Aureus Vol. 2 Issue 1

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AUREUS the WIRED issue Vol. 2 No. 1 Winter 2018



Wires Crossed .......................................................................................................................................................4 The Rise of AI...........................................................................................................................................................6 Bilingual Brains..........................................................................................................................................................8 The Opioid Epidemic........................................................................................................................................10 DIY Jewelry.............................................................................................................................................................12 Learning Styles......................................................................................................................................................14 Spinning into Popularity: Fidget Spinners...............................................................................................16 Adrenaline Rush .................................................................................................................................................18 Embracing Braces................................................................................................................................................20 Teen Caffeine.........................................................................................................................................................22 Rustic Decor...........................................................................................................................................................24 International Friends..........................................................................................................................................26 Wired To Connect..............................................................................................................................................28 Family Connections............................................................................................................................................30 Blade Runner Review.........................................................................................................................................32 Innovation at SPA................................................................................................................................................34 Health Tech..............................................................................................................................................................36 The Circle Review...............................................................................................................................................38 Wireless Tech.........................................................................................................................................................40

Letter From the Editor: We are in the second full year of Aureus (the first for me as EIC) and I am thrilled with the progress we’ve made since its inception. Each year, students from the two news publications—The Rubicon and RubicOnline—are invited to be a part of this feature magazine. And each year, an amazingly large number of students volunteer their time, knowledge and skills to write, photograph and design to make Aureus come to life. It’s an independent collective coming together to make something great. The theme of this issue is Wired. What are we wired to do? What is the future of technology? What can you make with spare wires? These questions and more are the source of our intrigue and the foundation of the work within the pages that follow. I hope you enjoy the breadth and depth of the stories this staff has worked so hard on. Lastly, I think I speak for everyone when I thank you - the reader - for picking up a copy of Aureus. Without you, our stories would be mere words on paper. Cordially, Webster Harrison Lehmann Aureus Editor In Chief

Vol. 2 No. 1

Wires Crossed

Green recounts his experience following his concussion diagnosis


efore I got one myself, I dismissed concussions as a slight inconvenience for people who have “weak skulls.” In theory this makes some sense, because genetics do play a role in determining how vulnerable someone is to getting a brain injury. I figured that because I had been hit in the head before and never felt any major consequences that I was not at risk. I never worried about it. Until it happened. I remember jumping off the ground, getting ready to head the ball when a sharp pain erupted from the back of my skull. I was told afterward that I’d been hit by the elbow of an opposing player; he’d jumped up behind me and swung his arms in order to gain momentum. I do not remember a lot of what happened. I remember stumbling around with my hand clamped onto the throbbing. I knew something was wrong. I remember a ringing in my ears. I remember the play around me sounding distant, like I was in a dream. I sat down, and the ref blew the whistle for me to walk off the field. I sat down with Lauren, the Athletic Trainer, and we went through a checklist of symptoms. These checklists of symptoms would become a part of my normal routine for months as I began going to appointment after appointment. What stayed the same was how difficult it is to describe my symptoms. Anyway, I must not have performed well on Lauren’s checklist on game day because she sent me to the hospital. By the time my mom had driven me to the hospital my collective symptoms were greatly affecting my ability to function. The world was so blurry that I felt like I was blind. I looked to the billboards during the drive, and the letters were indecipherable. The sun was blinding, and the radio was turned off because the sound was too bothersome. When we got to the hospital we had to wait a while, but when I was attended to they concluded what was fairly obvious: I had suffered a blow that caused some type of traumatic brain injury. They scanned my brain to make sure there was no brain bleed; thankfully there wasn’t. But the CT scanner made me feel claustrophobic. I freaked out and because I wasn’t still, they had to take another scan. I remember the nurse saying, “Don’t worry, we’ll only charge you for one.” They told me I had a moderate concussion and that I would most likely recover in three days to three months. Hearing this I wondered how much today’s doctors really know about the brain. They sent me home, and I took melatonin to help me sleep. I had to get my sleep cycle on track to prompt the healing process, but even with the medication I struggled to stay still at night. Swallowing pain medication became part of my normal routine. For a while I wasn’t allowed to use screens, but from how poor my vision was I didn’t feel the urge. In the early days, faces were so blurry that I found myself identifying people more by the sound of their voice than by their appearance.

Written by Jasper Green Designed by Iya Abdulkarim 4 - Aureus

THE WIRED ISSUE I couldn’t do a whole lot, so I started spending long periods of time with my dog Rusty. I drew in children’s coloring books because the lines were thick enough for me to see them. I could not read or watch tv, so I played with blocks and stuffed animals because I needed something to keep me distracted while the hours ticked away. I couldn’t pay attention in class if my life depended on it. I zoned out while the minutes ticked away. I wore sunglasses everywhere to help me with my light sensitivity. The stairways at school proved especially difficult for me because I had balance issues and was often dizzy and nauseous, so I held tight to the handrail and took it one step at a time, moving slowly so I wouldn’t keel over from a dizzy spell. I kept close to the walls and walked the hallways slowly, brushing my hand against them to feel more secure. I found that looking at my feet made it easier to avoid the visual noise, such as moving crowds of people, that caused my symptoms to get worse. After a week, I was sent to follow up at Children’s Hospital and take an Impact Test, which tests cognitive function, but I couldn’t read the questions so the doctors had me stop. I was put on shortened days, only attending a class or two, and assignments were put on hold. Eventually my grades transformed into a pass fail system. The next treatment we tried involved therapy exercises for my eyes and balance, and I attended physical and occupational therapy sessions. My family learned that insurance was an issue because it didn’t cover these therapy sessions, so I stopped going to most of them, and did my best to do the exercises at home. If insurance could be an issue for my family, I can imagine how hard it must me for parents working low paying jobs with small medical insurance plans to pay for hospital bills if their son or daughter got injured. It could leave them in serious debt. It’s been over two months and I’m still not all the way back. Thankfully, my nausea and dizziness have subsided as well as my noise and light sensitivity. And my memory, vision, balance, and speech problems have all returned back to normal for the most part. In class, I still notice how hard I have to focus in order to listen, and my mind feels slower than it was before. I have gotten used to my current life, and although I still feel a little foggy in the head, I have gotten so used to it all, and it has become my new normal. Through talking to other students who have had concussions, I’ve learned that feeling changed by a concussion is common and that fully returning back to normal does not always happen. But above all, I’ve learned to not take my brain for granted.

In the early days, faces were so blurry that I found myself identifying people more by the sound of their voice than by their appearance. Aureus - 5

Vol. 2 No. 1


Written by Flannery Ennekng-Norton Designed by Webster Lehmann


rofessor Hiroshi Ishiguro’s lecture on robotics intelligence concludes in thunderous applause. An audience member stands up and asks a question about motherboard circuitry. The seated figure at the front of the auditorium pauses until an adjacent screen turns on and a face identical to the one at the head of auditorium appears, answering the question deftly, while the seated figure looks blankly on. More audience members clap. As they begin to file out of the lecture hall, some pairs turn to each other in awe. “He was so real!” one exclaims. “I honestly could not tell the difference,” another agrees. The lecture they just attended was not given by Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro in the flesh, but rather, his androidreplicant called ‘Geminoid’. Ishiguro only administered the Q&A. Ishiguro is a foremost researcher and robotics scientist, developing android clones and directing projects at Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at Osaka University in Japan. His recent projects involve the development of “social robots” like his own doppelganger. Ishiguro’s work indicates that the stuff of science fiction--robots walking among the general population-could become reality in the future. “Robots already perform some of the tasks of society. They manufacture our cars, clean some people’s houses, and explore space for us,” junior Gabriel Konar-Steenberg said. KonarSteenberg is the head coder on the Saint Paul Academy and Summit School

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robotics team, and a member of the advanced computer science elective. The most recent developments in humanoid robots marks another milestone in the progress of artificial intelligence (AI). AI historically referred to technologies that resulted from the programming of computerized systems to perform tasks that normally required human intelligence. Although today the term “artificial intelligence” conjures images of robot armies outsmarting humans and taking over the world, seemingly commonplace tools like Siri and Google were once hailed as cutting-edge AI technology. Realistically, it is doubtful that an android army will take over society, considering that even the widespread integration of social robots is still a long way off. Aside from the technological advancements necessary to create an android integrated society, the ethical and legal implications that lawmakers and the public would need to reconcile would also be prohibitive. “If the androids in question are sentient--have feelings or emotions like a human--then there are ethical issues. Sentient robots would need to have rights. They could not be ordered around and treated like property in the same way that non-sentient robots could, because that would be slavery,” Konar-Steenberg said. Due to the technological limitations of creating a sentient android, such ethical considerations are not in the foreground of issues posed by robots in society. However, there are economic implications to consider for the current examples of AI being used in workplaces. In Japan, there

are countless examples of AI being integrated into the labor sector: Japan’s Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance replaced 34 employees with AI at the start of the 2017, and a hotel run almost exclusively by robots--from

receptionists to bag handlers-opened this year. Both these institutions take advantage of the efficiency and money-saving potential of AI. “There are some jobs which would be easier or safer for androids than

