Understanding Frank Ocean’s “Nights” Beat Switch

Vitória Arantes

It takes guts to expose vulnerability, and Frank Ocean managed to pull it off beautifully.

You might know Frank Ocean from his notorious hip-hop music collective, Odd Future (OFWGKTA), or you might simply be able to associate the remarkable green hair to the former Def Jam artist. However, as far as a hype for musicians goes, Frank Ocean managed to unapologetically finesse his way into Daft Punk levels of buzz since the launch of Blonde -his second studio album released in 2016-. 

To say the least, Frank was seriously ahead of his time when he released Blonde; an ethereal melodic compilation containing a myriad of revolutionary tracks. The album’s tracks range from simple syllabic structures to remarkable pitch shifted vocals, all of which are included within the genres of alternative R&B, avant-garde soul and psychedelic pop. Blonde is a highly acclaimed album, as it presents Ocean’s introspective lyricism and a rather unconventional, progressive sound.

Each song from Blonde contains its own unique background history, forever holding a spot in the space-time continuum musical realm. The genre-defying Nights track, for instance, plays a major role in the album -one might say it is one of the most significant compositions of the album.- The sudden beat switch in Nights and its unparalleled manifesting powers is complex to the extent of becoming a field of study to Frank Ocean stans. 

The beat switch in Nights defines literal change in the mood for the entire album. The album is exactly one hour long, and the transition in Nights is at the halfway mark of the album at 30 minutes within its stream. The beat switch represents a turning point for the album. It is not only a switch in the song, but a switch in the album. Such musical switches are part of a theory known as musical frisson, which, as per described by Huron and Margulis (2011) is “a musically-induced effect that shows close links to musical surprise,” and is associated with a “pleasant tingling feeling,” through raised body hairs. In other words, you literally get goosebumps as a psychophysiological response to the auditory stimulus in Nights. One might even call it an emotional thrill, as it links emotional intensity to tangible sensations localized on any region of the body. Frank Ocean is not the only musician to utilize such a musical phenomenon. Similar patterns can be seen on songs like SICKO MODE by Travis Scott and Drake or New Slaves by Kanye West.

The reason this beat switch sounds so good is because it comes from absolute calamity. The distorted guitars, the string section, the collection of string instruments, and the reversed drum sections all arise from this beautifully chaotic place, where everything is presented in a crazy congested manner. It goes from zero to one hundred in a matter of seconds, and you never expect it, which is why it is so good.

Throughout the entire album, Ocean seeks to portray the motif of duality; which continues to be seen in the tracklist. For instance, if you count Nights as being both the last song of the first half of the album and the first song of the second half, you also realize that the beginning of Nights goes more along with songs like Pink + White and Ivy, whereas the second part after the beat change matches up with Siegfried and Futura Free regarding production style and lyrics. Another interesting concept to look at is the fact that the album listing is called Blonde, however, the album cover spells Blond. Going back to the theme of duality, some fans speculate that Ocean intended on changing the spelling of both names in order to emphasize the themes of duality between masculinity and femininity in his life; with regards to the singer’s sexual experiences. 

The album’s atmospheric tone brings to life Frank Ocean’s most vulnerable. It is almost as if Ocean is standing in front of his fans at his rawest spiritual form, -emotions unsugarcoated-  and saying “this is me, love it or leave it.” Must they love his strength and courage to throw himself out there in such an unshielded form. Must they praise his audacity to show his true and authentic self to the eye of the public. It takes guts to expose vulnerability, and Frank Ocean managed to pull it off beautifully.

Frank Ocean - Blonde Lyrics and Tracklist | Genius

Frank Ocean’s alternate Blonde cover

Catcalling vs Complimenting

Veronica Streibel-May

*disclaimer: this is not directed at all men. This has been generalized for the purpose of getting a message across.

Catcalling. Nothing provocative in the two individual words alone. Playing with a little kitty conjures up a sweet image. Nothing that can hint that this is a negative term. How ironic. 

The dictionary definition of the phrase catcalling is: ‘the act of shouting, harassing and often sexually suggestive, threatening or derisive comments at someone publicly’ (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

It shocks me that many still believe that showing a woman any kind of attention should be taken as a compliment. We musnt get confused between sexual harassment and admiration. They just don’t belong together. Catcalling is not a form of respect, you are in fact undermining the victim and making them feel vulnerable. 

Most girls have been honked at, yelled at or whistled at by simply strolling down the street, minding their own business. It’s not uncommon. It just goes unnoticed in today’s society as we’ve accepted and learned to ignore it. But why? Why tolerate such an act when all it does is demolish our self esteem. It’s just uncomfortable and for what? So guys in their cars can zoom past and feel superior and manly? 

To set things straight; the intention behind a compliment is to make someone feel good and boost their confidence. For example: “your hair looks really nice today” or “that top suits you”. However when someone random on the sidewalk is commenting on how “those jeans make your butt look awesome”, it sends a shiver down your spine. Since when is it okay to make a sexual comment like that? To be honest, it will make the person feel violated and rather self-conscious as opposed to attractive and good looking. Men may not see the issue behind as in essence having a nice butt isn’t a bad thing but the problem is the way it’s done is dehumanizing. Objectifying women is no way to go about “complimenting” them. Treating them like a piece of meat tells them they are not valued.

