Monday, March 29, 2010

The Glitz and Glamour of Show Choir

Bright red lipstick and colorful eye shadow is scattered across the bathroom counter. Millions of frantic girls are running all around the miniscule bathroom trying to find the perfect spot to look in the mirror. This is the world of “Show Choir”, and the crazy things we deal with to get that fabulous “stage appropriate” look.
The first step to a perfect show choir look is a clean palette. Therefore, the first thing I do to prepare for a show choir competition is I use make-up remover to remove previous make-up. I then exfoliate and cleanse to perfection and apply all sorts of lotions to my face. Then the make-up begins. I usually apply my show choir make-up at home before we go to a competition, but if the competition is out of town, I usually complete it there. I begin with foundation to remove shine and then I use concealer to make my skin glow. Next, I use liquid eyeliner on the top of my eyes, and pencil eyeliner for the bottom. Bright red lipstick or lip gloss is next, then comes eye shadow. Generally, I have a friend do this for me, because I am not the best at eye shadow. The first color I use is white, which goes on my eyelids, and then I use pink and silver and mix these together, to get the ideal color. This process usually takes an hour, because I am a perfectionist when it comes to hair and make-up for show choir. After my make-up is flawless, I move to the most dreaded, terrifying thing for show choir girls, hair. This year, we straighten our hair, part it to the right, and poof it in the front. I begin this process, by washing my hair, and then straightening it. Subsequent to straightening, I separate my hair into four portions. One for the side part, one for the hair put in the ponytail, one for the hair left down, and one for the hair that will be back combed. I begin by taking separate strands from the portion of my hair that will be back combed. I back comb these strands and put them in the front, until the whole section is back combed. Then, I put the hair back and hairspray it. For extra lift and better hold, I place a “bump it” (an item used to help poof your hair) and place it under the crown of my hair. I put it in a super tight ponytail and hairspray it some more and adjust the poof, so that it looks more polished. After this, I take the second portion for the side part and part it to the right, and put three to four bobby pins in there, so that it is secure. I straighten my hair again, and then put more hairspray in. Hairspray is the key to this process, and I can go through a whole bottle for one competition! Less is never more in show choir! After this process, my hair is a hard and sticky mess from all the hairspray, but the poof is colossal and I am almost ready to hit the stage.
Before we can perform, we have to put our lovely costumes on! This year, we have gorgeous purple dresses for our opener and ballad (slow song), and white shorts and a black halter for our novelty (comical song), and closer. We put on our uncomfortable strapless bras, panty hose, and purple spankies, and then put our black halters on over that. The black halters usually slide down during performances, so we use double stick tape to make sure that they stay up. After this, we put our purple dresses, earrings, and shoes on. We take our white shorts and place them on the costume rack in numerical order, so that we can find them for our costume change. Finally, we are ready to perform, but we still have to warm up! Mr. Sands, our director, usually gives us a certain time to be ready; and ready or not, we have to start warming up at that time. We stand in a circle, with Mr. Sands in the middle playing the piano, and run through our warm-ups. If we have time, we may even practice a few trouble spots that take place during our show. After this is done, we line up and link arms with our ballad partners. We are told to be silent, and we walk to the warm-up room. This dreadful walk is filled with nervous emotions and looks of excitement. It seems to last forever, and by the time we arrive at the warm-up room, we are about to burst with energy. In the warm up room, we run through our show, and quickly do what we can to fix our trouble spots. We work on vocals, choreography, and energy, and then finally we get the call to go to the stage.
Squeals of excitement and nervous laughter can be heard from all around. Darrius leads the Protégé cheer that is as follows: “Alright, Alright, Alright!” “Okay Okay Okay!” Alright! Okay! Get down Protégé! We are full of energy, excitement, and nerves after this cheer, and we just can’t wait to take the stage and perform an incredible show. But first, we go to a storage room, and grab the millions of props that we use. I take the stairs for the soloists onto the stage, and place them behind the stage. Then, I grab my white shorts from the costume rack and place them in the changing areas. Then, I grab my sign for the novelty and place it by my shorts. People are frantically placing desks (for our novelty) on the sides of stage, and screaming out words of encouragement. At some competitions, we are timed, and at those competitions we are even more stressed out about getting all of our props ready. Finally, we are ready to take the stage, and we line up on the sides. Hugs and nervous smiles are shared with the people that stand nearest to me. We hear the drum that cues us to go on, and it is time to go on stage, and perform our hearts out.

