News in Brief:
The Smoke Signal Monday, January 26, 2009
UC system to reduce freshmen spots
Russians thwart pirate attack
A Dutch container vessel, under attack by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden, was rescued by a Russian naval ship. Two or three pirate speedboats were chasing the Dutch ship, firing two rocket-propelled grenades. However, their goal of boarding the ship was intervened by the Russians.
Peanut butter causes Salmonella scare
An outbreak of Salmonella has affected 474 people in 43 states. The outbreak has been associated with all foods containing peanut butter, including cookies, cereal, ice cream, crackers, and candy. So far, the Peanut Corporation of America in Blakely, GA has recalled peanut butter and peanut paste. The FDA and CDC warn consumers not to eat peanut butter products until there is more information confirming that the products are affected.
Consumers have been warned to avoid certain peanut products.
Prop 8 supporters file lawsuit
In light of Proposition 8’s passage, gay rights activists have been releasing the addresses of Prop 8 donors through an online map that stretches from coast to coast. Already fearful from boycotts of their businesses and frequent online harassment, these supporters have recently filed a lawsuit with the Federal District Court in Sacramento. Prop 8 supporters hope the suit will keep donor listings private in order to protect themselves.
Backpack policies enforced at Hopkins
Due to an alarming increase in theft and cheating at William Hopkins Junior High, interim vice-principal Jeffrey Waller implemented a new backpack policy requiring students to leave their backpacks and other belongings in their fourth period class during lunch. This rule took effect on January 6. Students are given an additional minute added to the passing period after lunch to retrieve their backpacks from their fourth period before they go to their afternoon classes. New sex education at local schools
The Fremont School Board has unanimously approved a new “comprehensive” sexual education curriculum that will be administered throughout local junior high schools, beginning in spring. This new course is designed to teach students not only about abstinence, but also about contraceptives and their effectiveness. Board members hope that this new plan will prevent teen pregnancies by raising awareness in the students more effectively than the old classes did. COMPILED BY STAFF WRITERS HANNIE DONG, HENNA JETHANI, SONYA JOHN, CYNTHIA KANG, AND KAREN LIN
By Amy Mao & Mala Neti News Editor & Editor-in-Chief The faltering economy has of late brought down the auto industry, raised unemployment rates, and now will even affect admissions into the University of California (UCs) for the 2009-10 school year. In a teleconference on Jan. 14, the Regents, a 26-member organization that oversees the UC system, resolved to implement their plans of curtailing California resident freshmen enrollment by approximately 2,300 students system wide. However, only six UC campuses—Davis, Irvine, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz—will be affected by this new policy. Admission rates at the Berkeley and LA campuses are expected to remain the approximately same, while it may rise at Merced. In a recent press release, UC
President Mark G. Yudof said, “I have always been reluctant to constrain freshman access [...] but the absence of state funding for enrollment growth and continuing budget cuts have left us no choice if we are to protect the quality of the instructional program we offer.” Over the years, funding from the state has not increased with the growing number of applicants. Consequently, UC system presently enrolls 11,000 more students than the state can afford resulting in a $121.8 million deficit. Consequently given, the projected 3 percent growth in freshman applications this coming year, incoming students will be faced with admission offers into fewer of the UC campuses than that of previous years. A student who would have previously been accepted into two campuses, for example, might only
be accepted into one this year. Said Senior Vino Lakshmanan, in response to the new admission policy, “It’s unfair because we’ve been working so hard and we just want to see it pay off.” As the largest graduating class in California history, many collegebound students are preparing to face one of the toughest years of admissions. With an incoming freshman class projected to be 6 percent smaller than previous years, many students are steering away from the UCs and hoping for acceptance into other private universities. “The UC system needs to find a different way other than cutting back admissions,” said Lakshmanan. “The students make up the school; we give them their reputation so we shouldn’t be punished for something that is entirely out of our hands.”▪
“Mind reading” technology on the rise
By Rebecca Gao Staff Writer On January 4, Meghan Frank, the associate producer of 60 Minutes, underwent an unprecedented “instant analysis” brain scan in a real-time experiment to literally “read her mind.” Carnegie-Mellon University neuroscientists Marcel Just and Tom Mitchell managed to merge the already existent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a type of brain scanning procedure that locates areas of the brain that “light up” during thought stimulation, and mass data processing to correctly determine which object the subject is thinking of. Researchers around the globe are currently investigating and building off the technology. This “thought identification” is composed of an experiment in which test subjects thought of ten objects, five tools and five dwellings. The activation patterns and intensities were recorded and analyzed based on the subjects’ interpretations of their interactions with the
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is used to map out the brain.
objects. For example, Just said, “When you think of a screwdriver, you think about how you hold it, how you twist it, what it looks like, what you use it for.” The specific nuances may vary from person to person depending on past experiences with the object in question. Meghan Frank was shown the series of ten objects, such as “apartment” and “hammer” in randomized order and was asked to picture each in her mind for a few seconds. The
corrections •In the article “Kidango and MSJ Spread Holiday Cheer,” it should state that the kids made ornaments for Senior Natasha Gupta. •The recipe in “View From Abhay”
was taken from Senior Azhar Malik. •In the “BCS Breakdown,” the player’s name is Tim Tebow. •The Boys’ Basketball picture was taken by Graphics Editor Cici Cao.
computer then accurately identified the sequence of all ten items. Another application for the fMRI surfaced at the Bernstein Center in Berlin, Germany under neuroscientist John Dylan-Haynes. By analyzing neuron activity, scientists can reveal a person’s familiarity with a certain situation. The subject is conducted through a succession of virtual rooms. During the ensuing fMRI, the subject is then shown several rooms, some of which he has already seen. Said Haynes, “We would be able to tell from your brain activity that you’ve already seen this environment before.” Controversy and ethical issues regarding access have already arrived hand-in-hand with these new discoveries, but Haynes and Just are optimistic about the future of “mind reading” technologies. ▪
Ohlone limits spaces for high school students
By Henna Jethani Staff Writer The community college system is on a devastating road due to the exorbitant budget cuts on education. Proposed midyear budget cuts may reach $332 million from the community college network. With enrollment cuts plaguing the UCs and CSUs, enrollment at the community colleges is on the rise, with no new budget to support it. At Ohlone, 11,640 students enrolled district wide last fall; this fall, 13,439 students enrolled, a 15 percent increase. The Ohlone College system is preparing to implement reforms of its own to offer the educational services of the highest possible degree during this financial crisis. To prevent exceeding the state’s cap on enrollment, Ohlone College plans to reduce the number of courses available in the summer. Mandarin, a popular course for grade school students will probably be moved to Ohlone for Kids where the students must pay tuition for it. Sophomore Carl Gao said, “I attend the Ohlone Mandarin class, and if it got cancelled, I’d be out of luck for my language requirement for graduation. If it was moved to Ohlone for Kids, the tuition would be a hassle for the students.” Senior Charlene Nguyen said, “The effect of the budget cuts on education is very unfortunate. Students should collaborate and voice their opinions about the budget cuts because it will affect the outcome [of the distribution of money].” The exact amount of budget cuts from the community college system is uncertain. Once the legislature releases the amount of funds being cut from the community college system, concrete steps will be made. Prices will not fluctuate for the spring semester; however, the case is uncertain for future semesters. To give the college students priority over the classes, Ohlone plans to limit the number of classes offered to students from grades K-9 in time for the summer session, when approximately 400 to 500 grade school students join the higher education students on the college campus. This rule was also influenced by concerns regarding the safety and maturity of the younger students who are unsupervised on the college campuses as well as involved in English and Art coursework, which reach beyond their curriculum. Course accessibility will not change for students in grades 10 to 12. The restriction will provide the full time college students with better access to classes required for graduation. In an attempt to prevent cancelling classes, the college will only allow classes to run if all of their sections are filled to maximum capacity. There is also the possibility that starting February 1, the state will delay payment for state Cal Grants, which service 42,000 community college students. As a result, community college students will face challenges staying in school. To MSJ’s students, Ohlone College President Dr. Gari Browning said “It’s important for your parents to contact the legislature and urge it not to cut any educational funding.”▪
