Written by Fadi Haider
What does a robotics club look like when you first walk in?
To an uninformed person, walking into Design Lab 024 would be like getting flash banged. On the engineering side, parts are littered all over the table. Screws, metal channels, chains, motors, hubs, a plethora of unusual tools, custom parts, and everything in between. On the code side, laptops and projectors show lines upon lines of code, with small parts of the robot connected through a tangle of wires to their laptops for testing. In the back, powerful computers house complicated 3D Models on their screens, and the laser cutter back is buzzing away, cutting objects to the accuracy of the 100th of millimetres. Turn the lights off, make everyone wear lab coats, and you’d be convinced that these teenagers were preparing to take over the world. And in a way, they are. The only things giving it away are the friendly chatter, and lack of sharp blades and flamethrowers on the little jumble of aluminum and wires in the center of the room we lovingly christened ‘chernobyl’.
How do schools afford to run a robotics club?
Running a robotics team (unfortunately) is not cheap. Parts are only one small piece of a much larger, more complex puzzle that involves funding, budgets, and fees. While the school has donated generous funds, we receive most of our funding from sponsors. One of the biggest sponsors for my school’s design programs is the Friesen Family, along with the CBE’s tax-paid budget. However, the largest part of our budget comes from sponsors that we seek out ourselves. These usually consist of smaller, Calgary or Canada based companies. When we receive funding, most of these companies are interested in promoting STEAM related education, and a robotics club is a passionate group of self-led kids doing just that (not to mention, a charitable act helping kids and a nice tax write-off!)
Describe the competitions – how do they work?
As some of you may have inferred, the purpose of building a bot is to compete. Me and my team compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge. FIRST is an international organization which promotes robotics. The Tech Challenge (FTC) is an international league for smaller robots. The size requirements are 18 inches cubed, so we must be intentional with our space distribution. First also has the First Robotics Challenge (FRC). This league has much larger robots, and is more involved, requiring the use of hydraulics, large batteries, and powerful motors. It generally costs more than FTC, as most of the parts must be fabricated in house and are more powerful. There is also a First Lego League (FLL). This is a league primary for middle school kids, as the parts are small, preprogrammed motors and plastic build pieces. It is a great introduction to the world of robotics, and naturally progresses into more technical and difficult challenges.
Over the last year, competitions have been primarily online. COVID-19 disruptions mean that we must compete at our school, using a camera to record our robot, and a program to help us with scoring. However, as these restrictions fade away, we are progressing our way slowly back into a more in-person challenge. Especially with this year’s challenge, where cooperation with other teams is part of competition, being in-person is critical for the full experience. The competition environment is always a huge part of the experience and seeing other team’s designs is always something that a person can appreciate. Everyone is nervous about being there, but even more importantly, at competitions, you meet people who all share a passion for the same thing. It’s a beautiful thing meeting like-minded people who have worked as hard as you have, went through the same struggles, and are working to the same goal as you. It’s rare to find, especially in a school environment where everyone is discovering who they want to be.
Robotics competitions behave in an indifferent fashion to sports tournaments. Teams have a bit of time to practice, prepare, and make final adjustments to their robot in the morning. Then, the challenge takes place. In the FTC, the scores are calculated based on how much a team can accomplish in a given time. This includes autonomous and TeleOp phases. At any given event, teams score points based on a complicated combination of points and safeties. This is available in Section 5.0 of the Game Manual. After all the teams compete, there is a closing ceremony, and teams that move on to the next round are announced.
There are many levels to the competition. The first part of the Calgary stage is happening at Joanne-Cardinal Schubert High School in southern Calgary. These stages progress throughout events in the city, eventually leading to provincials, which take place in Red Deer. After provincials, if a team scores high enough, they may progress to Worlds. The FTC World championship, which occurs in Dallas, Texas every year is the pinnacle of the FTC ladder, the final frontier. The best thing about all these competitions is that it is the same challenge every time. As the season progresses, and as competitions become more and more difficult, the stakes naturally become higher as well. At the end of the day, every team has their own tricks and ideas with the goal of becoming the most efficient, fastest, and powerful team on the field.
