You may think that most of Ancient Egypt has already been discovered and that there is not much new to find. However, that is not the case. Even as recently as the last couple of years, there have been multiple discoveries of vast new burial sites in the region of Saqqara, located in Giza Governorate, Egypt. In November of 2020, archeologists found over 100 wooden sarcophagi, some of them with mummies inside, and over 40 funerary statues. These artifacts were from 2,500 years ago and “in perfect condition of preservation” according to Khaled el-Enany, the Egyptian Minister of tourism and antiquities. Even more recently, in January of 2021, archeologists found 50 more tombs in Saqqara. To share this discovery with the public, Harvard University has created a special virtual tour of one of the excavated tombs.
Archeologists Examining Artifacts at Saqqara
(Link to Tour)
This year, the 6th grade Ancient Civilizations history class at Science Academy has been learning about Ancient Egypt. We first studied the geography of Egypt, how the Nile helped the Egyptian people, culture, and their civilization flourish and survive, as well as how the Nile Valley protected Egyptian civilization from outside forces. Then, we started to learn about the Old Kingdom and the Middle Kingdom, briefly touching upon the Early Dynastic Period. We also learned about the pharaohs who ruled during those periods. Most pharaohs had elaborate, mysterious, and mesmerizing stories behind them, parts of which are still missing and lost in history. We also looked at the Step Pyramid of Djoser, the Great Pyramids of Giza, Hatshepsut’s Temple, and many other important monuments and tombs that were built during the time of Khufu and various other pharaohs. In addition, we delved deeply into the Egyptian pantheon of gods and their rich culture, as well as some of the Egyptians’ advances in mathematics, astronomy, and medicine. Finally, we covered the New Kingdom and its rulers, as well as the sad end to the civilization that was the prime trading center for centuries and the home to one of most beautiful civilizations for over 3,000 years.
As a final project, our class was asked to give an opportunity to work on an Extra Credit project where we wrote an original piece about Egyptian culture as well as an original art piece inspired by Egyptian culture. Here is a gallery of some of the students’ wonderful work.
Hymn to the Nile
by Muaz Reza
All hail to the Nile, the greatest river there is.
Who submerges thyself among the barren lands of Egypt.
Bringing growth to places visibly uninhabitable
Allowing life to sprout and thrive with great joy.
As your water calmly floods our dry lands
It brings pleasure to even the heaviest of frowns
Not a single heart grim, not a single heart sullen.
But brimming with life, awakened for the new season.
Your waters are what allowed us to grow
First a colony, then a kingdom, then finally an empire
We will cherish the gifts that you have provided us
For without them, we would surely cease to exist.
And as we harvest the bountiful crops
Which grow in the fertile lands you have provided
We await once again, your magnificent arrival.
To begin the cycle of life all over again.
Miracles of Ancient Egypt: The Snake-Man and his Master
by Tarisha Hasan
As a farmer, Ahmed worked his fields and tended to the city projects and tombs when the fields were flooded. One day, however, the pharaoh’s only son had died of a mysterious disease. All the citizens panicked, for they knew the pharaoh was aged and nearing the end of his life. As he helped in building the tomb for the prince, he wondered if there was still hope. After the tomb was complete, Ahmed went home to consider the current situation. The late pharaoh’s officials were still trying to find someone.
Ahmed decided that it was finally time to do something. He took to training carefully as a scribe. He hired an artisan to carve a cartouche for the new pharaoh, who was female. The artisan obliged. When the carving was finished, a courier was instructed to deliver the stone carving. However, there was a problem: the weather was bleak and overcast. After a while, it was agreed that the carving should be delivered in a protective covering. When it was finally delivered, however, a lightning bolt struck the herald while he was making his way back.
Back at his mansion, Ahmed was calmly reading a papyrus scroll in his library with his hired artisan when another courier of his came running to his door.
“Master!” Hossain called. Ahmed suddenly turned his head in the direction of the cry. He ran to his other courier as he was certain his prior request would go smoothly.
“What is the matter?” Ahmed was worried. Never before had a close one of his get injured on his watch. The courier said that someone was injured, and they both set
out to save their ally.
By the time they found the first courier, he was in a doctor’s office, lying wounded and exhausted. Hossain asked the doctor how his colleague had become the way he did. The answer was shocking.
“The lightning strike was an omen.”
“What exactly do you mean by this?”
“It’s hard to say. Nevertheless, see that he stays safe. Come back again if he displays any more symptoms.”
Ahmed slowly nodded. He and Hossain carefully carried their ally back home, taking care that they carried him high enough. When they finally got back home, the injured messenger was put to rest.
