The World’s First Solar Plane!

Solar Impulse 2

Solar Impulse 2

Beginning in 2015, the world’s very first attempt to fly around the world in the world’s first solar plane took place. The plane’s name is Solar Impulse 2.

Pilots Bertrand Piccard André Borschberg, who were also the founders of this project, flew from from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in March and have been flying since, obviously with stops. The plane was scheduled to return to Abu Dhabi back in August 2015; however, in June of that year, after flying through all of Asia, they hit Hawaii and the aircraft batteries suffered major thermal damage that took months to repair. Finally, on April 21st of this year, the Solar Impulse resumed its flight and landed in California on April 23rd, and on May 2nd, started on its way to Phoenix, Arizona.

North Korea Strikes (like twice)


Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, defied the UN by firing two “medium” missiles into the Sea of Japan. Rumors have circulated that they were meant to attack Japan/ South Korea (allies of the US, though relations between the two aren’t friendly.) Either way, the North Korean government could be trying to provoke the US. Since then, more sanctions have been put in place and strengthened by the US. It’s estimated that North Korea has 10 to 16 nuclear warheads, and currently working on an intercontinental ballistic to deliver them.

UPDATE: Five more missiles were launched into the Sea of Japan. They were short range and North Korea plans on putting more nuclear tests into action. China, North Korea’s only large supporter, is advising them to stop.

The UN is very upset and has demanded that North Korea completely and irreversibly dismantle their nuclear missile testing program. Apparently they have been testing missiles for a while until they were found by the US- sanction representatives to have a large amount of uranium in their possession.


webpp20152Tomorrow is the day!! 

Here is what you need to know:

TIME: Arrive by 10:45– WE ARE LINING UP AT 11:30.  

WHAT TO WEAR: Wear your Village Vikings gear (if you bought something), Bathing suit under your clothing, hat, gloves, warm socks and boots.  It’s best to overdress and take off layers rather than wear too little!!

WHAT TO BRING: A towel or robe for after the jump.  You should be able to put back on the same things you wear to the plunge.  But, in case things get wet, have an extra sweatshirt and socks, just in case!  Also bring a plastic bag for any wet clothing.

**Put your cell in a ziplock JUST IN CASE!!

**You don’t have to plunge in order to join the fun– students, family, and friends who are coming just for moral support are more than welcome!  Land-lovers should bring their phones/cameras and snap as many pics as they can!!



Kim Jong-un the Solution to Missed Senate Votes?

Kim Jong-un (N. Korea)Since the 2016 presidential campaign trail began for Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, the two senators had notably been absent on Capitol Hill lately, having missed the third highest and highest number of U.S. Senate votes in 2015, respectively. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid found Rubio’s attendance so lacking that he went so far as to suggest that the Senate resign his seat. The heavy lack of attendance to the Capitol was surprisingly interrupted by, surprisingly, North Korea’s current leader, Kim Jong-un.

A vote on the sanctioning of North Korea and its current dictator yanked Cruz and Rubio off the campaign trail and onto the Senate floor on Wednesday. When asked why he diverted from his campaign trail to vote on this issue, Cruz replied that, “the national security threat is serious.” Rubio’s aide, Alex Burgos, made an extra effort to wave off reporters as his boss entered the Senate Wednesday evening. When asked why he wanted to vote, Rubio, while entering the Senate floor, replied, “it’s an important issue.”
Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz

The legislation on the North Korea issue is obviously important to national security, and if the two Senators had to pick something to eventually vote for, this one is definitely one of the more important ones. However, one factor as to why the two decided to come back, is to avoid looking weak. A presidential candidate should look strong on matters of national security, and an opposing senator in the race could have attacked in an upcoming debate or on the campaign trail for not voting on an important matter of national security. There’s nothing wrong with this—strategy is obviously needed in a presidential election. However, it’s the duty of a U.S. Senator to vote on these issues, whether it affects their poll numbers or not.

Should we have family meetings at Village School?


Recently, there has been some… hostility here at Village.  And yes, after Credit Boards it seems to be getting better, but we all can clearly sense that Village is not as friendly as it used to be and certainly not as much as it used to be!

After a recent general meeting, Steve talked about and addressed the problem. Later that day, I think we could all tell that tensions were lowered. About a week later, we were all much better but there still seems to be hostility. How can we fix this? I interviewed Steve, our principal, and he shared good words of wisdom, “Mostly, I think talking things out is a good move”, he said. But he also admitted that though it sometimes works, you can’t hit things when they are hot, because that might end up blowing up in your face and exacerbating a situation.

So it seems true that the best way to solve problems is to talk them out, but how can we do this in a productive, effective way? Well, family meetings, so to speak, held once a week or every other week might be the answer. In these meetings, we can talk to each other in a non-hostile, friendly environment, and explain what school, teacher, student or even family matters is making us stressed and agitated.

While someone might argue that these meetings would just be a bunch of people yelling at each other and fighting, if we organize it well and go into it with the mindset that we are going to solve our problems rather than just make new ones, then everyone will be able to stay calm and communicate effectively. Communication is key in order for a functioning family to work, and at the end of the day that is all what we really are, a family.

