Decisions a magazine written for and by the bay area youth
Front and Back cover photos courtesy of Austin Yu
Table of Contents 6 go/travel 9 watch 11 eat 13 green 15 listen 18 global 20 think Photos courtesy of Austin Yu
STAFF LIST editor in-chief managing editor editorial director business director PR/social media director layout editor photo editor editorial editors: wear editor editorial:
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TT Tu Helen Carefoot Sophie Kang Brian Benton Zara Sheikh Charlotte Jones Priyanka Arunkumar Austin Yu Parthiv Mohan Vivian LeTran Shreya Indukuri Samantha Donat Aditi Ashok Harini Jaganathan Nicole Dalal Rachel Alsheikh Sindhu Gnanasambandan Anshu Siripurapu Alex Baker Cody Ni Sanjeev Ranga Sian Ye Ophelia Ding Chris Vu Eileen Qian Izzy Albert Leona Rajaee Sophie Mattson Tiffany Miller Chipper Stotz Laura Yao
DEF Interview: Dave Lenowitz
Bay Magazine: What is DEF’s main goal?
Dave Lenowitz: Our main goal is to improve the lives of young people, and ultimately society overall, by improving decision making skills. Evolution has not completely prepared us to navigate the world in which we now live. Research in various fields of science has led us to a better understanding of our cognitive limitations and the ways in which they undermine our ability to make the best possible choices [and] that gives us the best chance of getting what each of us wants out of life. To paraphrase the Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, we exhibit “bounded rationality”. More simply, we frequently do the wrong thing in our efforts to satisfy our individual preferences.
BM: How does the It’s Your Choice program work?
DL: Through a series of mini lessons delivered via the web - none more than 12 minutes long an extensive range of concepts are developed into a coherent process. We identify the essential e lements and characteristics of a well-made decision, and provide practical tools to help guide a student’s skill development. Importantly, we identify numerous traps, and provide guidance on how to avoid them. In conjunction with the online components, classroom activities and exercises are provided to the facilitator, who may be a teacher in school, or a coordinator in a youth program of some kind. The program contains many examples of decision relevant to teens, but is not targeted at any specific domain of decision making.
BM: What are some of the other ways DEF helps teach decision making?
DL: We offer curriculum in English, History and Advisory to teacher and facilitators who have had training in our framework. Over the last decade, through group and customized workshops, we have trained hundreds of teachers in the framework we use and have provided consulting on the development of customized curriculum beyond those which we offer as standard.
BM: What is one of the hardest decisions you personally have had to make?
Photos courtesy of Austin Yu
DL: In 2006, I had to decide whether to resign my job in technology with a company that had been a large part of my life for almost 10 years. My career had advanced extremely well, and I enjoyed working with colleagues who were both very talented and most congenial. My job was interesting and challenging, and provided both economic and intellectual benefits. I was working very hard, and was unable to devote enough time to my wife or my children, who were already in high school. I could easily see the time when my wife and I would be empty nesters, so I had to decide whether to give up my career for an alternative that would allow more family time, or risk alienating my wife, and missing the experience of the last few years of my children’s time at home. These were profound trade-offs to reconcile…always a challenging decision.
BM: What is the one piece of advice you would give someone in regards to making better decisions?
DL: The future is uncertain and chance plays a strong hand in the outcomes in our lives. Chance is beyond our control, but our decisions are not. Through study and practice, as in sports or music, you can improve your skills and with improved skills come improved chances of knowing what you want, and getting what you want out of life.
by VIVIAN LETRAN
Photos courtesy of Austin Yu
Located deep within the redwood forests near Santa I was still dubious as our guide began the tour, Cruz, CA, the Mystery Spot is a supernatural place. and I began scrutinizing my surroundings, Featuring a “tilted house” as its main attraction, the the materials used for the tricks, and anything Mystery Spot attracts visitors that may at first be that could possibly disprove the Mystery Spot. skeptical. Yet strange things are hard to ignore: the I kept trying to find out the secret, figure out an branches of surrounding trees grow away from the explanation to disprove the tricks. Before I entered, house and the laws of gravity and physics seem to I was satisfied with my skepticism, thinking it must be absolutely disregarded. At only $5 a person, be magnetic forces. Yet slowly, my doubts were cast away as the visitors can experience an inexplicable change in guide pulled out the “Board of Mystery.” Each trick height and weight . Regulars at the Mystery Spot have a tore away a part of my inhibitions. The board clearly variety of speculations as to why visitors often tilted into the house, yet the ball rolled uphill. Again I feel lightheaded and dizzy when they venture was perplexed when we entered a specific room and the out to the secluded forest. The theories range guide invited people to lean backwards, yet they did not from spacecrafts buried beneath the spot to a fall over even at unbelievable angles. It was only when I finally let go of all my hole in the ozone layer. Before visiting the Mystery Spot doubts that I was able to thoroughly enjoy the attraction. for the first time a few weeks ago, I was The Mystery Spot provides the same sense of mystification doubtful and unconvinced by stories of and exhilarating wonder people experience from watching the strange illusions. However, upon magic tricks. It stimulates their imagination and offers a arrival, I noticed the abundant amount of break from the strict rules and predictability of school and visitors it attracted and began to become everyday life. While most people do not believe that an alien spacecraft more optimistic. The location of the small cabin was beautiful, with majestic is buried beneath the cabin, the thrill in the Mystery Spot is trees towering over the road form iles. believing. The Spot promises fun for everyone as the tricks are My friends and I each paid the small masterly disguised and fool almost everyone who attends. And entrance fee and waited for the show to if the magic and mystery is not enough to convince you, you also get a free bumper sticker. begin.
Tech Museum by HARINI JAGANATHAN
online and using their tech- tag ID to view a picture of their grown protein. The entire museum utilizes tech-tags in creative ways, letting visitors document parts of their experience that they could not necessarily document using a normal camera. Visitors can capture full-body images of themselves in a thermograph, and later access those images online. The most inspiring gallery is the Tech Awards Gallery, which highlights technological solutions to problems around the world. All of the displays show inventions that have benefitted humanity. In a society where people often blame technology for our many problems, it’s refreshing to see a gallery dedicated to how technology can help people significantly. One particularly incredible display, The Innocence Project, showed how DNA technology was used to free innocent people. While The Tech Museum might not be the most mentally stimulating place for those with a large science knowledge base, it’s worth checking out purely because of the interactive elements. An afternoon spent tinkering with science-toys and learning about the real-world applications of science is an afternoon well spent. Visit The Tech Museum online at thetech.org/ to plan your trip.
