APOCALYPSE issue Vol. 10 Issue 2 Dec. 4, 2012
The Acumen staff presents...
Contact information Mailing Address: 520 E. Main St., Carmel, IN 46032 Phone: (317) 846-7721, Ext. 7143 Website: www.hilite.org E-mail: Staff members of the HiLite may be contacted via email by using their first initial and their last name appending @hilite.org. For example, Victor Xu will receive mail sent to email@example.com.
Purpose Acumen is an issue-based publication serving to supplement the HiLite. Acumen is distributed to the students, faculty and staff of Carmel High School. Opinions expressed herein are not necessarily representative of those held by CHS, the Carmel Clay system faculty, staff or administration.
Staff Acumen Editors
Dhruti Patel Julie Xu
Reporters Photographers Graphic Artists
Rachel Chen Gavin Colavito Connie Chu Chrishan Fernando Nida Khan Hailey Meyer Catilin Muller Maham Nadeem Sam Patterson Naomi Reibold Melinda Song Arsalan Siddiqui Alex Yu Liane Yue
HiLite Editor in Chief HiLite Managing Editors
Victor Xu Natalie Maier Melinda Song Tony Tan Ryan Zukerman
IN THIS ISSUE Page 4-5 Natural Disasters Page 6-7 Apocalyptic Pop Culture Page 8 How CHS Prepares LIANE YUE AND GAVIN COLAVITO / NAMEPLATE RACHEL CHEN / COVER GRAPHIC Cover graphic based on art by Daniel Kvasznicza
the pocalypse issue Dear readers,
Note from the editors
The end of the world is not a foreign concept to many of us. It has been in movies, books and music, but we’ve also seen glimpses of apocalypse with Superstorm Sandy on the East Coast and tornado destruction in Southern Indiana last year. As the infamous date of Dec. 21, or the day the world ends according to the Mayan calendar, rapidly approaches, this topic has become more prevalent, and we are here to shed some light on the myths and realities of the “apocalypse” and give all of you a fresh perspective on what might actually happen. We wish you all happy reading and hope you enjoy what this issue has to offer; and if the world does happen to end, good luck. Dhruti Patel and Julie Xu Your Acumen editors
PREPARING FOR DISASTER
Social studies teacher Matt Dillon tells us his views on the impending apocalypse and how he’s preparing for it. By Caitlin Muller firstname.lastname@example.org
Which apocalypse are you interested in? I have an unsettling feeling about Dec. 21 and the end of the Mayan calendar. What does that mean exactly? The thing about the Mayans that really impressed me is that these are individuals that made some of the largest stone monuments in the Americas without the advent of any kind of technology. They made a calendar that is extremely detailed, and they say that at the end of their calendar there is some period of darkness. I feel like with the storm we had recently [Superstorm Sandy], the earthquakes that we’ve had, the political unrest we have, we’re in a time period of a very unsettling future. What about the zombie apocalypse? Zombies are extremely popular in culture right now, and if you have any paranoia, this whole zombie apocalypse can prey on that paranoia. For me, it was a book that I read that changed my opinion. The book was written by Max Brooks and is called the “Zombie Survival Handbook,” and it details how to defend yourself and prepare for the apocalypse. Are you doing any preparation at all for the apocalypse? I have prepared, in the case of some kind of disaster, where my family and I have
to survive for at least a week on our own. We need our own food and water, and we need to be able to defend ourselves against any kind of contingency that might come at us. What will your first reaction be if you wake up on Dec. 21, 2012, and it is a completely normal day? I’d be fine with that. I’ll go to work, because that’s a final exam day. We’ll be in school on that particular day. But I’ve already told my students that if the day is weird in any shape or form, I’m probably going to leave CHS and go get my family. What will your first reaction be if you wake up on Dec. 21, 2012, and the world is in complete chaos? If it’s in chaos, I will secure my house and make sure that we are taken care of, and I will try to communicate to my family to see where to meet or if we are going to wait on the government or things like that. Any zombie fighting tips to share? Yeah, I’ll give you one tip. Zombies are attracted to noise. And, the natural reaction by a lot of people, and of course a lot of students, is to pick up guns and go after the zombies. If you pick up a gun and go after the zombies, you’ll attract more zombies in on you. So you have to be
SAM PATTERSON / PHOTO
prepared to deal with zombies as quietly as possible. I would recommend large, heavy bludgeoning weapons. Do you have any other advice for the innocent civilians of the world on surviving the apocalypse? Well, if you know that the federal government has actually discussed this seriously, and has come up with some plans to deal with the apocalypse. If they’re taking it seriously, maybe we should take it slightly seriously. I would lastly say that any preparation for it is better than not preparing for it at all.