THE WIRED ISSUE for a human. I would prefer that they mostly served in the labor force,” junior Michaela Polley said. Polley is a member of SPA’s FIRST Tech Challenge team. She and other members of the robotics class design and build robots to complete specific tasks for the competition (i.e. picking up an object and moving it a specific distance or direction). In addition to At Fokuku Mutual Life Insurance, IBM’s Watson

Explorer AI is used to calculate medical expenses for the company in a more efficient manner, saving time and money on human employees. Similar logic is followed for the hotel staff. The justification is that androids don’t take sick days, and don’t mind

doing seemingly tedious or menial labor. However, the economic benefits that robots would bring to individual companies could undermine the employment rates for humans. “As robots get better and better, they will put people out of work. This can already be seen with some factory jobs, but robots can or will be able to do a lot more than work on assembly lines. Self-driving vehicles are already on our roads, so there goes the job of every trucker and taxicab driver as soon as the robotic equivalent is cheaper,” Konar-Steenberg said. Robot technology used in the labor sector is a far cry from having android replicants walking around in society, but roboticists seem to be pushing technology in that direction. Ishiguro’s development of “social” robots like his clone, or his other android named Erica, are the most human-like replicants in existence. Erica’s latex skin and facial features are modeled after a real human’s face, and she is able to speak autonomously. Her only limitations are a distinctly mechanical jaw movement and a lack of control over her other extremities. While such giveaways keep the distinction between human and robot clear, as the technology advances, robots may become more “human.” “[Interacting with robots would be weird] because you know you are talking to something that is automated and isn’t really human,” senior Daniel Ellis said. Ellis is a member of the Advanced Topics in Computer Science class, as well as the competition robotics team. The barrier created by computer programming would certainly isolate the current android models and provide a distinguishable characteristic, which offers relief to people who fear not knowing who is flesh and who is machine. Perhaps what is most uncomfortable about the possibility

of androids integrating into society is that it forces people to reflect: what sets them apart from their metallic counterparts? What makes them human? “The biggest difference is recreating how a human thinks. We are irrational, and you can’t really replicate that,” Ellis said. The primary difference therefore, lies within emotion. “Humans have feelings. You can program a robot to say “I am in pain” when a sensor registers excessive force, but that’s not the same thing as when a human feels pain, even if the input and output is the same,” Konar-Steenberg said. For the time being, society is largely satisfied with robots in the background: telling them where to turn in Google maps, drilling bolts into their cars on an assembly line, or calculating their insurance rates. “If people can easily see these androids as machines, they will accept them just like they have accepted cars and smartphones,” Konar-Steenberg said. However, as computer programs advance and more dynamic processing systems are put in place, it might become more difficult to classify robots as machines when they are able to mimic human life. That would lead to some pressing ethical questions that future societies would need to address. For the time being, it seems that the closest interactions with a humanoid robot still come with distance, in the seat of a lecture hall, for example; the audience members relaxed and delighted knowing that the real Ishiguro is calling the shots even as his AI doppleganger explains the mysteries of the technology that created it. See page 34 to learn how one student is experimenting with artificial intelligence as part of an independent research project.

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o l l e


l a u g pan n i l i B Ho h s i l g la En

There are many reasons why children find it easier to learn languages, compared to adults. According to oncologist Sharon Perkins, some of those reasons include the wiring of a children’s brain and their surroundings. Perkins says that a child’s brain is “hardwired to learn language in the first few years of life”, and if it’s learning two languages instead of one, the brain treats both languages equally. Additionally, instead of having to learn all the grammar rules, vocabulary and pronunciation that comes with a language, like many adults do, children are more focused on matching meaning to sounds. Children have more time to learn all the parts of a language, and aren’t expected to master all the grammar rules at their age. Perkins also shares that children can lose their fluency in a language if it is not used as frequently in their lives. Being bilingual doesn’t necessarily better the brain, but it does exercise different parts of the brain that aren’t used as much when monolingual. According to Psychology Today, learning a new language and staying fluent in it requires consistent use of the parts of the brain that allow memorizing words, sounds, grammar and spelling. Compared to a monolingual brain, the parts of the bilingual brain that are used for language and communication are more active. Bilingual since birth. For Junior Gabby Harmoning, speaking more than one language has been a reality since birth. Growing up, she was speaking “Spanish, a little Chinese, and then English.” Her mom was the main sources of the many languages, as well as the language rich environment she grew up in. Harmoning thought her multilingual life was normal, until she went to school. There, she took Spanish classes, and found she was ahead of the classmates in some ways, and behind them in others. “They excelled in grammar where as I was like ‘What? Don’t you just speak the language?’” Harmoning said. Harmoning has so many languages in her brain, she sometimes finds it hard to separate them. “Since I started taking Chinese full time and put aside Spanish, my Spanish turns into Chinese sometimes and my Chinese turns into Spanish.” Although she has learned a total of five languages, she doesn’t think she is fluent in all of them. “Spanish and Portuguese? I’ve got those down. Chinese could use some work.” Because she learned Spanish as a young child, and both Spanish and Portuguese are relevant in her everyday life, those two languages the strongest ones in her repertoire, besides English. “Being able to go where ever

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Adio s nish e s n i h Language C

Written by Isabel Savedraa Weiss Designed by Jonah Harrison Photographs by Marlee Baron

e y b



I want in the world and being able to find people who speak Spanish has really helped make that strong. And since my step-dad is Brazilian, Portuguese is constantly being spoken,” Harmoning said. Learning a second language. Spanish teacher Rolando Castellanos has a different story about learning a second language. His journey started in 1978, when he came to the United States from Cuba at age 26. “When I came, I spoke no English. I knew some words and phrases, but I couldn’t speak, much less understand other people,” Castellanos said. Unlike Harmoning, Castellanos found grammar to be the easiest. “For me, the hardest things was understanding spoken English. Because, phonetically, English is hard to understand.” He recounts why learning to speak English in the U.S. was intimidating as an adult. “When speaking a new language, one feels scared because it’s hard to accept that you can’t communicate, that you don’t have the capacity to speak and that all of a sudden, you are a child again. [...] “If you learn the language as a kid, then it’s natural. From adolescence on, you are come conscious of how others perceive you and judge you. You don’t want to make a mistake, you don’t want to sound like an idiot, so that makes it harder for an adult to learn a language.” Although hard, Castellanos hit many benchmarks that served as proof of his improvement. “I came to Minnesota in June, and in December of that year, I remember the moment when I was watching a Christmas message from the Queen of England on the television, and I could understand almost everything she said,” Castellanos said. Although now bilingual, Castellanos still finds little problems within the two languages he speaks. “There are feelings and emotions that to truly express, they have to in one language or the other,” he said. “There are things that if I say it in one language, it doesn’t satisfy me like if I were to say it in the other language. There are things that don’t translate.” As for advice, Castellanos doesn’t believe that a person has to be a child in order to become bilingual. Although it might make it easier, he has proven that it is not necessary. “If someone wants it, but truly wants it, it will be hard, but they can do it.”

