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Ribston Hall High School

Ribston HallHigh School

Science & Technology

Dangerous Drones!

Drones (recording devices that you control to fly to certain areas) are becoming increasingly popular. They are great for recording funny videos and are even used by Google to construct maps. However they are very controversial as this new technology could be invading our privacy and causing unknown dangers.

Image result for bbc dronesYou could be filmed unknowingly and then this recording may be published when you did not consent to it! Numerous celebrities have reported that they were followed and filmed by what they call “creeps” controlling a drone. Not only do they just film you, but there have been reports of criminals using them to observe houses they plan to rob.

Secondly, there has been many occurrences where a drone has nearly collided with a plane and one incident where it did happen. Luckily, it only damaged the plane slightly and simply scared passengers. That doesn’t mean there won’t be a more serious incident though.

Drones are also usefully used to transport packages and recently drones have been seen circling the Eiffel Tower. Authorities want drones banned before it is too late as they are capable of committing acts of terrorism. The United States are working to stop drones smuggling drugs into the border as drones are not registered on air traffic radars.

Finally, the danger that could affect the most of us is drone-hacking. It is easy for a hacker to hover a drone above a park and connect to nearby signals, these signals include our mobile phones. Once they have the connection they can quickly hack your personal details.

Overall drones are a danger to society and there should be strict rules to keep them for being a hazard.

By Lucy T


The Dangers of Social Media

There are many different social media platforms that are used by millions all around the world. While these sites were set up for adults, many of the users are children and teenagers, but are they safe?

There was a time when the phrase ‘social media’ was never used but now it has become a part of most people’s daily vernacular. Facebook alone has more than 1.5 billion users all around the world.Image result for bbc news social media

One of the biggest dangers of social media is Trolling: a form of bullying when someone uses social media to deliberate write cruel and hurtful comments to others.

Social media has been a fantastic resource to promote companies and individuals, and people strive to go viral. But what if the wrong thing went viral? Once something is on social media, it is out of your hands. Even if you delete an image there is always a chance of it being spread. Wouldn’t it be awful to be declined a job simply because your employers were able to see your Facebook history?

In an attempt to go viral, many people also complete risky online challenges. Some of these are harmless ways to raise money for charity, like the Ice Bucket Challenge, however others are more dangerous. For example, Stephen Brookes died in 2014 after taking part in the ‘neknominate’ challenge, a drinking game that spread through the internet.

Whilst social media can be incredibly beneficial for parents as it can monitor your location. Snapchat’s recent update includes a map which allows you to see where anyone on your Snapchat friend list is. Do you know every single person who follows you on social media? If you don’t, you could be placing yourself in danger.

So, is social media that safe after all? It certainly has its advantages, but users should be careful at all times.

By Shona



Human life in space- Hawking’s theory

Could humanity inhabit other planets? If so, how can this be achieved, and when could this be possible?

Mars artworkFor many years, Stephen Hawking- who died this week at the age of 76- has been prompting the public to begin researching whether other planets from earth can support life. During his lifetime, he made it very clear he was uncomfortable with the concept of people concentrating all their resources into one place instead of looking at the bigger picture.

Hawking’s theory was that humanity would sooner or later fall victim to a great catastrophe that would endanger all life on Earth. His reasoning is that, since things such as meteors have hit the Earth before, it is likely that it would happen again. Excluding the obvious natural disasters, another fear that Hawking shared with the BBC in 2014, and which is probably shared by many people, is the threat of AI (Artificial Intelligence) taking control of humanity. With robotic technology developing by the day, it is inevitable that robots will begin to inhabit the earth. This, of course, could potentially pose a threat to humankind as there is the danger of robots taking charge of jobs typical to humans, which could consequently lead to the destruction of modern society as people know it today.

As NASA scientists declared on August 7, 1996, there is life on Mars, although very little, and adapted to the extreme conditions on the planet. This has led many scientists to conclude that life on Mars is possible and given the right development and time, could potentially become the new home of the next human race.

Of course, technology is not as advanced as to allow developments to begin (someone only reached Mars recently) but Hawking has expressed a strong belief that the public are ignoring the possibility, even if it is not possible to achieve right now. In a famous interview, Hawking said “Although the chance of a disaster to planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time, and becomes a near certainty in the next thousand or 10,000 years. We will not establish self-sustaining colonies in space for at least the next hundred years, so we have to be very careful in this period.” Later, Hawking added that he was positive a solution would come to light and mankind would have moved to different planets by the time it takes for the Earth to collapse completely.

By Annie


Is Time Travel Real?

We are all familiar with films and TV shows such as Back to the Future and Doctor Who that involve the science of time-travelling. Films and TV series like these usually involve a ‘time machine’ that helps you to travel through the time continuum, but is time travelling real? Could we somehow invent a machine or device that allows us to time- travel in real life?Image result for time travel bbc

Whether you think time travel is possible or not, a person known as Edward claims he travelled to the year 5,000 and back and apparently he has proof that time travel exists.