Poverty: Our Nation's New Epidemic

• A family is considered to be below the poverty line if their income is less than the threshold that the government establishes.

• Money income is determined based on the family’s wages, unemployment compensation, and social security. Capital Gains and non cash benefits are not included in the income. The income is calculated before taxes are removed.

• The threshold is the average income, according to the government, that is adequate for a family to buy necessities. The threshold was originally derived in 1963 and used food budgets and data about what families spend their money on to come up with the average threshold. There are forty-eight different thresholds that vary according to family size, family age, and what a family spends the majority of their income on.

• The most common thresholds include:
Three Person Household-$16,530.00
Four Person Household-$21,203.00
Five Person Household-$25,080.00
Six Person Household-$28,323.00
Seven Person Household-$32,233.00

• As supply and demand changes and the prices for basic needs increase, the thresholds have steadily increased from 1959. These thresholds have increased more rapidly than the average income in the United States, which is why the percentage of people below the poverty line has increased.

• According to this graph, the highest percentage of people in the United States who live below the poverty line is the age group of 11 and under.

• Poverty rates can be misleading because they represent an average over the whole population. They are also misleading because the thresholds are usually very inaccurate. The thresholds do not include crucial things like medical care and education. In reality, the threshold should me much higher, but it is not.

• In the United States African Americans and Hispanics are the highest percentages of people living below the poverty line. Approximately 22.1% of African Americans and 21.2% of Hispanics are living in poverty. Poverty rates are high for single women with children, in metropolitan and urban areas, and in the southern portion of the United States. In fact, there is a poverty line drawn through the United States that separates the southern portion from the northern. The Midwest, western and northeastern parts of the United States have far less people living in poverty than in the South.

• The United States does not spend very much of its budget on helping these people who live in poverty. For example in 2005 only .39% of the fiscal budget was spent on aiding these deprived families.

• Although the government does not devote a lot of money to helping these families they do have poverty guidelines that determine monetary eligibility for certain programs. These programs include HHS (Children’s Health Insurance), Department of Agriculture (which provides food stamps and reduced lunches at school), Department of Energy (Weatherization Assistance), Department of Labor, and the Legal Services Corporation.

• Statistics:
-3.5% of U.S. households experience hunger.
-12.7% of Americans live below the poverty line.
-35.9 million people live below the poverty line, including 12.9 million children.
-41 billion pounds of food were wasted in one year.
-For a family of four vegetables, fruits, meat, and grain products cost approximately $590 per year.

Super Nova

The smell of stale hairspray, combined with burning hair and loud frantic voices engulf the air. The tiny classrooms with desks pushed against the wall is about to explode. It is crammed to the limit with members of Protégé, parents, friends, and directors, squealing and screaming with pure joy as we all grasp the first place trophy, that we have put our blood, sweat, and tears into. I can’t imagine sharing this moment with anyone but these people, my extended family that I have grown to love, and share the passion of show choir with.
The cold air was invigorating as I stepped out the front door, decked out completely in green and gold. I climbed into the car with my best friend Emma, and we chattered excitedly about our first competition of the season. We were already running late, and were panicking about our hair and make-up, and hoping we would have enough time to look “stage” ready. We entered the homeroom and were struck by the chaos. There were girls fighting for a spot at the mirror, boys putting on make-up, people coughing and choking down water. The mad rush to the finish line began as we grabbed our make-up and costume bags and scattered to find a place to get ready. Finally, after an hour flew by, everyone was ready and we were standing in a circle preparing for the inspirational pep talk that awaited us. Mr. Sands began by saying “you have worked so hard these past few months, and now the time has come for you to go out there, and leave it on the stage”. “It’s not about winning, but putting on your best show.” Oh sure, we’ve all heard this spiel from millions of coaches and directors, but we really wanted to win. I grasped my best friend, Edwin’s hand and squeezed, a mix of emotions filled my body. I was terrified, nervous, thrilled, and full of energy all at once, and just couldn’t wait to get on that stage and produce an extraordinary show. I looked around at the faces of everyone and see similar emotions. Mr. Sands announced that we were going to the warm-up room, and a rush of adrenaline hit me. In a mere, twenty minutes, we would be on a stage singing and dancing our hearts out. We linked arms with our ballad partners, lined up, and left, to perform what we hoped would be an incredible show.
My heart was pounding out of my chest and beating so fast that I could practically hear it whirring. We were standing on the sides about to go on stage. A chorus of “break a leg” and “leave it on the stage” could be heard and then the drum beat cued us to enter. “From Cedar Rapids, Kennedy, Protégé!” A second drum beat and the show began. For those next twenty minutes, I felt this huge adrenaline rush and blast of energy in every inch of my body. For those twenty minutes, nothing in the world mattered, but our show, our singing and dancing, and the screaming audience. For those twenty minutes, I was in paradise. As we hit our final pose, and lunged with our jazz hands stretched out, the audience boomed with incredibly loud applause. At that moment, I realized that show choir, singing and dancing are three things I could not live without. They are an enormous part of who I am, and at that moment, I knew that I live to perform.
We danced off the stage and completely collapsed on the sides. I made my way to every member of Protégé with a hug and words of pride and happiness for what we all accomplished. We were led to the library for a critique that was filled with compliments, and some criticism. We left the room feeling like superstars and made our way to the gym for awards. We sauntered past our rival group, Urbandale Vitality, and although we had not yet seen their show this year, we knew it was excellent. From all the “” gossip we had heard Urbandale has a remarkable prep group and would probably win. But as we entered the gym, the only thing on our minds was the huge party occurring in the center of the gym. Of course, we were exhausted but none of us could resist the party. For the next hour we danced and sang to NSYNC, Rihanna, and Journey, being the show choir geeks we all were. Finally, the judges have tabulated the scores and had the envelope in their hands. Results were not the only thing in there. It also had the heart, soul, hard work, tears, sweat, and practice of every single member of Protégé in it. It’s finally opened and the moment we had all been waiting for was finally there, so close, yet so far away.