Does it include chainsaws and flamethrowers?
Unfortunately, no. The FIRST leagues are not violent leagues, however, there is still the pushing of other robots that is allowed. For those interested in a real-life Big Hero 6-type of fight to the death, check out The BattleBots YouTube Channel.
It’s clear to understand that STEM education is gradually growing. Clubs and Teams like ours are excellent stepping stones to paths in Technology, Design, and Communication. FIRST, as an organization, is an excellent program that aims to expand STEM-based learning, eventually shaping the future of our world.
By: Priya Migneault
Razom is an organization based in the Ukraine that is currently purchasing and delivering medical supplies to those in need within the country. They have partnered with numerous organizations to increase their impact and get supplies to the Ukraine and Poland, which is where the majority of Ukrainians are fleeing to. Razom delivers supplies such as tourniquets bandages, combat gauzes, sterile pads, and satellite phones. If you would like to learn more or donate hit the button below.
Come Back Alive & Army SOS
Help fund the Ukrainian military and their fight for freedom and democracy by donating to Come Back Alive or Army SOS. Both organizations are based in the Ukraine and help equip their military with much needed supplies for defense. Neither organization's aim is to kill those in the Russian military, but rather defend their country by supplying materials such as laptops, medical supplies, repair services, torches, ammunition, and defense analytics to those on the frontlines. To learn more about either of these organizations hit the buttons below.
Airbnb, which typically specializes in helping people find vacation homes, has stepped up and begun offering free stays for Ukrainian refugees. The company is currently funding short-term housing for up to 100,000 people fleeing Ukraine with the help of hundreds of Airbnb owners. By donating to their cause you'll be offering refugees a temporary place to stay for free or at a discount. Donations are going 100% to housing refugees and Airbnb is waving host and guest fees on all their stays. If you would like to learn more or donate hit the button below.
By Silvana S.
Due to Covid-19, once again malls are not allowed to hand out candy. But several other malls have other fun Halloween activities planned, according to Calgary Playground Review.
The malls include Marlborough, Westbrook, New Horizon, Deerfoot City, Sunridge, South Centre, and Cross Iron Mills. Click here to see the full list. Heritage Park is also offering an event from 1:30 - 4:30 p.m. For ages 3-12 tickets are 11.95$ & for 13+ tickets are $16.95.
Partners for Safety, a collection of first responders and City of Calgary organizations, has a list of safety tips for kids.
Halloween tips for kids:
By Lucas, Kristina, Kate and Heather
Oct. 18 marked civic election day for Calgary, and that included electing new school board trustees for both the Calgary Board of Education and the Catholic School Board.
Trustees are responsible for bringing issues relating to the current education system to the table and form policies that will affect both teachers and students within the system.
This election, issues that were are hot on the table include the new proposed education curriculum put forward by Premier Jason Kenney and his government, and funding towards public schools and public education, on top of discussions on anti-racism and truth and reconciliation, all of which are going to affect the futures of current students in the public school system.
Calgary Board of Education
Wards 1 & 2
Winner: Dana Downey
Wards 3 & 4
Winner: Laura Hack
Ward 6 & 7
Winner: Patricia Bolger
Ward 5 & 10
Winner: Marilyn Dennis
Ward 8 & 9
Winner: Susan Vukadinovic
Ward 11 & Ward 13
Winner: Nancy Close
Ward 12 & Ward 14
Winner: Charlene May
Catholic Separate School Division
Ward 1 & 2 & Cochrane
Winner: Myra D'Souza
Ward 3 & 5 & Airdrie
Ward 4 & 7:
Ward 9&10 & Chestermere
Winner: Shannon Cook
Ward 6 & 8
Lory Lovinelli (Acclaimed)
Cathie Williams (Acclaimed)
Mary Martin (Acclaimed)
Read more about the election! Podcast: The 2021 Calgary Mayoral Candidates
Why are there so many labels in the LGBTQIA+ community? What do they all mean? And why do some people choose to use them, while others prefer to be labeless?