Photos courtesy of Austin Yu
In the heart of the Silicon Valley, nestled among the high rise office buildings and quaint restaurants of downtown San Jose, lies a gaudy orange and purple building that does not seem to belong. The irony here is that in an area crawling with high-tech companies, there is no attraction more fitting. The Tech Museum encapsulates the innovation and discovery that the Silicon Valley is widely known for and offers visitors a way to learn about a large spectrum of topics in multiple ways. The large number of field trip groups, children with their parents and the painfully small latex glove in the Wet Lab should be fair warning that teens aren’t quite the target audience of the museum. Regardless, a visit to The Tech Museum will deliver a substantial dose of fun to those young at heart who posess an iota of curiosity. The interactive displays and interesting galleries appeal to both those who love science and those who do not. The Tech Silicon Valley Innovation Gallery explores different inventions from the Silicon Valley and their history. The exhibit, “Microchips: The Heart of the Revolution” goes through the history of microchips and their impact on human existence through multiple
interactive panels and videos. Not just in this exhibit, but throughout the museum, informational panels present topics in a way that appeals to visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners, utilizing videos with commentary, hands-on activities and diagrams. Another enjoyable exhibit entitled “Infinite Creativity” allows the observer to use “digital finger paint,” and use all ten fingers to create a colorful masterpiece on a screen. The Tech Challenge Gallery brings back simplicity and reminds the visitor of basic science principles that people learn in school and then forget about. The displays include videos of adorable kids explaining basic science concepts accompanied by a visual model or DIY activity. The topics explored include pulleys, magnetism, circuits, levers, gears and color. The Life Tech Gallery includes exhibits about the human body and genetics. One of the highlights of this gallery is the Wet Lab within the genetics exhibit that allows visitors to create a jelly fish protein by injecting jelly fish genes into bacteria. After fiddling around with pipettes and epitubes to create the protein, visitors will pull out a pre-prepared sample of jelly fish protein that glows green. Simply put, it’s cool. Visitors can also see the jelly fish protein that they made by going
Fall Events by ADITI ASHOK
September Labor Day Weekend All-You-Can-Eat BBQ Buffet (3rd-5th) Held at Gilroy Gardens throughout Labor Day Weekend
San Francisco Fringe Festival (17th-18th) 40 different independent shows in just 12 days playing at the EXIT Theatre
Fleet Week (6th-11th) View a parade of Navy Ships along with the Blue Angels aerial show at Marina Green Park in San Francisco.
Autumn Moon Festival (10th-11th) Held in Chinatown, showcasing the community’s cultural aspects. Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival (10th-11th) Indulge in chocolate in San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square while benefitting Project Open Hand Charity.
Treasure Island Music Festival (15th-16th) One day of hip-hop and electronic music, and one day of rock at San Francisco’s Treasure Island. Great America Halloween Haunt (Every weekend in October) The theme park is adorned with haunted houses and mazes for weekend nights in October.
November Silicon Valley Turkey Trot (Thanksgiving Day) Run races of various lengths in order to benefit local charities while burning off your Thanksgiving meal.
7 things Bay Area teens would enjoy experiencing before leaving for college
1. Ride a Cable Car in San Francisco: Manufactured in the 19th century by Andrew Smith Hallidie in an attempt to provide safe transportation for the city, cable cars have since become an iconic feature of San Francisco. Rides cost $5 each way. 2. Climb Fremont’s Mission Peak: Mission Peak is a steep summit east behind the city of Fremont. A hike to the top and back down requires roughly five hours, but the view makes the arduous treck worthwhile.
3. Watch an old movie or musical at the Retro Dome in Saratoga: Off of Saratoga Avenue lies an old fashioned performing arts center, alive with a retro vibe. Stop by this movie theater and watch an old flick, whether it be a classic John Hughes film or Men in Black, or catch a live musical. 4. Cross the Golden Gate Bridge on foot: Another iconic image that epitomizes San Francisco, the Golden Gate bridge is all the more breath taking when walking. 5. Ride all of the rides at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk: An amusement park
and a beach? The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk epitomizes California. Spend a day at the Boardwalk, then head to the beach when you’re finished. 6. Drive along Hicks Road : Whether or not the legends of crazy albinos are true, taking a drive along Hicks Road in San Jose is the ultimate test of daring. 7. Attend an event in ORACLE Arena: Whether it be a Golden State Warriors, Oakland Athletics, or Oakland Raiders game, or a concert from your favorite artist, ORACLE arena hosts some of the best events in the Bay.