Huddled together and squeezing each others hands the forty-eight of us all had the same thoughts racing through our minds, and the same rapid heartbeat. All the places have been announced, and there are two left. One for us, one for Urbandale. We now had a fifty-fifty shot of winning. But then the master of ceremonies said, “And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the first-runner up is…. Okay now its time for the caption awards.” Loud groans and complaints erupted throughout the gym. The tension was so high, and I could practically feel the intensity of glares from Urbandale Vitality.
They announced best choreography and of course it went to Urbandale Vitality. At this moment, my hopes were shot down, and I thought that Urbandale would definitely win. But then they announced best vocals and it went to us! We began to scream and jump for joy. One of our goals was to win best vocals, which is a huge honor at these competitions, and we had accomplished it. Now back to the moment we were all waiting for. It was a close race. Urbandale had won best choreography, but we had best vocals. “And the first runner-up is Urbandale Vitality”. The happiness that spread through my body was indescribable. I wanted to jump and scream and sing and dance, but all of this would have to wait. Out of sportsmanship we waited to erupt into cheer until they announced our names. “And the grand champion in the prep division for Linn Mar Super Nova 2009 is Cedar Rapids, Kennedy Protégé!”
At this point everyone in our area exploded. We screamed at the top of our lungs, cried tears of joy, and jumped around hugging one another. This win was incredibly special for me, because I had participated in show choir for three years and had never won. All our hard work finally paid off, and we truly did leave everything we had on the stage. We continued to scream at the top of our lungs for the next hour. People called their parents, grandparents, friends, aunts, and uncles to tell them of the good news. We all hugged our director, Mr. Sands and congratulated each other. It was the perfect ending to the perfect night.
It was our first competition ever and we had won. Everyone was really proud of us, and we were proud of ourselves. This family, this team, these people that I have spent unbelievable amounts of time with for the last three months standing together holding that grand trophy was a moment that filled my heart with tremendous joy. All our hard work had finally paid off, and sharing this moment with this extraordinary group of talented singers, dancers, and people was an event I will never forget.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Protein Synthesis

