What happened to flight MH370 and the 239 passengers?

Without A Trace: Malaysian Flight MH370

Is it possible to solve one of the biggest aviation mysteries of our time?

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On March 8th, 2014 the scheduled flight departing from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing never arrived. Officials know the plane made a left turn after their last contact with the aircraft, but what happened after remains unknown. Somehow, a 209-foot plane holding 239 people vanished. Help came from all over the world to scour the ocean for any signs of what could have happened. Four years later, the families hoping for answers have none.

It was recently made public that the Malaysian government released a final safety report for the missing flight MH370. Having always been perplexed by this disappearance and not satisfied with the information found from news outlets, I decided to read through the report myself to try and get a better understanding. The nearly 500-page report was easily accessed on the Malaysian Ministry of Transport website.

Noted at the beginning of the report are the limitations faced by the significant lack of evidence. That sentence alone had me raising my brow. As I read on, there were several blank sections like Fire, Survivability, Other Damages, and many more simply stated "Not applicable" or "No information". For being a government official document regarding missing persons, this report was very discouraging. Even with all the research and simulations conducted, the question remains unanswered. What happened to MH370?

The initial search for the aircraft lasted for 1,046 days until the suspended in agreement of China, Malaysia, and Australian governments. In January of 2018, the American company Ocean Infinity came into a 90-day agreement with Malaysian officials to do an underwater search in the area most likely to have the wreckage. That search came to an end in May. There are 27 items found that have been linked to the missing aircraft. Of those 27, only three are official, confirmed wreckage from MH370. Two of the items were found in the Southern Indian Ocean, and the third was found near Tanzania. These findings are a small glimmer of hope, in this unsettling mystery. As broken down through the report, here is a summary of events leading up to the disappearance.

At 4:40 p.m. the flight was cleared for takeoff

At 4:43 p.m. the flight made communication to confirm ETA to the first waypoint for 5:22 p.m.

At 5:19:26 p.m. MH370 is instructed to radio into the waypoint

At 5:19:30 p.m. MH370 radios back "Goodnight Malaysian three seven zero."

At 5:20:31 p.m. MH370 passes through the waypoint

At 5:21:13 p.m. The radar loses position on MH370

At 5:39 p.m. The whereabouts of MH370 come into question

6:01 p.m. Before losing signal of the aircraft completely, they detected the aircraft at 4,800 ft

6:03 p.m. The Aircraft disappears from the radar

6:15 Signal of aircraft reappears going faster and at 29,500 ft

6:22 The signal disappears, for good.

The military data shows significant changes in the speed and altitude of the plane after the chilling last message. This information only raises more questions in my mind. The possibilities of what happened to this flight are endless. What bothers me is that each and every person on that flight is still missing. No clothing, no shoes, no signs of life have ever been discovered from the flight.

If it crashed into the ocean, how is this possible? If it's not possible, then where did the plane go? Was it aliens? Did the entire plane get kidnapped? Was it swallowed up into a hole in the sky? Did it sink to the deepest depths of the ocean? For the sake of the families who lost someone, I hope we can one day have an answer.

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Why An Athlete Is Not Defined By Their Level

Pressure can drive athletes crazy.
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With tryout season among us, it is so important that this be addressed before the teams for this upcoming year are formed.

So many athletes that tryout, don't make the team they want and either quit to "take a year off" or jump ship to a gym that promises them to place the athlete on a higher level. I know that every athlete wants to be on level 5 team, the division is the most prestigious of all of them, especially because going to worlds is the end game for most athletes.

The problem these days in the cheerleading world is that our athletes are trying to level up at a rate that is just not quite realistic. If an athlete is on a level 1 team, the chances of her being on level 4 next year are slim. It is necessary for athletes to experience each level for at least a year to learn all of the fundamentals of the level and build on them for their foundation as an athlete to be more concrete. This produces the best athlete possible.

A lot of athletes think that all that they need to jump levels is tumbling and that is just not the case. When teams are formed, coaches take a look at many different things, these qualities include but are not limited to: mental toughness, dedication, tumbling, stunting abilities, pace of learning, dance and attitude.

Contrary to popular belief, there are so many factors that go into forming a team. This team not only has to be suitable for individual athletes but putting a team together is like a puzzle and as coaches we have to put a team together that will work well and have all the necessary percentages of skills to be competitive in their division.