The next morning, the ill courier began to show signs of severe illness. When he was awakened, it was revealed that the courier’s right hand was growing scales. The same had ha
ppened to his left hand, raising worries. Even after the scales were removed, they kept growing back.
“You’ll have to go to a priest,” the physician said. Even after he tried the spells that they prescribed, they only partially worked. Some of the scales did disappear, but they soon began growing back.
“What shall we do with you, Asaad?” Ahmed asked. “All the cures we tried either don’t work or only work temporarily.” Asaad simply replied, “The reason why there is no permanent cure is that this was destined to happen.” This struck the other two silent for a couple moments. Ahmed then said, “So you knew this was all going to happen?” Assad related his whole story of the particular circumstances he grew up in and how it contributed to his developing lizard-like appearance.
“The only thing you can do right now is let the transformation happen and leave me in peace.” Ahmed realized that there really was no point in trying to find a cure. As a result, he instructed his other herald to make accommodations for Asaad while he went into his chamber to write an entry on his small papyrus journal. A few days later, Asaad was still the same person he was before he became lizard-like. However, word had spread in his town, and people came to inquire after the strange lizard-man he kept as a servant. Ahmed tried his best to keep all the visitors at a distance, but it was no use. Smaller reptilians were not usually common where he lived, let alone hybrids of humans and lizards.
When Ahmed tried to rest after a long day, he found that he was unable to, as he had spent all day fielding requests from his clients to write letters for them. He decided to take a drink that Hossain had offered him, and then after that, he slept rather uneasily through the night. When he woke up, he was more determined than ever to find out the cause of this mutation. He researched for days without stopping, and that’s when he finally found out the cause.
It was revealed that Assad had come from a family of snake charmers outside of Egypt’s borders and that he had caught a rare and incurable disease after a snake bit him. He did survive, but at a great price: he was to become a snake-man. A valuable lesson was learned from this event: no matter how hard one tried, there are times where fate was inevitable and had to take its course.
A Memorable Day in the Life of an Egyptian Farmer
by Mayukh Day
It’s August and the day of the annual flooding of the Nile. This annual flood has been an important natural cycle in Egypt since ancient times. Today is the day where it’s decided how much water Mafas II gets throughout the year.In the morning the farmer, Mafas II, gave a prayer to Osiris, the god of agriculture for lots of water today. Since his wife is pregnant and can give birth at any time, Mafas II, gave a prayer to Bes, the guardian god of childbirth. Next, he ate
his breakfast and set off into the fields, imagining what he would do in the fields today.
In the fields, he first uses the shaduf to irrigate his fields carefully. Then, he puts the stone markings for his boundary of water. After all that hard work, Mafas gathers a few cattle and a few ducks for his meals. Then he returns back to his house for supper.
Then he gives evening prayer to Bes, the guardian god of childbirth, and Osiris, the god of agriculture. For supper he eats meat, bread, and beer. After supper he plays twenty squares and Senet with his son. He stays up late when everyone in the family sleeps.
Then at the dark of night, the farmer paddles nervously out and shifts the stones to steal a few feet of water from his neighbors. Mafas knows this is very profitable, but the penalty of this crime could mean death. Thankfully, no one noticed him do this crime. Mafas goes to bed dreaming of his day tomorrow.
by Ava-Ray Pributsky
I walk down the dusty dirt path as I head to do some research at The House of Life, to look up medical papyri for how to treat a headache. My patient Abasi, one of many grandchildren of Rameses II, has been complaining of a sharp pain in the back of his head every morning for the past week. Having been trained by my father Djehutyemheb, a wise scribe and physician to the royal family, I am now able to care for royalty. I have given him amulets from the Goddess Isis and the God Heke. Isis is invoked because Abasi is sick and Heka to make the prayer more powerful. I will continue to look for additional cures. It is 1259 B.C.E, and Pharaoh Ramses is in rule. Kemet has just signed a peace treaty with the Hittites, who we have been battling with for several years. I have not known a time when we were not in war with them. Ramses II has spent too much money on fighting, so he decided to make peace with them.
This is the first peace treaty ever for Kemet. I am intercepted on my path by Maat, a young girl servant to Ramses II who has only just started working at the palace Ramesseum. “Naunet, Sese’s daughter Meritamun has a growth in her left eye! She is deeply upset and refuses to go outside for fear of people seeing her.” I try to calm her down and explain to her how I will create a mixture of red ochre that I can get from Abubakar at the temple, green eye-paint of malachite that I can pick up at the House of Life, and honey from the beehive near my house, and I will come to the palace and apply this to the growth two times per day. I also will take some black tea leaves, wrap them in muslin, soak them in hot water, and apply it to the eye. Finally, I will give Meritamun an amulet with the eye of Horus for her to wear. I continue my way down to The House of Life, thinking about the incantations to be prepared.
