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Countdown to HP-6 Week 1

By the time you'll be reading this, there will be only 36 days left for the release of the sixth book in the series. Basically, we're having Harry Potter related coverage because of the obvious excitement about upcoming release. This is the first editorial, and we're going to have at least 5-6 more of these. All throughout the month (and hopefully the next) you'll have me ranting on and on at how JKR is ruining a franchise that had so much potential, discussing the plot, speculating on some upcoming "twists" JKR had kept for us and the future of mankind in general. After the book is out, we'll have an in-depth review of it. And in the end, there'll be another review of the Bangla translation of Prisoner of Azkaban (which, to say the least, is a mess).

Since the new book is titled Half Blood Prince (HBP), you might be thinking, who's that prince? Well, JKR already said that Harry or Voldemort will not be the HBP. Actually, there's very little information with us to try to speculate. But when you consider JKR's tendency of introducing completely new stuff (and often, characters) who are very important to the plot in every single new book, you'd say that our new prince would surely be some new character. Either that, or it's Tom Riddle (Tom Riddle and Voldemort aren't the same person. Tom was this ambitious brainy (and messed up) human while Voldemort is some kind of extremely dark power.

Obviously JKR's going to commit some mass murder in the upcoming two books… you know, like killing off characters by the dozen. According to her, it makes the story interesting. No wonder she has decided to write crime fiction when she's done with the series. Anyway, on to the editorial and let's see who are (almost) obviously going to die.

Remember in the first book in Harry's first class with Snape, he was asked some considerably tough questions related to potion ingredients? After proving Harry to be a "troll", Snape tells us three things:

1) "...asphodel and wormwood make a sleeping potion so powerful it is known as the Draught of Living Death."
2) "A bezoar is a stone that is taken from the stomach of a goat and it will save you from most poisons."
3) "...monkshood and wolfsbane, they are the same plant, which also goes by the name of aconite."

The important fact here is that Monkshood is indeed a real plant - a hooded, poisonous plant which also goes by the name of aconite. In the graveyard scene from Goblet of Fire, Wormtail is hooded - we are told this more than once. The plant monkshood has the word hood in it, and it is poisonous. As we can assume Wormtail to be hooded and poisonous in his own way.

But what does it have to do with anything? The plant is also known as wolfsbane. The word "bane" means death, kill, or poison. Lupin is a werewolf. Wolf's bane? If there's more to Snape's words than just random information, he could be saying that Wormtail (monkshood) IS Lupin's death (wolfsbane). Also note the fact that in other legends, werewolves are nearly invincible and can only be killed but silver swords or bullets. In the fourth book, Peter Pettigrew gets a nice, new, shiny silver hand that can easily crush things. Now, we wonder what might happen if he crosses paths with a certain werewolf out for a night time stroll?

In the Marauder's Map, the Marauders' names are in the order of "Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs." Interesting order. Of the Marauders, Prongs died first so his name appeared last. Then came Padfoot. Who's next, Wormtail? But if he dies before Lupin, who'll kill our werewolf? It's obvious that JKR won't let any of the Marauders live.

I'll be ending this here. Next week, I'll probably be covering some more interesting stuff. Like how the prophecy says that Neville has to kill Harry (so that Voldemort somehow automatically dies…
you know, balancing the equation as in the Matrix.) Or maybe on how Snape is acting both as an Order member and a Death Eater. Probably I'll show you in detail how JKR is ruining the franchise. Probably. [niloy.me@gmail.com]

By Niloy

Book review
Big Night Out

Do you remember my book review of "Girl's Night Out, Boy's Night In"? Well, if you have checked it out for yourself and simply loved it, you will definitely want to take a peek at "Big Night Out", the sequel. The Royalties from every copy of 'Big Night Out' go towards War Child's valuable work throughout the world. Part of that includes providing communication and education projects for children.

