By the Pudong Press Team
The winners of the first annual non-fiction writing competition are:
3rd place: Donna Tsai
2nd place: Sally Jin
1st place: Rebekah Christensen
Below are the pieces that won in order of 3rd, 2nd, and 1st. Congrats to Rebekah, Sally, and Donna!
An Out of the World Experience
By Donna Tsai
“Through these doors enter the world’s future astronauts, scientists, and engineers.”
Those were the words we were greeted with on the first day of our arrival. We were a little intimidated and felt a bit of pressure. However, we soon began to notice that there was nothing to be worried about because Space Camp provided us with the full space experience. We drank water out of the H2O Rehydration Units, visited the Sick Bay when we weren't feeling well, and going to the bathroom meant a visit to the Waste Management Station.
Every day was carefully planned with a completely packed schedule. It consisted of simulations, lessons, presentations, and lots of team building exercises. Some of the simulators include the 1/6 gravity chair, where we could actually “moon-walk” and experience the moon’s gravity, and the multi-axis trainer, which is basically a simulator that spins and throws you in every possible direction. The presentations and lessons taught us everything we could ever know about space history. This ranges from the science behind rockets to how astronauts live in the International Space Station. And finally, the team building exercises that involved a large amount of communication ultimately led us to our first simulated shuttle mission.
After learning the acronym-laden lingo, we were assigned a position based on our preferences and skills. In Mission Control, positions such as the Flight Director, FDO, CAPCOM involved launching and monitoring the space shuttle while wearing headsets and pushing important-looking buttons. Inside the shuttle cockpit simulator, the Commander and Pilot were in charge of bringing the shuttle safely back to Earth. The entire mission was three hours long and required a great deal of communication the entire time, especially when malfunctions or “anomalies” tested our crisis-management skills to the limit. In the end, we succeeded in landing our shuttle safely, even though we forgot to deploy the parachutes. Aside from all those activities, we were able to go rock-climbing, watch movie in the IMAX Spacedome, and listen to a presentation by an astronaut who actually graduated from Space Camp (and went to space three times)!
Space Camp was a blast (literally). Contrary to popular beliefs, Space Camp was not just learning about shuttles, astronaut training, and the vast universe. As graduates and cadets of Space Academy, we came back home with an increased passion for space and science. We all left with a tremendous respect for the camp experience, and we would not hesitate to go back again.
Alton Sterling and Philando Castile: Police brutality and racism
By Sally Jin
Recently it has come to light that two more innocent black men have been added to the extensive and expanding list of black victims who were unjustly killed by white police: Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, whose back-to-back deaths have shocked and outraged their loved ones and people worldwide.
Alton Sterling was a 37-year-old black man whom was ruthlessly shot multiple times by white Baton Rouge police officers in Louisiana, on July 5th. At the time he had been selling CD’s in front of a friend’s shop when cops arrived and pinned him to the ground, upon receiving anonymous claims that a man in a red shirt was armed and a danger. Despite his helpless position, the police officers still felt threatened and opened fire, ultimately causing Sterling’s death.
Witness shop owner Abdullah Muflahi reported that while Sterling was indeed armed, he had made no move to use his gun on the policemen. Muflahi had filmed the scene, up until he heard the gunshots. He says he didn’t want to show the police the footage in fear they would confiscate and tamper with the evidence. Now, his attorney is filing for the evidence returned, as without a police warrant the tape was taken off the record and therefore was obtained illegally.
The two police officers themselves had body cameras but were (conveniently?) dislodged or had fallen during the scene. They are now on paid leave as the investigation continues.
Within merely 48 hours of the shooting of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile was shot four times in his car by a police officer while his fiancé and her four year old child were with him, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Immediately his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds began to livestream the scene onto Facebook, and in the video she explains what has happened as the paralysed officer continues to point his gun towards Castile.
