Madagascar

Madagascar, the world’s oldest island. For those of you unaware, even though I’m sure you’ve seen the movie, (with my very famous namesake Alex the Lion) the real Madagascar is an island in the Indian Ocean just off the southeastern coast of Africa. It’s the fourth largest island in the WORLD! Madagascar is a great place and it has things that no other place has in the world, literally, like lemurs and elephant birds, which are unfortunately extinct now. Of the 10,000 plants native to Madagascar, 90% are found nowhere else in the world! But Madagascar has problems too, as does every other country in the world. One of the main problems in Madagascar is deforestation, a process called “slash and burn“. The people of the country burn down trees for charcoal, or cut down wood for housing, they also sell the wood from the trees to make a living, and this is really affecting Madagascar, its beautiful forests, and the animals it holds. They also cut down trees to plant rice for food – which is at least one good reason for cutting down trees. The bad thing about this is that Madagascar has animals that live nowhere else in the world, so if they go extinct, they’ll be lost to the world forever…
The president of Madagascar is devoted to the enviroment and he regularly sets up protected areas for animals and the forests. He also promotes eco-tourism, that’s when the tourist travels to usually protected areas. Its purpose is to educate the traveller, yet at the same time it provides funds for conservation. So it benefits both the traveller and the country. I think eco-tourism is a great method and every country with endangered animals and protected areas should use it!

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The Making of the Alphabet

The alphabet was made 3,500 years ago and it’s evolved since then. The first form of written communication was drawing on cave walls. Then that evolved into Egyptian hieroglyphics. Before the Greeks, the alphabet used to just consist of consonants, but the Greeks added vowels and now each word has to have at least one vowel to be a real word. When the alphabet came into being, it made reading and writing so easy that everybody could do it! Not just educated smart people of a high class like scribes, but normal or poor people could do it as well – which was amazing!

The word “alphabet” became a word in English from the Latin word Alphabetum which orginated in Ancient Greek. Another word that orginated from Greek was Alphabetos, from alpha and beta, the first two letters of the Greek alphabet. There are dozens of alphabets in use today, the most common being Latin, the one used here in America.  Most of them use linear writing, but we also have some that don’t for example; Braille, fingerspelling, sign language, and Morse code.

The Greek alphabet

Without the alphabet our civilazation wouldn’t be as advanced as it is today. Offices and work would not even exist! People wouldn’t be able to communicate! And books! There’d be no books in the world! Can you imagine a world without books? I can’t! 

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Oklahoma City Bombing

The Oklahoma City bombing was a bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. The attack was carried out by a man named Timothy McVeigh, an Army veteran. McVeigh had parked an explosive-filled truck in front of the building. McVeigh also had an assistant named Terry Nichols who assisted in the bomb preparation. It was the worst act of terrorism on America until 9/11. The bomb weighed over 6,000 pounds!! The Oklahoma blast took 168 lives, including 19 children under the age of 6, who were attending day care at the Alfred P. Murrah Building. The blast also injured more than 680 people!

The F.B.I agents put many clues together to find out that it was Timoth McVeigh who did the bombing. For example, they discovered that he was anti-government, and he was a veteran that only joined the army for “free ammunition.” Within 90 minutes of the bomb going off, McVeigh was stopped by a state trooper, Charlie Hanger, for driving without a license plate and then arrested for unlawfully carrying a weapon. When caught he stated, “My weapon is loaded.” The officer quoted back, “So is mine.”

McVeigh had rented a Ryder truck to transport the bomb in and the owner of the shop said he remembered the man because he was supicious looking. The other employees said they remembered him too and this is the sketch they came up with.

In the end, Timothy McVeigh was sentenced to death, his partner, life in jail. A once honored man fighting for our country ended up killing 168 people and injuring many more. I feel sad whenever I think about this, all those innocent people, I can’t imagine if I was one of them. I think that’s such a stupid way to express your feelings. To just go kill innocent people. Why not just talk to the government about it instead of taking lives that people cared about? The site ended up like this… 

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Hammerhead Sharks

A giant school of hammerhead sharks near the Galapagos Islands usually go unnoticed. But a group of scientists found them and are now trying to save them because fishermen are killing them off.
Hammerhead sharks are unique in many ways. One of the questions asked frequently about the hammerhead shark is why is its head shaped like that? For over a century, scientists have speculated why hammerheads’ heads evolved into such an odd shape and whether having eyes so far apart would enhance their vision. In fact it leaves a large blind spot in front of them. But sharks with wider heads have better binocular vision so that’s the beneficial part of it! Binocular vision lets you track fast moving prey like squid with far more accuracy than sharks with close-set eyes. The research also shows that hammerheads have a 360-degree view vertically allowing them to see prey above and below them.

Hammerhead sharks also seem to have found a shark superhighway that goes from the Galapagos to a point 400 miles away! What’s amazing about this is that hammerheads are one of the few shark species that can travel this long distance… and then find their way home again! Maybe they’re not as dumb as they look! 
So why are these scientists are working so hard to save these killer animals…? The truth is hammerhead sharks don’t really attack people – people just think they do because of sharks’ fierce reputation. They might not be cute and cuddly, and they are kind of wierd loooking… but they do serve a purpose and we need them. So don’t kill them all off!

