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My First Year in Fifth Grade: A Teach for America Diary Part four: Tests inside and outside the classroom

Testing period has started in Texas, and that means stress and anxiety for teachers and students alike. This is a waste of time when it comes down to it — smart teachers who like to look good will do nothing but test preparation and strategies, which changes reading from a thoughtful, engaging activity to a monotonous and regimented experience. It has no positive effect on my children and is hard to channel into a productive activity.

I have one gifted and talented student, and he has been quite a handful. He is never disrespectful, but is often distracted and distracting to others. When he’s off his medication, I turn into a broken record. He has severe to moderate ADHD, and combined with his tendencies to think outside of the box, he has quite a carnival of stuff swirling in his mind at any given point. He has gotten used to various types of drugs so he is continually going through stages of adjustment and breakdown. Now, he’s got another sort of emotion running through him: sadness. His uncle just died of cancer. I learned this on Friday when I got a call on my cell from a Brownsville number I didn’t recognize.

“It happened today,” a voice told me.

It was my student. He needed someone to talk to, and out of all the numbers in his mother’s phone, he chose mine. I am still flattered. He cried here and there, kept his discussion short, but needed to talk to someone he knew well. This was the first time that I had experienced what I envisioned when applying to Teach for America: being there for the children outside of the classroom and supporting them through hardships. I guess I forgot this desire over the past few months. It was amazing.

Another memorable event recently took place: I had written so many referrals for a student’s behavior problems this year that he was actually sent to court. I was given the option of having him removed from my class, and in front of the principal, the student, and his mother, I refused. He and I were going to make this work. I needed to be the one to make it happen rather than foist it off on another teacher. This 10-year-old was sentenced to community service, and since he missed a tutorial to do it, I drove to his “weed and seed” at a local park and went over what we had done that day. He still gets angry with me now, but only when I can’t make it to see him.

The Valentine’s Day dance just passed, and I had to refuse many girls’ requests to go to the bathroom, because they wanted to talk with their friends. Fifth-graders can be very sneaky. At the end of the day, a student in fourth grade approached my classroom. (Many students, in various grades, say hi to me even if I don’t know them — I’m one of just two male teachers in the school.) I had never seen this fourth-grader, but he said, “Mr. Farnum, can you show me how to tie my tie?” This was a family affair, with his mother and sisters near the doorway smiling in appreciation. He was dressed up for the dance with his tie hanging in his hand.

“I remember when my dad taught me how to tie my tie,” I told him. “I was in eighth grade!” We did a couple of practice loops, and after a few minutes I ended up taking it from him, having him watch as I tied this tiny tie around my neck, and then giving him the final product. With his family smiling, I sent him on his way to the dance.

Cole Farnum can be reached at [email protected].

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2023 Audi Rs6 Avant First Drive Review: A Wagon Welcome In America

2023 Audi RS6 Avant First Drive Review: A wagon welcome in America

Station wagons aren’t meant to be cool these days, but nobody passed Audi Sport the memo. Then again, the 2023 Audi RS6 Avant is about as far away from the old family woodie as you can get: the German automaker may insist on branding its wagons “Avant” but that’s only the smallest of the differences between the new RS6 Avant and the unfashionable cars of old. Audi fans in North America have long watched their European counterparts enjoying several generations of a model the automaker insisted just wouldn’t sell on US shores. Now, though, Audi has relented.

It picked the perfect time for it, too. No, this isn’t the first Audi station wagon, nor the first to bear the RS logo, but it’s an unmistakable step up from what we’ve seen before. That’s something I got the full body sensorial experience of, after riding shotgun with Victor Underberg, head of technical development at Audi Sport.

The Audi RS6 Avant is indeed that fantastic to drive and the image of a station wagon be damned. “The level of power in the RS6 Avant is what will please most buyers,” Underberg suggests. “But you also get a really comfortable car and you have lots of space. Most of all, it’s quiet, we talk easily here even at a brisk pace.”

