Monday, October 28, 2013

History of Halloween

Nicole Martin
Staff Writer

The opaque sky blankets the streets. Decorations of ghosts, witches, ghouls, black spiders, jack-o-lanterns and spiderwebs adorn the houses. Masses of children pile their way through the streets dressed in various costumes and endless candy fills the bags that are held tightly in their unyielding grips. They lurk to the gloomily lit doors with bags piled high with  nickers, Kit Kats, Twix, Swedish Fish, Skittles, M&M’s, Hershey Kisses, in addition to an infinite list of others. We all know Halloween. It’s a famous time where there are  haunted houses,  bags of candy, frightening costumes, scary movies, and pumpkins. But do you know where it actually comes from? The roots of Halloween may be a lot deeper  than you think.
 For instance, the beginnings of Halloween can be traced back around 2000 years ago to the Ancient Celts. On Oct. 31, they celebrated a holiday known as Samhain, pronounced Sawhin, in order to prepare for the upcoming winter. The word Samhain literally meant “summer’s end” in their language and they would have many rituals on this day.  They believed evil spirits and ghosts rose from the dead on  Samhain,  so they dressed up in horrying costumes in order to scare them away. In addition to wearing ghost masks to be mistaken by fellow ghosts,  adults and children wore costumes  and told tokes and sang for others  in exchange for  food, wine, and other offerings. Another practice included beggars pleading for a pastry known as “soul bread.” In exchange for the bread they would pray for the person’s deceased relatives. These practices have been widely documented to be the prerequisite to the  current “trick or treating” in the United States. After many years of these Medieval rituals, the Catholics created a holiday known as All Saints’ Day on November 1st  in order to distract those partaking in the pagan practices and lead them to their Christian ways. Through much rebellion, those who still desired to continue these rituals created a holiday known as All Hallow’s Eve, occurring the day before All Saint’s Day.
 The Irishmen and women who came to the United States during the Irish Potato Famine are responsible for reviving this ancient holiday. When they arrived in the United States, they brought their rituals with them, and, after a short amount of time, all of the United States began to participate in their evolved rituals. The term “Hallow’s Eve” was then shortened to the current name for the holiday “Halloween.” Now because of the Ancient Celts, there is a nationwide holiday that brings around $6 billion in revenue every year. From ancient rituals, to a night of lighthearted-fun, this holiday has evolved over the centuries and transformed into what it is today.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Call for Boys Volleyball

Connor Smith
Staff Writer

In order to SET up a boys volleyball team, we need to BUMP up the interest.
 Who doesn’t love a good game of volleyball? Don’t answer that, it’s rhetorical, everyone loves volleyball, especially high school boys. There is no reason why we shouldn’t have a boys volleyball team. There are an extraordinary amount of sports have that both a boys and girls team. Just to name a few, there is soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and why not add another one to that list?
 Mr. Harrington, the athletic director, commented on the subject, and stated that PIAA does indeed have a boys volleyball program. This means that the idea of a boys volleyball team at New Hope-Solebury is obtainable, as long as the interest is there. In order for the school to sponsor it, there must be a large interest and the ability to financially support itself for a few years. If we are able to SPIKE the interest, the possibility of this team grows immensely.
 When Matt Steele was asked about the idea of a boys volleyball team, he responded, “I think it is a great opportunity to include every group of guys, especially ones who haven’t found a sport that they enjoy before.”  It seems as though Steele speaks for the student body when he talks about the advantages of having a team.
 The excitement for this upcoming team is shown by the remark of Christian Oliveria when he said, “I’ve been ready since I was 12 for this. This is the time.”

 Christian is right, this is the time. Time for everyone to join the boys volleyball team.