Monday, January 26, 2009
The Smoke Signal
Gaza conflict reflects long history of strife
In the past three weeks, the Israeli-Gaza dispute has escalated into more than just a conflict between two political parties and now encompasses the humanitarian issues entrenching Gaza. By Sonya John & Cynthia Kang Staff Writers Since Dec. 27, 2008, the skies over the Gaza Strip have been lit up by Israeli rockets that have been raining down bombs. Meanwhile on the other side of the border, in Israel, there has been crude rocket fire from the Palestinian offense. The death toll to date includes over 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis. The long-running conflict had taken a hiatus in the second half of last year during a six-month cease fire, but the conflict resumed by the end of 2008. The unresolved and long-simmering Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the root of the current Gaza crisis. After World War I, the League of Nations granted a mandate, establishing the Gaza strip as a part of Palestine. However, the real conflict
stems from the aftermath of World War II, during which thousands of Jews fled Europe to seek safe haven in Palestine, a densely populated Arab region. In 1947, the United Nations divided Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. Though the Jews approved the plan, the Palestinian Arabs refused to accept the terms. Israel declared its independence in 1948, sparking the Arab-Israeli War, from which Israel emerged as the victor. Subsequently, Israel expanded its territory to include 77 percent of Palestine that it annexed from the war. As a result, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt mobilized Arab nations to retaliate during the Six Year War in 1967, but their efforts were quickly defeated. Consequently, Israel assumed control of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula, and the Golan Heights, which collec-
tively became known as the Occupied Territories. In 1993, Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) began their first attempt at peace negotiations during the Oslo Peace Process in Norway. The plan, also known as the Oslo Accords, detailed an agreement between the two conflicting parties to enable partial autonomy in the occupied regions, thus giving the Palestinians self-government in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. This negotiation proposed a series of steps as a permanent solution that would be carried out over a period of five years. Although this negotiation was a milestone toward peace, many opposed its execution, which resulted in massive, violent riots, killing 29 Palestinians in West Bank. In 1996, Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, rapidly gained politi-
cal power and instigated numerous suicide attacks. This organization staunchly opposes the invasion of Palestine by Israel, and it justifies its violent resistance attacks. In 2003, Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, announced a disengagement plan in which Israel was to relinquish military control over the area and to evacuate civilians from the Gaza Strip. The conditions specified that Israel would continue to maintain aerial and border control. The plan was implemented in 2005, but due to the election of Hamas leaders into the government, it failed to make an impact and ultimately exacerbated issues. Since 2003, Palestine has been polarized between two opposing factions: Fatah, a nationalist political party that ceded its power in 2006 and Hamas, the Islamic Re-
Ceasefire declared in Gaza By Sonya John & Cynthia Kang Staff Writers On January 18, Israel and Hamas declared a ceasefire, putting an end to the 22-day war that claimed the lives of 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis. For the past 18 months Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza, which has had an adverse effect on the region’s economy. Thousands of civilians have been deprived of basic amenities such as electricity and running water. The previously
dilapidated infrastructure in these areas has further collapsed as a result of intense fighting, leaving the civilians with little to live on. About 80 percent of Gaza civilians depend on the limited international aid that is allowed through Israeli border control. The dearth of resources has contributed to the mounting death toll. On January 16, patients were evacuated from the Palestinian Red Crescent Hospital as the building crumbled in flames. A large stock of bandages and other medical supplies were
lost due to the bombing. The UN reported that more than 21,200 civilians have fled their homes to seek haven in make-shift shelters. During the transient cease-fire, civilians cautiously scouted for any available food and necessities at local markets. Two UN schools were bombed, killing 40 people on January 6. Furthermore, on January 9, international aid was halted due to the death of a UN official. As the bloodshed continues unabated after the six-month lull, more than 1,100 Gazan civilians
have perished as a result of Israeli attacks. Hamas is defenseless against the Israeli war machine that invades Gaza, and claims lives on a daily basis. Gaza’s Qassam rockets are no match for Israel’s weapons, most of which have been funded by the U.S. Therefore Palestinians have been resorting to retaliation methods such as suicide bombings and rocket attacks that have killed a little more than ten Israelis. Although Hamas has claimed to have more than 20,000 armed troops, only a
sistance Movement. After Hamas democratically won the election of 2006, the U.S. and the European Union imposed sanctions, which suspended requisite aid to Palestine. Soon after its political victory, Hamas openly declared its refusal to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. Hamas eventually gained control over Gaza, an action that caused its present-day tension with Israel. On June 19, 2008, Egypt brokered a six-month truce between Israel and Hamas, which introduced a brief period of peace and reconstruction. Because the truce was quickly broken by Israel, Hamas did not renew the cease-fire in December. On December 27, Israel commenced its aerial bombardment and ground incursion in the Gaza strip which has resulted in the grave humanitarian crisis that currently exists in Gaza. ▪
graphics editor cici cao
few thousand have been reported capable of combat. Hamas has stated that any peace agreement would entail a cessation of Israeli attacks, an end to the Gaza blockade, and a complete withdrawal of all Israeli troops from the Gaza strip. Although the UN has urged a cease-fire, neither side has agreed to the cessation of hostilities. On January 17, Israeli Prime Minister announced a ceasefire and a day later, Hamas leader declared a weeklong truce. ▪
Obama presents stimulus plan By Tanu Patel Staff Writer It is well known that President Obama will face numerous difficult situations in the years to come, starting with the revitalization of a stagnant economy. In order to get a running start on his term, he has put together, with financial advisor Franklin Raines, the former CEO of Fannie Mae, a stimulus plan to take immediate effect if passed by Congress. The stimulus plan aims to ease the financial burdens of middle class and working families nationwide through bonuses and tax cuts. According to the plan, a $250 tax cut will be made available for all working class families, immediately. However, if, after three months the rate of employment is still on the decline, another $250 will be distributed to ease the squeeze that many families would be feeling. In the long run, this would augment consumer spending. At the same time, low and middle income seniors will also receive $250 in a supplement to their Social Security benefits. Since senior citizens are more likely to spend their bonuses, rather than save them, President Obama expects that this will significantly increase consumer spending and aid in restoring the economy. Additionally, the stimulus package will inject $10 billion into helping responsible homeowners facing foreclosure to either refinance their mortgages or sell their homes. This