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Vol. 2 No. 1


Written by Ellie Findell Designed by Sharee Roman



ince the 1990’s opioid use has become the leading cause of death for people under 50. According to figures from 2016, over 60,000 deaths were linked to opioid use. These numbers put the opioid epidemic on par with the HIV epidemic at its peak: about one death every 12 minutes. Recently, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national public emergency. He discussed providing more federal funding for the epidemic; however, it is not nearly enough. Politically, it sounds good to increase the money and effort to address a problem,

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but the reality is much more complicated and the problem more difficult to overcome. Over the past few years, the country has lost millions of dollars to the opioid crisis in terms of lost lives, lost productivity, health care, treatment, and criminal justice costs. In 2015, the Council of Economic Advisers estimated that the opioid drug epidemic cost the country $504 billion. Altarum, a nonprofit research and consulting institute dedicated to improving health and

health care, arrived at a cost estimate of $95 billion for 2016 using a different methodology. According to an October post by Money “Regardless of whether it’s $504 billion or $95 billion, these costs are far higher than what we’re spending on prevention and treatment,” said Corey Rhyan, senior analyst at Altarum’s Center for Value in Health Care. Along with a need for more funding, there is a lack of trained medical

physicians to properly distribute medication. A study conducted by National Bureau of Economic Research Physicians shows that doctors who graduate from higher-ranked medical schools write significantly fewer opioid prescriptions annually than those

from lower-ranked schools, even if those physicians practice in the same specialty and county. There is an economic disparity that is exemplified by medical school choice. According to the social scientists, lower ranked schools do not have the most up to date medical training

THE WIRED ISSUE and attract people who often return to their hometowns. These two inequalities further the gap between upper echelon and mid-level student and citizen. According to an article in The New York Times from Oct. 26, President Trump’s 2018 Budget plan “would include a requirement that federally employed prescribers be trained in safe practices for opioid prescriptions and a new federal initiative to develop non addictive painkillers, as well as intensified efforts to block shipments” of cheap opioids from foreign countries. This enforcement will be necessary especially in rural America. The Opioid Epidemic is detrimental to small towns because many young doctors are moving to the city and small-town doctors, General Practitioners, tend to prescribe higher doses of opioids. GPs have less training than specialists. Former

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack said, “It’s a unique problem in rural America because of the lack of treatment capacity and high-quality facilities and doctors.” It is obvious that there is a lack of clear punishment for pharmaceutical companies working with physicians. The amount of pain medication prescribed to a patient should correspond with the length of recovery and scale of pain. Maybe the question is: Are there any suitable options available? People who take opioids aren’t just drug users; they are people managing chronic pain. Over-the-Counter Acetaminophen, Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), Corticosteroids, Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors, and Neurostimulators are just to name a few. These offer little to no side effects and could provide an alternative.

While pharmaceutical companies, medical professionals, and a need for more government intervention are certainly at play here, patients must follow a better lifestyle. Studies have shown that chronic back pain, joint pain, arthritis, and fibromyalgia can all be improved with yoga and tai chi. Also, it is shown that there is a direct correlation between chronic pain and obesity. Weight loss for obese pain patients appears to be an important aspect of overall pain rehabilitation, although more efforts are needed to determine strategies to maintain long-term benefit. Whether it is more money, government effort, or patient effort, it is clear that there needs to be a change.

Data from the CDC

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DIY: WIRING JEWELRY Getting nice jewelry doesn’t need to be a daunting task. Using household items like safety pins can make easy jewelry for students at St. Paul Academy and Summit School, while avoiding the pricey costs of bracelets, earrings and necklaces. Making safety pin bracelets is a fun and simple task.


Obtain safety pins. The size of the pins can range depending on the thickness of bracelet desired.


Safety pins • Beads • Thin wire or floss Writing and Photography by

imi Geller

Design by

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itya Thakkar



Tie the end strings and put the bracelet on. The safety pins will dangle and fit around the wrist in a way that is both flattering and feels comfortable.


Weave the floss or thin wire through the top of the safety pins. It is important to poke the wire or floss through the top hole of the safety pin and not the whole safety pin itself.


NUS STEP Add multi colored beads. Beads are a great way to add color to the pins.

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Vol. 2 No. 1

Knowledge i how the futur important a to create of learn someo Lear and lear

how we’re wired:


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Written by Tritan Hitchens-Brookins Designed by Quinn Christensen

“I am the kind of learner see what I’m learning. I think o visual learner. If the teacher teach aren’t teaching too fast and work said. Just knowing what type of lea mean the process will be easy. K is not as important as knowing Learning itself is incredibly im to learn is a helpful tool to important to the overal of learning. Sophomore H but she know through repe thr


is the foundation of our society, and can positively or negatively affect re will turn out. The process of gaining knowledge (or learning) is just as as the knowledge itself. Learning allows for evolution and adaptation in order a more ideal world. How one learns is important and there are many types ners including: visual, auditory, read-write, and kinesthetic. The type of learner one is usually inherently predetermined by the way their brain is wired. rning is especially important in our school seeing as how many people focus d obsess over their grades. Some tools and specific things allow people to rn a subject easier.

Knowing the type of learner one is can help tremendously while learning a subject because of the tools at our disposal in order to learn. 9th grader Noel Abraham, 9th grader Elizabeth Kristal, and Junior Tessah Green know the type of learner they are and what helps them learn well. Knowing what helps a person learn itself is a strong tool to the process of learning. “I believe myself to be a kinesthetic learner, in that I prefer to learn in an interactive setting. Various types of hands-on activities which actually make me do something with my body really helps me learn,” Abraham said. “I would say I’m a more visual learner. When teachers put up diagrams on the board or when they have it as a hands on lesson, the concept is much easier to understand,” Kristal said.

visual learners

kinesthetic learners

r that has to of myself as a hes well or if they king in groups,” Green

arner someone is does not always Knowing what type of learning someone g the ways that help someone learn. mportant and knowing how one’s brain is wired o learn better ways to learn. Knowing both is incredibly ll knowledge and abilities that can work to help the process

Helen Bartlett does not know what specific type of learner she is, ws what to do in order to learn a subject: “ I think I learn best when I talk a subject with someone until I could explain it back to them. So I learn through etition, and through hands on learning as well. I learn best by really talking rough the subject with someone” Bartlett said. While knowing the specific type of learner one is can be incredibly helpful, it is not a necessity or requirement in order to learn. Just knowing what helps a person to learn is the most important part of learning and that knowledge will advance people’s lives.

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Vol. 2 No. 1

Spinning into Popularity: A look a


hat most teachers want from their students is focus: on their lesson plan, the work sheet at hand, or an upcoming homework assignment. Focus is usually thought of as quiet study--concentrated effort accompanied by stillness and silence. However, new research by scientists at the University of Mississippi Medical Center has revealed that “focusing” doesn’t look the same for all students; some students are wired differently. “Doing something else mindlessly helps me focus on what I am supposed to be doing instead of the environment around me. I fidget mostly when I am learning. It is usually just restless leg, or I spin pencils,” senior Ned LairdRaylor said. Laird-Raylor’s experience

with improved concentration due to his fidgeting are backed by scientific evidence. In the study, students with attention-deficit disorders (ADHD) actually performed better when they were able to fidget and indulge their hyperactivity. However, for students without an attention deficit, such movement was detrimental to their concentration. Although this is just one study, it provides scientific validation for what many students with ADHD or short attention spans have experienced for years: movement does not detract from their studies, but actually benefits them. “It helps me

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not get distracted. When I don’t fidget I focus on my leg and on other things,” senior Lark Smith said. Dustin Sarver, the lead researcher in the study, points to hyperactivity as a method of increasing alertness in the students. Movement and fidgeting stimulates their minds and allows them to concentrate on the task at hand. Recent controversy has arisen surrounding the validity of fidgeting as mind stimulant, rather than a pure distraction, largely due to the advent of fidget spinners and other fidget toys. The mainstream usage of fidget spinners undermines their plausible benefits for students with ADHD as teachers and

administration in schools across the

United States write off the devices as distracting toys, instead of potential tools for learning for students with diagnosed learning differences. “All the types of little toys and little fidgety things definitely help those who need them, but [fidget


at the academic usage of fidgets

Written by Flannery Enneking-Norton Designed by Sharee Roman

spinners] are becoming something with

everybody. When you don’t have anything restricting your learning, it doesn’t feel necessary,“ sophomore Nina Smetana said. Claims by the toy manufacturers that fidget spinners improve user focus and

productivity have yet to be rigorously reviewed and thus remain largely unfounded. Based on qualitative evidence from teachers’ and students’ experiences and complaints, spinners are a source of distraction rather than a useful learning tool. Spinner designers have begun to include lights and other sensory elements to the toys, which adds an element of interactivity and engagement that detracts from their purpose as a mindless tool that enhances concentration. “I think [fidget spinners] are fun, but they are too distracting. Fidgeting is supposed to be mindless and boring, not

entertaining. Fidget spinners feel cool and they make lights,” LairdRaylor said. While the evidence is still out with regard to how beneficial fidget spinners are for students’ concentration efforts, fidgeting as a mindless activity certainly enhances students’ focus--for those who need it. Most learning experts recognize that different study methods work for different students: for visual learners, concept maps and charts work better, whereas some students thrive off of

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flashcards and memorization. That same recognition of learning differences in the classroom with regard to different focusing capacities and methods is also becoming more widespread. Students who spin in their chairs or bounce their knees might not be distracted at all; instead, they might be just as deeply concentrated on the math problem in front of them as their peer who is sitting quietly, head in hand.