Monday, October 7, 2013

iTunes Radio joins the radio streaming competition

Katie Steele
Staff Writer
Many are calling it the new Pandora. Others are comparing it to Spotify, another popular digital music service. It’s a new free streaming radio, and in its first five days on the market, it attracted 11 million users. It’s iTunes Radio-- and it’s here.
 Much like Pandora, the eighth most-downloaded smartphone app in the world, iTunes Radio offers users customizable “stations” based off of particular songs, artists, or genres. iTunes Radio claims to go even farther than its competitors by building its selections around the music in your phone’s library. Based on what songs you have bought and play most often on your device, the service can choose similar songs to play on your set stations. But is iTunes Radio really beating out its competitors?
 Tabitha Liucci, a freshman at NHS and one of the multitude of users of Apple’s new service, says that she likes iTunes Radio “because you can add songs right to your iTunes Wish List.” If you like a song enough that you would want to buy it, iTunes has made it simple for you to purchase it. By clicking one button, you can simply buy the song or add it to your Wish List.
 Apple has also made their radio extremely accessible from essentially anywhere around your device. By integrating the play, pause, “play more like this” and “never play this song” as well as “add to iTunes wishlist” buttons right on the home screen, Apple has successfully consolidated the controls for the service in a simple way to navigate. iTunes Radio also has fewer advertisements than Pandora does so far; in fact, there are barely any at all.
 The new streaming service, however, lacks any social aspect, which is a major draw for users of Spotify, Rdio, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and other similar apps and sites. Because it is so new, iTunes Radio has less interaction with listeners and therefore lacks intelligence that many of the older apps possess. Apple has set about fixing that problem by using their users’ music library content to make inferences about what songs they would like.
 For now, it is hard to tell if iTunes Radio has a leg-up over its competitors. However, the usage within its first week on the market makes the future for iTunes Radio look extremely bright. Try it out and decide for yourself.

Methods to Curb Your Procrastination

Joshua Searle

We’ve all been there, browsing the internet or doing some menial task knowing well that we have homework or a project to do, but choose to ignore it until the last minute. We then cram or come up with some crazy plan to get out of doing the assignment, when just doing it in the first place would have been exponentially easier. This, as many of you know, is referred to as procrastination, and it has affected nearly all school students one time or another. Speaking from a huge amount of experience, I know procrastination is a very difficult habit to break. However, when different methods are applied together gradually increase your productivity, you’ll turn your back on procrastination and have actual free time before you know it.
 Before you even unzip your backpack, find and set up an ideal working environment, with no distractions in sight and nothing near you that could interfere with your focus. Never work on a bed; procrastination is bad, but sleeping on the job is practically a step down in productivity. The first step is to get started on your actual assignment. This seems obvious, I know, but it’s the main reason that most students procrastinate late into the night, for we feel much less motivation to finish an assignment when we haven’t started it than when we are already working on it. As psychologist Carl Pickhardt says, “In the end, the antidote to procrastination is determination because when motivation becomes committed and effort is consistent, the engine of accomplishment is hard to stop.” He confirms just how much accomplishing a small amount of homework is a driving force. Another useful method is by rewarding yourself in intervals. The Pomodoro Technique makes use of a timer, in which you set the timer for 25 min. and take a 5 min. break afterwards, where you give yourself a small reward such as a snack or a listen to one of your favorite songs. Beware choosing your reward, however, for if it is a video game or the internet, you might choose to ignore the timer. You can gradually start increasing the work time to further increase your productivity as well, and, before you know it, you’ll have plenty of time to give yourself whatever rewards you wish.
 You should also be self-aware of your procrastination, for when we procrastinate, we often deny the fact that we are procrastinating, and think to ourselves that we “have plenty of time” to finish our assignments. We then keep putting off doing the assignment late into the night, turning that “load of time” we have into a few hours (or even minutes). Another technique is to set deadlines for yourself as you’re completing your homework (i.e. “I have to finish my math homework by 6 P.M.), as this will further motivate you to finish assignments right away. Preferably, write the deadline down so you can give youself a visual aid of what you need to do and by when you have to do it (what do you think your planner is for?). As you work, you should also try and think positively about the assignment. Instead of thinking, “Ugh, only 20 min. of TORTURE left!” try and think to yourself, “This is great! I’m being so productive right now! Look at what I’ve done already!” There are also tons of iphone and android apps out there to help you be productive, such as “(10+2)x5 Procrastination Hack” and “Focus Time” (the Pomodoro technique on your phone!), and also “Finish” and “Priority Matrix” (task sheets that list out what you need to do, if you want to be fancier than your planner). In the end, the only thing that can curb your procrastination is yourself, and your willpower to get things done early. Don’t be expected to do this by yourself, however, for if you put to use all of these techniques, I guarantee you’ll start to see significant improvements to your overall productivity.

