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 Newspaper Articles and Book Reviews - Kat - July 27 (12)

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PostSubject: Newspaper Articles and Book Reviews - Kat - July 27 (12)   Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:44 am

Earth is a dramatically different place in the world of Ender’s Game, a book by Orson Scott Card. Technology is much more advanced, while worldwide laws restrict the number of children each family can have to two. The peace that has finally been established between the nations of the world is the dream of generations. However, the alliance is tentative and temporary. The truce is a necessity; the earth has been the target of an alien species, given the name the “buggers” due to their resemblance to earth ants. The buggers have attacked twice already, and military leaders agree that they cannot risk another attack. They began to recruit future military leaders, the future of the battle fleet. They found the brightest minds in the world and brought them to battle school, where they were trained in strategy and warfare. These geniuses all had something in common—not only did they score very well on various tests, but they were all children.
Andrew Wiggin, or Ender, as he calls himself, is a third child, a fact for which he is taunted. His two older siblings exhibited the perfect level of intellect and strategy, but did not have the qualities of a good military leader. Peter, his older brother, is ruthless, while Valentine, his sister, is far too kind and caring. The government allowed Andrew to be born in the hopes that he would be the perfect mix between the two, so that he could be the perfect future leader of the Earth’s final stand against the buggers.
Ender’s Game tells about Ender’s journey through battle school. The characterization is fantastic, and the plot twists always keep things interesting. This book is perfect for any lovers of science fiction, but is a worthwhile read for anyone.

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Magic and excitement are in the air leading up to the worldwide release date of the next movie installment in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, based on the popular books by J.K. Rowling. According to Warner Bros. Pictures, the movie will directed by David Yates, the director of the fifth and sixth movies. However, it was also announced that the seventh and final movie will be split into two parts; the first part will be released on November 19, 2010 and the second part on July 15, 2011.
The location of the division between the two movies is one source of debate. The running time of the first movie is approximately two and a half hours, but the actual chapter in which the split occurs is unknown. However, regardless of this, fans are speculating about which scenes they look forward to most. In the first movie, senior Elizabeth ___ expressed that she was excited to see “when Voldemort takes over Hogwarts.” Other scenes, especially some of the more climactic deaths that will take place in the second part, are also sources of attention from many.
As the release draws nearer, many students are already developing plans to see the movie. Midnight viewings are especially popular; Junior Rebecca ______ stated that, “I’m sneaking out to see it at midnight, even if my parents say no.” St. INSERT SCHOOL NAME HERE’s Harry Potter club also is working out a way to see the movie together.
Harry Potter has inspired in this generation a sense of imagination and creativity. The movies continue to bring Harry Potter to a larger audience, allowing this energy and enthusiasm to reach even those who have not read the book series. Victoria _____, moderator of the Harry Potter Club, reflected on this, saying, “I have a great admiration for the women in the club, because they keep whimsy alive.”

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Henrietta Lacks was an African American woman born in 1920. Thirty years later, Henrietta was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and she went to Johns Hopkins Hospital, a medical center established to help the poor in Baltimore, for treatment. However, Henrietta’s treatment had far-reaching consequences that she never anticipated. Her doctor, George Gey, performed a biopsy without her consent, saving cells from the cancerous tissue. Gey developed the samples to create a cell line that would grow and divide indefinitely. A year later, when Henrietta died, her immortal cells, called HeLa cells, lived on in Gey’s lab, unknown to her and her family.
What happened to Henrietta in the 1950s was only the beginning. The cells are still alive today, having been critical in scientific investigations over time such as the creation of a polio vaccine. However, Henrietta’s life and story live on beyond the cells and their historic contributions to science. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is unique in that it explores not only the scientific, but also the ethical and personal impact of the HeLa cells. Many parts of the book are written from Skloot’s personal experience, as she tries to gather information about Henrietta’s life, both mortal and immortal. Henrietta’s family is also a large focus, especially her daughter Deborah and son Zakariyya, who have been strongly affected by their mother’s absence. The family has been taken advantage of; due to their lack of knowledge and formal education, as well as the ethical standards for medical care, they are struggling to make ends meet as companies make absurd profits from Henrietta’s cells that she did not even know were being taken. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks provides a unique perspective on an event that is critical in the development of medicine and science, raising questions about how much personal harm we are willing to inflict in the name of innovation.

