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Homework without Wikipedia

If you're a teacher, you've learnt by now that instead of checking each student's homework you're better off reading through the whole Wikipedia page once. It saves you a lot of time and trouble. Yes, by that we meant that nearly every student known to mankind just Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V's a bunch of information from Wikipedia and submits it.

Now, we won't go into the details about these two new legislations the United States is trying to pass (there was another article last week for that). All you need to know for the purposes of this article is that in protest against said legislations (called SOPA and PIPA), Wikipedia blacked out for an entire day. Wanting revenge for years of torture, obviously, the teachers all assigned giant piles of homework to students due the day after Wiki blacked out.

So, we at Rising Stars conducted a quick survey asking all of our readers (yes, you) how you coped with the recent black out.

Now the first thing you need to realise is that we Bangalis are Bangalis. We find a way to bypass every law. So, unsurprisingly, the most common answer was that they found loopholes to avoid the blackout. Pressing the ESC-key before the blackout page loads was a favourite. There was also print-screening of pages. That's creative.

Then, certain others told us that, 'We're Asian. We don't need Wikipedia, it needs us.' Yes, they are so smart they don't need to refer to any of these silly websites. We don't think these people count though; they're not a part of the normal human population. We're supposed to be Asians, too, and we certainly aren't that good.

Others weren't as loyal to Wikipedia. They promptly used Google to find a replacement site. Some did the assignment beforehand because they knew Wikipedia was going to black out. Some didn't do it, only because they had no sources of information. Others never intended on doing the homework at all.

Finally, some went old school. They used, dare I say it, a text book. How they found such primitive tools is beyond us. Perhaps they own a time machine. Oh, and one of them printed the whole website out... Yeah, right.

There you have it folks. The myth has been busted. It is possible to do your homework without Wikipedia. We'd like to thank the US Government for making it possible for us to test it out. Next week: Rebecca Black - does she really exist?

Dogfight of Death

My aircraft jerked heavily as three bullets exploded on my left wing. “Control, I'm hit! I'm hit!” Smoke billowed out of the port side, like streamers on balloon. I struggled to keep the plane in the air.

As I glanced back, I saw the F-16 behind me, weaving into a better position to take me out completely. I lifted the stick and tried to take cover in the clouds, but the strain was too much for my damaged wing. There was a small explosion and suddenly I began dropping out of the sky, with the F-16 mercilessly hounding me, spraying bullets everywhere.

The world was spinning and I was desperately trying to exert some manner of control over my craft. Out of nowhere, a friendly Mig-29 fighter appeared. The F-16, intent on taking me down, noticed it a little too late. I heard the loud hiss of the missile and a loud explosion. My tail was clear and I managed to level the plane.

But now I had another problem: landing the fighter. As I looked down I could see only trees. I aimed for a valley a few clicks out, but one of my engines gave out and I knew I would never make it. Radar showed other planes closing in on my position. The Mig-29 covered me, but for how long?

I aimed for a small clearning up ahead. I gently lowered the stick, gliding in. Bullets swished by and I saw the MiG go down to a flaming death into the forest. Through massive turbulence, I headed for the deck.

Just, as I thought I was going to make it, my auxiliary fuel, sending out licks of red hot fire. I pulled the eject cord and shot up into the sky as the plane went down the highway to hell. I pulled out my pistol as I parachuted down to the ground, but the fighters left me alone thanks to the unwritten code between fighter pilots of not shooting a downed man.

I sat leaning on a tree, listening to the gunfire coming from miles away. I sat there for a few hours and fell asleep when I heard the sound of helicopter blades. The rescue chopper was here. As I climbed up the ladder, I knew that this was one brush with death that I'll never forget.

By Muhammad Wasif Hasan, Class VI


The Hunger Games

I once read about Theseus, the Greek hero who volunteered himself as a tribute along with 13 others to be used as fodder for the Minatour. Katniss, the protagonist of The Hunger Games reminded me much about this mythical hero but before we go introducing the heroine, an idea about the setting of the book must be established.

Suzanne Collins introduced us to the world of Panem which is made up of 12 districts and one dominating Capitol. In the course of the plot she gives readers a brief glimpse of how the districts rebelled against the capitol 74 years ago and was defeated. Since then, the Hunger Games sprouted out to add insult to injury to the districts as each district have to send a male and a female tribute to participate in the hunger games where these tributes must fight each other to stay alive and out of the 24 participants the last man standing wins a life of riches.

Now, if you are thinking you have some sort of a Gladiator-ish book in your hand then you'll be disappointed. There's enough killing and hunting down opponents in the book but the writer didn't want her book confined within barbarism and decided to go more with surviving against all odds theme, which brings us to our unlikely protagonist Katniss Everdeen.

According to the rules of the game, all children of age 12 to 18 must enter their name in the preliminary choosing and 16 year old Katniss was forced to volunteer as a tribute as her 12 years old sister who entered her name for the first time gets selected. To make matters worse, the male tribute of district 12 becomes one Peeta Mellark whom for sentimental reasons Katniss refuses to kill.

Suzanne Collins wasted no time to put the readers in the shoes of Katniss Everdeen, for whom survival is as easy as breathing. She can hunt, track, climb and most surprisingly shoot an arrow in the heart of any animal even in the dark. The writer, straight from the beginning takes readers into her mind which makes reading to book one exciting roller coaster ride. But as any ride, there are ups and downs throughout the book. The ups being the really thrilling parts of the game where Katniss teams up with a 12 years old girl to fight off a gang of 5 career tributes (kids who are specially trained to win the hunger games) and the downs being the parts where she just hides and survives the different ordeals the authority prearranged for the participants.

Even with all the excitement of the games, the book has some major drawbacks. Firstly, it lacks strong characters as no one besides Katniss gets much spotlight. Although Haymitch, the drunk and impulsively smart mentor of district twelve's tributes and a previous champion of the games started getting interest, the writer for some unknown reason refused to reveal much about him. Another drawback of the book is when the writer suddenly decides to introduce a triangular love scenario in the book which was of course terrifying to read for me but some girls might actually like it. Luckily, the love thingy was cut short as the writer wisened up and decided to go with more killing, action and politics.

Overall, the book is amazing to read but if you are used to reading the 1500 page gigantic books of Tolkien or Martin then the Hunger Games might be over for you a little too soon.

By Mahir


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