will cushion the impact of a national foreclosure crisis and the negative effects it would have on local, state, and national budgets. Keeping in mind that many states are filing budget cuts in areas such as health, education and infrastructure, President Obama also proposes to introduce another $10 billion to aid the local and state governments hit hardest by the housing crisis. This will allow those areas to continue spending and in effect speed up the economy. Lastly, the stimulus package would expand both the Unemployment Insurance program benefits and eligibility so that more people would qualify for greater benefits. In the long run, this will increase consumer spending as more and more unemployed workers are able to get jobs. Surprisingly, the stimulus package has received a cold response from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress. Many Democrats feel that the package isn’t bold enough and needs to focus more on creating jobs and rebuilding the nation’s energy infrastructure. Meanwhile, Republicans are worried about the liberal approach to stimulating the economy, made clear by the rampant spending and tax cuts. However, President Obama and aides are not worried by the criticism the plan has received. David Axelrod, Obama’s senior advisor said, “Obviously, it’s a big answer to a big problem and there are a lot of component parts to it.” ▪
Drama department to travel abroad
By Victoria Gu Staff Writer MSJ’s Drama Department has recently been given the chance to perform in Edinburgh, Scotland at the American High School Theatre Festival (AHSTF) in August 2010. The AHSTF is a complement to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest performing arts festival. Identified as one of the top high school theater programs in the country, MSJ’s Drama Department was one of the 30 schools nominated and one of 12 schools chosen for the honor. Schools are judged on their recent work, awards, community involvement, program philosophies, and recommendations. During the festival, the city of
they will attend a West End Theatre performance, a guided tour of the British capitol, and receive lessons from English actors. Afterwards, the group will head to Edinburgh where they will perform four runs of an original production and enjoy all that Edinburgh and the Festival Fringe has to offer. AHSTF, which is dedicated to giving students the full experience of theater in the United Kingdom, will provide transportation fees while the group stays in the country as well as Festival Fringe passes. Senior Drew Williams, who played the lead role of Bobby Child in “Crazy for You” said, “It’s an amazing feeling to know that you’ve touched people halfway across the world.” ▪
courtesy anne riley
Farewell to a few customers at low prices. In 2005, Mervyn’s was the 83rd largest retailer in the United States. The company began closing stores in late 2006 and had dramatically dropped its store count by 2007. In July 2008 Mervyn’s filed for bankruptcy and began liquidating assets on October 17, citing financial distress and the recession as contributing causes of
Edinburgh shuts down for three weeks and hosts over 1000 performing companies from around the world. All actors and scenic artists involved with the 2008 spring musical “Crazy for You” – graduates and current students alike – are invited to attend. “I was absolutely flabbergasted at the honor. I am so proud of the kids,” said Drama Teacher Anne Riley, who is also the Artistic Director for Universal Performers. “This is a different type of theater company; the kids have to do a lot of work on their own. So, the learning curve is set much higher – to receive such a prestigious honor is phenomenal.” For the first two days, the students will stay in London, where
Members of MSJ’s spring musical “Crazy for You” were chosen to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Corporate collapse By Vidya Mahavadi & Jerry Ting News Editor & Graphics Editor Mervyn’s (1949-2008) Mervin G. Morris founded Mervyn’s in San Lorenzo, CA, on July 29, 1949. Mervyn’s was a department store that aimed to provide common products such as clothing, bedding, and footwear to
The Smoke Signal Monday, January 26, 2009
its closing. Circuit City (1949-2009) Originally named Wards Company, Circuit City began serving customers in the electronics sector in 1949. The first Circuit City was opened in Richmond Virginia by Samuel S. Wurtzel. Over the 60 years Circuit City has been operating, it has expanded to 567 stores in the US and 765 stores in Canada. Circuit City announced its liquidation on Jan. 16, 2009, and began its liquidation sales as early as Jan. 17, 2009. CEO Herb Greenberg, hopes to have all liquidation sales done by March. While Circuit City’s stores in the US are closing, stores in Canada will remain open. Approximately 34,000 associates will be losing their jobs. Steve & Barry’s (1985-2008) Founded by Steven Shore and Barry Prevor in 1985, Steve & Barry’s was originally a university book and gift store. It became a popular destination among students and was soon opened in many university campuses. In 1998, Steve & Barry’s began advertising their private label attire. After expanding to various locations across the country, fiscal problems started arising due to a lack of sufficient profits. In July 2008, the retailer filed for bankruptcy and started closing down all their branches. The last Steve & Barry’s closed at the Manhattan Mall on Jan. 14, 2009. ▪
Youth Protection Ordinace enforced By Michelle Chu Staff Writer Students have only recently become aware of the Youth Protection Ordinance, although it was passed by the City Council approximately four years ago. The code states that it is illegal for any student under the age of 18, who is required to attend school, to remain on streets, places of amusement, and any public grounds during school hours. Exceptions are given to students who are accompanied by a parent, or have permission to leave school for lunch. The code also gives officers the right to detain students who violate this code and issue them a citation for the infraction. If caught violating the Youth Protection Ordinance, the student will be issued a traffic citation and charged a fee depending on how many times the offense has been committed. On the first offense, the student will be charged $75 by the school. However, after the mandatory trip to court, the fines will reach a grand total of $286. The second offense will start at $150 and reach $500, and the third offense will begin at $250 and add up to $800. The Youth Protection Ordinance provides a comprehensive program in hopes of dealing with the problems associated with juveniles not attending school. Initially organized by Police Officer Terry Sasser, the ordinance has been established at all schools in the city of
Fremont. The ordinance is a result of statistics which show that minors who don’t maintain a regular attendance at school lead to an increase of crime rates in the city. With this rule, the Fremont City Council aspires to hold kids accountable for their misconduct while decreasing the amount of truancies at school. At Irvington High School, police officers stick strictly to the Youth Protection Ordinance and issue students citations accordingly for being caught off school grounds during hours that school is in session. “Knowing that there will be severe punishments the first time they violate the Ordinance makes students think twice about cutting school,” states an Irvington Police Officer Sanders, “It also decreases the truancy rate since kids know that there are no second chances for skipping school.” Officer Martinez takes a different approach to the Youth Protection Ordinance and sees it as a code to keep kids safe and out of trouble. “If I see a student off-campus doing drugs or drinking during school hours, I’ll write them up and issue them a citation adhering to the Youth Protection Ordinance, but if they’re cutting class just to hang around, I’ll bring them in and give them a Saturday school,” she says. No matter who is doling out the punishments, students should be aware that ditching class for just a day could result in not only a trip to the office, but also a trip to court. ▪
Monday, January 26, 2009 The Smoke Signal
Mission San Jose High School Est. 1964 Vol. 44, No. 5 | January 26, 2009
Editors-in-Chief Sophie Diao, Mala Neti News Vidya Mahavadi, Amy Mao Opinion Julia Harrell, Marianna Mao Feature Lena Liu, Hannah Scobel Centerspread Amanda Kwan, Natalie Yang A&E Vicraj Gill, Eric Sun Sports Ryan Tanakit, Audrey Tseng Graphics Cici Cao, Jerry Ting Web Raymond Chou, Lucy Liu Tech Abhay Malik, Albert Yuan Ads Rebecca Gao, Sargunjot Kaur Business Victoria Gu Circulation Derek Yueh Events Megan Bernstein, Clara Ma Copy Editors Sandhya Chandrasekaran, Sonya John, Cynthia Kang, Tanu Patel, Anastassia Tselikova, Jane Wang
Writers & Photographers Andre Abrahamians, Monica Chen, Victor Chen, Christine Cheng, Michelle Chu, Ankur Dhar, Hannie Dong, Michael Feuerman, Peter Gao, Alissa Gwynn, Niku Jafarnia, Henna Jethani, Karen Lin, Yvonne Lin, Gina Liu, Joseph Teng, Elisa Ting, Anthony Wu, Jonathan Ye, Jordan Zhang
Adviser Sandra Cohen Send letters to the editor to opinion@the smokesignal.org. Letters under 300 words may be considered for publication and must include a full name and school affiliation. The Smoke Signal reserves the right to edit for clarity and length.
To advertise in the Smoke Signal, e-mail email@example.com. Advertising that is included on the pages of, or carried within, the Smoke Signal, is paid advertising, and as such is independent of the news and feature content.