Women get scared. How should we know when it stops at the comment? When we’re all alone, we’re seen as easy targets. Walking from the grocery store to the parking lot can become a dangerous path at night. Asking men to stop only aggravates them further and can push them to get violent. Standing up for yourself may be the right thing to do, but at what cost? 

Some may blame women for wearing “provocative” clothes and in this case are “asking for it”. I just laugh at this response. Are you saying women have to limit themselves just because they’re afraid of receiving unwanted attention? Anyone should be able to walk out in whatever attire that pleases them and feel reassured that this won’t cause them distress from a rando in his car. It’s not the outfit. It’s the mindset. It’s the entitlement guys feel that they have the upper hand and think it would be fun to make a woman feel uncomfortable. Listen, it’s not cute, it’s degrading

Community and Passion Persevere

Shaye Gallagher

This week I had the pleasure of witnessing a cheerleader execute her first aerial. I watched a wrestler lift 320 lbs and a basketball team push themselves to greatness. I wondered what could be motivating these athletes to devote themselves,in full,to their sports. Before I give my finding I would like to thank all of the coaches and athletes who allowed me to interrupt their practice to interview them about their experiences in blended learning athletics. I would also like to share my astonishment at the humility of the athletes at EAB. Every athlete whom I interviewed gave props to their coaches and thanked their teammates for motivating them to be there best.

I begin each interview by asking “ How have sports affected your mental health?” Every athlete responded that sports had been incredibly beneficial for mental health. They said sports helped them because it was a stress reliever and the community made them feel more at ease. However, it was the cheer team in particular that stood out to me. The cheerleaders told me that their coaches (Ms.Lola and Ms.Lady) have been helping them by allowing them to have classes that were less devoted to sports and more focused on overall mental health. I was blown away not only by the concept,but how it had paid off. I spent about a half an hour with them and it was a time filled with joy,passion and community. In fact, it was an apthospere so wonderful it even convinced me to join the team. 

The next question I asked was “ Has it been difficult to balance school and athletics” I assumed that I would have been  overwhelmed by the  amount of yeses I was wrong. While the athletes did agree that balance was tricky they said they noticed an overall improvement in their ability to concentrate. They also brought up how the more structured day allowed them to accomplish more.

The final question I posed is as follows “ What motivates you to come?” As an athlete myself I know it is difficult to go home for a short amount of time only to have to come back to school. While the athletes admitted that it did take discipline they gave props to their coaches for pushing them to be their best. The entire girls soccer team gave credit to their coaches for pushing them in every way possible to come to practice. I heard stories of coaches coming up with creative ways to keep their athletes encaged and safe. Mr. Joness’s had his basketball team set goals for themselves to keep  motivated. Mr.JP, the jiu jitsu instructor, came up with creative games that strengthened the muscles used in jiu jitsu fights.

To be transparent,the plan for this article was to only interview athletes. However, after finding out what a vital role coaches play I had to interview them as well. I posed each coach with a variety of questions. First, I asked them” What drives you to come and coach?” they answered with “ for the students”. Every coach said that they knew how important it was for students to be in athletics and that they wanted to do what they could to help their athletes. I asked the wrestling coach if he  believed the training done  both in zoom and on campus would give his fighters a competitive advantage. The answer was YES!!

So, after a week of interviewing just about every sports team I have decided that I am very proud to go to a school surrounded by so many humble and driven individuals. I am excited to watch the bulls impress at all sports competitions that are yet to come. 

How to Write a ToK Essay

By: Felipe Bauer

This essay will explore (not answer, because there are no definitive answers in ToK) the title prescribed as “if all knowledge about the brain comes from the brain itself, is bias something that should be considered when talking about politics?” Despite the fact that this question has a very clear “yes or no” answer, that is “no, your wrist doesn’t actually rotate when you turn your hand, it’s all in the elbow,” I must still somehow discuss it further, showing that I, indeed, do possess the ability to analyze seemingly anything and ruin any normal conversation or movie session.

To conduct this intellectual investigation, the areas of knowledge of Natural History and Social Mathematics will be used by my person. Furthermore, the ways of knowing of science, your mom, and the Math teacher will be implemented by myself in the discussion. Finally, this essay writer must define what is meant in Solanum tuberosum in the question.

Within Natural Mathematics, knowledge comes from the words my teacher writes on the board. Since this way of knowing is not reliant on the knower’s gray matter, it, therefore, does not generate bias within the politics. As all figures of authority within this area of knowledge must go through a rigorous testing process before being allowed to produce shared knowledge, any information about the potato they choose to educate their students on will be mostly (though not entirely, nothing is entire in ToK) free of bias. For my Real-Life Situation: I recall the time that I was having Economical Sociology class and a unicorn flew in through the window. It said we were never getting real jobs with a Humanities degree. Thankfully the safe space was maintained when we beat the unicorn in a debate competition, showing that this area of knowledge is valid, and studying it develops useful skills.

