The Phoenix. North Haven High School Student Newspaper

Save this PDF as:
 WORD  PNG  TXT  JPG

Size: px
Start display at page:

Download "The Phoenix. North Haven High School Student Newspaper"

Transcription

1 December 2016 The Phoenix North Haven High School Student Newspaper Will Sugar Tax on Soft Drinks help control America s Obesity Epidemic? By Maia Annunziato The World Health Organization recently urged countries to add a tax on sugary drinks as a means of combating obesity. Between 1980 and 2014, obesity more than doubled worldwide with 11% of men and 15% of women being classified as obese. Multiple countries including Mexico, France, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Ireland, and the United States have taken steps to introduce a sugar tax intended to slow the rates of this disease. Proponents of the sugar tax view the price increase as a new source of income for cities to fund education, subsidize fruits and vegetables, and promote nutritional health as well as other public programs. Simultaneously, the tax could act as a deterrent to buyers who will then opt to save money by purchasing a less sugary options. This would decrease sugar consumption and risk of obesity, heart attacks, and many other illnesses. In fact, many American cities have already embraced the idea. Berkeley, California was the first city to impose the sugar tax in 2014, followed by Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Recently, three Bay Area California cities (San Francisco, Oakland and Albany) and Cook County in Illinois passed legislation in favor of a tax increase on sugary sodas, teas, and energy drinks. In Cook County, the approved tax of 1% per ounce on the beverages is expected to raise about 224 million dollars per year. The hope is that the increase in soda prices will encourage Americans to choose cheaper, healthier options. One model from Harvard University estimated that approximately 37,000 fewer people in Cook County would develop obesity by the end of 2025 as a result of the sugar tax. Meanwhile, a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, showed the effect of the soda tax on consumer choices in Berkeley. Consumption of sugary drinks declined by 21% (compared to 4% increases in comparison cities) and water consumption increased by 63% (compared to 19% in comparison cities). These statistics are evidence that the sugar tax is working as intended. Despite the potential benefits, the sugar tax still faces strong opposition in many states. One concern is that it may affect the poor disproportionately, creating a greater burden on low income families who proportionately purchase more sugary cheap drinks like punch and soda. In addition, the beverage industry, including giants like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, are trying to capitalize on the suspicion surrounding the tax to prevent it from being passed. Already, soft drink sales have been on the decline, and raising the tax could further decrease sales. The beverage industry has funded advertising campaigns that rename the soda tax The Grocery Tax, and imply that businesses will have to raise prices on other, healthier items in order to keep the cost of soda low. Also opposed to the sugar tax are citizen-based groups such as the Philadelphians against the Grocery Tax who claim the tax is unconstitutional and largely unsupported by the majority of Philadelphia citizens. On the other hand, The Washington Post ran an article recommending that America institute a nationwide sugar tax as an ideal and effective way to fight obesity. It voiced the shared belief of many politicians: Sugar taxes are not about punishment/blame but about nudging people from destructive behavior in a way that is economically efficient and less coercive than other alternatives. It is important for Americans to be aware that the current obesity issue has reached epidemic proportions. If this trend continues, for the first time in recorded history our children are predicted to die at an earlier age than their parents. The sugar tax is likely to appear on the ballot in many more states in upcoming years so stay informed and cast a sensible vote. Scientists try to decide which animals are the smartest By Pamela Nguyen All animals have different characteristics that allow them to be successful in life. Scientists have tried to classify them by their intelligence, but that has proven to have its own challenges. Since animals are so diverse, it really is impossible to list those who are smartest in a specific order. In order to gain some insight on the mental abilities of animals, scientists had 1

2 several species perform small tasks. However, these tests are more specific to the skill set of the particular group of animals, so it is challenging to accurately compare one group to another. Some scientists have decided upon an animal's intelligence based on their similarity to human cognition. According to this, chimpanzees would be the smartest animals as they share 98 percent of their DNA with humans. Famed biologist and author, Edward O. Wilson, comprised a list of the six smartest animals and all were different primates that demonstrated similar characteristics to human beings. They can not only make and use tools, but are capable of empathy, altruism, and self-awareness. In one experiment to prove that chimpanzees are selfless, seven females were matched with three different partners. The animals were placed in neighboring cages with a bucket of tokens, split between two different colors. The different colored tokens represented different actions. One of them meant that the female and her partner would both receive bananas, while the other color meant that only the female would. Approximately 70 percent of the time, the female chimp would choose the option that allowed for both animals to receive food. Scientists have also been considered dolphins one of the most intelligent animals. They have demonstrated advanced communication and continue to astonish many researchers. Before the human brain became fully developed over time, dolphins were probably the largest brained, and most likely smartest creatures on the planet. They are a part of the cetacean family, a group of animals that split from the rest of its mammal relatives about 55 million years ago. Their genetic diversion has allowed them to have a completely different evolution; not only are their bodies different, but their brains are as well. Dolphins can see wit sonar, emit different sounds to communicate, and can even listen in on the echolocating clicks of others. They work with one another to help achieve a common end. In Florida Bay, the animals have been seen using their speed to circle schools of fish. They stir up mud which forces the fish to leap out of the water and into the dolphin's mouths. Dolphins are also extremely social and have been known to be one of the smartest animals. In the end, scientists find themselves comparing animals to humans in order to determine their intelligence level. So perhaps the question should be changed from how smart are they, to in what ways are they smart and what can we learn from them? It is difficult to compare animals based on their intelligence because they all feature different characteristics and in some places aquatic animals may excel, while terrestrial animals may not. There is no true baseline to animal intelligence but scientists continue to discover amazing facts about creatures with whom we share our planet. Violent practices of Philippines President Duterte come under fire Human rights activists question random killings without trials By Jackson Frank Newly elected president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, is shaking up the political landscape in Southeast Asia as he fights a war on drugs with what many believe to be inhumane tactics. Duterte served as mayor of the Filipino city of Davao before winning the race for president in early May. As mayor, he became well known for his radical policies, often controversial and even offensive comments, and his focus on controlling crime, illegal drugs, and corruption. As president, Duterte continues his efforts to enforce a crackdown on crime and drug problems. His presidential ticket centered on widespread voter discontent about unemployment and crime. As president he vowed to kill or detain anyone related to the drug business. After announcing suspicions about many Filipino politicians involvement with drugs, many people came forward to confess. One such politician was local mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. who confessed to drug trafficking. The man was later found dead, killed by policemen while in his cell. In another killing related to drug crime, a local rickshaw driver, Michall Siaron was killed by an unidentified gunman and his body was found in the street along with a sign saying Pusher. Siaron s wife was seen on world news in the following days, cradling her dead husband. She says Siaron wasn t involved in drug trade and only sometimes used drugs. These random killings have drawn the attention of many human rights groups who argue that they are unjust, unnecessary, and inhumane. They also point out that many of the people killed by either police or vigilantes are not involved with the drug trade or play very insignificant roles in drug cartels. At the same time, Duterte s policies have led to a 13% drop in the crime rate since he took office. However, despite this positive trend, members of the civilized world agree that ruling a nation by instilling fear among people is hardly an exemplary way for government to achieve its goals and enforce order among its citizens. One can only hope that trials will take place in order to prove guilt or innocence before punishments are imposed and order and justice will prevail once voices of reason are heard. 2