When the Sun Did Not Rise
by Genessis Gomez
Deep in the underworld there was a serpent called Apophis who detested the sun god Ra. Every night as Ra descended to the underworld for his nightly trip, Apophis was ready with another scheme. That fateful morning was coming, as people started to wake up confused that the sun had not risen. Farmers and merchants walked with lanterns to the places they usually worked confused, thinking that they woke up earlier and that the sun was going to rise very soon. But the priests, who knew about the serpent Apophis, hurried to the temples to help Ra.
The hours started to go by and the farmers, merchants, and even slaves started to worry. As the priests started to gather what they needed and muttered spells from the Book of Dead, the people outside started to pray very loud hoping that Ra was not dead. Back in the underworld, Ra received the prayers and spells (spells were also put on Apophis which was making him weaker). Ra received more power from the human praises above and soon enough he was able to fight off Apophis. He continued to float through the underworld and the sun started to rise again. From that day on, the Egyptians prayed that Ra had a safe passage and never forgot to thank him for the light he gave them every day.
Oh, What Greatness Comes When the Nile Flows
by Ezra Ipsa
Greatness that comes when the Nile flows,
It gives life to Egypt watering fields warmed by Ra,
Allowing our crops to grow so our cattle can live,
And we have food to eat.
Home of the fish, you give us grain and create barley,
Letting us ensure perpetuity to the temples,
And for the gods.
When offerings are made it is thanks to you,
Spreading all through Egypt, the creator of greatness,
You give us water to drink and to give to our livestock.
O, what greatness comes when the Nile flows,
It lets us thrive and prosper,
Like one with the gods we praise you,
For all you have done for us.
A Day In the Life of an Ancient Egyptian Scribe
by Jordin Lin
The sun leaked through the window of the Abasi’s adobe house. He frowned; morning had arrived. Hardly awake, he stood up from his bed and went to take a quick bath. Once finished, he got dressed into more appropriate clothing: a waist-to-knee kilt with a sheer blouse. Abasi was a stern man, as his name did mean ‘stern.’ He was very serious about his role as a scribe. The man absolutely despised it when something got in the way of him doing his job, so he made sure to meticulously plan out his day every morning so that everything would go smoothly. After changing into his outfit, he walked over to his nearby table to eat breakfast. The breakfast he usually ate was simple: lentils, bread, and eggs; it was enough to keep him going until the next meal.
Once he finished with his breakfast, he took out a small piece of papyrus, a thin, reed brush, and some ink. He slowly wrote down a detailed plan of how his day was going, starting from when he finished his breakfast. The main, and only, event on his schedule was to go down to the village and write down what was happening, specifically about the workers as did their labor. After 10 minutes of a walk in the hot sun, Abasi arrived at the nearby village. He looked around and took out his plan for the day. First, he would watch the over farmers, then the carpenter, then the washerman, then lastly, the maker of pots. Placing the note back into his small bag, he readjusted his posture, making sure he looked as presentable as possible
With one last stroke, he was finished for the day. Abasi nodded to the maker of pots, indicating that it was time for him to leave. The pot-maker nodded back at Abasi as he started to place up his papyrus, ink, and reed brush back into his small bag. Once Abasi completed packing up his materials, he exited the workshop. Surprised, he noticed that the sky was already quite dark. He had not noticed how much time had flown by. Quickening his pace, he speed-walked back to his house, ready to eat dinner and go to sleep. Abasi loved the sense of fulfillment every time he did his job without realizing the passing time. Today was such an example. Hours of work felt like only a few minutes. He lied down into his bed, smiling to himself. Rolling onto his side, he fell asleep, preparing for the next day.
Egypt Unearths New Mummies Dating Back 2,500 Years – New York Times
50 ancient coffins uncovered at Egypt’s Saqqara necropolis – The Guardian
Five-thousand-year-old Egyptian tomb opens for virtual tour – The Guardian
Tomb of Queen Meresankh III – Harvard UniversityRead More
Science Academy Team Takes 2nd Place at First-Ever Virtual Battle of the Books
by David Tang
On Saturday, May 16, 2020, the Science Academy STEM Magnet took part in their first Battle of the Books competition in our school’s history! The ranks in the image above represent their placing in the local competition, which took place at the Science Academy, competing with the other Academy teams. The scores represent points scored by each team at the regional competition which took place over Zoom. The scores of each team from each school were added and compared to the other schools. The Science Academy was second to Walter Reed; you may, however, be happy to know that we crushed Millikan Middle School.