Today’s Movies by VIVIAN LETRAN
There seems to be a growing surplus of movies that can only boast of a copious amount of Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) that poorly conceals the clumsily undeveloped, shallow plots and static characters. Take, for example, TRON: Legacy, the sequel to Disney’s 1982 TRON. The movie is about a boy called Sam Flynn reuniting with his father, Kevin Flynn as they fight Clu 2, a villainous program, to escape from “the Grid,” a predominantly black and dark blue world that combines technology and humans in a flashy way. Despite the positives of simply astounding visual effects and a performance by actor Jeff Bridges, the negatives of an incoherent plot that is quite honestly boring at times and dry, forced dialogue are overwhelming and leave viewers with only a failed imitation of wonder. A few similarly appalling movies that came out this summer include Zookeeper, Hangover II, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Recall some amazing films that were produced before the 21st century. The older Star Wars series and The Matrix, both sci-fi movies that go beyond their superb special effects and action with wild, thoughtprovoking plot that keep views on the edge of the seats. Or Titanic, a tragic love story between two people of different social stature who meet on a catastrophic voyage that spins together forbidden romance, power, beauty, and the historical background of this passenger steamship. The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles,
compassionate and funny portrayals of the struggles that high school students of the 1980s, and today, faced. A comedic and heartwarming movie, Forrest Gump, follows a simple man as he struggles through his life and unknowingly through many significant events of America. The terrifying psychological thriller, The Sixth Sense, about a young boy who is visited by ghosts that have unfinished business on earth, and The Blair Witch Project, the chilling tale of three college students that attempt to document the Blair Witch incidents in Maryland. Crafted barely over a decade ago, these films are simply a memorable experience in themselves. Movies such as TRON: Legacy cannot even been compared with these classics. While Titanic, The Matrix, The Sixth Sense, and Forrest Gump have been remembered to this year and unquestionably will be remembered for years to come, movies like The Green Lantern, Smurfs, or Sorcerer’s Apprentice are better yet forgotten. However, despite the excess of movies with a lack of originality, a claim that the quality of movies today have degraded from previous marvels is definitely incorrect and rather cynical. While these movies make film enthusiasts cringe, they are only a small fraction of the vast amount of movies available in which also contain an abundant amount of soon-to-be classics. There were plenty in 2010: a series of thought-evoking movies, like Black Swan, a psychological thriller that dramatizes the
intense competition of ballet in a frightening, yet elegant way, or Inception, a brilliant action movie with an intriguing plot set in a world where thieves can enter dreams to steal or plant ideas. t7 Hours, The Fighter, and The Town reveal the raw strength, perseverance, and courage of humankind with heartfelt stories about the survival and escape of a man trapped by a rock that crushed his arm in an secluded canyon; a boxer’s rise to victory while coached by his half-brother that explores not only the fight, but family ties as well; and a tragic love story between a victim and an expert bank robber who desperately tries to escape the job , respectively. Another movie, Winter’s Bone, does not fail to impress audiences with a melancholy, but hopeful story about a courageous girl searching for her father to save the rest of her family. In addition, Win Win, a powerfully performed movie about a heartwarming adventure between an attorney struggling to find happiness through coaching wrestling and a star athlete, and Up, a movie about a young wilderness ranger and a cranky old man who finally decides its time to fulfill he and his wife’s dream of moving to Paradise Falls, are unexpectedly wonderful, cute movies that both the young and young at heart can relate to, The tragedy, the passion, the enthusiasm evoked through these movies will undoubtedly catch cynics off guard. Being on par with the classics of the 90’s, how can one say that the quality of movies has
Documentaries by HARINI JAGANATHAN
“What is democracy?” one of the film makers asks a Chinese student in the opening of Weijun Chen’s 2007 documentary Please Vote For Me. The unknowing child stares back at the camera, confused. The question, “what is democracy,” is largely what this documentary examines on a small scale. For the first time, the third grade class of Evergreen Primary School in the Wuhan district of China is having a democratic election for the class monitor position. This dramatic and satisfying documentary is worth a watch, and leaves the audience asking questions that you would not think a documentary on eight year olds would instigate. The documentary follows three candidates as they endure a grueling election process that includes a talent show in which tears are shed profusely, a round of debates in which no candidate’s feelings are spared and a campaign speech in which bribery plays a heavy hand. The documentary not only shows the three candidates as they campaign for the position in front of their class, but also as they agonize in preparation for each step of their campaign with their families. It is amusing to watch the children engage in dirty tactics, much as it is amusing to watch American politicians do the same. Much
of the drama and entertainment value of the Please Vote for Me comes from watching the candidates as they grapple with being taunted and cheated. Because the high points of this movie often paint democracy in a negative light and because it’s Chinese made, it’s easy to peg this documentary as biased, but it is in fact relatively unbiased, or at least not overtly. The parents in the documentary all give their children positive definitions of democracy, and in the end the winning candidate shakes hands with the losers. Amidst the chaos of the election, the documentary does have a few light moments. The students make silly faces at each other behind their teacher’s back like in most classrooms. The candidates are largely unashamed in front of the camera - watching their family dynamics provides a much needed breather from the heat of the election. As American students who have learned from a young age that fundamentally democracy is good and communism is bad, it’s refreshing to see democracy in its raw form - including both the good and the bad. This documentary provides a fresh examination of democracy and looks at whether the choice to decide who our leaders are is really worth it. Please Vote for Me is available on DVD, as well as on Netflix Instant Play.
Food Inc. Food Inc., an Academy Award nominated 2009 documentary, shows the path food takes until it reaches the consumer’s plate in gruesome detail. Directed and produced by Robert Kenner, it is divided into different chapters covering different aspects of the commercial food industry. This muckraking documentary delves into the malpractices of various food corporations and the stories of people who have struggled against these companies. While it is gripping, powerful and never has a dull moment, it often edges on being slightly depressing. Food Inc. hits the viewer with one harrowing tale after the next, trying to sway the viewer away from supermarkets in a systematic fashion. One particularly emotional segment is about the story of a mother who’s son passed away after eating burgers contaminated with E.Coli. This documentary is not for the faint hearted. Its most gut wrenching scenes go into the slaughterhouses and the cramped farms where food is first grown. It’s best not to eat before watching it. While Food Inc. is certainly eye-opening for those who know little about agribusiness, the solutions is presents at the end are somewhat unsatisfying. After going into detail about the ills of the food industry, the film only skims the surface on the changes people can make in their lives with regard to what they eat. Both informative and enthralling, Food Inc. is definitely worth a watch. It is available on DVD and Netflix Instant Play.
