December 7, 2012
Saving the Elephants &
Pope Joins Twitter
Big shout-out to Bannockburn School in Illinois.
What up y’all?
We’re knee-deep in the holiday season,
Flocab’s diggin for news that’s where we’ve been.
But what about the new student IDs then?
In Texas there has been some controversy since
a student doesn’t want to wear a badge that can track you.
And now the federal courts are taking over that suit.
Speaking of school, here’s something to ponder,
Five states are gonna make their class time longer.
They’re saying it’ll help students achieve,
More time in school is a better chance to succeed.
Looking for something different in your Twitter feed?
Apparently the Pope’s found a new way to lead.
Well we haven’t seen any papal tweets yet,
But for @Pontifex who knows what's next?
We do know that they’ve taken some new steps,
To stop poachers from killing elephants.
Ivory tusk - that’s what the lure is,
But they’re hoping they can make more off tourists.
Facebook made money off ads,
But with “Sponsored Stories” they gotta give it back.
They say it was a privacy breach,
Now 2 million peeps could get 10 bucks each.
Here’s something that you may not have known,
Iran says that they caught a US drone.
The Navy says they don’t have any that are gone,
Guess we’ll have to wait to see what’s really going on.
Either way you should prepare for the flu,
The CDC says that’s what you gotta do.
It could be a bad season - and it started early,
So try to stay healthy, I hope that y’all heard me.
Peace to the Philippines, they had a typhoon,
We hope you’re on the road to recovery soon!
It’s Flocab stay tuned!
This week's winner of our Week in Rap Shout-Out Contest was Bannockburn School in Illinois. The challenge was to write about a news story we didn't cover last week, in a style similar to our infoboxes. We also wanted to know the source. Bannockburn School's winning entry, as well as entries from the runners-up, are in our blog. We won't have a shout-out contest next week, but be sure to enter our Year in Rap student contest with the New York Times!
How would you feel if your school knew your exact location throughout your school day? In one Texas school district, students have to wear school IDs embedded with RFIDs, or locator chips. San Antonio's Northside Independent School District put locator chips in the school IDs of their high school and middle school students to encourage regular attendance. Though the locator chips only work on campus, one sophomore's parents argue that it violates privacy and religious rights. A judge in San Antonio was expected to decide on Wednesday whether the student could transfer to another school. However, the school district asked that the case be taken to federal court. The date for the new court hearing has not been set yet. What are the pros and cons for this kind of ID? Learn more.
Next school year will mean a longer school day for some students. In order to boost student achievement, 40 schools will be adding 300 hours to the 2013-2014 school year. Research has shown that more time in the classroom means higher student achievement, which would make American students more competitive with their peers around the globe. A longer school day could also allow students the opportunity to participate in arts activities and have more time for extra-help, which would reduce the achievement gap for students from low-income communities. However, critics say a longer day might raise drop out rates if schools do not utilize this extra time in a way that is meaningful to students. Do you think a longer school day is the best way to improve academics? Learn more.
As the leader of the Catholic Church, the Pope has a huge audience. Hundreds of thousands of people regularly attend his mass in Vatican City, Italy. Even though the Catholic Church is regarded by many as one of the most traditional institutions, Pope Benedict XVI is now using a popular social networking site to reach more people. "@Pontifex" became the first papal Twitter profile. This is just one of many firsts in papal history: Pope Leo XIII was the first pope to appear on film in 1896, and Pope Pius XII was the first to appear on television in 1949. In 1965, Pope John Paul II was the first pope to debut the Popemobile. Though @Pontifex already has over 500,000 followers, he has yet to post his first tweet. Do you think religious leaders should use social media? Learn more.
In Africa, elephants are illegally hunted and killed for money. This is called poaching. But the elephant is not being killed for food. Instead, poachers are killing elephants for their ivory tusks. Even though it is illegal to sell ivory, it is seen as a status symbol in certain cultures. Now conservationists are attempting to reduce poaching in a controversial way. They are catching elephants and cutting off the parts of the tusks that would be valuable to poachers. Conservationists hope this will make the elephants less of a target. Many African countries, like Kenya, are hoping to boost their economy with eco-tourism, so that money can be earned from the livelihood of the elephants, rather than their deaths. Do you think cutting off the elephants' tusks is the right solution to reducing poaching? Learn more.
If a company wanted to use you or your photo to sell a product, you would want to be paid for it, right? With its "Sponsored Stories," the social media site Facebook was using the names and photos of some of its subscribers to advertise different products. And they were doing this without the users' consent. A federal court in San Francisco, California, has decided that Facebook users whose identities were used in "Sponsored Stories" can claim a $10 payment. Any funds left over will go to advocacy groups. Should social media sites be allowed to use its subscribers' identities to advertise products that they "like"? Learn more.
Iran and the US have had a rocky relationship, especially since the US announced its intent to prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons. The US has been known to use drones, or unmanned aircraft, for surveillance purposes in the Middle East. This week, Iran announced that they had captured a drone that the US was using to take photos and video. Iran put footage of the drone on TV in front of a propaganda poster. Despite this, the US Navy says that none of their drones from that region are missing. The US military has ramped up its use of drones in recent years, which has bothered even countries who are allies to the US. The military says that drones are necessary to gather information in a volatile region. Do you think the US military's use of drones for surveillance is appropriate? Learn more.
The colder temperatures of winter don't just mean it's the holiday season—it's also the flu season. Every year, scientists create a new vaccine for the flu, since the strain of the virus is constantly changing. Although the vaccine is well-matched to current flu strains, scientists at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) are warning that the flu season is starting earlier and could make people sicker this year. There have already been suspected flu cases in five southern states, making it the earliest start to the flu season in nearly 10 years. Usually, large numbers of flu cases don't occur until after Christmas. School-aged students are particularly vulnerable to the flu. Doctors recommend getting the vaccine as soon as possible, and that people frequently wash their hands, especially before eating. Did you get your flu shot this year? Learn more.
Typhoon Bopha, a large tropical cyclone, hit the Philippines on Tuesday, with winds of up to 100 miles an hour and torrential rains. Many villages were flattened and flooded. More than 350 people have been reported dead, and hundreds more are still missing. Since many roads and bridges were washed away from the floods, rescue teams are having trouble reaching remote areas that were the worst hit. The Philippines, a country of islands in Southeast Asia, is hit by about 20 typhoons every year. Typhoon Bopha, however, occurred out-of-season and hit farther inland than previous typhoons. Some residents had prepared for the typhoon by seeking shelter in towns that were usually safe from typhoons, but were washed away by floods and mudslides. Countries such as Japan, the European Union and the US have offered aid to displaced families. How might students in the US be able to help when international countries are affected by natural disasters? Learn more.
In what state is there controversy over student IDs?
Why are some states making the school day longer?
To boost student achievement
Which religious leader is now on Twitter?
Why are poachers killing elephants?
For their ivory tusks
How much money will Facebook have to give some of its users for ads?
10 dollars each
What Middle Eastern country says it has captured a US drone?
What sickness is the CDC asking people to prepare for?
What country was hit by a typhoon this week?
OK, time for the BONUS Round...
To answer these questions, you'll need to read the infoboxes.
What are conservationists doing that is controversial but may help save elephants?
Conservationists are cutting off parts of the elephants' tusks.
What did Iran do with the drone it says it captured?
Put it on TV
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