On the other hand, knowledge within the area of Artistic History comes entirely from the dinosaurs, as they were the ones who left behind the cave paintings. Therefore, within this area of knowledge, it is important to refer to your mom as a way of knowing. Seeing as she was alive in the time of the dinosaurs, she should possess an intimate understanding of the point of view of the dinosaurs. Furthermore, science should be consulted, as a hyperpronated scan of the fossils should provide the knower with an even better understanding of the perspective of the creators of the knowledge. It is then up to the knower to figure out why knowing the scientific name for potatoes would be useful in their everyday lives.

In conclusion, the brain is not necessarily the source of all human knowledge, therefore, bias should only sometimes play a role in discussions of politics. This realization can be further applied to the production possibilities curve, which should always consider the elasticity of the characters unless pi is equal to three.

Getting by with Life vs Living Life

By: Pedro Venancio

A human being’s natural inclination towards survival is to draw breath, but the manner in which such is done is defined by our perception of what it means to be alive. You see, any person with a basic motor function and respiratory system can breathe, and any person with a rudimentary survival instinct can breathe. But what does it exactly mean, in this way, to breathe or, more fully, be taken away by breath? To get by is to be alive, with the consciousness of our impending mortality, but to feel alive, is to live, is to feel infinite, as if the world is never going to end, that burning sensation of awakening. That’s an entirely different matter.

I remember when I was in eighth grade, just getting by with life. Every day, the same routine: Eat, study, sleep, repeat. I completely alienated myself from my friends and family just to focus on myself. Although I was concentrating on myself solely to get better, I got worse. My mental health just dropped because I wasn’t living, yet getting by. After nearly one year of repeating this same vicious schedule, I became asphyxiated by the solitude and monotony I had brought upon myself.

To get by, in a sense, is to be stagnant. Is to let the world flow freely at a rapid rate while you are paused. Is to let the current drag you through rhythms and motions as you hold your breath. Living isn’t about preserving your breath, counting them, watching them go in and out. It’s about forgetting to breathe, dive into passions and opportunities unafraid of consequences, swimming against the current and almost drowning, but in midst of the chaos, finding purpose to live. To feel alive is to live unabashedly, unbridled, and uninhibited. Living is not simply the state of existence and being, but rather, an ardent overflow of happiness, an overpowering sensation to chase your dreams.

Getting by is pretty easy; it’s just inhaling oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. Getting by is to live your life in the parameters set by the world, rather than to dream of crossing the line once in a while. To get by, is to have a heartbeat; to live, is to skip one. Henry Thoreau once wrote, “I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life. To put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived.” And that is, in truth, the nature of the problem at hand. To be alive and to live have synonymous denotations but vastly different connotations and meanings.

Living is to pass through life in perpetual wonder, in constant motion. Living is to enjoy the present to its fullest while it lasts and not worry about the future; to live for the moment. Carpe Diem! As John Keating once said, “And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

Living is to challenge everything all the time, to take a giant leap off a cliff, and somehow know you’ll float through thin air. To be alive is to go about your life, day after day, without feeling and absorbing all of the beauty of life between the chaos. Yet, truly living is to feel the moments between seconds and know that in that glimpse of time, glorious moment, you are infinite. Living is timeless, living to be unburdened by one’s own mortality, living is to look fate deep in the eye and wink. Living is to cry, laugh, mourn, love, feel, fly. Living is everything you do when it counts, to never take for granted the precious little time you’re given. Living is to exist between realities, between times, to experience the present without fear of the future or ache for the past.

I like to believe I live. I like to believe that my life is vivacious and invigorating. I like to think that if I was about to die, draw my last breath, and a small recap of my life played in my head, I would smile a warm smile, and my heart will rest in peace. I will live a life not without mistakes, but without regrets. I was once asked when I was very small, “What is the meaning of life?” At the time, I didn’t know, I pondered for years, but now, I think I might answer, “To live.” I believe there to be a sort of melancholic, almost arbitrary, beauty in life. To know that it must end, that there is a stop at the end of the ride, but that it’s what you do in between that matters.

Azure

Carol Khorramchahi

The sun bloomed on the horizon, golden petals stretching ever outwards into the rich blue. It was the brilliant flower of the sky that warmed my day. It was the invitation to a new day, that sunrise so ordinary yet, extraordinary. It peeked up over the waves, and the thin rays glistened over the sparkling undulations of the ocean. Upon the sunny beach, upon the rising gold, my eyes listened to the light as it played upon seawater, streams of pulsing light saturated the surface with a golden haze. It was a loud silence. The horizon was stitched with a line of silver.