This book has a certain twist in it, which means it'll take a while before you get the hang of it. While the other two prequels consisted of solid stories that drew you into the core of the book, and made it impossible for you to put down, 'Big Night Out' seems to be almost, boring, at the very beginning when you read it for the very first time. However, the second time you read it, you'll actually find yourself enjoying it. The title 'Big Night Out' isn't really a collection of just good stories, it's a compilation of some very good fiction, some excellent party tips, excellent recounts of big nights out, and even a few haphazard thoughts by some the most famous stars.

Quoted below: " (Big Night Out has) over 30 fantastic new short stories from best-sellers like Marian Keyes, Candace Bushnell and Karen Moline, and award winners like Patrick Neate, plus party tips from celebs who really know how to have a good time…

Start the night with Stella McCartney, then let Joan Collins and Kate Moss sort your look. Nick Hornby and Steve Coogan provide the music, Jamie Oliver whip up the hangover cures, and Bob Geldof take care of the morning after the night before."

Smart, serious, funny, sad and brilliant by turns, 'Big Night Out' is not only a great read, it also raises funds for War Child, the international Charity for children affected by war. It presents to us the best in modern writing…and a lot more. So, don't go without it!

By Jennifer Ashraf

He who made it big
Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) -- $100 billion

You know you have serious clout when universities are named after you. An American steamship and railroad builder, financier, promoter, and executive, Vanderbilt left an estate of roughly $100 million, which, in 2001 dollars, represents an astonishing $100 billion. A man of incredible energy (and obviously remarkable time-management abilities), his intricate sense of business left his rivals in the dust.

Vanderbilt, Cornelius, 17941877, American railroad magnate, b. Staten Island, N.Y. As a boy he ferried freight and passengers from Staten Island to Manhattan, and he soon gained control of most of the ferry lines and other short lines in the vicinity of New York City. He further expanded his shipping lines and came to be known as Commodore Vanderbilt. In 1851, when the gold rush to California was at its height, Vanderbilt opened a shipping line from the East Coast to California, including land transit across Nicaragua along the route of the proposed Nicaragua Canal. In Central America he came to be a violent opponent of the military adventurer William Walker.

After the outbreak of the Civil War, he entered the railroad field, and by 1867 he had gained control of the New York Central RR. Although his efforts to gain control of the Erie RR proved unsuccessful, Vanderbilt vastly expanded his railroad empire and by 1873 connected Chicago with New York City by rail. He amassed a great fortune and gave $1 million to found Vanderbilt University, at Nashville, Tenn.; coeducational; chartered 1872 as Central Univ. of Methodist Episcopal Church, founded and renamed 1873, opened 1875 through a gift from Cornelius Vanderbilt.

Lightsaber secrets

The 1977 movie "Star Wars" became immensely popular because it is a tale of the struggle of good against evil. The story, written and directed by George Lucas, is a science fiction space odyssey that takes place a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. The main protagonists of this saga are Jedi Knights with special powers that can tap a universal Force that enables them to move objects by telekinesis and to control the behavior of people through mind control. Jedi knights learn their craft from the pointy-eared Jedi master Yoda, whose charismatic personality is augmented by his use of English sentences with non-standard grammatical structure.

Two of the main characters of the story are Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, siblings who are members of the resistance against the Imperial forces led by Darth Vader, the evil Jedi Knight subverted by the dark side of the force. Luke will later learn that Darth Vader is his father. Some of the scenes that made the film unforgettable were the action sequences with state-of-the-art special effects.

The technique used to create the lightsaber effect consists of filming actors sparring with props composed of handles that have rods attached to them.

Using a process called rotoscoping, the film is processed frame by frame by drawing the outline of each lightsaber blade onto an animation cel and painting the correct color for the blade. Each animation cell is placed over a black background and filmed with a diffuser over the lens to get the glow around the edges of the lightsabers.

The actual footage from the movie is double-exposed onto this same film to obtain the final result. A similar technique is used with video recorders, but the frames of the digitized images are manipulated and merged using graphics computer programs.


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