Thursday, August 25, 2016

Questions, Questions and Answers

Do you find yourself wondering about stuff?  Are you deeply curious about things which don't seem to have an answer?  Are you someone who asks big questions that nobody seems to be able to supply an answer to?  Then I have something you might like.

Of course, it is a book.  What if, Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munro.  This book is our most popular non-fiction book at King's.  We have lots of copies and it is always out being read. It is a little crazy, a lot sciency, all kinds of funny and one of those books which you find yourself dipping into time after time.  I've embedded below a clip of Randall speaking at a TED event. But you can also go and check out the website here.

If you are interested in this kind of thing, and you want more, there are a bunch of videos including Randall talking to Will Wheaton and Randall talking at Google.  There are a heap, you'll see them in the sidebar of the video.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Way Down Dark by J.P. Smythe

A spacecraft called Australia has been sent off from Earth because terrible things have happened to the world. Chan's ancestors left 400 years ago and have been flying adrift trying to find somewhere to land and make a new home.  The Australia has resources in limited supply after all this time but things are touch. Society has pretty well become a dog eat dog world and only the strong, the quick and the agile survive. Chan is the main character, and she is resourceful and very determined with a strong sense of social justice. There turns out to be a lot of secrets on the ship, secrets which change the course of their lives. 

In the opening scenes Chan's beloved mother dies and she is left to cope on her own.  Her independent and self-sufficient nature mean that she tries to keep her head down and lives quietly, and not get involved in violence and disorder. One day she makes an extraordinary discovery - a way to return the Australia to Earth. But she needs to be careful, there are too many people who might want to do her wrong and she doesn't want to die in the process of trying to save the ship. Good twists and turns and what I really liked were the descriptions of the structure of the ship. 

This book will appeal to students who have enjoyed Wool and Red Rising, it is gritty and different to lots of the current crop of young adult books.

South Dunedin - a video

The Otago Regional Council have published a series of videos which demonstrate how the land in the South Dunedin and St Clair area has been altered and changed since the time that the land was settled.  These have been shared widely in the Dunedin community recently, but in case you haven't seen them, I'm going to share them here.

This is the land that King's High School sits on and where many of our students live.  It makes for interesting viewing in the light of the floods which affected our area last year.  The market gardens which feature in this video are where King's High School sits right now.


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