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Giving up meat on Fridays. Visiting the local soup kitchen over the weekend. Sacrificing some of the many everyday creature comforts. It is no wonder that Lent is sometimes viewed as the most underappreciated liturgical season in the Catholic Church; it is not often easy to make sacrifices.
However, to many in the SCHOOL NAME community, these 40 days in preparation for Easter are not merely obligations, but provide an opportunity to become closer to God. Theology teacher Santa ______ described this as the meaning of Lent, saying that it is a time of “reflection and renewal.” She adds, “I like Lent because it comes from the word for springtime. It is a time to take stock of my life and my soul for prayer and reflection.”
Many students observe Lenten traditions, such as senior Emily ______, who observes three hours of silence on Good Friday to commemorate Jesus’ dying on the cross. Other students commonly celebrate Lent by giving up something, whether it is a bad habit or a luxury, such as junior Catie _____s giving up snacking.
However, for many students, the best way to grow in God’s love during Lent is to take advantage of the forty days to become more active in service. Sophomore Trudy ______ plans to help out not only her local community, but in the St. _____________ community as well. Trudy said she is going to try to do more community service and to “help out ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL.” Senior Elizabeth _______s’ plans also are more service-oriented, although hers are on a much smaller scale. Elizabeth said, “I definitely want to do something to help my parents out. Perhaps I’ll vacuum the house once a week.”
The purpose of Lent is to take time out of our daily routine and to remove distractions that cause a separation from God. Whether it is through going to mass more frequently or trying to cut back on cell phone usage, this is a time to revitalize our faith life and to grow as Catholics.

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Small details about human behavior and life may seem trivial; birthdays appear merely to predict when a person ages one year, and the choice of music in stores may appear irrelevant. However, according to the book Quirkology by Richard Wiseman, many odd “quirks” have a much larger impact than most people realize. Quirkology describes several unexpected correlations between seemingly irrelevant details and disproves many common myths and superstitions. With a different theme contained in each chapter, this book covers a very diverse set of psychological studies, from discovering the world’s funniest joke (and best pickup line) to discussing the reasons that people believe in the supernatural, such as ghosts and magic. Topics that are part of everyday life, such as lying and sending greeting cards, are analyzed using scientific and experimental techniques.
Although I usually do not read nonfiction books, I thoroughly enjoyed Quirkology. Wiseman’s style of writing was perfectly suited to the material, with a dry, witty humor which brings the stories to life. Also, it was interesting seeing how normal exchanges and occurrences reveal much about how human beings think. The descriptions of the experiments conducted by famous psychologists and scientists, as well as those performed by the author himself, are both fascinating and easy to understand. The language is simple, without the overwhelming presence of technical jargon, and can be read by anyone. I would highly recommend this book to any student—no psychology background is needed to enjoy this delightful commentary on human behavior. The ability of the experiments to tie in with the everyday matters made for a very refreshing read.


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Bryn’s parents are both dead, killed by a rabid wolf when she was four years old. She herself would have been attacked if it were not for Callum, the powerful alpha male of the local werewolf pack. Although she is human, Bryn is raised as a member of the pack. She gets many opportunities that many other girls would not have; she has been taught to defend herself from an early age, and the werewolves become her family.
However, even with the comfort and protection of the pack, Bryn is not completely happy. In fact, it is that sense of protection, bordering on possessiveness, which restricts her. The hierarchy of the pack also poses a problem to the free-spirited teenage girl; Bryn may be human, but her actions are still influenced by the alpha, whose word is law. Bryn rebels against these rules, working out ways around them. This changes, however, when she meets Chase, a young werewolf whose past seems as painful as her own. In order to meet with him, she must promise to stop fighting and to tear down the walls she has built to separate her from the pack.
Raised by Wolves, a novel by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, is the perfect combination of mystery, romance, and action. In the increasingly popular werewolf romance genre, Raised by Wolves stands out, especially in the phenomenal depiction of the werewolf pack dynamic. The characters, also, are strong. Bryn, especially, demonstrates this; she is independent and strong, the ultimate survivor. The plot is unique and imaginative; although it contains many characteristics of traditional werewolf stories, Raised by Wolves contains new, intriguing concepts. I would recommend this book; it is a quick but worthwhile read.

______________________________________________________________________

On Jan. 25 in the chamber of the House of Representatives, President Barack Obama gave the State of the Union address, a speech delivered to Congress annually regarding the president’s accomplishments during the last year and plans for the future.
The State of the Union address is a tradition that dates back to George Washington, although it was usually given to Congress in letter form until Woodrow Wilson’s presidency. However, this year, Obama’s speech veered from the traditional State of the Union address.
One source of change was the proximity of the address to the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona. To remember Giffords and the other victims of the shooting in Tucson, some members of Congress crossed the aisle to sit together, breaking the tradition of separate seating for Democrats and Republicans. Also, to honor the victims of the shooting, Congress members wore black and white lapel ribbons, which senior Sofia ______ said was “…a nice show of support for Giffords and the others affected by the event.”
The main themes of the address were scientific innovation, deficit reduction, and other vehicles to move the country forward in competing with economically developing nations such as China and India. Obama stated that, as a nation built on the ideals of innovation, we need to “spark the creativity and imagination of our people.”
Obama also emphasized the importance of the role of education and teachers, saying, “We need to teach our kids that it's not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair.” Politics student and senior Annie ____ commented that, “it was interesting how he focused on education. I liked his comment that if young people do not know what to do with their lives, they should become teachers.”
The format of the hour-long address was also different than in the past, which sparked some criticism. Usually, the State of the Union discusses the accomplishments and goals of the president in a detailed list format. Obama’s speech this year was much more general, with optimism-driven rhetoric. Politics teacher Karen _____ said, “I was hoping he would be a bit more specific about plans for the future, but I think that his goal was to give a pep-talk to the nation.”
After the events of the Tucson shooting and with the impending challenges of working with a Republican-dominated House of Representatives, Obama’s pep-talk may have been just what the nation needed to hear.