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Jules of Wisdom
Inform Students of Their Rights
Political correctness glosses over reality
41717 Palm Ave. Fremont, CA 94539 (510) 657-3600
By Julia Harrell Opinion Editor
Picture this scenario. You’re walking to class when, suddenly, you’re stopped by the campus resource officer and asked to answer a few questions. Confused and slightly scared, you agree and follow them into the office where they proceed to rifle through your backpack and interrogate you. Seem like an illegal activity on the part of the administration? It’s not. Until about two weeks ago, I, like many public school students, thought that I was protected by the 4th amendment while on campus. After Officer Teresa Martinez made a presentation to my government class on 4th amendment rights, however, that myth was dispelled from my mind. The 4th amendment is a constitutional right that protects all citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. While all rights granted to citizens of the United States (including the 4th amendment) are applicable regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, or age, many of them only loosely apply to public school students. Unfortunately, no reasonable effort is made to inform MSJ students of this fact. In the MSJ Student Handbook, there is no mention of student rights regarding administrationconducted searches of student property. This information is only briefly outlined in the Parent and Student Handbook and Notice of Rights and Responsibilities that is pub-
lished by the FUSD. The handbook states that students can be searched if there is “reasonable belief ” that “illegal, dangerous or inappropriate objects” will be found. Such guidelines seem relatively reasonable at first. However, “reasonable” is a term that can be molded and loosely thrown around when it comes to the investigation of minors. In a 2002 ruling by the Supreme Court in the case of Pottawatomie County v. Earls, the court determined that “securing order in the school environment sometimes requires that students be subjected to greater controls than those appropriate for adults.” Rulings such as this are said to be protecting students and preserving a calm educational atmosphere but in essence are grossly discriminatory on the basis of age. Why should high school students be subject to looser restrictions in property searches than adults? While maintaining a safe campus is an understandable goal, students need to be properly informed that they do not have the same rights on campus as adults do in the real world. Instead of having a small section on student rights in a handbook that no one reads, the administration should give a presentation to all incoming freshmen and let them know that they are not fully protected by the Bill of Rights while on a public school campus. Better they be informed than arrested. ▪ Send letters to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org
No Excuse for Booze Abuse By Megan Bernstein & Alissa Gwynn Staff Writers
Flipping through the channels on TV, one commercial seems to be played over and over again-the drunk driving commercial advocated by the US Department of Transportation. The 30-second clip depicts several drivers with cars filled, quite literally, with alcohol. The sad fact is that it is hardly an exaggeration. Each year, drunk drivers account for the greatest percentages of accidents on the road. Although the California Highway Patrol has increased its sobriety checkpoints and patrols, these measures haven’t been enough to significantly decrease the number of drunk driving accidents. Though trying to prevent drunk driving accidents from happening is ideal, the fact of the matter is that there will always be people who get hammered and decide to pick up the keys. The only way to truly make an impact on the drunk driving epidemic is to amplify the consequences for those who have chosen to commit the crime. Driving while intoxicated is an irresponsible choice that results in fatalities and should be treated as just that. It is not a matter of if, but when, a fatality will occur. When someone makes the choice to drive while intoxicated, it isn’t much different from deciding to take someone’s life. No matter what the circumstances are, fatal car accidents are a direct result of the choice to drive drunk. Some state attorneys have taken the matter into their own hands in trying to bring about greater change. In New York, district attorneys have pushed for drunk drivers who kill others to be charged with not only manslaughter, but first degree murder, a much more serious charge. And rightly so, for in the 10-year span
between 1996 and 2006, DUI fatalities hardly wavered from 13,470 deaths to 13,451 deaths. By proving that drivers intentionally drove with complete indifference to human life, the state can then press higher charges in the hopes of dispelling future and repeat offenders. Although the number of alcohol related deaths has slowly decreased from approximately 26,173 in 1982 to 15,829 in 2006, the change has not been accelerating nearly rapidly enough in comparison to the lives being taken. By implementing a more severe charge for DUI fatalities, drivers will be more greatly dissuaded from driving while intoxicated, thus saving many innocent lives. Every 39 minutes, somebody is killed due to an alcohol-impaired driving crash. Every 39 minutes, innocent lives are sacrificed and families are ripped apart. Drunk driving is a gamble with human life. There is no doubt that courts must implement more severe consequences to prevent these tragic accidents and provide justice to those lives which are torn apart by ignorance and apathy. ▪
By Marianna Mao Opinion Editor
A recent survey conducted by TheBabyWebsite.com pinpoints the latest politically correct trend: at bedtime, more and more parents are abandoning offensive traditional fairy tales like Cinderella and Rapunzel in favor of more “appropriate” stories. Perhaps if the Brothers Grimm had been more thoughtful and referred to Snow White’s dwarves as the Seven Vertically Challenged but Otherwise Normal People, this wouldn’t be happening. Political correctness is part of a bigger movement in America, a futile tendency to try to conceal rather than fix the ugly truths of reality. The desire to protect children from disturbing realities about subjects such as racism and drug abuse is understandable, but all too often, political correctness is used as an excuse for censorship. Songs with political messages about poverty, gangs, and drugs are labeled as dangerous and slapped with parent labels advising of explicit content; abstinence-only sex education is taught in public schools even though statistics show that teaching students about contraceptives and safe sex is much more effective. Recently, I have heard pro-Israel students around campus defend the death of hundreds of civilians in the Gaza strip: “Collateral damage is inevitable in any war.” It’s true, but it also highlights another gross incongruity in American culture. Despite our desperate attempts
to filter out “offensive” material, violence is ubiquitous, and we’ve become inured to it. The entertainment industry and the media has exploited the concept of death and maiming to the point where it has become something comically melodramatic. We weep over the death of a fallen soldier in Black Hawk Down or the end of a romance in The Notebook, yet remain unperturbed when confronted with reallife statistics about the number of people who have died in Darfur or the number of children left parentless in Gaza. Maybe we need to see the gritty side of reality more often; if we did, we would hardly be so complacent about “collateral damage.” Most Americans are so removed, both physically and culturally, from death and suffering that they cannot grasp what headlines like “Ten dead in suicide bombing” entail. In the 60’s, the media did not shy away from publishing explicit photos of the destruction brought about by the Vietnam War. Death was on display, and it forced people to confront the consequences of their country’s actions—to question their leaders. This is no longer the case today. Of course, sensationalist stories and macabre images are just as dangerous as striving to always be “appropriate” and “politically correct.” There is a middle ground, and we must find it. There are some grim truths we should not conceal. The reality of war is one of them. ▪ Send letters to the editor to email@example.com
The Smoke Signal
A High Price for College Admissions The opinion of the Smoke Signal Editorial Board Services offering help on the college admissions process are becoming popular at many Bay Area schools, and MSJ is no exception. These college counseling services may range from advising seniors on how to fill out their college applications to helping underclassmen choose extracurriculars. They often come with hefty price tags and are intended to help students get into the college of their choice. While there is nothing wrong with paying for private counseling services, some firms cross the line by essentially writing essays for their students. It is the opinion of the Smoke Signal editorial board that the students who shell out thousands for these essay-writing services abuse a system based on trust, devalue the effort of their peers, and widen the educational gap between socioeconomic classes. On the condition of anonymity, MSJ Senior Jack* spoke to the Smoke Signal about his experience at one such firm. Jack paid $5000 for a “guaranteed UC Berkeley admission” service. According to Jack, his service “wrote my senior questionnaire for me and told me to give it to my counselor. Afterwards, they gave me a brainstorm of what I should target in my essay and told me to give them essay drafts. I would give them a draft, and they would correct and return it for rewriting. They ended up changing my essay so that I couldn’t even recognize it anymore. They made up
names and made up stories.” College essays are supposed to be an embodiment of the writer’s voice and character. For students who have spent hours fine-tuning their writing, their essay is a labor of love, something with which they hope to catch the attention of a tired admissions officer. When students buy professional essays, the effort put into applications by their peers is cheapened. Unfortunately, because the college application system is woefully easy to manipulate, it is up to each student to monitor their own behavior and apply honestly. Some colleges are starting to look at the SAT I Writing section essays to gauge whether an applicant has cheated on an essay or not, but it is difficult to judge someone’s level of writing from a sample written in 20 minutes. The students who really do need help representing themselves to colleges are unlikely to be able to af-