E ND It’s th e
H T F
As We Kno D L wI OR t. YouGov, a UK-based market research firm, asked:
“What would you do with your last year on Earth?”
Just Try, Try Again Apocalyptic theories have existed in the past When: 1954 Who: Dorothy Martin (alias “Marian Keech”) 21 What: Martin claimed to be in contact with a planet, Clarion. The messages she received stated that the world would end by a great flood before dawn on Dec. 21. Martin and her group of believers were to be rescued by a flying saucer, which they awaited for multiple days. December
Party, party, party
Quit my job or end my schooling and relax Travel abroad and see the world
Spend time with my loved ones
When: 2011 Who: Harold Camping What: Camping calculated that on May 21, 21 “Judgment Day,” about 207 million people would leave the Earth. Then, he claimed that in the five months following, the world would witness many natural disasters until its final end on Oct. 21, 2011. May
YOUGOV / SOURCE
Fact vs. Fiction Some of the common misconceptions regarding Dec. 21, 2012 Myth: The Mayans predicted that the world would end.
“WHEN PROPHECY FAILS,” TIME / SOURCE
Sound Off Comedians share their thoughts regarding failed predictions and prophecies
Myth: Dec. 21, 2012 is the exact date the “long count” ends.
But wait, there’s more.
Comedian Jay Leno The world was supposed to end last Saturday, but at the last minute, it was picked up for another season. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel CREATIVE COMMONS / PHOTOS
Fine Dec. 4, 2012
CURIOUS.ASTRO.CORNELL.EDU / SOURCE
Go online to hilite.org and take our poll. Will the world end on Dec. 21, 2012?
The rapture-predicting preacher, Harold Camping, is really scaling back his predictions. He now predicts the end of the month will be May 31.
ee l IF
Reality: Mayan scholars disagree about when the current Mayan “long count” started. Most say the starting date is either Aug. 11 or 13 3114 B.C., making the ending date either Dec. 21 or 23, 2012.
Reality: The Mayans never predicted an apocalyptic date. For long time scales, Mayans used the “long count,” which is the Mayan equivalent of an epoch and is about 5125.26 years. However, there are Mayan names for even longer periods of time, so it is still misleading to claim that the Mayan calendar definitively ends on Dec. 21, 2012.