The first step of protein synthesis is transcription. Transcription begins with a regular double helix DNA. RNA polymerase binds to the promoter and moved across the strand untwining the double helix into a coding and template strand. RNA polymerase continues to move across the DNA strand in the 3 prime to 5 prime direction, adding complementary MRNA bases. The MRNA bases are still nucleotides but they use Uracil instead of thymine. After RNA polymerase has coded it detaches from the RNA and has now produced PreMRNA. Pre MRNA was produced from a segment of the DNA called the transcription unit. Transcription occurs in the nucleus, but before the MRNA can leave the nucleus it must be processed further.
RNA processing occurs only in eukaryotes, because prokaryotes do not have a nucleus in which they can be further processed. RNA processing is important because there are certain parts of the MRNA that do not code for the polypeptide. The ends of the MRNA do not code for the polypeptide. Therefore, a five cap of modified guanine is attached to the 5 prime end and a poly-a-tail with 30-200 adenine bases is attached to the 3 prime ends. Small nuclear ribonucleoproteins, also known as SNURPS combine with other proteins to form spleicosomes in order to remove the introns (noncoding portion of MRNA and this is the end of RNA processing and the Pre MRNA is now MRNA.
The final step of protein synthesis is translation. The general idea of this step is that MRNA enters the ribosome and puts together its codons with anticodons in the five prime to three prime order. The TRNA helps to do this, and when translation is over, you have a polypeptide sequence. For a more in depth look at translation, you begin with you MRNA strand and it enters the ribosome and attaches to the ribosomal subunit. TRNA then enters the ribosome with the anticodon that connects to the AUG, and when this occurs the amino acid Methionine is produced. A large ribosomal subunit (which is made of ribosomal RNA) comes in with a P site, and an A site, and the Methionine amino acid is currently located in the P site. TRNA enters again and produces an anticodon for the MRNA. These two amino acids are then connected by a peptide bond. The TRNA with the next amino acid is currently in the A site. The mRNA strand then shifts over and the Methionine amino acid leaves the ribosome through the E (exit) site and the next amino acid moves to the P site leaving room for another TRNA to enter the A site and create a polypeptide with its anticodon. This process occurs until a stop codon is found and then the release protein frees the completed polypeptide chain. Translation is divided into three steps, initiation, elongation, and termination. Initiation is when the TRNA anticodon creates a Methionine amino acid. Elongation occurs as the proteins move from the A site to the P site, to the E site, and the polypeptide chain gets longer. Termination occurs when the UAA, UAG, or UGA codon is located and the release protein releases the completed polypeptide from the ribosome.
The types of RNA in the final step of protein synthesis are extremely important for the production of proteins. Protein synthesis begins with DNA, which is a nucleotide sequence, without the creation of mRNA, the DNA sequence could not be translated properly, and the Thymines would not change to Uracil, which is a very important step for the TRNA to work properly. TRNA is also very important because it translates the DNA nucleotide sequence into an amino acid sequence, so that it can actually become a protein. RRNA is also important, because it is what the large ribosomal subunit is made of, and translation would not be possible without it.


Scientists have pioneered through the field of genetics and DNA trying to learn more and understand this complex structure. Hershey and Chase, Griffith and Avery, and Meselson and Stahl conducted three of the most important experiments of DNA. These remarkable discoveries helped scientists today to understand more about DNA and hopefully use this information to their advantage. In their first experiment they labeled the DNA of phages with radioactive phosphorus-32, which is present in DNA but not present in protein. They allowed the phages to infect E.Coli bacterium, and then removed the protein shells from the infected cells with a blender and centrifuge. They saw that the radioactive phosphorus was only visible in the bacteria cells and not the protein shells. In the second part of their experiment, they labeled the phages with radioactive sulfur-35, which is present in protein but not DNA. After separating the cell from the protein shell, the radioactive sulfur was found in the protein shell, but no in the infected bacteria, confirming that DNA is actually the genetic material of the phage that infects the cell. This was a huge step for scientists in the field of genetic material, because most people believed that protein had been the genetic material of a cell, but from this experiment, since the radioactive phosphorus was found in the DNA and not the protein, and the radioactive sulfur was found in the protein but not the DNA, it is concluded that DNA is indeed the genetic material.
Frederick Griffith was a British medical officer and geneticist who conducted an experiment, in which he discovered the “transforming principle”, which is today known as DNA. This famous experiment was done when Griffith was attempting to make a vaccine to prevent pneumonia in the influenza epidemic after World War I, using two strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacterium. The smooth strain was injected into mice and these mice died from pneumonia in a day or two. The smooth strain had a capsule on it that allowed the bacteria to resist the immune system. The rough strain was then injected into the mice, but they did not die, because the rough strain did not have a capsule. Griffith and Avery then heated the smooth strain and it did not kill the mice. But when the dead smooth strain was mixed with the live rough strain, the mouse died. Griffith and Avery were curious about this and he isolated the bacteria from the blood of the rough/smooth strain mouse. Griffith and Avery discovered that the rough strain had obtained capsules from the smooth strain bacteria, making all the bacteria smooth strained. Griffith and Avery then hypothesized that a “transforming principle” from the heat killed smooth strain converted the rough strain into the smooth strain. According to the Griffith and Avery experiment, the hypothesis is that the E.coli cells with the ampicillin resistant gene will continue to grow when placed in an agar with ampicillin. This occurs because the ampicillin resistant gene goes through the transformation process and enters the DNA of the E. coli completely changing the cell, allowing it to continue growing when it meets the antibiotic. This provided chemical evidence for the nature of the gene, because it proved that DNA the genetic material was transferred from one cell to another, even when the strain was killed by heat.
The Meselson-Stahl experiment was an experiment by Matthew Meselson and Franklin Stahl which demonstrated that DNA replication was semiconservative. Semiconservative replication is when the double stranded DNA helix replicated and each of the two double stranded DNA helices consisted of one strand coming from the original helix and one newly synthesized. E. coli. These were grown for several generations in a medium with nitrogen-15. When DNA is extracted from these cells and centrifuged on a salt density gradient, the DNA separates out at the point at which its density equals that of the salt solution. The DNA of the resulting cells had a higher density (was heavier). After that, E. coli cells with only nitrogen-15 in their DNA were put back into a nitrogen-14 medium and were allowed to divide only once. DNA was then extracted from a cell and was compared to DNA from nitrogen-14 DNA and nitrogen-15 DNA. It was found to have close to the intermediate density. Since conservative replication would result in equal amounts of DNA of the higher and lower densities, conservative replication was not included . But the results were consistent with both types of replication. Semiconservative replication would result in double-stranded DNA with one strand of nitrogen-15 DNA, and one of nitrogen-14 DNA, while dispersive replication would result in double-stranded DNA with both strands having a mixture of nitrogen-14 and nitrogen-15 DNA, either of which would have appeared as DNA of an intermediate density.
DNA was then extracted from cells which had been grown for several generations in a nitrogen-15 medium, followed by two divisions in a nitrogen-14 medium. DNA from these cells was found to consist of equal amounts of two different densities, one corresponding to the intermediate density of DNA of cells grown for only one division in nitrogen-14 medium, the other corresponding to cells grown exclusively in nitrogen-14 medium. This was inconsistent with dispersive replication, which would have resulted in a single density, lower than the intermediate density of the one-generation cells, but still higher than cells grown only in nitrogen-14 DNA medium, as the original nitrogen-15 DNA would have been split evenly among all DNA strands. The result was consistent with semiconservative replication, in that half of the second-generation cells would have one strand of the original nitrogen-15 DNA along with one of nitrogen-14 DNA, accounting for the DNA of intermediate density, while the DNA in the other half of the cells would consist entirely of nitrogen-14 DNA, one synthesized in the first division, and the other in the second division.

