Boys Star Wars Costumes – 3 Uncommon Costume Ideas for Boys

There is a large variety of boys Star Wars costumes available if you know where to look. Some are more common than others, but all are fantastic options. In this article, 3 uncommon costume ideas are discussed.

1. Deluxe Clone Trooper: Remember watching Star Wars for the first time and seeing those super cool stormtroopers marching in perfect lines. Before the stormtroopers, were the clone troopers who at the time represented the future of galactic warfare. In Episode II: Attack of the Clones, these troopers were clad in extremely hard white armor and had a distinctive look similar to the stormtroopers, only cooler. For all of those young Star Wars fans out there, there are many costumes to choose from, but the Deluxe Clone Trooper costume is very popular thanks to the prequel movies. While it is not a common costume, like Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker, boys will enjoy dressing in this costume and march and run around like a galactic warrior.

2. Plo Koon Child Costume: This Jedi Master was not nearly as well known as Yoda, but Plo Koon was a “force” to be reckoned with, no pun intended. Plo Koon appeared in all of the prequel movies as well as the Clone Wars. Recognizable by his alien head that was partially concealed by a face mask. This costume is a hooded and robed costume with belt and boot covers, and makes for an intimidating looking costume. Boys who have seen the movies will no doubt know this Jedi Master, even if he is less common than Yoda. After all, any costume that is very realistic and allows them to yield their favorite light saber is a great costume for young boys.

3. Clone Wars Commander Fox: The Clone Wars is an animated series and Commander Fox is the leader of the clone troopers squad that rescues the senator, Padme Amidala. This costume is one that boys will want for Halloween; take it out trick or treating and then you will be sure to see them dressed in it time and time again just for fun. This costume features the white body armor with unique crimson color accents. These accents make this costume completely unique and boys who are a fan of Clone Wars will have a “blast” with this costume.

In this article we discussed 3 uncommon Star Wars costume ideas. There are so many boys Star Wars costumes to choose from, all of them are fun and exciting to dress up in, but consider the less ordinary costumes for your kids this year.

Effective Way of Teaching Bioinformatics to Undergraduates

Bioinformatics is a new and emerging field that utilizes computer technology to manage and analyze biological information. The use of bioinformatics is a shift from the traditional research methods where laboratories were used. Bioinformatics uses computational approaches and skills to solve biological questions (Neumann 2006). Bioinformatics approach is mainly used in studying molecular and cell biology. The use of bioinformatics in the contemporary classrooms is inevitable, thus the teachers need to include this approach in biology classes. There are several effective methods that can be used to teach bioinformatics to undergraduates as will be discussed below.

The first method proposed by (Parke 2013) is the use of high performance computing (HPC) which involves the use of high performance or fast computers to solve scientific or biological problems. An example of a High Performance Computing (HPC) system is the XSEDE that is used for computing and data sharing. HPC is important in teaching bioinformatics because it increases the capacity of collecting Big Data and the data needs to be analyzed accurately and fast. Bioinformatics involves the analysis of large amounts of data that cannot be accomplished with ordinary computing.

In identifying the most appropriate bioinformatics teaching strategy, it is important to know the level of knowledge of the students. Introducing bioinformatics to students requires the use of customized tools and databases that are taught by teacher assistant in a real-time bioinformatics lab (Neumann 2006). For more advanced undergraduate students, more complex tool and databases such as Student Workbench (bioquest.org), which is a web-based tool used to analyze molecular data, can be utilized.

Students, just like scientists and researchers, are users of bioinformatics. The users not only need to be introduced to bioinformatics but also need continuous training to keep them updated with the evolving technology. (Schneider 2010) proposes the use of a comprehensive bioinformatics training that satisfies the range of student interests and learning objectives (2). The training proposed by Schneider et al. is valuable because it integrates the challenges in training such as differences in trainee backgrounds and lack of materials, and provides the necessary solutions to these challenges. (Wood and Gebhardt 2013) propose a different type of training: the European Learning Laboratory is for Life Sciences (ELLS) LearningLAB which enables the exchange of new information locally and internationally, which in turn helps student to access real-life biological data and get exposed to contemporary research methods (4).