3 Can the Paleo Diet make you healthier? By Kiley DeGrand As the marvelous holiday season comes and goes, many people start worrying about the extra pounds we are all prone to pack on during the crazy time of mashed potatoes and homemade cookies. In efforts to avoid weight gain, some people may choose to diet. A popular diet that dates back to 1985, called the paleo diet, is making a comeback. It is also known as the caveman's diet because dieters eat the same foods cavemen once did. Also, people say it is simple to follow, that even a caveman can do it. The diet promotes eating foods that contain fewer than 5 ingredients, like meats, eggs, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Foods to avoid would include grains, dairy, sugars, and processed foods. Bottom line, if a caveman would not have had access to it, it probably is not a part of the diet. People believe the paleo diet is the healthiest, most nutritious way of eating. Our modern-day diet consists of a surplus of processed foods full of starch and sugar. This lifestyle causes multiple diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, depression, and infertility. The paleo diet helps people stay strong, lean, and energized. Strong muscles, healthy bones, and optimal immune function are all supported by lean proteins which help keep us energized between meals and prevent us from craving and snacking on unhealthy foods high in salt like chips. It is highly recommended that you transition into the paleo diet slowly. As it is going to be a completely new lifestyle for you, it is going to take some adjustment time. Experts suggest you swap foods one at a time and build up your diet until it is completely paleo. It should be noted that eating paleo style is also expensive since those natural wholesome foods can also be costly. (But may ultimately be cheaper than medicine in medical treatments for illnesses from a poor diet) A slow transition ensures you adjust smoothly and positively to your new diet. It is also important to note that with rapid weight loss comes a higher risk of rapid weight gain. The faster you lose it, the faster you put it back on. Therefore, you are encouraged to start the paleo diet transitionally, to avoid any relapse or quitting. Some of the most popular paleo foods are grass-fed meats, fish/seafood, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils like olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, and coconut. Among top foods to avoid are cereal grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar, potatoes, processed foods, overly salty foods, refined vegetable oils, and any candy or processed food. The Paleo diet is not only for people looking to lose weight since it promotes healthy, proportional meal eating. It is very common with active adults as well because it provides energy. Like making any lifestyle change, there is a higher success rate with a support system. So, gather family and friends and see if the paleo diet is something you all want to embrace together! U.S. Air Force releases toxic chemicals into Colorado City s sewer system By Laura Borrelli Colorado s sewer water was recently contaminated with perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs. The contamination was not immediately discovered, but by October 12 th there were clear signs something was remiss. An investigation revealed that The U.S. Air Force base in Colorado accidently dumped 150,000 gallons of the toxic chemicals into the sewer system. The PFCs were present in the fire training area at the base because they are used often by the military as a component of firefighting foam. Fortunately, the chemicals did not contaminate the city s drinking water but the tainted water did pass through a wastewater treatment plant. Since the system was not set up to filtrate the PFCs in the water it created a situation often correlated with health problems associated with elevated cholesterol, liver inflammation, and weaker immune defense against diseases. The Department of Public Health stated that none of the communities directly take water from the creek downstream and the contaminated water was not linked to contaminating drinking water. However, it is still a health hazard, and the Air Force Base is willing to pay for filters and well monitoring to make sure the water is safe and there are no other health concerns/repercussions resulting from the event. The situation is controlled and the Air Force Base is doing all they can to help keep Colorado safe. 3

4 Former Israeli President Peres dies at 93 By Grace Gillooly Shimon Peres, labor party veteran who was long labelled the face of the Jewish state as President and Prime Minister of Israel, died on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv from complications following a sudden stroke. Peres was considered by many to be a diplomatic sensation and Israel s warrior for peace. His death was mourned throughout the world with President Obama describing him in his eulogy as the essence of Israel. In his youth, Peres immigrated to Palestine and latched onto the Zionist struggle and socialist groups, which ultimately led him to discover his political mentor, David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel. His political career took shape when he was appointed to the parliament of Israel, called the Knesset in 1959, and his political career continually flourished throughout the years. Peres was an advocate for peace over much of his ninety-three year lifespan and he helped establish the State of Israel from its birth in He was a statesman who worked with Yitzhak Rabin, the former Prime Minister of Israel, to acknowledge Israel s longtime adversary, the Palestine Liberation organization and negotiate peace. In 1996, the Israeli President established the Peres Center for Peace, an organization that promotes the Middle Eastern peace effort. Over his 50 year political career, Peres served as a constant force for generations in Israeli politics and held top leadership roles in virtually every position in the Cabinet from Minister of Defense to Prime Minister. He was Israeli prime minister from 1984 until 1986 and then again from 1995 to 1996, after Rabin was assassinated. He embarked upon the Oslo Peace Accord which expanded the self-government of Palestine, both in 1993 and 1995, which earned him, along with Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, and Rabin, his Labor party opponent, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for their profound effort to spread peace. He famously stated: Peace may be expensive.but war costs more. When he was later inducted as a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in 2003, he said, If you want to serve the future, don t be afraid to belong to a minority. Peres served as Israeli President from 2007 to 2014 and defense, foreign, and finance minister during various time periods when the nation needed him. When interviewed by Time magazine, he discussed the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian controversy, I think it s the only thing which is possible in order to bring an end to terror, violence, and hatred. During Peres s time as foreign minister, he attained Israel s only treaties with the Arab nations, Jordan and Egypt to promote and instill peace. Shimon Peres s years of working to unify the Arab and Jewish states of Israel reflect his devotion to all forms of peace. At his funeral in Jerusalem, leaders from seventy-five countries around the world gathered to celebrate his achievements and the end of an era. Reuven Rivlin who succeeded Peres as President of Israel announced: Although Shimon Peres s presence has left, his impact is imprinted on the history and hearts of our nation forever. Mouse egg study moves Science closer to developing designer kids By Julia Loda The world of science continues to evolve and impress with every new discovery. One such project which has been inspiring curiosity as well as criticism is the exploration of ways to genetically design a child. As they investigate the process of developing new infertility treatments and designer babies, researchers are looking into use of stem cells to grown fertile mouse eggs for the first time ever on a lab plate. They are searching for ways to develop and design human babies by studying the lab animal specimen. Mice eggs grown in lab plates are implanted within a female rodent mother with results varying from deficient to sometimes successful. The method currently being used will sometimes initially produce an egg that had a success rate of about 1%. But the knowledge gained will help researchers identify what key genes are involved in this essential egg development and maturation process. George Daley of Harvard Medical School is one of many scientists fascinated by the work and he describes the work as a stunning achievement. Egg cells are a uniquely powered organism, which contain instructions, like a blueprint, to start the development of another new organism. Obtaining such cells in a lab situation has been a longtime interest of scientists for years. Raising the stakes of the opportunity is the futuristic view that we as a society may someday make human eggs in the lab from skin or other donated cells which would allow us to genetically alter the egg cells. This recent progress has the potential to open doors to the future for mankind, but when? According to Katsuhiko Hayashi, a stem cell biologist who led the new mouse egg studies at Kyoto University in Japan, application to human cells is a very long way off. The new work, reported online in Nature today, builds on more than a decade of research in which Hayashi and his colleague Mitinori Saitou developed ways to derive egg and sperm cells also called germ cells from pluripotent stem cells. Pluripotent stem cells resemble cells in early embryos and in theory can become any tissue in the body. Fertile eggs that were derived from mouse embryonic stems took characteristics of Embryonic Stem cells in a previous 2012 study. The recent study built on that premise and continued tests that showed scientists could keep developing mouse ovaries growing in the lab and make them produce mature, fertile eggs over time. The team s lab-based ovaries produced more than 50 mature egg cells each, the scientists report. The lab-made eggs had higher rates of chromosome abnormalities than usually observed in eggs in normal mouse ovaries, but more than 75% had the correct number of chromosomes. Scientists then mixed some of those eggs with mouse sperm, producing more than 300 two-cell embryos, which researchers then implanted into foster mothers. However, only 11 4