adrenaline Vol. 2 No. 1

“I think I felt the most adrenaline when, back in eighth grade I was performing a solo during the winter concert. I was accompanying the choir, so I wasn’t completely alone, but I was the only one playing, so if I messed up you clearly heard it. So, it was a very high stress moment.” - Junior Phillip Bragg

“Right after I finish a scene or a show, and I’m taking a bow, and I feel really good about myself, and I’m smiling: that’s when I feel the most adrenaline.” - Ninth grader Grace Krasny

“I felt the most adrenaline, and it happens every show I’m in, but right before we go on stage for opening night, and we’re all holding hands, and we’re like ‘gotta go, don’t mess up your lines.’ That’s always when I feel the most excited and nervous at the same time.” - Sophomore Ananya Narayan

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“[In mountain biking], whenever I’m approaching someone who’s going slightly faster than I am, and especially on a hill, and I go right past them. I get this little smile, and it’s an incredible amount of adrenaline. It’s not anger, it’s just power.” - US English teacher Mr. Hoven

“Probably right after a soccer game. Even if we lost, I just get this feeling of pure happiness.” - Ninth grader Emma Davies

“[I feel the most adrenaline] Probably when I have to play tie breakers for tennis, because that’s like the defining match for my team.” - Ninth grader Kate Hick

“I did a backflip off a cliff, and hit my head… I was pretty adrenaline filled.” - Ninth grader Gabe Ramirez

“I probably felt the most adrenaline when I was on the roller coasters at the mall of America, because I really don’t like roller coaster and I get really motion sick and scared. I have been pressured to go on them by my friends, and it really scares me and I get a huge adrenaline rush.” - Sophomore Tina Wilkens

“I was in a plane, and it started going mally, but it was super cloudy and rainy. W 30 seconds off the ground, the pilot sped to get us back in the air because we could cause it was too windy. I was so scared.” - Junior Rachael Johnson


our heart is in your throat, time seems to move slower a moment, you feel invincibl The short answer is that with adrenaline. The long answer is a bit more com Extreme Fear: The Science of your M adrenaline occurs when the adrenal g into the bloodstream, raising blood p oxygen and energy to the muscles. It potential of their muscles; on average power, but with adrenaline that numb Zatsiorsky. Essentially, adrenaline allo energy and power. However, this bur is still only within the ranges of perso could lift a 700 lb weight may be able someone who couldn’t normally lift a Under situations of stress, such as re danger, adrenaline causes more powe However, the benefits of adrenalin competitions. High-pressure and stre Olympics cause adrenaline rushes th than ever. In fact, the amount of worl a result of athletes unleashing huge r international pressure to perform we

“Usually being on a roller coaster, and when I’m fencing. It gives me the most adrenaline, because moving all the time, it’s really exciting, and fencing with someone.” - Senior J.J. Wertkin


down, trying to land norWhen we were maybe like d [the plane] up super fast dn’t land at that time be-

“Probably in a baseball game when I was younger. It was the ninth inning, the championship game, I was up, and the bases were loaded. It was a lot of pressure. I got a hit, it went right between the shortstop and the third baseman and we got a run.” - Sophomore Sean Edstrom

beating so fast you can feel it, and r.Your senses are heightened, and for le. So what just happened? t under pressure, you responded

mplicated. According to the book Mind in Danger by Jeff Wise, gland releases cortisol and adrenalin pressure and heart rate to send t allows humans to access the full e, people use 65% of their maximum ber rises, says researcher Vladimir ows for a burst of superhuman rst of energy and muscle strength onal strength. While someone who e to lift up a car while adrenalized, a 50 lb weight wouldn’t be able to. escuing someone or yourself from erful skills to do so. ne also apply to sports and essful environments such as the hat allow athletes to perform better ld records broken at the Olympics is reserves of energy under the insane ell.

Written by Chloe Morse Designed by Quinn Christensen

“We were playing around the block tag when I was ten. We were running around the neighborhood, and one of my neighbors called the police on us because we ran through his yard. So we were running from the police, like a bunch of little kids. [I felt the most adrenaline] probably then.” - Senior Amina Smaller

“Probably during all basketball games. It’s nice to have a crowd, and my teammates are really supportive.” - Ninth grader Pilar Saavedra-Weis

“It was at Widji, when we played predator and prey… In the last ten seconds I was about to get caught, and that was really frantic. I think [I got caught].” - Ninth grader Sam Konstan

“Probably last year, in our eighth grade basketball championship game, and we won. It was really nice to have everyone come out [to the game].” - Ninth grader Aman Rahman

“Before a cross country race, I get more nervous than any other sport I do. And then I just pull my jacket off and I go!” - Senior Greta Sirek

“I’m a swimmer, so [I feel adrenaline the most] maybe during my races. Especially at a big meet.” - Ninth grader Mima Mandic

“Probably during the Pops concert. I think it’s really exhilarating when you’re a part of this organization that communicates with others, and it turns about to be a huge success.” - Junior Maggie Youngdale

“Watching football games. Watching the Vikings play Seattle, when they almost won.” - Senior Lark Smith

“I felt the most adrenaline for the state hockey championship last year, because there was a lot of pressure, and a lot of people were watching, and I didn’t want to mess up.” - Senior Hailey Hoffman

“I was in Colorado, and I was skiing, and I was up on top of one of the hills. To me at the time [in 8th grade], it seemed like a 45 degree hill, straight down. And I bombed straight down the hill. No stopping, no swerving, just straight down the hill. And that was one of the largest adrenaline rushes I’ve had in my life. When I finished, yardsale. Yardsale is when you lose both your skis and both your poles.” - Sophomore Peter Michel

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EMBRACING BRACES Two long strips of metal wire, ends pointed, poking into gums cutting them up, food stuck in them, catching your tongue when trying to speak, broken brackets, rubber bands... the list of annoyances, embarrassments, awkward situations and funny anecdotes goes on and on. Though braces are used by orthodontists to straighten teeth and place them specifically, there is no shortage of embarrassing, awkward, hilarious and endearing stories of students and their braces. For some students, braces and their implications become an essential part of their memories from growing up. Junior Kenzie Giese had her braces for four years and five months. For Giese, the

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“I learned to love it because it was a huge part of me.” - Junior Kenzie Giese

way that her braces made her look initially made her insecure, but grew into a fond memory of her time with braces. Before she had braces she had no gap in between her front teeth on the top row, but after having braces for six months her teeth began to spread. It grew consistently, but stopped growing for about a year and a half at which point she had a considerable gap between her teeth. “I was embarrassed because I had to walk around with a huge gap that I didn’t start with. I learned to love it because is was

a huge part of me for eighth grade,” Giese said. Others with braces remember the way that having a foreign object on their teeth made their speaking change. Sophomore Josh Meitz had braces for a year and a half, but most distinctly remembers the first few days of having them on. “Right when you get [braces] on you have a lisp, so when I talked in Harkness discussions I would have a lisp, which was awkward and embarrassing,” Meitz said. The pain of having braces, changing the wires, adjusting them and tightening them is something that most with braces can recall. “The first time I got them adjusted there was a kid who went in front of me while I was waiting, he started saying ‘This is the worst pain I have ever felt


Photo Submitted by Muriel Lang

Q: What does a dentist do on a roller coaster?

A: He braces himself.

in my life.’ I was really scared,” senior Tony Bogolub said. Many can also recall more unique experiences of pain that involved their braces. “At baseball practice I got nailed in the lower jaw and the two [lower] front teeth braces were stuck in my lip. I grabbed my lip and pulled it, I heard the skin rip and I bled a lot. It made me feel legendary. I thought my tooth was going to come out, so I was really excited to get the golden tooth,” Ninth grader Gabe Ramirez said. Students recall many instances in which they broke or damaged their braces. Return trips to the orthodontist creating quite a nuisance for the student is common. In Senior Marlo Graham’s case she had to deal with this annoyance much sooner than others. “The first day I got [braces] a bracket fell off. I was already mad because I was already in the dentist for a while and that meant I had to go back again the next day,” Graham said. Others broke brackets and wires by eating food. Junior Roan Chafee said,”I was one of those kids who followed the rules to the letter, and I was very specific about what I ate: no crunch things, no chewy things, no popcorn. So the one time I decide to break the rules was when my sister made stained glass cookies, which are sugar cookies with melted jolly ranchers on top. I bit into it, because my sister said I should try it, because she made them. The instance I bit into it one of the wires [of my braces] cracked off.” Bleeding gums, sore mouths, nickname and more can be part of the braces experience, but then, so are the stories.