Form and Lewitter proposed the use of inquiry-based learning in teaching bioinformatics that involve solving real-world problems with modern skills (1). Inquiry based learning involves the use of questions and scenarios instead presenting facts to the students, this helps the students learn the subject in their own way. The authors propose rules of teaching bioinformatics that include empowering students, addressing different learning styles and linking activities to pre-existing science curricula.

Students prefer computer based learning compared to traditional learning and they find learning bioinformatics more interesting when working in pairs or groups (Machluf 2016). Even though the students find it more attractive and appealing to use computer based learning, the teacher plays a critical role regarding introduction of bioinformatics to the students, how they guide the students in understanding the activity and their feedback instead of the automatic feedback from the bioinformatics website (Machluf 2016).

Collaborative bioinformatics was also supported by (Goodman and Dekhytar 2014) in what they referred to as cross-disciplinary peer instruction or In-Concert teaching (2): the collaborative learning involved students in life science discipline working interdependently with students in computer science discipline to solve bioinformatics problems or issues.

Goodman and Dekhtyar (2014) proposed an in-concert teaching approach to introducing students to computational thinking through collaborative projects that use software development. As such, they see their approach as emphasizing interdisciplinary communication development as well as collaboration skills for bioinformatics. In the in-concert teaching approach for bioinformatics, the teacher should build an introductory programming course and engage students in problem analysis, implementation, design, and solution evaluation. The teacher then focuses on the problem-solving process thus making the approach suitable for exposing students to bioinformatics for computational skills. Therefore, the students are taught two different courses, shared laboratory component and discipline-specific lectures, in a concerted way (Goodman & Dekhtyar, 2014).

The approach involves two lecturers jointly creating the course materials in a coordinated way although the courses are taught from each instructor’s perspective field. During laboratory assignments, students from both classes work together thus bringing in discipline-specific skills and knowledge. The approach thus involves the concerted efforts of lecturers and students from distinct disciplines working towards a mutual goal.

Additionally, to ensure that bioinformatics is effectively taught to undergraduates, instructors and students should be equipped with the competencies that allow them to use resources and data in ways that resonate with current research practices. The instructors should ensure that students explore web-based bioinformatics resources to increase their digital literacy thus reducing any fear of contact with scientific resources, for example, analysis tools and databases.

LearningLABS are crucial in introducing core concepts of computational biology as well as providing the opportunity to gather from research. Through LearningLABS instructors show their students the connection between cutting-edge research and curricular topics thus bringing science to life and leading to interest in bioinformatics for students. The teachers should spur participation from the students to ensure that they further their skills.

The instructors should align the content of the course with classroom relevant topics to ensure new concepts are implemented, and thus the course succeeds. Further, to ensure students grasp what they are being taught, it is crucial to use materials, such as downloadable PowerPoint presentations, lesson plans to boost the instructor’s ability to teach the course materials.

Form and Lewitter (2011) agree that the right technology is essential to teach bioinformatics to college students effectively. As such, computational tools, if used early enough would be effective in teaching future biologists. The programs suitable for effectively teaching bioinformatics include fsBLAST, which is similar to BLAST for biological data analysis. Through the program, students learn biological structure analysis through various computer programs. These programs handle and manipulate huge data amounts within a short time. However, the instructor should expose the students to a simplified mock-up data analysis on paper and pencil. The exercise may involve protein sequence comparison to reach a relatedness score before using BLAST. To help the students understand the BLAST output, the instructor should present information in different ways, for instance, colorful graphical interface, sequence alignments, and a chart format hit list.