5 of those embryos or 3% grew into full-term pups, compared to 62% for eggs taken from adult mice and fertilized in vitro. The reasons for that are still unclear, Hayashi says. The pups that did survive grew into apparently healthy, fertile adults. The cells have gone through many lab-based manipulations, each of which introduces possible abnormalities, which will make it difficult to sort out what factors are playing decisive roles. As scientists advance in their findings they get closer to finding ways to someday genetically modify human babies. At that point moral, ethical, and religious questions will likely follow regarding whether we have the right to create a world of designer kids! Consider the Top 10 naturally beautiful destinations in America By Sierra Kusmit Americans are forever seeking the latest exotic, extreme, and eventful vacation destination. Here is a countdown of the 10 places in America considered to provide some of the most unique vacations of a lifetime. Number 10: Skagit Valley Tulip Fields is a gorgeous site in Washington State. The best time of year to go is April 1st-30th. It has been described as the perfect place to take the love of your life out for the lovely picnic or your family for sightseeing. Number 9: Watkins Glen State Park in New York reminds many visitors of a beautiful dream. It is not just an ordinary place to hike and play but also offers amazingly gorgeous sightseeing complete with waterfalls and pond. Number 8: The Grand Prismatic Spring in Wyoming is known for its spectacularly and unusually colorful surroundings. Number 7: Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico is said to bring out the Indiana Jones in everyone. These spiky caves inspire inner kid-like imagination and are enjoyed by thousands each year as a memorable adventure. Number 6: Thor s Well in Oregon is the one point on the planet where water falls towards the earth in a waterfall formation. According to many, this results in the prettiest looking black hole anyone has ever seen. Number 5: The Northern Lights are likely the most well-known sight on this list. Visible from the Alaskan coasts, they are a dream come true. There are myths about the Northern Lights that say all the spirits of the world go up and live in these lights and when you see them you know somebody is watching out for you. You will not believe your eyes once you see these graceful lines of colors in the sky, and it is a sight you will never forget. Number 4: The Haiku stairs of Oahu in Hawaii constitute a long walk up what seems to be a never-ending outdoor staircase. Although the journey is extremely tiring, it is all worth it once you reach the top and glance out at the whole island of Oahu from the mountaintop. It s a sight like nothing you have ever seen before and will make you think you are living in a painting. Number 3: Hamilton Pool in Texas offers visitors a hidden beach where one would more likely expect a mountain unless you were above or inside this place. Number 2: Antelope Canyon in Arizona is the only colorful canyon you will ever see in America and it is definitely the place to bring your camera equipment. Number 1: Mendenhall Glacier Caves in Alaska will bring you back to one of your favorite childhood movies, Brother Bear. Trails take you under giant ice caves to experience gorgeous views from underneath the ice. Make sure you bundle up if you are planning a visit. Those are some of America s most beautiful outdoor vacation destinations. Visit if you want to enjoy unique vacations with family and friends. Safe travels! Despite recent accidents, American transit system still safer than auto travel By Francesca Mascola On a bright morning in early September 2016, a New Jersey Transit commuter train crashed at Hoboken Terminal during the morning rush hour. New Jersey Transit is the third-busiest commuter railroad in the United States. The accident caused one death and injured at least 114 commuters and workers, including the train operator. What led up to the crash was unclear and later investigated. The train involved in the crash was found to be missing an automatic braking system that uses positive train control, or PTC, which is used to slow the train before it comes to a stop in case the engineer does not manually apply the brake 5

6 in time. There is uncertainty whether PTC would have prevented the crash. Information gathered from video recordings of the train was later released on October 6 th. According to the reports, 38 seconds prior to the crash, the train's engineer accelerated from 8 mph and was traveling at 21 mph on impact more than twice the speed limit of 10 mph. He attempted the emergency braking procedure less than a second before the crash. Before the 2016 crash, the last fatal incident on the railroad occurred in 1996, where two commuter trains collided coming in from opposite directions, leading to the deaths of both engineers, one passenger, and injuries to 162 people. It was also unclear whether the failure to brake was human error or a problem with the train itself. Another accident occurred in December of 1985, injuring 54 people. The crash was said to be caused by a lubricant that had been applied to the tracks to test train wheels. Investigators are also looking into whether the 2016 crash and a crash at Hoboken Terminal in 2011 had similar causes and circumstances. Following the 2016 crash, the New Jersey transit instilled some new regulations requiring engineers to be accompanied by at least one other crew member as they pull the train into the station. Additionally, there was also a reduction of the approaching speed limit into the train station from 10 miles per hour to 5 miles per hour. Despite these alarming recent accidents, the overall fatality rates for transit agencies in America are not alarming especially when compared to auto fatalities and crashes. Fatality rates from the past three years show small numbers, and a large percentage of those were members of the public, trespassers, or suicides, not passengers or workers. In 2015, transit agencies reported 255 fatalities, and in 2014 and 2013, public transit had a total average rate of 7.4 fatalities per 100 million vehicle revenue miles. Passenger fatalities occurred at a rate of 0.15 per 100 million unlinked passenger trips. To put this into perspective, the odds of a passenger on public transit dying in 2013 or 2014 were 1 in 20,583,036. By comparison, there is a 1 in 10,676,876 chance of dying from a lightning strike over a lifetime. From data provided by the National Transit database, transportation by train is actually one of the safest options to travel. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics publishes detailed historical safety information by mode of transport that suggests rail travel is not accident-prone, even when you include fatalities at crossings and trespassers. For example, in 2014, the total railroad fatalities were only about 2% of total fatalities by all modes of transportation. Compared to highway fatalities, in 2014, there were 42 times more fatalities on highways than on railroads. These high-profile rail accidents raise questions about the safety of trains, but if you put the numbers into perspective, statistically, America s highways are far more dangerous. Still, given the recent accidents, some have a different perspective and claim that the American railroad system has room for improvement and updates. Compared to the rest of the developed world, America s railroad system is much more dangerous. A study carried out by Kevin Hasset, director of economic policy studies, American Enterprise Institute, compares the number of miles a passenger would need to travel in order to be injured on a train in different countries. France and Germany s proved to have safe travels for 58 and 48 times longer, respectively, than America, or in other words, American transit passengers get injured 58 times more often than those on French railroads or 48 times more on German railroads. Genetic Engineering Controversy Continues By Mehak Sharma Selective breeding, a process that once took place over many decades now occur quite frequently through the process of genetic engineering. Driven by economic rewards and often funded by major food companies, researchers have managed to genetically modify salmon that can grow faster than ever before and cows that can develop larger muscles and thus more beef. However, with these types of scientific successes come questions and confusion in the minds of the public. What are the risks and benefits of this type of gene editing? Essentially, there is no easy answer about whether it is right or wrong to genetically modify animals. In fact, because a very fine line exists between the ethical correctness and incorrectness, the practice remains a topic of extreme controversy regarding cases like Spider Cows (Cows injected with mammary cells to produce man-made high performance spider silk fibers that can be used for commercial products such as medical sutures, bio degradable fish line, and soft body armor), Humanized Goats and Cows (Animals introduced to human genes to produce milk that mimics human breast milk in terms of nutrition) and Super Salmon. Do we produce more food perhaps at some health/moral risk in order to feed the masses affordably or do we stay true to natural animal growth and development without manipulation of any sort and let some people of the world starve. In 2012, the Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA) approved of the first genetically modified food animal AquaBounty s GM salmon. This salmon is genetically modified to grow to market size in about half the time it takes conventional, non-modified salmon to do so. However, this audacious approval was met with extreme backlash. According to a Pew Research Poll in 2014, about 57% of United States adults believe that generally GM-foods are unsafe to consume. In addition, more than 60 grocery store chains equivalent to about 9000 stores across the nation, refused to sell the salmon. Nonetheless, many grocery giants like Costco are openly 6

