The Hawk's Eye

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What’s Up with Litterati?

http://cargocollective.com/ryanpaulson/Litterati

http://cargocollective.com/ryanpaulson/Litterati

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A few weeks ago in morning meeting, Science Teacher Chris Harper introduced the Upper School to a website by the name of Litterati. Litterati is a website that gives users the ability to track litter using the popular photo-sharing app Instagram. Users find a piece of trash, photograph it and then post it to their own accounts with the hashtag Litterati.

When I was asking local creator, Jeff Kirschner, why he decided to create Litterati, he shared his personal story of his inspiration, “I was hiking in the Oakland hills with my two kids, when my four year old daughter noticed that someone had thrown a plastic tub of cat litter into Sausal creek.  ‘Daddeeeee, that doesn’t go there,’ she said. That was an eye opening moment. It reminded me of when I was a kid.  I’d spend two months at summer camp, and on visiting day, before they’d let our parents in, our camp director would have each of us pick up five pieces of litter.  We had 100 kids each picking up five pieces of litter, and within a few minutes, we had a much cleaner camp.  So I thought, why not apply that same idea to the entire planet.” Litterati connects both social action of cleaning up our planet, to social media. This connects of the most populated online world with the idea that whenever we see litter we can make it into art and then pick it up, making our world a cleaner place.

Going along with Instagram, Kirschner says it was just “dumb luck” when he first started posting pictures of the trash he’d find. Eventually Kirschner began “[to] [see] a piece of trash as a photo opportunity.” This encourages people to throw out the trash they find and photograph, and leave it in the Digital landfill on the Litterati website. The Digital landfill is a collection of thousands of photos that Litterati users have uploaded with Instagram. Kirschner adds, “I picked up everything I photographed, so that meant I was keeping a record of the impact I was having on the planet.”

In terms of growth, Litterati is still progressing. It started out small, with just a few active users.  Though as Litterati continued growing “[Kirschner] realized that instead of building our own application, it was much easier and more efficient to test our concept on Instagram, which already has 150,000,000 active users.  Essentially, we could leverage the power of what they had already built.”

Not only does Litterati record pictures of trash in an Digital Landfill, but has a tracking system to see where trash is found. The app tracks places where trash is commonly found, and calls them “hotspots”. Using these Hotspots Litterati hopes to be able to advise the government on where to strategically place new trash and recycling bins. Along with recording major trash flow areas, Litterati also records where the trash originates from. By keeping a record, “[this] can be used to open conversations with these brands, motivating them to come up with better forms of product packaging.”  So far the Bay Area alone has picked up over 35,000 pieces of litter.  “It’s only the beginning, but it’s a good start on the way to creating a litter-free planet.”

A Reminder of How to Use Litterati

1. Find a piece of litter.

2. Photograph it with Instagram.

3. Add the hashtag “Litterati”

4. Throw away, recycle, or compost the litter

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Best Car Key Lanyards

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Lanyards are very popular for students’ keys, so the there must be a favorite at the School that is claimed to be the “best”. In order to find the best key lanyards, we interviewed several students on campus about their lanyards and what makes the best car key lanyard.

Sophomore Nico Hoerner said, “Anything with a distinct color that makes it easy to find.”

However, Senior Graham Hill stated, “I have an Adventure Time lanyard and I think that there is no best car key lanyard.” Is it possible that everyone has their own favorite choice or perhaps is it just impossible to have the best car key lanyard?

Sophomore Abby Garrett said, “The best car key lanyard must have something cool and fun to play with…like my Buzz Lightyear light up gun.”

As there are a variety of lanyards, the best cannot be officially named but it seems that currently Abby Garrett and Graham Hill have great looking lanyards as one attaches toys and another has creative ones. Which do you prefer, a lanyard with animations, or a lanyard with toys or featurettes? You decide!

 

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Pigeon Invasion

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As the new year has finally kicked into full gear, some observable changes have taken place already through the first two months of 2014. Among the heap of changes is a new field for the school and a new activity bus that runs after school. But one of the very odd changes that has been seen around the School is a radical increase of the amount of pigeons that have present on campus.

An alarmingly high rate of pigeons circulates around the patio area, possibly looking for food. Sophomore Daniel Lee simply said that “they are really scary and they are not afraid of humans.” Many of the pigeons follow around students and faculty that may have food out on the patio. In addition, one pigeon entered one of the buildings by accident and had to be removed from the premises by the School staff.

Sophomore Ben Rewis thinks that “they are a nuisance to both students and faculty.” In more depth than just the physical irritant that the pigeons may be, Rewis also believed that the “pigeons are unethical, out of touch with society creatures.”