Re: Issue 4, “Person of the Year: Robert Mugabe.” Bobby Mugabe is not the person of the year. Relinquishing what little power he had left to an opponent who would’ve deposed him if he hadn’t is not what people of the year do. It’s what dictators in their final years do. His earlier political history, as well, shows us his prejudices and lust for power. His own government requisitioned white-owned farms and drove the whites out of the country. His government printed trillions upon trillions of Zimbabwean dollars, causing the hyper-inflation mentioned in your article. He blames some of the worst economic conditions in the world on the remnants of European colonization, and blames homosexuals for the moral decay in his country (homosexuals not existing in Africa before Europeans brought them along, of course). He has attempted a power-sharing deal before in the 1970s which led to little other than a new name. So, why Mugabe? Why not Barack Obama? Your audience should know that Mugabe will not change, and though the hope of it is enticing, it is not enough to call him anything but what he is: a tyrant. -Andrew Taber (12) Re: Issue 4, “ASB Oversteps Bounds.” It is very easy to sit in front of your laptop and type away what “ASB should have done.” Unfortunately, you are mistaken as to who ASB is; the Associated Student Body, as its name indicates, includes every student at MSJHS, not just leadership II. Thus, there were no non-ASB students that had to get up at 5:30 A.M.; EVERY student at MSJ is PART of ASB, and responsible for our school. First, during homecoming week, we mandated that all clubs must participate in green and white day. This years green and white day, with the help of hundreds of ASB MSJ students was amazing- and constantly mentioned to be one of the best MSJ has ever seen, all thanks to to the mention of fines. In past years, students have failed to do simple things like donate cans, unless under the influence of extra credit. So this year, we mentioned fines for the can drive, and yet again, this year’s can drive was THE MOST SUCCESSFUL can drive MSJ has EVER SEEN— collecting more than 5,000 cans. Could this have been possible without fines? Possibly, but if leadership II has to take these measures to collect cans for hungry, homeless people, than that is what we will do. If this really does bother you, perhaps next time you should write to the students and encourage them to donate and participate without being forced to. Many “smokies” can be spotted saying that leadership II needs to calm down about the article, and that it wasn’t a big deal. To the people who spend hours planning these events, it IS a big deal when a newspaper slanders perfectly successful events. Anyway, we will continue to put on amazing events that you will write about and take pictures of. Have fun filling the pages of your newspaper with our unforgettable work. After all, even bad publicity is publicity! -Natasha Gupta (12)
ford such costly college counseling. Even cheap essay-editing services like essayedge.com cost hundreds of dollars for just one edit; students struggling to pay their application fees simply have no recourse. Just as high SAT and AP test scores can be bought with money poured into prep classes and test books, it seems that college essays and shiny resumes can now be purchased for thousands of dollars. If a student can’t even write a coherent essay or is unwilling to spend a few weekends working on applications, he or she will be illprepared for college. Intelligence, independence, and self-motivation are required to survive in the real world; students who resort to buying their way into college should ask themselves what they will do when the high school bubble bursts and their parents’ wallets are no longer available. ▪ *Name changed to protect anonymity
MSJ Misrepresented By Rebecca Gao
staff writer peter gao
Monday, January 26, 2009
On January 4, the San Jose Mercury News published a front-page article that highlighted the December 2007 SOS survey and focused on pressure from Asian parents as the main cause of stress at MSJ. Naturally, extreme parents who push their children over the edge exist. But why play the race factor? While parental expectations may be partially responsible for MSJ’s stress levels, it is certainly not the only factor. We also actively contribute to the problem ourselves, since many students procrastinate and complete homework the day it’s due. At lunch, people scramble to complete French packets or copy math homework from each other.
students quoted were members of SOS, and, ironically, the 2007 survey was yet another “test.” MSJ students stress over grades, but other schools have more pressing issues which contribute to stress, like gangs, drugs, or alcohol. In these cases, we may have the easier situation. The article also embellished MSJ’s “[decision] to tackle the pressure head on” by listing “new reforms” such as the chimerical “signs in classrooms inviting students to share their concerns.” The testing schedule is touted as a promising “recent” proposal which all teachers actually follow, and the overplayed block scheduling angle is thrown in. In actuality, the testing schedule is often ignored, and a block sched-
aim toward success not because “ We [of ] our parents, but rather because we know what we are capable of.
The central issue is the social atmosphere. When our friends receive A’s or set the curves on tests, we try to outdo or at least match up to them. Emphasis is placed on acceptance into prestigious colleges, and the surefire route is through academic achievement. But even with this pressure, the notion that “most of [the students] are crying ‘SOS!’ deep inside their hearts” as the article states is, quite frankly, ridiculous. It is too early now to tell if SOS is truly the “savior”of our school. Additionally, all the
ule has been proposed for years but never implemented. We aim toward our definition of success not because our parents expect us to, but rather because we know what we are capable of. We are driven by our own ambitions. Not everyone at MSJ is an intensely stressed-out teenager coerced by his/her parents into perfection. There is a middle ground, but the media just seem to glaze over it. Our high Asian demographic shouldn’t ostracize us, nor make us a target of racial stereotyping. ▪
Policing the Police
By Sargun Kaur Staff Writer
The recent Oakland shooting of Oscar Grant marks the second death by the hands of a police officer in the past year. The victims in these shootings were unarmed, and there should have been no reason for an officer to bring out his or her gun and certainly no excuse for the fatal shot to be fired, especially in Grant’s case who was helplessly pinned face down by three officers at the time prior to the shooting. Disturbingly, in many cases of police violence or negligence, officers end up not facing charges, even though they fail to provide adequate justification for their life-threatening actions. In 2008, Maryland officer Kenneth W. Parrish had four DUI incidents within a one-year span, even falling asleep behind the wheel and getting involved in a hitand-run before he was finally suspended. A distrust of government and its police seems to be a reasonable response. Police brutality has become rampant across the country. Documentation by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), National Lawyers Guild, and other groups report at least 20 questionable police aggression incidents in California alone. It is evident that the harm inflicted by police brutality upon social order is unnecessary and unacceptable. Yet too many of American cities’ “finest men” have become bullies—taking out their frustration, racial hatred, and contempt on the less fortunate and
Protestors chant, “Please don’t shoot!” in a rally organized after Oscar Grant’s death.
defenseless citizens of society, who for some reason or another “rubbed” the officers in the wrong way. The “us-versus-them” racist police mentality has progressed from a job of protecting and serving citizens into one where every citizen is “guilty until proven innocent” and therefore subject to taser torturing, physical beatings, and outright life-threatening assault in the name of a standard method of “proving innocence.” The general attitude preserved by the police officers for their laissez-faire public aloofness is “they probably deserved it.” Police violence is a violation of civil rights. Yes, police have to instill a bit of fear into their citizens to maintain their power, but they certainly have no right to violate the law in order to enforce it. On paper the type of force permitted is written clearly, but a more stringent enforcement of these rules is needed. The qualifications of a competent police officer should not
end with passing fitness tests and having satisfactory first aid experience, but also include succeeding in making acceptable moral splitsecond decisions in times of great stress and trepidation. A bad judgment call like the use of a weapon can very much cost someone their life. What it comes down to is not if an officer can shoot a firearm or run fast after a robber, but if they can eradicate the potential harm or threat with minimal damage to society. Officers may be influenced to act upon their own biases when dealing with suspects. However, a police officer must look at every criminal or felon with an untainted eye, regardless of the suspects’ race, class, or behavior. Stricter rules and higher degrees of accountability are needed to make sure that on the streets, officers separate their emotions from their actions, especially when it comes to dealing with the outcome of a life. ▪
Monday, January 26, 2009 The Smoke Signal
Israeli Invasion Justified versus Airstrikes Went Overboard By Karen Lin
By Joseph Teng
For the past several weeks, since attacks resumed between Hamas and Israel after a six-month truce, Israel has come under heavy fire from the international community for its airstrikes and ground invasion in the Gaza Strip. Their actions have been denounced as Zionist terrorism and blatant violations of international humanitarian law, but while the Israeli government has not conducted its operation in the most desirable manner, it does have the right to take action in order to protect its citizens.
Israeli air strikes have now been pounding the Gaza Strip for weeks.
