Why You Need To Travel To Bali, Indonesia

Ubud, Indonesia, Temple, Bali, History, Architecture

When thinking of places to travel, Bali, Indonesia probably doesn’t come to mind immediately. But honestly, it should. It is a wonderful place. Bali is considered to have the most diverse plants and animal life in the world. From elephants to dolphins to Komodo Dragons, they have it all. Plus, they have a rich culture that dates back to the 9th century. The climate normally stays around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), because Bali is pretty close to the equator. Who doesn’t want to be in a place with no winter! This temperature also gives an endless amount of activities to do. You can visit the Ubud Monkey Forest, which is a natural reserve and Hindu temple, which is a symbol of peace. You can visit one (or more!) of the hundreds of beaches that Bali has to offer. And you even visit the volcanos, or go onto one of their amazing safaris. Bali is an incredible place, with lots to do and see.

Bali is also one of the most unique places in the world. Its lifestyle is calm, the views are to die for, and there is no better place to go. It’s economy also heavily relies on tourism. About 80% of their economy actually. Crazy! This also means that the hotels in Bali are really nice. And also, since the economy relies so heavily on tourism, the people of Bali really make an effort for tourists to have a nice time. Lots of people speak English, and the people are very welcoming and kind. The hospitality of Bali is so comforting, it’s insane.

Bali is one of the most incredible places in the world. I know I would love to go, would you? The places you can go, and the people you will meet are an added bonus to the wonder of travelling the world. Bali is such an interesting place, it really is incredible. This has definitely inspired me to want to travel more, what about you?

~Gabriella

Meet The Mets of 2015

Coming off of a great year last year the New York Mets are seen as the “team to beat”. Last year’s record was 90-72. Pretty good. That 90-72 record got them National League East Champions. National League division series winners over the Los Angeles Dodgers. National League Championship series over the Chicago Cubs. But their run ended when they lost in the World Series to the Kansas City Royals. Previous to the 2015 run in the playoffs,  the last time the Mets made the playoffs was in 2006. This was a long time to wait and not to mention that Met fans were eager for another Postseason run, and my o’ my o’ my o’ my were they ready.
In my opinion the New York Mets are the best team in baseball. Why? Two reasons. Pitching staff and Rookies.The Mets pitching staff last year threw a total of 4,948 total pitches over 95 mph(miles per hour) the closest team to them was the Royals with 3,948 total pitches over 95 mph(miles per hour). You’re going to strike a lot of people out with 95+ fast balls. Also the Mets ranked 2nd in ERA among the WHOLE MLB. The Mets rookies were easily ranked one of the best among the MLB. During the Postseason the rookie Michael Conforto went deep twice in the World Series which helped the Mets win that game. This shows that many of the rookies are contributing to making this Mets club win. Will the Mets win it all in 2016, well we will have to wait and see.

~Ryan

Alzheimer’s- a progressive, incurable disease

 

More than 3 million people each year are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This is a progressive disease which means that the symptoms of it become worse and worse over time. It can start out as simple as forgetting where your car keys or glasses are. However, it can escalate to the point where people can’t recognize their loved ones, speak, or perform other body functions that are necessary in order to survive. This is an effect of the death of nerve cells and loss of tissue throughout the brain.

The non profit organization, Alzheimer’s Association, has a mission of finding a cure for Alzheimer’s through the advancement of research, providing and increasing support for all those affected, and reducing the risk of severe Alzheimer’s through the advocacy of brain health. Many of you reading have most likely heard of the lokai bracelets. These bracelets are made in all different colors and patterns to show support and raise awareness for different diseases and organizations. One bracelet which is purple, supports the Alzheimer’s Association. 10% of the net profit made by selling these purple bracelets is donated to that organization which brings them closer to fulfilling their mission. Speaking from the point of view of someone who has lost a loved one from Alzheimer’s and who also has a loved one who is currently living with the disease, it is greatly appreciated to see others supporting the same cause. Every penny counts when you’re trying to find a cure for a disease that causes people to not even recognize those who they’ve known for their entire lives.