For Battle of the Books, each team had to read all 20 books on the book list collectively. Typically, teams split up the titles between the members, but most of the Science Academy competitors read all 20 books. The book list included the first Harry Potter, Stargirl, Shadow and Bone, Amal Unbound, Esperanza Rising, Hoot, The Phantom Tollbooth, and Playing Atari with Sadaam Hussein. Together, teams have to answer questions about characters, events and details from any of the 20 books. Each question is phrased in the form of “In which book did…?” The team earns one point for naming the correct title. If they correctly name the title, they would then earn another point for the correct author. There were 40 questions (80 possible points), and each team competed separately. It took approximately 4 hours. Thank you so much to Ms. Garcia and Ms. Butler for working so hard and helping our teams prepare. It was a lot of work, but it really was also a lot of fun! Congratulations to all the team members!Read More
The 92th Academy Awards were held at the Dolby Theatre on February 9th, 2020. The Academy Awards, or more popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry. The awards are given annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). The awards are an international recognition of excellence in cinematic achievements as assessed by the Academy’s voting membership.
This year, during the Oscars, records were broken. Parasite, a Korean film, won four awards, including Best Picture. This is the first time that a non-English language film has won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Parasite also won Best Directing, Best International Film and Best Original Screenplay, among others. Before Parasite was released, most non-English films were only considered in the foreign language category. Parasite not only won four Oscars, but made waves in America with its sensational story line and examination of socio-economic conflicts. In addition, it performed very well at the box office for a movie with sub-titles!
Joker is the story of a mentally ill, failed comedian, Arthur Fleck slowly transitioning into the criminal mastermind known as Joker. The film’s leading actor, Joaquin Phoenix, won the Oscar for Best Actor. He used his win to give a voice to the voiceless. He continues his trend of drawing attention to sociopolitical issues. In previous award ceremonies, global warming, veganism, gun violence, and diversity in films. During the actor’s acceptance speech at the Oscars, he touched on social inequality, the cruel treatment of animals in the food industry, systemic inequality, and even cancel culture. To end his speech, he quotes his late brother, River Phoenix: “Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow.”
The award for Best Actress went to Renée Zellweger for her portrayal of Judy Garland in Judy. Judy is about singer and actor Judy Garland arriving in London to perform sold-out shows at the Talk of the Town nightclub. While there, she reminisces with friends and fans and begins a whirlwind romance with musician Mickey Deans, her soon-to-be fifth husband. Zellweger started her acceptance speech by acknowledging the other nominees. She continued to thank all those who have helped her in her career. After talking about the people who have supported her, she goes on to talk about Judy Garland, the person Judy is based on. She talks about how the people who inspire us to find the best in ourselves, our heroes, can unite us. When we celebrate our heroes, we’re reminded of who we are as one people united. She talked about how this Oscar win is an extension of Judy Garland’s legacy. It is a celebration of her unique exhibitionism and generosity of spirit.
Brad Pitt wins his first Oscar for acting. He won Best Supporting Actor in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, a story about actor Rick Dalton gained fame and fortune by starring in a 1950s television Western, but is now struggling to find meaningful work in a Hollywood that he doesn’t recognize anymore. He spends most of his time drinking and palling around with Cliff Booth, his easygoing best friend and longtime stunt double. Rick also happens to live next door to Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate. To start off his acceptance speech, Pitt started with a political remark, saying that he only had 45 seconds to deliver his speech, which is “45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week.” During his acceptance speech, he paid tribute to the stunt community, but most importantly, his kids. He talks about the lack of stunt awards in the Oscars. He also talks about how his kids have been everything to him.
PLUS Recommendation for Mid-Range Build
Jose Salamanca and Gideon Said
Building a computer provides many different advantages. First off, building a computer is cheaper. You can custom pick your parts allowing you to suit your needs, whatever they are. If you are planning on playing games, you can make sure you build a computer that will be able to play all the games you want without paying for extra, unneeded features. If your primary usage of a computer will be receiving and sending emails or occasional media usage, you can make sure that you get what you need. Building a computer also lets you have a PC designed to specifically fit your environment. If you want a small PC to fit in a tight space with wireless WiFi, typically a prebuilt PC is not going to cut it. Building a PC also allows you to easily upgrade your PC if it becomes too slow for the tasks you want to do. And to top all of these things off you also no longer need to deal with preinstalled bloatware.
The motherboard links together all of the key components of a computer and allows them to communicate and work as one machine. A good motherboard that will last many years of use and have plenty of upgrading capability in the future, is ideal. The motherboard also connects to external peripherals such as the monitor, keyboard, and mouse. It contains many different ports that connect to its cases input/output (I/O) shield. It provides connections for all kinds of external accessories and lets those accessories send inputs into the computer as well. The motherboard contains the peripheral component interconnect (PCI) slot and random access memory (RAM) slot as well. It retrieves power from the power supply unit (PSU) to allow the many components connected to it run. Some parts of a PC, however, do not get power distributed in the motherboard provided to them and instead have separate linkages to the PSU.