By: Priya Migneault
Happy Pride Month!
Every June people from across the globe come together in online forums, parades, and meetings to celebrate and acknowledge the history and identities of the millions of people who are in the LGBTQIA+ community. Pride Month has been celebrated in countries worldwide for a few decades in honour and commemoration of the Stonewall riots that happened in June 1969.
In the beginning, Pride Month mostly celebrated those who identified as gay (G) and lesbian (L), however it has expanded to the acronym LGBTQIA+ to include people of all sexualities and orientations. These include:
L (Lesbian): Individuals who identify as female who feel attracted to other female-identifing individuals.
G (Gay): Individuals who identify as male who feel attracted to other male-identifying individuals.
B (Bisexual): A person who feels attracted to more than one gender.
T (Transgender): A person who identifies as a different gender than what they were assigned at birth.
Q (Queer): This is an umbrella term for people who identify as non-heterosexual (not straight). It is a slightly controversial term, as it was originally a slang word, but many individuals particularly younger LGBTQIA+ youth have been reclaiming it and making it more common within conversations.
I (Intersex): A person who is born with sexual anatomy that is neither male nor female.
A (Asexual): Asexual is an umbrella term for a multiple sexualities, these include asexual (a person who feels little to no sexual attraction to others), demi-sexual (a person who does not feel sexual attraction to a person until a strong emotional bond is formed), grey-sexual (a person who experiences sexual attraction infrequently), aromantic (a person who feels little to no romantic attraction), and demi-romantic (a person who does not feel romantic attraction to a person until a strong emotional bond is formed).
Please note these are not all the terms that fall within the LGBTQIA+ community.
Many people have embraced the new terms and the increased frequency of their use in day-to-day life, however some people do not understand the point of having so many labels and why queer individuals want to be labeled. Even some people who would fall into the LGBTQIA+ community prefer not to use a definitive label, so why is that?
Well, many individuals who choose to use the label(s) that best suits them use it because it connects them to a community and a solid sense of security and identity; whereas others find them restrictive and are uncomfortable putting themselves into a ‘box’. A common saying is that ‘sexuality is fluid’, which many who are labelless feel strongly as they do not want to be confined to one specific term.
Those who prefer to be labeless say that using a term to describe themselves creates a “pressure to figure (themselves) out”. One person said, “Labels change throughout your life, and when you put a label on yourself it feels like it’s hard to change”.
Whereas, individuals who enjoy having a label say it’s important to them because it allows them to “feel alike to other people and that who (they are) is not something to be ashamed of”. An individual who identifies as transgender and gay says, “Having a label enabled me to find a community of people that have the same or similar experiences as me, (which) has really let me come to terms about how it’s okay to be different.” For many being able to identify with a community of others has made them feel less alone in who they are and their struggles of finding acceptance.
People of all sexualities and gender identities have been around since the dawn of humankind, however in the past century the terms LGBTQIA+ have begun being used more widely and with them drawing extreme criticism and violence.
The origin of Pride Month and Pride parade, as previously stated, started at the Stonewall riot. The riot occurred in 1969 in the morning on June 28th after a police raid occurred at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York, that was regulary known to host drag performers and shelter runaway and homeless queer youth. Thirteen people were arrested including employees and patrons, however this was not the first police sanctioned raid on the Inn. Many of the patrons refused to disperse from the bar after growing tired of being threatened and a target for the New York police. Already on edge, the crowd began throwing objects at the police after one officer assaulted a lesbian getting into a cop car. The whole scene erupted into a riot of hundreds of people within minutes, leading to the fire department, and riot squad being called in. Protests continued to be held over the next five days, drawing in thousands of supporters, and national media. Nowadays, many celebrate and commemorate those who fought at Stonewall and those who fight for LGBTQIA+ rights every June throughout Pride Month.
