The Highlander October 2018 Vol X Issue II
Carlmont High School — Belmont, California
Tech brings us closer to the next frontier
Developments advance towards space exploration Nihal Karim Space travel was only a wild dream in 1960. Today, it is one of the most popular topics of the modern world. Humanity has come a long way from the first moon landing, and in the modern world, scientists have broken ground with advanced research and technology related to space travel. With technological advancements, researchers have been getting closer and closer to further space exploration. “I think that going to the moon is pretty exciting,” said Emna Sellami, a junior. “Although personally, I wouldn’t want to travel to a different planet, I’m proud that we have the technology and research to get there.” According to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, since Apollo 11, the first manned mission to the Moon in 1969, researchers have been taking steps to further explore outer space. However, many are suggesting that the Moon landing is not as a big of a deal as it was 1969. Recently, life on other planets and space colonization have been discussed more often. Scientists have been researching ways to send humans to Mars, which they think will be possible by the mid-2030s. SpaceX, a privately-owned spacecraft company, has recently announced that Yusaku Maezawa, a globally recognized art curator, will be their first private passenger on their flight around the Moon in 2023, bringing the company closer to their ultimate goal of enabling human life on other planets. According to the SpaceX website, the mission will help develop the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR). The BFR is a fully reusable rocket that was designed to meet orbit needs of Earth, Mars, and the Moon. Given the BFR’s size and large payload capacity, along with its lower cost, it will soon be able to replace the current rockets at SpaceX — Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Dragon — thus making the missions more affordable. Once astronauts are on Mars, however, they will need advanced technology to both stay alive and to conduct their research. According to Mars One, a private organization, the astronauts will need a Mars landing model, two rovers, suits, advanced communication systems, and a Mars transit vehicle in order to be successful in the future operations. “While it is hard, there is still so much to discover about space exploration and trav-
el,” said Karyn Voldstad, an AP Computer ing topic and is definitely worth researchScience teacher. “It’s definitely worth it, and ing,” Voldstad said. “I think that we will I think we could eventually get there with eventually land on Mars, but I don’t think the technology that we have today or will that living there is something that will haphave in the future.” pen within our lifetime. These things take a Some people are optimistic about the lot of time and research.” future of space exploration while others arFurther research on Mars, though exgue against it, saying that it is not necessary pensive and hard work, would be beneficial and is not worth the cost. to humanity in the long-term as it would According to NASA, space exploration bring new knowledge about a planet that could benefit humanity because it creates researchers believe to be similar to Earth. a possibility of gaining new technological According to NASA, robots have found knowledge and increases interest in STEM water on Mars, which led the researchers jobs, leading to advances in technology. to the conclusion that Mars has a history “I think that space travel is a new way similar to Earth. However, researchers are to expand our horizons,” said sophomore unable to find much more without direct Jackie Zackut. “Space travel and explora- exposure to the planet, which can only be tion would allow us to learn a lot more provided by a manned mission. about the other universes and give us a While Mars exploration and travel seem chance to test out our new technologies.” to be the main topic in many scientific deHowever beneficial space travel is to the bates today, people can not forget about scientific world, it is also one of the most problems on Earth. costly fields in the world. Some people think that the government According to NASA, the U.S. govern- should not spend billions of dollars on ment spent $18.4 billion on academic re- space exploration until the major problems search related to space exploration in 2011 on Earth are resolved and dealt with. and plans to spend around $20 billion in “I think we should probably focus on 2019. the problems on Earth before we turn our “I think that space travel is a very excit- attention and resources to space exploraIn This Issue
tion,” Sellami said. “Some people think that space exploration is a way out and that we shouldn’t deal with the problems we have here.” Space exploration could be beneficial in the long term, but people might not be ready for the consequences and the cost that comes with them. “We should explore the universe so we can have a place to go when we run out of space on Earth,” Zackut said. Although there are many perspectives, the majority supports space exploration because it can bring major benefits in the nearest future. “While it is hard, there is still so much to discover about space exploration and travel,” Voldstad said. “It’s definitely worth it, and I think we could eventually get there with the technology that we have today or will have in the future.” for more on technology:
Ethics of Big Data
News Lifestyle Features
Fortnite Students are spending an increasing amount of money on Fortnite. Page 4
Animation The Nike Controversy Exposure to animation at a young age affects brain Nike signed their 30th anniversary campaign development. with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Page 9 Page 13
Sports Campus Opinion Community Self-Driving Cars
2-3 4-6 7-9 10-11 12-13 14-15 16-18 19 20
NASA searches for space debris solution Ailee Lim
According to NASA, more than 500,000 pieces of space debris, the size of a softball or larger, are currently in Earth’s orbit. Space debris, also known as space junk, and orbital debris, is debris that gets caught in Earth’s orbit. Once the debris is in orbit, it is hard to get out because it can accelerate at speeds of more than 17,000 miles per hour, according to NASA. Space debris is not a new problem, it has been around for more than half a century. “We have known about the problem since the beginning of the last century. Ever since the flight of Sputnik 1 in 1957, astronomers were concerned about space junk,” said Mohsen Janatpour, a math, physics, and astronomy professor as well as the coordinator of the astronomy program at the College of San Mateo. There are two different types of space debris: natural and synthetic. Natural space debris is caused by events like stars exploding, or a supernova. According to National Geographic, supernovae are “jettison matter into space at some 9,000 to 25,000 miles per second.” This matter can end up in Earth’s orbit. While this matter is potentially dangerous,
it is different from synthetic debris. Synthetic debris is caused by humans leaving objects in space. They can be anything from satellites that are no longer in use, parts of rockets, or even something small like an astronaut dropping a hammer while in space. The main difference between natural and synthetic space debris is that synthetic debris is often easily preventable but is still as hazardous as natural debris. This adds new debris at a much faster rate than there would have been before. Space debris itself is harmless. Essentially, it’s objects floating around Earth. However, the debris becomes a problem when there is more of it because the chances of different objects running into each other are higher. This could cause an active satellite to get blown up because a piece of an old rocket crashed into it. Another potential problem is debris crashing into each other and falling down to Earth’s surface. “The big potential catastrophe is the Kessler Syndrome in which two objects collide creating hundreds of pieces of debris. That debris then causes more collisions, thus creating thousands of more pieces, and so on. If there are so many fast-moving objects out there, our immediate space be-
comes a gauntlet of bullets, preventing any launches in the future and destroying our communications systems,” said math and AVID teacher Andrew Ramroth. In hopes of stopping space debris from growing into a larger problem, different organizations like NASA and CNN have begun to track different pieces of space debris to keep track of how much there is and where it is in orbit. They use this to make sure the debris is not in danger of hitting anything. However, It is a problem with no easy solution. “We can’t really put a Roomba in space, so whatever debris is stuck up there is basically stuck up there until it falls back down,” Max Hariri-Turner, a junior, said. There have been attempts to remove space debris, but none of them so far have been successful. One attempt to remove space debris was NASA’s Project Orion. It proposed to use lasers to zap space debris out of Earth’s orbit and into the atmosphere. “[Project Orion] was abandoned, mainly because other nations could confuse the beam as a weapon and start a war,” Janatpour said. The Remove Debris Satellite was invented by the University of Surrey to combat
space debris. It is a large net equipped with a harpoon to spear the debris and then slow it down enough for astronauts to dispose of it safely. It launched in 2018 and passed an initial test of capturing an artificial piece of space debris by successfully harpooning it and capturing it with a net. “I have heard of the Remove Debris Satellite and I think it is a fantastic step in the right direction for cleaning up space debris,” said sophomore Jacob Gotshalk. It is a cheaper and safer way to approach the problem with fewer potential consequences. “Wrapping it in a net and slowing them down is a relatively safe way of making them fall to the earth atmosphere and burn,” Janatpour said. However, while this is a step in the right direction, this will not solve the problem of space debris altogether. Due to the different sizes of the debris, the net would not be able to catch the finer particles. So, while the Remove Debris Satellite is proof that the problem of space debris is actively being dealt with, it also proves the problem does not have an easy solution due to our technological limitations. Hariri-Turner said, “Cleaning up orbital debris is a problem that our technology can’t solve yet.”
Midterm elections propel action from young voters Alena Ruhstaller The midterm elections mark more than just the halfway point of President Donald Trump’s first term. All 435 House of Representative seats, 35 Senate seats, 36 governorships, and other state and local offices will be auctioned off by the vote of the American people Nov. 6. The members of the House of Representatives are elected every two years while the members of the Senate serve six-year terms, which sets only one-third of the Senate seats up for each election. “Fundamentally, the most democratic power lies in the House of Representatives because it’s the most reflective of the people in our country,” said Mark Olbert, a San Carlos City Councilman. “The reason why the founders of the Constitution wanted the positions in the House of Representatives to be elected every two years was so the elected representatives wouldn’t be too out of sync of with the people that they pledged to represent.” Since Trump’s election in 2016, both the House of Representatives and Senate have had a Republican majority. The House of Representatives currently has a Republican majority of 236 seats over the 193 seats of the Democrats, including six vacant seats. Republicans also
hold a majority in the Senate with 51 seats compared to the Democrats with 49. “If the Democrats win more seats in the House and Senate, it could lose Trump’s majority in Congress,” David Talgo, a junior, said. “If the Republicans continue to dominate both Houses, I think that we’ll continue to see the same activity as we have for the past two years.” The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute, a global association of investment professionals, calculated the American Human Development Index (ADHI) by assessing the income, education, and health of each individual state. The study observed that the average ADHI for states that voted Republican in the 2016 elections were lower the states that voted Democrat, which allowed the analysis of why each state voted a certain way. “Historically, it has been shown that urbanization and population density tends to generally cause people who live there to become more politically liberal [not all] because they are forced to become more accepting of different things when you’re constantly running into them; it creates a sense of tolerance and acceptance [...] In a more lightly-populated area, it’s a lot less prevalent,” Olbert said. According to San Carlos City Councilman Matt Grocott, having states with complete one-
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party domination often misleads the avenue of democracy across the U.S. “This applies to state and especially a federal level, but here in California, the Democratic Party has smashed the Republican Party so badly that people may argue on the point of voting,” Grocott said. “Republicans may question why they should go to the polls when the Democrats are going to win anyways, and the Democrats think that they’ll win automatically, so why would they bother to vote?” However, according to the Pew Research Center, the voting rate for the House of Representatives primary elections this year rose sharply compared to the 2014 midterms; the Democrat Party witnessed an increase from 13.7 percent of registered voters (23.7 million) in 2014 to 19.6 percent of registered voters (37 million) this year. The primary elections are used as a poll to determine which candidates will be nominated for state, federal, and local offices by registered voters. “A relatively small percentage of people under 35 vote. The way the democratic system works is that it reflects the people that vote,” Olbert said. “If you don’t vote, there is no reason for your elected representative to reflect your opinion. If you don’t vote, people aren’t going to pay attention.”
The outcome of the 2018 midterm elections depends on who votes and whose voices are willing to be heard. Olbert said, “If someone gives you the opportunity to steer the car to where the future is going, why in the world would [you] not
take the chance? Where you end up on the road of your life will be very much in part of the function of the rules that are set by the political process. If you are given the chance to participate, you absolutely should because you’re helping to define your own future.”
Virtual reality battles phobias and anxiety Sarah Cheung
Two years ago, virtual reality headsets enhanced peoples’ video games. Now they reduce their fear of heights. After 20 years of research, improved virtual reality (VR) has finally reached the mainstream: treating phobias. Designed to dissipate patients’ sources of anxieties, this method is safer and cheaper. Psychologist Barbara Rothbaum, Ph.D., first pioneered the new practice at the Emory University School of Medicine. In 1996, she and Larry Hodges, Ph.D., founded the company Virtually Better with, the goal of creating VR environments to treat anxiety disorders, according to its website. Since then, a number of companies have made technological contributions to the field of behavioral healthcare, including Limbix in Palo Alto, and Psious, an agency in Spain. Both work to ensure that VR applications are accessible to a wide range of clinics and hospitals. Another notable advancement is Bravemind,
a VR product developed at the University of Southern California that treats PTSD. The need for treatment is real and well-founded. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Edition V) recognizes phobias as a legitimate disorder. They can stem from hereditary and environmental causes, or even develop as a result of evolution, if one’s ancestors developed an adaption. “There is a difference between being afraid of something and having a phobia,” said psychology teacher Michelle McKee. “Phobias have physiological responses. A phobia is classified as an anxiety disorder, because when in the presence of the phobia, a person experiences anxiety symptoms to the point of not being able to function normally.” Ayden Smith, a senior, has a fear of fire that he believes evolved from a childhood incident. “When I was young, I tried to start a campfire but I was holding the match incorrectly and let it burn for too long, so I burned my finger,” Smith said. “I
do love to cook now, but sometimes I get scared and mess up.” Until now, treatment has commonly involved the physical presence of the anxiety-provoking subject. In systematic desensitization, for example, the patient is trained in relaxation techniques and then confronts increasingly frightening stimuli in order to practice those techniques. Another treatment type is in vivo exposure therapy, which places the patient in an environment where they directly interact with the things they fear and avoid. Virtual reality therapy retains the same core idea as traditional exposure therapy: patients are faced with an obstacle to confront, but now, they can do so in the confidential and accessible realm of their therapist’s office, as well as benefit from potential cost reductions. Virtual reality headsets eliminate the need to even leave the room. If effective, clients can attend sessions without travel expenses. Some predict that the new VR therapy will also lead to safer and faster re*Actual patient of Dr. Wu
Dr. Eric Wu
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sults. From the office, a therapist can design the world of the patient to make it as suitable to their needs as possible. With the world of the viewer precisely appropriate to their needs, patients don’t face immediate danger and can learn to battle their anxieties much quicker Again, patients’ expenses will foreseeably fall due to fewer visits. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, some therapy sessions currently cost $100 or more per hour, which, for some, comes out of pocket. Not all U.S. health insurance providers cover the total costs of therapy, or even any. The advantages of VR might allow more Americans to get needed help. But
despite the positive outlook, there is no guarantee that methods will prove useful for everyone. Dr. Susan Watkins is a therapist who specializes in both relationship conflict and awareness approaches for stress and anxiety management. “There are a lot of good treatments for phobias in existence already. Some were once predicted to be super efficient, and some actually were, but in reality, they work on a case-bycase basis,” Watkins said. “The VR strategy sounds interesting and trendy, and it will likely pull a lot of Silicon Valley-types into it. For some people, it may be very helpful, but there’s no way we can definitely say this will work better than
other methods because it’s not ‘one size fits all.’” Whether or not the infiltration of VR into mainstream healthcare lives up to its predictions, Watkins sees open-mindedness as the best approach to treating patients, as well as catering towards their best interests. “Therapists are advised to know a broad spectrum of methods, but they have to learn what’s best for the individual,” she said. “Let’s see how VR will work — it’s worth giving it a try. But I don’t think it’s going to solve every case. The strongest healing factor in any therapeutic process is the relationship between the therapist and patient, and no machine can replace that.”
