York ISSP Lecture 6th June 2017

Review of ‘Young People & The Media’
Given by The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr John Sentamu

As we looked out the window yesterday afternoon, we knew nothing would make us go out again in the pouring rain and the chilly winds – except of course another great ISSP lecture, this time by the Archbishop of York … and we were not disappointed!

To begin with Dr John Sentamu talked about how older people have always been complaining about the young. In fact, they have been complaining for centuries. Even in 4BC Plato complained about the youth of his day.

The Archbishop went on to say that, more recently, Punks and Mods and Rockers (all before our time!) have been described by the media in a negative way. The media speaks negatively of young people nowadays by using words such as ‘hoodies’, ‘louts’, ‘thugs’ and ‘yobs’. This creates a cycle of mistrust and fear. Interestingly, the Archbishop quoted that the only time that teenagers are given sympathy in the media, is when they die. This certainly gave us something to think about.

Next, he stated that the digital revolution is happening fast. Facebook, Twitter and Apple products, etc, have only been around in the last ten years. The Archbishop then asked us to guess how many times a person would check their phone each day. 10? 20? perhaps 30? No, 150 times per day on average!

It is now a fact that social media is affecting our daily routine and behaviour. If, for example, you wake up in the night to check for messages, news or updates you will then start to suffer from tiredness and fatigue in the morning. This can then affect our work and our mood. The Archbishop confessed that he left his phone on day and night during the Olympic Games, when he was notified of every medal and goal scored!

We need to learn how to control our use of social media so that we can express our own opinions. At this time, we have a perfect opportunity. We can ‘tweet’, ‘blog’ and share our ideas with the world and we can influence people to make the best choices in life. However, we can’t just do this by ‘friending’ and ‘following’. We need to have a voice and we need to use social media as a helpful tool, not as a hindrance.

The Archbishop says that we should never see social media as ‘un-Godly’. Even though social media has a bad reputation, it is actually the users that cause this, by using it irresponsibly. We should use it to express ourselves and to create a better world. We should use it to communicate truth, love, care and compassion. Social media is a tool – not the master. Wise words.

After speaking, we were eager to ask questions. All-in-all we had a fascinating insight into the life of the Archbishop of York and how he uses social media in a positive way. It was an evening not to be missed. Thank you to everyone involved.

Mary Y8

Raising Boys – Raising Girls

Two fascinating lectures being held at St Peter’s School:

Steve Biddulph – Raising Boys
Wednesday 17 May 7pm

Steve’s work on raising boys was the first to acknowledge that boys really are different. He will talk about the 3 stages of boyhood, what dads do, help for single mums, and how to help boys be contributing, caring and positive at home and school. Steve covers the needs of boys from babyhood through to late teens and how to help your boys grow up to be happy and well balanced men.

Tickets are £12, or £8 for concessions: https://trybooking.co.uk/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=1106

Please note that due to the content of this lecture, we are not able to admit anybody under the age of 18.

Steve Biddulph – Raising Girls
Thursday 18 May 7pm

Steve Biddulph recognises the problems facing girls and their parents. He will explain the five key stages of girlhood so that you know exactly what matters at which age. It’s important to help a girl feel secure, become an explorer, get along with others, find her soul, and become a woman. All the hazards are signposted – bullying, eating disorders, body image and depression, social media harms and helps – as are concrete and simple measures for both mums and dads to help their daughters. This will be a powerful, practical and positive evening.

Tickets are £12, or £8 for concessions: https://trybooking.co.uk/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=1107

Please note that due to the content of this lecture, we are not able to admit anybody under the age of 18.


‘ISSP 7-8’ Lecture Review

Last week I attended an ISSP lecture by Thomas Briggs from Bletchley Park with other year 7-8 students about ‘Codes & Ciphers’. We looked at Morse Code and encryption methods to make data unreadable to unintended parties like the Caesar cipher where each letter is replaced with one a certain number up or down the alphabet.  We were told about the history of Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes, as Britain’s main decryption centre during World War Two. It was well located being remote, safe from bombing in London but well connected. People first moved there pretending to be friends in ‘Captain Ridley’s Shooting Party’ enjoying a weekend away. Really, they were from MI6, and the Government Code and Cipher School (GC&CS), a secret team of Codebreakers. At first GC&CS recruited graduates from Cambridge and Oxford Universities, particularly Classicists who were good at Latin which used code breaking type skills and mathematicians who were good problem solvers. Bletchley Park started in 1939 with 150 staff, but grew rapidly. Some were recruited from a national crossword puzzle- if you could complete it in 10 minutes you could sit crosswords in exam conditions and then may be interviewed but weren’t told what the job was! As Bletchley Park grew, sections moved into large wooden huts which for security reasons were known only by their hut numbers. Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited once but couldn’t go often to risk its security. He said Bletchley Park should have everything they wanted.

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Most enemy messages were tele-printer code enciphered with the complex Lorenz cipher machine. They were sent by telegrams communicating to army commanders in the field through telephone and telegraph cables as the Germans, Japanese and Italians thought they were unreadable. The intelligence value of breaking these was huge. In the lecture, we were shown an Enigma machine and had a hands-on demonstration. It looked like a typewriter but had a lamp board above the keys with a lamp for each letter. The operator pressed the key for the original letter of the message and the enciphered letter lit up on the lamp board. The machine had interchangeable rotors, which rotated every time a key was pressed to keep the cipher changing continuously. This was combined with a plug board on the front of the machine where pairs of letters were exchanged; these two systems gave 49 quintillion settings (!!!), which the Germans thought made Enigma unbreakable!

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The first big break into Enigma messages at Bletchley Park came in January 1940, when mathematicians including Alan Turing, broke the German Army key known as ‘The Green’. Later they cracked the ‘Red’ key used by the Luftwaffe (German air force). German, Italian and Japanese systems were broken. Breaking the ciphers gave vital intelligence to Allied military operations. It is said that the information from Bletchley shortened the war by 2-4 years, and without it the outcome would have been uncertain. Bletchley Park also started the information age as code breaking was first done by hand but they could not keep up with the number of intercepts so they made machines such as ‘Colossus’, the world’s first semi-programmable electronic computer. We were shown a photograph of Colossus and it was huge! Sadly, they were all destroyed after the war but replicas are now in Bletchley Park. I would like to visit Bletchley Park and definitely recommend going to ISSP lectures as you learn lots of interesting information about new topics.

Sebastian – Year 7