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The Navy SEALS

Navy SEAL class 234. 80 innocent men not doing anything wrong besides making the mistake of wanting to be a SEAL! They don’t know what pain is… but they soon will! They’re about to half kill themselves all in the name of becoming a US Navy SEAL.

 

I have to admit that does sound pretty cool. 😀 If you ever watch what they have to go through you WILL feel their pain after watching the physical and mental challenges those poor men are faced with. One of the things they have to do is to get submerged underwater until they pass out… and then they get revived!!! They also have to swim a mile in 53 degree water and they have to crash into rocks with boats and survive!

The origins of the Navy SEALs goes back to World War II. The United States Navy saw that in order for its troops to land on beaches it needed soldiers to survey the landing beaches first. They also had to take note of obstacles and defenses, and guide the landing forces in. As a result the Navy SEALs were born. They weren’t called SEALs back then, though. They were called UDTs or Underwater Demoliton Teams. Since the Navy SEALs were formed they have saved many lives and done some crazy stuff! They have been in some wars as well, I think you might know some, maybe the Iraq and Afghanistan war! 

Navy SEALs in WWII

The SEALs today… they have evolved and changed so much over the years. It’s very hard to become a SEAL. For example if 80 people try out to become SEAL only about 10-15 of them will make it! An interesting fact about the SEALs is their name stands for Sea, Air and Land. Navy SEAL sharpshooters have almost 100% accuracy.  They are trained to hit a target within an inch from 100 or more yards away! And one messed up thing is there are no female Navy SEALs and has never been a single female Navy SEAL in the history of the Navy SEALs even though there are many women in the Navy. I think it’s time that women made it into the SEALs, don’t you?

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How to Make a Forcefield

Every starship needs armor to protect it from asteroids and enemy attack. But how’s that possible? Yet again, Dr. Michio Kaku saves the day and tells us how we can make a force field that can save us if we ever develop the technology to make a spaceship. Just imagine being a space explorer like Spock and Kirk.
The first thing he did was talk about what he would use to make the forcefield.  

The first layer of defense was lasers. The lasers would deflect and destroy the big stuff, like asteroids. They would go in a criss cross pattern across the ship covering almost everything. The problem is because it’s a criss-cross pattern, there are small holes in it that could let through smaller projectiles.The solution to this comes in the second layer, which is a tiny substance called carbon nanotubes that “… are extremely tiny but incredibly strong,” states Dr. Michio Kaku. This is a backup layer that would be used if an enemy ship was attacking and shot tiny missiles or bullets that went through the first layer of protection. The carbon nanotubes would stop them right in their tracks.
The Doctor thought he had a good idea, using plasma as a forcefield. Plasma is extremely hot and will melt anything that touches it and it will go all the way around the ship not letting anything in, not an asteroid, not a tiny bullet. We even experience plasma on Earth! Some examples of  plasma on Earth is the Aurora Borealis in the North Pole, and lightning bolts. However, for plasma to work within the magnetic field that is required to control it, it would have to be super heated, and even though the plasma would destroy and melt anything that touched it or that was near it, it would also melt the ship! Yikes!Dr. Michio Kaku has a great idea to create a forcefield. I’m amazed that we might soon one day have the technology to make this amazing bit of science fiction into science fact! I thought force fields only happened in the movies!  Maybe if it does come to pass, we can use it to replace the ozone layer, since we’re destroying this one. 🙂

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Ripley’s Believe it or Not

Ripley’s Believe It or Not became famous with their comic strip panels in newspapers all over the country, but now they have their own TV show, and thank God! Because when I just read about their amazing stories, I say, there’s no way that could be true! But I guess I can’t say that today since since I actually saw what happened with my own eyes!
One thing that was unbelievable at first but I that ended up believing later on was what a man named Bob Bishop did. He built his own homemade jet that actually worked – even though it’s only 12 feet long! It cost $200,000 to make and 9 years to build but he finally finished it! It’s called the Freedom Jet! It’s the smallest jet in the world and it can fly up to 340 miles per hour!
Then there’s the story of a man named Roberto Ramirez. He is a 21 year old man in the Domincan Republic that walked on all four of his legs like an animal. He had a disease so rare, it didn’t even have a name. It caused his thigh bones to stop growing and turn 90 degrees. Roberto was always told there was no treatment until a doctor actually cared enough and felt bad enough for Roberto. They amputated his legs and gave him prothesthetic ones! Now he can walk upright for the first time in his life! I’m suprised it actually even worked! There was a 50 percent chance it would work and a 50 percent chance he couldn’t walk at all!  Another amazing story was the scuba diving dog named Shadow! That’s right a man that had a scuba diving dog and went to the bottom of the ocean floor! The owner noticed that the dog was always trying to follow him underwater when he went scuba diving but he couldn’t – so the owner made him a diving suit and he actually went under, which is amazing! Since then the dog has gotten his own passport and been to the ocean floor 250 times! That’s 250 times more than me! Stupid privileged dog…
So as you can see, sometimes you have to believe the unbelieveable, by believing it’s believable, but only believe it’s believeable by seeing the unbelievable with your own eyes. 

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