Weed amnesty impacts incriminated Sam Hanlon Amnesty. An official pardon for people who have been convicted of political offenses. Since the legalization of marijuana use in several states, there are thousands of people that are still in prison for a crime or crimes that are no longer against the law. In 2016, 89 percent of marijuana law violations were for possession alone. A first offense is punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to a year in prison. According to Criminal Defense Lawyer, a website that helps connect people with a lawyer, in most cases, weed possession constitutes a federal offense as opposed to a misdemeanor, depending on the amount of marijuana in possession. When the amount of marijuana found is enough to argue that it is being held with the intent to sell, it is considered a federal offense. When the amount found in possession is only enough for recreational use it is considered a misdemeanor. On a federal level, nothing can be done due to retroactive ameliorative relief. Retroactive ameliorative relief is the relief or relaxation of sentences for people convicted of a crime before new laws are passed that get rid of or soften punishments for that crime. Certain states’ legal systems offer mechanisms for relaxation on jail sentences that can be ordered by a court. This mechanism would only offer some relief to certain offenders. Even though the relief of sentences can be a tedious process due to processing through a court, convicted have been dismissed of more serious crimes. Seeing that people have been alleviated of more serious crimes and that recreational use of marijuana is legal in 10 states and Washington D.C., amnesty is something that could be considered. In 2015, Brock Turner, now former Stanford University swimmer, was accused of sexually assaulting a woman while she was unconscious. Turner was sentenced to six months in jail, three years of probation, and registered as a sex offender for life, but only served three months due to inadequate evidence. Misdemeanor sexual assault can be punishable by six months in county jail and a fine of up to $2,000. The felony of sexual battery has different variations of punishments. Some of which
include a year in a county jail and a fine of up to $2,000 but can be up to four years in jail and a fine up to $10,000. Medical marijuana is legal in 31 states and Washington D.C., which could make amnesty even more considerable because it could help people everyday. In 2016, the medical marijuana market alone was worth $2.81 billion. It is now estimated to be about $4.27 billion with the legalization of use in California. According to Alternet, “The legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes is having a positive impact on states’ economies in ways that go well beyond tax revenue.” Those ways include creating jobs, bigger participation in the workplace and weekly income, the increase in home values, and reduced crime rates, according to Alternet. According to Independent, a news website, after just medical marijuana was legalized, violent crimes in states that border Mexico fell by 13 percent. In 2012 after Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize weed for recreational use, they saw a drop in crime. In addition to a drop in crime rates, jobs have been created. In 2015, 18,000 jobs were created after marijuana was legalized in Colorado. Since only certain prisoners could essentially be granted relief, it could cause an uproar. San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle are a few cities that are annulling records of felony convictions for cannabis possession. In January, San Francisco started discussing how they would grant amnesty to those convicted. “San Francisco will expunge and dismiss thousands of misdemeanor and felony marijuana convictions for those sentenced prior to the legalization of marijuana in California,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “Even if those with prior convictions don’t file a petition.” In February, Seattle was working to dismiss all misdemeanors regarding marijuana charges. According to the Seattle Times, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes described this as a mandatory step. “Such convictions have been an unfair barrier for people trying to obtain housing, credit, jobs, and educations,” Durkan said. With the advance of cities starting to even consider amnesty, others could potentially follow suit and start doing the same.
takes the world by storm Kaylee George Scot Scoop Editor-in-Chief It was getting late in Snobby Shores. The storm was coming. They couldn’t hide in the bushes anymore because that’s for noobs. Shotguns in hand, the squad charged forward. Bodies dropped, only fragments of buildings remained, and victory was achieved. Welcome to Fortnite. For those of you who don’t know what this mysterious “Fortnite” is, it is a multiplayer video game that has taken the world by storm. The survival game dropped in late 2017 by Epic Games and has now become one of the most successful video games ever. There are two different modes: Battle Royale — including solos, duos, and squads — and Save The World. The more popular mode is Battle Royale, which is a gameplay genre that awards victory to the last player standing. The game commences with 100 players dropped from a battle bus into several different locations of their choosing on the Fortnite map. From there, players fight to the death, using weapons they uncover and strategies that they have learned. Suzanne Nie, a senior who has played Fortnite once, said, “I played Battle Royale for three hours on a friend’s gaming computer. I mean, it’s fun to play with friends, so I can see why a lot of people like the game.” It’s no doubt that Fortnite is long past the “fad phase.” It encompasses what gamers value in an unprecedented fashion: free-to-play, fun with friends, welcoming to inexperienced players, and an addictive drive to be the last player standing. The creators listen to what people want and find innovative ways to integrate real-life American culture into the game. It’s not surprising that the worldwide trend has made a noticeable presence at Carlmont. From Fortnite chat rooms filled with Carlmont students to assembly
speaker Scott Backovich’s comment on the relationship between hours spent playing Fornite and the number of girlfriends a guy has, Fortnite’s popularity on and off campus is undeniable. Sho Takahashi, a senior who plays Fortnite an average of 20 hours a week with his friends, said, “Winning is pretty difficult in Fortnite which is why you want to constantly play because when you do win, it’s such a great feeling. It’s so satisfying because you are competing against 99 other people and you come out on top.” Many players have taken to Fortnite because of its welcoming environment to newcomers, which is not the case with many other first-person shooting games. There are also many first-time gamers who join in because it’s free to play. Nie said, “The highlight about that one time I played Fortnite is when I got one kill from inside a shopping cart.” Fortnite has also gained so much popularity due to the fact that it allows for cross platforming, a style in which players can play together regardless if they play on a phone, computer, or console. Alex Wong, a sophomore who plays Fortnite on a PS4, said, “The cross-platform style allows friends to answer the question of which platform is the best. It also allows the game to grow with more players being able to play with different people more frequently.” In August of this year, nearly 80 million people played Fortnite. The game, although free to play, racks in upwards of $300 million a month. Fortnite makes most of its revenue from microtransactions, which are in-game purchases. These purchases, which translate into in-game currency known as “Battle Bucks,” go towards swanky skins and items. Part of why Fortnite has lasted so long is that it is not a “play-to-win” game; players can only buy cosmetics that don’t affect the actual mechanics of the game. If this revenue seems high, it’s actually not that surprising when taking into
account how much players are willing to spend. Wong has spent $25 on in-game purchases; multiply this number, more or less, by millions of Fortnite users, and Fortnite is making some serious bank. But Fortnite has also made a whole new industry outside the game itself. Fiverr, an online marketplace for freelance services, now offers several different services to “help you personalize your Fortnite adventure and compliment your gameplay,” as stated on their website. These services include making a Fortnite profile picture, editing gaming montages, being a Fortnite personal coach, and drawing people as Fortnite-themed characters with a service price starting anywhere from $5 to $20. Fortnite gamers stream their content on YouTube and Twitch, which also earns them money through views, sponsors, and donations. People enjoy watching streamers not only because of their fun personalities but their high skill level. On Sept. 21, Fortnite streamer Tyler Blevins, better known by his screen name “Ninja,” was the first ever esports gamer to make an appearance on ESPN’s front cover. Ninja shot to fame when he paired up with rapper Drake, earning the duo 630,000 concurrent viewers on Twitch, shattering the previous record of 388,000. Ninja won Fortnite’s Celebrity Pro-Am, in which he, partnered with DJ Marshmello, came out on top against 49 other celebritygamer pairs. Takahashi said, “It’s a huge deal. It means that we’re finally recognizing esports as a legitimate and professional sport that is on the same level as other sports.” In the ESPN article featuring Ninja, it cited Ninja’s rise to fame as a result of his diligence and practice: “Pro tip: Don’t just play, practice. Ninja competes in about 50 games a day, and he analyzes each and every one. He never gets tired of it, and every loss hits him hard. Hypercompetitive, he makes sure he walks away with at least one
win each day. (He averages about 15 and once got 29 in a single day.)” Ninja’s appearance hits close to home for Takahashi. Along with playing Fortnite, Takahashi spends his time practicing basketball as the captain of the varsity basketball team and MVP-winner last year. “I mean, there’s some aspect that is natural talent in both basketball and Fortnite. Having basketball IQ is similar to game sense. You can outsmart your opponent even if you’re not as skilled as them. But, after that, a lot of getting good is repetition; the more you play, the better you get just like any other sport or activity,” Takahashi said. All this practice has a nice payoff. Ninja pulls in $500,000 a month. According to a CNBC article, “The gamer said a lot of his income is derived from Amazon Prime subscribers, who are allowed to donate to his Twitch channel and his 5 million subscribers on YouTube.” A lot of the money gamers make also comes from tournaments. From Oct. 2628, TwitchCon 2018 is taking place in the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. Many game booths will be present, from Black Ops 4 to Overwatch, but Fortnite will have a whole dedicated hall. This hall will host the Fortnite Battle Royal Fall Skirmish grand finals. Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, launched this competition at the end of September. Throughout the series, some of the world’s top Fortnite gamers and influencers compete for $10 million prize pool. So next time your squad hops on the Fortnite bus (but let’s be real, it’s basically a blimp) to Snobby Shores, just think about the eclectic group you’re about to fight to the death: maybe there’s one or two multimillionaire Fortnite legends, most definitely a cluster of gaming noobs, probably a handful of failing streamers, and certainly some sleep-deprived friends screaming into each other’s headsets at 2 a.m.
Out with the old, in with the new
Yearly iPhone updates spark desire for newest tech Rachel Matatayou
In a high-tech area where people are accustomed to the latest gadgets, many purchase new technology just for the sake of it. Every year, Apple releases a new iPhone along with other products that are viewed as the best yet. But, these yearly upgrades come with an increase in price. According to venturebeat. com, the cost of the first iPhone, released in 2007, was as much as $599 depending on the model. In contrast, the latest iPhone, the iPhone XS, costs as much as $1,149. This yearly increase in price leads to the question: how much are people willing to spend on an iPhone that is being replaced every couple of years? Answering this question, Carlmont parent Zamin Mitha said, “I like to spend about $1,000.” While some, like Mitha, have a limit on how much they are willing to spend, others do not have a budget. The innovative nature of Silicon Valley, with many of its jobs focusing on technology, leads to the compulsion to own and use the most modern gadgets available. As a result, these tech-based companies offer their employees discounted prices for iPhones and other devices, while others have
to purchase independently. “Whatever the market value happens to be is what I’ll end up paying. For me personally [I’ll pay] whatever they cost because it’s tied to my job and what I do,” said Eddie Ruvinsky, the Director of Engineering at Instagram. Silicon Valley can be seen as a toy store for adults where companies such as Apple and Google are the toy factories producing new and exciting things to play with. But, like toys, technology breaks and gets old. The yearly implementation of updated iPhone software causes older programs within the iPhone to break down, eventually to a point where the phone does not work. This is commonly seen among teenagers as their need for a working phone justifies their purchase. “I got my new [iPhone X] because my old one was always glitching and had a cracked screen. Also, I had it for about four years so it was time for an upgrade,” Patrik Geleziunas, a junior, said. Teenagers make up a large percentage of the population who own smartphones. According to Growing Wireless, “88 percent of teenagers, ages 13 to 17 have or have access to a cell phone.” While many teens own a cellular device, they often do not have the financial means to purchase
one in their high school years. Therefore, parents are not only paying for their personal phones, computers, and other electronics, but for their child’s smartphone as well. Max Kolotinsky, a junior, said, “I’m willing to pay about one grand; my mom and I split it [the price of the phone].” However, that is not always the case for high school students. Unlike Kolotinsky, sophomore Makenna Summers said, “My parents pay for my phone.” This illustrates the two ends of the spectrum and the difference between students that co-purchase iPhones with their parents
and those who do not. The majority of students in high school do not own the most recent iPhone but instead use models from years prior. iPhone models such as 6, 7, and 8 work for students as it takes about a couple of years before their phones begin to slow down and misbehave. However, they can’t wait too long before their phone becomes nearly unusable. Kolotinsky said, “The most common phone that my friends have is somewhere between an iPhone 6 to iPhone 8. I consider an iPhone 6s to be an old iPhone because they still have the headphone jack.”
High schoolers’ ability to purchase a new iPhone every year is impacted not only by the steadily rising price of the devices but also by maturity and the behavior differences between them and adults. While a child does not need every single new toy, when they walk into a toy store they still want them. The same idea can be applied to adults. Just because an adult does not need to purchase new technology annually, they are still compelled to do so. Mitha said, “I like to be with the latest technology, hence I get a new phone every year.”