~Emma

Preserving Sea Turtles – The Gems of the Sea

The number of sea turtle in the wild are declining at such a rapid rate that some populations of sea turtles might never come back! There are 7 types of sea turtles in the world. They are green sea turtles, loggerhead sea turtles, hawksbill sea turtles, leatherback sea turtles, flatback sea turtles, olive ridley sea turtles and kemp’s ridley sea turtles. A typical meal for these turtles range from jellyfish, to sea sponges, to seaweed and small fish. Some of the larger turtles even eat lobsters and crabs. Of these 7 species of sea turtles,  6 of them are endangered. These sea turtles get tangled in fishing nets and they get run over by boats. Also, their eggs are taken from beaches and in certain areas they are hunted for food. Along with all of these challenges that these turtles have to face, habitat loss and food shortage is a another problem for them. These sea turtles can live anywhere from shallow bays, coral reefs and open oceans to estuaries and lagoons. Pollution is damaging many of these places and making it hard for sea turtles to live in a safe environment.  Overfishing is also a threatening problem to sea turtles because the more fish that people take from the ocean, the less fish the sea turtles will have to eat. With all of these problems the sea turtle population has decreased by almost 35% since 1995. Only humans can help to set things right again so that sea turtles can start to thrive in the world’s oceans again.

 

SEE Turtles

 

An organization called the Sea Turtles Conservation Center started a program called the Billion Baby Turtles project. Billion Baby Turtles supports sea turtle conservation organizations that work to protect sea turtle hatchlings.  The funds go towards paying local residents to patrol important turtle nesting beaches, protecting turtles that come up to nest, and ensuring that the eggs are protected. Overall this organization has protected over 500,000 baby sea turtles since this project first got started, In 2015, 150,000 endangered green sea turtle hatchlings were successfully released in Mexico, nearly 40,000 green turtle hatchlings in Cuba, and more than 20,000 critically endangered hawksbill hatchlings in Nicaragua and El Salvador. In 2015, Overall, 234,000 baby sea turtles were protected and released into the ocean in just the year of 2015! On average it costs 1 dollar to save 1 hatchling. People can donate by buying plush toys, jewelry, books, sweatshirts, water bottles and much more.  People can also (symbolically) adopt a sea turtle or sponsor the organization. With help from around the world this organization is helping to preserve one of the oldest and greatest reptiles in the ocean.

I believe that this organization is going to help boost the sea turtle population in the wild. I am so happy that an organization like this is working towards stopping the illegal stealing of sea turtle eggs and habitat destruction. I think that the practice of taking sea turtles eggs for food is wrong. With each egg taken, there is one less baby sea turtle in the wild who can help the population to start to thrive again. With each dollar that somebody donates to Billion Baby Turtles, 1 baby sea turtle is saved. I hope that people keep donating to this worthwhile cause. Without sea turtles, whole eco systems will be imbalanced in the ocean. In just 20 years the leatherback and hawksbill sea turtles are expected to go extinct! I think that Billion Baby Turtles and other organizations like it are the key to preventing sea turtles from vanishing from the ocean. With the help of the world, then maybe the population of sea turtles in the wild will increase, but I know for a fact that it can’t be done alone.

~Minoli

Hamilton

 

Lin-Manuel Miranda walks up to center stage. He breathes in deeply, then starts rapping about our founding fathers of America. Actually, more specifically, “the founding father without a father,” Alexander Hamilton. You probably wouldn’t expect those two phrases to be put together in a sentence, but the Broadway musical Hamilton has “blown us all away” and exploded into the limelight. This hip-hop musical is sold out until next year, and celebrities rave about it. You might be wondering, Why?  Why would people want to listen to songs which are basically my history textbook?  Well, Hamilton is more than that.

Along with telling stories of the founding of our country, Hamilton tells a story of pain and heartbreak. Sorrows and drama. Humor mixed with tears. In addition, it has people of color playing white roles. This is called racial diversity, or“color-blindness.”. Most of the cast is African American or Hispanic, and the lead role of Alexander Hamilton is played by the one and only Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Miranda is the creator of this piece of art, the creative genius behind the masterpiece of Hamilton. His early life was filled with show tunes and salsa. Involved in theater since a young age, he got his inspiration for Hamilton from a biography which he read on his vacation. The book he read “ended up changing my life” according to Miranda. He was certainly right about that. This musical has skyrocketed to success, with tickets sold out until next year. Celebrities including Idina Menzel, Kanye West, Daniel Radcliffe, and Beyoncé have raved about the show, and the President himself had a showing of Hamilton at the White House! If that isn’t amazing, I don’t know what is.

Many people find this mix of history and rapping to be a bit odd, but I think that Miranda does a wonderful job mixing the two into the art that is Hamilton. Each metaphor is meaningful and has a purpose. The tone of their voices, the simplicity and repetition of words at some points; there’s a meaning to all of that. Hamilton is an intricate mosaic, and each tile connects to the bigger picture of the way our country was founded. I’m hoping Mr. Miranda can drop a musical about Algebra soon, that subject really needs more charisma.

~Sanvi

Save the Trees!