By Heather P., Silvana S., and Kristina L
Two teens are currently working on an amazing documentary to tell you all about people’s lives as they learn to adapt and deal with the effects of the coronavirus.
Caelan Bell, 14, and Eli Smart, 16, are exploring the lives of various Calgarians by documenting their experiences during the pandemic. The film, Adaptation in the Impoverished City, follows the paths of people from different walks of life as they learn to adapt to and deal with the effects of COVID-19 in their daily lives.
The teens, along with AWCS youth program coordinator Kim Firmston, received a $20,000 grant in order to film the documentary from Telus STORYHIVE, a program dedicated to funding and supporting storytellers across B.C. and Alberta.
“$20,000 goes way quicker than you would think it would for a documentary," says Bell.
The film features several Calgary pandemic heroes: Wakefield Brewster is a poet/ masseuse, Em Williamson who is a teaching assistant/university graduate/minimum wage worker, teacher John Williamson and nurse Leah Patmore. Marie-France Gurrette was assigned as their STORYHIVE mentor from the National Screen Institute (NSI).
Adaptation in the Impoverished City will be shown on Telus Optik TV in September and hopefully in film festivals,
We interviewed Caelen Bell about the project just after the editing wrapped up.
Q: What is the movie about?
A: Adaptation in the Impoverished City is a documentary following a bunch of people during the whole Covid-19 pandemic and their own experiences, including our own experiences, mine, Eli’s and Kristina Lanuza’s. It also covers what kind of takeaway we can have from a kind of horrible experience and how we can adapt during the pandemic.
Q: How did two young filmmakers end up making this film?
A: Kim (Firmston) sent us an email about the STORYHIVE grant, which is a filmmaking program run by Telus to give independent filmmakers funding for new projects. This time it was the local heroes documentary edition… A little while later, about a week before the submission date, Eli asked me if I wanted to do it. I said sure, not realizing it takes a lot of work making a documentary. We spent about a week with just me, Kim and Eli making the proposal and shockingly we actually got it. I was really impressed and surprised that STORYHIVE would give it to teenagers, so good on them.
Q: How did you get the idea for this project?
A: Eli approached me with a pretty good idea ... but we spent a lot of time developing the idea. We had a crazy storyboard that we originally made to plan it out. There was so much stuff we didn't do because it would have been so much work. But also when they say local heroes edition, a lot of people you can talk to stand out, especially during a global pandemic.
Q: What is it like being a filmmaker?
A: Not exactly what I expected. It’s definitely, I’m going to guess, a very different experience when you doing a creative project compared to a documentary. There’s a surprising amount of paperwork involved and I didn’t do a big chunk of the paperwork, that was mostly Kim’s job. … getting permission for lots of different location, you have all of them them listed, you have to have insurance for different items like cameras, because cameras are expensive. As much as there were a lot of things you’d expect - the shoot days are a lot of fun, operating different equipment like cameras and microphones and editing - there’s definitely a lot of stuff that people don’t talk about and probably because it’s mostly paperwork and not the most interesting thing to talk about.
Q: What was the most challenging part of making this film?
A: That's a tough one… The toughest part was having enough footage and stuff. My advice is to anyone else making a documentary film is to have way more than you could ever need entirely in your entire life. Because you’ll get back and you are going to realize some of it is a little out of focus or something like that and you’ll end up being short. But we ended up making it through.
Read more Zed News YYC articles:
By Silvana Sabzevari
On Wednesday May 26 there will be a total lunar eclipse on a full moon.
Total lunar eclipses are also sometimes called Blood Moons because of the reddish orange glow the moon takes on during the eclipse, when the sun passes behind it.
On the night of the eclipse when the full moon will be closest to the Earth, it will appear larger than average.
This is the first Lunar Eclipse since January 2019.