Drug industry grows like a weed Drug tech increases accessibility to drug-related products Victoria Valle Remond It’s 2018 and anybody with a smartphone can buy enough marijuana to spend a decade in jail. No age verification, no fuss, just a minor shipping fee and suddenly anyone with an internet connection has access to drugs still illegal at the federal level. How did it get this far? In the Information Age, technological advances have ushered in a new wave of accessibility to the knowledge and creations of the human race. Drugs included. From introducing new products to enabling drug trafficking to helping solve the opioid epidemic, technology is essentially responsible for the mainstream narcotics industry as we know it today. This symbiotic relationship begins at a superficial level: international access. Mainstream accessibility to narcotics has increased significantly in the last decade. According to a 2008 dossier by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, 83.9 percent of high school seniors reported they could obtain drugs fairly easily or very easily. Through third-party sites like eBay, teenagers can are increasingly able to purchase anything online, from e-cigarettes or other vaping mechanisms, to marijuana. However, online accessibility is not the foremost danger that teenagers face when it comes to the new, tech-savvy drug industry. In the last decade alone, the use of vapes and e-cigarettes by teenagers has skyrocketed. According to a 2017 survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), nearly one in three students in 12th grade reported using of some kind of vaping device. E-cigarettes, also known as vapes, are battery-operated devices that heat up liquid nicotine to generate an aerosol
that users inhale. Since their creation in 2003, thousands of companies have patented versions of the same technology, now including marijuana vaporizers. Even then, teenagers are not the only casualty of the tightly woven relationship between technology and the drug industry. Probably the most significant consequence of the symbiotic relationship between technology and the narcotics industry is how extensively it’s enabled drug trafficking. From the sale to the transportation, modern drug trafficking rings rely exclusively on tech developments to proliferate their operations. According to an article by Laurie Clarke from Techworld, the dark web is the part of the World Wide Web that cannot be accessed by a mainstream browser and requires special software. Accessing this closed off sector is not impossible with many websites and online guides available to guide one step by step. Once accessed, the user has access to a variety of products available for sale, from weapons to Social Security numbers to child pornography. Drug traffickers find a haven in the dark web, with products unregulated by government officials and available to international clientele. In 2013, the Federal Bureau of Investigation shut down the “Silk Road,” the first and most extensive darknet drug market for selling illegal drugs. Prior to its shut down, 70 percent of the ten thousand products on the site consisted of illegal drugs. Experts estimate that 96 percent of the World Wide Web is comprised of the dark web. However, technology also facilitates the drug trade on a day-to-day basis. According to a PC magazine article by Ephraim Batambuze III, drug-trafficking organizations have begun wielding high-tech tools, like secret GPS and
cellular-phone-based trackers, used to protect their illicit cargoes, making it harder for officials to cut off the drug trade. Yet even so, technology is a double-sided coin. Its negative influence on the narcotics industry is rivaled only by the ways it’s also enabled law enforcement to fight drug trafficking. According to an article by Emma Hiolski from Chemical & Engineering News, law enforcement officers and customs officials around the world have started using handheld spectrometers to scan dangerous unknown substances on-site instead of risking exposing themselves to the lethal drugs. The devices can facilitate investigations that previously required multiple disposable kits and several hours. The technological advances not only extend to federal agents but also to local law enforcement and even to private social media companies. According to an article by Laura Kelly from the Washington Times, drug dealers advertising their products on social media are now being rounded up by a computer program developed by Southern California researchers. The program found that 90 percent of posts advertising drugs included hyperlinks for online purchases. These programs enable law enforcement to target marketing to minors and the social media presence of drug dealers. In the last 20 years technology has taken the world by storm in positive and negative ways. On one hand it’s enabled drug trafficking and underage consumption. At the same time, technology has revolutionized the way law enforcement handles with the narcotics industry. Tech is a great power, but with great power comes great responsibility. By making conscious individual choices on how we use our technology, we can hope to wholeheartedly take advantage of these developments for years to come.
Smart watches track your health 24/7
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From volleyball to cheerleading to gymnastics, Deanna Recktenwald has been an athlete since the age of five. When the Tampa Florida teen’s Apple Watch alerted her that her heart rate had spiked to 190 beats per minute (BPM) while sitting in a pew at church, Recktenwald and her family were skeptical. “The watch kept saying that Deanna’s heart rate would go up to 140 [BPM], then dip back down to 60, then go up to 140 again. Then it spiked to 190 and the watch vibrated on her arm, alerting her to seek medical attention,” said Deanna’s father Tom Recktenwald, in an article by CBS News. “My wife is a registered nurse, so she decided to check Deanna’s pulse to see if all that was really happening. And when she did, the watch was spot on.” After a trip to the emergency room, several labs, and an electrocardiogram (EKG), it was revealed that Deanna had more than just a heart problem; her kidneys had failed. The alert from her Apple Watch gave Deanna enough time
so that she would not require emergency surgery. While she will need a kidney transplant in the future, her family is grateful for her to be alive. Deanna’s mother, Stacy, believed that it was the Apple Watch that saved her daughter’s life and sent a thank you message to their local Apple store. Soon after, the family received an email from CEO Tim Cook thanking them for inspiring Apple “to dream bigger and push harder every day.” Push harder they did, and five months later the company released a device that would push the company deeper into the digital health s e c t or, an industry that’s worth billions of dollars and whose technology some claim could Ki save millions of lives. For years, Apple watches, Fitbits, and other wearables have been able to monitor one’s heart rate. However, it was not until the release of the Apple Watch Series m be rl y
4, that users could take an FDAapproved EKG which could determine whether their heart rate is normal or in Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), a common type of heart arrhythmia that could lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other complications. While watches are convenient, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the wrist isn’t always the best place for taking accurate measurements. Motion, sweat, sunscreen, and tiny hairs on the wrist can all affect how successfully an Apple Watch can read heartbeats. These false positives could unleash a storm of gadget-adorned people descending on clinics demanding services. But many people already selfdiagnose conditions or unnecessarily agonize about symptoms, often caused by using the internet. Heidi Flaig, the nurse of Sequoia Union High School District, has had her share of cases where students have asked for medical treatment despite being in perfect health “When I first started working here, a lot of people would come to me and [say], ‘Well, I have these symptoms, I checked WebMD, and I’m pretty much dying,’” Flaig said. “But I feel like the majority of people will have more of a sense of security and feel reassured about their health.” While for some users, selfmonitoring devices serve as reassurance to their health, some lives depend on these wearables.
This importance of wearables and self-monitoring one’s health is most prominent in the lives and treatment of diabetics Angela Anania. Diagnosed when she was just nine years old, Anania’s life has revolved around her health. “There really aren’t words for how important it is. People lose their vision, people lose limbs, their kidneys fail,” Anania said. “To me, it’s one of the worst diseases that you can have because it needs to be monitored so closely and because it affects all aspects of your life and health.” In fact, being aware and in control of her health has not only saved her from a heart attack but breast cancer as well. “I think early detection for anything is key. I’m a breast cancer survivor. I’ve had a heart attack, I’m a diabetic. And so I think all of those, for me personally, early detection has been key for literally my life,” Anania said. Though heartbeat monitors have become available to the masses through devices such as Fitbits, when it comes to digital health the true target lies in the blood. For more than 50 years, researchers have looked for ways to monitor glucose that don’t require people to prick their finger. Companies such as Apple, Fitbit, and Dexcom have been working to develop minimally invasive or noninvasive glucose monitors, but few have successfully created FDA-approved systems that don’t irritate, penetrate, or damage the
skin. Prior to the FDA’s approval of the Freestyle Libre, continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) were so bulky, expensive, and painful that many patients found it difficult to comply with the self-testing regimens prescribed by their doctors. Due to the difficulty of the selftests, such patients were not managing their diabetes as well as they could or should have been and weren’t able to maximize their treatment. Earlier this year Dexcom released its G6, a small, wearable device that tracks one’s blood glucose level 24 hours a day and provides real-time alerts as to whether it is too high or too low. Like FreeStyle Libre, the device is non-invasive and allows patients to track trends over time, helping to make better-informed decisions as part of any insulin regime. Using the linked app, users can share their glucose information with up to five people, a feature that allows doctors and health officials to better respond to those in need. According to Flaig, being able to access this data could help save the lives of diabetic students. “Having access to these apps can definitely help us with our diabetic students,” Flaig said. “By being able to monitor their blood sugar, we can automatically respond when levels are too high or too low, faster than it would take for a student to tell a teacher or for the teacher to notice something is wrong.”
Religion expands through technological outreach Talia Fine America seems to be live streaming the Lord more as technology finds its way into the religious experience. An increasing number of religious institutions utilize technology in a way that really makes the Lord appear everywhere. Not only do people not need to “dwell in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24) to pray by virtual sermons, but they can also access a lot of information regarding their religious pursuits from anywhere at any time. According to “‘Virtual preaching’ transforms Sunday sermons” by John Blake at CNN, “A new generation of pastors […] can be in two places at one time. They are using technology (high-def videos, and even holograms) to beam their Sunday morning sermons to remote ‘satellite’ churches that belong to their congregation.” It might sound a bit fantastic to make religion personal and accessible via the internet, but it is increasingly common as audiovisual equipment advances. While the Sunday sermons Blake refers to CNN are nominally Christian or Protestant, the idea of using technology to enhance the religious experience transcends religion itself. This practice can be found in a lot of religious institutions, including temples, churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. Zaina Abdelrahman, who identifies as Muslim and prays five times a day, said, “Technology has granted access to electronic copies of religious books, podcasts, and resources to benefit one’s spirituality. However, these are all privileges. I could very well pick up a hard copy of a religious
book, walk to the nearest religious center for a lecture or ask elders for answers to questions.” Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Belmont regularly updates their Facebook page with prayer and sermon information. Temple Beth El in San Mateo livestreams services for members who cannot attend synagogue to pray. Anyone can download the app “Daily Dose of Jesus” on the iPhone to stay connected with the Bible throughout the day. As Abdelrahman says, religious texts and resources are accessible in mere moments through the internet. It is a change from traditional practices, but teens are generally responding well to this increased access. Peninsula Temple Beth El, uses television and other technology in their teen program. Longtime participant in the teen program Brandon Dompier-Norrbom said, “I believe [technology] has a positive impact on religion because it makes it easier to learn.” Technology is naturally familiar and engaging to teens so the reaction is general positive towards using technology to enhance the religious experience. “Personally, technology has positively impacted my interaction with my religion because of it luxurious benefits of quick and easy access to religious documents or answers to questions I have had answered by scholars,” Abdelrahman said. Contrastingly, some argue that technology makes interaction a little impersonal. Prem Srivastava, the grandfather of a Carlmont student, practices the Hindu re-
ligion, said, “Technology has affected every aspect of life, and religion is no exception.” He acknowledges how many people his age involved in any religion may have trouble diving into the idea of adding technology to faith. “The moment you talk more liberal practices and move away from the traditional way, there are many [people who dislike the prevalence of technology in religion],” Srivastava said. Still, he finds his experience with religion only enhanced by technology. “Technology can be used positively in teaching visually, and addressing to a bigger section of society, especially those who do not like going to the designated places of religion,” Srivastava said. Blake’s CNN article cites elderly people as a group majorly impacted by enhancing the religious experience with technology because they are not always in the best physical condition or at optimal health to travel to a religious institution as often as they would like. With technology sermons and religious resources can be “beamed” right to them. While elderly people may appreciate tradi-
tion, the use of technology in religion actually enhances their experience as well, even if how it works is still a little intangible to them. Additionally, it is useful to note that over the past few years the number of religious teens has actually decreased. According to Pew Research Center, “The recent decrease in religious beliefs and behaviors [in the U.S.] is largely attributable to the ‘nones’ — the growing minority of Americans, particularly in the Millennial generation, who say they do not belong to any organized faith.” So, if the goal of religious institutions is to stay relevant, turning to social media, online resources, or audiovisual technology to engage congregations of all ages might actually keep more people religious.
Superpowers race to dominate AI Kylie Lin
ScotLight Editor-in-Chief It’s actually happening. Technology is taking over the world. Not just any tech, however, it’s AI, artificial intelligence. In July 2018, the Center for Data Innovation, a non-profit, non-partisan research institute affiliated with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, held a discussion called “How Countries are Preparing for the Global AI Race.” Senior policy analyst Joshua New presented the apparent economic promise AI brings to global development. “The question is whether or not countries need a national strategy to actually capture [AI]’s value,” New said. “The answer seems to be a resounding yes. While many countries have supported the development and adoption of AI in some capacity [...], AI promises to be so transformative for such a broad swathe of the economy and society.” In the first place, AI is generally defined as technology that has been programmed to emulate
human behavior. According to the SAS Institute, it is a learning program that allows for deeper analysis of data, higher accuracy, and use for a variety of platforms. These many applications are a large part of why leading countries see AI as the most prominent form of technology for the future. According to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, a multinational professional services network, countries including China, Canada, Japan, the UK, Germany, and the UAE all have national plans for AI research and development. Furthermore, China is expected to see a 26 percent boost to GDP by 2030 due to their research with AI, and North America is expected to see a 14.5 percent boost. Total, this indicates a gain of $10.7 trillion, 70 percent of the global economic impact. As to what foreign nations are actually doing to pursue the development of artificial intelligence, the projects and activities are widespread. China is one of the most prominent contenders in the international AI development race.
The country aims to become the leader in the field by 2030 and transform AI work into an industry worth $150 billion, according to an article from U.S. News. Russia is investing a large portion of its AI research towards military purposes. It has implemented a plan to have 30 percent of their military be remote-controlled and autonomous by 2030, according to a 2017 Harvard University report. France and South Korea are also investing resources into AI development, with France investing $1.5 billion into a five-year strategy and Korea expediting research for autonomous weapons. Historically, the U.S. has been a leader in technological development among global powers. But as 2030 approaches, the question arises over whether the nation will be able to keep up with increasingly technological countries like China and Russia. History teacher Lindsey Moynihan notes that the current competitive atmosphere between nations, international cooperation and is unlikely. “GPS and GLONASS: those are both competing technolo-
gies between the U.S. and Russia regarding navigation systems,” Moynihan said. “We may never be on the same page if we were to try to integrate.” The U.S. already has its own unique array of products leaning towards artificial intelligence. Apple Siri and Google Duplex are examples of AI programs that are made for public use. However, according to Nick Nhien, a junior, even these systems have their own negative implications. “I think the usage of something like Google Duplex has benefits and drawbacks,” Nhien said. “For one, it’ll be hard to differentiate between a real person and a robot person based off of just the voice on the call.” There are many similar concerns about implementing AI in society overall, considering that AI is applicable to just about every type of workfield out there. In contrast, Aldon Chen, a senior, contends that certain jobs are irreplaceable. “If you were a patient that needed to get treated for something,” Chen said, “would you trust a machine or artificial intel-
ligence to perform a procedure on you? Sometimes, it’s just the human-ness of certain jobs that makes that job so stable.” These concerns, however, do little to deter countries from investing in AI research. As Chen sees it, different countries will develop AI at a pace that aligns with what their ethical guidelines determine. “Because every country and nation is so culturally diverse, you could say the same thing about their ethics,” Chen said. “When you have every single nation racing toward achieving AI, certain countries will realize the negative implications of AI before other countries do because their ethics are so different.” The increased prevalence of AI-related technology is likely to bring about societal changes for all countries investing resources into AI development. “I see a discussion about balance in the future between our legislators and executives in power,” Moynihan said. “I also see it widening the difference between gaps in equality between those of wealthier classes and those poverty stricken.”