Wood and Gebhardt (2013) explain that LearningLAB teaching courses for instructors offer practical expertise and theoretical knowledge regarding providing students with bioinformatics concepts. Through the European Learning Laboratory for the Life Sciences, ELLS, ensures that students engage directly with instructors thereby shortening the time it takes to furnish students with new scientific findings. Therefore, lecturers act as transformers of knowledge by taking information from the source to the students as “living science.” As such, the lecturers ensure that students gain interest in bioinformatics thus getting inspired to become future scientists.

Another way of teaching bioinformatics to students is through virtual reality techniques. These techniques are essential in facilitating an interface with the external environment as well as generating an artificial ambiance to the students. The instructor visualizes the information as a 3D correlative disposition to create student interest and thus enhance learning interface. The virtual reality techniques help students to understand the applicability of bioinformatics thereby improving the learning outcomes in therapeutics, biochemistry, anatomy, and pharmacology. As such, students learn about data storage and scanning tools, which are essential in MRI data mining in addition to delineating correlations of brain findings using analytical software.

The virtual reality is essential in supporting multiple users at the same time thereby promoting collaborative and interactive learning. Therefore, virtual reality techniques, as opposed to a purely teacher-initiated learning, boost a student’s initiative to study. Instructors should also embrace the recent advances in tablet and mobile technology as learning mediums to equip students with materials and educational links for improved outcomes.

Therefore, students can deepen their bioinformatics knowledge through exposure to computational thinking. However, identification of the problem and instructor collaboration provides the essential learning objectives for teaching the course with expertise from different disciplines. Instructor moderation is crucial in teaching bioinformatics as is computer-based learning. Students can learn bioinformatics through high-performance computing, which uses fast computers to solve biological problems. Further, inquiry-based learning can also assist students to effective grasp the bioinformatics concepts since they would be involved in solving real-world problems with modern skills. Other useful techniques for teaching bioinformatics include virtual reality technologies, which promote interactive and collaborative learning.

The Lesson of Lebanon Lost, Once Free and Prosperous (and 54% Christian) – EurArabia Next?

The country of Lebanon was formed from part of the Ottoman Empire, which ruled the Middle-East for four centuries prior to World War I; after that, it was part of the Mandate Area set aside by England and France for settlement of Jews and Muslims – it was established as an independent country after World War II. Once predominantly Christian (54% to 44% Muslim), in the mid-sixties it became prosperous despite the lack of oil resources, bustling with activity, construction of apartments, hotels and tourism – boasting the highest living standards of any Arab country in the world. Its capital, Beirut, grew from 450 thousand to 1.25 million persons (about 50% of Lebanon’s population); the country was proud of Beirup being called “Paris” of the Mid-East.

Then came the disastrous consequences of a country that forgot its purpose for being – to protect its citizenry – a country out of control, official incompetence and corruption; religious and political factions contesting authority everywhere, revenging grudges: political-religious-extremist groups running amok, funded by external Arab regimes; the Lebanese militia destroying five UNRWA camps, breeding grounds of resentment and hatred, putting down rebellion (leaving 11 camps from the original 16 UN camps with their hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees); the “Identity-Infidel killing raids” of Lebanese Christians by Lebanese Muslim extremists (identity cards divulging one’s religion) – then flights to safety by those Christians able to flee, or going into hiding; the influx of thousands of terrorists into Lebanon from Jordan, after its Black September, killing thousands of the PLO; similar forced dumped-evictions of extremists from Syria; then rocket attacks from Lebanon’s borders onto Israel by PLO and Hezbollah terrorist groups – with eventual IDF (Israel Defense Forces) retaliation raids to root them out – then IDF equipping and training a Lebanese Christian Force to defend its Christians, and to create a border buffer zone against future rocket attacks upon Israel – then a “revenge” by the Lebanese Christian Forces against Lebanese Muslims, killing hundreds at camps Sabra and Shatilla (Israel, uninvolved in the inter-religious chaos and killings of tens of thousands above, is faulted by the world for not restraining the Lebanese Christians).