With browning legs curled under, dusted with sand like flour on bread, I sat close to the lapping waves. Warm and cool, like tea that had been forgotten and returned to. My fingers wiggled in the water, in the lips of the ocean as she sang. The waves broke around the rocks in the shallows, their foam crests became chaotic lace over the blue. I watched it swirl, mesmerized, as if the movement of the water choreographed my thoughts. The waves of sunlit skies pulsed upon shore in a steady rhythmic beat, coming in as the dancing hem of a long and flowing gown, some crashing like hands of the sea pounding on the seashore.

I meandered forwards until the water soaked my bare feet, my shoes already dangling in my left hand, tasting the brine as much as I smelt it. Waves came as finest strands of blue-green hair, infused with sunlit white. For these were the great locks of our goddess the sea, of she who breathed life into the world and kept her steady shoreline beat. When these boats of nature’s tide, these free sailing sun-kissed branches, came to rest upon either pebbles or golden sands, they sat as kings adoring the seawater view. 

I settled on the pure, primrose sand, my eyes moved from sand to stone, from rock pools to breaking waves. In the gentle spring sunshine I felt as if I were swimming in the briny aroma, as if the new rays of the day brought a frisson of energy to my fingertips. It was a day for letting my eyes stay open, as I was an old fashioned camera, remaining still while the image developed. The gulls brought their high notes to the percussion of pebbles at the shore, their wings are like the pages from my childhood storybooks flying high in the sunny rays.

My hand scooped the sand that ran like cold lava through my star-fish fingers and onto the dry beach. I gazed at the falling sand like a child, overtaken by love and awe. Below it rose a drip-castle, a sandcastle that looked for all the world like a melted candle, for me it was the towering castle of my story books, in which my childhood was locked in. The best of my memories as far back and forwards as I could reach, formed the golden thread of both soul and spine. Memories, the good and painful, are photographs – and I could choose what kind of album I wished to build, as I looked around the infinite blue that surrounded me, I wanted all my albums to be filled with azure.

Once Upon a Time in a “Great” City

By: Pedro Venancio

She ran rapidly to the scorching stairs of her neighborhood. As she reached the downhearted street, each minute carried the poignant weight of an eternity. It was summer, and the heat sizzled off the rocks, the narrow street was suffused with a muggy air heavy with emptiness and sorrow. Hopelessness traveled through the city’s polluted air in a vicious cycle like a widespread illness. The cacophonous sound of ambulances, machines, and industries, discreetly infected the atmosphere. Meanwhile, this quiet venom stretched through every building, surreptitiously contaminating each inhabitant. Everyone in the city felt lonely, dead inside, and the melancholy weakened their already damned souls. The depressive heatwave struck the famous city of China, Beijing, in 2072. The atmosphere reeked of spoiled air. For the first time, people roughly tried to breathe, and when they did, they tasted the acidic and bitter taste of pollution. The woman stood by a trashcan whose repugnant stench corrupted her sense of smell as she found herself at a loss for words. She looked solemn and thoughtful; something was deeply provoking her, but she could not express the pain of feebly watching as the world fell apart around her.

The lost woman, after wandering thoughtlessly, came upon a curious finding. At her feet, in a small heap of tattered bones was a dove, which she would have mistaken for a pigeon were it not for the few white feathers sticking out amongst the otherwise grey ruffled plumage. A symbol of hope, uttered a small voice in the back of her mind. Although the dove smelled like a corpse, it’s chest rose and fell with what she presumed were the shallow breaths of a being who toed the line of death. It probably used to be beautiful, full of white feathers, like soft clouds, bright as it crossed the light blue sky, spreading its wings and delivering hope to people who were neither worthy nor appreciative of it. She tried to rescue the hopeless bird; she tried to share her dry saliva to keep the bird hydrated; gave a little bit of her skin and blood to prevent the bird from dying from starvation.

The unbalanced and disoriented woman ran down the narrow street with a bundle of the bird clutched to her chest as if being chased by her own worst nightmare. Desperate to keep the dove safe, she ran until she felt like her bones were melting, and a migraine repeatedly hammered her already crammed head. All she could feel was her leaden guilt, mischievously whispering from thought-to-thought. It was all she could think was, How did I lose the war to recover Earth’s dignity and naturality? The exhaustive guilt on her unhinged mind caused the woman to lose faith in the nanoscopic fraction of humanity that wasn’t yet extinct. Just the idea that the sudden death of the implacably lustrous soil was her fault was indigestible. She began to realize that her sweat evaporated even before it touched her dirty, scarlet cheeks. 

The impotent woman questioned the dull integrity of the city, How could they even do this? How could they suddenly turn clean air into fume? I feel blinded by the thick smoke covering society’s eyes like a blizzard; I smell the hypnotizing oxygen fill my lungs as it shrinks and darkens by the second; I feel the heatwave on my skin as if the sun was getting closer and closer to the atmosphere. As the pollution increases, hurling my hope off a cliff to the bowel of misery, I feel increasingly unavailing. My death-wishing migraine becomes part of my inhumane soul as the venomous oxygen I inhale furtively possesses me. How can I live? How am I supposed to walk through this never-ending narrow street and not let my spirit escape my body forever? I wish I could have overpowered the closed-minded murderers who unregretfully ceased every piece of green left on this alienated land.