Technology changes the nature of relationships Anna Feng
Many things go into a relationship: attraction, compatibility, chance. However, due to the growth of online dating websites such as Tinder, Match.com, and Bumble, love is being increasingly determined by a string of numbers. According to Digital Market Resources (DMR), Tinder has 50 million users overall and 10 million daily users. However, of those, 12 percent are already in relationships. This can cause problems, especially in situations where the person is already married. “The easy access to pornography, married people being unfaithful through text, email, or meeting people online, and various sexual addictions can impact relationships,” said Dr. Ann Langley, a licensed marriage therapist in Redwood City. “The whole field of treating sexual addiction has grown with the advent of the internet.” The current generation of high schoolers are growing up in an age of technology where instant communication — including online dating websites — is available at their fingertips. Essence magazine reports that millennials, the predecessor of Gen
Z, make up 43 percent of the online dating pool, and data suggest this will only increase as Gen Z becomes of age to use online dating services. For now, however, teenagers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using these services. Meanwhile, social media is quickly becoming another way for teens to talk to each other, with sites such as Instagram and Snapchat allowing teens to interact with new people and form bonds with them. Freshman Ryan Stevens* met his girlfriend through Snapchat. “I had just made a friend a couple weeks back who I was getting to know more about, and he had created a group chat with a couple of shared friends that we had,” Stevens said. “He added the girl who would later become my girlfriend.” Stevens’ story is not unique. Although it is uncommon, 8 percent of all American teens have met a romantic partner online, according to Pew Research Center. Not only can social media introduce like-minded individuals, but in some cases, technology can even start and maintain long distance relationships. For example, Maya Thomas, a junior
met her girlfriend through an app called your soulmate in a 5-mile radius of your Discord. house when there’s 7.5 billion people [on “We met on an LGBT discord [app] this planet],” Thomas said. “I mean, what I with around 800 people, and there’s a trans hope that [dating apps] end up doing is that channel that is very active. That’s mainly it makes it so that people generally are in a where I talk to her,” Thomas said. happier relationship because they don’t just The couple chats mainly kind of settle.” through the app, which alTechnology is changing lows them to remain close the way how modern rela“I hope what even though Thomas’ girltionships work. In a study by [dating apps] end friend lives in Texas, and Pew Research, 10 percent of up doing is that it they have never met each internet users report the inmakes it so that other in-person. ternet as having a major impeople generally Thomas said, “Basically pact on their relationship. are in a happier all forms of communication In addition, 41 percent relationship because we do are over some form of younger couples reported they don’t just kind of technology and based on that they felt closer to each of settle.” how many messages we send other due to texting or social each other every day, withmedia. Maya Thomas out that, there wouldn’t be “I think people someJunior much to go off [of].” times just rely on the techIndeed, as dating apps nology to interact with each grow, people begin to have other,” Stevens said. “Howevdifferent opinions about these sites. er, just because it has changed the way relaAccording to Pew Research, Americans tionships work doesn’t mean that it’s negaare gradually seeing that technology in a tively changed as long as the people in the more positive light. relationship have a balance between social “I’ve seen a lot of people talk about how media and their in-person interactions.” *Names have been changed to protect privacy you’re supposed to believe that you found
Technology catalyzes conspiracy Nina Heller Hillary Clinton runs a sex ring in the basement of a pizza restaurant in Washington D.C. There’s also a sex ring in Voodoo Donuts in Portland, Ore. In truth, Clinton doesn’t actually run a sex ring in a pizza restaurant in Washington D.C., and Voodoo Donuts doesn’t have a sex ring in their basement, either. What these two false statements have in common is that both of them have been proliferated through online conspiracy theories. “A conspiracy theory is an idea that has less popularity and is considered not factual, but many consider it their truth,” said Ty Hall, a co-president of the Carlmont Conspiracy Club. Conspiracy theories aren’t new. But the way in which they are spread is. With the increase in availability of technology, news and information is spreading faster than ever. Because users of technology are accessing the information much sooner, news stories quickly turn into conspiracy theories because of all of the unverified information that lives on the internet. Whether distributed by a reliable news network, Twitter, or word of mouth, it has become easy for a story to turn from fact to fiction. “Nowadays, it’s kind of hard to distinguish between fact and fiction because it’s so easy for someone who has a basic understanding of Photoshop or journalism techniques to make up stories. Now people can edit any picture they want and make anyone say anything they want,” said Mitch Anderson-McEwan, a co-president of the Carlmont Conspiracy Club. For example, after the Parkland shooting in February 2018, conspiracy theories ran rampant through the news as readers tried to piece together what was really the story. People accused David Hogg, a survivor of the shooting, of being a crisis actor. Crisis actors are people who are trained to play the part of the victim of a major disaster, such as a school shooting. This is just one of many examples of a news story getting twisted into a conspiracy theory. For some, major national or world events serve as an
introduction to politics or current events. As social media platforms such as Twitter become news sources for many, the accuracy of the information can be called into question. “You develop your ideology pretty young. If you are developing your political and ideological beliefs based on faulty information, it then becomes harder down the line to convince you that it’s not correct,” said U.S. government and economics and race, ethnicity and immigration studies teacher Karen Ramroth. Farhad Manjoo, is a business columnist for The New York Times. In his column, “For Two Months, I Got My News From Print Newspapers. Here’s What I Learned,” Manjoo details his experience of living without what most Americans couldn’t possibly live out: getting his news digitally. A major event that happened in that two month period was the shooting in Parkland, Fla., where 17 people were killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14. “Not only had I spent less time with the story than if I had followed along as it unfolded online, I was better informed, too. Because I had avoided the innocent mistakes — and the more malicious misdirection — that had pervaded the first hours after the shooting, my first experience of the news was an accurate account of the actual events of the day,” Manjoo said. After the Boston Marathon bombing, the conspiracy theories that followed the event developed so quickly, they led to people being incorrectly labeled as suspects, such as Sunil Trapathi, who was wrongly labeled as a suspect in the Boston Marathon Bombings in 2013 by conspiracy theorists. Without the existence of internet conspiracy theorists, Trapathi would never have become a suspect. Originally labeled as a missing person, he became a suspect once the FBI posted photos of the actual suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. According to National Public Radio (NPR), a former classmate of Tripathi’s said on Twitter that one of the suspects looked like him, and users on Reddit began adding this to the thread being used to try to find the suspects of the bombing.
Some of those internet sleuths even suggested that the attack was religiously motivated because they believed that Traphathi was a Muslim, which was an untrue claim. A month before the marathon, he had committed suicide because of his depression. His body was found a week after the bombing in a river in Providence, R.I., despite the efforts of the so-called internet sleuths to find the person responsible. However, it is not the job of internet users to solve crimes. Unlike trained law enforcement officials, internet users often have no way of knowing if the information they are receiving is true or not. “The internet does not really have a gatekeeper, anyone can put anything on the internet,” Ramroth said. Newspapers have editors that look for typos and incorrect information before the newspaper is published either in print or online. The internet has no such thing, allowing anyone to post anything they want, at any time they want. Access to information has been increased as people gain greater access to the internet. According to Statista, Twitter has more than 68 million users in the United States, and Reddit has had more than 1.6 billion people access the site. Reddit’s website describes itself as “the front page of the internet.” Users on Reddit can access content in “threads” where anyone can post about anything, and other users can add on to
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what has already been posted, hence the site’s popularity with conspiracy theorists. But conspiracy theories are not facts and can become dangerous when blown out of proportion, such as what happened with the theory known as Pizzagate in 2016. Pizzagate originated on Twitter with the idea that some of the emails found on Hillary Clinton’s private email server were linked to a child sex ring being run by Clinton. The theory was then linked to Comet Pizza, a pizza restaurant in Washington D.C. that Clinton’s former campaign manager John Podesta frequently ate at. On Dec. 4, 2016, a man named Edgar Welch traveled to Washington D.C., brought an AR15 style rifle into Comet Pizza, and fired three shots. Theories such as Pizzagate become dangerous because those who read them feel that the theories need to be solved. Additionally, they feel that they must be the ones to solve them. Welch is the prime example of this. According to The New York Times, he did not know that the articles he had been reading online about Comet Pizza were not real, and went to D.C. with the sole purpose to put a stop to the child sex ring he had read about online. Anderson-McEwan said, “You really need to do your research if you just see a post on social media or even on a big reliable news source, you still want to do research and form your own opinion about it.”
Early exposure to animation affects development Taisiia Yakovenko Tom, from “Tom and Jerry,” was not the best role model, but children throughout the generations adored him and his little friend Jerry. From an early age, children are exposed to the media, which leaves a certain psychological blueprint that influences their moral development. In the past few decades, technological developments have allowed people to advance and enhance the field of animation, mainly with what became known as computer-generated imagery (CGI), which allows animators to turn 2D images into 3D ones. “When I was a kid, all of the cartoons were hand-drawn,” said art and photography teacher Cynthia Hodges. “Nowadays, the majority of what’s on TV is computer-generated, which has both its flaws and benefits.” Popular and beneficial for the animators, CGI plays the key role in the creation of semi-realistic worlds that are prominent in modern cartoons, which makes them so desirable among kids. The popularity of cartoons among youth is explained by the content that producers and animators have to offer. “My nephew loves ‘PAW Patrol,’” said psychology teacher Michelle Mckee. “He has so many shirts, toys, and coloring books with the characters from that cartoon.” A study published by the Scientific Research Publishing showed that the majority of
kids watch TV for more than four hours per day, choosing cartoons as their main form of entertainment. Children spend so much time watching cartoons because they need the constant flow of information through their brains. According to a study on the effects of cartoons in changing mental response and behavior conducted by Khaled Habib and Tarek Soliman, children’s brains are developing the majority of their connections between the neurons during their early years, which makes cartoons the most interesting source of information because they have the most to offer in the shortest amount of time. Cartoons provide the needed amount of information for the developing brains, which makes them a lot more appealing to children. Well written scripts, characters, and scenarios are in charge of keeping the youngsters interested when traditional forms of entertainment fail to do so. According to another study published by Scientific Research Publishing, cartoons can be a double-edged sword. While cartoons could help in moral maturing of the kids, they can also ruin their childhood experience. They can expose the kids to sexual and violent content. “I think that artificial intelligence (AI), CGI, and other, similar, technologies change the way we think through their use in media,” McKee said. According to the Association
for Natural Psychology (ANP), Disney and its movies have been accused of contributing to the promotion of child abuse with some of their more violent scenes. “Disney cartoons have serious psychological effects on children that affect their social values from the early age,” said Madeleine Binkley, an undergraduate student at University of California, Santa Cruz, in her research on Disney and Psychological Development.
As the primary source of information for children, cartoons teach valuable moral lessons, which are portrayed through various characters. “Younger kids tend to like cartoons with animals that act like humans,” McKee said. “They feel like they are related to the friendly characters that have been artificially created by the producers and animators.” While growing up and
developing their moral and social values, children invest the majority of their time into watching cartoons. Cartoons can create certain moral and social standings that affect children for the rest of their lives. According to ANP, parents have not enforced strict regulations on the time that their kids would spend watching TV in past decades. Interesting content combined with almost unlimited watching time makes cartoons the primary teacher of morale that children would carry into the world as they grow and develop. According to Media Smarts, media plays a huge role in moral development. “My daughter watches a lot of films and she seems to prefer those that have a deeper moral lesson,” said math teacher Ramtin Aidi. “That has impacted her tremendously. For example, we watched a movie about homeless children, and that same day she went up to her room, cleaned it up, came downstairs with two huge bags, and told me that she wanted to donate all the stuff that she no longer used to those in need.” Children can learn some of the positive moral lessons that are hidden within their favorite shows. “I think that cartoons help with the development of a child’s imagination and pretend play,” McKee said. “Younger kids are attracted to cartoons because they seem real, like another friend.”
Cryptocurrency: Digital money infiltrates global economy Julia Rhodie The world of international commerce is changing as these mysterious intermediary of exchange, known as cryptocurrency, reaches a global scale. According to David Chaum, who is widely recognized as the founder of digital cash, “Cryptocurrency, broadly, is the concept that a person can know that a secret they have gives them exclusive and robust access to a certain amount of money.” By definition, cryptocurrency is secret money which allows for private transactions between parties Chaum is an internationally accredited computer scientist and cryptographer, noted for his attributes to the research of cryptology. In 1982, he founded the International Association for Cryptologic Research . A key aspect of Chaum’s concept is user anonymity. In his 1981 paper, “Untraceable Electronic Mail, Return Addresses, and Digital Pseudonyms,” he presents the idea of “an electronic mail system that hides who a participant communicates with as well as the content of the communication.” These ideas paved the way for anonymous communication research in the cryptographic field. Based on Chaum’s discoveries, the company Bitcoin was created under the alias Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. Due to its popularity, several major companies are now accepting it as a form of payment. These companies include Overstock, Expedia,
Subway, PayPal, Shopify, Microsoft, and Pizzaforcoins. One can introduce themself to Bitcoin by downloading the app on a mobile device or by obtaining a free Bitcoin wallet, which is used to hold any money received or spent on a cryptocurrency. “People mostly use cryptocurrency to be cool, or to avoid a legal record for their transactions,” said head of the Computer Science Department Karyn Voldstad. Due to some negative connotations associated with cryptocurrency, some may feel relictant to jump on the bandwagon. “I think teenagers should be informed about cryptocurrency, but also see its flaws and potential danger,” said Lincoln High School senior Brennan Potter. The potential dangers of cryptocurrency lie in its vulnerabilities. According to Investopedia, a website that focuses on investing, finance education, and analysis, “Hackers have gained unauthorized access to digital wallets and cryptocurrency exchanges.” The legality of cryptocurrency is questioned because it is fairly new. However, because cryptocurrency is becoming more widely accepted, some wonder what this means for the future of commerce. A comparative study disclosed by the Library of Congress states that cryptocurrency appeared in the United States at around the same time as it did in Asia. But, due to the lenient regulations in East and Southeast Asian countries, their cryptocurrency market has been given a
platform to flourish. As these countries adapt to the modernizing world, other countries follow suit. The European Union, for example, is strengthening regulations against money laundering, but acknowledging that cryptocurrency is not always dangerous. Switzerland has kept an open mind regarding the future of globalized cryptocurrency. This expansion leaves many to wonder about the future of cryptocurrency in the U.S. In an interview with CNBC, Christopher Giancarlo, Chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), compares the popularization of the internet in the U.S., and cryptocurrency in the U.S. Giancarlo states that the internet flourished without any form of government intervention, and he believes that a similar approach should be taken when it comes to cryptocurrency. Although this plan would be ideal, the CFTC acknowledges that cryptocurrency comes with some potential dangers, such as the likelihood of fraud. These potential dangers are leading the U.S. to proceed with caution. “I see cryptocurrency as an idea with a lot of promise, but right now it is dangerously unregulated and I wouldn’t advise investing in it,” Potter said. Although countries across the globe acknowledge that eventually, paper currency will be a distant memory, many still proceed with caution.