7 embracing this product even though the majority of Americans express concerns. On the other hand, the benefits of this animal genetic modification outweighs the risks as the practice holds promise in many fields like increasing animal yields and producing important medicinal products in large quantities. Yet, others believe the practice is not worth the hassle, as the transfer of genetic material from one animal to the next can pose serious health issues for animals and humans. Often ethics is a major factor that makes individuals cling to their stance. Some feel the practice is ethical as they consider it a continuation of selective breeding, a widely accepted practice done by humans for thousands of years. Strict control of animal cruelty legislations in many countries also promotes acceptance among those who have faith in the regulation system. Those who oppose argue that embryos that are genetically modified often do not survive the procedure and that these practices can often put animals at risk of harm. Transgenic pigs were proven to be arthritic, partially blind, and infertile when a human growth hormone was inserted into their genomes to make them grow faster. Whether it s spider silk, goat breast-milk, or super fish, the uphill battle towards the full acceptance of genetically modified animals and their products in society will require more concrete answers to many moral, ethical, and practical questions. Drought devastates CT farms By Anna Stowe During the long hot summer of 2016, Connecticut farmers watched as their crops dwindled and withered due to the drought. Their fields produced less corn and hay to feed their cows, which was a costly problem when food sources had to be imported from out of state. Walter Hine, who is a 10th generation farmer at Field View Farm in Orange, states, I never, since I have been farming, remember it this bad, this dry. With the average feed for a dairy cow being about twenty pounds of hay per day, Hine explained that he had to purchase more hay this year in order to feed his cows because the drought prevented his own crops from having a productive growing season. In addition to having to buy more feed, the price of milk in American markets is low due to many factors including overabundance. As a result, dairy farmers must pay more to feed their cows and are receiving less of a profit from milk sales. Hine says that dairy farms in the Eastern part of the state have been hit the hardest. They won t have anywhere near enough feed this winter and spring, he said. I just hope it isn t like out West. They had to do away with a lot of cows a year or two ago because they just couldn t feed them all. If the drought continues and farmers are not able to provide proper feed for their cows, dairy farms will have to reduce their number of cows, causing a decrease in milk production. As 2017 approaches, farmers are looking to the Almanac, hopeful for a more prosperous growing season. Brits pay high price for currency security By Anna Stowe The Royal Mint has announced that the British one-pound coin will be undergoing a significant change. Starting March 2017, the current round coin will be replaced by a new twelve-sided coin. While the new design is interesting, mechanisms including parking meters and vending/ticket machines do not yet have a slot that accommodates the new coin. The Royal Mint urges retailers to begin preparing by ensuring vending machines can accept the new coin and replacing parking machines; tasks that may end up costing over 32 million ($39 million). So why make such a costly change to a coin that has been circulating for over 30 years? The main reason is security. Recently, the old coin has become increasingly vulnerable to counterfeiting with every one in thirty one-pound coins discovered to be fake. Britain is not the only place where counterfeiting has become a rising problem. In the United States, millions of dollars of fake currency has been produced using the technology of 3-D printing. The Royal Mint states that the new coin will be the most secure piece of currency in the world with a hidden high security feature built in to make it harder to replicate. Other features of the new coin include a gold outer and silver inner design, featuring an English rose, the Welsh leek, the Scottish thistle and the Northern Irish Shamrock on one side and the fifth coin portrait of her Majesty the Queen on the other. The design will also be lighter (8.75 grams), thinner (2.8 millimeters), and wider (23.43 millimeters). Is the security upgrade worth the exorbitant cost to accommodate the new design? Only time will tell, but for more information on the new coin, you can visit thenewpoundcoin.com. Do Pet owners live longer? By Celeste Battipaglia Do you believe that owning a pet makes you live longer? Many experiments have been conducted and articles written to determine if owning a pet is linked to longevity. Yes, sometimes dogs require owners to go on lengthy walks, but is this so beneficial to our health that is makes us live longer? Is it possible that companionship with our furry feline friends can add years to our lives? Research has shown that owning a pet can, in fact, lower stress levels and help maintain a healthy heart. Petting a cat or dog or even watching a goldfish swim around its tank can have a positive effect on humans. The calmness we feel when interacting with our pet slows our heartbeats and decreases our blood pressure. It has even been proven that people who own pets are more likely to survive a heart attack! Owning a pet does not mean that years will be magically added to our lives, but it could lower stress and blood pressure levels and that help people live longer and happier lives. 7

8 Not to mention, the unconditional love pets often give their owners can work wonders for our egos, lift our spirits, and promote a positive mindset. Multiple Sclerosis drug could reverse symptoms By Lorenzo Rappa Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Motor Neuron Disease (MND), is a specific disease that causes the death of neurons that control voluntary muscles. Doland s Medical Dictionary for the Health Consumer defines ALS as the progressive degeneration of the neurons that gives rise to the corticospinal tract and of the motor cells of the brainstem and spinal cord, resulting in a deficit of motor neurons with typically fatal outcome within 2 to 3 years. Multiple Sclerosis is commonly known and referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease, named after the famous baseball player who suffered from the condition. On July 4, 1939, a bittersweet day in baseball, Gehrig and his teammates marched onto Yankee Stadium field where Gehrig publically announced his diagnosis with ALS in one of sport s most famous speeches, Luckiest Man Alive. Seventy-seven years later, he would have been proud to learn that researchers are zeroing in on what looks like an actual treatment for the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. Recently, supporters of a cure for ALS have come out across social media advocating for the recognition of the ailment through the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. In the short clips across Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms, users dump an extremely cold bucket of water on themselves to experience symptoms of what those infected with the illness may experience. However, some participants of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge may not truly know much about the disease for which they are advocating, what ALS stand for, and if we are indeed any closer to a cure as a result of their efforts. Due in part to funds generated from the Ice Bucket Challenge donations, scientists from University of California Riverside and New York's Rockefeller University have both used the same compound, Indazole Chloride (IC) to successfully reverse the progression of MS in mice. The drug appears to stimulate the regeneration of the myelin sheath the nerve pathway coating that is progressively destroyed as MS attacks the nervous system. It appears to be effective long after the onset of the disease, and rebuild the myelin sheath in MS cases and those involving traumatic brain and spinal cord injury. In simple terms, if the nerves have not been totally destroyed, IC helps rebuild them. The main component of the drug is IC, which stimulates the estrogen receptors in the body without requiring raised levels of estrogen. This reverses the progression of MS symptoms in mice and appears to work long after the onset of the disease, stimulating the rebuilding traumatic damage that MS had caused to the brain and spinal cord. Multiple sclerosis affects over 400,000 people in the United States and 2.5 million around the world. A cure for this deliberating disease would prevent immune systems of victims from attacking their own bodies and save many lives. It is promising news for MS sufferers and their families-and perhaps Lou Gehrig himself can finally rest easy knowing that a cure may be around the corner! Obama presidency comes to a close A glance back at a legacy forged over eight years By Josephine Toni Barack Obama is the forty-fourth President of the United States and was elected on November 4th As his presidency comes to a close we reflect upon his legacy and accomplishments as well as what comes next for him. While in office, Obama significantly strengthened the economy by providing more jobs and better income for the country. As a result, the unemployment rate has significantly declined. According to the president, businesses have added 13.7 million jobs over a 69-month streak of job growth. Additionally, Obama allowed uninsured people to have affordable quality health insurance, which can help young adults and low income families stay healthy and deal with emergency 8