Written by Ellie Nowakowski Photography by Kelby Wittenberg Designed by Melissa Nie

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Vol. 2 No. 1 At 7:20 a.m. on the dot, Aidan Lanz fills his SPA travel mug three quarters-full with lunchroom coffee. He takes it black. Once seated in the upper library, he takes small sips from the mug as other students arrive, sitting down next to him to finish work for their upcoming classes. The next day, he fills his mug, again, with the same black lunchroom coffee – sipping intermittently. The caffeine will eventually find its way to his adenosine receptors. It sinks in: his neurons fire a bit faster than before, and his heart beats a few more times per minute. His eyelids open a millimeter further, and the grogginess fades away. At St. Paul Academy, energy is valuable—whether in the form of sleep, energy drinks, soda, coffee or tea. Caffeine, widely considered a ‘drug’ or ‘stimulant,’ is readily available to any student interested in increasing their work output; a seemingly perfect solution to a heavy workload. What are some possible side effects for a student that uses caffeine daily? Just one cup of coffee a day, or its equivalent in caffeine, can cause stunted growth and a difficulty sleeping. When used excessively, it can cause anxiety, high blood pressure and ironically, fatigue, to name a few. Lanz feels that his caffeine routines are under control. “I like having something to sip on while I do my work,” Lanz explained, “it just wakes you up more.” When asked to describe coffee in three words, he uses: “adaptable, anytime, good. Coffee is pretty universal in its taste” Coffee, a beverage derived from coffee beans, is the most basic form of caffeine. It appeared in writing in 1671, and was supposedly discovered by a farmer in Ethiopia whose goats became unusually excited after ingesting the beans. Since then, caffeine has evolved into supercharged beverages and - Sophomore Aidan Lanz pills with heart-stopping amounts of energy. Lanz described energy drinks as “kind of unnecessary,” adding, “you can find better ways to get energy.” The impact of energy drinks and pills on one’s health has been heavily disputed; there is insufficient research to determine the long-term effect. However, there is sufficient research to show that caffeine in this form is dangerous for children. But still, there are no age restrictions for purchasing these products. Additionally, caffeine is highly accessible. A half block down Randolph sit two popular coffee shops: Caribou and Espresso Royale. In the lunchroom, a large metal coffee server is stationed next to Styrofoam cups, cream and sugar, at every hour of the day—all of this contributes to a culture of caffeine.

“I like having something to sip on while I do my work.”

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Written by Noah Designed by Quinn Chr




h Raaum ristensen

Lanz started drinking coffee at the age of 9. Most people would consider this a young age to begin utilizing caffeine on a daily basis. “I’ve been sneaking sips of my parents coffee since forever, but I actually started drinking it in 3rd grade, which some people might argue is pretty early,” he said. His fondness grew from there. In 8th grade, however, he cut back. “At one point I kind of needed it—if I didn’t have it in the morning I got headaches. But since then, I’ve cut back on caffeine” he explained. A survey was conducted in the spring of 2017 that gathered 109 students’ opinions on caffeine. 45% of students said that they never drink coffee. Another 15% said that they only drink coffee once a week or during high-stress times of year such as finals. Many students commented on caffeine’s negative effects on their health, but several also noted that it was a valuable resource while doing schoolwork, especially when low on sleep. Caffeine isn’t a complete substitute for sleep, however. The sense of “energy” one feels after downing a cup of coffee is an effect of the stimulant. Tiredness is your brain’s response to low sleep. It is referred to as “sleep pressure”—a signal telling your body to fall back to sleep. This is why feeling fatigued is common after caffeine wears off, due to the shift in mental state. Nonetheless, since caffeine is a stimulant, it does things that sleep can’t do. A “stimulant” is a drug causing increased activity in the body. In other words, caffeine is in the same drug category as Adderall, cocaine, and nicotine, but not necessarily as harmful. Some effects of stimulants are unattainable through sleep, like increased attentiveness and alertness. If sleep could replace stimulants, then sleep could replace ADHD medications—a daily necessity for dozens of SPA students. The use of ADHD medications tapers off in adults, mostly because their medication is replaced with caffeine. The “morning cup of coffee” is a time-honored grown-up routine that has persisted for decades, if not centuries, and is usually less expensive than a prescribed stimulant. In fact, 83% of adults in the US consume coffee daily and the industry is worth an estimated $30 billion. Lanz isn’t worried about the future of his caffeine habits. Drinking coffee as a teenager? As Lanz sees it, “there are some negative connotations, such as becoming dependent on it to function,” he says, “but I don’t think I’m at that point yet—I just like coffee.”

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REPURPOSING old technology as rustic decor


s technology races towards the future, every new gadget smaller and faster, consumers are spending more and more money to own the newest tech. However, the old telephones and light bulbs of the past aren’t being left behind. Instead, they’re being used as decorations and ways to build aestheticity in a room. Retro telephones (the ones with wound-up cords, pastel colors, and a rotating dial), are coming back in style, but not necessarily for use. The problem is that finding a cool old phone in an antique shop doesn’t mean it will work; in fact, it probably won’t. Even if the wires get connected the right way, which is hard because the phones have old wiring, the phone may not receive calls, even if it sends calls, or it may not send calls but it will receive calls. As such, to add the retro telephone vibe to rooms, people are using old telephones as decorations. Putting plants in the pocket of a removed dial and decorating the phones are a couple of these options.


To make a rotary phone planter, first disassemble the phone by unscrewing the bottom, and removing the internal wire block. Then, remove the inner dial to make a hole for the plant. Put the bottom back on the phone, but leave the dial out. Now, fill the phone with dirt through the dial, and then put the plant in the hole, creating a vase for the plant. One step that can be included in making a vase, but could be performed by itself, is simply decorating the phone. Removing the bottom and dial as before, only decorate the outside casing so as to prevent paint or glue from getting on the dial or inside the phone. Here, pretty much any type of decoration works. However, some options are to paint the phone, collage the phone with paper, or use glitter to make a fun attraction. Once the phone is finished being decorated, put the dial and bottom back in. At this point, a plant would be put in. Otherwise, let the phone dry, and then place it as a decoration.

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Light bulbs are also gaining momentum as a form of decoration. Harkening back to the 1900s, exposed light bulbs are not only used for light, but for arrangements. One such type is hanging exposed light bulbs from a ceiling via cords. The result offers a starry night effect, with each bulb a star. Bulbs made from clear glass can be used as mini terrariums, while any bulb can be used as a mini planter. When making a terrarium, there are several important things to keep in mind that prevent the plants from molding in their confined space. First, use sand or small pebbles in order to allow water drainage. The recommended plant is Tillandsia, since it’s an air plant that only needs a little water to survive. Finally, it’s important to use preserved moss rather than live moss. Live moss retains moisture better, which helps raise the humidity of the terrarium, and helps the Tillandsia. Ideally, find a light bulb that already has the wiring removed. Otherwise, here is how to remove the inside of the bulb (make sure to use some sort of goggles to prevent broken glass from flying into your eyes, and do everything over a container to contain the glass). Using needle-nose pliers, remove the metal tip from the bottom of the bulb. Then, get a good grip on the black glass that held the metal tip, and yank it out. Using a flathead screwdriver, reach inside the bulb and snap the wires. Then, use the needle nose pliers again to extract the wires, and shake out any broken glass. Using a hot glue gun, put four globs of clue on the bottom of the bulb to form a stand so that the bulb doesn’t roll around. Then, take some sand or small pebbles, and pour it into the bulb until it’s a little less than 1/3 full. Using tweezers, place the preserved moss and Tillandsia on top of the sand. Add rocks, small toys, or whatever is needed to make the terrarium cute. It may take some arranging using the tweezers, but the result is worth it. With new old phones and light bulbs, decorating will never be the same. While technology is revolutionary in its discoveries, these crafts are revolutionary in their uniqueness.

