Greenlawn holds a Science Bed Race

At the beginning of May, the town of Greenlawn on Long Island, New York, held their first ever science bed race.

What is a science bed race you ask? Well, it is basically formed off of the original idea of a bed race. Bed races involve people building structures that resemble a twin size bed, that they then put four wheels, of their choice, onto the bed frame so that it will easily roll. Then, you simply push the bed along a race course. In regards to a science bed race, the twist is that beds and sometimes competitors are decked out in science related themes. It is used to bring science more into the spotlight within communities so they are willing to get more involved with educational programs that will benefit their students.

In Greenlawn, the non-profit organization, Science-A-Peel, decided to hold their first annual science bed race because they wanted to work with a New York State initiative. The initiative asked asked for towns and communities to raise science awareness and get parents and kids more involved with the field. The state of New York realized that less and less students were able to pass the science proficiency exam, and felt that they needed to take matters into their own hands. Science-A-Peel couldn’t agree more and felt the need to start the race so that community groups such as boy scouts, local businesses, and families could showcase an interest in science, while learning and having fun at the same time. Science-A-Peel hopes that the race, and future races, will show students that science can be fun and exciting and that it is an important part of our lives.

An 1800 style Halloween!

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Nestled amongst a residential area in Old Bethpage lies a living history site, Old Bethpage Village Restoration, which brings to life Long Island’s past.

Unpaved pathways lead to the main attractions of the site of a Long Island farm village from the mid-19th century. There are about 80 buildings on the premise, with 13 of them being houses that are spread out on the 209 acres.

During the last two weekends of October, the village holds an annual event focused around Halloween. The event is known as an 1880 Long Island Halloween. It’s kid friendly and offers much more than spooky sites and sounds. The cost is around $10 a person.

Christine Scott, the costume coordinator for the village was walking around in a time period appropriate black dress, giving her the eerie appearance of being a witch to fit in with the event.

According to the Scott, “the museum itself was actually put together in the 1960′s as a living history site.”  She said “the buildings are from all around what was considered Queens County in the 1880′s which was all of Nassau and Queens.” A few of the buildings are also from Suffolk County as well.

Many of the homes that are open for visitors to walk through have secret surprises around every corner, waiting to spook you. In one particular home, children were running up and down the stairs, warning people who were about to turn the corner that something up ahead was bound to scare to them.

The houses, which are decorated as if it were back in the 1880’s stay true to their historical nature at this time of year, except beware when you peer into the various rooms because there are bloody statues, witches, and skeletons lurking in the corners to add a little fun.

Scott, who was standing outside of one of the supposed haunted homes on the site had just finished up giving ghost tours and telling stories. She said she enjoys “being able to go around and inform people about stories you will hear about no other time of the year.” She continued “If you come back next week and say I hear this house is haunted, I’ll go ‘really, never heard that.’ We only talk about it Halloween time, just a little extra special thing.”

Besides hearing her ghoulish tales as she stands upon a platform that resembles what witches were hung on back in the day, Scott said there are many more activities and events going on that embrace the Halloween spirit.

“There’s musicians, story tellers, the headless horseman, and the Grimm reaper. You can go and stand yourself in a casket and take a picture of yourself acting like your dead, all sorts of fun stuff like that,” said Scott.

Bob Dawson, who also works at the village, participates as just a volunteer. Dawson stood in the graveyard, a body was lying next to a newly dug grave. As a volunteer, “we do whatever the village needs us to do, and we come here and work in the graveyard,” said Dawson.

The graveyard was one of many locations on the site that was offering a Halloween attraction. For Ariel Seligman, from Massachusetts, she enjoyed the cemetery. “I like creepy stuff some days and learning about how a grave was dug is kind of interesting.”

If seeing a fake body being thrown into a grave is a bit too scary, the 1880 Halloween event featured milder sites and activities. Children dressed as ghosts, witches, and other characters were welcomed to participate in the costume parade. Chris Foley, along with his wife and three children from Massapequa said they came “to get outside and see the Halloween special that was going” and their children absolutely loved being apart of the parade.