MELINDA SONG / GRAPHIC YOUGOV, HISTORY CHANNEL, TIME / SOURCES
SAM PATTERSON / PHOTO
WHEN DISASTER STRIKES
MANY ARE STILL NOT FULLY PREPARED TO RESPOND TO THE DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF NATURAL DISASTERS By Haley Bracken email@example.com
n Oct. 29, America watched as Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast, plunging the vulnerable Atlantic cities into darkness. Within just a few hours, the majority of the eastern seaboard had become a murky, concrete swamp. Although Dec. 21 is supposedly the end of the world according to the current most popular apocalyptic theory, natural disasters like hurricanes are real and present dangers to humans. As the last remnants of Sandy dissipated over northern Canada, the
damage left in her wake was at last revealed, with a total repair cost estimated to reach more than $60 billion. While reporters and witnesses alike have struggled for the words to describe the catastrophe, images of chest-high waters in Manhattan, immense fires in Queens and heavy snow in West Virginia came together to create a chilling monument to Hurricane Sandy’s lethal power. “We can never be fully prepared for something so tragic. Hurricanes are
unpredictable; Sandy was only a category one and still did almost as much damage as category three Katrina,” Hurricane Katrina survivor and sophomore Sarah Clement said via email. And yet, while the immediate consequences of Hurricane Sandy have been devastating, it is important to acknowledge that Sandy was neither America’s first tragedy nor its last. In fact, a recent study conducted by Disaster Survival Resources of America has shown
an average of 601 disasters per year in the United States alone, resulting in the deaths of more than 12,000 individuals. Despite the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters in recent decades and the extensive variety that affects the United States, many states are still not prepared to handle the repercussions of a disaster. Junior Rachel Upton, a two-time hurricane survivor and recent transfer from Punta Gorda, FL, said, “I think it’s sad
We can never be fully prepared for something so tragic. Sandy was only a category one and still did almost as much damage as category three Katrina.” Sophomore Sarah Clement ACUMEN
SARAH CLEMENT / SUBMITTED PHOTO
During Hurricane Katrina, a tree fell on Upton’s house as seen above. Upton said that due to her experience with hurricanes, she believes some sort of natural disaster plan should be implemented by the government.
that Sandy is what’s caused the recent reaction, when there have been so many more devastating disasters. America is shocked again and again by these events, even though it happens all the time, because we tend to just forget about it after a while.” According to Sean Scott, author of The Red Guide to Recovery, in light of inevitable future natural disasters, it is invaluably important for American citizens to prepare themselves and their families to the best of their abilities. “The message of preparedness has to become more of a reality for everyone. Getting people to buy a 72-hour disaster preparedness kit is a great start, but the real impact of disasters lies in the weeks and months that follow,” Scott said. “This is where disaster survivors often become disaster victims, simply because they have no idea what to do, who to trust or where to turn.” Upton also believes that a nationwide disaster survival plan that considers disaster mitigation and management should be instituted into public eduction to ensure safety. “(My) school (in Florida) didn’t really talk about it, but it would’ve been nice to know what we should’ve done to prepare for disasters beyond getting batteries and flashlights. I think it can be as simple as a drill, but it can also be taken as far as educational classes that say, ‘This is what happens, and this is how we make it better,’” Upton said. Similarly, Scott said, “People need to make the necessary preparations to provide for themselves, their families and their pets for as long as possible. But, overall, getting the message of preparedness to hit the hearts and souls of Americans will be one of the keys to making our country more Dec. 4, 2012
resilient to disasters.” The task of disaster management requires a close working partnership among all levels of government and private sectors. Therefore, in addition to individual efforts, both the federal and local governments help to combat unawareness. On a county level, the Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency is responsible for facilitating citizens and local public safety agencies within Carmel and the surrounding areas. The agency is based on four phases of emergency management: mitigation, or reducing the probability of the occurrence of a disaster; preparation, or the process of
INDIANA TORNADO STATISTICS Indiana is ranked15th for frequency of tornados by state.
creating resource plans; response, or the mobilization of resources; and recovery, or the immediate and long-term efforts toward recovery. On the national level, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is responsible for the collective public safety of all U.S. citizens, and specializes in risk analysis and reduction. In recent years, it has been projected by FEMA that as population increases, the total economic and societal devastation of natural disasters will increase simultaneously. Therefore, according to Scott, the need to prevent property damage, high disaster costs, injury and deaths is more prevalent than ever. “There is a false sense of security in the United States that FEMA and the insurance companies will take care of everything if a disaster strikes,” Scott said. “But in most post-disaster situations, once the first responders complete the response phase and get the critical infrastructure up and running, the residents are left to fend for themselves.” Similarly, Clement said, “The aftermath (of Katrina) was one of the worst parts of the whole thing. The water had all drained out, but you could tell it had been there. Some places were a lot worse than others and in the worst places you could not even tell that there was supposed to be houses there. The weather people can give all the facts they want, but they can not give us the outcome until it happens.”
