Update : Due to persistent issues at our web hosting company, we are moving TONIGHT on 4/9. You might see some issues rest of this week as we sort them out, after which Youngzine should be back to normal.
This week we have a short issue on Youngzine as many schools are out on spring break.
It is also a time for us to address some performance issues with our website. You may have had problems with Youngzine pages loading very slowly this week or seen site down messages. Please know that we are on top of it and working with our web provider to address the issue.
While a temporary fix has been made by our web hosting company, we will be doing a major upgrade to a fast server on 4/12. If you experience any downtime when you visit Youngzine over the course of next week, please bear with us. And be sure to come back if you caught us at a time when the site is down. Once the upgrade is complete, Youngzine pages should load up in a jiffy!
Thank you so much for your patience.
Meanwhile, we hope you are enjoying the first days of spring.
Do you know someone famous or an expert in a field? How would you like to be a reporter and have your interview published on Youngzine?
You will see an article from Will Clifford this week in the Science and Tech section. Will had an opportunity to interview Dr. Leonard Adleman, a pioneer in a new area of computing -- called DNA computing. We were planning on writing on the same topic and were pleasantly surprised to see his article.
That got us thinking -- how cool it would be if our readers could interview important people they might know. Perhaps a scientist, an astronaut, an artist, an author, a museum curator, an environmentalist, someone in politics etc. You may have someone in your family or in your friends circle!
We recently had an archeologist take questions from you, and are awaiting her response any time now. This would be a great way for you, our young readers to introduce other Youngziners to experts in the field.
So, if you know someone and would like to interview them, please drop us a note with a name and the field they are in. Of course you will need your parents' permission as well.
Send us an email to email@example.com if you are interested in being a young reporter!
It is hard to believe we are already nearing the end of January. We hope the New Year is going well for you, and you are on track with what you hope to accomplish this year -- be it in academics, music, sports or other passions.
We at Youngzine, are looking forward to an exciting year ahead. It will be a new journey for us, as we become a non-profit and look at ways to raise funding so we can continue and build on what we are doing.
This week, you may have noticed that the two science articles were written by Sarah Charley. Sarah is a science writer and has written previously for NOVA and other science publications. When Sarah and I met, it was as if she instinctively knew what Youngzine was about -- using news to explain the science and inspire young minds! Her passion for making complex topics simple shows in her article on Radiation.
Sarah will be writing a few articles for us over the next few months, even as she pursues an internship in Washington DC. Welcome Sarah!
Meanwhile, we have added the UShare by popular request. Thanks to Clara Roberts who initiated a mini-campaign on UChat :) UShare is meant as a way to share your art work, needle work, or videos you may have created about something cool that you built, a game you created or a place you visited.
We look forward to more of your UWrites and UShares!
It has been a while since we wrote a blog post as we got busy ourselves on some organizational matters. With the New Year nearing, we have resolved to start blogging again as we miss the connection with our young readers!
We are sure each of you are looking forward to the holidays, to spending time with family and loved ones, and exchanging gifts. It is unfortunate that the joy of this holiday season has been overshadowed by a terrible tragedy in Connecticut. It is hard to make sense of what happened and it can leave many of us worried for our safety.
Tragedies such as these are meant to wake us up, to spur us into action to make our world a better and safer place. We understand that continuous media coverage on television and the internet can be overwhelming, and it may be best to stay away from sensational news because it serves no purpose.
The world IS a caring and kind place, and while we each need to be careful, you can trust loving adults and teachers around you to take care of you. We can assure you, there are many adults who are starting to talk about issues such as mental health and tighter gun control in light of this incident.
Meanwhile, make the most of your holidays. Hug your family and friends. Help the less fortunate. And most of all, accept differences with fellow human beings, because the human soul is so much bigger than ALL the differences that divide us. And when you grow into adults, we hope you will carry the torch of peace forward.
The Youngzine team will be taking a break for two weeks to spend time with our families.
It is hard to believe that summer is almost over! We hope you enjoyed articles from our fantastic team of Young Editors who were part of our summer program. We had introduced them in our last blog here. We will now be taking a two-week break starting next Monday to prepare for the school year. Why, you ask?
Firstly, and most importantly, the next two weeks is a crucial time as many teachers close out their old classrooms, and start new ones in preparation for the 2012-2013 academic year. We cannot help them if we are constantly updating new content on the website. It is also a time for us to push out a few new features and upgrades on the website.
Secondly, and equally importantly, Youngzine is a passionate effort and we are a small team. We are also parents of young children, and would like to spend time with our families as well as get our children ready for start of school year.
What happens to my UWrites?
We know some of you have sent us UWrites -- we have not forgotten you. The month of August is when our readership drops down to its lowest. We will queue up the UWrites for publication starting September 1st, when our children and classrooms return.
Will there be no activity on Youngzine?
No. We will still be publishing all your comments. We will add new videos occasionally. We will recirculate articles written by our Young Editors and UWrites that were published over summer. This is for the benefit of those readers who took a break from Youngzine over summer.