The map below that shows which regions in the world have a total eclipse or partial eclipse. Alberta is in the three darkest zone, which means we will only miss two parts of the eclipse.
In order to watch the eclipse wake up 2:45 a.m. and go to bed at 5:26 a.m. But don't look directly at it - use special protective eye wear to keep your eyes safe. Note that sunglasses don't count.
Whenever there is an eclipse, a few weeks later the opposite eclipse will happen so Calgary is in for a solar eclipse on June 11.
Here's a look at the cases of Covid-19 by month in the Calgary Health Zone. Schools with students in Gr. 7 and older were closed from: mid-March-June; all of December and the first two weeks of January, and then from mid-April until now, Younger students were home from March-June and for the first two weeks of January. We'll keep updating this chart each month.
Venus will pass Jupiter shortly before sunrise on Feb 11th, according to Space.com. It’s visible with binoculars or even a backyard telescope if you are in the Calgary area. It’ll appear as a bright red circle. If Thursday is cloudy or you’re too busy it might be slightly visible on Wednesday the 10th.
Also on Thursday February 11th there will be a new moon. The moon takes approximately 1 month (29.5/29 days) to rotate through it’s full cycle. It starts with a new moon, then a waxing crescent when only a toenail of the moon is shown, then a first quarter (half moon), then a waxing gibbous when most of the moon is lit up but a crescent isn’t, then a full moon, then a waning gibbous, then a last quarter or third quarter (half moon), then a waning crescent then the cycle repeats. The difference between a waxing moon and a waning moon is when the moon is waxing it’s glowing on the right side (waxing means growing). When it’s waning, it’s lit up on the left side (waning means shrinking.) Basically Mr. Lee’s song the phases of the moon explains it all.
On February 27th, the February full moon is called the snow moon. It’s called this because the moon shows no shadows, so the moon is fully luminated. It will reach its peak at 8:17 a.m. (Winter am I right?)
Star of the Season: Orion
After sunset, if it’s a clear night, if you go outside in Calgary you’ll see Orion rising at the east. It’s recognizable by the three stars in a row that represent his belt. On the left of it’s belt you’ll see Betelguese.
Betelgeuse is believed to mean “armpit” or shoulder of Orion in Arabic. Betelguese is a red supergiant. The star is 10-20 times larger than our son and is 600 light years away. It used to be one of the brightest stars in the night sky, the brightness has been observed to vary since Betelguese is a variable star. The star has been reported to dim over the past few months, it could be a sign that it’s reaching the end of its life.
Since Betelgeuse is a red giant, it burns a lot of fuel quickly and does not live a long life When the end of their lives are near they lose brightness. When Betelgeuse runs out of fuel, it will be subdued by gravity and will collapse itself. It leads to a catastrophic event called a supernova, which is what happens when the core of the sun collapses.
Johannes Kepler was a german astronomer who spotted a supernova in our galaxy in 1604. It has been traced to a stellar remnant of the constellation Ophiuchus which was around 20,000 light years away.
Betelgeuse will become a supernova anytime between the next 100,000 years or tomorrow. It’ll be nearly as bright as a full moon & will be seen for weeks to months.
Thankfully the Earth isn’t less than 50 lightyears away or else the neutrino blast’s radiation result would sterilize earth from all it’s life. It’s rapid dimming could be a sign it’s bound to be a supernova...Or is there another explanation? Maybe a dimmer area on its surface has spun into our sight, similar events have happened but never have they dimmed this quickly.
A lot of astronomers and scientists don’t believe this a sign of a precursor before a supernova. Humans have not observed such a large massive star this nearby (not really, just compared to others) and don’t know what will happen. More scientists and astronomers are studying this star.
By Heather Park
I chose this topic of youth crime because I wanted people to understand how high crime rates are. I thought we should see how many people in different age groups have caused crimes. Another thing that caught my attention is the young people who have been victimized were increasing and I thought it was my job as a reporter to tell everyone of what's happening in Canada.