10 Things About the Amish

1.) The Amish religion states that “God loved the world so much that he gave his only son to dies on the cross and that through faith in the shed blood of Jesus people are reconciled to God”, according to the Amish People and their Lifestyle Website. They believe that the bible is the inspired word of god it is a part of their daily life. The Amish people dress conservatively because they believe that their clothing should encourage humility and separation from the world. Their clothing is an expression of faith.
2.) Amish people do not use electricity because they interpret linking with electrical wires as connection to the world, and the Bible tells them they are not to be conformed to the world. (Amish People and their Lifestyle Website) Therefore, the Amish decided it was best not to use electricity, not because it was evil or bad, but because it could lead to many temptations and the deterioration of church and family life.
3.) Amish men do not shave their beard after marriage, because a beard is a symbol of an adult Amish man. Amish men are not allowed to have mustaches because they are associated with the military.
4.) Amish roots can be traced back to Europe. In the 1600s they traveled to the United States to escape religious persecution for their beliefs.
5.) Amish people survive by compromising. They will only use electricity when they absolutely have to. For example, some Amish farmers will use tractors when it is absolutely necessary. They survive by finding other ways to do things. For example, Amish women churn butter by themselves to produce food. They also use the crops they get from farming to make food.
6.) Today there are over 25 different groups of Amish people in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (the state with the most Amish people).
7.) On October 2, 2006 in Lancaster City a school shooting took place in an Amish school house called, West Nickel Mines Amish School. These shootings took place because some people disagreed with the Amish culture, and way of life, and were very opposed to the Amish beliefs.
8.) Amish people insisted that school would end after 8th grade. But this idea was greatly opposed by the government and laws. So some Amish people moved to other states where the laws were more lenient.
9.) The horse drawn buggy is a very popular form of transportation among the Amish community.
10.) The Amish are mainly farmers, but some are carpenters, cabinet makers, and blacksmiths.

Shawndell Young

I don't know what to blog about as I sit in this computer lab, so I've decided to talk about this video that at least 4 people seem to be watching simultaneously in this lab.