________________________________


The Republic of Gilead is a nation born from the ashes of the United States; however, the ideals of freedom of speech and freedom of religion are no longer the norm. The Republic of Gilead is a highly restrictive theocracy, and those who speak practice other religions or speak out against the government are harshly punished. However, women’s rights are virtually nonexistent; they cannot own property or have jobs, and their daily lives are controlled by the government. Women can perform one of three jobs: those who have been rendered sterile can serve as “Wives,” living a life of chastity within marriage, or as “Marthas,” living as maids and housekeepers. The most important vocation is that of the “Handmaid,” which is reserved for those who can still bear children. Handmaids are charged with the task of giving birth to children to hand over to the Wives, who often view the Handmaids with disdain and jealousy.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood focuses on the story of a woman named Offred, tracing her journey from life in the United States through the oppression she faces as a Handmaid. Common themes of Atwood’s, such as emotional isolation and the strength of women, are clearly visible in this chilling yet emotionally gripping tale. Offred’s perspective is realistic but powerful, revealing the injustices faced by women through the eyes of one who has courted pain and grief. However, Offred’s strength and determination are clearly visible, making her a relatable character. The Handmaid’s Tale is a book that every person should read at some point in their life, because although the subject matter is difficult to absorb in one sitting, the messages contained in this novel are invaluable.

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Last edited by the king is dead. on Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:59 pm; edited 4 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Newspaper Articles and Book Reviews - Kat - July 27 (12)   Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:49 pm

Han Alister has had silver bracelets surrounding his wrists for as long as he can remember, and cannot get them off. His mother claims they are protective charms that saved his life, placed on his wrists as a baby by the Clan mother in Marisa Pines, a strong, wise woman and a second mother to Han. However, they are also a curse, making Han easily identifiable on the streets as “Cuffs,” the former leader of the Raggers street gang. Han left the gang in order to protect his younger sister, but is now an easy target himself in a city of corrupt police officials and enemy gangs. Princess Raisa ana’Marianna, on the other hand, is living in luxury and isolation. As the heir to a Queendom with a history of strong, warrior queens, she fears the increasing influence that the court’s most powerful wizards, especially Gavan Bayar and his son Micah, are having on her weak mother, who they are supposed to be serving. As the day she is named successor to the throne draws closer, tensions rise as war breaks out in the south and political marriages are proposed. However, she lacks the information and freedom to do anything for herself or her people.
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima weaves magic and adventure in an intricate, gripping plot. The characters are intriguing, and, ultimately, are what drive the plot; Han is a very likeable character, revealing a complex personality beneath his tough, flippant façade, and although Raisa is firmly entrenched in life at court, she longs for information about what is going on in the world, going so far as to walk around in dangerous neighborhoods undercover. I would recommend this book as it takes the reader on a journey that twists and turns until the very last page.

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PostSubject: Re: Newspaper Articles and Book Reviews - Kat - July 27 (12)   Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:52 pm

There are three extra continents, and dinosaurs are not only still alive, but are five feet tall and have British accents. Guns are much less technologically advanced than swords. Information is power, and, as Alcatraz Smedry discovers, the organization-obsessed librarians control most of the information in the “Hushland” countries, including America, the United Kingdom, and the rest of the world as we know it.
Alcatraz believes he is merely an orphan with an unfortunate name and the unfortunate “ability” to break nearly everything he touches. He is bounced from foster family to foster family because of this, as he tends to break the things that are most important to people. Fate seems particularly cruel when, on his thirteenth birthday, he accidentally breaks the stove of his foster mother, sets the kitchen on fire, and receives a mysterious package with a note stating that it is his inheritance, but turns out to be a single bag of sand. This bag is quickly stolen, prompting a visit from a seemingly insane old man claiming to be his grandfather. Alcatraz reluctantly joins him on a quest to infiltrate the downtown library, steal back his inheritance, and come to terms with his family and their bizarre “Smedry talents,” such as arriving late, tripping, and speaking gibberish.
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson is written in a whimsical style, with random tangents and alternate endings for readers who commit the grave crime of reading the last page first. The story is written from the point of view of an older, more cynical Alcatraz, who takes it upon himself to convince readers that he is not a nice person. Although it is not the most challenging read, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians is a quick, unique novel which provides unexpected humor and a refreshing view of the world.