You don’t have to go excavating through the spec sheet to see what makes the 2023 RS6 Avant the most exciting station wagon to arrive in the US. That’s a magnificent 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine that not only sounds the business, but delivers power to suit.

With 591 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, I repeatedly felt how a rather large and luxurious station wagon was able to pin me in my seat as it rushed to 60 mph in roughly 3.6 seconds. Needless to say, you have to feel it for yourself. I’ve been given free reign in thrashing performance cars on both the street and track, but the RS6 Avant is truly special.

It’s the way it rotates into a corner, coupled with the immediate power delivery that really tingles the spine. The standard eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox is smooth, unobtrusive, and aggressive enough to give the RS6 Avant the driving feel of a proper sports car. Of course, it also has something to do with Audi’s Drive Select dynamic handling system which influences engine and transmission response, along with the standard Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system.

Equipped with a mechanical center differential, the AWD system feeds power to the front and rear axle at a ratio of 40:60 to give the vehicle a rear-biased driving feel. As the system detects slip, though, it can redirect up to 70-percent of torque to the front and up to 85-percent to the rear, part of the reason why the Audi RS6 Avant handles like a much smaller car.

Indeed it does feel like a much more compact performance car than it actually is, dare I say akin to an RS3? Yes, it feels as nimble, so it’s darn close. However, the RS6 Avant is on a different level than the RS3 or even the RS5. Maybe it has something to do with the larger and wider Singleframe grille, or the flared wheel arches which extend 1.6-inches on each side at the front and rear. Maybe it’s the newly-sculpted power dome hood, and those striking lateral air inlets on each side of the front bumper. Whatever it might be, there’s a sense of purity and purpose to the RS6 Avant’s design language.

With an elongated front section and a long straight roof, the styling connotes sporty performance and a roomy interior. Speaking of the interior, there’s nothing more joyous than being 6’2″ and yet still being able to seat yourself in the driver’s seat and then – without adjusting its position – comfortable stretch out in the back, too. The rising shoulder line hints at the performance hiding underneath, where all the critical components are working together to produce one hell of a ride.

As for handling, the 2023 Audi RS6 Avant will be offered with two suspension options. As standard you get an RS adaptive air suspension system, consisting of a new air spring module with a 50-percent higher spring rate, which allows the vehicle to reach a top speed of 190 mph with the right package checked off. It also has automatic level control, that either raises or further lowers the vehicle depending on the selected driving mode.

On the other hand, the sportier option is the RS sport suspension with Dynamic Ride Control dampers. Consisting of steel springs and three-way adjustable dampers, it gives the RS6 Avant the precision of a racing car when attacking tight bends. I’ve driven both, and while the RS sport suspension is a dream, I have to say I prefer the standard air suspension mostly for its adjustable nature.

But as a performance car for everyday driving on the street, the air suspension is the way to go. “You can relax in comfort mode when driving with the family, but you can go sporty when you’re alone to better enjoy the drive,” agrees Underberg. However, my ideal setup would also include the optional dynamic rear-wheel steering system, which turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction at slow speeds to reduce the turning circle and deliver better maneuverability around town. At 60 mph and above, however, the system turns the rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels for better stability and response as you dart across lanes.

Massive 16.5-inch front brakes with a ten-piston fixed caliper design, along with 14.6-inch discs at the rear, are standard. You can also have the optional ceramic brakes, with larger 17.3-inch discs at the front; they go best with the steel suspension for mild track duty. And yes, I know it sounds foolish to consider racing a station wagon on a proper racetrack, but you can do it with dignity in an RS6 Avant, of that I’ve no doubt.

Inside, it’s a combination of the comfortable and user-friendly cabin we’ve come to expect from Audi, with some endearing RS enhancements. RS sports seats wrapped in genuine black pearl Nappa leather and Alcantara are standard, while perforated Valcona leather seats are an option. Since we’re talking about a station wagon, you’ll also be pleased to hear that you get between 20 and 60 cubic feet of cargo space, depending on whether the rear seat is up or down, which is more than what most crossovers have to offer.