A ‘time traveller’ named Edward has a picture that shows Los Angeles completely underwater. He claims that in the year 5,000, Los Angeles is engulfed by water completely. He says he was working in a lab in LA when he was offered an assignment to travel into the future into the year 5,000 and take pictures of what he sees.

He says he spoke to people who lived in LA, and he found out that the city was underwater due to the ice caps melting.

However, Edward isn’t the only ‘time-traveller’. Another man who calls himself Noah claims he is from the year 2030 and passed a lie detector test only last week. He says he came back to tell the public of some events that were going to happen in 2021 and onwards. He said that in 2021, Donald Trump would be re-elected as President of the United States, a google glass device would be invented, self-driving cars will improve, virtual reality will become popular and renewable energy will take off.

The ‘time-traveller’ also claims he is 50 years old but has taken a pill to age down so he looks like he is in his mid-20s. He also says that time-travelling has been around since 2003, but the government will only make it official in 2028. Despite all his claims, Noah has struggled to convince the public that he is a real ‘time-traveller.’

Believe it or not, it is safe to say that there must be something connecting all these cases, whether it really is time-travel, pure coincidence or something else entirely, the next few decades are for sure going to be interesting- only then will anyone know if any of these claims are true.

By Annie


How can dogs relate to mental health?

Dogs and the health spectrum sound like two very separate subjects- but in a time where mental health awareness is at its highest, can these two subjects form a relation?

Pets and dogs can be loyal companions; which is a good start to fight loneliness and the fear of isolation. The need to care for your dog can occupy your brain, ridding you of anxious thoughts and helping you stay focused. The responsibility can be good for people too; dogs will need time and lots of company to keep them happy and healthy. Having to look after a dog can become an achievement and a sense of purpose at the end of the day.

Dogs usually need at least one walk a day, and an excuse to go outside can be extremely beneficial for those suffering from depression. A lot of dog owners have regular friends that they see during a dog walk. You both have one thing in common, so why not take it as an opportunity to socialise? 

Image result for dogs and mental health bbc newsFor a lot of people, the root of their struggles is usually stress. Stroking and playing with dogs is proven to release strain and ease minds, which gives a sense of relaxation. Change can be scary, but a dog will be a constant thing in your life, they will always be there to keep you balanced. Many say that dogs can sense emotions- this means they can provide a great relief when you’re feeling down.

Another topic is therapy dogs. These are either trained in specific therapeutic situations, or are just very well- behaved. These dogs are used in a wide range of cases, such as dogs in nursing homes, seizure alert dogs, or dogs to help children who have undergone child abuse. The most common form of therapy dogs are guide dogs, which are used and accepted internationally.

 “The great thing about animals is they don’t have a preconceived notion of people,” says Dr Henry Feldman, of the Division of General Internal Medicine at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre. “They provide unconditional love, which encourages interaction and helps people feel more confident.”

When the idea of therapy animals was first introduced, many were doubtful because they deemed dogs incapable however Anthrozoos undertook a study that found patients with dementia living in residential care who received 11 weeks of dog-assisted therapy improved their depression scores compared with those who had human-only therapy.

So, whether you’re looking for something to look after, or something to help comfort your mind, why not consider a canine companion?

By Eirlys


Ruthless Robots Jeopardise Jobs!

Many humans are worried that robots will steal our jobs and replace us. As the years are passing we are becoming more and more dependent on technology and in some cases, this has been a huge advantage to us, others not so much. Robots have already started snatching our jobs for example they are brilliant stockroom workers, pharmacists and farmers

Image result for bbc robotsIt has been predicted in a new report from a consultancy that up to 800 million global workers will lose their jobs by 2030 and be replaced by robots. The McKinsey Global Institute discovered that up to one-fifth of the global work force will be affected after studying 46 countries and 800 occupations. One-third of the workforce in richer countries like Germany and the US will likely need to retrain for other jobs. This will have a huge impact on all our lives as there won’t be a sufficient amount of jobs for people, which will result in poverty and hardship.  A reporter says that machine operators and food workers will be hit hardest. However, according to McKinsey poorer countries that have less money to finance robots will not be affected as much.

Nevertheless, many people believe robots are helping us by reducing the amount of dangerous and repetitive jobs humans need to do. Since the need for a university education is growing, the need for jobs that require less education is decreasing. Luckily the jobs that require genuine creativity and human interaction will not be taken as fast. These jobs include: doctors, teachers, artist and bartenders. Low-wage jobs such as gardening, plumbing and care work will also be affected less heavily.  