What is cryptocurrency?
$ digital curency which uses encryption techniques for annonymous transactions
$ a higly unregulated form of commerce
Total value of cryptocurrency market
When a company branches out internationally, long flights and draining time differences are unavoidable. However, in light of communication technologies developments like Skype (2003), WhatsApp (2009), and Slack (2013), excessive traveling to maintain client relationships has become a thing of the past. Such is evident in Avantica Technologies, a company providing software development and other related services in the Americas as well as abroad in places such as Spain, Australia, and France. “[Communication] technologies enable us to conduct our daily business with our clients seamlessly from practically any location. On the financial side, with online payments and wire transfers, we can bank across international boundaries with ease,” said CEO of Avantica Mario Chavez. Technology’s expansion into human communication has picked up speed over the last couple of decades and allowed for effortless contact across vast distances. “In the past, international phone calls were expensive and complicated. [But] because of technology, it does not matter if we’re next-door to our clients or thousands of miles away, we’re only a phone call or a video chat away,” Chavez said. “Likewise, for our own internal use, face‑to‑face meetings
can be [replaced] with video conferences, and sending large documents by fax or carrier is now a simple file share.” Platforms like Skype have resulted in clear benefits in the business world. The Houston Chronicle reported the application of Skype as being efficient for both individuals and businesses, enabling users to connect globally. ORCID, one of Avantica’s clients, is a virtual company that also relies heavily on communication technology. “ORCID is a virtual company with 27 employees distributed throughout the world. To overcome location differences, we use every online corroboration tool we can find, including Slack, Google Hangouts, Google Docs, Trello, and Skype, which are the most popular,” said Technical Director for ORCID.org Robert Peters. While ready and constant communication has established itself as an expected aspect of daily society, Chavez also recommends a balance of its use. “In previous generations, business people worked in relative isolation from those not in their immediate vicinity. Today, we live in a world where everyone is always connected, always online, and everyone is always within reach,” Chavez said. “My advice is to learn the value of unplugging, of disconnecting, and to realize that not everyone needs or wants to be connected all the time.”
DoorDash (2013) aims to deliver fresh meals from a variety of local restaurants to its customers by demand. The incorporation of food delivery into the Carlmont environment has allowed students to order from a variety of cuisines, such as Italian, Japanese, and Mexican, in time for the 11:44 a.m. lunch bell. Joe Sison, a junior in ASB who manages food outreach, said, “Many students here at Carlmont start the school day with a coffee from Philz or Starbucks, and while there is no way to tell whether they were ordered via food delivery or mobile order, [I’m] guessing that around half of these orders are placed ahead of time via smartphone.” The integral position a phone plays in a high school student’s life is undisputed, and it can now add food delivery to its list of functions. Despite Carlmont’s closed-campus policy discouraging DoorDash, its concept still attracts many students. Reign Miller, a junior and frequent user of mobile ordering, said, “I really wish I could DoorDash or order food for delivery at school because then I’d eat lunch more. Our lunch selection is very broad, but it’s just not all that
organic and fresh. We have pizza and sandwiches, but I wish we had more unprocessed foods.” Still, students are no longer limited to packaged snacks or meals from vending machines and are able to fully experience the benefits of mobile ordering outside of school. Sison said, “Students who are members of clubs, organizations, or teams that stay after school are more willing to use a service like DoorDash [...] than to go and get the food themselves. I think that’s due to the convenience and the simple fact that many students can’t drive themselves.” The overall purpose of established platforms, such as DoorDash and other mobile services, is to provide their customers with the utmost convenience; students are especially targeted due to their lack of easy mobility. In an interview with Fast Company, DoorDash founder Tony Xu said, “One of the things we’ve learned is just how consistent the need is from city to city. Everyone, shockingly, wants convenience. And as a result, it’s our job to find the ways to fulfill that.”
ENDS PHYSICAL BARRIERS
A quick ping across a lit screen causes the receiver to break into a mouth-splitting smile. At any given time, a text is able to bridge the distance between loved ones. The developments in communication technology have granted the long-term maintenance of relationships that distance would have destroyed. Elena Moore is a junior who recently moved from San Carlos, Calif. to Boulder, Colo. with her family. Despite the two-state gap, she works to continue the friendships she held at Carlmont. However, the expected difficulties of staying in touch threaten the perseverance of those friendships. “I keep in contact with friends who also put in the same effort to keep contact, but it’s hard to stay in touch with people that I’m not as close with who can’t put in that same effort, [...] especially with the time difference,” Moore said. Luckily, the integration of modern technology into regular routine provides the resources to support such relationships. One example is FaceTime, a popular video streaming platform created by Apple which helps people maintain visual contact on a daily basis. Hana Lip, a junior, is a good friend of Moore’s and looks to continue their friendship regardless of the distance
between them. Lip said, “Through technology, I hope to reassure my best friend that I will still be there for her even if I can’t physically be there. Through FaceTime I am able to talk and listen to her as if she [were] here.” Like friendships, romantic relationships are not immune to the difficulties that accompany contact over long distances. Sydney Dellinger, a senior, has been in a relationship with her boyfriend since last year. Since the fall of 2018, has been attending San Diego State University. “It’s hard not being able to see the person every day or know what they’re doing all the time because they have a completely different life than you,” Dellinger said. “You have to put a lot of time and energy into it and the only way it will work is if both people make it their top priority.” Although space can pose some difficulties in such a long distance relationship, Dellinger uses the help of popular social media sites to persist. “Pretty much all aspects of social media play a huge role in our relationship because it gives you a chance to see what the person is up to — texting, calling, and FaceTiming are the big ones that make long distance relationships possible,” Dellinger said.
Articles by Mandy Hitchcock and Page Design by Nisha Marino
Social media influences college recruitment Briana McDonald ScotCenter Editor-in-Chief Social media has become a necessity for student-athletes with goals of getting recruited to college. Athletes use platforms such as Twitter and Instagram to showcase their talents on and off the field to reach out to coaches across the country. “I would definitely recommend social media as a platform for athletes because it’s easier to reach out to coaches and it’s easier to show them that you’re interested in their school. Social media gives college recruiters a source of connection to you. They can ask you questions before coming down to visit the campus,” said Miles Taye, a senior and varsity linebacker and running back. College recruiters and coaches also take advantage of these online platforms to get in contact with student-athletes and see what their future prospects’ lives are like. “With social media, it’s easier to reach out to college recruits and get to know them, and for them to get to know you better. You’re able to post your highlights and anything going on throughout your life so recruiters can get to know what type of player you are and know who might be coming into their program,” said Julian Morin, a senior and varsity defensive back running back. When used properly, social media can be an exceptional recruiting tool for both students and recruiters. “Social media is also a great way to communicate and learn more about the prospects we are recruiting. At Clemson, we have an entire office whose sole duty is to go through the social media of our prospects. It’s extremely important for us to understand [who] we are dealing with,” said Clemson University football coach Jeff Scott. On Twitter and Instagram, student-athletes looking to be recruited tend to focus
only on their sport. Students can use these platforms to contact coaches or show interest in certain schools. Many students will follow recruiters and schools and retweet their tweets to show their interest, with the goal of making themselves presentable as both an athlete and a student. “Student-athletes use social media to show off their rank if they have one, I put my GPA in my Twitter bio as well as my SAT score, what position I play, my latest film, what team I play for, if I play for a seven-on-seven team outside of school or if I play for a scrimmage or practice team, just to let coaches know ahead of time that I’m around football a lot so they can be interested in what I have to offer,” Morin said. The use of social media is a way for athletes to support themselves and others. Students often show support for others’ content as well; congratulating teammates on great games or practices are ways athletes will often use social media to spread positivity. “I always try to post highlights of my games, I post my visits to college campuses, for example, my visit to Sacramento State for their junior day last year. I retweet my teammate’s highlights and try to give them a platform as well, and I try to show myself off as a team player,” Taye said. Colleges are embracing social media in recruiting to help them accomplish a few key goals. Depending on the school, recruiters will search Twitter to see which athletes have received offers from rival schools or similar programs. “I’ll post any little interest I get on my Twitter from colleges, such as a letter from a coach or shoutout, I’ll just put it out there for the rest of my community to see so I can hopefully get other colleges interested in me as well. I’ll send recruiters my film or I’ll send them a message to let them know that their school is one of my top schools, and I’ll give them my phone number and my coaches’ email so we can stay in con-
tact,” said Jayden Kuhn, a senior and varsity inside linebacker and running back. High school students hoping to get recruited by colleges use social media differently compared to the profiles of their peers. “Students who aren’t athletes use social media to post about their life in high school and just having fun, what a typical teen would do, while athletes tend to post more about the sports they’re involved in, what they’re doing, how they’re doing on the field, pictures about that sport — their life seems to revolve around what’s going on in their sports team,” Morin said. Social media is a big importance for studentathletes. Social media gives student-athletes an opportunity to get in contact with colleges all across the country. According to Next College Student Athlete (NCSA), “85 percent of college coaches surveyed by Cornerstone Reputation said their staff conducted online research of recruits. Of these coaches, 87 percent have turned to Facebook, 79 percent have used Twitter and 65 percent have looked at Instagram to gain insight into a recruit’s character.” Many student-athletes have been given opportunities that would not be possible without the connections made through social media. “I got to go to Cal Poly to watch the
game and talk to some of the coaches. I’m able to see the school from a football perspective which helps me feel like I can fit in more with certain schools,” Morin said. Continuing a sport after high school is a dream for many student-athletes. Being able to pursue their passions while receiving a free education is the goal and plan for many seniors during recruitment times. Taye said, “I played football at a young age and I’ve always loved football, but now it’s getting more realistic and graduation is coming up so I want to have a plan for after graduation, and that’s football.”
Fantasy sports engage a growing fandom Lizzy Hall
You select your quarterback, switch your running back from first to second string, and trade your tight-end — in a matter of seconds. This is your team, and you are the captain: calling all the shots, at the touch of a button. Fantasy football is a platform that allows participants to act as coaches by editing lineups, drafting players, and conducting trades. Most leagues are online, which allows for easier competition. “My fantasy league is about 10 people including myself, and we are all junior and senior boys who follow football very closely. All of us watch football every Sunday and we keep track of all the players and teams,” said Daniel Friis, a senior. T h i s viewing of the NFL season is enhanced by participating in fantasy sports. Fans feel drawn to watch multiple
games every week, so they can see the players on their virtual team compete. One such participant is Carl Nicolari, who has been participating in fantasy football for over 20 years. “If it were not for Fantasy Football, I wouldn’t be watching the Browns play the Jets on a Thursday night. I’d just be watching the 49ers, as painful as that is now. There’s a good reason why the NFL loves fantasy football and tries to promote it!” Nicolari said. Adults and teens a l i k e bond over Fantasy Sports.
According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, 34 percent of teens in the United States participate in Fantasy Sports. Carlmont’s new Fantasy Sports Club allows this demographic to get involved, as students in various grades compete in a league against one another. Ryan Busser, a senior, is the co-president of this club. “I started the Fantasy Sports Club because I enjoy playing fantasy sports and drafting the players. Having them on your dream team is a cool aspect, sort of what general managers do in real sports. Most of the time, money and bragging rights are on the line too,” Busser said. The internet has caused the most pivotal shift in the culture of fantasy football. According to The Fantasy Footballers, prior to 1991 fewer than one million people were playing fantasy sports. In 2018, nearly 33 million people are participating. The internet has directly impacted the nature of fantasy sports. Nicolari, who now uses Yahoo Sports, has been participating in fantasy sports since before the internet. “Back before Yahoo Sports, I
was in a league that did everything on paper. You had to read the sports page in the newspaper to figure out who was injured, starting, etc. Then after the games, the commissioner had to calculate the stats for each player and team points in Excel and send out results the next day. Having everything done automatically is awesome! So are the player news updates, recommended starters, etc.,” Nicolari said. Modern technology has made fantasy football more accessible for participants since the internet fulfills many of the tasks that used to be done by hand. “Technology plays a huge role in fantasy sports. Most fantasy sports leagues do their drafts through a computer or cellphone nowadays. Also, we have the ability to edit our fantasy sports lineups and make trades whenever we need to because most fantasy sports have a mobile app,” Friis said. Technology has improved the age range of fantasy sports participants, but there is still a large inequality in the gender distribution of fantasy players. According to the Huffington Post, women made up only 20 percent of fantasy sports players in Canada and the United States
in 2014. However, there seems to be no definite reason for this large inequality, leaving one to speculate why. “Even though both sexes enjoy sports, I think there is a higher percentage of males who watch and follow sports than females. Therefore, more of them feel interested to join fantasy sports than females do,” Friis said. With internet usage continuing to grow, it’s likely that with time, women’s participation in fantasy sports will increase similarly to how its teenage participation grew. The impact of fantasy sports has grown tremendously due to the internet and as a result, fantasy sports have become a staple part of many people’s lives. “Fantasy sports enhance the sports season because you pay more attention for your own personal benefit. For example, if you’re losing in fantasy football after Sunday and you have a player playing on Monday, you want to watch and pay attention to what your player is doing to see if you can win against your opponent. There’s a satisfactory kind of thing where if someone scores you points, you can say, ‘Yes! That’s X amount of points for me!’” Busser said.
