In a Heartbeat

Posted on YouTube in August, it’s now had over 30 million views, which isn’t bad for a student project.  The filmmakers, Beth David, 22, and Esteban Bravo, 24, made the short animation lasting about 4 minutes for their senior thesis while at Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida. It was a big project lasting 18 months, needing a Kickstarter campaign and a journey to Los Angeles, where they did a live recording of the score. They realised people were interested in the film’s concept when donations went past their $3,000 goal, eventually reaching $14,000 (£11,000). A large proportion of the amount was used to hire composer Arturo Cardelús. His soundtrack for the short film can now be found on Spotify. The animation has been a huge success and received a lot of praise.

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Dr. Sean Griffin says he believes it can be especially meaningful to teenagers who are figuring out their sexuality. “It turns a situation that is often fraught with extreme emotions – excitement, anxiety, fear, and potentially shame and embarrassment – into one that is ‘cartoony’ by literalising the runaway heart, thus making it a bit more amusing,” he says.

Not wanting to ruin the animation (make sure you watch it by clicking on the YouTube link above) the story is about Sherwin, a redhead who has a crush on Jonathan, “the most popular boy in school.” Sherwin is afraid to show his emotions, but his heart volunteers for the mission, literally jumping out of his chest and racing towards the boy who caught his eye. The heart wants what the heart wants.

 

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Watch some TV to help you understand about a GCSE Component 2 topic

It’s no secret that watching TV or films can be a more entertaining way to learn and revise than reading textbooks or going on to school websites. So here is a good tip for our GCSE Religious Studies students: Cold Feet, currently available on the ITV Hub, has an Episode showing the arguments for Pro-Life and Pro-Choice, and how a young teenage couple choose to have an abortion. It is Episode 3, and you’ve got 15 days left to watch it!

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This TV series is described as being a comedy drama which follows the lives and loves of a group of individuals. It is Series 7 of the drama and has been hugely successful over the last twenty years. In Episode 3 it shows how an unplanned pregnancy sparks a feud which puts a strain on old friendships. The show has been highly praised for how it covers this sensitive storyline: the Huffingtonpost describes how fans have lauded its sensitivity; and the Radio Times said the episode showed the series at its “unflinching best”.

Thank you to Heather in Year 11 for recommending this TV show!

This NHS page tells you all the medical facts about abortion in the UK, whereas the BBC has a great page which explains all the ethical arguments surrounding abortion.

There are 12 different videos about the history of abortion, pro-choice Vs pro-life, and religious arguments on the TrueTube channel.

Finally, if you still want to fin out more, this interesting Independent article shows how around the world women’s rights to abortion vary tremendously.

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Massacre in Burma or is it Myanmar?

A group of people, the Rohingya (Muslim), have been fleeing their homes in their thousands this week and sharing stories with refugee, government and new agencies about their mistreatment in Burma/ Myanmar (majority Buddhist).  More than 160,000 of Burma/ Myanmar’s 1.1 million ethnic Rohingya minority have fled to Bangladesh, bringing with them stories that they say describe ethnic cleansing.

Ethnic cleansing – the mass expulsion or killing of members of one ethnic or religious group in an area by those of another.

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The leader in Burma/ Myanmar is Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who said in 1991: “Wherever suffering is ignored, there will be the seeds of conflict, for suffering degrades and embitters and enrages.” There is a petition that she is stripped of her Nobel Prize for not stopping and condemning the attacks on the Rohingya.

News agencies are being cautious with their language when reporting the story as there have also been reports of Rohingya terrorists attacking and killing Buddhists and Hindus. So when they report on a massacre against the Rohingya they use language like the Guardian cannot independently corroborate the villagers’ accounts to protect themselves if the stories do turn out not to be true.

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The Morning after Drinking and still Drunk

Kirsty Gallacher, a Sky Sports presenter, was found to have 106 micrograms per 100ml of breath when the legal limit is 35 micrograms per 100ml of breath. She had been out drinking alcohol the night before and then after getting a taxi home she drove in her car to go and pick up her kids for a day out at Windsor Castle. Police spotted her driving all over the place and then stopped her, to discover her drink driving.

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In court today her punishment for being found guilty of drink driving was a two year driving ban which could be reduced by six months if she opted to take part in a driving safety course at a later date. She has to do 100 hours of unpaid community service and was ordered to pay £85 in court charges and a separate surcharge of £85.

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Kirsty must have been drinking a lot the night before for the alcohol to be so high in her system. The NHS recommends that if you drink alcohol, you don’t do it excessively:

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As a teenager it is really important to keep away from drinking alcohol. It can lead to risky behaviours, such as driving when you shouldn’t, or having unprotected sex. Moreover drinking large amounts of alcohol at one time or very rapidly can cause alcohol poisoning, which can lead to coma or even death.

Do the BBC over value men and under value women?

Professor Mark Learmonth from Durham University Business School, has said that the case of the BBC when male presenters are paid far higher than women presenters demonstrates “a phenomenon that social scientists have been going on about for years”, namely “how men are over-valued and women undervalued even when they do exactly the same thing”. On Wednesday the BBC had revealed that its top earner, radio presenter Chris Evans, is paid between £2.2m and £2.25m, which is more than four times the corporation’s highest earning woman Claudia Winkleman.