9 situations. Recent studies have shown that uninsured rates have dropped by forty six percent. The outgoing president focused his efforts on care of the nation s military. Troops are now provided with more protective armor and Obama also put an end to the Bush-era stop-loss policy which was keeping soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan past their enlistment date. Obama has also pushed to improve mental health care options for military personnel and veterans and their families knowing how much of an impact it has on their lives. In addition to these accomplishments throughout his presidency Obama has stood strong against terrorism making sure to always stay poised in his leadership to keep America safe. On of the most trying and painful events taking place during his presidency are the many acts of random gun violence. Obama consistently demanded, sometimes while wiping away tears, that politicians of this nation come together to develop and enforce stronger gun control laws to prevent the unnecessary slaughter of innocent men, women, and children in schools, theaters, workplaces, and places of worship. That ongoing battle continues with gun supporters stating, Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun. Finally, on January 5th, 2016 despite fierce opposition in Congress to approval of new gun laws, Obama announced that due to the sense of urgency he would use his Executive Powers and act unilaterally to expand gun background checks and tighten enforcement to protect the citizens of our nation. (A decision that President Elect Donald Trump has vowed to reverse.) As his presidency comes to a close, President Barack Obama has already started to make plans for his future. He plans to continue working supporting projects he began during his presidency, but living as a normal citizen in the Washington D.C. area where his youngest daughter will finish out her high school experience. He vows to remove himself from politics at this point and enjoy leisure and travel with his family and friends and states, I ll go back to doing the kinds of work that I was doing before, just trying to find ways to help people that s the kind of work that I really love to do. Perhaps in some ways, by leaving office, Obama will be able to focus more on the issues that matter most to him without the responsibilities, criticisms, and stress associated with the presidency. We wish the entire Obama family luck as they venture forward to explore the next chapters of their lives. We thank the President for his eight years of service to our nation and we are hopeful that Republicans and Democrats alike can acknowledge and appreciate the poise and dignity with which he conducted himself. Let s Meet the New NHHS Teachers! Have you seen these new faces around? By Molly Duffy Jacqueline Daur is a new math teacher here and found her inspiration to teach from one of her own Pre-Calculus teachers, She never lost her patience with me and made sure to explain the material in as many different ways as she could... says Daur, When I told her I wanted to be a math teacher, she seemed so proud. Daur says she hopes to teach students to treat each other with kindness and respect. Kathryn Speeg teaches Sewing, Baking 1, Interior Design, and Nutrition. This is her first year teaching, and prior to coming to NHHS she was a Fashion Designer in Manhattan designing Women s Sportswear. Her inspiration to teach comes from those who had...always allowed students to think outside the box and be creative. In addition, Speeg also would like to mention how much she values everyone s individuality and the unique perspectives they have to share. John Snow teaches Algebra 1 and Foundations. Before North Haven, he taught at Hamden High School for three years. He mentioned that he had a few teachers during his freshman year at Albertus Magnus College who inspired him to teach. In his spare time, Snow occasionally runs local road races for fun. Stephen Bevins teaches Marketing, Intro to Business, Student Success Seminar, Economics, and will be teaching Advanced Personal Finance and Business Management next year. Bevins started his career in Clinton and later came to the middle school for sixteen years. Bevins most inspiring teacher was Mrs. Cancel, his high school Spanish teacher. In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar and spending time with his son, Stephen Jr. Pilar Arboleda teaches Spanish here in her 20th year teaching after nineteen years at the middle school. When asked about teachers she had growing up, she replied: I remember my teachers in Colombia being very respectful, kind, compassionate and also very strict. I got my inspiration to become a teacher from one of my older brothers; he was a teacher and I remember him helping me with homework and projects. Arboleda is glad to be part of a strong, highly educated, and compassionate student body. Wendy Wade teaches Animation and several photography classes. Wade has very fond memories of all of her teachers growing up, specifically her first principal for helping her reach her goal of becoming a teacher. I am eternally grateful to my first principal, Tony Pavia, at Stamford High School for seeing something special in me and giving me the amazing opportunity to pursue a career in art education. She is also assistant yearbook advisor, is a professional photographer and co-owner of Shades Shutters Photography. Amy Alessi teaches business classes and will be also be teaching Fashion Merchandising and Marketing next semester. Besides these main classes, Alessi teaches Computer Technology at the Middle School. For the last two years, Alessi taught math in Arizona. When asked about teachers she had growing up, Ms. Alessi mentioned our very own Mr. Bevins, Mrs. Barzilauskas, Mr. Fiondella, and Mrs. Ardito as being helpful and influential. 9

10 Douglas Frasier is a new guidance counselor and although he does not teach, he spends a majority of his time working with students on how to succeed in and outside of school. This is his first year as a school counselor, but was a high school math teacher for seven years. Frasier says, My favorite teachers were the ones who pushed me to better myself. They made me earn my grades, and that work ethic has stuck with me. In his spare time, Frasier has played and coached rugby for over a decade, and has even played with athletes from around the world. Our new Latin teacher, Ms. Julie Buonasora, is in her second year of teaching, and has previously taught in Cheshire. Buonasora would like to mention the many inspiring teachers she had at North Haven, including Mrs. Bingham and Mrs. DiGennaro who helped her find her passion for the Latin language. I loved being in their classes because they exuded such passion for their subjects and made learning fun and memorable. says Buonasora. Is it right to take a Stand by Taking a Seat? By Kameron DeMartin Sports have long been a daily facet in the lives of Americans. Baseball seized the title of "America's Pastime," early in the 1900's, but as of recent years, football has taken over as the most beloved sport in the country. With this great following comes tremendous publicity, and in turn, celebrity status for these athletes. Colin Kaepernick is one of these premier athletes, and despite career ups and downs as a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers with skills that took him all the way to Super Bowl XLVII, he holds tremendous clout among fans and followers. Kaepernick has never been shy to voice his opinions over social media and is a very public and enthusiastic "Black Lives Matter" supporter. Beginning in the 2016 pre-season, he decided he would use his status and capitalize on the professional football forum with its publicity and platform to project views for the world to see. Kaepernick began taking a stand, by first taking a seat and ultimately kneeling. As the National Anthem played per tradition before the preseason games, Kaepernick chose not to stand and later took a knee when people objected to the lack of respect he was showing for fallen soldiers. He refused to stand to continue to support the black victims who have died at the hands of police violence. "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told the media in an interview after the game that started it all. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder." These strong words are in reference to the recent spike in police brutality within black communities. Kaepernick is expressing his First Amendment right to protest, while staying completely within the specifications of his NFL agreements. A player is encouraged by the NFL to stand for the National Anthem, but it is not required so they cannot be issued fines or suspensions if they fail to do so. Therefore, legally and according to professional football regulations, there is nothing wrong with these actions. However, many believe it conveys disrespect for America and everything for which it stands, especially military personnel. They question the forum used to pursue a personal agenda to sway fans and attendees as well as the exploitation of spotlight status. People across social media platforms became outraged by Kaepernick's decision to take a seat, mainly because they saw it as a major disrespect to the same military that gave him the rights and freedoms he enjoys to play a game he loves and make millions of dollars. However, there is one flaw with this argument. Kaepernick has the First Amendment right to express his opinions which is guaranteed to all citizens thanks to the sacrifices made by American soldiers over many generations. It is perhaps a bitter pill for some to swallow, but others say he is breaking no laws so leave him be. Regardless of one s opinion on the matter, America was built on people standing up for what they believe in, even if that means taking a seat. Scandal puts white collar crime back in the spotlight Wells Fargo slapped with $185 million settlement By Claire Fresher The world watched on Wednesday October 12, 2016 as Wells Fargo Chairman and Chief Executive John G. Strumpf announced that he would be stepping down from the company and replaced by the company s chief operating officer Tim Sloan. With Sloan as CEO, Stephen Sanger became chairman 10