Written by Chloe Morse Designed by Iya Abdulkarim Photographs by Kat St. Martin-Norburg

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Written by Nitya Thakkar Designed by Mimi Geller

Vol. 2 No. 1


Students maintain relatio


riendships aren’t defined by where a person lives, but rather by what kind of a person they are. Many students who go to St. Paul Academy and Summit School have had the privilege of attending camps or visiting countries where they can meet people from different parts of the state, country, or world. The most significant part of these national or global relationships is how people remain in contact, often affectionately becoming each other’s modern pen pals. Junior Adelia Bergner participated in the Spanish exchange program this fall and has remained in contact with her student, Elena. The SPA exchange programs pair students based on information they give, but students often do not know their match before they visit each other. Bergner said, “I contact Elena almost every day using Whatsapp, Snapchat, and Instagram, but it really depends on both of our schedules. The time difference [between the United States and Spain] can make it really challenging when it comes to staying in contact because when her school ends, mine is just starting and when my school ends, she is going to bed. So we usually just Snapchat during the week and text on weekends when we don’t have school.” Bergner added that she believes that having a friend who lives in another state

or country is important because it opens people up to parts of the world they otherwise wouldn’t see. “The culture in Spain is very different than the United States, and I definitely wouldn’t have been able to experience it to the extent that I did without my friendship with Elena. “Maintaining friendships with people in different countries is also important because I know that if I ever visit Spain in the future, I’ll have a friend who will welcome me with open arms,” Bergner said. In addition, Bergner has noticed that her relationship with Elena has had many positive impacts on her own life, aside from becoming more culturally aware. “[Our friendship] has made me become more conscious of events outside of my own life in Minnesota. Now, whenever Spain is mentioned on the news or is brought up in a class, I immediately pay more attention because I have a personal tie to someone in Spain. Also, I now have someone who I can talk to and who can give me unbiased and really good advice,” Bergner said. Junior Adelia Bergner and her friends from Spain



To:Spa in

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onships across the globe Senior J.J. Wertkin also met someone through an SPA language exchange program who he has become close friends with. When he went to Germany through the program, he stayed with Linus, and now they talk almost every week over Instagram. “I have found that when you talk with someone from a different country, they give you new perspectives on politics and what they think of your country. I also think that it is nice to know that you have friends and connections in places far away. It’s a small world,” Wertkin said. He also mentioned how much his German speaking skills have improved by staying in contact with Linus. People from all over the world are wired to connect. There is an innate desire within most people to form relationships with a variety of people, so that one never has to be alone. However, both Bergner and Wertkin have different opinions about whether or not people are wired to connect with others internationally. “I definitely think that people are wired to make new friends who they don’t get to see every day. There are so many amazing people on this planet that it seems almost absurd just to limit yourself to friends who attend the same school as you or who are on a shared sports team,” Bergner said.


To: Ge rmany

Aside from reaching out into the world to embrace vast opportunities, Bergner also thinks that having an international friend has taught her new values. “Every person has a different experience and there is so much to be learned from others, especially those who live a very different life from you. My friendship with Elena has fostered an important sense of empathy because I have been exposed to a culture that I would not have been able to experience otherwise and I think that’s pretty important,” Bergner said. However, Wertkin believes that people are not wired to have friends they do not get to see everyday. “I think it is a privilege and an opportunity to connect yourself to an entirely different country, and most people do not get this chance. Having friends who live away from you is not something we’re wired to have, but something some of us are occasionally honored to have,” Wertkin said. Despite their different opinions about whether people are wired or not to have cross-cultural relationships, both Wertkin and Bergner believe that having those relationships has opened their eyes up to new cultures and experiences.

Senior J.J. Wertkin and Linus

Submitted photos from Adelia Bergner and J.J. Wertkin

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e’ve all been caught in an awkward social situation before. It’s a familiar feeling: the sweaty palms and feeling of isolation. Junior Shane Litman recounts that experience: “I’ve definitely been in that situation before. It feels weird. There’s no one close to talk to, and you just don’t talk to anybody and just sit there awkwardly.” But the feeling of being comfortable in a social situation—the feeling of belonging—is one of the most rewarding sensations there is. Litman feels that being with a close friend group is essential to feel at home in a social situation. While it’s rewarding to feel like a part of a group, social awkwardness can actually be an asset. From Oxford University, Simon BaronCohen and colleagues found that awkwardness can be associated with intense focus and translates to skills in fields such as logic or math. And those who identify as socially awkward are

forced to work harder to fit in and are thus challenged to find workarounds to achieve a sense of belonging, according to Ty Tashiro, the author of Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward & Why That’s Awesome. There are benefits to having a strong social network, however. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, professor of psychology and head of a study at Brigham Young University, found that having meaningful friendships is beneficial to your health and is associated with increased longevity. Conversely, Holt-Lunstad explains, “Not having a social support network can be a higher death risk than obesity or leading a sedentary life without exercise.” Friendships can also trigger empathy, an essential human emotion. According to a study by a group at the University of Virginia in which different people were faced with the threat of receiving small electrical shocks to themselves, a friend or a stranger, the brain activity

Written by Lucy Sandeen Designed by Iya Abdulkarim

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“People close to us become a part of ourselves, and that is not just metaphor or poetry, it’s very real.”


- Study Director James Coan, University of Virginia

of those people while they were in danger versus when their friend was in danger was essentially identical. The director of the study, James Coan, said that “People close to us become a part of ourselves, and that is not just metaphor or poetry, it’s very real. Literally we are under threat when a friend is under threat.” So what enables close friendships like these? According to Litman, “openness and being friendly” is the most important factor when connecting with people. Litman’s intuition is supported by science: the most effective ways to make a friend include finding similarities, smiling, sharing personal information, and asking questions. While we are, perhaps, wired to connect—science shows that

friendships are beneficial in both the short term and the long term for psychological and physical reasons— social awkwardness can indicate strengths in other areas. Essentially, every person is wired to connect differently. Whether that takes shape in social savvy and a wide circle of friends or only a few close friends, every person has different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to making connections. Feeling uncomfortable and out of place is just as important as feeling accepted in a group of people. Regardless, making an effort to connect is essential for your personal health and is rewarding not only to yourself but to those around you as well.

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FAMILY CONNECTIONS Written by Tristan Hitchens-Brookins Designed by Melissa Nie

There are numerous types of people with just as many, if not more, situations regarding their familial relationships. The connections that people make with their family can be strong, weak, non-existent, or anywhere in between. However, those connections (or the lack thereof) shape how people interact with others. The influence of family can strengthen or weaken relationships with certain people because of their background. Some can be more sociable and outgoing, while others can be more introverted and quiet. It all depends on how familial ties and relationships affect how the brain is wired. Many people value their ties and strong bonds with their families. Those bonds are what can shape a person’s ideology on life. Connections with certain family members can greatly influence personality and character. Junior Jane Brunell feels a connection with

her father, who specifically influenced Brunell in a positive way. “My dad has always encouraged me to think on the positive side and find the best in a situation. By his actions, I’ve picked up on some things he does like stay calm in hard situations. I really think my personality and the way I do things is like him,” Brunell said. “There are ways my family has influenced my thinking, simply because my parents come from different backgrounds,” junior Ben Atmore said. Sophomore Eddie Krasny said,“My grandpa and his experiences and stories from the Vietnam War have shaped my opinions to view war negatively.” Connections bring people together, and they help people understand and relate to each other, as well as other topics. While both parents and other relatives have

“Whenever I feel disconnected from my family, it affects what I say.”

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- Junior Jane Brunell


Photograph submitted by Ben Atmore FAMILY TIES. Junior Ben Atmore poses for a photo with his family. “There are ways my family has influenced my thinking just because my parents come from difference backgrounds,” he said.

different influences on a person, that does not mean that one is more important than the other. “I have a really strong connection with both my parents in different ways. My dad and I have the same personality and are goofy with each other every time we see each other. My dad knows me better than I do and can always make me laugh. My mom, however, is different. She is the person that always has a smile on her face and I can count on her to make my day better,” Brunell said. “I think I share the closest bond to my Uncle Rob, who I enjoy talking to and joking around with,” Atmore said. “I connect to my grandpa because he is not afraid to talk about difficult or sensitive topics. I may not always agree with him, but he has influenced me a lot over my life,” Krasny said. Having fun with relatives brings with it different feelings and ideas about relatives and their opinions, but it helps bonds between people grow stronger.

Even when the connection does not feel like it is there or it is weaker than expected, it still affects the person just as much. “Whenever I feel disconnected from my family, it affects what I say and what I don’t. When I don’t feel connected to them, I don’t feel like myself and I feel sad and run down,” Brunell said. “Even though my dad is dead and his parents live in Michigan, I still connect with my dad’s side of the family very well through my cousins and by visiting my grandparents,” Krasny said. People are wired to connect and while connections (or the lack thereof) affect every person in different ways, they still affect them. Regardless if they are positive or negative, connections matter. They are important to people and should never be take lightly and they define people whether they realize it or not.