Central Processing Unit-
The central processing unit (CPU) is the brain of a computer. It sends instructions to the different parts of the computer and performs all programs required by the PC’s user. It computes all the tasks set to the motherboard. It performs all types of data processing that is required. It solves complex programs and displays the results on your monitor. The CPU influences all computer performance, which affects the speed and fluidity of the computer’s software.
Random Access Memory-
Random Access Memory (RAM) temporarily stores data and serves as the working memory of the computer. It allows PCs to work on multiple tasks at the same time by storing data from all programs currently being run. RAM can be viewed as the tables or work space of a PC. RAM can be used as many small ‘tables’ or one big ‘table’.
Graphics cards (also referred to as video cards) render images that are to be displayed on the monitor. A better graphics card will produce smoother images and videos on your display. A faster and more powerful motherboard allows higher graphics quality and resolution while at high frame rates and refresh rates. Graphics cards allow you to play games smoothly while at high resolution. A high-end graphics card is also key to advanced video editing allowing you to view every frame of a video at high resolution.
Storage is used for data storage as the name suggests. The storage components of a computer are used for long term data storage as opposed to RAM. It stores usually stores data in the form of documents, Windows itself, and photos or videos. There are two types of storage. Hard disk drives (HDD) and solid-state drives (SSD). SSDs are faster but are more expensive. They store data in flash memory, which is far faster than hard drives that store data physically, via a spinning magnetic disc. Hard drives, however, are better for large, bulk storage for a better price. A happy medium of both works best, however, giving you lots of storage for things like documents and photos in a hard drive. The SSD would store Windows, games, and other things you want to be able to run quickly.
Power Supply Unit-
The power supply unit (PSU) provides power to the entire computer. It powers the motherboard and any other components that do not energy distributed from the motherboard. A good power supply also dictates component upgrading in the future because your parts could have a wattage too high for your PSU to support if you upgrade them. Higher-end parts typically use more electricity as well as larger or more powerful cooling systems.
The case is the final part of a PC. It is designed to be aesthetically pleasing to yourself and others. It also contains all of the PC’s components like the motherboard and PSU and also any cooling. Many cases have red, green, and blue (RGB) lights integrated into them or, added by the PC’s builder separately in the case. The case is typically used to show off your PC components and RGB or to contemplate its environment.
This is a mid-range build, designed to handle many of the latest AAA games. Here is a link to the build on PCPartPicker: https://pcpartpicker.com/user/Journalism/saved/BBsYgs
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
The AMD Ryzen 7 2700X has clocks at 3.7 GHz with overclocking capabilities up to 4.2 GHz. It is an octa-core processor with 16 threads. This provides powerful performance for its price which is the main reason it was chosen for this build. It also comes with a fully RGB Wraith Prism cooler.
Motherboard: Asus Prime X470-Pro
The Asus Prime X470-Pro motherboard boasts programmable RGB and a built-in cooling design. Its highly upgradable design allows you to modify this build in the future if you ever want to get new parts.
Memory: G.Skill Aegis 16 GB
The G.SKill Aegis was chosen for this build for its high transfer speed and RGB.
Graphics Card: Asus Radeon RX 5700 XT 8 GB
The Asus Radeon RTX 5700 XT supplies extremely smooth graphics to your monitor and allows games to perform at high frame rates, while keeping a high resolution. It allows your CPU to function at maximum power on your game while this card works on the graphics.
Case: AeroCool Cylon
This case has a low-profile strip of RGB on the case’s front. It also is complete with a tempered glass side panel, allowing other people to admire your parts and their RGB.
PSU: EVGA BR 450W
The EVGA BR 450W power supply unit provides 450 watts of electricity to power all of your parts. Its hihg wattage also allows even more powerful parts that you may add to the build in the future.
Storage: Silicon Power A55 256G
The Silicon Power A55 provides 256 gigabytes of flash storage to let all of your applications to run at high speeds.Read More
by Edward Lee
The Scripps Spelling Bee is an event that has been around for quite a long time. The first Scripps Spelling Bee was held on June 17, 1925 in Louisville, Kentucky. The founder of the modern American spelling bee was Frank Neuhauser, an American patent lawyer. The only time that the Spelling Bee was interrupted was from 1943-1945 during World War II. Scripps is an American broadcasting company that took over the Spelling Bee. They publicized and popularized the Spelling Bee so elementary and middle school students could improve their spelling skills and strengthen their vocabulary knowledge.
