yes”.

This essay will discuss the importance the narrator of treasure island has to the outcome of the novel.

Jim had spent the most of his life until the day that the Captain (Billy Bones) arrived at the “Admiral Benbow” calmly helping his parents with chores and jobs alike. This sparks the interest of the reader because of the fact that Jim has never seen anyone like Billy Bones and the only opinion he has are based on stereotypes and tall tales told to him by adults about the treacherous acts committed at seas. He is bewildered and also scared of the large and intimidating man now in his company. This puts Poor Jim on edge. Now the reader has an idea of what might ensue for the rest of the story because of the subtle foreshadowing.

Already you see that this book will play with the fact that Jim is an inexperienced child who will agree to anything that involves excitement, action and most importantly treasure. In my opinion this is best shown by two things.

The first thing is when Doctor Livesey becomes the narrator for three chapters (chapters 16-18) you can see the more black and white view of the world that the adults have. Making plans and following them to a T. This differs from the style of narration written for Jim. The part that most differs from Jim is when they try to loot the “Hispaniola” and then see the brutal truth of it all : “…with plenty of arms and ammunition, and things to eat, and excellent wines, there had been one thing overlooked – we had no water…”(p.139)

The other time is when Jim thinks that all things scary are evil and dangerous. Shown when he was going to beach his coracle at a cove but decided against it because of some animals:“…I beheld huge slimy monsters…”, “…I have understood since that they were sea-lions, and entirely harmless.”(p.201).

The most obvious oversight made by Jim because of his age came in the form of the warning from Billy Bones about one of his old crew members with a vivid description (The Seafaring man with one leg). Then as soon as he meets a man that fits the description perfectly he falls into the trap of first impressions meaning everything regardless of anything told to you otherwise. This is used as a plot device on multiple occasions and make the book easy to understand and still suspenseful.
The factors of Jim being relatable, him being susceptible to basic trickery and the way that he doesn’t understand life as well as his companions make this novel’s ending come together perfectly. The choice for Jim to narrate this story enabled it to stand out amongst the crowd of all other pieces of literature.

Video

The Implications of the Special Theory of Relativity

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0exg2iVCmTk&w=560&h=315]

 

Above is my submission for the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, created by a partnership between The Breakthrough Prize Foundation, and Khan Academy. The challenge was to develop a ten minute video that explained a challenging theory or concept in a simplified way. The theory or concept must originated from the realms of physics, life sciences or mathematics. After submitting our own videos, the applicants were required to grade other’s videos. The top 75 rated videos would progress.

Through my involvement in the contest, the thoughtful and insightful comments left on my video, and my own perception. I have learned how to better myself in order to teach others. Next year, my video will include more visuals, and a different style. Going into the contest, I knew my “lecture style” of video was not the best, in terms of engagement. However, with limited time left, after spending more than half the allotted time thinking of a topic, it was my only option. The feedback I received has confirmed my preconceived notions, and I am currently exploring other options that will improve engagement.

While it may still be a year away, and not confirmed, I can’t wait to participate next year. The contest has also inspired me to create other videos. Using the feedback I received, I hope to make them some of my best videos yet.

Contest Link

Application Questions

Lousy Pirate Divas

What a funny thought! It looks bright on the dark side, just when you thought it was only your childhood dreams to be a pirate! What a joke. You would think a group of “sophisticated” adults would be able to pull things together and agree on what to do with the government of operations funds.  

The US government being one of the big influences they are in the stock market and being known as the “business country” should know that not making a decision, that impacts a lot, (and I mean a lot) of jobs and the world economy, before the deadline is not a very shrewd business move (not to mention brinksmanship). The congress and the government operations meet in the Capitol Hill to discuss or argue these sorts of situations; for example: about how much money the government operations needs each term. The government operations has a wide variety of government services, such as the defence, the safety net programs, benefits for the retired, transportation (buses, skytrains), education, and medicine research. Think of all the families, and good hard working people losing their jobs because the government can’t pull their act together. What a waste of time and money! Something drastic needs to happen to make sure this “apocalyptic” sort of situation doesn’t happen again.   

Modern day pirates, also known as corrupt stock brokers, have made millions and billions off the innocent people trying to make a little extra money, who were oblivious to the scheming pirates. Bernie Madoff is just one of the many greedy stockbrokers, was finally caught after making 65 billion dollars off the people of the US. What an awful thing to do!  I wonder, after being enlightened about the ruthless actions of the modern pirate, how you would be able to live knowing most, if not all your money is stolen? What reprehensible people!

After looking back on this evidence I am appalled to see the greed and ruthless actions that these people will take to get what they want when they want it. In a way, the government and stock brokers are not just the modern day pirates, but pirate divas. Ruthless people who want everything yesterday, served on a silver platter for them to do what they want with. Sounds like a bunch of lousy pirate divas to me!

Insignificance

Why should I decide to keep living this life? What is even good about it? No one cares about me and if I died there wouldn’t be a single ripple in the ocean. I, am insignificant. My mother never loved me and my father is dead; I’m an only child but I am glad there is no one else for my mother to torture. At school I sit in the toilets while eating my lunch so no one will hurt me. My teachers don’t care if they see an older boy punching me, all they care about is finishing their day and getting paid. Why would they care? Because remember. I, am insignificant.

My mother would bathe me in boiled water. Starve me if she felt like it; leave my cuts to be infected if she was lazy. She did not care. If she was mad she would bruise me, bang my head against the walls repeatedly for hours. She would leave me to sleep on the wood floor with no blankets on cold winters nights. If she had a bad day at work she locked me in the closet so she could sit in peace. She said her mind was sick but I think that she never loved me. No one cared though. Not my aunt, my grandmother or neighbours watching through their windows. Why would they? I, am insignificant.

This is how I came to decide my fate. Why should I live in pain? Why should I suffer through this torture when one simple step could end it? No one would care. I, am insignificant.

Welcome back … here’s to another year of collaboration and hands-on and learning!

DahiHandi

Indian youth form a human pyramid to break the “Dahi handi” – an earthen pot filled with curd hanging above, an integral part of celebrations to mark Janmashtami festival in Mumbai, India, Sunday, September 6, 2015. The festival marks the birth of Hindu god Krishna and the act seeks to reenact the story of Lord Krishna stealing butter during his childhood.​
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