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PostSubject: Re: Newspaper Articles and Book Reviews - Kat - July 27 (12)   Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:57 pm

A recent app developed by three young men from South Bend, Indiana, proves that in the age of technology, nothing remains untouched, not even the Catholic Church. This $1.99 iPhone app, which the Vatican endorses, helps prepare Catholics to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation through a guided examination of conscience, although it does not replace going to Confession, itself.
Patrick Leinen, 31, is the computer programmer who designed and created the app, with help from his brother Chip Leinen and Notre Dame graduate student Ryan Kreager. Pope Benedict XVI, himself, according to the three, served as inspiration. The Pope recently made a statement that he hoped that Catholics could find God and theology through the use of the internet and technology. This statement provided the impetus for the three men to attempt to bring others close to God through the technologically advanced iPhone.
One issue in the Catholic Church today is that of the decline in attendance of Reconciliation, especially in young people. According to a 2008 study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown, 45% of Catholics said that they never participate in Reconciliation. One of the purposes of the app is to guide Catholics through the process of Confession in order to encourage participation in the very important sacrament of forgiveness.
The app works to help Catholics to examine their lives to search for sins through a series of prompts that are individualized based on the age, gender, and vocation of the user. For example, according to the article “Cyberspace Confession” by Maureen Dowd of The New York Times, the interpretation of the Sixth Commandment for a 15-year-old girl would inspire questions such as “Do I not treat my body or other people's bodies with purity and respect?” while the interpretation for a priest creates questions such as “Do I flirt?”
Campus minister ____ comments on this, saying, “It sounds like the application may even provide for a more personalized and relevant examination of conscience, since the person using it enters certain personal information before going through the reflection….I feel that it might make those who have been away from the Sacrament feel more comfortable and more fulfilled from their efforts to receive Reconciliation.”
The app has drawn support from not only the Vatican, but also from young people. Senior ________ commented, “Most people our age don’t go to confession very often, so I think it’s a clever way to get people at least thinking about it.” Sophomore __________ also viewed the new app positively, remarking, “I think it’s really cool, and if I had an iPhone, I would use it.”
However, others see the intrusion of technology on a holy sacrament as unnecessary. Priests have reported that users of the app are bringing their iPhones into the confessional as a reference in order to remember the sins for which they desire to receive forgiveness, according to Dowd. Campus Ministry representative and senior _____ said, “We need to get people away from technology. People shouldn’t need to take an iPhone into confession with them.”
Ultimately, the real test of the app will be whether it fulfills its purpose of bringing young people to participate more frequently in Confession. ___ said, “My hope would be that young people would feel more drawn to the Sacrament of Reconciliation because of this unique way of preparing for it.” That is the hope of the Church, as well.


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PostSubject: Re: Newspaper Articles and Book Reviews - Kat - July 27 (12)   Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:58 pm

It is a well-known and well-researched fact that reading is incredibly beneficial. Reading helps to improve memory and the ability to learn, and, according to the article “Brain Workout Benefits” by Rome Neal, reading and other mentally stimulating activities help reduce the risk of disease and damage as a person ages, helping decrease the incidence of dementia (http://www.cbsnews.com/).
However, studies have consistently found that Americans do not read as much as they used to. A reading study released in late 2007 by the National Endowment for the Arts showed that less than one-third of 13-year-olds read daily, and young people between the ages of 15 and 24 spend two hours per day watching television and only seven minutes per day reading for leisure (http://www.nea.gov/news/news07/TRNR.html).
Reading plays a huge role in future success. In the article “Young people reading a lot less” in the November 19, 2007 issue of the Boston Globe, David Mehegan states, “One out of five American workers reads at a lower level than necessary to do his or her job.” Studies have shown that those with a higher reading ability are more likely to have higher-paying, management-level jobs (http://www.boston.com/news/).
American children’s decrease in reading has led to concerns about their ability to compete on an international level, as well. On the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests given to 15-year-old students worldwide, the United States ranked
seventeenth on the reading test, according to the article “Top Test Scores From Shanghai Stun Educators” by Sam Dillon in the December 7 issue of the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/). The fact that this generation is reading significantly less raises questions about the future of America in the global community.
Americans need to relearn the value of taking the time to enjoy a good book every once in a while. In the age of technology, there are televisions and computers distracting young people, but there are also e-readers, which make reading more accessible. Americans need to take advantage of these opportunities in order to better their mind and their future.

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