What is the one thing that we take for granted every second? Oxygen. We breathe 17,000 – 30,000 times in one day. Each time we breathe we don’t realize that this privilege that is giving us life, may be taken away. Every 48 hours, a forest the size of New York CIty is crumbled to ground by deforestation. We need to save these trees because we are only adding to the ‘greenhouse effect’ and that trees are the homes of thousands of species of animals. Luckily some have taken this problem into their own hands.

The greenhouse effect is when sunlight is reflected into space. But some of this sunlight energy is trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere before it can escape, causing the Earth to warm. The energy that is trapped in Earth is called greenhouse gases. Some greenhouse gases are good, so that the Earth is warm enough to be habitable. But people have been adding to the amount of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere, causing spikes in average climate. According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, “The global average temperature increased by more than 1.4°F over the last century.” Cutting down trees only adds more to this effect. Naturally, trees absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Carbon dioxide buildup is what is causing these climate spikes. Without our carbon dioxide absorbers, this carbon dioxide will build even more. This eventually will cause the climate to raise even higher.

Greenhouse Effect diagram

Everyone loves cute animals and would hate to see them be hurt. But we are the ones hurting these animals. Trees and forests are the homes of millions of animals. Even though we are not seeing these cute animals being hurt, we are the ones causing it. Deforestation is making animals lose not only their home but their habitat. Some animals can try and look to relocate but some species will not survive. According to SFT (Stand For Trees), “forest habitat loss is the number one cause of species extinction.” Animals will not only have to look for new homes, but first survive the deforestation process. Orangutans, a large primate have suffered a great loss. Each year, around 5,000 orangutans die due to deforestation. We can not let this murder go on.

Fortunately for the human and animal population, some organizations have taken this matter into their own hands. A company called Tentree which is a clothing store, plants 10 trees every time an item is sold. So far they have planted 8,194,650 trees. That number increases every minute. Another organization called ACTrees, is taking a more personal approach to saving the trees. They advise people to take the matter of tree removal into their own hands with a step-by-step process on how to save a tree. They suggest that if they find out that a tree near them is being removed, that they follow the process to save it. Companies and organizations like these are what is going to save the trees.

Thanks to these life-bearing and living organisms, we can survive. Trees can’t defend themselves. It’s up to you and the rest of the world to stand up for them. Trees need to be saved for on-going reasons but most importantly because they can protect against climate change and they allow animals to live. The human race needs to take notes from organizations and companies like Tentree and ACTrees. Remember to always save the trees.

~Meghan

Do you Know the Truth about Animal Testing?

I bet you didn’t know that there is over an estimated 26 million animals in the United States that get tested every year.  They are used to determine whether a medication, that is used for a humans, are is toxic or not.  Whenever animals are used for testing they are food and water deprived or they are forced fed, and sometimes will get burns and cuts on purpose just so they can test out the medication.  Rats, mice, fish, and birds, which is 95% of the animals used in testing, are not protected by the Animal Welfare Act.  The Animal Welfare Act is the protection for animals from testing.  Just because the medications pass the animal testing doesn’t mean it is good for humans to use.  94% of the medicine that is approved for animals is eventually failed in the human testing clinic.  

I feel we need to put a stop to animal testing.  If we don’t do it to humans then why is it fair to do it to the animals?  Just because we don’t want humans to get hurt doesn’t mean we need to hurt animals.  Scientist need to come up with a better way to test medicines so that no one is being harmed.  How would you feel if someone was testing you with stuff that does not benefit you at all?  This is a cruel act to do to an innocent animal that has not done anything to harm you.  Guess how many animals die a year from testing.  Approximately 100 million animals die a year, just in the United States,  from animal testing including mice, rats, frogs, dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, monkeys, fish, and birds.  Is this how we treat animals?

~Ari

The Lover’s Dictionary Review

 

Have you ever read a book so mesmerizing, so spellbinding, that it demanded to be read for a second, third, or even fourth time? For me, that book is the Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan.

Levithan, an established YA author who frequently sits upon the NY Times bestsellers list, decided to go introspective in his first memoir. The Lover’s Dictionary tells the story of a two and a half year relationship through short stories organized like a dictionary would be. It takes the reader on the journey of their love story, from its tentative beginnings to the inevitable crash and burn. The two main characters, the mild mannered, insecure Levithan and his charming yet never named partner feel like people you would really know. As the story goes on, you begin to feel like you’re a part of this relationship, knowing both of the characters weaknesses and flaws. By the time the book ends, the reader has one big question: did they stay together? We may never know.

There are many standout sections of this quick but powerful read. My personal favorites passages are basis and livid. The former describing the familiar fear of loving only the idea of being in love and the latter being a blistering letter to an unfaithful partner. Some honorable mentions are fluke, catalyst, and voluminous, but every passage is special in its own right, and readers can connect with any one of them. Single, taken, or complicated, this is a book that will simultaneously break and mend your heart over the course of one reading.