Photos courtesy of Chipper Stotz
by RACHEL ALSHEIKH
We have seen the pictures and heard the stories of slaughterhouse walls branded with the blood of cattle whose doom is marked with price-indicating tags and nylon wrapping. This is the face of the commercial meat industry, ladies and gentlemen; toss your appetite from the window and watch it fall. So, we are familiar with this gory picture, but what do we do with the information that it presents? How can we detach ourselves from the practices of butchery? The first instinct, of course, is to go herbivore. According to a Vegetarian Times survey, over half of the twelve million Americans that have expressed interest in the alternative diet did so in order to promote the welfare of bovine or livestock. This is not to say, though, that they actually adopted the meatless lifestyle— only seven million decided to make the adjustment. More than ninety percent of the country continues to indulge in carnivorous cuisine. But the gap can be explained. Vegetarianism and veganism resist the growth hormones, steroids, veterinary drugs, and antibiotics associated with the slaughterhouse. They avoid threatening microorganisms, such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella, along with parasites and worms. They offer a lowered cholesterol and blood pressure; they protect the human body from heart disease and other illnesses. The decision to become a vegetarian, however, is not necessarily related to what is healthy and what is not, what is safe and what is not. After all, meat is a staple to the customs of the United States. It has been established and accepted as the feast to a Thanksgiving, the dinner to a Christmas Eve, and the barbeque to a Fourth of July. Its consumption has evolved to represent celebration; it represents the gathering of relatives and acquaintances on holiday. Meat captures these experiences in a way that only food can—by taste. Rejecting this taste is inherently the act of abandoning a tradition; this can surpass health benefits. Paul McCartney once said, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.” Those five million people who chose against vegetarianism and veganism, however, did not fail to acknowledge the blood on butchery concrete. They saw through the glass. As consumers, they understood the process that their meat went through before it was presented to them, chilled in a grocery store freezer. The carnivores’ decision comes down to the fact that they are unwilling to part ways with the taste of meat. Or, more importantly, what the taste implies on a national—or, really, personal—scale. These people are not ignorant to the torment that the industry introduces to animal domestication; then again, the choice of whether or not to become vegetarian or vegan does not rely on their emotional reaction to this fact. They look past the butchery because meat is important to them. It is important to the millions of others that surround them, so they choose to embrace it despite the risk. Despite the butchery, they eat. The decision depends on each of their priorities.
by SAMANTHA DONAT
or most high school students, finding and holding a job throughout the school year can be an extremely difficult task— balancing work along with school and a social life is never easy. But Lauren King and Anika Murthy, both seniors at Gunn High, have decided to take this already challenging task several steps further. How? By starting their own business. King and Murthy aren’t just working under adults like most other teenagers, rather they launched their very own pastry company completely from scratch. The girls’ business, named “Caketastic Pastries,” began in the summer of 2010 when the friends began looking for ways to deepen their experiences within their prospective careers—King is looking to attend culinary school,
while Murthy is hoping to pursue a career in business. Realizing how compatible their interests were, they began formulating a way to combine their respective talents in a way that would suit them both—and Caketastic Pastries was born. Since their start, King and Murthy have consistently expanded their business, acquiring new orders and customers each month. Their delectable concoctions—which range from cakes to pies—have become quite popular for birthdays, graduations, and many other types of celebrations. But although King and Murthy work together, each has very specific jobs that pertain to their particular interests. Murthy focuses on networking to promote awareness for their business, using connections through friends and family to find more customers and
expand their company. And the networking has paid off—Caketastic Pastries has already catered to several customers. Murthy also handles all of the customer service involved with the business—taking phone calls, organizing orders, and scheduling deliveries, as well as managing the business’ website and Facebook page. King, on the other hand, is in charge of all culinary aspects of the business. A few days before a pastry is scheduled to be delivered, she will begin gathering ingredients, and then embarks on the tedious journey of baking the pastry completely from scratch. All of Caketastic Pastries’ cakes can be made with different flavors of cake and icing, and are hand-decorated to suit the customer’s occasion. King’s job can become particularly difficult, however, when there are several orders due on the same day. At that point, the pressure intensifies and King’s job—as well as Murthy’s—can become extremely overwhelming, especially during the school year when her work for Caketastic Pastries is added on to her pile of schoolwork. But even when the going gets tough, both King and Murthy stand by their decision to start their own business. However, their business isn’t all work and no play. The two friends definitely enjoy their time working together. And although the work can be stressful at times, they know that the experience they are gaining is priceless toward furthering their careers—especially when it comes time for college and internship applications, for which both King and Murthy will certainly have an added leg-up.
Photos courtesy of Tiffany Miller
BEING GREEN VS. SAVING MONEY by NICOLE DALAL
As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pushes for construction businesses to more critically test paints and other materials for lead content, the conflict between business profits and environmental safety wages on. Consumers, whether or not they are conscious of their individual decisions, drive the international market and determine the type of products used and sold worldwide. Yet, with the United States in the midst of recovery from an economic recession and money scarce, consumers, teens and adults alike, are likely to save money and go for cheaper products. Does saving money while painting your room a new color really matter when you could be exposing yourself to toxic amounts of lead? Choosing a type of paint may seem like a trivial decision on a buyer’s part, but by neglecting the content of various construction materials, businesses and consumers alike put people in serious danger. While businesses complain that the more stringent tests proposed by the EPA cost too much and hurt their projects on a grand scale, the implications of not heeding the EPA’s suggestions are enormous. Society in general is rooted in these kinds of decisions – the monetary versus the beneficial, the industrial versus the environmental. As a strong advocate for the EPA’s movement towards a more safer, cleaner environment as a whole, I encourage teens to voice their opinions regarding such laws and put aside financial motives. Our role as consumers is not limited solely to paint and construction though; we have the power to drive the sales of other environmentally safe products, such as organic foods and reusable bags. Although I will be the first to admit that I don’t shop regularly at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, I recognize the value in making environmentally and health-friendly decisions. Being green can be “cool,” which is exactly where I see teens coming into the picture. Buying green, although it may be expensive, is the way to create progress and start a trend among younger consumers. Until the movement towards a safer planet begins at the grassroots level with concerned teens like us, we cannot hope to proceed and protect future generations.