On Friday, February 21, 2020, the Science Academy STEM Magnet held its annual school spelling bee. The 6th grade finalists were Saket Pamidipathri and Jebin Lee. The 7th grade finalists were Suren Grigorian and Gideon Said. The 8th grade finalists were Gillian Nail and Jared Veiguela. After a hard fought and challenging session, 1st place went to Suren Grigorian, 2nd place was Saket Pamidipathri, and 3rd place was Jebin Lee. The finalists made their way through the entire official study list, so they had to move on to words that were brand-new to them. Saket had a hard time spelling allegation and Jebin misspelled contemplate. On Round 15, Jebin and Saket got eliminated. So they did a round to figure out the runner-up with Saket and Jebin. Now, Suren will go on to the Regional Spelling Bee, which will be held on Saturday, March 7th, at North Hollywood High School where he will represent the Science Academy. The winner of the Regional Spelling Bee will go on to Washington, D.C. to compete with elementary and middle school students from all around the country. Our whole school wishes you luck, Suren!
By: John Lee and Payton Suh
The History of Leap Day
At first, the 355-day calendar was adapted by the Romans, and it worked fine for most purposes, but there was a dilemma. Yearly festivals were not occurring during their correct seasons. To solve this, a 22 or 23 day month was created every second year. Julius Caesar pondered on how to innovate on this concept, and so he added days to different months of the year to create the 365-day calendar. Caesar’s astronomer, Sosigenes, was the one who made the actual calculations to make this possible. Also, one day was to be added every fourth year following the 28th day of Februarius (February 29th), making every fourth year a leap year.
The Leap Day’s Astronomical Justification
This special day, February 29, was added to our calendar so that the calendar coincides with the Earth’s revolution around the sun. The earth spends 365.242 days to completely orbit around the sun. Calendars would be off about 24 days in 100 years had Leap Day not been implemented. Within the Gregorian calendar today, a Leap Day was added to the month of February within a year which is divisible by 400, allowing for additional accuracy within the anticipation of seasonal adjustments. This allows for the occurrence of Passover upon its proper date, as well as the correct placement of Easter, which is the first Sunday following the Paschal Moon.
Fun Facts about Leap Day
- One in five engaged couples in Greece will plan to avoid getting married in a leap year. They believe it is bad luck.
- People born on February 29 are called “leaplings” or “leapers”.
- More than 10,000 people worldwide are members of the Honor Society of Leap Year Babies. It is a club for people born on Feb. 29.
- Some astrologers believe that people born on February 29 have unusual talents.
- The only recorded person known to historians that have both been born and died on February 29 was Sir James Wilson (1812–1880).
- The chances of being born on leap day is 1 in 1500.
- Karin Henriksen of Norway gave birth to all three of her children on February 29 – a daughter in 1960 and two sons in 1964 and 1968.
- In Hong Kong, China, the legal birthday of a leapling is March 1 in common years, while in New Zealand it is February 28. If you timed it correctly, traveling from one of the countries to the other, you could technically enjoy the world’s longest birthday!
Happy Leap Day from the Science Academy News Flash!
By Fredrick Ernst and Kenneth Lee
A catastrophe is occurring in Borneo: a large debate over the palm oil industry. This industry is the largest source of income for many of the residents of Borneo, a small island nation in the Malay Archipelago. Without this product, many locals would not be able to provide for themselves and their families. On the other hand, the environment of Borneo is being destroyed in order to make space for the production of palm oil. 75% percent of the island was previously covered by rainforests and lush vegetation, but roughly half of it was burnt and logged down for palm tree plantations. These two opposing needs are causing a major debate over what should be done in Borneo in order to stop this tragedy. What are the correct courses of action to take in this situation?
Fires are being caused by companies in order to make more room to plant palm trees for palm oil, which is greatly destroying the forests. Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia have also been impacted by fires that have destroyed 3,311 square miles of rainforest. Palm trees produce vegetable oil, which is used in many household products. The orangutans, rhinos, elephants and other species of animals that call the rainforest their home are also being affected negatively. Government authorities are using airborne thermal cameras to locate where the fires are in order to open cases and lawsuits against companies engaging in illegal deforestation.