11 and Elizabeth Duke, vice chairmen. These rapid changes were the result of a claim made that the bank s employees had opened two million unauthorized deposit and credit card accounts to meet sale targets. Federal regulators and the Los Angeles city attorney began looking into the issue in 2013 and ultimately Wells Fargo agreed to make a $185 million settlement with regulators. After the settlement, the bank's shares rose 2%. The board then announced that Stumpf had decided to relinquish $41 million in unvested equity, being one of the biggest-ever forfeitures of pay by a bank chief in history. He will still retire with over tens of millions of dollars that he earned during his 35 years working at the bank and almost 10 years as the CEO. Strumpf officially signed his half-page letter of retirement by saying he couldn t sell any of the shares he already owned before the end of the board s independent investigation, adding that those shares could also be clawed back depending on the results of the investigation. The scandal was a devastating blow to the Wells Fargo business, which had survived the previous financial crisis, and came out the other end unharmed. They had built themselves up to be seen as a reliable Main Street lender but their reputation was destroyed by this humiliating scandal. The deal Wells Fargo made to settle their cases was intended to resolve the matter, but instead it escalated into a deeper investigation of questionable practices and many more questions, criticisms, and the revelation of new incriminating information about what former employees had been doing before all of this happened. People the world over who placed trust in this bank have lost faith over this scandal and analysts speculate that it will take years for the business to bounce back if indeed its reputation is not damaged beyond repair. It is yet another example of the downfall that can result when corporate greed escalates out of control. Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize for Literature By Skyelyn Bernier Come senators, congressmen Please heed the call Don t stand in the doorway Don t block up the hall For he that gets hurt Will be he who has stalled There s a battle outside raging It ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls For the times they are a-changing. -Bob Dylan Those famous words were written in the 1960 s by someone whom many view as the musical genius of his time. His brilliance and contributions to mankind were recently confirmed when it was announced that legendary singer-songwriter, Bob Dylan, was awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize for Literature. This came as a surprise to many, including Dylan himself. The world waited nearly a week for him to acknowledge the tremendous honor and though he expressed gratitude, he did not take a big deal out of it. In the weeks that followed, there has been much discussion about this award going to Bob Dylan. Dylan is considered one of the most influential and unique singers/songwriters of the 20th century. He began his career in the 1960s as a folk rock singer-songwriter and has been recording to this day. Dylan left a great mark in the history of American popular music and is considered by many to be one of the most poetic and timeless voices in music. Some of his earliest songs became anthems for major important events such as anti-vietnam War and American Civil Rights movements. Dylan s powerful lyrics often express the truths about important issues facing mankind and have had a profound influence upon millions over many decades. The Nobel Prize is one of six prizes awarded yearly worldwide for excellent achievements in literature, world peace, economics, chemistry, physics, physiology, and medicine. It is considered one of the world s top honors, and represents and acknowledges some of the most remarkable and important achievements in the world each year. Dylan became the first musician ever to receive the Nobel Prize for literature. Some people have questioned why a musician won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Others claim that while Dylan s unique and somewhat odd singing voice may not be conventionally great, his millions of fans appreciate his raw and direct tone and feel these qualities perfectly match the messages and stories of his songs. He wrote many musical masterpieces that communicated his viewpoint about the changing world around him. He wrote in ways that connected to the masses and many people of his generation could relate to the sentiments he expressed.dylan responded to important issues in America, such as social injustice, human rights, war, and a cultural revolution. With his lyrics set to music, he created what many consider to be a soundtrack to those important times in history. As a poet and musician he was able to express his responses in a 11

12 way that was uniquely American and his fans recognized that Dylan s songs reflected a voice that expressed their own thoughts, concerns, and frustrations honestly and sincerely. This resulted in a stronger association to his audience than if he were a more traditionally talented singer. Bob Dylan s work has a timeless quality that remains as brilliant and relevant today as it did decades ago when he wrote the words and created his music. The Nobel Prize leaders chose Dylan because they recognize him as an artist who made enormous contributions to literature by shedding light on the issues of the world through his music. He did it in such a way that his lyrics can stand alone as poetry and we therefore salute him for this great well-deserved honor. Scientists question the setbacks of time change By Caroline Gabrielle As memories of summer fade, evenings grow chilly and mornings grow increasingly chilly, Americans in the Northeast swap t-shirts and shorts for long sleeves and jeans and transition into fall weather to ultimately prepare for the impending frigidity of winter. The change is enjoyed by some, but dreaded by others. As mums, pumpkins, and leaves are replaced by flurries and frost, and with scenery change comes the time change as well. Every year, clocks are set back an hour on the first Sunday in November and millions fall back to set clocks to Standard from Daylight Savings time. But why is this necessary? One hears the reminder spring forward- fall back but few of us know the true origin of this systematic change and why we do it. Daylight Savings was originally established in the United States during World War I and II to take advantage of longer days in order to save energy for war production. Although the intent has been long forgotten and the original need is archaic, the country still systematically makes this change every year without question. We all do it because we know we must if we are to be punctual and on the same page as the rest of the citizens of our nation. Today, the time change only brings about shorter days and early dark skies plus that one extra hour of sleep during the weekend of change. The evening light fades earlier and all too quickly as the sky goes from day to night. While many lament that it is dark when they leave for work and when they return home, studies have shown that the change genuinely impacts people in several ways depending on how they react to change. The "Finally Light Bulb Daylight Saving Time and 93.7 KCLB national surveys reveal that 49% of respondents said they dislike losing an hour of daylight, especially people in Boston, Minneapolis, and Pittsburgh. Some say it makes them sleepier while others claim they are more likely to be sad and depressed. The sunset shifts technically from 6:00pm to 5:00pm can also potentially impact physiological health among Americans. While some people say they are more likely to dive into a new book when faced with earlier dark skies, surveys show that more folks are likely to spend additional time watching television since they lost that extra hour of daylight that encouraged outside activity. Although individuals cope with the time change in different ways, there are also some disturbing social and public health issues resulting from the time change and subsequent disrupted sleep patterns. These include negative behaviors/incidents in the form of increased crime rate, heart attacks, and even fatal car accidents. There are also surges in depression diagnosis which may contribute to additional suicides. Interestingly, for some reason, no decrease in depression takes place in the spring, when the clocks are sprung forward so essentially, there is no relief for what we suffer through in the fall. These negative effects of time change pose the truly relevant question: should we continue the somewhat antiquated and basically unnecessary pattern of changing clocks each year merely for tradition s sake? We each know how and if time change impacts our lives. If you are less likely to go outside and play when you lose the hour of daylight and it leads to weight gain which creates and aggravates health problems, then that is a concern. If you had a fender bender resulting fatigue caused by loss of sleep or disrupted pattern to which your body struggled to adjust, then that too can be very serious and contribute to injury or even death. What we know at this point is that we as a society are not required to be victims of policies and behaviors that essentially have become obsolete. When telephone booths disappeared from most US cities it made perfect sense since the majority of us have cell phones which we prefer to use at our leisure without fumbling around for coins. Perhaps it is Time to consider a Change of Standard practice and shed some light on what many feel is a warranted and preferable option! Can mankind make crucial changes to preserve the world as we know it? Impact of climate change worst in 2,000 years By Patrick Edwards Climate change has become a popular topic of interest within the last few decades as natural disasters have increased to an all-time high, but what is climate change and what effect does this have upon our lives and ever-changing environments? Climate is defined as an average weather in a particular place. This could include patterns of temperature, precipitation (rain or snow), wind, and seasonal weather characteristics. Climate patterns play a fundamental role in shaping natural ecosystems, the human economies, and cultures that depend on them. Of recent and now renewed concern is the fact that in many cases, the climates we have come to expect in different regions throughout the world are changing dramatically. Therefore, the past is no longer a reliable predictor of the future and this is jeopardizing lives, homes, and costing billions in damages. 12