In that single minute of continuous running, pure fatigue, and death threatening migraine, she felt like her life passed before her eyes. The once-called beautiful day was now bleeding, permanently staining the Earth’s soil. At that moment, she wanted to be six feet underground; she lost all hope. So, she flashed back to the time when the city was great. Inside her head, she pictured the Green city with nostalgia, I remember when I freely walked through this same wide street, the sun was sparkling and radiant. The shimmering rays and the vivid, colorful trees were in perfect juxtaposition; the increasing shadow throughout the day danced upon each house and every nest, and protected the population from the tropical sun. The contrast between the soft rain and sharp heatwaves forced people to see the natural beauty as if drops of melted gold were falling from the sky, and when it finally touched the rough earth, it was like miraculous enchanting sparks which gave birth to the Green City. The doves quietly flew high above the sky and smoothly charmed its way through the soft clouds, surrounding the city with charm and hope. The same hope that humankind knowingly and forcibly exterminated. It used to be beautiful; people’s gaiety was contagious. If that were to happen right now, it certainly would be a miracle. I tried warning everyone that this abundant endless path for urbanization was leading to an apocalypse, and worse, it was not meant to happen; ignorant humans were unjustly treating the environment as a natural dumping ground.As the woman was at death’s door, crossing her empty heart and yielding for demise, she saw someone else in the same situation. The world was tearing apart like thin paper in water, but she could feel a glimmer of hope. The attenuated bird kept his eyes open for once; it started to move a bit as something told him to wake up. Although the poisonous air formed a fog that blinded the poor woman, she could see the big, soft, dirty, blond hair of which she guessed pertained to a tall man. She tried to hide under her despondency, but her curiosity got the best of her. She cautiously approached the lost stranger and spoke with a weak, tremored voice as if she was asphyxiated due to the unbreathable air, “Sir, are you okay?” The inanimate man did not respond. He just softly laid down on the same flaming and narrow street; closed his eyes, accepted his destiny, and sent a bullet through his skull. The transient hope disappeared in a second. The dove drew its last breath there as the sound of the gun stopped his weakened heart. The woman took a deep breath for the last time, smelled the putrid smell from the burnt trees, and, as the unfaithful, helpless man did, accepted her faith, desisting to fight this inane war. After all, it already was a lost cause. The monster lived for many years, persisted to slowly kill every human, and finally completed his mission: to reign the world. Humankind was eliminated by its own idiocy.

No Place Like Home

Carol Khorramchahi

I remember the days when I’d speculate

That school from home would simply be great.

I’d only dress up when I’d be meeting on Zoom

Then I’d just have to clean a little part of the room.

But now that it’s happened, my dream hasn’t come true

’Cuz working from home is like life at the zoo.

Oh what a dream it would be

To leave these four walls and flee

The weeks go by, the fourth, the fifth,

And normalcy’s become a myth.

I want to hug, I want to hold,

I want this deadly scourge controlled.

COVID 19 is its name

It knows no boundaries or lanes

No figure can match its fame

Like a roaring flame it engulfs all on its path

Both the poor and the rich feel its wrath

We all have a common enemy, I admit

So, lower your guns and focus on it

The only way of surviving, is by joining heads

For the hate present in the world fuels its hunger for the dead

Gender Inequality Has Reached the Walls of EAB

By: Veronica Streibel-May with the help of EAB staff

In honour of International Women’s Day this month the 8th of March I felt like we needed to remind ourselves of how important it is to acknowledge the differences amongst us and how we may find common ground. How an issue like gender inequality can unite us to fight together for so we may live in a better society. Alone we will accomplish nothing. Together we can raise awareness and initiate a pathway where change is encouraged instead of feared. So where do we look in times of uncertainty? Our role models. Thankfully in our EAB community we have so many. Teachers do everything they can to inspire us and have endless stories and experiences to share. The things they have to say really make you realize that the world can be brutal but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Please let reponses motivate you and trigger a wish for change. So with that being said, here are some questions I posed to them regarding their perspectives on gender equality:

Can you name and describe an event in your life or professional career where you have been treated unfairly because you are a woman/man?

“One event that comes to mind was when Ms. Bree was being treated in a condescending manner by an airline employee. The most glaring example was when the man called her “baby.”  The moment I arrived, the man’s demeanor changed completely and he became much more respectful in his tone and posture.  It was a clear example where a woman is treated a certain way in a stressful situation and the man is treated differently.  I handled the situation by sternly showing my disapproval with the man’s behavior.  I am sure my size helped a bit.  I don’t think there is anything I could have changed in the exchange but the episode did reinforce with clarity the difference in how men and women are treated in society. “ – David Bair 