Throughout the previous six-month ceasefire, an agreement in which attacks were to be stopped completely, over 140 rockets and mortars were launched from Gaza into southern Israeli cities. Though a single rocket would have been just cause for Israel to abandon the ceasefire and retaliate, Israel continued its efforts to maintain peace amidst criticisms for its blockade to the strip. Those too proved baseless, for Israel had originally planned to reopen border crossings as a sign of goodwill for the ceasefire but was quickly forced into a position where such an action could only elevate the risk of danger for its own citizens. Just five days after the ceasefire agreement, rockets were fired into an Israeli border town,
and Israel’s decision to keep its borders closed was an appropriate and justified response. Unfairly, accusations continue to be directed at only Israel and completely bypass neighboring Egypt, who also cut off access to the strip back in 2007 in order to prevent fighting from spilling over and has yet to fully reopen its borders. Many have made Israel out to be the villain in the recent conflict when in actuality, Israel is rightfully taking steps for the defense of its people while attempting to limit injuries to innocent Palestinians. The Israeli military is making as much effort as possible to limit danger to Gaza citizens, including the usage of leaflets and radio broadcasts, warning residents to flee or take cover, and focusing on targeting only Hamas leaders and militants. The same, however, cannot be said for the opposing side. Since Hamas’ refusal for an extension of the ceasefire, more than 500 projectiles have been fired into Israeli homes, schools, shopping centers, and the like, wounding and killing civilians without regard. In such circumstances, it is not just the right but the duty of a country to protect its people from a very real and significant threat. To prevent Israel from retaliating against Hamas means leaving a defenseless populace in jeopardy and constitutes a betrayal of the government against the suffering of its citizens. It is altogether far too easy and convenient to lay the blame on Israel, especially when the number of Palestinian casualties exceeds Israeli counts. However, the situation must be looked at in its entirety. Damages are not to be considered in terms of numbers; every human life is equally important, and to label one side as right and the other wrong merely because of statistics, however terrible and large they may be, is erroneous. Israel’s activities in the Gaza Strip have resulted in the loss of life, but it is a necessary action for the Israeli government to take in order to fulfill their obligation to their people. ▪
In times when national security is at risk, the government has the duty to protect and care for the welfare of its people. People may thus justify that Israel is right in responding with heavy military force against the rocket attacks launched by the Hamas group, but justify this: is Israel correct in slaughtering hundreds of innocent civilians in retaliation? I thought that Israel was fighting the Hamas militants, not the Gazan residents. Since the IAF (Israeli Air Force) fired the first shot and initiated several bombing runs on Gaza that killed over 225 people and wounded hundreds more in a single day, the Gazan death toll has escalated incredibly. Casualties are always to be expected during wars, but for Israel to bar the Red Cross from immediately assisting civilians and soldiers is simply inhumane. Israel did allow paramedics to cross into certain areas several days after the attacks, but for many of the victims, the help arrived much too late. To add to the suffering, people were forced to endure days without food and water while living in abysmal conditions. Not only has Israel failed to maintain standards of humanity, but it hasn’t grasped the fact that its actions have contributed negatively to the already inflamed Middle Eastern situation. Israel has failed to calmly examine the conflict from all angles before rashly mobilizing its entire army and throwing it at Gaza. Although Hamas has launched lethal rockets into parts of Israel, there were not nearly enough Israeli deaths to justify using the full force of the Israeli army, especially when any future missiles could be intercepted and destroyed harmlessly. There are better ways to stop the attacks without completely re-igniting an already shaky situation between the feuding Palestinian and Israeli countries. In addition, if Israel hadn’t decided to strike back in such an aggressive manner, it would have gained stronger support from
Protesters gather outside the Israeli Consulate in protest of Israel’s attack on the Gaza strip.
other countries and Hamas would have been forced to back off as a result of international political pressure. By fiercely retaliating against Hamas’ attacks, Israel is restoring deterrence by inflicting exponentially more than the suffering and damage that it has received. However, this strategy is not working. Hamas continues to use Gazan civilians as shields, and even though Israel isn’t discouraged by this tactic, Hamas continues to throw Gazans into the line of fire. Israel’s ultimate goal, which is to prevent arms smuggling between Gaza and Egypt and to stop attacks from Hamas, is unfortunately nowhere in sight. Because Israel threw itself heedlessly into the fire, the Middle Eastern situation is becoming all the more tense. For the past hundred years, due to religious differences and conflicts over the land which was granted to them by the League of Nations after the Holocaust, Israel has explosively alienated itself from its Arabic neighbors through events such as the Six Years War. By blowing everything out of proportion in this conflict, Israel is ever widening the rift between itself and its allies–the US, Europe, and moderate Arab states–and enemies such as Hamas and Hezbollah, who are determined to fight it out to the very end. ▪
The Smoke Signal
Monday, January 26, 2009
Summer Opportunities Knocking By Yvonne Lin Staff Writer
The blustering winds and biting chill are hardly reminiscent of the dog days of summer, but even without appropriately complementary weather, the time to think about summer has come. Whether you enjoy a well-deserved break from work, take classes at Ohlone, or find a job, summer is the perfect opportunity to try something different from the typical activities of your school year. Here are a few ideas: Leadership in the Business World (LBW) From June 28 to July 25, 60 rising seniors will be able to design their own business plans, learn modern leadership techniques, and engage in class discussion about economics and management. Under the esteemed roof of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, these students will hone their flair for entrepreneurship while learning from Wharton faculty members and corporate leaders. Deadline: Mar. 14, 2009 Age requirement: Current juniors For more information, visit www.undergrad. wharton.upenn.edu/precollege/lbw. The Kenyon Review Young Writer’s Workshop If you seek an in-depth study of the creative process, then this two-week program at Kenyon College is an optimal place to find it. Surrounded by like-minded individuals, you can develop deft management of language as well as discover your personal message to the world. In small workshop groups, writers have the opportunity to practice a large range of writing styles, techniques, and composition types. Deadline: Mar. 1, 2009 Age requirement: 16-18 years
For more information, visit www.kenyonreview.org/workshops-ywinfo.php. Bezos Scholars Program @ the Aspen Institute Every year, global leaders find themselves gravitating to the Aspen Ideas Festival for a week of intellectual exchange, and 12 talented students are chosen to participate in this discussion of significant contemporary ideas and issues. From June 29 to July 5, the Bezos scholars are privy to the motivating experience of concentrated innovation – where they may unearth the inspiration to create local Ideas Festivals. Deadline: Feb. 15, 2009 Age requirement: Current juniors For more information, visit www.bezosfamilyfoundation.org/scholars/index.html.
The Performing Arts Institute of Wyoming Seminary provides a professional atmosphere for musicans.
The Bezos Scholars Program Institute is headquartered in Aspen, Colorado.
Performing Arts Institute of Wyoming Seminary (PAI) For musicians, thespians, and dancers, PAI is practically paradise on earth. The
how to beat the sniffles By Monica Chen Staff Writer
“Achoo!” It’s time to watch out for our “friend” that has always managed to find us and make us feel miserable no matter where we are. Luckily, here are some tips that can help you overcome the flu season. How to Prevent the Cold: Tip #1: Go get your flu shot or influenza shot. There are many places where you can get it for an affordable price.
program duration is up to the applicant’s discretion; it is offered as a three, five, or sixweek experience. The daily regimen is different depending on the track you specialize in, but they share the same intense, professional atmosphere. All three concentrations culminate in performances open to the public. Deadline: May 1, 2009 (audition required) Age requirement: 12-18 years For more information, visit www.wyomingseminary.org/pai/index.htm. Pre-College Summer Studio
the weakening of the immune system. In fact, exercise also strengthens the immune system. Tip #6: Keep your bottle of hand sanitizer close to you. Wash your hands often especially after shaking hands with others and before eating.
