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Planking: a brief history

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ward_planking_featureFor any of you that have seen this fad in action, I would imagine that your first reaction was just as confused as mine. It is a strange and seemingly pointless activity which many of you know as “planking.” While it has other names-- “the lying down game” (England), “playing dead” (Korea), “facedowns” (Ireland), and “on one’s belly” (France)-- most of us were introduced to the fad as “planking.” Some were first exposed to it while looking at pictures on Facebook, some were told by a friend, and some even had the chance of seeing it firsthand.

When sophomore Paul Sanders came across a picture of somebody planking on Facebook for his first time he “thought they took the picture standing and just needed to rotate it.”

The rules are that the person must be lying flat on their stomach with their arms at their sides, while pointing their fingers and toes directly behind them. Next, a picture must be taken to document the plank. This is what makes the activity bigger than just someone lying down in public. The point is to find the coolest or most original place to plank, and to get a good picture while doing it.

It’s hard to think how such a seemingly pointless game could have become so world-renown, in what appeared to be a short period of time. In actuality, this “lying down game” originated roughly in the year 2000 with Christian Langdon and Gary Clarkson in England. As early teenagers, the two would have fun going to public places and taking turns lying down in random areas while the other would stand from afar and laugh at the people’s reactions. Eventually the game caught on to their friends and around their school, and people began posting pictures of themselves planking on social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace.  Its popularity skyrocketed when the two made a group for the game on Facebook in 2007.

 Since that time it has become a worldwide fad. Cases began springing up everywhere, and more accounts of accidents that occurred while planking arose in the news. Seven doctors and nurses were suspended from duty at the hospital they worked at, after being caught planking at work. There have even been incidents of those who attempt a particularly dangerous plank, and end up losing their lives.

So while you may not get it or enjoy it, it’s amazing how an activity so simple and seemingly meaningless grew into a game that has caused everything from hilarity to fatality.

 

Assistive technology is helpful

By Zoe Allen-Lewis 

Over the the past few months, I interviewed Mr. Byrd, the principal of George Mason High school, Ms. McKee, the speech-language pathologist at George Mason High School, and Mr. Lands, the technology specialist and Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) teacher at Mary Ellen Henderson middle school.  We talked about assistive technology and what it means for my classmates.

Assistive technology is technology that helps people do things that they may not be able to do.  Mr. Byrd said, “Assistive technology can be any piece of equipment or item or something that’s going to be used to help a student to maintain or improve the level of functionality of their capabilities within any given class.  It’s for students with disabilities.” Assistive technology can help students do everyday things. Mr. Lands said, “So for example ... a wheelchair is technically assistive technology because it allows people who have difficulty walking to be able to move.” Being able to move around and do everyday things is important.

Mr. Byrd says there has been a rise in assistive technology.  He used to teach self-contained special education classes at Yorkt...

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2014 Mr. and Ms. Mason, one of the best

2014 Mr. and Ms. Mason, one of the best

By Megan Butler  

There are many anticipated events that happen during the school year. The Mr. and Ms. Mason competition is one of those anticipated events of the year. The contestants of the annual Mr. and Ms. Mason competition are nominated by teachers and are seen as students who represent the ideals of Mason. This year’s competition was said to be one of the best, far better from previous years with a handful of Mason students participating and performing creative and comical acts.

“It was definitely better this year, the performances were a good amount of time and didn’t lose people’s interest. Contestants also included a lot of their peers, which was cool,” said Science teacher Will Stewart, a judge for the competition and previous Mr. Mason victor. “Mr. Knight also helped a lot to make the scoring on iPads so we could score faster and then the show went smoother.”


Some featured performances that got competitors into the finals were original dances from senior Preston Custer, senior Truman Custer, junior Arijeet Sensharma, and sophomore Blaise Sevier. Senior Maeve Curtin’s “The Weekend Update” making fun of problems at GM and Claire Trevisan’s Ellen DeGeneres impersonation h...

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The IB Diploma decision: life changing?

The IB Diploma decision: life changing?

By Erin McFall 

While seniors are anticipating graduation, all other students are anticipating the beginning of summer, and many are also are stressing about picking courses for the next year. Throughout students’ sophomore year, all students are approached about pursuing the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma during their junior/senior year. As a sophomore, I know the stresses of making decisions far in advance of the “most important year of your high school career” as touted by NoVa’s notoriously high population of high-achievers and involved parents.

 

Since the beginning of high school students have been told that every year matters, but the pressure is really laid on junior year and the big decision sophomores must make: will you do the IB diploma?

 

The choice to do the IB diploma, though maybe not earth shattering, can have a big impact on sophomores high school experience.  Numerous questions swarm in the thoughts of students, and many questions revolve around: Will it help me get into college? Is all the work really worth it? Do I have time? What happens if I don’t do it? Does that mean I’m not smart enough?

 

One of the biggest fears of possible IB ...

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Yik Yak goes down like all other passing fads

One of the hottest mobile phone apps this year disappeared from the halls of George Mason as fast as it came

By Julie Smith 

Yik Yak, a fad that tore through the halls of George Mason and high schools all across the country like rapid fire. Originally designed to spread information to college students, the app serves as a bulletin board where small communities can anonymously post whatever they want. Anonymous viewers can upvote, downvote, and even reply to the post. After the controversies over cyber bullying the app seemed to vanish as quickly as it spread.

In a CNN story about the app, co-founder Brooks Buffington said the anonymous posts are designed to give “…people a blank slate to work from, so you’re not judged on your race or sexuality or gender. On Yik Yak you are purely judged on content you create.”

Easy to use and completely anonymous, it’s no surprise the app quickly became the year’s hottest high school bullying outlet. Frustrated with being stuck in the same cramped building every single day for seven hours, students were able to cyber-attack the people physically closest to them as the app only broadcasts posts to your geographic location. It’s like downloading the...

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