We are concerned about building well-rounded athletes, not an athlete that is only capable in one facet of cheerleading. Some athletes are great level-4 tumblers but have level-2 stunt ability and those two will not equal a level 4 athlete until we boost the stunting ability of said athlete.

Putting an athlete on a team to just tumble is doing a disservice to not just the team, but also the athletes themselves. If this athlete joins a level 4 team to just tumble all year, when their tumbling progresses to that of a level 5 athlete, they will still have level 2 stunting skills and won't be put to good use when they are level 5 eligible. A well-rounded athlete is the kind of athlete that wins Worlds.

SEE ALSO: To The Coach That Took My Confidence Away

When athletes take their time and learn their level, they are not just learning completely new skills each year, but building on them. If done correctly, each year an athlete should improve on all points of cheerleading and not just one. The rules in each level lead to progressions for the level that it directly follows, so that athletes can safely learn skills by going up the ladder one step at a time.

What most don't realize is that skipping steps is such an unnecessary practice. If Susie stays on level 2 for an extra year, she is not "learning nothing", she is improving on the skills that she didn't quite execute completely the year before, this will perfect her performance in this level and give a more solid foundation for her to build on when she is on a level 3 team.

Pressure can drive athletes crazy. Parents, your athletes have so many years ahead of them to be on a level 5 team and go to worlds, so pushing for a 10-year-old, that is just not ready, to be on a level 4 team is unreasonable. Let your 10-year-old learn maturity and mental toughness at a level that is more appropriate, when your athlete is pushing herself too hard it takes the fun out of the tryout process and creates unnecessary stress on the athletes.

Lastly, please be sure to support whatever decision your coaches make for your athlete's placement, they know your child and they are not trying to hurt their pride, but build them up so they can accomplish all of their goals as an athlete. Know that the level your kid makes this year doesn't define him or her as an athlete, but helps them grow into the cheerleader they have the ability to become!

Cover Image Credit: National Cheerleaders Association

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What's Happening In China?

The Chinese government stands accused of rounding up Chinese Muslims and holding them without trial and against their will.

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Recently, NowThis news source released a video of an advocate by the name of Aydin Anwar speaking about the current state of East Turkestan. She discussed how people were being taken from their homes, their lives, and forced into "concentration camps" (her words specifically). She alleges that inside these camps, people are being tortured and forced to denounce God and their own identities and religions and then to pledge loyalty to the Chinese president, government, and country. She even says that one of her own relatives was sent to a camp and was killed there.

This video spread around the internet pretty rapidly circulated this information with the video having over 19 million views on Facebook. I decided to do some digging into this. If what Anwar alleges is true, it closely resembles actions taken by Chechnya to purge their LGBT population back in 2017 and even actions were taken against the many millions who were affected by the Holocaust. Here is what I have found so far:

The government has denied any concentration or internment camps. They claim that people are at special schools to combat the rise of religious violence and extremism. Despite this claim, BBC reporters have published an aerial image of an alleged concentration camp in the desert this past April (2018) that was not present in July of 2015. Another aerial image taken in October 2018 shows the alleged concentration camp has grown in size since April.

Inside these concentration camps, as outlined earlier, the Chinese government is carrying out acts of psychological and physical torture. It is alleged that the guards and interrogators inside the camps are pulling out nails and teeth as forms of torture to counteract any "bad behavior" or "resistance". It is also alleged that victims are tied down in chairs and left in solitary confinement. Snakes are used during interrogations as well. Victims inside the concentration camps allegedly stand chanting things like "there is no God" or "all hail the Chinese state" for hours on end. It has even been alleged that people inside the concentration camps are being sterilized (this is a practice used in genocide to destroy the possibility of any future offspring from the affected group of people).

But, you may be thinking, if this is true, WHY hasn't anyone in a position of power done anything? There are a few different answers to this question: The first is that China is extremely good at regulating what their media can and cannot post. This means any news of the concentration camps generated within the country itself would immediately be shut down before even reaching the post. Also, China has close ties with strong countries and could be suing its political and economic (specifically its economic) power to put pressure on the rest of the world not to say anything. Think about it, many products come with a little tag that says "made in China". This gives China the power and connections to shut down production of goods. In an economic world such as this, production means power.

However, YOU can do something. You can dig around for more information and raise awareness for such atrocities. Here are a few links to get you started:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/China_...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/china-is-c...

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