Activism Is it possible to go to such an extent to protect our environment (non-violently of course) that you could end up in jail? I thought not until I heard about Tim DeChristopher. Back in a 2008 auction, DeChristopher successfully bid for 22,000 acres of land in Utah. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the money to pay for his bid but he did save the land from fossil fuel extraction. In 2011, he was convicted of fraud and he’s awaiting trial to be sentenced to jail with a $750,000 fine given to him by the Barack Obama administration. Environmental activist Tim DeChristopher is going to jail, but Don Blankenship isn’t—Don’s illegal coal mine which exploded was in violation of over 500 safety violations and killed 29 innocent men. Why isn’t Mr. Blankenship going to jail? Well, he’s the corrupt CEO of Massey Energy Company—and has completely bought off the judicial system in West Virginia and eastern Kentucky. Now, I wouldn’t call myself a devout climate activist. Yes, I care about the environment but I’m no hardcore treehugger. But, this news absolutely SHOCKED me. Is this really how our country is punishing someone who might have actually put off the effects of climate change in the long run? Yes, he shouldn’t have lied in the auction and I understand there are consequences but really? Three-quarters of a million dollars and years in jail? Mr. Blankenship illegally destroyed a mountain range and caused the death 29 men while he was at it. Mr. DeChristopher’s trial was postponed to July 21, 2011 but I sincerely hope our government thinks twice before giving him a harsh conviction. I am disgusted that our legal system would let wealthy Blankenship “slip away” but not DeChristopher. Sometimes my optimistic self forgets that the US doesn’t have a perfect legal system (Casey Anthony, what the hell?) but I guess activism vs. the law is a relatively new problem the US is facing. I hope, sooner than later, that our legal system could take into better consideration the motivations and long-term effects of one’s actions.
Photos courtesy of Austin Yu
by SHREYA INDUKURI
by BRIAN BENTON
Shocker alert: sometimes, I buy music. I bought a used techno-compilation at Amoeba a few weeks ago. I bought the soundtrack to a play I went to two nights ago and it cost a whopping $18 dollars. And when I’m feeling extra cool, I’ll go onto this little website called iTunes and buy a song! Now you might be thinking, “Silly Brian! You can just get all that for free online!” And it’s true, I can, but for some reason, I just can’t bring myself to it. For some reason, even though I know it has such a small impact that it may even be worthless, every time I pay for music, I feel like I’m helping the dying industry that is the music business. The music industry was at its peak 10 years ago. In 2000, United States music sales raked in about 71 million dollars, a record. Today, the total revenue of music sales is less than 30 million dollars a year. Illegal downloading, an increase in the number of musicians opting to give their music away for free, and an overall lack of desire to buy albums have all contributed to this. And it’s sad. Teenagers are among the largest purchasers of music, but in recent years, they are also the group to stop their purchasing the most. According to a 2009 study by the NPD Group, an entertainment industry research group, 13 to 17 year olds “acquired 19 percent less music in 2008 than they did in 2007.” This was the largest single drop in amount of music purchased by teenagers in a single year ever. Before then, the amount was lessening slowly, although not at nearly the same rate as it has from 2007 to today. Both Napster and Limewire, two of the most popular
illegal downloading programs, have disappeared, but the decline in music purchasing is nowhere near over. There are now hundreds of new sites offering free downloading services, many of which are legal but most of which are not. Instead of using an illegal site, I urge you to use one of the legal ones. Urban Outfitters releases free music samplers every few months that get you 25 songs free of charge and free of guilt. Magazines like Spin and Filter do the same. Spinner.com and MP3.com offer free downloads of the day, giving away everything from Mumford and Sons to Theophilus London. Everyone loves finding new music, and these samplers and free tracks are one of the best ways to do so. Spotify is another amazing way to listen to music. The Swedish application, which was just released in America, lets you stream some 15 million songs for free. You don’t officially own the music, so it can’t be burnt to CDs or put on iPods, but you can still make playlists and share those with other friends using the application. Spotify is still on an invite only basis, and the wait to get an invite is long, but trust me, its worth it. And, if you are looking for a specific song that you can’t find legally, just buy it. Get the single, get the full album, I don’t care, but please just realize that if you love a song so much that you need to own it, you should respect the artist enough to pay for their music. I, just like any other teenager, love free things, but I also love music. And I don’t know about you, but in my opinion 99 cents is a pretty small amount to pay when the future of music is on the line.
by BRIAN BENTON
Over 100,000 music fans squeezed into Golden Gate Park during the weekend of Aug. 12 through 14 for the fourth annual Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival. The festivalâ€™s four stages were taken over by over 60 bands, including headliners Muse, Arcade Fire, Deadmau5, the Black Keys and MGMT. I made the trek to San Francisco for the festival and hauled my camera along so I could share the excitement with those who werenâ€™t lucky enough to take part in the spectacular weekend of music, art and food.
Photos courtesy of Brian Benton
Opposite page, clockwise from bottom left: Major Lazer, The Arctic Monkeys, The Decemeberists, Arcade Fire, The Shins This page, clockwise from top right: The Black Keys, Ok Go, Macklemore, a fan crowdsurfs, MGMT
Limousines Songwriter Eric Victorino and producer Giovanni Giusti were introduced through a mutual friend in 2007, and soon began constructing songs by sending recorded beats and lyrics to each other via email. Without a record label and without ever meeting in person, the duo put together several songs that they would later release digitally on Myspace and Tumblr under the moniker “The Limousines.” They independently released a four song EP in 2009 and a full length album, “Get Sharp,” that features the single “Very Busy People” in 2010 before being signed to Dangerbird Records. I met up with Eric at Outside Lands to talk to him about his past and the band’s future. Bay Magazine: Ten years ago, if someone said to you, “where do you think you’ll be in ten years,” what would you have said? Eric Victorino: I probably would have said dead back then. I’m not trying to be dramatic, [but] I just didn’t have a very good outlook and I had this romantic idea of important people dying when they’re young, which I think you grow out of. Bay: And then today, if someone said “what do you do for a living,” what do you say? EV: I tell stories for a living. I like to make music and paint and write books and that’s all just different forms of storytelling and trying to be creative. Bay: How do you think the Limousines were able to become so successful without having a record label for so long? EV: I think that the internet has changed things. If people like something, it’s so easy to tell someone about it. It used to be if you liked a band and you wanted to tell a friend about it, you might say ‘Hey, some day, whenever you can, you should check out so and so,’ and the chances are you probably didn’t write it down. But now you can actually put a music video in front of someones face in one click. I think it’s one big consciousness and were all sharing ideas, just with music and art and all that stuff. Bay: Do you have a favorite show you’ve ever played? EV: You know, all the good ones blur together and the bad ones stand out.. The thing that’s great about a bad show [though] is usually it’s because no one’s there, and the thing that’s great about that is if there’s no one there, then there’s no one to know there was no one there. Bay: How would you describe your music in one sentence to someone who’s never heard it? EV: Something smart people can dance to. Bay: If you were planning a festival, who would you have as the headliners? EV: That’s crazy. Honestly, I’d probably put Daft Punk and the Deftones together or something like that. Radiohead probably wouldn’t show up. There’s so many little tiny bands that I’d want to put on there too. Bay: Who are some of the newer, small bands you’re really into right now? EV: My favorite thing right now is called Crosses. It’s the singer from Deftones with the guitar player from Far doing down-tempo, electronic stuff. But I’m also into Friendly Fires, and K-Flay, and Wallpaper. Bay: What is next for the Limousines? EV: We’re always recording, we’re learning some other people’s songs just for fun and throwing those into the live set. I think a good way to learn about music is to learn about other people’s music. Bay: One last question. Are you still very busy people? EV: It goes in spurts and I think that’s what we’re learning. It’s our choice to decide how busy we want to be. We wrote all these songs about being slackers and sitting around playing video games and now we don’t really have time to do that anymore, so we’re making time. We’re trying to balance real life with the big joke that is being a band. www.baymagazine.org|AUTUMN2011