Lead researcher at Gigaom Research Stowe Boyd said, “The central question of 2025 will be: What are people for in a world that does not need their labour, and where only a minority are needed to guide the ‘bot-based economy?”

Are we becoming too reliant on technology and robots that we forget what it means to be human, to proudly go and earn money for ourselves? Do you think your job will be occupied by a robot in the next 10-20 years? Only time will tell.

By Laiba


Media vs Reality: Is there a difference?

In a world where technology is evolving rapidly, we are spending more and more of our time online. With our online presence always in our eyeline, our view of life online and in reality are slowly blurring together. But can we tell the difference?

Image result for phone bbc

When online, we act as different people: we strive to achieve the perfect profile or take the perfect selfie. Yet in doing this, we never show the truth. That perfect selfie? Cropped and covered in filters to disguise our true selves. That perfect profile? All fake. But what does all of this mean for us? A recent study has shown that our social media behaviour is linked to our attachment style. This means that what we post online links to how we deal with our relationships. For example, people who are secure in their relationships are stable online and people who are not as stable in their relationships gain few benefits from social networking sites.

So what are the differences between social media and reality? Online, we can see everything about a person: what they do, where they go and even what they eat. Is this not reality? No, reality is hearing, seeing and feeling. You can see someone’s perfect selfie online but in reality they’re searching for compliments, trying to make themselves seem “cool”. They won’t stop until they feel they’ve reached the top but really they’re destroying their mental health.

But what can we do about this? Well, we need to think before we post: is this who we really are? Are we saying the truth online? Are our lines between media and reality being blurred?

By Lucy G


Could Fireworks Be Replaced?

As we all know, the winter Olympics- that have now ended- had a spectacular start. As usual fireworks were used, however it was the use of drones that stole the show. The breath-taking sight of armies of drones was a new and fabulous way of engaging the audience and starting off the Olympics with a big bang. Could this new form of decoration spread and be used all over the globe? The displays were created by technology firm Intel's Shooting Star drones. They only weighed 280g (9.8oz) and they are equipped with built-in LED lights that can create more than four billion colour combinations.

Image result for pictures of drones at olympics BBC news

The company says you only need one operator to control hundreds of drones at one time to create images in the sky.

The closing ceremony used 300 drones at once, but before the opening ceremony, Intel pre-recorded a display that broke world records - using 1,218 drones at once! Could this be an exciting start of something new?

Good bye fireworks hello drones! Anil Nandhuri, the general manager of the drone group at Intel, said not only were drones a better creative option, they were also better for the environment.

"Fireworks create a lot of pollution and noise," he said. "We all enjoy fireworks, but that has been the only way you could enjoy something in the sky other than being in Norway and looking at the Northern Lights.

"What you're seeing in the Shooting Star system is the ability for you to create that story.

"You can create shapes, logos or animations and turn it into a story and that is a new form - you can now paint in the sky, but without the pollution. It's reusable and it's safe."

By Ilsa, Katie & Lucy P


Pollution Problem

Our earth is natural, atmospheric and a beautiful environment to thrive in: the world is a fascinating habitat to millions of species all over world. However, humanity endangers our surroundings every day. How? Pollution. There are a range of sources- air, water, land or oil. Each one impacts the world, whether that is harming the air we breathe, contaminating the water we drink or affecting the weather. Pollution has increased five-fold over the last 100 years and the situation is becoming critical.

Image result for pollution bbcPollution threatens our day to day lives in a number of ways. Air pollution can trigger asthma and lung diseases, whilst the carbon monoxide released can reduce intelligence. Scientists have shown that children in polluted areas can lose 30-40 IQ points because of air pollution. Moreover, carbon dioxide contributes to global warming, not only increasing the sea levels but also causing acid rain.

In addition, this pollution affects the world around us. The smoke released by factories deposits soot on buildings and suffocate trees. Animals can also suffer from similar breathing issues as human beings. As well as dangerous chemicals being emitted by factories, one of the major causes of air pollution is the way in which waste is disposed of. The original device to divert rubbish was to send it to an area of empty land. However, now these landfills are getting full and towering above the ground. When landfills came into effect, the materials people disposed of were very different. In the present day, 79% of our waste is plastic. A plastic bottle takes 500 years to biodegrade.

Water pollution is an issue that people are often unaware of the effects of. Nitrate fertilisers was off the crops and drain into the local water supply. The same happens to pesticides that are sprayed on plants.

There are ways in which we can help as individuals. Although we cannot stop urbanisation, we can help to stop the detrimental damage we are doing to our planet. Here are some things you might do:

  • Encourage others to avoid smoking cigarettes
  • Never litter- packets or netting could eventually flow into oceans, trapping seals and sea lions.
  • Never dump waste and recycle whatever you can.
  • Keep an eco-friendly home

Taking the precautions listed you are fuelling the reduction of pollution. Together we can help stop pollution.

By Faith