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The year is 2019. Red smoke and fire billow out of smokestacks in a dark, industrial city choked with smog and dense with black buildings. It’s a dismal scene; a futuristic yet primal aura surrounds the dystopia. It’s Los Angeles, Earth. In the age of space travel, most humans have left earth for Off-World colonies; only the impoverished remain. The Tyrell Corporation has created robots nearly identical to humans, known as Replicants. The newest phase of Replicants are superior to humans in almost every way, yet they lack human emotion. They are used in Off-World earth colonies as slave labor, exploited and subjected to hazardous conditions in their work. To negate the risk of an insurgence, Replicants’ life spans are limited to only four years. After a Replicant combat team rebelled in a bloody revolt that cost human lives, Replicants are banned from earth, under penalty of death. Blade runners—special assassins—are dedicated to the task of hunting and executing (or “retiring”) Replicants that have rebelled and trespassed on earth. We meet Deckard (Harrison Ford), a retired blade runner, in the grime of Los Angeles’s China. He’s the best of the blade runners, and he is soon brought out of retirement to track down and “retire” an organized group of rogue replicants who have been wreaking havoc and killing humans. He’s a talented and ruthless detective and assassin, yet his job is complicated by a beautiful replicant woman, Rachel, with whom he quickly falls in love. While the movie’s premise is based on these two star-crossed lovers’ story, their plot line

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is lost in the chase and is tragically underdeveloped. Blade Runner first showed in theaters on June 25 in 1982, and it was a sweeping failure. Budgeted at 28 million dollars, it brought in only 33 million through the box office. While it was a financial catastrophe, it was made to be a cult classic with its murky cinematography, its “neon-noir” grungy setting, its dry script and slow action, its abrupt changes of scene. It’s strange, it’s creepy, it’s repulsive, it’s violent, it’s terrifying and disturbing, it makes you sick to your stomach, it’s beautiful, and it’s utterly entrancing. It delivers none of the thrilling chase scenes of an action movie and at the crux of the movie instead delivers an agonizingly slow and haunting pursuit, full of pain and gore and sickening torture. Blade Runner is a provoking and compelling examination of human characteristics. It fails only in presenting itself as a love story. Ford is a weather-beaten, cynical hero whose dry dialogue can sometimes leave something to be wished for, but whose character is satisfyingly brusque. Blade Runner is a skittish, muddy response to the question, what makes you human? Is it emotion? Love? Memory? Physical, mental excellence? Desire to survive? When the human characters in Blade Runner seem to lack the characteristics necessary to be human while the Replicants are brimming with humanity, who, in the end, is wired to be human?

FILM: Blade Runner (1982) Ridley Scott, Dir. Warner Bros. Studios





Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner left a legacy of occult influence and an unsettling examination of the human condition. Originally screened in 1982, the film’s setting in 2019 is now only two years away. A continuation was long overdue. Denis Villenueve’s response to Blade Runner is a triumphant and worthy sequel. It continues the first film’s legacy while refraining from becoming trapped in the same mold, instead breaking new ground and adding even more layers and complexity to Blade Runner’s universe. While maintaining the same gray, grungy aesthetic, it is immersive in a way that the first movie was unable to be, given the technological restraints of the time; it has better music, better imagery, and feels all the more real. It captures you and brings you into the film in a way Blade Runner was unable to, thus filling one of the only failures of the first movie. K (Ryan Gosling) is a Blade Runner for the L.A.P.D. in the year 2049. K, short for KD6-3.7, is a replicant himself, but he is a member of a newer, more obedient generation of almost-human androids manufactured by a new tech corporation, masterminded by a blind visionary played by Jared Leto, which has replaced Blade Runner’s Tyrell Corporation. K’s task is now to hunt and retire older generations of replicants who are more prone to rebellion. K has all of the ruthlessness and coldness of Harrison Ford’s Deckard, but he also has the personality, humanity, and humor that Ford lacked. K’s task as a Blade Runner is complicated when it is found that a human and a replicant have somehow managed to procreate, and K must now find and “retire” this impossible child before the divide between human and replicant is destroyed. As K’s L.A.P.D. boss puts it, “The world is built on a wall that separates kind. Tell either side there’s no wall… War. Or slaughter. What you saw didn’t happen.” With the

difference between human and replicant made even smaller through new advancements, this task is almost impossible. Blade Runner 2049 succeeds in blurring the line between humans and replicants even further. At times, it’s difficult to tell who is human and who is a replicant. Replicants have manufactured memories, as in the first Blade Runner, to make them feel more human; yet it’s impossible for them to distinguish between real and downloaded memories. A new layer of humanity and conscience is also added: K lives with a holographic android—a sort of 3-D, visible “Alexa”—with whom he has developed a relationship. She appears to have emotion and loves K more passionately than he can love her, yet her entire being is saved on a hard drive and her same form is replicated throughout Los Angeles as a virtual pleasure device for countless others. While they share an emotional connection, it’s impossible for them to be physically intimate. An agonizing scene of the two attempting to kiss is frankly heartbreaking. Blade Runner 2049 brings the same vibrant colors, the same gore and repulsiveness as its predecessor, but it is also infinitely more beautiful than the first movie. The deaths are just as graphic and disturbing, but the film’s wider and brighter shots make the movie clearer and easier to understand. It’s also infinitely more devastating; by making the movie more of an individual struggle, the viewer feels much more a part of the movie and a part of K’s world, and you feel his losses all the more poignantly. It’s a movie in which you genuinely don’t know if the good guys are going to win—and I won’t tell you if they do.

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Wired to Innovate : Advanced CSCI and Engineering Whether in English electives, history seminars, or science courses, SPA students are wired to think big through research. This semester, select upperclassmen had the opportunity to participate in an Advanced CSCI and Engineering class in which each student designed and executed their own independent research project. Ranging from original video games to analysis of climate change, each project represents unique student interest.

Putaski designs a video game

DRIVE MY CAR. Seniors Michael Hall and Daniel Ellis designed, 3D printed and coded their own self-driving car during first semester.

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Inspired by platformadventure games such as “Ori and the Blind Forest” and “Poncho,” junior Ben Putaski is designing his own video game.

“I personally love playing video games and have always wanted to create one of my own,” Putaski said. Putaski envisions a story that follows a soldier whose ship crashes in a deserted city infested with robots. With the task of retrieving a power source, players must navigate through complicated terrain while fighting off enemies. When faced with the daunting task of creating a game that is both entertaining and functional while being visually appealing, Putaski turns to popular Steam games for inspiration. “Poncho has influenced my game much more on the mechanical and artistic side, while Ori and the Blind Forest has influenced the color and tone of my game.” Putaski hopes to finish his junior year with four

completed levels of the video game in his portfolio. “I’m very interested in a career in interactive media, [such as] web design and game design so completing this game is one of the multiple steps I’m taking so that I can reach that goal.”

Hall and Ellis print a car Seniors Michael Hall and Daniel Ellis have taken on the challenge of designing, 3D printing, and coding their own small-scale self-driving car. After watching a YouTube video of someone who successfully programmed a full-sized car to drive itself, Hall took to researching how he could go about recreating the results. The search yielded no answers except confirmation that the project was possible, so Hall and Ellis


Written by Isabel Gisser Designed by Sharee Roman Photographs by Webster Lehman

took it upon themselves to figure out how. “I think the main reason I picked this project is that the result is just plain cool,” said Hall. “In addition, I wanted to try my hand at more advanced computer science topics like machine learning and neural nets and this is a great way to do so.” After nearly a semester of work, the seniors have designed and printed a functioning model. “Right now our car can drive itself with pretty good accuracy it just stutters as it does so. To see that we managed to teach a computer to drive is pretty amazing,” said Hall. Ellis and Hall have high hopes for their work, especially given the current popularity of research on self-driving cars. Their technique is easily scalable

and could even be applicable in a fully functional and fullsized car. “I think the technique we are using has so many applications, even beyond self-driving cars. Teaching the computer to recognize patterns in images can be used just about anywhere.”

Spencer uses wind data to stop erosion By analyzing wind speed with a self-designed anemometer, junior Jonah Spencer hopes to develop an affordable, long-term, solution for soil erosion. “I want to engineer a successful method to significantly reduce soil erosion without compromising biodiversity and topsoil health for relatively cheap. I aim to implement these

preventative measures over an extended period of time without any significant interference, [meaning] no maintenance of the apparatus or surrounding soil, to determine if this is a plausible solution to the issue over the long term,” said Spencer. Spencer found inspiration in unlikely and seemingly disconnected places; a discussion with a Minnesotan farmer and personal research on tsunami walls. “The farmer introduced me to the topic of soil erosion which, within the agriculture community has broad implications on the profitability of farms, and the tsunami barrier made me consider how man made technologies can support the development of diverse ecosystems in an increasingly treacherous climate.”