When will we be back?
You will see a few new articles on the first Monday of September, and we will be back in full swing after Labor day weekend.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
We hope you have been following articles on Youngzine over summer, written by our Young Editors. This week, we have a short issue with half the number of articles and UWrites. Our editorial team happened to be all traveling at the same time, with limited internet access. We will be back in full swing from next week.
Meanwhile, as we are midway through our summer program, we would like to introduce our fantastic and truly international team of Young Editors who have joined us this year. We are thrilled with the quality of articles they have been sending us -- which could very well be mistaken for pieces written by adults! :)
My name is Rachel Kenney, I am 14, and in the fall I will be in 9th grade. I live in Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA, where it is hot and dry in the summer. I live with my mom, dad, and little sisters Hannah and Emma. I am a major history nerd, especially when it comes to American history. I also love to read, write fictional stories and poetry, and babysit. I am involved in a local 4-H club where I am the Vice President. In the future I hope to be a social worker and have a family.
My name is Shreya. Although I'm an Indian, I live in Belgium. I am twelve years old (turning thirteen) and I will be in 8th grade after the summer vacation. My interests include Science (specifically physics): Energy, Force, Machines, Physicists etc. History is interesting to me too and I would love to write articles about it. My hobby is painting and I learn about artists and their paintings. I also like to read.
I live in Bay Area, California and will be entering 8th grade in the Fall. I have been an avid Youngzine member for a long time and have written numerous articles as Young Editor, as well as several UWrites. I am very passionate about music and have been learning a form of South Indian Classical Music. I also sing modern pop, and am part of a show choir in my school. I enjoy playing competitive tennis and am an ardent fan of Roger Federer. My other interests are reading books, science, following politics and playing video games.
My name is Akila and I live in the Garden State of New Jersey. I am 11 years old and have just finished the 5th grade. I love to read and play the piano and violin. I also play basketball. I am a First Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. Though I do not watch much TV, I get my share of fun and news from Youngzine. I love making Friends and interacting with them. I hope you will enjoy reading my articles on Youngzine.
My name is Amelia and I live on the east coast of Australia. I'm home schooled, but if I was in school, I'd be in grade 4. I am a vegan and love all animals (especially cats!). I like to write—in fact my perfect day would be writing all day! I also draw and read a lot. I write a blog about animals, at creaturesncritters.blogspot.com. I also love going to the beach, which is very close by. I really love playing with my two cats, who are adorable!
I am 14 years old, born in New Delhi, India, lived in Singapore for 13 years and moved to Texas this year. I just finished middle school, and will begin my first year at high school this August. I love reading, writing, swaveboarding, playing volleyball, basketball, track, swimming, cricket and soccer, doing quilling (an art of making 2D & 3D figures with strips of paper), singing, debating and videography.
Hi! My name is Meera, and I am a rising sophomore in sunny California. I love being a Young Editor for Youngzine; writing is actually one of my several passions. I love anything and everything to do with art, be it drawing, painting, sculpting, or web design. I am a proud member of both my school's Speech and Debate Club and Science Club. I also am an avid piano player, and have been since the tender age of five. In my spare time, one might find me swimming, reading, biking, listening to music, or watching a movie.
They say the best things come in small packages. I'd like to believe that's true. My name is Trisha. I'm 5 feet tall, 15 and currently live in Bombay, India. Writing is, and always has been, one of my greatest passions—it’s why I signed up to be a Young Editor. Aside from this, I love reading, playing tennis, horse riding and eating. If I could, I’d just eat all day long! I adore animals and share a room with possibly the most adorable Shih-Tzu puppy ever, my dog Mojito. I’ve had the opportunity to live in three different, amazing places- Bombay, Bangalore (also a city in India), and the Philippines, and I’m extremely grateful to have been able to do so. This has definitely sparked off a love of globe-trotting in me. I want to travel the world and share all my experiences with people through writing.
Update 5/30: We are thrilled with the overwhelming response to our Junior Editor program. We will be following up by email with all those who are interested and are not taking any new entries.
Last year, we held our very first summer program where we invited Young Editors to join our team from June 15 to August 15. We selected six children from all those who had expressed an interest. And boy were we impressed with the young team!
This summer, we are back with our second annual Young Editor program. First lets answer some questions that might come to your mind.
What does Young Editor mean?
Think of Young Editor as an extension of our team where you will be writing main Youngzine articles. As part of the editorial team, you will help select topics for an issue and work on ones that are of interest to you. We will work with you and after the first 1-2 articles, you should be up and running on your own. We understand summer is also a time for vacations, and we are flexible with how many articles you want to write and your availability.
What do we expect from a Young Editor?
Good writing skills and the ability to communicate your thoughts clearly are most important, since you are writing for other young readers. If you have been a Youngziner and read the main articles, that is pretty much the format we expect. We use current events to explain the background context, and hence some basic research will be needed. It is important the articles by unbiased and state both points of view of an issue. And of course your articles have to be original -- no plagiarizing! We will send you guidelines a week before.