It's pretty ridiculous that a 6th grader can sing like that. It's incredible and makes me love show choir even more than I already do, which I didn't think was possible. I remember show choir when I was in middle school, and we were no where near as good as this group. They sound so much better than we did and seem to take it much more seriously. For me, show choir in middle school was just a fun activity I did because I liked music, and all my friends were in it. It was not until high school that I really started to get involved in show choir and take it more seriously. As I listen to Shawndell Young, I am compeltely amazed. Everyone seems to be talking about the "6th grader, who sounds exactly like Michael Jackson".

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Show Choir Season

And show choir season begins yet again! We took a break for a couple of weeks after Urbandale, and our most awaited competition of the season had arrived, Great River. Our group had won this competition for the last couple of years, and it was expected of us to continue this tradition, so as you already know, the pressure was on. Whether it was to live up to the tradition that the alums had built, or to finally win a competition, or to just perform and have a blast doing it, all of us were thrilled and ready to perform. It's been said a million times but something "magical" seems to happen to our group at this venue. All our hard work seems to pay off, and after an outstanding day rounds, we felt incredible, however not incredible enough for a first place. Wheaton Warrenville had taken first in the day rounds, we had seen their show during the day, and they were fantastic. However, we didn't let this get to us, we performed our hearts out in the night round, and knew that we would be happy with whatever outcome, because we had just given it our all and performed our best show yet. In the end, we ended up getting second place, but we looked like winners, and celebrated like winners. Loosing to a group like Wheaton Warrenville seemed like a good way to be defeated; they truly deserved to win, and we were just thrilled that our show had peaked.

The Guns of August

The Guns of August is an exceptional documentary that uses rare archive footage to tell the story of World War I. This movie shows the rivalry between royalty in Europe that leads up to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austro Hungary, and the start of the “War to End All Wars”. It also shows the unsuccessful attempts to avoid the war that followed. The movie continues and shows the Germans as they invade Belgium and France, and how unskilled leaders on both sides resulted in the deaths of millions of men.

The Guns of August is a movie that was based on the book written by Barbara W. Tuchman. Therefore, it is very historically accurate. Another reason that it is so accurate is the fact that there were no actors used in this movie. It was an informative documentary, and the main purpose of the movie was to convey the European events of World War I to the audience. Another reason I thought this movie was so interesting was because we rarely see or hear about the European side of the war. It was fascinating to see the obstacles that Europeans faced and their perspective on World War I.

The movie begins with the melancholy scene of European royalty as they gather for the funeral of Edward VII of Great Britain in 1910. It then continues with shots of various rulers and important things they accomplished during the next four years in history. Although this part of the movie was very accurate and informative, I found that parts of this movie were boring because it only presented the facts. Most historical movies are forced to change some of the historical events in order to make the movie more interesting. However, Guns of August did not do this. The movie was rarely dramatic or exciting, and I therefore found myself getting bored.


Flyboys is a film that shows the the experiences of a group of young Americans who volunteer to become fighter pilots in the Lafayette Escadrille.The squadron consisted of five French officers and thirty eight American volunteers who wanted to fight in World War I before the United States joined the war in 1917. The film mainly deals with the struggles that each pilot faces while flying during the war. It also deals with the multiple aerial fights during World War I.
Although this was an excellent movie, it has been criticized greatly for its lack of historical accuracy. One historical inaccuarcy was the fact that the Lafayette Escadrille was conjoined with the Lafayette Flying Corps, a unit where Eugene Bullard actually served. Another inaccuracy were the details of the World War I fighter aircraft technology. For example, the aircraft engines in some scenes are pictured as not moving. However, the rotary engines used in aircrafts during World War I rotated with the propeller. This mistake is because the Nieuport and Fokker aircraft used in the movie were flying replicas built with new engines.
Another inaccuracy in the film is the singular use of Fokker Triplanes, which were not widely used during World War I . Also, in the movie, the RMS Aquitania is depicted as a luxury liner. But in 1914, it was converted to use as an armed merchant cruiser, and by 1915 had been put into use as a troop transport ship. But it is believed that the film might have used it to demonstrate the style of transport ships during the war.
The use of weapons and ordnance was also inaccurate and exaggerated. Anti-aircraft artillery shown in use by the Germans was not used by any side in World War I. If any of the flak bursts in the movie came as close as they appeared in the film, the aircraft would have been most likely destroyed. This special efffect was obviously used to make the movie more interesting and dramatic, and was not historically accurate. Also, one scene describes the Germans as using a new 9 mm calibre machine gun, but no German machine gun was ever produced in 9 mm.