Considering the very large amount of students and faculty that are present on the School’s grounds everyday, the least of concern should be a rise in the amount of pigeons at the School. Steps are being taken to reduce the amount of pigeons that occupy the patio space and hopefully the results of those efforts will show soon.

Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/1lkJEy6

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No Plans for Ski Week? Have No Fear!

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President’s Week Vacation, also known as Ski Week, is just around the corner, which means a lot of students are getting ready to hit the slopes, excited to go skiing or snowboarding. When you ask someone what they’re going to do during Ski Week, you’re probably going to get replies like “Going to Squaw,” which is what Freshman Daniel Enderle is planning to do, or “going to Sugar Bowl,” which is how Freshman Maddie Statton replied to the question. But not everyone is centering their vacation plans around skiing. Freshman Aliesha Allen said, “I’m going skiing. And baking about 12 dozen treats.” And there are even some students who will not be taking a vacation. If you’re not sure what else to do besides going up to Tahoe, take some advice from Freshman Xena Wolf:

  1. Stay at home, eat ice cream, and watch TV!  Traveling is tiring.  In fact, so is leaving the house in general.  A perfectly valid vacation destination is your couch.

  2. Go to Hawaii.  Are you stressed out from school or work?  Is this cold weather getting you down?  Then Hawaii is the perfect place for you!  Kick back and relax on the beach while the rest of us stay shut up indoors.

  3. Volunteer.  Give back to your community!  Whether at the animal shelter or your local food bank, you can help.

  4. Train for upcoming sports, like track and field, swimming, baseball, tennis, volleyball, soccer, ultimate frisbee, and softball

  5. Sleep.  You just can’t have enough of it.

  6. Take a dance or yoga class

  7. Take up a new hobby (painting/knitting/etc.)

  8. Take a day trip to Monterey, Carmel, San Francisco, or Santa Cruz.

  9. Write a novel about how bored you are.

  10. ….Go skiing.  Duh. Lake Tahoe is the popular choice, but you might want to check out smaller ski resorts, like Dodge Ridge.

Filed under Features, Uncategorized

Jaywalking: Senior Electives

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By the time senior year rolls around, students can take a variety of fun and intriguing classes more catered towards their interests. Instead of the basic english, history, math, science and language classes that often 9-11 graders take, senior’s can choose more in depth themes specific to each class. Classes range from english teacher Margret Yee’s alienation to Neurobiology with Jen Brakemen.

Here are a few seniors expressing their favorite classes from 1st  semester and their excitments about this upcoming  semester:

“Probably neuro with Dr. Brakeman because of the grant proposal. Although it was challenging, I got to learn a topic in real depth. For next semester, Japanese literature is about to be the bomb-can’t wait!” -Max Duesberg

“My favorite first semester senior elective was Neurobiology taught by Jen Brakeman. It has been one of my favorite classes at [the School] because one: I’m fascinated by the topic, two: Brakeman is awesome, and three: because the class allowed me explore my own personal interests through a range of class projects.” -Daisy Brambilla

“Chem Mystery with Stella Glogover. I liked it because we got to do so much lab work. I am looking forward to Japanese Literature” -Sam Scherer

“I really liked alienation because we talked about ideas and theories about life that I had not been previously exposed to.”-Emma Hurlburt

“Probably Islam [taught by Paul Scott] or Modern Drama [taught by Barry Barankin] .Islam was an interesting class because we learned about both current and past events, and as Scott stated “it’s our moral obligation to learn about the middle east.”  We had extremely in depth conversations about ethical and social issues. Modern drama was a great class because of the extreme variety of types of plays we both read and learned about (we read a different type of play each weekend and wrote [our own script of] that type of play by the end of the week).  This allowed us to dip into many different types of plays and attempt to write them.” -Kristi Fujimoto

“Probably alienation with Margret Yee. It was an interesting class, lots of thought provoking talks and what not. [We] got to watch a couple movies which is always nice and Ms. Yee made the class fun!” -Matt Forester

Senior electives are repetitive on the yearly basis with some add-ons and some subtractions. Overall, Seniors are happy about their choices in what they want to learn from this and last semester.

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“Salsa Boys” Featured in the FADE Show

Senior+FADE+members+pose+during+their+paint+splattering+performance.
Senior FADE members pose during their paint splattering performance.

Senior FADE members pose during their paint splattering performance.

Linnea Engstrom

Linnea Engstrom

Senior FADE members pose during their paint splattering performance.

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Every year, Fade, the School’s dance group, puts on an amazing production filled with a variety of dances, ranging from hard-hitting Hip-Hop numbers to quick Salsa pieces.