U.S. NATURAL DISASTER STATISTICS Average number of people killed per year
Number of people affected per year
Economic damage per year
$17.6 Billion Percent of reported people affected by each disaster type Storm 50.1% Flood 45%
Epidemic 1.5 %
Wildfire 3.1% JULIE XU / GRAPHICS PREVENTIONWEB.COM / SOURCE
The Expansion of the Tornado Zone in 2012
June is the most common month for a tornado to hit Indiana.
Indiana ranks for number of deaths by tornados.
Natural Disasters Reported in Indiana
25 25 20 20 15 15
Old Tornado Zone
New Tornado Zone
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
JULIE XU, CONNIE CHU / GRAPHICS DISASTERCENTER.COM, NOAA.GOV, USA TODAY / SOURCE Page 5
THE WORLD GOES POP!
From TV to movies and apps, the entertainment world has incorporated the mysterious concept of the apocalypse into a variety of areas. Here, the Acumen staff explains this obsession and highlights a few of its contributions to popular culture.
By Arsalan Siddiqui firstname.lastname@example.org
“I Am Legend” Directed by
Francis Lawrence IMDb rating of
The film “I Am Legend” portrays Robert Neville (Will Smith) who is a human immune to a fatal man-made virus which has decimated almost the entire human population. This virus caused many to mutate into “infected” creatures who are out to kill Neville. Desperate, Neville attempts to contact any potential survivors through the use of radio messages. His only hope of saving the human race is to give some of his immune blood to any survivors. Will Neville find any survivors, or will the human population cease to exist at the hands of the zombies?
INTERNET MOVIE DATABASE / SOURCE AMIRA MALCOM / PHOTOS
Directed by Roland Emmerich IMDb rating of 5.8/10 The movie “2012” describes the supposed 2012 apocalypse. It begins with a geologist, Dr. Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and a writer, Jackson Curtis (John Cusack), who discover a problem with the core of the Earth, which could cause the world to end. These two characters are not the only ones worried about the planet; world leaders are building arks in the Himalayas to survive a huge, upcoming flood. In addition, there are many other natural disasters that wipe out millions of humans. This suspenseful film keeps viewers wondering about the fate of humanity.
“War of the Worlds”
Directed by Steven Spielberg IMDb rating of 6.5/10
The movie “War of the Worlds” features Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise), a divorced man from New Jersey, reuniting with his kids for the weekend in an unexpected adventure. Out of nowhere, strange and powerful lightning strikes, which actually turn out to be extraterrestrial beings known as the Tripods, hit Earth. After this initial attack, the Tripods invade Earth and its inhabitants. Aware of the situation, Ferrier and his kids run away from the Tripods in a race for survival. Watch as the family tries to hide and the Tripods try to conquer Earth.
TELEVISION “Doomsday Preppers” By Chrishan Fernando email@example.com
ANTHONY KO / GRAPHIC
The National Geographic Channel’s “Doomsday Preppers” is a show, now in its second season, about people who prepare, justified or not, for apocalyptic situations. After the so-called “preppers” share their stories, they are given an evaluation along with some
suggestions by the show’s “prepping experts.” “Doomsday Preppers” follows many other reality television shows by recording the lives of people with uncommon beliefs and practices. It isn’t uncommon for the show’s preppers to keep several years worth of food and to train using live ammunition. Even children – sometimes against their will – are trained to fire guns. In addition, each group of preppers has its own doomsday hypothesis. These hypotheses can range from a shift in the Earth’s magnetic poles to the inception of anarchy in the United States. The experts
of “Doomsday Preppers” then give extensive analyses of the preppers’ preparedness. The experts even give “legitimate” suggestions for the preppers to improve their plans. Are you prepared? Scan this QR code and take the official “Doomsday Preppers” quiz.