Nike sets the world aflame
New contract with Kaepernick creates uproar from the public Maya Benjamin From burning shoes to statements from President Donald Trump, the saga surrounding Colin Kaepernick’s protests during the national anthem has reached the height of its controversy. It all started in August of 2016 when Kaepernick, the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers sat down during the playing of the national anthem during a preseason game. In a statement to the NFL Media after the game, Kaepernick explained his decision to not participate in the national anthem ceremony, “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” Kaepernick’s comment was in response to several shootings of unarmed black men, including Walter Scott and Eric Garner, by police officers. Despite Kaepernick’s statement, his choice to sit out of the National Anthem was met with instant controversy from NFL fans and politicians alike. Kaepernick responded to the controversy by meeting with former Green Beret and NFL player Nate Boyer. During the meeting, Boyer suggested it would be more respectful to the military if Kaepernick kneeled instead of sitting during the protest, so Kaepernick began kneeling. While Kaepernick and Boyer thought the blowback surrounding the matter would simmer down, it continued with Trump making several contentious statements. At a rally in Alabama, Trump called for NFL owners to punish players who kneel, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a
bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” Vice President Mike Pence walked out of an Indianapolis Colts game after a few of their opponents on the 49ers kneeled during the playing of the national anthem. Several celebrities and politicians have been outspoken on the matter and Carlmont students also have varying opinions. Jayden Kuhn, a senior player starting linebacker and running back, said, “Personally I don’t think kneeling before an event is appropriate, but I do agree with protesting to make a statement.” While Kuhn had a neutral position on kneeling during the national anthem at a major event, Kuhn appreciated Nike and Kaepernick’s new partnership as one of the promoters of Nike’s 30thanniversary campaign. Kuhn said, “I think it was a great idea by Nike to bring awareness to injustices and police bru- tality of African
Americans.” Jack Greco, a senior, is one of many students at Carlmont speaking out against Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem. Greco feels that by players protesting during the playing of the national anthem they’re disrespecting the men and women in America’s military. “The reason the national anthem is played at every sports event is to not only honor our nation’s flag but to also honor the men and women of our nation’s military who have sacrificed their lives for this country,” he said. As a result of Kaepernick becoming one of Nike’s spokespeople for their 30th-anniversary campaign, Greco plans to boycott Nike and their products. While Nike has faced a lot of backlash for their choice to make Kaepernick one of their promoters, their shares have seen a nearly 5 percent increase as of Sept. 21. The shares add at least a value of $6 billion to the
company’s market value, according to Forbes. Despite some Carlmont students thinking that kneeling during the national anthem in protest is disrespectful, Janelle Kwofie, a junior and president of the Black Student Union, is in full support of the movement. “I think that our country was founded on people speaking their minds and trying to respect each other’s beliefs. Thus, I believe Kaepernick protesting is a prime example of what it means to be an American,” Kwofie said. While Kwofie does believe in Kaepernick and other players’ right to protest during the anthem, she thinks that there are other ways to create change within the United States. “I believe protesting is not the most effective for change in our government, but it helps persuade and inform people.” Greco agreed with
aa er nd
Kwofie’s sentiments, claiming nothing changes when people protest. “I think protests are ineffective because nothing ever gets done from people just complaining,” Greco said. Greco’s claim has some truth to it as shown in the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh faced extreme scrutiny after being accused of sexual assault by Dr. Christine Blasley Ford. During the FBI investigation into Ford’s claims, days of protests took place outside Capitol Hill. While not all protests throughout history have been effective, some have. The over one year long Montgomery Bus Boycott did not end until the Supreme Court ruled in late 1956 that segregated buses in Alabama were unconstitutional. As Carlmont students remain fairly divided on the issue, the protest has shown no signs of slowing down with newly signed Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid taking a knee during the national anthem on Oct. 8. Overall, the number of protestors participating in kneeling has dwindled but Eric Reid has stated that he will choose to kneel based on how he feels about the state of the country. “I’m still evaluating the scope of our country, and I’ll make that decision later,” Reid said in an interview with ESPN. Kwofie believes Kaepernick’s choice to kneel has been one of the most controversial topics of the 21st century and that it will be talked about for several years to come. Kwofie said, “I think this a topic I will one day be discussing with my grandchildren and their friends and it will probably still be just as controversial then if things don’t change in America.”
Accessories can have placebo effect on athletes Andrew Shen
Practically every day there are new advances in sports technology. From athletic tape to energy drinks, advancements in sports enhancement tools are being advertised to get consumers to buy their new products, which will supposedly help consumers in their athletic performance. The question that comes to mind is whether or not these advancements in sports enhancement tools will actually help the person buying it. This is where the placebo effect comes into play. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, they can have a positive health outcome from a person’s anticipation, they think that if they do something that will help them, it more than likely ends up helping them. Matthew Vo, a junior who plays on the football team, talked about the advancements in sports enhancement technology. “I think the advances made in sports equipment help because seeing it first hand I feel that it helps an individual perform
better,” Vo said. Some athletes believe that the sports accessories boost the confidence of the player, helping them perform better while playing. “I think the reason why most athletes think they perform better by wearing the new sports enhancement tools is that it changes their mindsets where they are more confident when they play their sport because they think they have something that puts them ahead of their opponents,” McClellan said. In addition, research done by Harvard Health mentions how “the expectation of the medical intervention being taken or worn correlates directly with the placebo effect. If the intervention is believed to help a condition, a certain percentage of people who receive it will experience some benefit.” One type of sports recovery tape, kinesiology tape, worn by athletes to support injured muscles and decrease muscle pain, has mixed reviews for its effectiveness. According to Amy Powell, an associate professor of sports medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine, “There was little quality evidence to support the
use of [Kinesio tape] over other types of “Cupping has been extremely helpelastic taping in the management or pre- ful and very relaxing for my body. It has vention of sports injuries.” helped me with my migraines and helped However, according to the U.S. National relieve my sore muscles as well. There’s a lot Library of Medicine, the “use of kinesiol- of controversy about it but I think that it ogy tape resulted in a significant improve- is effective with repetitive treatment and is ment in the pain level after application, harmless if the person performing is qualieven at a month after its use.” fied,” said Valentina Yudin-Baehrle, a juAnother medical treatment that has nior on the volleyball team. received a lot of attenHowever, according “Cupping has been tion is cupping. to the Journal of PhysiAccording to NPR, cal Therapy Rehabilitaextremely helpful and cupping is “the treattion Science, the effecing of muscle pain very relaxing for my body. tiveness of the treatment with cups that apply It has helped me with my still comes into question, suction to the skin.” with research showing migraines and helped Cupping has been that exercises such as shown to have many relieve my sore muscles as stretching. health benefits, such Harvard researcher well” as relief of back and Benika Pinch said, “The neck pain, lowering Valentina Yudin-Baehrle placebo effect has tradiof cholesterol, relief tionally been regarded Junior of migraines, and imas something negative, provement of the efficiency of the immune as a seemingly unexplained mystery at the system. heart of modern medicine. However, we Many athletes use cupping regularly to are just beginning to understand the biohelp their performance both on and off the logical mechanisms underlying the placebo court or feild. effect.”
Drumline beats to their own rhythm
Groups rally in preparation for assembly
A loud clash of instruments fill everyone’s ears. The entire gym goes silent. A small group of instruments fills the gym with banging and clashing. Many high schools have a marching band, but Carlmont has a drumline. Drumline consists of only percussion instruments, where a marching band includes any instrument that can be played while walking, including brass instruments. Examples include the trumpet and the trombone. Drumline is known for putting on a show, and their homecoming performances are well known on campus. The cymbals and snare, tenor, and bass drums encourage an upbeat energy for the students to be excited about what is to come during assemblies and school events. When the homecoming assembly comes around, drumline tries to find a way to top their previous performances. Last year, all lights were off in the gym as they banged their drums with water that glowed in the dark. The audience could only see the glowing water splashing off of their drums. Even though drumline consists of only a few members, all of them work to bring the crowd together at the homecoming assembly. “For percussion, we just choose what feels right for the event. Our goal is to
get people excited, hyped up, and get them to enjoy homecoming. Playing at bigger events is really where it is at,” sophomore Isaac Moll said. While Moll is still getting familiarized with all of Drumline’s homecoming assembly traditions, Joe Seaman, a junior, feels that Homecoming is an energetic event for drumline. “We decide on what to play by finding interesting cadences online and then we come up with our own choreography to go along with it for the Homecoming assembly. We want students to be energetic and enthusiastic about Carlmont in general. The best part about playing at the assembly is getting a positive response from the crowd,” Seaman said. Regardless of the performance, the snare drum brings all of the other instruments together. According to Ben Meyer from Modern Drummer, “Snare drums are easily the most recognizable voice in the drum kit. The practice of studio drummers using a different snare for every song, in order to change the overall voice of the kit, shows this theory in action. Some players have signature snare sounds that identify them immediately, where others aim for lessdistinct tones that blend into the music.” But it’s not the instruments that make drumline so unique, it’s the members who play them.
“I really like the feeling of friendship we all have because it makes practicing much more fun. I also like how we help each other grow as musicians,” Haller said. Sticking with a passion like percussion can lead to many memorable moments that the drummers will remember forever. According to Paul Buyer from the Percussive Arts Society (PAS), “It is also very motivating and meaningful to be part of something bigger than yourself, collectively achieve a common goal, and develop lifelong friendships.” Members feel that drumline opens new opportunities to work with others as creativity is required for rhythms and performances. “The best part about being in the Drumline is the people. You meet so many people and make so many good friends. We like the others in Drumline along with the people in ASB or outside of it,” said William Yonts, a senior and the captain of Drumline. According to Yonts, Drumline was started in 2009, but in 2018, it still adds energy and spirit to Carlmont’s spirit today. Through the loud noises they make with their instruments, it keeps the spirit alive at Carlmont for students and staff alike. Whether it’s a football game, assembly, rally in the quad at lunch, or basketball game Drumline leaves the crowd cheering every time.
Homecoming celebrates the kick-off of a new school year with an exciting football game and dance. The Homecoming assembly ties the football game and dance together, creating an exciting tradition for students to celebrate. But the first Homecoming did not have an assembly, only a football game and a dance. According to Gerald L. Peterson, an Archivist of the University of Northern Iowa, before 1910, homecoming was developed to feature an alumni reunion and typically a football game. These events included banquets, initiations, and class competitions. In 2018, Carlmont’s Homecoming includes an assembly for students. This assembly, formerly referred to as a pep rally, is a time for students to gather before the coming school-wide events. This is filled with booming music, students covered in blue and white cheering in the stands, and the celebration of sports teams and clubs. The assembly requires a lot of work to prepare. “It takes about two months to plan for the Homecoming assembly. It is really stressful because we need to coordinate with so many different groups and it requires a lot of people skills that need plenty of patience. We constantly need to work around the other commissions’ schedules but we do manage to
meet all of our deadlines,” said Olive Peschel, a senior and ASB Assemblies Supervisor. “Media normally prepares by running the music, microphones, videos, and spotlights. Also, we have to make sure everything is cued at the right time to make sure the event is running smoothly and perfectly,” said Andres Raddavero, a junior and supervisor of ASB’S Media Commission. To set this year’s assembly apart, ASB is adding unique ideas. “This year, we will not be having a video introduction of the hosts because we will be making them do it live. We are also involving all fall sports players instead of just football players and having more crowd participation through the whole performance,” Raddavero said. Since ASB is adding new performances for this year’s Homecoming assembly, it is important to stay on task. “We need to make an accurate schedule of performances so we ask for specific lengths of performances. We also have to clear everyone [from class] that participates in the assembly,” said Melina Dimick, a junior and assembly commissioner. To make plans run smoothly, the assembly commissioners use calendars and set up due dates to keep them on track. “We only have three people in our commission, so we divide up the work
and set due dates and goals for ourselves. We also use a backward calendar, which is where you start with the date of the assembly and then you work backward to determine when everything needs to be done by. It is much easier than guessing when each thing needs to be done,” Dimick said. Other groups such as cheer, dance, sports teams, and clubs also participate in the assembly. A lot of time goes into preparing these groups for their performances. Cheer and dance help to increase engagement during the assembly through their performances. “Dance hypes up everyone in the stands. Our style is hip-hop [upbeat, rhythmic dance type], which makes people hyped up,” said Intermediate Dance choreographer Irma Di Nallo. “Planning for Homecoming routine for cheer in the assembly involves a lot of practices, planning, and preparation,” said Isabella Romero, a senior and varsity cheer captain. Overall, developing and preparing for the Homecoming assembly requires more work than a student can anticipate. “A lot of work goes on behind the scenes beyond just the decorations and the performances. I want people to understand how much planning goes into a Homecoming assembly, not just for cheer but also for ASB,” said Romero
Students plug into new styles of education
Increasing technology use at school generates mixed opinions Samantha Chu Technology has become a significant aspect of modern education. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there was an average of 189 computers per public school in 2008, compared to the average of 72 computers in 1995. Due to this increase in technology, teaching styles and methods have changed, forcing students to adapt to their new learning environments. Carlmont is one of the many schools that have incorporated modern technology into their curriculum. Classes at Carlmont require students to submit assignments online, both at home and during school, and at times, students are allowed to use the internet for research. While this may have its benefits, such as efficiency and availability to more resources, it also has many disadvantages, namely limited access to technology and more room for distraction during work. Students have access to technology on campus, however, not all have access to technology outside of school. This may be due to a variety of reasons, including financial issues. “For the students who can afford the technology required in school, I think that it’s a good resource, but it’s also not fair for the kids that aren’t able to access it,” said sophomore Madelyn Becker. The administration and staff
Teachers have incorporated new technology into their curriculum, requiring students to become familiar with devices, such as Chromebooks. are aware of this issue and they have taken some measures to ensure that all students can access a computer. For instance, computer science is a class at Carlmont that requires a computer, but not all students who take this course have one at home. To combat this issue, laptops and chromebooks are available for these students to keep for the school year. Computer science teacher Karyn Voldstad said, “A couple of years ago, I got a donation of four laptop computers. I am able to lend one to a student if they need one at home.” In addition, students in Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), a program that
helps students with their schoolwork, receive a chromebook for the school year. Despite increasing use of technology, not all classes at Carlmont require the use of computers. In fact, English teacher Carolyn Wallace believes that handwriting is essential for a student’s learning experience. According to Wallace, scientists have found that writing by hand stimulates more areas in the brain than typing on a keyboard does. As a result, Wallace has her students handwrite most of their assignments and drafts. Wallace’s belief is proven to be true, for according to StudySkills.com, a site that provides students with helpful tips on how to study ef-
ficiently, students who handwrite their notes remember more of the material. “I would not encourage students to use electronic means for their initial brainstorming, planning, and writing sessions,” Wallace said. “When students slow down and conceive of what they want to say before putting pen to paper, they often spend more time planning out and mentally organizing their ideas.” Some students, such as Adrian Fernandez, a junior, agree with Wallace’s philosophy and try to minimize the use of computers in their work. Fernandez has noticed that he retains more information through writing by hand.
However, many students such as Brendan Boone, a junior, think that typing is more efficient because they can type faster than they can write. According to Boone, assignments online are easier because of this. While using technology may be more efficient, some students find that using technology makes it easier to distract themselves with video games and other nonschool related content. During school, teachers have certain ways to ensure that students remain on task. Voldstad, for instance, constantly walks around her class to check on her students. At home, when teachers are not present to monitor the classroom, many students often find it hard to concentrate while studying and doing homework. “Students have to use a computer for homework almost every day, but with a computer, it’s easy to get distracted by Instagram or YouTube,” Fernandez said. Nonetheless, as technology becomes increasingly more prominent in education, it continues to have both negative and positive effects on students in an abundance of ways. Students need to manage technology to use it efficiently. “Technology is helpful because it is a great resource, but it can get distracting with all of the notifications that show up on your computer,” said Oton De Souza, a junior. “You just have to power through and get your work done.”