Fade Choreographer and Facilitator Kim Agnew loves the fun atmosphere and close Fade community. Agnew explained, “Anyone who participates in the Fade show is automatically part of the Fade dance family.” What Agnew loves the most about Fade is “how everyone involved in the show really bonds, showing support for each other and coming together to share dance, music, friendship, and joy. It is also fantastic to see the choreographers experience their creativity come alive through dance. Each dance, each show and each dancer has a unique energy and special qualities. There are so many things to look forward to it is impossible to name them all.”

Fade, although originally created by boys, is a predominantly female group, which can serve many challenges for styles of dance that require a male partner. Nevertheless, each year, Fade is able to recruit a few boys who can step in as partners for the Salsa and Flamenco routines. This year, Fade was fortunate enough to be able to get eight boys to join for Salsa. Senior Kian Vafai is one of these eight boys and is psyched to be part of the production. Vafai explained, “[The extra boys] are not part of the main Fade group. It is more of a separate dance thing.” The Salsa boys practice twice a week; four hours on Sundays and at lunch on Tuesdays. Vafai also noted, “I am very excited [to perform] and ecstatic to show off my moves.”

Although many of the recruits are not dancers, each of them works hard to ensure that their routines are perfect for the shows. There will be shows on Thursday, February 13th, Friday, February 14th, and Saturday, February 15th. The salsa group will also perform at the San Francisco Salsa Rueda Festival on Sunday, February 16th.

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Playlist: Jessica Xu

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Junior Jessica Xu shares her top thirteen favorite songs:

  1. Classic by MKTO

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnklzGJdsRQ

  1. Hall of Fame by The Script

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mk48xRzuNvA

  1. Fine by Me by Andy Grammar

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVeeQ1gvPx4

  1. Feel Again by One Republic

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tMKO_9SD1Y

  1. Everything by Michael Buble

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mERqD8QvoNs

  1. Haven’t Met You Yet by Michael Buble

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AJmKkU5POA

  1. Breakeven by the Script

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-tok8I6S9w

  1. The Man Who Cant Be Moved by the Script

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gS9o1FAszdk

  1. Gonna Get Over You by Sara Barielles

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUe3oVlxLSA

  1. King of Anything by Sara Barielles

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPk4_XfYhjg

  1. Sunday Morning by Maroon 5

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2Cti12XBw4

  1. She Will be Loved by Maroon 5

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUVxaYdgS_Q

13. Good Life by One Republic

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7QQLsC7QEw

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SAT vs. ACT: What’s the Difference?

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During Junior year, many students begin to study for the standardized tests required for college applications. The two main tests are the ACT and the SAT. While colleges will accept either test and both test generally the same concepts, the strategies for taking the tests are quite different.

The SAT is composed of ten shorts sections: two multiple-choice writing sections, one essay, three critical reading sections, and four math sections. The sections on the test range from 10-25 minutes, with a total time of three hours and 45 minutes for regular time or a total time of seven hours 30 minutes or five hours and 37.5 minutes depending one how much extra time the student has. This test consists of both straightforward and misleading questions. The scoring on the SAT is quite different from most tests students take at the School. Students receive one point for the correct, zero points for an unanswered question, and a negative quarter point for a wrong answer. Since the test deducts points for the wrong answer, students do not want to guess on many questions without eliminating any of the answers. The amount of answers to eliminate before guessing differs among different students and tutors; some SAT teachers state that one should only guess on a question if they have eliminated three of the five answers while some believe it is ok to guess after eliminating only one answer. With a heavy guessing penalty, the strategy for the SAT is different from other multiple-choice tests. Students want to identify and correctly answer the easy questions while skipping any of the hard questions that they cannot answer correctly.

The ACT is quite different from the SAT. This two-hour-and-55-minute test consists of long sections: English, math, critical reading, and science. It also includes a 30-minute optional essay. While optional, most colleges will not accept the scores without the essay, so students should seriously consider taking this portion of the test. Unlike the SAT, on the ACT there is no penalty for wrong answers, and the questions are usually not as tricky or misleading as the SAT questions. Nevertheless, the test is very long. The strategy for this test is to move as fast as one can through the test, answering every single question.

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Finals Study Guide

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With winter break fast approaching, many students, especially freshmen, wonder how to prepare for their final exams. As a junior, I’ve learned that having a set schedule is essential to your organization. The week before finals is when classes start reviewing, therefore your only homework is to prepare for the tests.  You must plan out exactly when you’re going to study for each final and make sure you follow it throughout the week.  If you don’t, the weekend before finals will be awful, trust me I have been in this situation before. Once you have made your plan, ask your teachers for any last minute questions.  You have a full week to prepare and a study day on Monday. Even though study day is optional if you are not a freshman, it always smart to ask your teachers for any last minute questions. They won’t bite and no harm will come out of seeing your teachers and will give you honest opinions and advice so, use them wisely.  Overstudying is overkill.  Make sure that you take plenty of study breaks, but not too much, in order to relax and relieve stress.  The last thing you want is to be overstressed for a final.