Getting Used to iOS7

Michael Massimino

On September 18, 2013, Apple released IOS 7 for compatible Apple products. IOS 7 is a software update for Apple products and all iDevices. Updates come out every so often, usually iphone updates appear in spring but were delayed until fall in this case. There was never more hype for an update then there was for IOS 7. So, on September 18, most everybody took to their iPhones and iPads to obtain the new update. Although the update was different, this was overshadowed by the amount of time it took to load onto the phone.
 People waited for days upon days for the whole update to finish. Complaints were flying in left and right about the waiting. Connor Smith was one of many: “It took an hour for my phone to update, it was longer than necessary, but I think it was worth the wait.” While waiting for a phone to update was annoying and time consuming, the update met expectations and beyond. On the other hand Matt Steele was delighted with the time it took to  update his phone: “It only took me about 30 minutes. It was definitely worth it for that amount of time, I'm very pleased.”  
 From the lock screen to the home screen, IOS 7 has a new look. First off, the icon for “slide to unlock” is changed and is no longer a bar, but just words. Also, the font for the time and date has changed and become thinner. As you open and close apps, the transition is different. Multiple people said that the update was “Droid like.”Comparing IOS 7 to a droid this observation is false. “The droid software is not as sophisticated, almost childlike compared to the iphone”, says Matt Steele who is familiar to the look of the droid. Overall there was a positive reaction to IOS 7 after all the wait. With new slide up and slide down menu’s, it is easier to navigate. This includes a flashlight built into the phone. Some students complained like  Brendan Ondick who said: “I like it, but it seems to be a little slower than before.” While some bash the new system, New Hope-Solebury Ben Muzekari gives it praise saying “It’s amazing, futuristic.”
 Most people have adopted the new software on iphones and ipads. Although there are complaints and compliments now, IOS 7 will soon become the standard and the old software will become obsolete. As time will pass, IOS 7 will eventually become outdated and a new software will take the limelight. For now, we can only wonder what it will be.     

Friday, October 4, 2013

Croc Nation

Spencer Tinkel
Features Editor

After a long hiatus, Crocs have returned to New Hope-Solebury High School. Croc Thursdays have been added to a short line of fashion days--Sweater Tuesdays, Animal Shirt Wednesdays--in attempt to revitalize the popularity of Crocs.
 Last Thursday was the first ever Croc Thursday. While the response was less than spectacular, many Croc advocates in the school believe this was due to the lack of marketing. The announcement was abrupt and students were notified of the event the night before on Twitter. Word was spread through #crocnation and #rockthecrocs. Whether or not this trend will stand is unknown, but one thing is for sure: Croc Thursdays are here to stay whether four people wear Crocs or the whole entire school does.  
 The past couple of years, Crocs have been losing out in popularity to Toms, Jordans, Converses, Uggs, and Heelys. Many students at New Hope-Solebury question whether or not Crocs can make a sustainable comeback.
 Although Matt Steele believes in the Croc comeback he understands why they haven’t been successful in the high school: “They are childish, unprofessional, and obnoxious.”
 A moderate Croc fan, Roland Massimino says: “Matt and I both had light brown Crocs with the fur inside, but at the end of the day, they got old, and I grew up.”
 These remarks do not stop students at New Hope-Solebury from wearing Crocs. Croc-enthusiast Christian Oliveira believes Crocs are “a  fashionable, durable, and comfortable shoe choice that positively enhances any outfit.”
  An original creator of Croc Thursdays, Christian thinks they will catch on because “people who hated on Crocs in the past, now realize this is the time. It’s Croc time baby. #crocnation stand up!” Overall, it’s this type of attitude that will allow Crocs to make a reasonable comeback at New Hope-Solebury High School.