“In sports, men have always been treated better than women. That is a fact but there have been positive changes. In the United States, there have been advancements since the Educational Amendments of 1972 when Title XI was passed as a federal civil law. The life of an Athletics Director in Mexico for multiple years opened my eyes to situations of ‘machismo’ actions.  Also, here in Brazil, I can see these ‘machismo’ acts sometimes in the culture. I can also see improvements being made in Brazil as opposed to other countries (Women’s Soccer on equal pay). I do not support this ‘machismo’ culture and there is needed room for improvement.” – John Powell 

When I was 18 back in 1998, and only 10 days away from my final Big 4 after a lifetime at Graded, I sustained a severe knee injury in a scrimmage that ruined my soccer career. A defining moment that brought to light the patriarchy in Brazil was when my mom took me to the ER at one of the best hospitals in all of Latin America, and the doctor that saw me told my mom “Well of course she got injured. What were you thinking in allowing her to play a man’s sport?” My mom and I were both furious. She was caught off guard but told him that women were allowed to play soccer too. She later filed a complaint at the hospital. To be honest, I have no idea what came of it, but my mom was always planting showing me how women are powerful.  Another instance was when I coached girls futsal at Graded. My girls futsal team won five gold consecutive medals at Big 4, in the most exhilarating and challenging games. However, after the second victory, I questioned the fact that they only allowed the girls to play on the smaller court (the one used for volleyball) instead of on the big court where the boys played. I also questioned why the boys’ games were always the last games of the tournament. They responded that the girls were unable to run for as long as boys on the big court, and that the boys’ games were more fun and engaging thus should be the final game of the tournament. Luckily, I had several other women coaches who put up a fight with me and for girls in general. We argued that not only were the girls’ games more entertaining, but that girls had the same, if not more, determination and stamina than the boys. Needless to say, we won! We got what we wanted. All futsal teams got to play on the big court and the final game alternated yearly between boys and girls. Mind you, that wasn’t that long ago. I’m talking 2010. But every small victory we get is a step in the right direction.” -Biana Bree 

When he would do “normal” activities with his kids like going to the park or playground, he would be complemented by others who saw him as an amazing dad (not to say that he wasn’t but they would go out of their way to applaud him).They would say things like “you’re such a good dad”. His wife on the other hand never received any comments of the sort. People expect a woman to do motherly things however when a dad does the exact same thing people are surprised and feel the need to almost congratulate this action. -Summary from Andrew Jones

“Yes, in my very early days as a school leader, I applied for a new job while I was on maternity leave with my son. At the interview I was asked multiple questions about how I would “manage my work” now that I was a young mother. They even asked me how I thought it would look to the wider school community, if the Board employed a working mother. I did not get the job and I still believe that the fact that I was a woman and a mother went against me. An older man got the position.

I did actually contact a Women’s Rights representative within the union I belonged to. She guided me through a process, where I made a complaint about the questions I was asked at the interview. The outcome of my complaint was an apology from the interviewers and a commitment to do some gender equity training. It was really hard to do this, as at the time I worked in a small city, and I was criticised by others for complaining. However I am really glad that I did stand up for myself and hopefully other women who might face this situation.” -Lesley Tait 

“Yes I have been treated unfairly because I am a woman. In the previous school I worked in they wanted to decrease the number of physical education teachers, at that time there were 5 male teachers and I was the only woman. When choosing who would be let go, I was the one chosen. Their reason for it is because I had a husband that could financially support me so I didn’t have to work. If I was a man I wouldn’t have been fired.”  – Simone Keller


Do you feel that you have to perform a certain way to meet society’s standards of a man? Are you “allowed/ not allowed” to do certain things. Please give examples.

“I think there is a certain expectation of how a man is supposed to act, especially in Brazil.  I honestly don’t think about it much, however, and go about my life without thinking much about society’s standards for me.” -David Bair 

“I feel that it is my responsibility in my family life to provide. My wife does not currently work, but that is her decision. She will work again someday and then it could be her time to provide for the family and maybe I don’t work. There is an equally shared understanding. There are not many, if any, things that I am “not allowed” to do being a man. This is the truth.” -John Powell 

“Again, I’m thankful that in the different stages of my life, I’ve mostly felt encouraged to be the way I am instead of conforming to gender norms. Actually, I’ve always appreciated the fact that Mr. Jones and I exhibit many traits that might not normally be associated with our gender and I like the example that this sets for our kids. I have to say that I do worry a bit because while we can control the messages they get at home, we’re not in control of the messages they get from the world. I remember when we signed Eliza up for after-school activities and she could choose ballet or futebol, but not both. There were all boys at futebol and all girls at ballet. We signed her up for futebol outside of school, but even there, she’s played for 4 years and never has played with another girl. When she joined in a game at a birthday party once, there were boys who made fun of the way she played or laughed when she made a mistake. She’s a tough kid but I worry that many girls would see all this and just think it wasn’t worth it, that it’s easier to conform instead of challenge a system that’s not set up to do things a certain way.” -Erin Kahle 