The MMI touch response system features two touchscreens with haptic and acoustic feedback. For all intents and purposes, the RS6 Avant is a proper luxury car. But, with a V8 engine and a slew of go-fast components, it’s also a German muscle car at the same time. Unlike conventional muscle cars, the RS6 Avant utilizes a 48-volt mild-hybrid assist system to help you save up to 0.8-liters of fuel per 62 miles of driving. It’s not an MHEV system that produces added torque, like Mercedes-Benz’s EQ Boost, but it does help save a little fuel in stop and go traffic along with the engine’s cylinder-on-demand system. It’s about as close as the 2023 RS6 Avant gets to having a conscience.

Audi Sport has been gradually growing its range of potent four-doors, and at some point someone is probably going to ask whether the RS6 Avant or the RS7 is the model to get. Now, that’s a tough choice to make if you’re looking to spend upwards of $110,000 on a high-performance German car. Truth be told, both cars are mechanically the same. You get the same engine, drivetrain, and even that 48-volt MHEV system.

Honestly, the 2023 RS7 Sportback tugs at my heart the hardest, and you can blame the tapering coupe-like roofline for that. But I’m a family man, and the RS6 Avant makes a lot of sense in the real world. You can put it this way: If I were to choose between a fast SUV and the RS6 Avant for a cross-country jaunt with the wife and kids in tow, I’d choose the RS6 Avant every time.

It’s a practical car that also makes driving at 9/10ths unexpectedly practical, too. And by that, I mean intentionally provoking slides at 5 degrees of slip angle, and coaxing the tires to deliver maximum friction. I’m not really that good of a driver, but Audi’s Underberg is, and the RS6 Avant is capable of reliably doing that over and over again.

It all sounds excessive, I know. But the RS6 Avant can handle it like a nobody’s business. You can’t do that all the time in a fast SUV – or perhaps you can, in the Audi RS Q8; stay tuned for our report on that later in December – no matter if you have close to a thousand horsepower under the hood.

You could argue that the 2023 RS6 Avant is a niche within a niche: a rarified sports car in a body style only enthusiasts are buying. You’d not be wrong, but I think that only underscores its charm, rather than detracting from it; if anything can win America back over to wagons, this could be the car to do it. Now I know what we’ve been missing all along, and we’ve been missing out on a lot.

2023 Hyundai Elantra N Officially Debuts In North America

2023 Hyundai Elantra N officially debuts in North America

The 2023 Hyundai Elantra N has officially debuted in North America with the mission of hunting down Honda Civic Type Rs and VW Golf GTIs. It’s the first Elantra to wear the N badge, and it’s the first N vehicle to wear 245-width Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires from the factory, a gentle reminder of the law-breaking performance that awaits.

We’re already aware of what’s under the hood and the mechanical wizardry underneath the Elantra N’s aggressive sheet metal. It arrives at the party with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a larger turbine wheel, a highly optimized cylinder block, and direct injection. It has 276 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque, and the engine sends power to the front wheels via an available eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox inherited from the Veloster N.

And yes, the newest Hyundai Elantra N will have a standard six-speed manual gearbox with rev-matching downshifts, great when gunning it around sweeping corners. It also has a front-axle limited-slip differential to eliminate the understeering tendency of front-wheel-drive performance cars. If you don’t like using stick, the Elantra N’s optional eight-speed automatic is worth the money for offering a collection of hi-tech and usable features first seen in the Veloster N.

The Elantra N DCT automatic has N Grift Mode that momentarily over-boosts the turbocharger, eking the engine to pump out 286 horsepower for short bursts of powerful acceleration. Also included is N Power Shift mode that enhances accelerating by maximizing engine torque when executing upshifts. Meanwhile, N Track Sense Shift applies the perfect shift timings when driving on the track, a feature that “enables drivers to avoid busy gear shifting, like a professional driver,” said Hyundai.