Probably the most popular attraction of the day was the Monster Hunt. When entering the main lobby, kids were handed sheets with the names of all the monsters hiding about. The objective was to find the monsters, get their signatures, and at the end of your visit, you could get a little surprise.

The combination of quaint buildings, actors in time period clothing, the smells of a real farm, hidden secrets, and family friendly fun, make Old Bethpage Village Restoration a great place to visit, especially in the fall and during the Halloween celebration.

“Right now the leaves are changing, the weather is gorgeous and just being able to spend time with your family is the best part. It’s a safe environment, and oh goodness gracious, you might actually learn something cool and historical,” said Christine Scott.

Fall Time!

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a magical theme park of food and fun?

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A restaurant in The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter

Every young child dreams of stepping into their favorite book or story, and at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, kids of all ages, young and old, get to experience the magic that is Harry Potter. This past week I flew down to Orlando with my the roommates and visited the park based off of the Harry Potter book series. The park itself is embedded into Universal Studios. In the above picture I’m standing in front of the Three Broomsticks. In the book series, the Three Broomsticks is a pub like restaurant. At the park, the Three Broomsticks embodies a traditional English pub, where fish and chips is one of the most popular dishes. The Three Broomsticks, although simple inside, gives fans a taste of what it would be like to be a Hogwarts student, searching for good eats on a weekend. I highly recommend the restaurant, although the food is a bit pricey, it’s worth the fun and atmosphere.

Now for the question on everyone’s mind, what’s the deal with the butterbeer? For anyone interested in visiting the park, one thing always seems to be on their mind and list of to dos, trying butterbeer. In the series, the characters are always going to pubs and ordering a mug of the frothy drink. At the park, they offer two kinds of butterbeer, frozen or regular. You can even get your butterbeer in a neat collectible mug, as shown above. So, what is it like? Well, the drink itself is extremely sweet, so make sure you have a sweet tooth! The drink tastes like butterscotch and is basically a glorified club soda type beverage with a special foam they place on top, to make you feel like you’re really drinking beer. I recommend everyone to try it, just for fun. I found it a bit too sweet for myself, but if you are willing to get a sugar high, try it in frozen form, it really helps with beating the hot Florida heat! A fun fact about the drink is that when you order your butterbeer in frozen form they give you a straw, but, if you order the regular version you can’t use a straw because it causes the foam to expand. Are you up to the tasting?

Technology undresses us for safety, or so they say.

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Airports are taking safety to a whole new level these days, scanning through our clothes, and searching our bodies for weapons and illegal contraband. ABC News posted an interesting article this morning about the controversy, titled “Despite Criticism, DHS to Deploy more Full Body Scanners At US Airports.” Timothy Fleming, the writer for the piece says that although a great deal of criticism is being dealt out in regards to the scanners, that the Department of Homeland Security plans to deploy the full-body scanners in at least eight additional airports across the country.

New York Times posted this picture of a TSA sign at O’Hare International Airport

Most of the concern regarding the machines deals with their reliability and if they are truly necessary. Fleming goes on to say that groups throughout the country, including those dealing with civil liberties, have complained that the images created by the machines, are taking away passengers privacy for no good reason. The DHS believes that they are taking privacy into great consideration, saying that the machines blur passengers “private parts, “  and that immediately after the pictures are taken and viewed, they are destroyed. Yet, many airport guests are intimated by the fact that someone in a room somewhere is looking at them in a very intimate and personal way. How would you like it if someone you didn’t know was scanning your body?

Twitter users have taken to social media to tweet their thoughts on the scanning. Many have been retweeting the article posted by ABC News, or listing airports they know are using the scanners. However, many users are keeping their own thoughts on the scanners to themselves, simply asking their followers their opinions on the matter.

For now, many travelers are questioning whether or not the DHS is indeed deleting the pictures from the scanner, and whether or not the airports are taking passengers privacy into consideration. Will the machines really stop terrorism in our air? According to the article, Chris Calabrese, who serves on the legislative council for the American Civil Liberties Union, says that “Terrorists have already found a way to beat the machines.” Whether or not we will see any improvements in the safety of our airlines remains to be seen, but with time, the DHS hopes fliers will come to accept the scanners. Will you?