APPS / GAMES By Nida Khan firstname.lastname@example.org
Cows vs. Aliens
Stupid Zombies Price: $ 0.99
Based on a zombie apocalypse, the objective of this game is to shoot all the zombies on the platform with a limited number of bullets. The player is expected to kill multiple zombies by bouncing the bullets off the walls. Slide to Play reviewed this app and write, “From its huge amount of content to its excellent game play variations, Stupid Zombies is a lot of bang (and a lot of fun) for your buck.” Available on Apple and Android products.
Plague, Inc. Price: $ 0.99
Price: $ 0.99
The goal of this game is to save the player’s cows from an alien invasion. To win the game, all of the cows must be shoved into the player’s barn. As the levels go on, it becomes harder to get all the cows into the barn. Reviewers at Slide to Play write “Cows Vs. Aliens won’t give you hours of entertainment, but it offers a quick hit of fun whenever you have a moment to spare.” Available on Apple and Android products.
In this strategic game, the player is a virus that is trying to infect and kill the whole world before doctors can create a cure. The player must evolve his virus with DNA points to increase its infectivity, severity and lethality. This game has three levels of difficulty. Slide to Play wrote, “Plague Inc.’s game play is infectious.”Available on Apple and Android products.
BEHIND THE BUZZ
PSYCHOLOGY TEACHER EXPLAINS SOCIETY’S FASCINATION WITH THE END OF THE WORLD By Alex Yu email@example.com
argantuan waves rush toward massive metal arks as they struggle to free themselves from their docks, seal and pull away safely. The deadly floodwaters are part of a scene from “2012,” a movie illustrating a possible outcome of the apocalypse. The apocalypse is predicted to occur on Dec. 21, 2012. Historians consider the date as the end of a cycle of the 5,125 year-long Mayan Long Count calendar. Several ideas exist as to what may occur, though most scientists have disproved popular myths. Sophomore Tyler Moon, who said he is interested in this topic, said, “I have always found the topic appealing. I read up on it just in case and just for fun.” Over the last several years, popular culture has seized the opportunity to incorporate themes of apocalyptic or transformative events on Dec. 21. Movies, such as “2012” and “The Book of Eli,” games, such as “Plague Inc.” and music, such as Imagine Dragon’s “Radioactive” and R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World As We Know It,” have contributed to this trend. “‘2012’ was all right. It seemed kind of unrealistic. Some of the (pop culture) is good, and some of the stuff is just abusing the genre,” Moon said. “You’ll Dec. 4, 2012
ITUNES STORE / SOURCE
see some zombie movies where the zombies have superhuman strength. There’s one I watched where the zombies basically did parkour. It was bad.” It seems strange that people, especially the younger demographic, would be interested in the notion of their demise. However, not many people sincerely believe that Dec. 21 will be a noteworthy day. Moon said, “I don’t think there’s going to be an apocalypse or anything like that. It’s more that we’re interested in it.” AP Psychology teacher Robin Pletcher said, “(Young people) are searching for something new or something different that they haven’t heard of before or haven’t been through. Someone who’s younger hasn’t had those ups and downs of ‘Oh, let’s look at this date as the day that the world is going to end,’ and then it comes and goes. That’s new for them.” Interest in the 2012 apocalypse has been waning since popular culture jumped on it a few years ago. “You would think that there would be a spike right before the event. You would think that people would prepare for it,” Pletcher said. “Instead, you just want to get behind the excitement of the new current thing
Significance: Explains why we still
believe in end-of-the-world theories.
What it is: This theory predicts that the more committed we are to a certain point of view, the less likely we are to abandon this theory even if contrary evidence is found. Who: Leon Festinger Why: This occurs because people want to remain consistent with commitment and avoid any regret or disappointment that may result from prior choices.