~Callie

Therapy Dogs

 

For my blog post this quarter, I have decided to write about therapy dogs and how they help those who need it most. Therapy dogs are dogs that are trained to provide affection and comfort to people in places such as hospitals and nursing homes. There are three basic types of therapy dogs. The first type of therapy dogs are called “Therapeutic Visitation” dogs. These are common household pets whose owners take them to visit different places such as hospitals, nursing homes, detention facilities and rehabilitation facilities. Visitation dogs helps people who are away from their family due to mental or physical illnesses and make them feel loved. These truly special dogs help brighten the day of those who are away from their loved ones. The second type of therapy dogs are called “Animal Assisted Therapy” dogs. Animal Assisted Therapy dogs help improve a patient’s mental, physical, social and emotional state. There are many different settings that they may visit. The most common places where dogs make their appearance are hospitals, nursing homes and therapeutic boarding schools for teens. However, there is a reason why the dogs take an adventure in a place like hospitals. Some are involved with specific therapeutic goals, such as assisting with patients who are working towards gaining motion in some limbs and  increase their motor control by completing an easy task such as basic pet care skills. Finally, the last type of therapy dog is called a “Facility Therapy Dog”. These dogs mainly work in nursing homes. They are often trained to help keep patients with diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease from getting into trouble. These types of dogs usually live at the facility.

 

I think that therapy dogs are so important to the community. They can give someone so much love that they may be missing in their life. These extraordinary dogs help people deal with depression, anxiety, cancer and so much more. They are there to listen, to comfort and to love without judgement. There is a sort of feeling that that is hard find with other people and it helps some open up. There are so many ways that therapy dogs help everyone around them. Depression and anxiety have recently become a big part of lives all across the world. Those with depression try to avoid the outside world because of the fear and stress of what may happen. “Anxiety and depression involve emotional turmoil and negative internal ‘self-talk,’” Dr. Katie Kangas, co-founder of the Pet Wellness Academy, explains. “These thoughts typically spiral into unrealistic negativity and this continues in a vicious cycle.” Kangas goes further into explaining how dogs provide a comforting companionship. Her and her group of colleges discussed whether or not having a dog for depression was a good idea and they come to the conclusion that it would help with so many more ways to help than doctors can even prescribe. It helps them have one focus and one responsibility. “A dog needs to be fed, needs to be walked, and needs to be pet, so on days when a person feels least motivated, a thump of a happy tail motivates a person to get back to living,” Demling says.

Along with an opportunity of responsibility, dogs also give their owners and companions unconditional love. After some studies, it was a unanimous agreement that 100% of the time, a dog does not judge when a person is depressed, anxious, lonely, wearing the same clothes as yesterday and can’t get out of bed. It makes people feel like they have a true friend during their difficulties.

One of the most important things about therapy dogs is that when working with people with depression, anxiety and almost any other disease, they are able to recognize signs of a panic attack or seizure coming. “The mere presence or non-reaction to a stimulus of a trusted companion often calms an attack,” Demling explains. “Dogs can also be trained to use passive methods to block strangers from approaching their handler unexpectedly.”

With someone to always be able to talk to, to be comforted at difficult times and for unconditional love without judgement, I believe that therapy dogs are a necessity in this wonderful world. Just think about how happy it will make someone feel, how they will have comfort that is difficult to find in people, as well as the smile on their face when they find a beautiful animal lying down next to them.

~Juliana

Death to the Death Penalty

Death is the one thing that cannot be undone. Whether the death was from intentional killing, natural causes, or a fatal injury, once someone’s life has been ended, that’s it. So, where does capital punishment stand? Many states have abolished it, but not all. Why is it okay to put someone to death for killing someone else? This was first conceptualized in the eighteenth century, as part of Hammurabi’s Code. His philosophy was “an eye for an eye”, and there were 25 crimes punishable by death. This hypocritical thinking was not brought to America by the Babylonians, but rather European colonists. The first recorded execution was a Captain from Virginia in 1608, for being an alleged spy for Spain. Capital punishment only first started becoming controversial in the 1980’s, when DNA testing became a factor in determining who committed a crime; when it would be known for sure who committed a crime, even if it was after the execution.

kill

In my opinion, capital punishment needs to be abolished in all states. One reason is because it is inhumane. There have been many instances of “botched-executions”. This means that something went wrong and that the death became long and painful, which violated the eighth amendment. Also, death penalty trials are known to be very expensive. A single trial can cost over a million dollars, and take years before a verdict is reached. This tax money should be used to reform the criminal justice system, and keep the crime rate low. Thus, the death penalty needs to be abolished in all states.

~Julia