“Absolutely. I have felt it numerous times in my lifetime. Walking alone on streets is worrisome because I am a woman. Walking in the dark is worrisome because I am a woman. Paying attention to my surroundings because I am a woman is necessary. Granted, I was raised in a large city, São Paulo, and the violence has always been significantly higher than in other areas. However, I always had to watch my back since I was a young girl. When I was 14 and walking home from school, a man from a construction site began following me up the street.  He began harassing me and saying the most horrendous things to me. I knew that if I tried to outrun him, he would beat me because he was simply built differently than me. I ignored him, never once looked at him, held my backpack ready to swing at him if needed, and once I got in the linesight of the building complex I lived in, I began running. I knew at that point that the guards at the complex would see me and hear me if he continued harassing me. Clearly from that day on, I had to take the long way home instead of the shorter way due to the fear of that man. Once the construction was done and he was gone, I was able to start taking the shortcut again. The fear I felt at the moment, and the anger I felt afterwards were intense.” -Bianca Bree

No, because teaching English is seen more as a female role so he’s a minority as male. They see it as an advantage when they find a guy to teach a humanities based subject. Socially it’s been a mixed bag because he likes sports- like a typical man. It wasn’t cool to like poetry as a male so he stood out but his athleticism balanced it out so he still felt society accepted him. -Summary from Andrew Jones


3. Does your gender have an impact on the relationship between your personal and professional life? If so, in what ways?

“I actually think this has been the most significant challenge of gender in my life, which is navigating the balance of professional duties along with those involved in raising children. Even in a progressive society, the majority of women end up taking on more of the household and child-related duties while also having the same demands in the workplace. I’m not trying to throw Mr. Jones under the bus. I actually think he’s better than most men in terms of contributing to the household and childcare, but I think there are also a lot of unconscious influences that require a lot of work in a relationship to actually make this division equal.” -Erin Kale 

“Yes in some ways. When my children were younger, I still tended to take on more of the domestic chores and parenting  than my husband. This certainly put a lot of pressure on how well I could balance my work and home life.” -Lesley Tait

“Absolutely. I had to give up coaching which was my all time favorite thing to do. Now, in choosing to have kids I knew I would have to give up certain activities at school. I was heavily involved and invested in extracurricular activities. I gave them up willingly in order to spend time with my kids and watch them grow. But I have also been heavily criticized that I should have hired a nanny to watch them so that I could continue coaching. I understand that, but I did not have children for someone else to raise them. I chose to have children so that I could raise them and be involved in their lives. At some point, when they are more self sufficient and maybe not as interested in hanging out with me (in their teenage years) I would like to go back to coaching. I understand men questioning my choice, but several women were also not able to understand why I made that choice.” -Bianca Bree


4. What have you personally done to advance gender equality?

“Throughout my life and my career, I have been aware of gender equality and the need for girls to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that in a school, on a team, or in a community, that their voices are heard and their rights as equal members of society are adhered to.  Though I believe deeply in gender equality, I can’t point to one specific instance when I advanced gender equality.  I hope, however, that my actions over time have shown the women and girls around me and under my leadership that they are valued equally.” -David Bair 

“In my profession thus far I have hired more women coaches each year in the programs I have been in or am involved in. I have fairly allocated practice facilities, game scheduling, equipment requests, and support on tournament trips to make sure gender equality is fulfilled in the athletic program I lead. I have raised my personal education on diversity and gender equality by attending seminars on these topics, reading the latest trends in athletics across the world and simply standing up for what I believe is correct on how to treat women and others.” -John Powell

“I really try to lift up other women within our profession. Women often seem to need someone else to tell them that they should apply for certain positions etc, whereas men tend to have no trouble putting themselves forward for anything going. I try and make it my business to coach and guide other women, so that they build their personal self-confidence.” -Lesley Tait 

“I address gender equality constantly with my children in an attempt to teach them that they have equal rights regardless of their gender. I question and confront situations, oftentimes in front of them, always respectfully, but show them that they can question things and work towards fair treatment. In the class I teach and through service projects, we address human rights, but oftentimes gender issues are addressed too since women are still fighting for equal rights.”  -Bianca Bree

He has high expectations for his daughter and what he wants the world to be for her. In addition to this he feels he has a balanced relationship with his wife where they share duties and responsibilities equally. He also coached turkish girls basketball and these girls were actively disobeying their fathers by playing sports. Being an english teacher it has also allowed him to push people to see different points of view. These initiate conversation which he feels is a crucial step. -Summary from Andrew Jones

“I believe that just by working in this area is already a big step into gender equality. At school I coached boys teams, and at NR I was one the first female coaches in volleyball. When I was a referee I was also one of the only women at the time. When coaching I always tried to reinforce the girls at school to join the teams, I organized tournaments and events for them, and always tried to make sure they were heard and happy when playing a sport. I believe that by being present in this area and showing other women that anything is possible is a big step into gender equality.” -Simone Keller 


5. If you could give advice to young women, what would you tell them?

“As the father of two young girls, I think the advice that we give is not advice per se, but more of giving a constant message that they are valued, equal, and should not take a backseat to any male simply because he is a male.  The more the parents, but especially the fathers, of girls give that message and live that truth, the more society will change towards gender equality.” -David Bair