Spencer has implemented his research by testing his anemometer in various St. Paul locations and aims to continue his analysis of soil erosion and its effects on the climate in Advanced Science Research next semester. “Although I currently have no idea if my research will be impactful in any significant sense I hope to at least propose a solution to an issue which is only going to increase in severity.”

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Vol. 2 No. 1


Will Health Technology Help he health industry is rapidly changing. In the past, health professionals primarily treated patients through qualitative observations, recommendations from colleagues, and simple physical tests. However, these treatments are quickly becoming outdated. Health technology is on it’s way to taking over the health industry.

Written by Andrew Johnson Designed by Jenny Sogin

Help: With cancer getting more advanced, health technology will help us advance our defenses The help health technology may be able to provide for curing cancer is noteworthy. Per NCBI, Cancer is set to steadily increase over the next twenty or so years due to “aging populations,” and “the most promising advances will come from the rapidly increasing understanding of the molecular genetics of cancer.” NCBI claims that technological beings will be able to “allow the precise shaping of beam delivery conforming exactly to the shape of the tumor,” something humans cannot replicate with hand held tools and observations.

“Technological beings allow the precise shaping of beam delivery conforming exactly to the shape of the tumor” - National Center for Biotechnology Information

Physicians will have all the information they need right at their fingertips According to the Health Care and Business Technology website, “using medical technology like mobile devices on the job, physicians can now have access to any type of information they need – from drug information, research and studies, patient history or records, and more – within mere seconds. And, with the ability to effortlessly carry these mobile devices around with them throughout the day, they are never far from the information they need.”

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or Harm the Health Industry? Harm: Doctors will lose their jobs; patients will lose personal relationships with their health professionals. While doctors bring many human qualities to patients that robots don’t have, such as the ability to make an ethical decision, hold a natural conversation, and maintain a personal relationship, they are beginning to mean less and less as health issues become more complicated. According to Medical Futurist, “many jobs will be taken over by robots and automation in the coming years. If people whose jobs are replaced cannot acquire new skills or improve their existing ones, they will no longer have a job.�

Health care rates will cost roughly 4 trillion dollars in ten years, bankrupting Medicare in the process. - The Hastings Center

Health insurance costs will skyrocket Per The Hastings Center, health care rates are increasing by 7% per year, which equates to roughly 4 trillion dollars over 10 years, bankrupting Medicare in the process. This is largely due to medical technology entering the common marketplace and replacing cheap costing doctors. Health care could become too expensive for much of the population

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Vol. 2 No. 1


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The Circle is a dystopian novel written in 2013 by Dave Eggers that chronicles Mae Holland, a tech worker at The Circle, as she discovers the limits of privacy and the level of influence the internet should have on people’s lives. This is a review of the book (not to be confused with the Hollywood movie version which was released earlier this year). The Circle is set in the coming - but not immediate future - where three ‘wise men’ rule a dominant internet company called The Circle. They base their operation around moral codes such as ‘SECRETS ARE LIES’ and ‘PRIVACY IS THEFT.’ The Circle controls over a billion people with the goal of becoming a global conglomerate, a world monopoly where everything from banking to social media is available on a universal online platform. Eggers cleverly uses comedy to help convince readers of the problem when one group controls everything and that numbers cannot equate to the value of a life. A world where it is a crime to not supply a minute by minute recap, or where it is more productive to talk online still seems far off, produces some laughs. Laughs at the self centered characters are hard to fight

off bu what’s even hard is the similarities that c even if they are some It is impressive how links between this wo and still seem distant h up a problem with ho be perceived. Is this su dystopian novel that im another world or a th of this world’s future? not have decided whic could cause readers to envelop themselves in Minnesotans might the Mae more than ot because she went to school at Carleton in Northfield. Any time a character or person is from Minnesota, some type of understanding or empathetic response appears between the Minnesotan reader and the charac relate to Mae, which c in the success of a bo towards her bosses, te they way to hear, and that tell her she could thing. A rebel is not so in Mae and that can b connect with. The Circle may not leader that wants to c the better but that is a in of itself. Too often r taking a back seat and their opinions. They in follower


ut der to ignore can still be drawn ewhat of a stretch. w Eggers can draw orld and The Circle however it brings ow the book should upposed to be a mmerses readers in hinly veiled reflection The novel seems to ch way it leans which o not be able to fully n the book. be able to relate to ther readers simply


a reader. Eggers’ novel may not be the best dystopian-tech book out there but it’s a great read especially for younger generations on the power of social media and letting it become one’s entire world. Ellie’s Rating:


cter. Still, it is hard to can be a key element ook. Mae is obligatory ells her viewers what silences her morals d be doing the wrong omething to be found be hard for readers to

Written by Ellie Findell Designed by Webster Lehmann THE CIRCLE By Dave Eggers pp. 491 Alfred A. Knopf / McSweeney’s $27.95 (hardcover)

have a clear world or change the world for a powerful message right now are people d not standing up for nstead become a and not

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Vol. 2 No. 1

WIRE-less W

ireless technology is the future. For a comparison, The Telegraph calls “Li-Fi,” a part of wireless technology, “100 times faster than Wi-Fi.” For all you smartphone users out there, you probably enjoy the perks of the speed of Wi-Fi on an everyday basis. Can you imagine upgrading this lightning-quick speed 100 fold? Soon enough, you will be able to. Whether it be the removal of the headphone jack in Apple’s iPhone 7 or the newly regulated wireless charging ports for the iPhone 8, large technology companies are devaluing cumbersome cords across their devices. However, while wireless technology may seem theoretically flawless, there is scattered opposition to it across the world. Per the Saint Petersburg Blog, a “5G wireless technology bill” was “vigorously opposed” by the Florida League of Cities, but was nevertheless approved by Florida governor Rick Scott. Additionally, according PC World, Kevin Rudd, an opposition leader for the Australian Broadband, upset telecommunication retailers across the country, calling wireless technology “second rate.” Wireless technology could very well envelop the technology scene within the next couple of years, but opponents of this reality are and will not go down without a fight. Although wireless technology may be the future, there is no shortage of work to be done to complete this transition across all platforms of technology, including computers and televisions. According to Business Insider, there is no limit to the number of the number of accessories that can become wireless, including mice, keyboards, printers, and display adapters. Furthermore, arguably the most impressive wireless innovation involves the development of completely wireless televisions. Imagine buying a TV, but instead of tediously attaching wires to adapters that would result in an unavoidable loss of a few hours, you could simply connect the TV to wifi, mount it, and enjoy your favorite show in less than thirty minutes. Not only is the future of wireless technology much more convenient than wired technology, but it is also much efficient than any other alternative method.

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Technology Not only is the future of wireless technology more convenient than wired technology, but it is also more efficient than any other alternative method. Not only is wireless technology invading the United States, but it is also growing rapidly overseas, and is showing no signs of slowing down. According to The Economist, South Korea and Japan are the “front-runners” in the development of the industry, and already have plans to implement the new technology in the 2020 Olympic Games, one of the sporting biggest stages in the world. With the mass viewership of the Games, expect the development of wireless tech to broaden to multiple facets of technology at a much faster rate. When a product is in heavy demand, an immense amount of pressure is put on the developers of the product to make it readily available to the public with ample supply at a fast rate. Such is the case for wireless technology. Per Sundeep Rangan of NYU wireless, “networks need to be ready for a 1,000-fold increase in data volumes in the first half of the 2020s. Think about that for a moment: The technology industry is currently at a never before seen level of popularity, and in the next two to three years, the industry is going to an experience one thousand times the data it was before. Because wireless technology is primarily sold on it’s claim to convenience, expect to be using completely wireless technology for decades in the future.

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STAFF LIST EDITOR IN CHIEF: Webster Lehmann DESIGNERS: Sharee Roman Melissa Nie Quinn Christensen Jonah Harrison Iya Abdulkarim Jenny Sogin Mimi Geller Nitya Thakkar WRITERS: Flannery Enneking-Norton Ellie Nowakowski Noah Raaum Ellie Findell Tristan Hitchens-Brookins Lucy Sandeen Andrew Johnson Chloe Morse Isabel Saavedra-Weis Isabel Gisser Nitya Thakkar Mimi Geller PHOTOGRAPHERS: Emma Sampson Peter Blanchfield Kelby Wittenberg COVER DESIGN: Mimi Geller, Model Ethan Dincer, Photographer Daniel Ellis, Photo Editor ADVISER: Kathryn Campbell

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the feature magazine of The Rubicon St. Paul Academy and Summit School 1712 Randolph Avenue Saint Paul, MN 55407

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