WHAT ARE WE REALLY FIGHTING FOR? by SHREYA INDUKURI
Do you know how much the US has spent this past decade for the war in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan? $4 trillion. For years, the U.S. has definitely earned itself a reputation of wanting to “assist” countries in need. Obviously, the countries mentioned above are not as developed as the U.S. but seriously, we have our own problems at hand! Know how much debt we are in? $14.46 trillion and growing! Let’s take some advice from my homeboy, Ralph Waldo Emerson here: “Thy love afar is spite at home” Emerson is basically saying our obsession with helping other countries out and pouring BILLIONS of dollars into helping them only amounts to what? More debt, more deaths. Insignificant progress. Now I’m not attacking charity and benevolence (you should always help out when you CAN) but the government is really distracting itself from the imminent problems on the home front. The economy is still pretty pathetic, more and more people are losing their jobs and what the hell is up with our perpetually increasing debt?! Let’s take Afghanistan for example. Obviously, our presence constrains the Taliban but their leader Osama Bin Laden is dead. The few remaining Taliban members apparently justify the 100,000 U.S. soldiers and 40,000 NATO military personnel. We’re still unintentionally killing many natives there too… it may not be on purpose but imagine what people from Afghanistan or thinking? They are sure not sympathizing with us. Okay, I’m not award-winning economist or strategist or a visionary, I’m just a 17 year-old girl living a comfortable life who honestly doesn’t even begin to understand how complicated our international military situation is. But, for now, I don’t think we have the freedom or privilege to distract ourselves from our thousands of domestic problems and station hundreds of thousands of soldiers in foreign countries when evidence of danger to the homeland is pretty insignificant.
The Issue of Illegal Immigration by PARTHIV MOHAN
Photos courtesy of Austin Yu
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Jose Antonio Vargas, made a monumental decision in late June. In an essay published by the New York Times, Vargas admitted that he was an illegal immigrant. His Filipino mother, wanting a better life for her twelve year old son, had sent him to the United States with a coyote, someone who specializes in smuggling immigrants across borders. Ever since then, Vargas has had to live in paranoia, often resorting to dishonesty to keep his secret. His secret is shared by many. Vargas is one of innumerable illegal aliens who have made the United States their home. There is no way to meaningfully generalize illegal immigrants from south of the border or otherwise. Though there are many who have paid taxes and contributed positively to society, those who engage in criminal activities and evade penalties more often than not serve as the face of illegal immigrants. It is a natural to assume that a high-profile, accomplished public figure like Jose Antonio Vargas is one of the few exceptions to the stereotype of the parasitic illegal immigrant. But there are certainly figures that came to the United States through very similar situations. One such example is an investigative reporter whose mother took him to America from Guatemala as a small boy. His mother, working as a nanny, did not tell him that he was brought illegally, but when he graduated from high school and wanted to go to college, the effects could have been disastrous. Luckily for him, his family and the white family his mother worked for had become close, and they contacted an immigration lawyer. The boy, who was on the verge of adulthood, was given a set of instructions to collect his picture, medical reports, and papers. Miraculously, in a room deep underground, an official issued him a green card. Ruben Vives, now 32 years old, won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Public Affairs Reporting earlier this year. What if that official had chosen to deport Vives? While the stories of Vargas and Vives are thematically identical, there is a fine line between the two men: Vargas continued to hide his identity as an illegal immigrant, while Vives became a legal resident. Yet who is to judge that each manâ€™s contribution to American society is more or less valuable based on their legal status? It is hard to fault Vargas for being illegal, and Vives, without a little bit of fortune, may have never received the chance to become legal. After all, Vargas did not choose to be brought to the United States. He found out that he was illegal only when a clerk at the DMV, where he was about to take his
permit test, looked at his falsified papers and told him to never come back. When someone in their formative years has assimilated into the culture and identified himself as an American, as Vargas says he had in his article, who can blame him for wanting to remain there, rather than to return to a country wrought with economic turmoil? If anyone is responsible, it is their parents who made the choice, despite their good intentions, to send them into the country illegally. How is it just to punish their children for his or her parentâ€™s transgression? There is no perfect way to deal with the problem of illegal immigration. For every pro, there is a con. It saves businesses money on healthcare and taxes, but subsequentlyAmerica loses money. It costs Americans jobs, but theygive businesses cheap labor and so many work undesirable blue collar jobs. Illegal immigrants can send the money they make to their family, but schools and hospitals lose funds by teaching and treating them and their children. But this complex issue canâ€™t only be examined through such a breakdown. We cannot deport the children who have grown attached to this country who were unwittingly brought here illegally. The DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act offers a solution. The legislative proposal, in essence, provides permanent residency for people under thirty who were brought into the United States as children. It excludes those who have had severe run-ins with the law, threaten public health, etc. I feel that it fairly handles the situation of many young people who have been forced to live in fear of discovery. The DREAM Act would not remove the financial burden from illegal immigrants on America, but it could recover our country between 1.4 and 3.6 trillion dollars, according to a UCLA study. This is not to say the legislation eliminates the moral ambiguity. Who can say that Jose Antonio Vargas did not deserve his employment at prestigious national publications? He had to overcome more obstacles than most and worked hard to hone his skill and realize his ambitions. Conversely, how can we encourage law breaking which is clearly detrimental to our country? Clearly, finding a way to stem the flow of illegal immigrants is paramount. Detractors point out that people could encourage children to illegally cross the border then lie low until they would eligible to be normalized through the Act, and it could escalate the conflict even further. This must be dealt with. Even so, I think that as a nation, we owe it to the children of illegal immigrants currently living in constant panic to allow them to become legal members of the United States.