“I would tell young women to continue to fight for what they feel is fair in life. Fight with the understanding that you are trying to be treated as equal as young men, not better nor worse. Those that understand this movement will be able to have a conversation – use those people as a resource. Those are not able to understand this movement – use your education to open their eyes as best as possible. The world is not man’s or woman’s. It is ours and we need to continue to move in the direction to share it together!” -John Powell 

“Always think of yourself and put yourself forward as an equal to men. Don’t hold back. If you see inequality, speak up!” -Lesley Tait 

“Stand up for yourself and others. Clearly there are moments when we need to back down somewhat in order to avoid serious injuries or situations such as the one when the guy followed me home. However, standing up for ourselves and others is essential in teaching others that we are strong and that we have equal rights.” – Bianca Bree

Both genders need to understand that there is no playbook. Both need to realize that gender doesn’t define anything and you can create your own path. Guys can’t be threatened or feel as if supporting feminism hurts them. The message for men: equality is better for you too- it’s freeing. -Summary from Andrew Jones

Why are there lasers in the desert???

By Austin Monestel

We’ve probably all heard of Newton and his discovery of gravity. Throw an apple up in the air and it will decelerate and then fall back to Earth. However, treating gravity as a force is only good to a limited extent, because that’s not entirely accurate to what gravity is. So then what is gravity? What is LIGO and how does it work? Well that’s exactly what this article is about. 

Gravity and Space-time:

In the early 20th century a physicist named Albert Einstein, who you may or may not have heard of, came up with a theory that changed the way physicists looked at gravity. Before, astronomers were having difficulties explaining certain observations like Mercury’s orbit around the Sun. When normal Newtonian-physics and mathematics was applied to Mercury, it’s orbit made no-sense with what had already been observed and measured by telescopes. What could explain this? Scientists first thought that maybe there was another planet that was in orbit around the Sun that was pulling on Mercury. After all, the same thing had happened with Uranus when we realized that another planet, Neptune, was pulling on its orbit. The problem was, they couldn’t find the planet and began assuming that there was a planet there but the Sun was just too bright to see it. They named this mystery planet Vulcan and it was thought to be there up until the early 20th century. Albert Einstein had published a theory that would later be called “The General Theory of Relativity.” Einstein imagined that if all the mass in the Universe was taken away, space would be a two-dimensional sheet. If you were to then put mass back onto that sheet, called a manifold, it would bend the manifold of space itself. This bending is the reason the Earth orbits the Sun and the Moon orbits the Earth. When astronomers took the General Theory of Relativity’s math and applied it to Mercury’s orbit, the planet Vulcan disappeared in a second and Mercury’s orbit now made sense.

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The manifold of space-time and how the Sun and Earth affect it.

Part of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, the man imagined what would happen if large masses collided with each other and realized that it would form waves in the manifold of space-time much like a stone creates ripples when thrown into water. These would later be called gravitational waves. These gravitational waves actually stretch and move the Earth when hit however it only affects Earth by smaller than the size of an atom so it’s not very noticeable. That is, until LIGO was built.

LIGO: Giant Concrete Tunnels in the Desert?

In the mid-1980’s, funding and building began of a joint project by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Caltech (California Institute of Technology.) This project, named the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (or LIGO for short), would be created for the sole purpose of detecting Gravitational-waves. The observatory works by creating a laser beam that comes into contact with a lens that splits it in two and shoots them at 90° from each other. Those two beams then travel through two, evacuated, 4 km steel tubes and reflect off mirrors at the end of it. Finally those laser beams travel back to their starting point and converge again. This convergence causes a light pattern to be created on an adjacent wall. When gravitational waves hit the Earth it causes interference in the laser beams and this changes the light pattern. The problem is that any vibration could cause an interference pattern. So, they had to build it in a rural area away from cars and in an area with a low-amount of earthquakes. To make sure that no vibration could lead them to a false conclusion, they built two separate observatories in Hanford, Washington and Livingston, Louisiana. Has all this hard work paid off? Yeah. On September 14, 2015 both observatories detected an interference pattern and were able to correlate it with a collision of two, large, black holes. The fellows at Caltech and MIT even created an audible sound that would be what that collision would sound like if there were air. You can search it up on the internet and listen to it. 

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One of the ends of the LIGO facility.

So, ultimately, the importance of LIGO has already been revealed. It will continue “listening” for gravitational waves and the folks at Caltech and MIT hope to detect the collisions of objects like neutron stars and other black hole collisions. It’s just astounding the feats of science humanity has achieved. Just a few hundred years ago, astronomers were barely being able to see Saturn’s rings and now we can detect massive black hole collisions that take place lightyears away.

Sources

https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/page/timeline 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjcS1kRkc6M&t=119s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8PoG3mvqk8&t=922s

https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2018/06/09/ask-ethan-if-mass-curves-spacetime-how-does-it-un-curve-again/?sh=1304df9746a0

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Northern_leg_of_LIGO_interferometer_on_Hanford_Reservation.JPG