*Diagram above shows the remaining rain forest dwindling away
An alternative for palm oil is to use coffee grounds, locally grown oils, algae, fungi, and yeast. The first process involves extracting the oils in coffee grounds. This is done by mixing the coffee grounds with the solvent hexane and then cooking the mixture at 60°C for 1–2 hours to extract the oils. The hexane is evaporated to leave behind the oils. In the second step, methanol and a catalyst are added to create biodiesel. Glycerol, which is also created as a by-product, has to be separated from the biodiesel. A team of chemical engineers and environmental scientists from Lancaster University in the UK streamlined the process by eliminating the need for solvent-based oil extraction. They mixed coffee grounds with methane and a catalyst to make biodiesel directly. The key was to use the right concentration of sodium hydroxide and adjust the methane-to-oil ratio during production. The methods that industries are using to find alternatives to palm oil are helping to create more populations of endangered species such as orangutans and rhinos. In this way, the rain forests of Borneo can once again become plentiful and an overall ideal environment for different species of animals to sustain life on and repopulate.
Because of this action, we now know that we should avoid palm oil, not support palm oil companies, and use alternatives. To make certain you are not buying palm oil, always make sure to check the ingredients list. We should also help and support animals that were affected by the burning and logging of the trees. Palm oil should also be banned because it is killing animals and makes a huge impact on resources and the habitats.
By Milan Vuletic and Apollo Colligan
The History of the Science Fair
The Science Fair! Love it or hate it, the Science Fair is a tradition in most American elementary, middle, and high schools. The Science Fair originated back in 1942, when it was named the “The Science Talent Search” created by William Ritter and Edward Scripps. After this, the Science Fair grabbed the attention of other American schools. It was adapted as a project every year in order to help students learn about the scientific method and the process of discovery by researching, making hypotheses, and doing experiments on topics that interest them.
What is the Science Fair?
The Science Fair is an event that occurs every year in February or March in elementary, middle, and high schools all over the United States. Every student has to choose a topic to do research and write a report on. Students also have a choice to work with a partner on their project. At the end, the student(s) will have to present all their information on a tri-fold poster board. There are many key components to the science fair report. First, there has to be a creative title in order to catch people’s attention. Next, there will have to be an abstract to give a brief overview of the entire project. After that, there needs to be an introduction to tell the reader what you are doing in your project. The project also needs to include your research in the topic that you are working on. The research portion should also include the sources that you used and should be at least five paragraphs long. Of course, the results along with a graph should be included in order to show what actually happened. Multiple trials should also be presented on the graph. After the results, a discussion should also be included in order to explain why the student scientists thought the results turned out the way they did. The last part of the Science Fair is the acknowledgements and the references, which show who helped on the creating the Science Fair project and what sources were used in the research.
The Importance of the Science Fair
In the Science Academy, the Science Fair is a very important event that students spend over three months planning for. Before the school year even starts, students should have an idea of what they want to do for their Science Fair project. After they know what they want to do, they need to get approval from a teacher to be able to proceed with their project. Then by February, all of the students need to finish all the parts of the report and mount it on a poster board. After all of the students finish, everyone displays their boards in the gym for the judges to examine and choose the winners. In addition, the students are able to see everyone else’s hard work. The second night, the winners are announced to great fanfare – it is quite an honor to be chosen amongst such stellar work!
Science Fair Winners
In some schools, the Science Fair can be a competition of sorts. The judges will pick three of the best projects from each grade and the students who did these projects will receive a ribbon at the awards ceremony. The awards ceremony takes place on the night after the judging takes place. This year’s 6th grade winners were Jasper Mejia, Van Brunnel and Shai Lung, Angus Norden, and Galileo Crisman Caro. This year’s 7th grade winners were Mimi Rhee, Amy Vargas, and Ani Akchyan and Anna Simonyan. This year’s 8th grade winners were Max Norden, Thomas and Johanthan Kim and Daniel Bang, and Boheng Cao and Zyg Ramsey. The honorable mentions were Harrison Reisner, Julie Dupont, Olivia Kim, Elie Netzah, and Shai Haim.
We spoke to a few of the winners about their Science Fair projects to get more information about their experience. 7th grader Mimi Rhee did a project on creating a mechanical knee. The prototype of the knee has springs attached to the actual knee that change their length when the knee is at different angles. She was thinking of doing this project in order to help disabled people get around more easily. Another person we spoke to was Shai Lang who, along with his partner Van Brunell, created an ultrasonic glove for blind people. This glove has sensors that can detect objects in front of them and can notify the user of any obstacles that might be in the way. The last person we interviewed was Jasper Meija, who created a refrigerator to store insulin. This was intended to be used for diabetic people who rely upon insulin, which must be kept refrigerated. The refrigerator can be carried on the go and can also be used during power outages. At the end of it all, we wish that everyone could have won because everyone had such amazing project ideas, but the judges are only able to choose a few per grade level. Congratulations to everyone for all their hard work!
Image above: A firefighter walks near a backfire during the Saddleridge fire in Newhall, California on October 11, 2019. Josh Edelson/Getty Images
By: John Lee and Payton Suh
As we look back at 2019, we have seen many natural disasters. From hurricanes to fires, here are some of the most memorable natural disasters from 2019.