Teachers learn to adapt to the rising technology
New methods of electronic teaching reshapes school curriculum Charlie McBrian
In the past 20 years, there has been an unprecedented rise in technology. With this recent rise in technology, technology has become integrated into other fields such as the economy, the media, how people interact, and perhaps most important to the future: education. Only relatively recently have these new resources come about. Many teachers, like math teacher Rebecca Pearlman and stu-
dents like Nick Nhien, a junior, have seen a substantial amount of change in how technology is being used in education. “Around 6th grade, I believe, is when we started seeing chromebooks,” Nhien said. “It’s crazy to see how rapid technology has grown, especially in Silicon Valley, which is at the forefront of technological advancements.” As a teacher for over 20 years, Pearlman has experienced these advancements first hand.
“When I started out as a teacher in New York, most of the grades were handwritten, and posted on the board every few weeks,” Pearlman said. “Today much of that process has been expedited by services like Schoolloop, and now Canvas.” An early advancement was the introduction of emails as the school’s preferred mode of communication. “Technology changed how we communicated as a staff. Originally, information was passed out through memos to teachers,” Principal Ralph Crame said. Science teacher Melissa Hero has worked for the district for two years training teachers on how to incorporate technology into their curriculum. “One of the things that I found as a technology specialist is that there was a good chunk of teachers who were hesitant to incorporate technology into the classroom because they were afraid to fail,” Hero said. “I think that that’s actually a great learning experience. I don’t know what I’m doing half the time but I do my prep work ahead of time, and if something goes wrong I try to find out what it is. It’s important to model to students how to recover from mistakes.” An abundance of education has been altered by the introduction of technology to some subjects more than others. “Things like math are always going to be math, technology or not,” Crame said. “Other subjects like history and science
have seen massive changes respectively.” This, however, has not come without its costs as equity as well as academic integrity have become issues that teachers. “Students can plagiarize and cheat much easier than before due to resources like their phones,” Crame said. “We combat this by communicating to students what plagiarism [is] and how to create authentic work so they can get authentic feedback from teachers and learn and grow from that.” Another issue facing teachers is the proper integration of technology. “I also think that training is really important. A lot of teachers might overuse it or might not use it in a way that’s really effective,” Hero said. “I think that teachers need to know how to use the different tools, but then also need to know how to make it effective in the classroom to make it work.” As methods of electronic teaching continue to grow and evolve, it will become an ever increasing part of the future of education. However, its daily presence in a student’s life should be measured carefully by prioritizing time management. “Technology is something that’s not going to go away,” Hero said. “We need to educate students on how to manage their time to manage their screen time to focus on personal connections with their classmates when they’re together, and to use the technology available only when necessary.”
Jeff Bezos is taking over the world
The tech industry’s favorite J.K. Simmons lookalike has his sights set on world domination
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ern regulatory machinery is so woefully ill-equipped to deal with such a coup-d’etat of your personal data that the consequences might be disastrous. (We also evidently have very little problem with this. In spite of the Orwellian implications of placing a listening device on our kitchen counters and asking it to order dish towels, we buy them en masse and trumpet their virtues to the Joneses. And calling it a coup-d’etat of our data might be a bit of a misnomer, since certainly nobody is ordering their Echoes under duress.) And so we return to the man in the high castle: Bezos, the CEO, president, and chairman of Amazon, who also founded and controls Blue Origin, a spaceflight company, and who shelled out $250 million in cash for the Washington Post. If Amazon is the world’s eminent paradigm-baffling corporation, then Bezos is the Andrew Carnegie at the helm. When you’re really, really rich, certain problems that don’t befall ordinary citizens of the world begin to press on your conscience. Among these are how best your position of enormous power and wealth can be harnessed to, say, solve humanity’s most pressing problems and guarantee a more fruitful posterity for our children. Carnegie posited in his “Gospel of Wealth” that the duty of the wealthy is to use their riches to achieve a broader benefit — that “the man who dies rich thus dies disgraced,” charging those who have risen to the top of an industry with the task of philanthropically distributing their earnings for the public good.
It’s Day One
While Bezos has been criticized in the past for his meager philanthropy, he announced last month that he and his wife would be embarking on a $2 billion initiative, called the Day One Fund, to combat homelessness and bankroll education for disadvantaged children. And so begins the philanthropic chapter of Bezos’ reign atop Forbes’ The World’s Billionaires; the Carnegian stage in which the magnitude of his elitedom renders him responsible not just to his shareholders, but also to the millions upon millions who might benefit from his personal riches. It’s a bit concerning that he’s chosen to
Rich Uncle Pennybags
America is no stranger to Dr. Evil (mega-capitalism). Since the formation of our society, our government and the people in power have had to reconcile their own interests, the interests of corporations, and the interests of the people who consume the products of those corporations, three agendas often bitterly at odds. The net result of these frustrations is a government at least moderately equipped to handle the ills of Big Business — at least when it comes to monopolies so gargantuan that they begin to appropriate entire industries. See: Standard Oil’s destruction by the Supreme Court in 1911 and the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. That’s why we have antitrust legislation and the FTC. We also have a disparate smattering of quasi-laws that protect consumers from surreptitious invasions of privacy by corporations, although they lack the potency of one unified federal framework. According to the Thomson Reuters publication Practical Law: “...the U.S. has a patchwork system of federal and state laws and regulations that can sometimes overlap, dovetail and contradict one another. In addition, there are many guidelines developed by governmental agencies and industry groups that do not have the force of law, but are part of self-regulatory guidelines and frameworks that are considered ‘best practices’.” But it isn’t craven capitalist ambition that makes Amazon’s creeping dominance anything exceptional. Instead, Amazon is notable for its determination to invade the market’s more sclerotic undersides and inject them with Bezosism, the patented, Silicon Valley-tinted, top-down industrial shakeup strategy: demolishing the status quo and replacing it with wholesale electronic big-data reinvention, leaving gasping former executives in its wake. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Amazon is a monopoly. More accurate is that they are simply a competitor in so many industries that they have become an impenetrable fortress of profit. Few other corporations that grew so organically out of an earnest desire to use the internet as a medium to sell things can claim as competitors the likes of Oracle, Alibaba, Google, and Walmart. It has also, with the proliferation of the Echo and the unstoppable popularity of Amazon Web Services, given them a position of extreme leverage over vast quantities of personal data. That isn’t meant to imply a company like Amazon is using the data to malicious ends — only to reiterate the idea that they could, conceivably, do that if they wanted to, and past precedent suggests that mod-
Amazon Is Everywhere
For 18 of the past 23 years, Bill Gates has proudly held the top spot on Forbes’ list of the richest people on Earth — until October of last year, that is, when his spot on the list was usurped by Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and the first centibillionaire in history. Bezos is a renaissance man by the most modern definition. You can find him on your desk, in your bookmarks, attached to your fridge, in your fridge, behind your TV, at your doorstep, and in the server infrastructure of your favorite websites (or perhaps behind the wheel of his 1996 Honda Accord, which some sources claim he still owns and drives). He also likely employs that delivery guy and your favorite journalists. Oh, and he also owns Amazon, probably the most diversified and definitely the most monolithic e-commerce website in existence. Amazon! Where just yesterday I bought an HDMI cable, and before that a pack of six 0.5mm Pentel Twist-Erase Mechanical Pencils — these all, of course, in lieu of a 10-minute trip down El Camino and Industrial to the Office Depot and Best Buy in San Carlos. Nothing can or will ever incline me to make that trip when the Bezos Delivery Machine is just so easy. This delivery machine is currently the second-largest private employer in the United States, behind Walmart. Their empire has conquered the map, laying claim to over 35 subsidiaries, including IMDb, Twitch, Goodreads, Whole Foods, and Audible. As of this writing, the National Retail Federation pegs it as the world’s largest online retailer and the ninth largest retailer in the world. Its limbs and digits now pervade, much to the reigning order’s chagrin, many previously impregnable industries, like movies and TV, where Amazon has thoroughly disrupted the pecking order, and like cloud computing, in which its Amazon Web Services division is currently the largest worldwide provider of remote server infrastructure. Plus, lest we forget, the online bookselling (and e-reader) explosion has all but deleted brick-and-mortar bookstores from the face of planet Earth. I haven’t done it yet, but if I wanted to, I could log onto Amazon right now and buy an Echo, their personal assistant whose entire existence is predicated on the selling point that it listens to your every word in search of a key phrase (and learns from your purchasing habits, to be sure). And of course we tell ourselves, vibrating with repressed, white-knuckled anxiety, that no such device would ever use its always-onness to any illegitimate ends, but I think we all understand that it’s only a futile attempt to placate our most rational fears so that we can continue to avail ourselves of its convenience because, again, it’s just so easy. And after I buy my Echo and tell it to dim the lights and play some music, perhaps I might make use of my dormant Amazon Prime Video subscription to watch their Emmy-nominated Amazon Studios series “Man in the High Castle,” or maybe “Transparent,” or even the high-dollar “Top Gear-revival The Grand Tour,” in which Bezos snapped up the ousted host of a dying BBC show and threw at him money and advertising. Maybe then I might check on the status of the web servers I currently host with Amazon Web Services, which saves me from having to rent traditional rack space on a per-month basis. Or maybe I’ll pick up my Kindle and finish reading the late Tom
Wolfe’s “Bonfire of the Vanities.” Or maybe — wait, never mind, sounds like Amazon Fresh just delivered; time to make dinner. Conglomeration is nothing new. Proctor and Gamble probably manufactured half of the toiletries underneath your bathroom sink. Pepsi and Nestle could easily comprise most of the manufactured foods in your pantry. Such is capitalism. Companies with successful expansion strategies and enterprising CEOs become unstoppable rolling balls of mass, collecting subsidiaries and attaching entire industries to themselves as they re-engineer the topography of the American marketplace. And while a successful argument could be made that our government has been hamfisted in its attempts to temper monopoly, the problem itself isn’t a recent one, nor is it one that we’ve entirely failed to address.
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call h i s fund “Day One.” That is also the name of his management philosophy, according to a 2017 SEC filing. Writes Bezos to his shareholders: “Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.” I’m not primarily concerned about the fact that he’s chosen to name his philanthropic initiative after his management philosophy, although it does seem a disturbingly corporate intrusion into what we might otherwise assume a good-faith humanitarian objective. (“What are we to take from the implication that he will be treating education like he treats his fulfillment center employees?” is a common and somewhat slippery but, sadly, reasonable editorial.) Instead, my concern lies in the corollary that, if Day 1 is ceaseless and expansion is perpetual and stasis is the enemy, the height of his ambition is, by definition, infinite. And yet we grant him impunity for his endless ambition because the product of it is so convenient and simple and makes our lives so easy. It would appear that we have become more than willing to surrender to his data-imperialism if it means we can press a button and wake up the next morning to a fresh delivery of toothpaste and toilet paper. We can assume that Bezos lives by his own management philosophy. Actually, his SEC filing lets us do more than assume: “I’ve been reminding people that it’s Day One for a couple of decades. I work in an Amazon building named Day One, and when I moved buildings, I took the name with me.” I think that this offers the most compelling explanation for his purchase of the Washington Post, as does it his pending partnership with fellow end-game capitalists Warren Buffet and Jamie Dimon to fix American healthcare. When his wealth becomes static, and the Bezos philanthropic machine becomes inert and Amazon is no longer taking a running collection of your most intimate data, it’s Day Two. Game over. Bedtime for Bezos. And therein lies the crux of his pass at world domination. It’s still Day One. Try to keep up.
Big data raises ethical questions Ben Balster
Privacy rights are often an afterthought for many people, a meaningless consequence of a meaningless checkbox under privacy rights. But after two decades of modern technology, companies have accumulated vast stores of information, the analysis of which may be society’s deliverance or devastation, a phenomenon academics have aptly named, big data. Big data commonly refers to the collection, storage, and analysis of copious amounts of data — in other words, big data refers to a lot of information. This excess of information has become typical in fields where modern computer infrastructure has permitted access to a broad range of people, such as federal censuses, medical records, and online shopping. Because no technological de-
velopment is complete without the proper ethical skepticism, a number of debates have arisen questioning the morality of using big data for research, policymaking, or commercial ventures. Such philosophical quandaries regarding big data are so numerous, they have spawned their own category of ethics: data ethics. “The ethics of data focuses on ethical problems posed by the collection and analysis of large datasets and on issues ranging from the use of big data in biomedical research and social sciences, to profiling, advertising and data philanthropy as well as open data,” according to Luciano Floridi and Mariarosaria Taddeo’s article “What is data ethics?” To massively simplify the field, the central theme of data ethics is whether the methodology used in big data assures the privacy rights of the individuals that make up the database. Given this, many
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federal censuses • medical records • online shopping
will instinctually point toward the need for transparency, which, in an ideal world, would manifest as restrictions on the people working with the data and notifications to people whose data is being used. Unfortunately, this would be followed by questions of what data and to whom would such transparency refer to, ultimately styming our ability to study and benefit from big data. Take the example of researchers wishing to utilize big data in an epidemiological retrospective study of syphilis by parsing through medical records. In this retrospective, the data being used will come from surveys done 10 years ago as well as current medical data. Of course, information such as the individuals’ names is necessary to the study, but some sensitive information — gender, race, past diseases, etc. — may be key risk factors associated with
syphilis. At the same time, this information has the potential to discriminate among certain demographics. If researchers were required to get the permission of every individual, the resulting population would be skewed toward people whose information is susceptible to malintent. Without analyzing all of the big data, the potential benefits of such studies would be lost. Any situation involving big data ideally maintains a transparency in how the data is handled and not a transparency in what the data actually is, otherwise we might as well take a hammer to the government’s server room. Where this ideal breaks down is in private use of big data. Companies, such as Amazon, store the data of its customers, and there is nothing, aside from Jeff Bezos’s morality, to impede the malicious use of big data.
1.2 trillion searches per year
At the same time, Amazon is doing much to improve the quality of life and are at the forefront of many technological developments, constantly rolling out new products like the Amazon Echo or Amazon Web Services (AWS). But here again, does the reactionary ethical outburst take effect. What’s to stop the Echo or AWS from accumulating information about your day-to-day life and funneling it into the engine of Amazon? Currently, the pathways big data flow through are as opaque as they are promising, but no progress can occur in the presence of controversy. In the end, a basic transparency about how personal data will be used in the world of big data, not to hinder big data to the point of bureaucratic insanity, needs to be established because, currently, there is no limit to what big data can be used for — good or evil.