The three were pulled over initially for an alleged broken taillight, and then upon the officers’ request for ID, Castile reached for his pocket and the policeman shot him. Four. Times. Later Reynolds was taken in custody and separated by her daughter, all whilst crying out for Castile and asking if he was going to die. She states she was not given water or food for that time, even though the video evidently showed her politeness and cooperation towards the police officer that had shot her lover.
“[The] law cannot make a man love me, but it can restrain him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important also.” Martin Luther King, in 1966
Once again protests have risen as crowds gather in the streets to peacefully call for an end to police violence. Public figures have also become outspoken on the issue, including the US president Barack Obama, singer Beyonce, Jay Z, Chris Brown, and other celebrities.
Photo of various celebrities protesting through their art and other means.
However, the Dallas police shooting evidently showed that for some, peace would not make the strongest point. On July 7th, 14 people were shot during a peaceful protest and ultimately 5 police officers died. Others who were wounded included two civilians and seven policemen. The suspect of the shooting was killed finally after a several hour standoff with the police when they sent in a robot bomb that detonated in front of him. During attempts of negotiation, the suspect voiced his upset with the recent police brutality and black deaths, saying he wanted to “kill white people, especially white police officers.”
Both President Obama and Hillary Clinton have commented on the shooting.
Photo of Hillary Clinton's tweet: "I mourn for the officers shot while doing their sacred duty to protect peaceful protestors, for their families and all who serve with them. -H"
New information and details are being worked out as the investigation continues this week.
How to Help
The patience of Americans is diminishing towards the continuing racial prejudice and in the face of such discrimination, their anger does not waiver. The Black Lives Matter movement is gaining momentum with the voice of celebrities, political figures, and everyday citizens becoming louder and clearer. From these efforts we greatly hope and demand to see results that police brutality and racism end now. It needs to stop. Until justice and equality has been truly achieved, America will and should not rest.
This article is dedicated to raising awareness to the serious issue of racism in America, in hopes of achieving justice for all those whom have been victims of police racism and violence. The list of these innocent people goes on and on, but they will not be forgotten.
“If an American, because his skin is dark, cannot eat lunch in a restaurant open to the public, if he cannot send his children to the best public school available, if he cannot vote for the public officials who will represent him, if, in short, he cannot enjoy the full and free life which all of us want, then who among us would be content to have the color of his skin changed and stand in his place? Who among us would then be content with the counsels of patience and delay?
And this Nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts …will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.”
-- John F. Kennedy’s Civil Rights Speech, June 11th 1963
Always remember. Never forget.
Many thanks to these sources for providing accurate information that improve this article. I apologise for any incorrect citations.
Photos: Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Beyonce list
(Photos will be uploaded soon)
Five Things You Need To Know
By Rebekah Christensen
Hey, you. Have you ever stepped on a snail? The answer is probably yes. If you happen to have really big feet or are in a particularly bad mood and the snail is lucky, it will die right away. However, if it doesn’t die right away you have just condemned it to a slow, painful death, and now there are five things you need to know.
We need calcium to make our bones strong enough to keep us from collapsing, and our teeth strong enough to eat things other than applesauce. Snails also need calcium. They don’t have bones, but they need to keep their shells strong, which are made up mostly of calcium carbonate. When baby snails first hatch, they eat the egg they just came from to get a boost of calcium. And if that isn’t creepy enough, they also eat the shells of dead snails. At least they don’t have to hire a catering service for funerals. Snails need their shells to be strong because all of their major organs, such as their heart and lungs, are inside of and protected by their shell. When you step on a snail and break its shell, all of its organs become exposed. With its heart unprotected, it now has a much higher chance of falling in love with a snail that’s only going to break its heart.
Stop stepping on snails and start following their example.
Drink enough water, get a daily dose of calcium (from normal sources; don’t start trying to eat human teeth or snail shells), embrace your differences, take care of your body because it’s the only one you’ll ever get, and accept others for who they are. Also, don’t forget about slugs. Shell discrimination is ridiculous.
And next time you’re about to step on a snail, remember these five things and then imagine how you would feel if a giant snail stepped on you.