13 Climate change is currently having an unprecedented disruptive impact on environments everywhere. This is occurring on a whole new level and at alarming rates of speed unsurpassed by any known weather records within the last 2,000 years. Much of the rising levels of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere that have warmed the Earth are causing wide-ranging problems including rising sea levels, melting snow and ice, more extreme heat events, fires and drought, and more extreme storms, rainfall, tornadoes, and floods. Scientist believe these trends will only increase in the future and likely accelerate unless action is taken immediately. These weather issues pose threats to human health, forests, agriculture, freshwater supplies, coastlines, and other natural resources across the globe. They also affect historically synchronized pollination of crops, food for migrating birds, spawning of fish, water supplies for drinking/irrigation, forest health, and more. Scientists and citizens the world over ask the big question: what can we do? The largest contributors to the greenhouse gases are the burning of fossil fuels, along with agriculture and deforestation. The best way to counteract this to use more efficient sources for energy that have less harmful gas emissions such as solar, wind, and tidal power. Countries like Germany and Australia, and even states such as California, have begun to find success in using alternate sources of energy. With new innovations being developed and investors recognizing the potential of making smarter long-term choices, it is only a matter of time before the world recognizes green energy as the most efficient alternative to fossil fuels. The questions remain: What must be irreversibly destroyed and lost forever before this issue is taken seriously by every nation on the planet? To what extent do lifeforms (including humans) need to suffer/perish before mankind unites in a concerted effort to pursue best possible solutions? Heed the warning signs folks.the time to act is now so we can end future drastic change and disaster. Clown scare subsides at last Cheerful icon left citizens frowning and fearful By Alex Baptie Earlier this fall, clown sightings were a growing threat across the United States, with 44 states affected by the real or implied menace perpetrated through these decorative painted faces and colorful attire. For a while, clowns were popping up near schools and around towns, posing in menacing ways to scare or alarm in some way. The short-lived phenomenon was enough to leave countless clown costumes on store shelves as Halloween came and went without a Bozo in sight. Many have long been uncomfortable around clowns with some remembering Steven King s frighteningly violent It clown who tormented childhood friends. Others simply have negative perceptions of these creatures from past circus adventures who often seem to be trying too hard to make us laugh with stupid stunts and ridiculous nonsense. Whether fears or annoyance is real or fabricated, the clown scare conjured up some genuine concerns among police, community members, and even educators throughout the nation. Numerous schools went into lockdown or even closed for the day due to clown sightings. Authorities warned people not to walk around alone at night although there were also clowns spotted during the day as well. Sadly, there is seldom a shortage of oddballs who think it would be entertaining to capitalize on other people s fears to trigger discomfort and even pandemonium. Such people lack the common sense and become involved in antics and perhaps earn themselves their 15 minutes of fame. However, since there are also plenty of concerns about truly harmful people like terrorists and serial killers who look for opportunities to exploit situations, the fear suddenly took on a legitimate tone with many saying, Better safe than sorry. One disappointing result of all this was when The Ronald McDonald clown had to be removed from his post and put on leave to avoid scaring people. The company cared too much about its reputation and how their clown would be perceived in the community. Since the well-known and beloved Ronald McDonald has offered welcoming and uplifting hugs and kind words to sick children and their parents for decades and even at restaurants for longer, it was indeed a disappointing byproduct of the clown shenanigans. Hitting too close to home was a local threat via social media that was directed toward several schools in the New Haven and North Haven area. Even after officials discovered it 13

14 was a hoax, the situation was still taken very seriously for fear that it would be taken too far by some wannabe assailant. Many school administrators made similar announcements to that made by Garth Harries superintendent of New Haven public schools, We considered this to be nothing more than a prank and harassment fueled by social media especially as Halloween approached. Many worked with police departments and security teams, but found no evidence that there was a credible threat to students or schools in the district. Therefore, until the next craze evolves that is typically founded on nothing transforms into something and spreads like wildfire, until it fizzles and wears itself out, we can rest in peace since it appears the clowns have left town with the circus. Good riddance! Top 10 Universities in the United States and Top 25 World Universities As ranked by Times Higher Education By Jenna Goldschmidt 1. California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California. This institute offers a wide variety of scientific studies and receives grants from organizations such as NASA and the Department of Health and Human Services. 2. Stanford University, Stanford, California. Situated in the Bay Area of California, this school has a wide range of student organizations, sports teams, and offers an institute for environmental education. 3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT offers education in anything from engineering to biology to psychology as well as uniquely designed class rings that always don the school s mascot, the beaver. 4. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. With the largest endowment of any school in the world, Harvard boasts many top ranking institutes. 5. Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey. This top ranking school is one of the oldest in the nation and offers many clubs and activities as well as rigorous academic programs. 6. University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California. This notably liberal school offers many activism clubs, Greek chapters, and athletic teams that rival head to head with Stanford. 7. University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. In Chicago s Hyde Park sits a university with a number of highly ranked graduate and professional schools located in historic and new buildings. 8. Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, Yale is known for its highly regarded law, medicine, and art schools and perhaps lesser known for its secret societies. 9. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founded by Benjamin Franklin, this school offers a thriving Greek life with about 45 sororities and fraternities, successful sports teams, and, despite being secular, an encompassing religious life. 10. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California. Located in downtown Los Angeles, this school offers more than 700 clubs and organizations and is noted for turning out famous actors and directors like George Lucas and John Wayne. 1. University of Oxford, Oxford, England. 2. California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California. 3. Stanford University, Stanford, California. 4. University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. 5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 6. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 7. Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey. 8. Imperial College London, London, England. 9. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland. 10. University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California. 11. University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. 12. Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. 13. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 14. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California. 15. University College London, London, England. 16. Columbia University, New York, New York. 17. Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland. 18. Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. 19. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. 20. Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. 21. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. 22. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 23. University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. 24. London School of Economics and Political Science, London, England. 25. University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland. Can social media cause more harm than good? Victims of cyberbullying are twice more likely to contemplate suicide By Janhavi Narain Facebook, of course, is the internet sensation that allows people to post pictures/messages and share them with friends. Out of the 5.2 billion internet users around the world, roughly 1.79 billion of them use Facebook. But are there more advantages to Facebook than the obvious communication features and would some of those surprise us? A Cornell University Study found that Facebook can fuel one s self esteem and strengthen friendship bonds. Some people feel that the more people they add on Facebook, the happier and healthier they will feel and if that indeed boosts their spirits, is that genuine joy? Another Cornell study found that Facebook also enhances networking. When 600 students from ages 10 to 16 were surveyed it was discovered that communicating online through Facebook improved their communication skills offline. However, can what appears to be simply a social media website used when people are bored or curious also have negative impacts on their lives and even affect health? One of the more widely-known health risks of Facebook is Facebook Depression. It is a condition where people spend too much time on Facebook, which culminates in their turning to 14

15 substance abuse, unsafe sexual practices, or aggressive/destructive behaviors, as per Ashley Day from everydayhealth.com. When the superficiality or even cruelty of Facebook sets in some individuals turn to these unhealthy practices to fill the void they are feeling or compensate for the lack of true intimacy that true relationships and not Facebook can offer. Another issue involves sleep, which is a very important factor in determining human health. Studies have found that the average person spends 16 minutes each night on social media, cutting into their sleep time, which can make them more anxious, depressed, and increase the possibility of obesity, heart attacks, etc. A national survey of over 10,000 young people showed that almost 1 in 3 teens had an anxiety disorder. This anxiety is revealed in many ways, whether comparing your life to the life of your Facebook friends, or stressing about not being able to check your notifications for a while. Research also indicates that Facebook could make it more difficult to recover after a breakup since what should be a personal journey between two people often begins, unfolds, and even ends in front of a large audience of friends. Some of these people can be critical and even cruel when relationships end and others feel free to comment or take sides. Besides anxiety, there are plenty of other possible problems that could arise from Facebook including cyber bullying, which has recently resulted in many suicides. Facebook is the worst social media website for cyberbullying and internet trolling. According to the journal JAMA Pediatrics, 23% of teens report they are or have been the target of cyberbullying. Could Facebook and other forms of social media be contributing to the growing suicide rate which is currently the third leading cause of death of 15- to 24- year-olds? It is a frightening reality to consider the fact that people who have been cyberbullied are twice more likely to consider suicide than those who have not. Currently, 78 percent of Americans have a social media profile compared to only 24 percent in Many have unknowingly suffered from some of these very health and safety risks. As with most forms of social media, Facebook can be a great tool and fun to use. The potential risks of social media can be reduced with a common sense approach involving restraint and reasonable and responsible use. Social scientists suggest that we, as members of school, home, and work communities, strike a healthy balance and spend face-to-face time with friends and family in order to nurture and enjoy relationships, solve problems, and stay connected. Through actual conversation, collaboration, and problem-solving, we can create and experience positive interactions of various sorts. So, keep yourself unplugged for a few hours and enjoy a chat/the sound of a human voice. First Daughter prepares for her role in the White House Americans speculate about Ivanka s impact on President Trump By Richard Guarino When President elect Donald Trump takes office, there will be some new faces among the First Family members. How much do we really know about his famous daughter, Ivanka, and why does she seem to be his number one confidant? Ivanka will be the first First Daughter in history who is a fashion designer and reality star after working on The Apprentice with her father. Along with being the owner of a fashion empire, she was always by her father s side in the Trump Towers and served as his business partner. She joined the family business in 2005, after completing her education, graduating from Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, CT, attending Georgetown University for two years, and then transferring to the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in Economics in Ivanka explains the importance of her business and real estate, Real estate is my life. It is my day job.but consumes my nights and weekends, too. The incoming First Daughter will be a heavily trusted advisor to the President, says her father. She has always been in the public eye for her various business ventures, many of them wildly successfully, setting her apart from her father, who has had many failed businesses and declared bankruptcy in the past. When asked about her father, Ivanka says He was rarely present, but always available and talked to his children by telephone. Her response when asked if she ever disagrees with 15