TIME / SOURCE
Now that it’s getting close to (the date), you’re ready to move on to the next exciting thing.” Moon said, “That’s just how people work. They get really interested in something for a while, and then they get bored of it and move on.” The supposed Armageddon will be on the last day of this school semester during finals week. Moon said, “It’s kind of funny that’s how it worked out. No one really does anything the last day of the semester, but there will be so many apocalypse jokes made that day.” Page 7
LIVE AND LET DIE
ALTHOUGH STUDENTS AND STAFF ACCEPT THE POSSIBILITY OF THE WORLD ENDING, PREPARATION METHODS VARY By Maham Nadeem firstname.lastname@example.org
bout three years ago, freshman Mehar-Un-Nisa “Mehroo” Athar had an epiphany. Earlier that evening she and her friend went to see “2012,” a science fiction movie portraying the end of the world. Not convinced by the movie’s plot, Athar ignored its unrealistic warnings. After watching the film, Athar was tempted to do some Internet research. What she discovered soon changed her mind about a potential apocalypse. “It’s all there, all the research you need; mounds and heaps of evidence all point us in this direction (of the end of the world),” Athar said. “It is definitely not something you can ignore. With the reversal of the poles and the ending of the Mayan calendar, you can’t help but think that truly the world may end on Dec. 21.” Athar is not alone. According to a Reuters survey, by the Huffington Post, one out of 10 people believe that the world will end in 2012. Nevertheless, there are still various approaches to the situation. There are people like Athar who believe in this upcoming doomsday but choose to wait out the incident. There are also
5-STEP GUIDE TO SURVIVING THE APOCALYPSE 1
Store supplies for 90 days. This will reduce the risk of getting killed while foraging for them during the apocalypse. Drive diesel-powered vehicles. Gas stations may run out of gasoline, but some diesel will probably be left.
Have an escape plan. Travel to a destination with a population lower than 1,000 people.
Prepare an emergency kit. Make sure to include a first-aid kit, bug spray and a flashlight.
Read apocalypse novels. Though fictional, these reveal how characters survive doomsday. JULIE XU AND CONNIE CHU / GRAPHIC
people on the opposite end who decide to prepare for the supposed upcoming catastrophe. “Personally, I think what’s going to happen will happen no matter what. The thing is, I don’t want to live in fear of (the apocalypse). Life is too short,” Athar said. “I know people think that there are ways to be better prepared, but I think I just want to face tomorrow when it comes. There is no point in wasting my today worrying about the impending tomorrow.” On the other hand, for social studies teacher Matt Dillon, the apocalypse is about survival. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he said the importance of being prepared struck him hard as people were going weeks without basic amenities. “The effects of this catastrophe really cemented in my mind that in case there is some kind of calamity in which I need take care of myself and my family, I’m going to need fresh water, food and a way to defend my home,” Dillon said. Dillon said that in case of an emergency, he has a survival kit ready in his house with food, water, documents and basic necessities. “(The kit) is for a time when I have to get out of my house, and I have to get out now,” he said. “This is all I’m going to grab and just go.” According to psychology teacher Peter O’Hara, having these kinds of slight fears regarding concepts like the end of the world is quite normal. Moreover, labeling these people as “paranoid” is a common misconception, as the word “paranoid” encompasses far more than being aware and prepared. Popular culture has played a role in the spread of the Dec. 21 theory, and Dillon said he has a rather unsettling feeling about the near future. “I mean, there is an entire video game, ‘Black Ops,’ about killing zombies, and I got this book around the same time that outlines how to survive a zombie apocalypse. So I kind of went on a slightly
HAILEY MEYER / PHOTOS
Freshman Mehar-Un-Nisa “Mehroo” Athar stands beside the evidence that convinced her of the reality behind the apocalypse (top) . Athar said despite this possibility, she chooses to go on with her life and not worry about the end of the world.
paranoid zombie kick,” Dillon said. “If you have any kind of paranoia, this will prey on you, and it kind of preyed on me.” Dillon said the more he thought about it, the more he wondered how he would survive and protect his family from an apocalypse. He said all of his preparations are there to ensure
safety and security no matter how chaotic and lawless the apocalyptic situation may become. “If it can happen in Sandy, Katrina and other examples, who is to say it can’t happen on Dec. 21?” he said. “So what are you going to do? How are you going to survive?” ACUMEN