Money Matters by SINDHU GNANASAMBANDAN
Dough. Bank. Moolah. We all have it, and even if many of us don’t earn it ourselves, we sure do spend it. That being said, how many of us actually step back and consider the impact of our purchases? It sounds silly to question every McDonald’s fries and bubble milk tea, but it all adds up to quite a bit. Now, I am not advising for us to live more stingily. What I am saying is that there is a greater meaning, a bigger picture to it all. Being conscious about not just how much, but where exactly we channel our money is a habit to start now. For instance, many of us cherish the unique aspects of our community, but unless we pay that $0.05 extra for brew from the cozy little corner coffee, it will be gone before we have kids. Heck, it will be gone by the time we graduate. Along with commercialized coffee powerhouses, the economic lull is a real hit to selfowned businesses. Take for example the Roasted Coffee Bean on Stevens Creek Blvd. in Cupertino, owned by a sweet, elderly couple that has been in the business for decades. “There was a Mr. Pete. I met him,” said Mr. Carlson, owner of the coffeehouse, “but there is a difference between us and them. Self-owned coffeehouses like ours try to be as individualistic as possible. I roast my own coffee beans and we promote local artists by displaying their beautiful work.” Their outlook is charmingly
positive during such unpredictable times. His wife, Mrs. Carlson adds, “They are competing with us, we are not competing with them.” That being said, they are feeling the hit and it is the community’s job to support the local café. Oh, and did I mention there’s a Starbucks at the next light? While supporting local businesses can be the first step to meaningful, conscious spending, philanthropic spending is a couple steps into the game. True altruism is a virtue even the best of us cannot live up to. You see, it is tempting and easy to go through life making excuses for why we cannot afford to give. But making a difference should not be some farfetched goal. Rather, it should be woven into our daily routines. I am not asking you to pour all of your money into the pockets of the less fortunate, but even the smallest contributions over a long period of time can accumulate to create a huge impact. So for those of us with a job (I am speaking to us minimum wage slaves as well), setting apart as little as 3% of our earnings for the less fortunate is fulfilling the very least of our responsibilities towards them. An anonymous teenager at a Cupertino high school has found a way, even without a job, to make a difference with money. “For my arangetram (a cultural dance form), instead of allowing people to give me gifts or money, I asked them to donate to the Central Asia Institute or another charity of their choice,” the student said. “Also for my 8th and 9th grade birthdays I told people to just get me $10 and I donated it to some charity or another.” Not many of us can find it in ourselves to give up yearly presents, but we can certainly start small. How many of us adorn our New Year’s resolutions with the phrase “help the poor and needy”? Well then, help the poor and needy!
Okay, I hear you. You can’t help the poor to your fullest ability unless you go to college and for that to happen, you need all the moolah you can get your hands on. That is reasonable, but there are other ways to reach out to the poor, without having to actually give up your money. One idea is investing in less fortunate people through microfinancing. An organization, Kiva, allows us to make loans as small as $25 to help citizens of third-world countries get on their feet and start their own business. As if the warmth of philanthropy is not enough, this is a loan system which means you are repaid by these highly motivated individuals (for the skeptics among us, there is a 98.82% repayment rate). All of these ideas often go right over us teenagers’ heads due to the nature of our relationship with money. Those of us who have not had a job face a sort of disconnect with it and fail to take adequate responsibility for our use of it. Working on awareness— maybe even finding an after-school job—can help. Getting a job definitely adds a whole new dimension—take it from me. I just spent my last month at my first job and after receiving my first paycheck I find myself unwilling to spend even 4 dollars on some pearl milk tea (price label reads “45 minutes of work”). It’s really hard to understand until you spend the hours and get its “worth” back. Somewhat paradoxically, I have also been thinking “bigger” with money. Granted, I can’t think too big as I get paid less than minimum wage, but the couple hundred dollars could still do many people good. And it all starts with a thought. That’s all I ask of you: start thinking... Start growing that money conscience now. Plant the seeds so you can live a life making a difference with your earnings, whether it be by helping local businesses or aiding third-world countries.
Photos courtesy of Austin Yu www.baymagazine.org|AUTUMN2011
Photos courtesy of Julia Benton
Marriage Equality O by ANSHU SIRIPIRAPU
n Sunday, June 26th, while many others slept in, enjoying the first few weeks of their summer vacation, I awoke early to make the commute to San Francisco and take part in the annual SF Pride parade, a celebration of the LGBT community. The parade was just days after New York had made history by passing a bill legalizing gay marriage, making it the largest state to do so. I stepped off the BART at the Embarcadero St station, and ascended the escalator out onto the streets of the city. Crowds had already gathered along the parade route, marked by both the fences along the side of the streets and the brightly T-shirted parade guides standing along the street at regular intervals. I was at the parade as part of my work for Organizing for America, President Obama’s grassroots movement which was marching in the parade. I made my way to the beginning of the parade route at the intersection of Market and Beale St. and waited for our contingents turn in the parade. It was several hours before we began marching, but there was plenty to see while we waited. Flamboyantly dressed
gay and lesbian couples walked proudly in the streets as music played and float after float paraded down the street towards Civic Center Plaza, the end of the parade route. Although the mood was jubilant and many were rejoicing at the triumph for civil rights that had just taken place in New York, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that our state, supposedly a bastion of liberalism and the most forward thinking of all the states, had failed to legalize gay marriage itself. In fact, voters had passed a proposition banning gay marriage which was thankfully overturned by the courts. Proponents of the ban then attacked the judge, Vaughn Walker, claiming that he should have recused himself after a previous homosexual affair. That claim was also struck down by Chief Judge James Ware of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California on June 14. He argued that Justice Walker had no more personal interest in the case than minority judges overseeing civil rights cases. But even now, the legal battles continue and the case was appealed to the US 9th Circuit of Appeals which will decide if the ban was unconstitutional. It’s embarrassing that a state as progressive as ours cannot even grant basic rights to its population. Whether or not you believe gay marriage is morally right or wrong is irrelevant, it is not our place nor the government’s to dictate morality and deny the privileges of marriage to couples who deviate from the traditional course of marriage. New York Senator Mark Grisanti, a Republican, was initially undecided in his position of gay marriage but eventually voted in favor of the bill. He said, “I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state, the State of New York, and those people who make this the great state that it is the same rights that I have with my wife.” The California legislature needs to reaffirm the rights of its LGBT community quickly and follow the example of New York. Doing so would greatly expand civil rights to millions of Americans and help us remain a beacon for the rest of the country. Hopefully, at next year’s Pride Parade, California can celebrate its own victory for gay rights.