Other cool features like launch control, an integrated drive axle, and variable exhaust are standard, but the latter has an innovative N Sound Equalizer that teenagers will love. The 2023 Hyundai Elantra N can pipe out simulated engine sounds from Hyundai Motorsports. There’s an equalizer function for drivers to tailor-fit the car’s sound (whine, throat, and bass), at least virtually. Call it cheating, if you will, but Hyundai promises a distinctive N exhaust note with the requisite pops and crackles.

On the styling front, the Hyundai Elantra N has a love-it or hate-it façade, taking inspiration from a driver’s racing helmet. It has a lip spoiler with the N-exclusive red graphic line that runs around the car. It also has a custom N rear spoiler and a new rear diffuser to manage the airflow, while an inverted triangle N reflector and dual exhausts round up the race-ready vibe.

“Elantra N is the purest expression of our mission to date,” said Till Wartenberg, Vice President and Head of N Brand Management at Hyundai Motor Company. “Hyundai Motor’s high-performance N brand constantly aims to provide customers with a range of exciting choices for increased driving pleasure.”

Inside, Elantra N has a thicker steering wheel, a 10.2-inch infotainment touchscreen, and Apple CarPlay with Android Auto connectivity. The screen has a unique graphic interface that, said Hyundai, makes drivers feel “as if sitting in a dynamically moving VR game seat while watching a racing game screen.” We have no idea why drivers should look on the screen and not on the road while going fast, but the screen can display essential parameters like oil temperature, coolant temperature, and turbo meters if you like that sort of stuff.

The 2023 Hyundai Elantra N may arrive at the end of this year by early 2023 at the latest. Pricing is still forthcoming, but we’re pining for a sub-$35,000 MSRP.

2003 ‘Worst Year Ever’ For Viruses, Worms

In no other year have computer viruses and worms wreaked so much havoc and caused so much

damage as in this past year, according to security analysts.

And the stakes are only getting higher as we go forward.

”This has been the worst ever,” says Ken Dunham, director of malicious code at Reston,

Va.-based iDefense Inc. ”Without a doubt, malicious code came to a massive head in 2003…

we saw a huge impact of malicious code on infrastructure. We had seen worms cause some

disruption before, but mostly they’d been an annoyance. Now infrastructure is being


In 2003, viruses and worms not only caused billions of dollars in damages and clean-up

costs. They went so far as to shake the Internet’s backbone. They slowed down travel, halted

911 calls, and knocked out ATM machines. From the Slammer attack in January to the MSBlaster

and Sobig family that attacked in August, it was one rough year.

”This year was definitely the busiest one on record for us,” says Chris Belthoff, a senior

analyst at Sophos, Inc., an anti-virus and anti-spam company based in Lynnfield, Mass. ”We

started with Slammer in January and then we had BugBear in June. At the time, people thought

that was pretty bad. But then the major event of the year was the one-two punch of Blaster

and Sobig in August. They were very different — one spread machine to machine and the other

was a mass-mailing worm — but both very damaging.

”When the infrastructure was impacted, it was significant because it causes problems for

how our country operates,” says Dunham. ”And it shows how vulnerable we are. Imagine an

attack that affects ATMs right before Christmas. There could be huge cause for concern.”

Dunham says the year started off with a bang — a malicious bang — when Slammer was

released in the wild, delaying airline flights, bringing down a 911 system and stressing the

Internet’s backbone. Everyone thought worms had hit a new high in destructive capability.

But that was early in the year. Much worse was still to come.

August was the worst month on record for virus and worm attacks, according to several

anti-virus companies.