 

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Upper School Finals Traditions

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When the student body thinks of finales traditions, the student body finds themselves stumped. Student, it seems, tend to not celebrate finals or the end of first semester. When asked what are their final’s tradition were, students often responded with one simple word: sleep. For students, winter break it seems to just be the time to catch up on all the hours hours of sleep they missed during the semester. But why the lack of sleep? Well, it appears students bodies are overly stressed for finals. Many students said their finals traditions, involved “crying” or “throwing up.” While these responses were given humorously, one can’t help but feel truth in their tone. One tenth grader admitted to slapping their friend last year due to anxiety. While that case is a little extreme, we can not ignore the facts. Before finals, stress levels are high and as a result, most of the student body retreats to exhaustion. Yet even with all the negativity one can still find people who keep calm and find time to celebrate when all is said and done. Sophomore Kimaya Chape a tenth grader, said she hugs all her friends to celebrate the end of` semester. Sophomore Abby Judge claimed that last year she and some people from the women’s soccer team played a game of scrimmage. Sports games are a popular way to celebrate amongst friends; senior Alex Browne said that he and his friends play frisbee every year after finales. But the best tradition in the School community may be is Ms. Feildelman’s “Every year an old friend from college flies in and we spend the week together.” Now, that is a tradition. Maybe the student body needs a little reminder that they can have fun. Finales do not need to be so stressful, and even if you feel stressed for finales there is no need to rush home and seclude yourself from the world. Relax a little and have fun with your friends, for that is the best way to unwind after a stressful week.

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What Does the Green Team Do?

Green+Team+member+Dr.+Brakeman+poses+with+her+classroom+trash%2C+recycling%2C+and+compost+bins.
Green Team member Dr. Brakeman poses with her classroom trash, recycling, and compost bins.

Green Team member Dr. Brakeman poses with her classroom trash, recycling, and compost bins.

Linnea Engstrom

Linnea Engstrom

Green Team member Dr. Brakeman poses with her classroom trash, recycling, and compost bins.

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We all know that the Green Team exists, but do we know what they do? The Green Team constantly appears during morning meeting, making announcements, asking for donations, and rallying participants. And how can we forget the teams hilarious car skit at the beginning of the year?

What many people do not realize is the Green Team sets goals at the beginning of each year and then they make a plan. Sophomore Quincey Mulligan, stated, “We’re working to make the school more sustainable and our major projects this year will be divesting from fossil fuels and getting more solar panels for the school.” These goals are most certainly ambitious, but the Green Team is not fooling around. By the end of the year both goals should be accomplished to or at least to some good progress. But whether the Green Team make a huge change or a minor one it hardly matters, because any change makes a big difference when it come to the environment.

Yet, many people question how the Green Team can achieve such high goals in one school year. It is because they’re functional and passionate. Overall, the Green Team simply enjoys what they’re doing for our community. Quincey explained, “I love being in Green Team because I really enjoy being in a room with a bunch of people caring about the same things that I do; we have really interesting conversations and we always have a really good time when we meet together.”

The School community owes it to the Green Team for many of the conservation changes around the School.

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Thanksgiving Traditions at HRS

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Some of the students at the School shared their Thanksgiving traditions:

“I go to Tahoe with my family and friends and we rent a cabin. If there is snow, then we hang out in the snow and have snow ball fights. Finally on Thanksgiving we go out and buy and roast a turkey.” –Freshman, Daniel Enderle.

“I usually have Thanksgiving at my house and my dad insists on making a turkey every year, but every year our oven breaks. So it’s kind of our tradition to just deal with the fact that we never actually have a turkey. Also Piedmont always has a turkey trot run, so we do that every year too.” –Senior, Rachel Simons.

“I go to Los Angeles, and continuing a tradition that started last year, I go on a date with Max Stayman and we go for a walk on a dried out river bed. I also sometimes play football with my cousins in Los Angeles.” –Junior, Max DeWit

“For Thanksgiving my family from Mexico comes to my house and we eat Mexican food and we play soccer after.” –Sophomore, Junior Luna.

“Usually I eat Indian food with my family and that’s it. My family doesn’t really celebrate Thanksgiving that much.” –Sophomore, Rohaana Sarkar.

“For Thanksgiving my family eats fruit salad with our turkey. It’s also a tradition to groom our pets on Thanksgiving.” –Freshman, Ruby Siltanen.

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