How can I apply?
If you wrote for Youngzine last summer, and are interested in doing so again, we welcome you back! If you are interested in writing for Youngzine and we have not seen your work so far, send us an email at editor@youngzine and we will send you the next steps.
How does being a Young Editor help me?
- It is an opportunity for you to develop your writing skills. Youngzine articles are a unique blend of factual writing and a bit of storytelling narrative.
- Your work is highlighted and seen by thousands of young readers all over the world.
- Your knowledge on topics deepens, broadens and widens as you research into articles.
- Working with a small team will give you a real-world experience.
- You will be giving back to the community as you join us on the mission behind Youngzine -- to inspire children and build an awareness of this interconnected, interdependent world we live in.
- Finally, we would be happy to acknowledge your contributions should you need it for the admission process.
Can I see some sample works by Young Editors?
Absolutely! Here are links to a few articles written last summer by different Youngziners.
See that little dot in the picture? It isn't a smudge on the screen or a speck of dust. It is us -- our planet Earth suspended in a ray of sunlight!
In 1977, NASA launched a spacecraft, Voyager 1, to study the planets Jupiter and Saturn, and their moons. On February 14, 1990, as the spacecraft reached the outer fringes of our solar system, NASA engineers turned it around for one last look at our home planet. And there it was -- a pale blue dot only 0.12 pixel in size suspended in a vast empty space.
Carl Sagan, the famous astronomer, wrote an inspiring speech based on this picture. It is my all time favorite as it puts things in perspective, and as I listened to it yet again, I felt compelled to write this blog.
As Sagan states it so beautifully -- we live on a glorious planet, the only home we've got. Yet, it is on this very same pale blue dot that history has witnessed the worst of human nature. Ideologies that divide mankind, and hatred and intolerance that turn man against man. Sadly, it all begins with a difference of opinion -- one that blinds us to another viewpoint and has its roots in fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of change.
If only we could embrace the differences, and be guided by the humanity, compassion and kindness that is there in each of us. The greatest changes in society and innovations in technology come from those who tread boldly into the unknown and question the status quo -- not for their own personal glory but for the greater good of humanity.
We are here today, gone tomorrow. The footprints we leave behind will define our legacy.
We hope our readers had a wonderful spring break. Our small team has been traveling as well, which is why you have not received timely responses to the UWrites and any other questions you may have. We will be getting back to you next week.
Since we have many children who are new to Youngzine, we thought we would address some of the frequently asked questions in this week's blog.
How do I submit an article for UWrite?
Send us your article at firstname.lastname@example.org, We review all submissions and will let you know within a week if it is approved for publishing.
Why is my UWrite not up?
We received a whole bunch of UWrites from our readers in the month of March and are still processing them. We apologize if we told you two weeks, we are four to five weeks behind.
We realize you are eager to have your articles published. For now, we are continuing with four new UWrites every week as it gives Youngziners time to read and comment on your articles. We are watching this closely, and may change it to eight per week if needed. Meanwhile, please be assured that we are doing our best to get your articles up in the order we received them :)
How do points for comments work?
We made a change to the points system last September. You will receive points for only one comment on an article. If you are adding more than one comment in an article, we believe it is because you are having a meaningful conversation with another Youngziner, and not gaming for points!! Our whole reasoning behind the points system is to encourage reading.
Why do my points sometimes go down?
It is possible that when you log into your account the next day, you may see your points go down. Why does it happen? Well, any comments you make come to us -- the Youngzine team, for approval. At the same time, you are awarded points for making the comment. If we do not approve your comment, your points are taken away.
When would the Youngzine team not approve a comment? If we find a comment to be repetitive (you have already mentioned it before), disrespectful, or asking or revealing personal information (your privacy is very important to us), we delete them.
We want Youngzine to be a safe and positive place where young readers can actively discuss a topic in a respectful manner. We also want all our readers to feel comfortable expressing their viewpoints. There are as many opinions in this world as there are people! We believe understanding and respecting another's point of view, even if we do not agree, is a very important skill as our world gets more and more interconnected.
We hope we have answered all your questions. If you have any others, add them to the comment box and we will get back to you.
We love sharing some of the wonderful, inspiring TED videos that we come across. This week, we look at how simple questions have led to the greatest scientific discoveries, and all it takes is a curious mind!
Coincidentally, just last week, the Intel Science Fair finalists were announced from a group of 40 who had been selected from across the country. The top prize, an award of $100,000 went to Michigan teen Nithin Tumma for his breakthrough work in cancer research. Nithin looked at proteins that trigger the growth and slow-down of cancer cells. The second and third places went to Andrey Sushko of Washington for developing a miniature motor, and to Mimi Yen of New York for her work on evolution and genetics.
Now, while these projects may seem intimidating, real science is simply a matter of observing the world around us and questioning it -- not taking what we see for granted. While we may not come up with a breakthrough discovery, the questions we ask will move science forward. Check out this fascinating video!