16 him is, It would be unusual if I didn t.but his campaign was his to run and I would never disagree with him publically. Ivanka, her husband Jared Kushner, and their three children are moving to the Washington D.C. area so she will have frequent and direct access to her famous father at this point in her life. When she married Kushner, who also comes from a family of wealth, she became an Orthodox Jew. She and her family observe the Sabbath and thus abstain from work from Friday to Saturday evenings. She says she enjoys spending that block of time exclusively with her family especially her children. She speaks of Judaism as a blueprint to staying connected. As the presidency under Donald Trump unfolds, the world will anxiously watch to see what Ivanka Trump will bring to the table. Since the election, she has been very visible and is often seen by her father s side, present at meetings, and introduced to important people. Those who approve of the first daughter and like what they hear so far are encouraged by her common sense and open-minded attitude. They appreciate the fact that she is her own independent thinker and comfortable and confident enough to question her father s ideas and actions and express her opinions. There are those who think it will be difficult for her to overrule her father while he is serving as president. Some feel as though Trump himself recognizes that Ivanka is often the voice of reason and he therefore listens to and trusts her. He has publically stated that he is proud of the personal and professional decisions she has made, and respects and admires her for her lifestyle choices and accomplishments. While he praises all of his children, the others at this point remain further in the background supporting their sister in the spotlight. Americans can only speculate what impact Ivanka Trump Kushner will have on how her father handles himself and his responsibilities as President of the United States of America. Those in the know speculate she will take over the role of First Lady in place of Trump s wife, Melania, who plans to stay in New York where son, Baron, attends school. Many believe she will become the most influential First Daughter since Alice Roosevelt Longworth. Only time will tell so stay tuned. Looks like Samsung needs to revise Galaxy Note 7 airplane mode By Courtney Babbidge Back in August, when the Korean firm, Samsung unveiled their new Galaxy Note 7, with its much-lauded battery life and pixelated camera, it was highly anticipated across the globe. High-ranking business officials within Samsung were elated with the prospect of sales overtaking those of their competitor, Apple. The future for Samsung looked picture perfect, until the phones began bursting into flames, posing a danger to people everywhere. The Seoul-based firm faced an immediate worldwide recall of 2.5 million devices and production of the troubled smartphone came to a screeching halt. The main cause of the explosions stems from the batteries within the cellular device. Batteries are simply containers that can convert chemical energy to electrical energy through the transfer of electrons from the negative plate or anode at one end of the battery to the cathode or positive plate at the other end. Rechargeable batteries used in the Samsung device are called lithium-ion batteries and were considered a game changer in tech innovation. Lithium is the lightest metal in the world, which is the reason that it is so widely used. However, it is also extremely volatile. Steve Levine, author of The Powerhouse: Inside the Invention of a Battery to Save the World, explains that researchers now speculate that the battery manufacturing process could be the source of the smartphone fires, but at this time there are no definite answers. These sporadic fires caused by the smartphones have posed major threats to the airlines across the world. At least two fatal cargo jet crashes are believed to have been caused by these lithium batteries within the cellular device. Although consumers are not at immediate risk from their phones catching fire in their own pockets, precautions must be taken to prevent any further issues. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly advises passengers not to turn on or charge these devices on board aircrafts. The FAA regulator later banned all Note 7 from U.S. airline flights. While consumers should not panic, the matter remains under investigation with public safety a major focus. The Power of Napping by Francesca Mascola Napping, or a short sleep during the day, has been proven to provide a multitude of health benefits for humans. A brief nap, usually 20 to30 minutes out of the day, can help improve alertness, mood, and productivity. According to the National Sleep Foundation, naps can be classified in three different categories: planned napping, emergency napping, and habitual napping. Planned napping involves taking a nap before you actually get tired so that you might be able to stay up later if you have plans to do something. Emergency napping occurs when you immediately become exhausted and can no longer function without resting. Lastly, habitual napping is napping that is scheduled,same time everyday. This may be more for younger children who tend to get tired around the same time each day or even an adult who revolves around a very strict schedule. The National Sleep Foundation also recommends short naps between 20 and 30 minutes during the day for short-term alertness and performance and ensuring your sleep environment is peaceful and calm since surroundings can greatly affect the quality of your nap. Factors like temperature, lighting, and noises in the room can influence your nap. Taking a nap can even possibly prevent fatal accidents such as a car cash. Driving while sleepy is extremely dangerous 16

17 because it takes your focus away from the road and drowsiness can cause you to swerve. Taking a nap safely at home before you get in your car can increase your alertness while on the roads. Although studies have shown the benefits of napping, there are still several stigmas associated with it such as the misconception that it is a sign of laziness, it shows a lack of ambition, and is only for children and the sick/elderly. These statements are false and show that people should be educated on the many positives of napping. Getting enough sleep during the day keeps us alert and feeling our best. Naps are a great way to relax and rejuvenate your body for the day! Zzzzzz.. people fear to stay in buildings that are easy target for Russian planes. Despite the strict government control, some civilians in the eastern half of the city have managed to find a route out of Aleppo and flee. However, an overwhelming majority has chosen to remain in the country that they have lived all their life, in hope that it will heal itself soon. The city is torn and bombardments only increase by the day; however, Syrians themselves see a brighter future for Aleppo and hold on to this little hope. Aleppo and Syria Crisis By Niti Bidja The Aleppo and Syria crisis remains a constant fear for civilians. People living in Syria's northern city of Aleppo wake up to the shots of Russian airplanes, the bombardment of governmental forces, and a hope that they can stay at their home for just one more day. Since 2012, the city had been divided, opposition control in the eastern half and government control in the west, possibly causing the worst crisis in history for Syrians. Syrian President Bashar al-assad, supported by Russia, launched an offensive to take back the rebellious side of the city. A conflict that the residents thought would be a month-long siege turned to last almost 4 years, ending in early August But this was not the end to the Syria crisis; vast numbers of civilians are still killed daily by the bombardments between the two sides. A siege that had been planned to last only a few months has now become a constant apex of fear. Stephen O Brien, the UN secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, addressed the UN Security Council in the past August, informing them about the devastated lives of citizens who played no role in this conflict. I have underscored that up to 275,000 people in eastern Aleppo have been almost entirely cut off from vital supplies, including food, water, medicine, and electricity, for over a month, he said. The most deprived are the approximate 1.5 million people living in western Aleppo, which is under strict governmental control. But the people themselves are not the only ones feeling the effect of this past crisis. The infrastructure of Aleppo had taken a sharp turn toward deterioration since Ibrahim al-hajj, media center director in Aleppo for the Syrian Civil Defense, a volunteer rescue group, says that buildings are also being bombarded on a daily basis. He states, Field hospitals, ambulance and civil defense personnel have been targeted the most in the last few days, especially with cluster bombs." To Hajj and civilians, the streets have been completely empty as 17