MS Blaster hit the wild with a vengeance, exploiting a flaw with Microsoft Windows’ Remote

Procedure Call (RPC) process, which controls activities such as file sharing. The flaw

enabled the attacker to gain full access to the system. The vulnerability itself, which

affects Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP machines, affects both servers and desktops,

What made it a major problem was the fact that the vulnerability affected servers and

desktops in such popular operating systems, there were potentially millions of vulnerable

computers out there.

But then along came the Sobig family of viruses.

The Sobig family hit the Internet hard, flooding email servers and inboxes. Corporate

networks staggered under the barrage with network access slowing to a crawl, and some email

systems being taken temporarily offline to stop the siege.

Sobig-F has been named the fastest spreading virus in the industry’s history. The latest

report estimates that Sobig has caused 36.1 billion in damages.

Sobig-F unquestionably wins the dubious title of ‘Worm of the year’,” says Belthoff. ”It

spread more ferociously than any virus ever seen before, swamping email inboxes. Some

companies reported seeing hundreds of thousands of infected emails every day.”

Change in Motive Ups the Ante

Analysts say what has struck them the most is the change in motive for the virus authors.

Virus writers basically created the malicious code to make a name for themselves in the

underground hacker world. The bigger the chaos they created, the bigger their infamy.

But this year, analysts saw a disturbing change.

vice president of products and services at Central Command Inc., an anti-virus company based

in Medina, Ohio. ”They’re prodding users, or phishing, for credit card information, bank

account information, Social Security numbers. The worms are better disguised because they’ve

upped the ante since they’re writing for criminal purposes now… It makes it a lot harder

to fight.”

Dunham notes that this is a significant progression in the malicious code world.

”It’s not just people who play around anymore,” he adds. ”This is creating a market for

organized crime. Credit cards. Passwords. They’re looking for anything they can use to dupe

the victim.”

And all the analysts agree that there’s more of this to come.

”There’s a lot of new tactics, new procedures,” says Sundermeier. ”We’re not talking

about the worst case scenario being that you have to reformat your hard drive. You could

lose your livelihood. You could lose your bank information, credit card information, Social

Security numbers. It’s a lot more severe now.”

How Do I Edit A Video On My Iphone For Free?

To edit a video on your iPhone, you’ll have to use the iMovie app or download a third-party app from the App Store.

Most people are fine with the stock iMovie app, but if you want more control over your editing process without paying a penny, this article is for you.

(See also: Is iMovie a good video editor?)

Editing on iPhone: An overview

Every phone software has a stock video editing app that allows you to perform basic video editing.

This includes slowing down the video, cropping it, changing filters, and adding background music.

Some of those are paid, like LumaFusion and Adobe Premier Rush.

Some free ones still offer a wide range of video editing capabilities, like VN editor and InShot.

While none of the editing apps available for the iPhone will have as many features as fully-fledged desktop video editing software, they’re still powerful enough for most users.

In this article, we’ll teach you how to edit a video on iPhone using VN video editor, as it’s currently the best free editing app we could find.

How Do I Edit a Video on My iPhone for Free?

Once you open the VN editor, follow these steps:

1. Add Your Video(s) 2. Determine the Aspect Ratio

Notice how your video will show up in the upper half of the screen. Above that video, you’ll find the aspect ratio set to “original” by default. You have the option to change that or leave it as it is.

3. Start Editing Out the Mistakes

If your video contains any parts that you want to edit out, then you’ll have to use the scissors button at the bottom.

To do that, use your finger to slide the video to the part you want to cut, adjust the vertical white line on the timeline, then press the scissors button. If your video is long and you can’t accurately position the white line, use the trim tool (to the right of the scissors) for finer adjustments.

You’ll notice that your video is now cut into two separate videos. you may proceed to delete the unwanted section using the delete button on the bottom right, or continue cutting all the unwanted clips and delete them all in one go.

If you make any error in the process, you can always use the undo button on the upper right section beneath the video.

