www.whyville.net Jun 13, 2003 Weekly Issue

What's Up This Week?

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As many of you have already noticed, this week's Times is much smaller than the average one has been recently -- though it's still bigger than our first issue was!

The reason for the size decrease is pretty simple, actually, and a little tragic: the Times database of article submissions was attacked by a computer virus. While we were able to recover several files, most have been wiped out, clean.

That's the bad news. The good news is, we at the Times want to take a constructive angle on this event. To that end, we will be holding "auditions" for special writing positions within the paper. Winners of this competition will be known as "Whyville Times Summer Staff" in their bylines, and will receive special bonuses for their best works.

To win, you will have to reach a high level of journalism. You will choose five of the following topics, and write about each of them in a separate article, using the point of view of a professional journalist. Personal opinions should be kept to a minimum unless you are able to cite three different sources (not all websites!) that support your position. Every statement of fact should be easily proven, and anything controversial should have something other than "I think this way". Quoting real people (other writers, scientists, politicians -- kids and adults!) is good. Focus on analytical thoughts and science-related subjects. We're looking for persuasive arguments here, and nothing's more persuasive than irrefutable facts.

    Here are the topics. If you're interested in something else, feel free to write the Editor to suggest it. Focus on current events!

  1. Stem cell research. (including, Exactly what are stem cells, and why are people for/against using them to learn about cancer?)
  2. Changing personal freedoms in America, etc. (including, Should you have to show your face for a driver's liscence if it's against your religion? Is there a solution to make everyone happy?)
  3. National economics. (including, How can tax cuts improve an economy? and How does a country's education affect its economy?)
  4. Spacecraft. (including, What did the Apollo missions give the U.S.?, Why don't other countries have more major space programs?, and Why do people disagree about whether there was life on Mars, etc?)
  5. SARS/AIDS/cancer/other diseases. (including, What's the latest major illness crossing the globe, what are its effects, and what does it take for us to prevent it?)
  6. Computer technology. (including, How does a computer work? from the details of a microprocessor to the theory behind computer memory)
  7. Cars and the environment. (including, How do hybrid cars work, and how are they better than pure electric cars?)
  8. Diets. (focus on the positive -- What makes a good diet? What do specific foods do for your health? -- rather than the negative, like anorexia and fast food)
  9. Fossils and dinosaurs. (including, Is evolution valid?)
  10. Programming. (including, What's the difference between a compiler and an interpreter?, When should you use one language over another?, and What is object-oriented programming?)
  11. Intellectual property. (including, How does intellectual property work in Whyville -- among the citizens and in our User Agreement?)

All submissions will be looked at equally, even Times Writers, so be sure to get your most rigorous, creative thinking caps on before you start!

Looking forward,
Times Editor


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