The life of Ms. Brigitte Gabrielle, now an American citizen, author and speaker (on Islamic terrorism and Lebanon) – from her age ten to teens – was witness to the end of Lebanon’s Christian life. Her statements tell the story:

  • She grew up hearing talk about religion and politics. discussion was anti-Israeli, equating Israel and Jews with the devil. She attended a private Christian school.
  • She describes Palestinian atrocities against Christians. She says that the Palestinians would park their tanks and cannons in front of their bomb shelters and launch rockets at Israel, then drive away, knowing that Israel would fire back and hit the Christian bomb shelters.
  • She says, “My home in Lebanon was destroyed by shelling; I lived in an 8 X 10-foot bomb shelter for seven years between the ages of 10 and 17; I ate grass to live, drank dirty water from a nearby spring and spent evenings in candlelight, covering my ears from the sound of the bombs exploding around me.”
  • She says, “Once, at age 13, I went to bed dressed in my Sunday best because I wanted to look pretty for burial if I was killed by the Muslims. My only crime was that I was a Christian in what was once the only predominantly Christian country in the Middle East – before Islamic Jihad took hold and turned it into a terrorist haven.”
  • That night her life was saved by the Israeli invasion to the Litani river. She lived four years “protected” by the presence of the IDF.
  • She says, “The Israelis came into Lebanon to liberate them in 1982, because Hezbollah had joined with the Palestinians.” Her mother was wounded in the shelling, taken to a hospital in the village tended by an Israeli doctor and two Israeli nurses, then taken in an Israeli ambulance to Israel for medical treatment. (She was then a teenager.)
  • At the hospital, IDF helicopters brought in Israeli casualties – she expected an angry reaction against her and her mother – but an Israeli nurse took her around, “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of your mother”. She cried, tells herself, “These are people of compassion I want to live with.”
  • Relating the experience of kindness at the Israeli hospital, she says that she broke down sobbing because she had “experienced civilization for the first time in my life.” After 22 days at the Israeli hospital, Gabriel and her mother return to Lebanon.
  • Gabriel moved to Israel in 1985, got a job as a news anchor at Middle East News, speaks fluent English, French, Arabic and Hebrew. She now lives in America.

Today, Ms. Gabrielle’s message is for the “politically correct” in America and Europe, who seem not to comprehend the happenings to Lebanon and their causes:

  • She says, “Why didn’t the US media show more of the beheadings of Daniel Pearle and others – so people would understand what truly gratuitous cruelty is.”
  • Her memories are even more horrible: a Christian mother with her young son tied to her lap – forced to cut off his h–d; perhaps even worse, a Christian father and mother, each leg of their baby strapped to their waists – then they are pulled apart!
  • She says, “We are constantly told that Islam is a religion of peace, that only a small percentage of Muslims are killers. Where is the proof? Perhaps they can’t speak out in Arab countries, but here in America they can – where is assurance from moderate Muslims that Islam will let us live in peace in our own Christian countries?”
  • She says, “The 1988 Hamas charter to destroy Infidels teaches, from their Mosques, how Muslims can demand rights, then take over countries – protected by democratic principles of Christian-majority countries.
  • She says, “Osama bin Ladin was one of 53 children, he himself had 27 children. Where is any concern in the ‘politically correct’ Western democracies about such birth rates – as we open our country’s gates?”
  • She says, “Where are the Islamic voices of sanity – for peaceful co-existence of our culture and religion with Islam? Are there any? And if not – her message is – wake up Europe and America, see what happened to Christian Lebanon”!

Note: To complete the history of Lebanon regarding its majority religion, present information is that its Muslim population is now at 60%, increased from 44% only several decades ago, thus the Christian percentage has dropped from 54% to 38%.

Aaron Kolom qualifies as a “rocket scientist” with over 50 years aerospace engineering: Stress Analyst to Chief of Structural Sciences on numerous military aircraft, to Corp. Director Structures and Materials, Asst. Chief Engineer Space Shuttle Program through first three flights (awarded NASA Public Service Medal), Rockwell International Corp.; Program Manager Concorde SST, VP Engineering TRE Corp.; Aerospace Consultant.