Tip #2: Drink your eight ounces of water. This will allow you to stay hydrated and rid the poison from your body. One way to know if you are drinking enough is check the color of your urine: if it is bright yellow, you better drink more water! cdn.overstock.com
Burgeoning artists should find all their creative inclinations satisfied as they live their craft at a five-week program sponsored by the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. The interdisciplinary core curriculum runs the gamut from painting to video, ensuring a solid foundation in all artistic disciplines. In addition to learning in small groups, students also receive personal attention from a mentor in the Master of Fine Arts Program. Deadline: Mar. 31, 2009 (portfolio re-
Tip #3: Consume natural antibiotics that strengthen your immune system such as garlic and foods that are rich in Vitamin C. Orange and cranberry juice are perfect choices. Tip #4: Make sure you get plenty of rest. By resting, you allow your body to recover from damages and the immune system to do its work at maximum activeness. Tip #5: Don’t just sit all day long. Go exercise and get some fresh air! Exercising helps relieve stress, which is a top contributor to
Rock paper scissors has been around since the dawn of mankind, and remains the most popular form of settling disputes to this day. From the invention of rock by our caveman ancestors to the American Revolution, rock paper scissors will always remain the great method for solving any problem, no matter how small, and provides a great alternative for those too lazy to fetch a coin from their pockets. But did you know it is actually an intense game of strategy that some people play for thousands of dollars worldwide? (Don’t worry, they wear silly costumes to compensate for the lull.) The strategy behind rock paper scissors exists for a few simple reasons. To a computer, the odds of throwing either rock, paper, or scissors is an even one in three. But for
Tip #2: Drink warm fluids such as tea or soup for temporary relief and to help you stay warm. Tip #3: Can’t stand your sore, scratchy throat? Add 1/2 spoon of salt to warm water and gargle it. This will help relieve your sore throat. Tip #4: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, which will help boost your immune system. Tip #5: Before you go to bed, rub some vapor rub to relieve congestion. Tip #6: Rest well to give your body some time to fight the cold. Get well soon! ▪
Program in Mathematics for Young Students (PROMYS) PROMYS promises six weeks of intensive advanced mathematics, number theory, and mathematical discovery at Boston University. A step up from high school problem sets, students at PROMYS are challenged to explore the creative aspect of mathematics. From June 28 to August 8, students will participate in advanced seminars and exploration projects, coupled with field trips to the MIT Museum and more. Deadline: Rolling; final deadline – May 30, 2009 Age requirement: 14 years minimum For more information, visit www.promys. org. ▪
By Michael Feuerman Staff Writer
How to Deal With A Cold: Tip #1: Again, drink lots of water.
The Clark Scholars Program Located at Texas Tech University, this seven-week program provides research opportunities in a vast variety of fields, from chemical engineering to romance languages to music to wildlife management. Not only do students gain one-on-one, practical research experience under the guidance of Texas Tech faculty, but they also attend weekly seminars, field trips, and discussions. Deadline: Mar. 6, 2009 Age requirement: Current juniors and seniors For more information, visit www.clarkscholars.ttu.edu.
Rock Paper Scissors: The Game Theory
Hand sanitizer helps kill germs that could lead to illness.
Make sure to drink plenty of water to stay healthy.
quired) Age requirement: 16-18 years For more information, visit www.smfa. edu/Continuing_Education/Pre_College_Summer_Studio/Index.asp.
graphics editor cici cao
a human, nothing is ever truly random, and as a result, professionals can form strategies based around their opponent’s method of play. In fact, you want to form strategies ahead of time yourself, to prevent any obvious tells. Knowing what to play next can also be beneficial to avoid falling into subconscious patterns. Rock paper scissors is often divided up into gambits, or three successive moves designed with strategic intent. There are eight major gambits and 19 lesser ones. The eight are the Avalanche (three rocks), the Bureaucrat (three papers), the Crescendo (p,s,r), the Denouement (r,s,p), Fistful o’ Dollars (r,p,p), Paper Dolls (p,s,s), Scissor Sandwich (p,s,p), and the Toolbox (three scissors). You can use these gambits (or employ some of your own) to form linked chains and a deadly strategy. For example, I might play rock, scissors, paper, scissors, paper, a combination of the Denouement and a Scissor Sandwich. Just go with what works. Here’s a few more tips to ensure your victory. Scissors is the least common throw, only done about 29.3 percent of the time. So if you don’t know what to do next, go with paper. Never open with rock, all experienced players will throw paper. Of course then, against an experienced player, you throw scissors. It’s up to you to determine which is which. Suggesting a throw or announcing your next throw are great ways to psych out your opponent. And remember to think one step ahead. Play the throw that would have lost you the last throw. Crazy, but you’d be surprised how often it works. And now you’re ready to take on anyone in the school and rule as the supreme leader of conflict solving. I challenge you right now! Rock, paper, scissors! What did you play, scissors? Dang. I guess that’s the disadvantage to playing in a newspaper. ▪
Monday, January 26, 2009
The Smoke Signal
Can I Get Yo’ Number?
Dear Diary: “A” for Effort
By Hannah Scobel Feature Editor
By Peter Gao Staff Writer
With the end of January comes February, and with February comes Valentine’s Day. Every year, countless people are left without a Valentine, but this year you aren’t going to be one of those people, all thanks to this list of top ten pick up lines.
When in doubt, sting them with a bit of old fashioned honesty. Maybe they’ll feel so sad and lonely after hearing this that they’ll give you a chance.
5. I wish I were adenine because then I would be paired with U. Corny but cute, this 10. You know what? Your eyes are the geeky pick-up line is a sure fire way to get a same color as my Porche. This beauty is ef- date, if you happen to be shopping in the scifective because not only does it flatter the in- ence department that is. dividual of interest, but it also clues them in to just how big your wallet is. Money doesn’t 4. I think something is wrong with my buy love, but it sure couldn’t hurt in getting a auto-aim. I can’t take my eyes off of you. date or two. This guarantees you a date if you’re looking for a significant other that will be alright with 9. With weapons, I just need to hit the spending your first date owning you in Halo. “X” button to pick them up. Does the same work for you? Good luck finding exactly 3. If I was sin2 theta and you were cos2 what the “X” button is on a person, but re- theta together we would be one. If you’re the gardless, this line gives a person a real taste of kind of person who’s searching for someone where your strong point is: gaming. And who who shares your superior intelligence, then doesn’t find gamers hot? this is the perfect line to use to weed out the stupid ones. If they get it, they’ll think it’s 8. I bet you $20 that you’re going to turn cute and say yes. If they don’t and therefore me down. Maybe you get lucky, and maybe reject you, you wouldn’t want to date them you just happen to be trying to pick up a very anyway. competitive person. But even if that isn’t the case, worse comes to worse and you do get 2. You must be an asymptote, because I rejected. You still walk away with $20. just find myself getting closer and closer to you. Depending on the tone of voice used, 7. If we were enzymes, I’d be helicase so this could be either very creepy or very effecI could unzip your genes. Completely clever tive, and depending on the person it is being and slightly naughty, this line is a great way to used on, it could either go great…or disasshow someone not only your intelligence but trous. your intentions, too. 1. Anything shouted from a moving ve6. I may not be the best looking person hicle. Come on now, who doesn’t enjoy being here, but I’m the only one talking to you. hollered at? ▪
Welcome to: The Friend Zone By Andre Abrahamians Staff Writer
graphics editor cici cao