The Kincade fire was reported on October 23 at 9:27 p.m. on the Sonoma County mountainside, about 80 miles north of San Francisco. Even though precautions had been made with power outages made by PG&E, which had difficulty keeping electric lines from igniting fires when winds, the fire still started. As Mercury News reported, PG&E later admitted that the fire could have been started by its own equipment. Californian Cal Fire agency said the fire was first reported close to the T – section joining Burned Mountain Road and Kincade Road, in Cloverdale. The fire started on private land that Calpine, a company known for being America’s largest electricity generating companies, used for geothermal energy operations.
Dry and windy weather in the beginning of the wildfire might have been what made the fire so destructive. Gusts peaked at 93 mph in the hills north of Healdsburg on Oct. 27. Because of this, the Kincade Fire quickly grew. Its growth doubled from the day before, with only 5% containment. During that Sunday, and even the day before, the fire forced nearly 180,000 people to flee their homes over the weekend as historic winds pushed the state’s largest utility to cut electricity for millions of people in an effort to prevent more spreading. Thankfully, the fire ended on September 7th, 2019. Altogether, the stats show that the fire burned 77, 758 acres, destroyed 374 buildings, and thankfully, led to the death of 0 people.
The Saddleridge Fire started at around 9 in the morning on the north side of the 210 freeway. It was not too severe, but there was currently a windstorm gusting up to 60 mph. The fire blew over the intersection of 210 and 5 over to the south side, igniting more brush. Evacuations were ordered for the safety of the citizens living near the fire. The California Highway Patrol closed down both highways in both directions. Reports from those motorists say they were stuck in traffic for hours because of the fire.
Elsewhere, more troubles were brewing. Moreno Valley, Banning, Newberry Park, and the Kern County – LA County line were burning. Because of this, power lines had to be cut. The first batch of power cuts was with less than 5000 residents, but that number grew exponentially, and topped nearly 175,000. More than 23,000 homes were located in the required evacuation area, which extends to the Ventura County border. Several districts, including LAUSD, closed some schools, and residents fled to shelters to quickly fill several schools. Up to 50 miles per hour of burning coals were blown up, and fire authorities burned along the roof of Porter Ranch, about 10 miles from the fire site.
How to Deal With Fires-
- Get educated on how to use a fire extinguisher.
- Construct a disaster preparedness kit. Here are some basic things that should be inside the kits:
- Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.
- Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio
- NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert.
- Create a family emergency communication plan.
- Collect contact information for your family and other important contacts.
- Make sure everyone carries a copy of this information with them.
- Have regular household meetings to review and practice your plan.
- When evacuating the building, be sure to feel doors for heat before opening them to be sure there is no fire danger on the other side.
- If there is smoke in the air, stay low to the ground, especially your head, to reduce inhalation exposure.
- If the building has elevators, avoid using them, use the stairs.
- Don’t spend extra time to recover valuables.
- Follow your family emergency communication plan.
- Get out of the structure (if you are currently in one) and call 911.
- Immediately evacuate and stay out of the distance of the fire.
Hurricane Dorian was the first major hurricane in the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season. It started on August 24, 2019 as a tropical wave and rapidly strengthened, becoming a hurricane only 4 days later. On August 31, 2019, Dorian strengthened to become a category 4 hurricane. On September 1, it finally reached category 5 intensity, while reaching the Bahamas. It was considered the worst storm system to hit the Bahamas. It stopped for about a day just above the Grand Bahamas. At the beginning of September 6, Dorian picked up speed and clipped North Carolina.
How to Deal with Hurricanes-
- Get a radio to hear significant storm updates, directions, and info.
- Go inside and avoid all fragile materials. Stay in a safe area. (Ex. an inner room, closet or 1st floor restroom.)
- Stay within the protection of your residence until there is absolute certainty that the area is clear of storms. With high winds still approaching, the storm’s eye could make a short-term and misleading interval.
- Make sure the refrigerator is closed so the cold air is trapped and prevent spoilage of perishable food, if power is lost.
- Follow all the manufacturer’s instructions if you use a portable generator. Generators must be properly grounded to prevent electrical shock and should never be operated indoors, in garages, ebasements or outdoors near any windows, doors or vents. Make sure you have a working CO detector in your home, because generators produce carbon monoxide (CO).
Many natural disasters cover the earth, so it is essential to know what to do. With these tips you should be more prepared for fires and Hurricanes. We hope that these tips are useful. – John Lee and Payton Suh.
Hurricane Dorian at Category 5 intensity approaching the northwestern Bahamas early Sunday morning: (NOAA)