300 hours of vidoes
with each interaction online, users provide more and more data online users allow more to be consolodated and more data
QUANTI TIES Technology is taking over the classrooms
Teaching with the latest gadgets won’t help students learn Joseph Gomez
I first noticed this in my human biology class when the Chromebooks wouldn’t let us do an interactive bone-labeling program. Wait, no. That wasn’t the first time. I first noticed this in my AP European History class, when my teacher made us do demonstrations with the hip, new platform that was Padlet. Wait, maybe not. Perhaps I actually first noticed this in my Spanish class, where phones were supposed to be used for academic purposes, but instead found their purpose with Snapchat. Yet again, I’m probably forgetting something. All these memories coagulate into a mural of frustrated instructors and unenthused students. It does not take a genius to recognize the graceless takeover of technology into the education system. In fact, when the power goes out or when the wifi goes down, classes more often than not turn into an awkward staring contest between teacher and pupil, as both wonder how to operate without their computer overlords. Thus, I thought it would be important to discuss why this technological takeover is happening, what technological integration actually does for education, and what possible educational alternatives are being blocked due to all the resources diverted to maintaining a technological empire. This is not a hit piece on computers or phones by any means. Nothing conveys organization and optimization better than the latest gadgets. Without the blessing of Google Docs, I would not be able to type out this article in such an easy fashion and share its contents with various editors and superiors. The
godsend of Kahoot provides a competitive twist to my international relations class. The miracle that is Quizlet is the reason I did not fail my logic quiz in English a few weeks ago (Shoutout to Joe Bazarsky, “the Pontiff,” for making said Quizlet). I also recognize why standardized tests are moving toward tech.According to Ben Johnson of Edutopia, schools spend around $30,000 to $50,000 annually on paper and printing services. Computers have the power to eliminate that cost. By all accounts, students should be learning faster than you can Google, “Are students getting smarter due to technological integration?” on your Chromebook or phone. However, the answer is more akin to a strong “maybe” or a “we’re actually not quite sure. The evidence is sketchy at best. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, for example, found that technological integration did nothing for education. However, Walden University gave various reasons why using technology could improve basic studentteacher relations. I discovered another study from West Point that found, “Banning computers gives students a leg up, gradewise: we find that a student in a classroom that prohibits computers is on equal footing with a peer who is in a class that allows computers and whose GPA is one-third of a standard deviation higher — nearly the difference between a B+ and an A- average, for example.” In summary, we appear to have a situ-
ation in which technology is doing absolutely nothing for, slightly improving, or directly harming the education of students. Should we burn all the Chromebooks? Throw our phones off a short pier? Put the internet on trial for treason? No, I doubt that would go over well. However, we should probably divert more money towards alternatives that are proven to work better. According to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), “Schools in the United States spend a lot of money on education technology — estimated soon to be $56 billion dollars — 36 percent of which is spent in K–12 education.” That costs an average of $400 a student. The Brookings Institution reports that due to financial restrictions, schools are forced to increase their class sizes. This is especially unfortunate, as having smaller class sizes “was found to increase student achievement by an amount equivalent to about 3 additional months of schooling four years later.” Removing the burden of technological enforcement could also leave room for classrooms to be better sup-
plied. New, print textbooks would be very much appreciated. Why is that? Business Insider found that comprehension fell when students used online textbooks instead of physical ones. From my own experience using online textbooks, while they were incredibly convenient to access, I would often find myself accidentally clicking on a new window, going on Youtube, watching a video about 10 different ways to cook an egg, and forgetting about all my woes. I shall offer one last nugget of thought. I’ve noticed a certain pattern in my recollections of my preferred instances of technological implementation. Quizlet helps me because it is an old, simple idea. A study set from Quizlet is a technological glorification of the humble and effective stack of flashcards. Kahoot, while tiresome at times, is a fast-paced way of testing yourself. Technology serves to make old teaching methods more efficient. If technology is to be fully embraced as a medium of education, which it probably will be, then it is imperative that it is to be done with the purpose of finding a balance between what we know works and the everevolving future of education.
The Lei Way Ry Lei “Journalism can never be silent: That is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault.”
— Henry Anatole Grunwal
Social media empowers younger generations It’s commonly thought that social media is making teenagers disconnected from each other and from the world. But social media is what has made me more connected. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be where I am without social media and the people I’ve met through it. Maybe it’s different for me. When I first made my profile on Instagram, I was a closeted LGBTQ+ preteen who didn’t know any out and proud LGBTQ+ people, and the internet — as I’ve learned over the past few years — is where many closeted people go. Through social media, I met transgender student activists and artists like Leelah Alcorn and Skylar Lee, who passed away in 2014 and 2015 respectively. It might have been the anger or the frustration. It might have been the weird emptiness I felt after I heard news of their deaths. Here’s the thing: I don’t think that I was ready to see their names in the headlines. I don’t think any 13-year-old would be. But I had to. Most people in my generation have had an experience like this before. With social media, our access and exposure to news is constant. I might argue that that’s a part of what makes us think of ourselves as a “we.” We experienced the fear following the Sandy Hook shooting together. We experienced the anger and frustration following the Orlando Pulse shooting together. We experienced the Majory Stoneman Douglas shooting together. We plugged ourselves into the digital world. Then we grew up with it. We learned how to take action. Because we felt like we had to. What media outlets and headlines refer to as tragedies are our realities. They spark youth-led movements and organizations like March for Our Lives. The truth is that these movements wouldn’t exist without social media. We wouldn’t be as connected and in touch with one another without it. Though some say that smartphones are making us increasingly out of touch with one another, there also exists an opposite effect. I still experience the uncomfortable periods of self-reflection and deprecation that social media brings. I scroll through protest art and group photos with all of my youth activist friends and feel like I should be doing more with my life, doing more in my community. But while that adds to a feeling of not being good enough or doing enough, it also adds to my sense of urgency. That momentary sinking feeling reminds me that there is always more to be done. Not just for myself, but for others. My constant connectivity to others like me, and similarly to people different from myself, has made me more aware of everything and everyone around me — more aware of how my actions affect them. Because of social media, I am connected to people with vastly different lived experiences than mine. When I go to vote and to protest, I am not just thinking about me. When I do work with other LGBTQ+ youth activists, I’m thinking about a community; or communities, rather. Finding those communities, and the intersections of those communities, allows us to navigate the world. The fact that young people are angry and taking action isn’t anything new. It’s not unprecedented. If you look back at history, it’s safe to say that we fit into a pattern. We may have the same spirit and zeal as those before us, but tools we use to invite and spark change are fundamentally different. Generation Z, whether you like it or not, controls the digital sphere, which is shaping and shifting every discourse in our world, from the discourse around pineapple on pizza to the debate on gun control. Young people are changing the world with social media — they have been for a while.
Technology impedes younger generations’ ability to build communication skills “Lol ok.” “Wait ru mad at me?” “No why?” “Idk u just seem mad” “Uh no, I’m not” Miscommunication like this is prevalent in society today. The increasing accessibility of technology for young children and teenagers may impede one’s ability to learn to communicate because they don’t have enough practice talking to people face-to-face. According to Psychology Today, “Many adolescents acknowledge that they spend more time texting than speaking — whether to peers or other living, breathing human beings.” Technology has served as a social crutch for Millenials and younger gen-
erations. Children, teens, and adults have gotten used to being uncomfortable in conversations over text, Snapchat, and other means of virtual communication. This has prevented them from building the skills necessary to be functioning adults in the workplace, able to have difficult conversations. According to Psychology Today, “As adults who lived through the transition from talk-to-text have experienced, social skills can atrophy when they are no longer used. Additionally, for teens that begin the socialization process online, in-person social skills might not have a chance to fully develop in the first place.” From breakups to “sorry you’re not invited,” people
attempt to alleviate their own anxiety over a situation by sending the text and forgetting about it, when in reality that only makes the situation worse. Grave situations should be treated with respect and therefore handled in person. But one-to-one connections seem less valued today, resulting in superficial relationships and much miscommunication. One might think they’re saying one thing over a text, but how the receiver interprets it might be different; it is out of the sender’s control. If the same thing were to have been said in person, body language and tone would contribute to the delivery of the message, thus resulting in less misunderstanding and more connec-
tion. In addition, a lack of discipline contributes to this overuse of technology in communicating. People don’t want to take the time, care, or energy to meet people in person or to find them in the hallways to deliver a message. It is much more convenient to send texts. This does not build healthy relationships. People are used to being able to text their friends until they respond, constantly leaving one on-call. People are used to being able to track their friends and question why they haven’t responded to their text when they clearly opened Snapchat five minutes ago. It’s no wonder social media “cleanses” are so common. Media-made relationships are merely contacts, not connections. To form connections one must put their phone down and reach out to the people around them. Today’s society may emphasize the media and online contacts, but the individual should want to connect with people on a deeper level, which must be done in person and requires developed communication skills. Technology has made communication more efficient and more easily accessible, but has discouraged people from using our original and most sacred form: talking.
The Highlander Editor-in-Chief Sophie Lynd Managing Editor Kathryn Stratz ScotCenter Editor-in-Chief Briana McDonald Scotlight Editor-in-Chief Kylie Lin Scot Scoop Editor-in-Chief Kaylee George Social Media Director Ry Lei Faculty Adviser Justin Raisner
Editors Andrea Butler Molly Donaldson Francesca D’Urzo Nisha Marino Emma Romanowsky Sean Vanderaa
Staff Writers Ben Balster Maya Benjamin Samantha Chu Sarah Cheung Samantha Dahlberg Anna Feng Talia Fine Nina Heller Joseph Gomez Lizzy Hall Sam Hanlon Mandy Hitchcock Sam Hosmer
Rachel Hunter Nihal Karim Ailee Lim Rachel Matatyaou Charlie McBrian Kimberly Mitchell Victoria Valle Remond Julie Rhodie Veronica Roseborough Alena Ruhstaller Andrew Shen Taisiia Yakovenko
The Highlander is a newspaper dedicated to providing Carlmont students, staff, and the community with high-quality news, features, and opinion articles. We want to keep our readers informed on important issues ranging from events at Carlmont to international news, and want to engage them with unique stories and images. The Highlander is a publication completely run by the students of the journalism classes at Carlmont High School. Story ideas are generated by the students and the published content is up to the discretion of the editorial staff. This month’s editorial was written by Kathryn Stratz and cartoon by Andrea Butler.
Class of 2019 responds...
What are your plans for next year?
Che Larcina Brenes
“I don’t have a set plan yet because depending on where I get into and where I go, plans might change, but as of now, I feel like I want to go to a four-year college. I want to major in film production and I’m applying to a bunch of different film schools, but I have other options. I’m applying to some marketing and business schools and [to] some schools for communication.”
“My plan for the future is going to CSM [College of San Mateo]. People ask why I want to go to a community college and I want to go to community college because it’s local and it’s cheaper and to me, that seems like the smarter way to go. Once I’m at CSM, I want to join their fire program. From there, hopefully, I can start working on my Paramedic’s Certification, and then I want to transfer to Chico State.”
“Ideally, I will either get into a four-year or decide to go to community. I haven’t made my decision yet, and it just kind of depends on where I end up. My path, career-wise and for college, is to go to a four-year and then graduate school afterward and hopefully lead myself to a career involving psychology and business entrepreneurship.”
The Future Of Self-Driving Cars Computer Vision
Veronica Roseborough “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads,” Doc said moments before he, Marty McFly, and Jennifer Parker sped off in the flying DeLorean to go back to the future. They traveled to Oct. 21, 2015, and much of the technology in the film was unfathomable to those watching when “Back to the Future 2” was released in 1989. However, the future depicted is quite similar to the reality we live in today. As predicted, the 21st century brought the flat-screen television, biometrics, and “hoverboards” envisioned by the writers of the film. Although roads are still a necessity due to the lack of flying cars, in the past decade or so, the automotive industry has made great strides in the development of autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles. Oleg Zhukov, a senior software engineer at Mercedes-Benz, works on the technology behind these cars. “Autonomous cars use sensors [such as] lidars, radars, and cameras to perceive the world, and this information can then be used to create maps,” Zhukov said. Though the technology itself is quite complex, Zhukov agrees with Udacity when they say it can be broken down into five key components: computer vision, sensor fusion, localization, path planning, and control. The first component, computer vision, allows the car to see the road, lane lines, and other vehicles, which is crucial for navigation. Sensor fusion integrates sensors
throughout the car such as those that measure distance and velocity or sense shifts in weather patterns to build an understanding of the surrounding environment. Many people utilize the global positioning systems (GPS) in their cars to know where they are when driving. However, GPS is only accurate within about one to two meters, according to Udacity. The third component, localization, is similar to a GPS except that it is accurate within one to two centimeters in order to avoid hitting curbs and other potential hazards that would
otherwise be prevented by human assistance. The next element is path planning, which charts trajectory in order to get the car where it needs to go while driving defensively and maneuvering around other vehicles. Lastly, the car has to utilize control in order to carry out its trajectory, which includes steering, and maintaining the appropriate speed. Although the competition of development is ever-present, various companies have chosen to collaborate with one another in order
to create the most efficient autonomous car possible. “[Mercedes-Benz] has recently partnered with Robert Bosch GmbH, bringing together years of experience. We’ve also partnered with Udacity to put together an online degree program for those who are interested in learning about autonomous vehicles,” Zhukov said. Also just recently, Honda announced its partnership with General Motors (GM) Company planning to contribute a total of $2.75 billion to GM’s autonomous vehicles unit, according to The New York Times. GM aims to create driverless vehicles not only for consumers, but for taxi and delivery services as well. Though there is room for error on the part of the car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Driver error has long been recognized as the primary cause of motor vehicle crashes. In a landmark 1979 Tri-Level study by the University of Indiana (Teat et al., 1999), human factors such as speeding, inattention, distraction, and performance errors were found to be a factor in 92.6 percent of all crashes.” Without humans behind the wheel, The Atlantic says that traffic fatalities could be reduced by 90 percent. Taking into consideration the National Safety Council’s estimate that in 2017, 40,100 U.S. citizens died in motor-vehicle accidents, driverless cars could quite possibly save 36,090 lives. That’s 36,090 people per year, 36,090 people that get to live another day. Though film writers can speculate, no one knows for sure what the future will hold, only that this technology might just pave the way to a better tomorrow. Page Design by Francesca D’Urzo