What if the issues we are dealing with are private ones? “Sometimes the issues involve private items and so they can’t really be discussed in a big forum, but I think in a place like this we can get closer to private than in a bigger school,” Steve told me.  We all know each other, we should be able to help each other not only with in- school problems but with possible home or other personal issues. People here should be happy and able to learn, without having to burden Lisa with every problem we have with someone. When we have a problem with someone, the best way to deal with it is not to tell everyone else, but address the person in question, and tell them what is wrong, whether it is about something that happened during lunch or during class. The communication skills that we learn during these meetings could carry over into these smaller, one-on-one interactions and later in life.

While the whole school is obviously never going to be perfect and there will always be people that don’t like each other, we should never use the word “hate” when talking about a classmate– we should all be able to tolerate each other. At the end of the day, we are all in the same school and  in close proximity to each other. The more tension there is, the worse it is going to get. So, if we don’t want to hinder our ability to earn credit in our classes, we should all just sit down and have mellow conversations about what is bothering us. And, if your behavior (directly or indirectly) is being addressed, try to take that feedback and use it constructively to make better choices later on.

So how might this all work?  One way is to only have the students who are having issues come in to talk, but Steve said by not meeting with everyone, “I’m punishing [the students without issues] by depriving them of not knowing what’s going on in the school.” Whether you agree with the whole concept of having a meeting with everyone involved, one can understand where Steve is coming from; he wants everyone to know that if there is indeed a problem, it should be shared and solved, not ignored. Some students may even think that not being invited to the meeting means that they are the ones being talked about. It seems best then, if we were to have bi-weekly or even monthly meetings in which everyone is invited and everyone- the involved and not involved- can voice their opinions and give suggestions.

Looking to Village School history can help guide us when it comes to these issues.  Steve himself has been here for about 20 years, and has been principal for 15. When we discussed whether or not there have ever been meetings like this in the past, he said that through the years, from meetings, and reforms to the school, he is proud to say he is a part of the Village School community. But 20 years ago, he wasn’t even sure he wanted to work here.  I think that this really says a lot about the power that meetings can have on the school culture. From just 15 minutes of talking about what is wrong and how it can be fixed, Steve was able to help transform the school into something that we can all agree is really great.

At the end of the day, we have to coexist because none of us want to have to leave the school because of something someone did or something we did, because as we all know and say often, we really are all here for a reason and this school has helped each and every one of us. If we are aware of our faults, then we can try to work on them and make changes. That way, we can all focus on what really matters here, doing well academically and giving ourselves the opportunity to go somewhere in life.  That is, after all, the ultimate goal of school, and yes, this is a real school.


Feel the Bern

Bernie Sanders has promised his supporters tons of free things, which our country should be excited for. This man has promised us the world: free college, free money, free everything! At first, I didn’t think he even knew what the word “free” meant. I thought the man was a complete fool until I heard an interview FOX News conducted, in hopes to stump him regarding where he’d get all the money for the “free life” he plans to give Americans, should he become President. But, when he was asked about his economic policies, he responded with unbelievably incredible answers.

The Future $100 BillAs it turns out, Bernie Sanders is an economic genius! He has revolutionary ideas about ways to fund his plans. His first response was amazing. “Well, the first way that we can get money is obvious, we can just print hundreds of times more dollars than we do now. This has caused inflation in other countries in the past, but we have a foolproof way of preventing an economic meltdown.” I was surprised. Then, his next idea was the most intelligent thing I’d heard from any of the 2016 presidential candidates, the most outstanding improvement to our economy ever proposed, “The foolproof way to do this is to use less paper. If we use less paper, we’ll still be printing the same amount of paper, just more money. We can use thinner paper, smaller bills, who wants to have those big, hard-to-fit bills in their wallet anyway?” Revolutionary. Feel the Bern.

It is clear that a revolution is looming on the horizon. Bernie Sanders is the modern George Washingtonson. His genius is unrivaled, his economic and social ideas unparalleled. Unemployment will no longer be a bad thing, because jobs won’t be necessary to make money and live healthily. Motivation will no longer be required. The poor will no longer be poor. The rich will no longer have salaries thousands of times higher than that of the middle class. Bernie Sanders will turn America into the most amazing and prosperous place in the universe. There will be no more war, no more suffering. Poverty will be eliminated along with homelessness.


Trump and Sanders Take New Hampshire

The winners of the New Hampshire primary.

The winners of the New Hampshire primary.

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders won in a landslide during the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, with each garnering a 20 point lead in their respective party, causing speculation that voters are fed up with regular politicians. Both men were projected to win by the statistical forecasting website “538”, which gave Trump a 68% chance of winning, versus Bernie’s 99%. Voters came out in record numbers, and some of the results were surprising. In the Republican primary, John Kasich surprised everyone by coming in second place and receiving roughly 15% of the vote; he was followed closely by Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush who both received approximately 11% of the vote.

After votes have been tabulated, they are then converted– using each state’s respective idiosyncratic system– into pledged delegates, which are then combined with un-pledged delegates, typically prominent politicians who are not bound to vote for any particular candidate, in order to identify the candidate who yields a majority of the delegation. If no such majority exists, then a brokered convention occurs, during which a frontrunner is chosen based on political bartering. Brokered conventions are atypical, since in recent years a clear frontrunner has emerged with enough traction to avoid such a situation.