Volunteering by RACHEL ALSHEIKH
At some point, we all have to do it. We all have to help out at the local food bank or stop by the animal shelter for an afternoon. Most high schools call for community service, whether annually or in order to graduate, and some universities recommend volunteering as an extracurricular activity. These class credits and college applications hold our attention as students; they become our chief concerns. Sometimes, they overshadow the reason that service-learning opportunities are available to us in the first placeâ€”for the experience itself. When it comes down to it, though, what is our real motivation to volunteer? Service can be tough. It consumes energy just as much as it consumes time, forcing us to give masses from our weekends. And while I do not want to say that a majority of teenagers would rather spend these hours resting, five days of lessons and homework can leave us pretty exhausted. Going to that soup kitchen or senior-living center demands a certain amount of willpower when all that we want to do is sleep. The decision has to be fueled by somethingâ€”and I am not sure that the honor of assisting others is enough. Sure, community service is about more than the awarding act of volunteering. It is also a platform for making connections with those we would not encounter otherwise. It promotes our leadership. It strengthens our social capacity. But it is easy to disregard, for example, the threshold that it provides for work experience and turn instead to the way that it fattens resumes. The general focus does tend to stray towards the academic outcome, the long-term successes. Service equals diploma requirement. Service equals college acceptance letter. In proportion, it seems like the other benefits do not matter. We, however, know better. The problem is that we are likely to get trapped in this attitude. We can find ourselves volunteering for nobody but ourselvesâ€”months down the line, the work will pay off for us. That is why we do it; that is reward enough. But if we can stop thinking in the future tense, we will see what we are gaining now. We will be able to channel our energy into serving others instead of serving ourselves. We will get more out of the experience itself, now.
Neha: Floral dress, (black lace top), Urbanization; shoes, stylistâ€™s own. 24
y c n a F f o s t h g i l F Styles provided by Urbanization â€”1179 San Carlos Ave., San Carlos Special thanks to the
Palo Alto Airport!
Stylist: Samantha Donat Models: Tariq Jahshan & Neha Kumar Photographer: Austin Yu Hair/Makeup: Bayley Azevedo Assistants: Brian Benton, Tiffany Miller & Chipper Stotz
Tariq: Grey henley, distressed jeans, brown graphic belt, Urbanization; shoes, modelâ€™s own. 26
Tariq: Navy button-up, purple graphic t-shirt, Urbanization; khaki pants, shoes, modelâ€™s own. Neha: White lace top, (white tube top), green cargo pants, brown fedora, black leather bag, Urbanization; shoes, modelâ€™s own.
Neha: Off-the-shoulder graphic t-shirt, (grey lace bralette), distressed jeans, Urbanization; shoes, stylistâ€™s own.
Behind the Scenes
Juhi Dalal Monta Vista, Age 17
Look into my eyes and hear what I’m not saying, for my eyes speak louder than my voice ever will” - Ron Wild
Seeing the world from behind my lens made me realize that what we see is only a small portion of what is possible. Imagination and creativity together create something unique that we can capture in a fraction of a second. To the eye, it is invisible.
Kathryn Leahy Sacred Heart Preparatory, Age 16 I believe the definition of photography is to extract the aesthetics from everyday life, and that’s my goal when I’m behind
the lens. I take photos to express my creativity by capturing the world in the way I see it simply by using a camera. Photography hasn’t necessarily effected any of my decisions, but it has certainly helped me shape my creativity and form my ideas of beauty.
David Won Cupertino High School, Age 16 Seeing the world through a photographic perspective allows me to interpret the movement, shapes, structure, and lighting of the things we see in our daily lives. I fell in love with photography as
Siddharth Bhargava UCLA, Age 18 I recently started photography and have started viewing the world with more awe. I appreciate nature and beauty more and enjoy the world around because I try to look for the right shot as a photographer and have realized its true magnificence.
it could capture the essence of the subjects that we choose to place within the camera frame, just as one captures the nature of water through an impressionist painting. For me, it is not simply about rendering accurate images, but highlighting the particular aspects of the universally understood or unique images that we have come to familiarize ourselves with.
How has seeing the world from behind the lens changed the way you make decisions? As a result, I only make decisions that make me comfortable. Like for this photo I took, I was at a party and decided to go outside since it was slightly boring and I ended up taking that photo. Whether it’s taking a picture or making a decision, I just do what feels right.
Raj Dubal Amador Valley High School
Has photography affected your life at all? How and when did you first start photography? It was back during my second semester of sophomore year. I had just came back from school and it was a Friday afternoon and unfortunately, I had nothing to do.. So I borrowed my mom’s camera and started taking pictures of small things in our backyard. Ever since then, people have been telling me they love my photos.
Photography is practically my life now. Everywhere I go, I have my camera (I’ve actually named my camera, it’s that important to me). It’s my own way of being creative and it’s how I show my perception of the world. Photography’s also taught me that there is beauty in everything, no matter what.
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