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Near the top of the list is Radio 4’s Today presenter John Humphrys, who admitted his salary of £600,000 was hard to justify. “What do I do? On paper, absolutely nothing that justifies that huge amount of money, if you compare me with lots of other people who do visibly. If a doctor saves a child’s life, if a nurse comforts a dying person, a fireman rushes into Grenfell Tower, then of course you could argue that compared with that sort of thing I’m not worth tuppence ha’penny. However we operate in a market place.”

Legal teams are saying  that the BBC may be in breach of equal pay laws if it is unable to show that men and women are being paid equally for doing the same or comparable jobs.

What is the gender pay gap? The pay gap is the percentage difference between average hourly earnings for men and women. Across the UK men earned 18.1% more than women in April 2016 according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This figure is calculated on a 1% sample of employees’ jobs. It takes the median for men and women, which is the figure at the mid-point of the range of earnings. The pay gap isn’t the same as equal pay. Equal pay – that men and women doing the same job should be paid the same – has been a legal requirement for 47 years.

The gap between men and women’s earning for both full and part-time work has fallen from 27.5% in 1997 to 18.1% in 2016. With the pay gap getting smaller the unfairness is reducing. What is also quite interesting is that if you only look at full-time workers the pay gap drops to 9.4% whereas for part-time workers the pay gap favours women, who now earn 6% more than men. Statistics are never as straightforward as you think!

pay gap

There are other areas of discrimination which the BBC look to be foul of too, such as racial discrimination, with white employees appearing to earn more than BAME stars (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background). Trade union Equity said in a statement: “The apparent pay gaps in gender and for those from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background are troubling.” George Alagiah, Jason Mohammad and Trevor Nelson are the highest paid BAME presenters, each receiving between £250,000 and £300,000.

Is Love Island harming the moral fabric of Britain?

If you haven’t stumbled upon the ITV2 TV series Love Island then I will leave it to the Independent to explain:

It’s essentially Big Brother – with contestants being slowly voted out of a house (in this case, a Mallorcan villa) by the public and the last pair standing winning £50,000 – only the road to victory is paved with Machiavellian gossiping and condom wrappers. Ostensibly, the ITV2 show is about finding love, but going far in it seems to require successfully walking the tightrope of being honourable without being boring. I should also note it’s quite meta in the sense that the rules literally don’t matter and are changed at the producers’ whim.

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This year’s Love Island has proved hugely popular. The show has become must-see viewing amongst mainly female (67.4%) viewers and under 35s (63.6%). It’s already appeared on the wordpress this year for its discussion on feminism. Last week the a contestant from the show, Chris, was praised for openly showing his emotions and breaking the stereotype that men shouldn’t cry. Chris had been involved with fellow contestant Olivia Attwood whilst in the villa, and was left in tears when she decided to cool things off. In one scene Olivia told Chris not to cry again; which led many viewers to accuse her of being “cold-hearted” and “harsh”. In fact some people went so far as saying that if it had been the other way round she would have been seen as a victim of bullying.

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On this Wednesday’s show the couples all became immediate parents with the show’s producers providing each couple with baby dolls. After just a short while Chris said,  “I think this morning he has already brought out an emotional side in me. With Olivia, we have stopped the mishaps we’ve had together and we’ve got to focus on the baby now, because ultimately he is our main responsibility.” I tell you this programme can be an interesting way to learn about life skills!

Laura Hamzic who works for Brook, a sexual health charity for young people, would agree with me, saying that shows like Love Island can provide young people with an entry point for discussion by reconciling sex with relationships.

“I think we’re still quite quick to judge young people as being sexually irresponsible and promiscuous and that’s something we would challenge,” she says. “They are starved of places to discuss sex and relationships in controlled environments like school, because sex education is very poor. Love Island isn’t exactly the best place to learn about sex and relationships, but it’s better than porn.”

Love Island’s commissioning editor Amanda Stavri agrees, pointing out that the key to the show’s success is relationships rather than sex. “Our feeling is if you’re inviting 12 singletons to live together in the sun, things are gonna get heated under the covers,” she says. “But it’s not salacious, it’s not grubby, it’s not explicit. We’re more interested in the story of the couple who have chosen to take their relationship to the next level.”

If you’re not down with the kids and their lingo then BBC Three have even provided a useful dictionary according Love Island so you can better understand the conversations.

If all this has whetted your appetite for Love Island you can catch up on episodes via the ITV Hub.

First Female Time Lord

After months of speculation Peter Capaldi’s replacement as Doctor Who is Jodie Whittaker, making her the first female Time Lord.

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Whittaker said: “It feels completely overwhelming, as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you’re told you can and can’t be. It feels incredible.”

She also reassured fans to “not be scared by my gender. Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change,” she said, adding: “The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.”

The BBC announced the 13th Time Lord after the Wimbledon’s Men’s Final on Sunday afternoon. You’ll see Whittaker for the first time in this huge acting role when the Doctor regenerates in the Christmas Day show.