This delegate system endows New Hampshire’s primary rules with special significance. New Hampshire awards delegates proportionally, as one might intuitively expect, but only if they exceed a certain threshold– at least 10% in this case. Candidates who don’t exceed the threshold have their share of the delegation stripped from them and given to the front runner. Republicans compete for a New Hampshire delegation consisting of 23 pledged delegates in total, versus the 24 reserved for the Democrats.

Putting aside the technical aspects of the primary convention, the results of New Hampshire are (roughly) as follows: Sanders gets 15 pledged delegates, Trump gets 10, Clinton gets 9, Kasich gets 4, Cruz, Rubio, and Bush get 3, and everyone else gets a pat on the back.

In total the pledged delegate breakdown (combining the results of Iowa and New Hampshire) looks like this: Sanders 36, Clinton 32, Trump 17, Cruz 11, Rubio 10, Kasich 5, Bush 4, and Carson 3. Republicans need 1,237 delegates to win their nomination, and Democrats need 2,382.

What is Gender Identity?

imageOn June 9th, 2015 Vanity Fair magazine will release an issue with the cover featuring Caitlyn Jenner with the words “Call Me Caitlyn” heading the magazine. The cover, which is already released on the internet, along with her sit-down interview with Diane Sawyer, has garnered a lot of controversy and publicity over the revelation of who Caitlyn Jenner really is. While Caitlyn Jenner is famous for winning a gold medal in the 1976 Olympic decathlon, the new topic she addresses today is extremely relevant as gender identity finds its way into the national and international conversation. So, what exactly is gender identity?

Gender identity is the internal sense and feeling of one’s gender. Transgender people’s gender identity does not match that of their sex, assigned at birth. For some people, gender is not apparent. Instead they are classified as “Genderqueer” or “Genderfluid.” In other words, they do not identify themselves as men or women, but rather as somewhere in between, or neither at all.
Trans people should not be treated any differently than any other person. Here are some basic common sense guidelines to follow when talking to a transgender or genderqueer person:

  1. Always use a transgender person’s chosen name.
  2. If possible, ask the person of with which gender they identify and what name they would like to be called. (This is not rude, it’s respectful to address them however they want to be addressed.)
  3. Always use their chosen pronoun. (ex. He/She/They)
  4. When referring to a transgender person’s past life before their transition, use their current gender identity and name, never using their past gender or name.
  5. Transgender people should be treated as any other person and should not be talked down to or given privileges not given to other cis-gendered persons. (In other words, don’t think of them as “transgender” think of them as how they would like you to, a man or a woman or neither, whichever they prefer to identify as is what you should identify them as.)

Always be respectful of people, regardless of their genders. Everyone should be treated with the same respect as you’d like to be given; seriously, it’s dumb to treat someone as if they’re less than you, just because they feel more comfortable identifying with a different gender.


imagePont de Arts, also known as the ‘Bridge of Love’ in Paris has begun the process of removing nearly a million padlocks. Over the course of ten years, thousands of couples visiting from all over the world came to Paris and attached a lock to the metal railing of the bridge and threw the key into the river as a symbol of everlasting love.

These symbols of undying love have become a huge safety hazard as they add an extra 45 tons to the bridge. Phileas Le cléateur, a Parisian locksmith, and his wife started a passion project in early November to save as many “love locks” as possible from the bridge by using his vast collection of antique skeleton keys. Le cléateur has been using his keys to salvage as many padlocks as he can, in hopes of reuniting them with their original owners. He has rescued about 400 locks so far. He and his wife are now are beginning to post pictures of the locks that have been saved on Instagram and other social media sites to help reunite them with their rightful owner.


New Eyes, Blue Eyes

imageWish you had blue eyes? If so, they will soon be available at Strōma Medical. No incision needed and no, they’re not contacts. Strōma Medical is still in its research phase but they have discovered multiple advances in the eye surgery field.

We all have blue eyes, those with brown eyes just have a layer of pigment on top. What this procedure does is skim that layer off to reveal your genuine eye color. It’s done with a low- energy laser and takes approximately twenty seconds per eye.

How is this different from other procedures? Two current types of surgeries, BrightOcular and NewColorIris, are procedures that make an incision in the cornea and then insert a colored disc.

Strōma Medical’s procedure permanent and even a skilled ophthalmologist shouldn’t be able to tell the difference. But they say you might end up with a ring around your new eyes. But that isn’t too much of a negative side effect since it is actually considered a very attractive feature as it outlines the blue color, making eyes stand out even more. On the Strōma page, it links its viewers to the famous photograph of Sharbat Gula as an example of this look.

As of this moment, patient’s can’t choose their own eye colors because the procedure only reveals the natural color of the eye. After the procedure, gradually eyes will darken for a week before lightening to a blue color, which can range from blue gray, blue violet etc.

The company is based in California, so as long as you’re over 18 (other physicians may have stricter age limits) and you have plane fare, you access your “true” eye color.