4. Add Effects and Transitions

Now that you have removed any unwanted parts of the video, you can go ahead and add any effect you want. The toolbar on the bottom contains various opinions you can use. These include:


Speed adjustment


Adding text

Adding background music

Here are some trending video editing styles.

5. Save Your Video

When you’re done editing, you’ll have to save your video. Press the “Export” button on the top right corner of your screen.

You’ll have to choose between “Auto” and “Manual” saving settings. Auto mode usually gets by fine in most cases, but if you want to tweak the FPS, resolution, and Bitrate manually, select the manual mode.

Wrap Up

Using a free video editing app like VN, you’ll have a decent variety of video editing options on your iPhone.

All you have to do is import your videos, trim out any unwanted parts, then mix and match with the available effects until you reach a desirable result.

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The Year In Theater: Incite Festival Provides Arts Network For Students, Young Alums

This year, Boston University’s actors, directors, and playwrights brought an exciting year of theater to campus. From the Opera Institute’s production of The Magic Flute to the week-long InCite Arts Festival produced by the College of Fine Arts, the performances showcased a wide array of BU talent. This week, BU Today is revisiting the year in theater at Boston University.

InCite Festival Provides Arts Network for Students, Young Alums

On the first night of the InCite Arts Festival, the cast of the operetta The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, based on an essay by neurologist Oliver Sacks, faced an intimidating challenge: the author was in the audience.

“It was very nerve-wracking,” says Gideon Dabi (CFA’07), the baritone who played the “man” of the title — the patient in the famous neurological case study. “This was the first time I’d done a role like this — I had just finished The Magic Flute, and I was a bird-catcher with feathers coming out of my head — and I wanted to honor this man, not exploit him.”

The challenge of performing and exhibiting in front of new and daunting audiences — which included Boston University alumni, current and prospective students, and casting agents — was part of the excitement of the InCite festival, conceived as a way to showcase the strengths of the young up-and-coming artists from the College of Fine Arts. The festival, which ran from March 9 through 15 in New York, featured plays, concerts, gallery exhibitions, and theater showcases from current students and young alumni. The CFA administration hopes to hold similar festivals in major metropolitan areas around the country annually.

“This is an exposure and an experience that we hope enhances their training and that they can take with them through the rest of their artful lives,” says Walt Meissner (CFA’81), CFA dean ad interim. “There are so many agendas going on here: the training of our students, reconnecting with our alumni, and using this to reach the students who have inquired about coming to the College of Fine Arts next year.”

The events, attended by about 1,600 people, showcased work from CFA’s schools of visual arts, theatre, and music. Besides The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, the festival featured the plays Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, These Worlds in Us, and Sow and Weep, by Nitzan Halperin (CFA’07), and a selection of works performed by the Boston University Chamber Orchestra.

A weeklong exhibition at the Robert Steele Gallery displayed the work of eight first- and second-year M.F.A. students from the school of visual arts. Lynne Allen, the school’s director, says that the festival allowed students to experience the selection process, but mostly it was a way for them to celebrate their peers.

“It’s just about us, making them feel like they’re part of a family at BU,” she says. “And that’s really nice.”

The festival also forged links between the undergraduates and young alumni. For example, young actors, casting directors, and playwrights working in New York participated in a panel discussion for acting and theater majors. Panelists included actress Tala Ashe (CFA’06), currently appearing on As the World Turns, playwright Daria Polatin (CFA’00), whose play A Fair Affair won the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival prize for best one-act play, and Kaipo Schwab (CFA’93), an actor and director.

After the discussion, students said that the week in New York had been fun, but more important, the interactions with other students and alumni had made them feel more secure about their artistic careers after college.

“It was nice to see the different levels people are at and the decisions you can make after you graduate from this program,” says theater arts major Danya LaBelle (CFA’08). “And there are people we can go to to help us out. I didn’t realize that the BU network was so strong.”

Jessica Ullian can be reached at j[email protected]. Edward A. Brown can be reached at [email protected].

This article originally ran on March 20, 2008.

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