Colourful Diwali

Diwali is a Hindu festival and it’s being celebrated today, Thursday 19th October! The great thing about festivals is that they capture the imagination of everybody; you don’t have to be of that faith to enjoy the food, stories and celebration. I love it when you see people with the fairy lights on their houses in October. Some people, lacking in Religious Studies knowledge, would think someone’s put their Christmas lights up crazy early, but those in the know, realise it is just for Diwali!

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You can keep your RS knowledge up-to-date every time a festival comes along, by reading what the newspapers are saying and showing the public. The Evening Standard had a handy guide to Diwali today, whereas the Guardian showed the best pictures from around the world.

You can catch up on all of your main religious festivals by watching the 3 minute animation called Y is for Yom Kippur. Other good short videos are the BBC Teach Festival of Diwali which is 4 minutes long, and the 5 minute long Hindu Story of Rama and Sita.  For a beautiful short video National Geographic have Diwali – Festival of Lights, which is only 3 minutes long.

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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.

in a heart beat

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.

 

Build a Wind Farm the size of India in the Atlantic and there’ll be enough energy for the world

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This is the startling proposal of two scientists from the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University, California.  The two doctors Anna Possner and Ken Caldeira conclude: “On an annual mean basis, the wind power available in the North Atlantic could be sufficient to power the world.” They pointed out that wind speeds are on average 70 per cent higher over the Earth’s oceans than over the land. There is a lot more Maths involved than this though, as every time you add a turbine to a wind farm then it puts a cap on the amount of energy from available moving air that can be converted to electricity. The North Atlantic doesn’t show the same effects from this as a lot of energy comes from up high as much as across the ocean.

“We found that giant ocean-based wind farms are able to tap into the energy of the winds throughout much of the atmosphere whereas wind farms onshore remain constrained by the near-surface wind resources,” said Dr Possner.

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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Obituary for David Shepherd

Told by Slade School of Art in London that he had no artistic talent didn’t stop David Shepherd from being able to raise more than £8m for wildlife conservation by donating the proceeds from the sales of his painting to charities such as the World Wildlife Fund. Later in his life, in 1984, he set up the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation which campaigned to protect endangered species, and combat poaching and its trade.

a very wise old elephant

His paintings, whether they be of large animals or huge locomotives, showed the subject facing down the audience, bold and large. In 1970 the BBC made a documentary about him called The Man who Loved Giants.

In 2011 he launched a social media campaign to save the tiger in the wild, TigerTime.

“Man is the most stupid, arrogant and dangerous animal on Earth,” he said. “Every hour we destroy a species to extinction, and unless we start doing something about that very quickly, we are going to self-destruct.”

Blinded By Your Grace

It’s Live Lounge Month with Radio 1 this September. One British artist who always impresses is Stormzy, and his song Blinded By Your Grace has some interesting commentary about faith:

I’m blinded by your grace
I’m blinded by your grace, by your grace
I’m blinded by your grace
I’m blinded by your

[Chorus: Stormzy & MNEK]
Lord, I’ve been broken
Although I’m not worthy
You fixed me, I’m blinded by your grace
You came and saved me
Lord, I’ve been broken
Although I’m not worthy
You fixed me, now I’m blinded by your grace
You came and saved me

[Verse 1: Stormzy]
One time for the Lord, and one time for the cause
And one round of applause
One time for Fraser T Smith on the chords
I feel we got one, I stay prayed up then I get the job done
Yeah, I’m Abigail’s yout, but I’m God’s son
But I’m up now, look at what God’s done
Now I real talk, look at what God did
On the main stage runnin’ ’round topless
I phone Flipz then I tell him that he got this
This is God’s plan, they can never stop this
Like… wait right there, could you stop my verse?
You saved this kid and I’m not your first
It’s not by blood and it’s not by birth
But oh my God, what a God I serve

stormzy

In an interview with Fader Stormzy said, “You know when you’re watching churches, and a lady or a man in the choir just takes it away, and it’s just like, Flipping heck, and everyone just feels it in their soul? I was like, “I want someone to do that. I want someone to come and take this tune where I can’t take it.” I listen to a lot of radio, and a lot of pop and R&B. I’ve always clocked with MNEK, he’s got such a voice. I was like, I know he can go to church with it. He came round to the studio, and it was like watching a magician work. He was able to record his riffs and his [backing vocals] and his harmonies all at once without hearing them back. He took the tune exactly where I wanted it to go.”

Then with Radio 1 Stormzy explained,

“It’s a song that means so much to me both in terms of my faith and what God means to me but also for my artistry as well. It’s a song that me and Fraser [producer and songwriter] made up and we was trying to make something incredible for the album and it’s a song I almost felt I wasn’t capable of making but between me, Fraser and MNEK we pulled it off.

“It’s a little bit of an anthem in the weirdest way. It’s a little soulful, a little gospel. I’ve played it at festivals and everyone’s hands are in the air like drunk and I don’t know if it goes but it’s working and it’s beautiful and it’s amazing. Everyone kinda comes together for it.”

 

Community Service for Rooney

The Everton footballer Wayne Rooney, formerly of Manchester United, has been given a 100 hour comment service and banned from driving of two years. Drink-drive multi-millionaire Wayne Rooney was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £85 victim surcharge. But now the question is what form will the community work take and where will the probation service send him? Will he end up litter picking or painting a park wall?

rooney

Other celebrities who’ve ended up doing community service for their crimes are singer Boy George, model Naomi Campbell, singer George Michael, footballer Joey Barton, and TV presenter Kirsty Gallacher. Some people believe that celebrities doing community service only ends up benefitting the celebs who have increased paparazzi exposure.

Naomi Campbell’s community service for hitting her housekeeper in the head with a mobile phone ended up more like a catwalk show:

naomi

Would a custodial sentence have been a better punishment?