I just couldn’t believe it. Not to say this was completely unexpected, but I had to tell her how I felt. “Well…um…I kinda expected things to go down differently in my head,” I said naively, as I gripped the steering wheel even tighter than before. After staring blankly at the road ahead for a moment, I turned to her, immensely perplexed with the words she was saying to me. “So this probably means you wouldn’t want to go for long walks on the beach? Or have romantic dinners under the moonlight?” I said timidly. She looked at me as if I was speaking Chinese. “Are you serious? Nobody does that kind of stuff anymore, it’s just so corny.” Seconds later, I accepted my depressing fate and tried to laugh off my stupid comment in agreement “Yeah, what a dumb idea.” After those words left my mouth, there were just two things running through my head: 1. I am such a loser. 2. I am officially JUST her friend - forever. My love life hasn’t always been this bad. It’s just been….unlucky. Maybe it’s the girls I date, or maybe it’s my chest hair everyone makes a big deal about. Whatever it may be, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve fallen victim to the disease known as “nice guy.” From the very moment I meet a girl I like, I ironically seem to do the things that are the
opposite of making her feel attraction for me. I usually make her laugh, make time to go out with her, make plans to go mini golfing, or even just make out. NOT. There are lots of things I do for her, which end up having me sacrifice my time with family, friends, and my beloved schoolwork. Occasionally I’ll even prepare her a surprise breakfast, to you know, try to show I care about her. Getting to know her, helping her study, and being there when she needs a shoulder to lean on, makes me seem like her Superman, some would like to think. Seems like I’m doing all the right things, right? Well, not so much. The results always turn out the same when I try to take that friendship to the next level. No goodbye kiss or hug, just the line I’ve heard too many times before, “You’re funny, and sweet, but JUST A FRIEND.” Sounds familiar fellas? This is a road we’ve all gone down before. And believe me, I feel your pain. I can speak on behalf of all nice guys out there: it just isn’t fair. But I am 100 percent sure of one thing. Somewhere there’s a girl for every single one of you. She has the body of Shakira and enjoys spending her time with a warm, funny, and charming guy. She wouldn’t mind taking long walks along the beach and having romantic dinners under the moonlight either. Perfect. ▪
staff writer christine cheng
Jan. 23, 2009 Dear Diary, Today’s the Friday before finals week and I’ve already decided to pull up that 89.5 percent in AP Chemistry this semester. According to my calculations, if I tutor for extra credit, I’ll only need 219 out of 220 points on the final assuming the curve is at 200. Piece of cake. Jan. 24, 2009 Dear Diary, No good, I spent all day on Facebook trying to find somebody to tutor and didn’t study at all. Since I didn’t know any underclassmen, I wrote on the walls of all the freshmen and offered to teach them health in MASH; because it’s the only class I seem to remember learning from. Technically, health is science, right? Jan. 25, 2009 Dear Diary, Uh-oh. I tried a couple of practice problems today and I realized that it’s not as easy as I thought getting 219 out of 220 by guessing. Maybe I’m just tired from playing all that Halo today. I think I’ll take it easy tonight. I mean there’re still two days before the test, so it really shouldn’t be a problem.
Jan. 26, 2009 Dear Diary, Change of plans. If guessing isn’t going to work I have no choice but to suck up to the teacher. Luckily I’m well known for being quite slick. You should’ve seen the way I complimented his pants today (he wasn’t wearing a tie). Jan. 27, 2009 Dear Diary, There’s a rumor going around that in order for me to score high on this final, I need to study. It’s an interesting theory, but I don’t have time for mythbusting. The test is tomorrow and I still haven’t figured out how to perfect my guessing technique. Jan. 28, 2009 Dear Diary, Just as I had expected, I didn’t understand a single question on that test. It’s a good thing I spent all of last night practicing my random guessing strategy. Of course I had some trouble with the short response questions so I just drew pictures of myself with an A on my report card. I hope he gets the message, because otherwise I might be complimenting his pants every day until grades are due and unfortunately, I have a hard time lying. ▪
The Smoke Signal
Monday, January 26, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
The Smoke Signal
photos from www.chocolatebytes.com, www.expiredfoods.com, www.thegreenhead.com, www.morphonix.com, and www.zimbio.com.
The Smoke Signal
Monday, January 26,2009
B SWAY, SLAM
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”
A. Juniors Anjana Bala, Grace Baek, and Austin Chen rock out to the music. B. Seniors Zachary McDonough and Emily DeStigter are hyped up and ready to dance. C. MSJ students groove to the beat of the DJ’s song.
Phoenix Poetry Slam 12.20.08
A. Senior Gabriel Tiburcio performs as Social Stereo’s lead singer. B. MSJ alumni Joseph Qiu and Orion Lee, two members of Flaccid Acid, open the Poetry Slam with a musical performance C. Junior Abhishek Chowdhury awes the crowd with his original rhymes and own rendition of Robert Frost’s ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” D. Sophomore Stephenie Yuan generates applause with her smooth voice. E. Junior Jesse Ng reads
Charity Fashion Show 1.17.09
A. Minah Yang and Clifton Nguyen strike a pose at the end of the runway while the audience looks on fondly. B. Senior Jonathan Shay sweeps Senior Jessica Tu off her feet as they model. C. Junior Alvin Lee accompanies Junior Stephanie Hur as she performs a song. D. Freshman Rhonda Lee and Senior Gururaj Tirupachur appear stunning in their formal eveningwear. E. Juniors Otis Lee and Dorothy Lin feign nonchalance at the end of their run.
photos by graphics editor jerry ting, graphics editor cici cao, feature editor lena liu, staff writers cynthia kang, elisa ting, jane wang
Monday, January 26, 2009
The Smoke Signal
Intel Science Talent Search Winners By Hannie Dong Staff Writer
On January 14, MSJ seniors Cici Cao, Edwin Hwang, and Marianna Mao were chosen to be among the 300 semifinalists for the Intel Science Talent Search 2009. They were selected from a pool of 1607 entrants and each was honored with $1000 along with a supplementary $1000 that goes to MSJ’s science department. The Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) is a prestigious pre-college science competition that offers $1.25 million in scholarships and awards. Administered by Society for Science & the Public (SSP), the Intel STS promotes young innovators to solve challenging scientific questions and to develop the abilities needed to tackle the problems of the future. Ever since the Intel STS’s creation in 1942, MSJ has had a total of 12 semifinalists. In this year’s competition, MSJ has the honor of producing three semifinalists, which is the second highest number in California after The Harker School in San Jose and is the most MSJ has ever had in one year. On January 28, 40 finalists will be named and Cao, Hwang, and Mao will see if they will receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. in March to compete for more than $500,000.
graphics editor jerry ting
Cao’s impressive Intel STS project is “Optimization of Methane Hydrate Formation and Stability: Unlocking an Abundant Source of Alternative Energy via Organic Matter within Seawater." In her research, Cao found that methane hydrates encased in ice found at the seabed are more environmentally-friendly than our current source of energy.
graphics editor jerry ting
Hwang, a 13-year-old and the youngest semifinalist in the Intel STS history, based his project on "Novel Degradable and Recyclable Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) and its Hydrolysis Study." He researched how PET plastics combined with modified polymers that are easily degradable and recyclable, can improve plastic recycling.
Holocaust | Holocaust survivor tells her story
continued from page 1
graphics editor jerry ting
In Mao's project, "Gravitational radiation from encounters with compact binaries in globular clusters," she modeled gravitational radiation from interactions between binary star systems to further understand electromagnetically dark, large-scale events in the universe and the fundamental laws of physics.▪
Relax... And That’s Final By Natalie Yang Centerspread Editor
Lyon displays the numbers that were tattood on her upon her entrance to Auschwitz
Jews, homosexuals, Aryans, and others into three lines; one for men, one for women, and one for everyone over 50 years of age, children up to 16, the pregnant women, and the sick.The third was the pathway to being burned alive in the crematories or gassed in the chambers. Luckily, Lyon and her mother were directed to the second line; however, her little sister was appointed to the third. Fortunately, she jumped out of the wagon to meet up with her mother and was mixed in with the second line. All of the women were packed into the cattle cars with barely any room to breathe and scarcely any bread to eat. They arrived at their first concentration camp, Auschwitz, where their heads were shaved, and they received tattoos on their left forearm; Lyon’s being A-6374. Some people even died from
staff writer alissa gwynn
Lyon talks to students about her life during the Holocaust
the injection of the tattoos since the same few needles were used on all the prisoners. Lyon had an astonishing response to the odor of burning bodies by losing her ability to smell, but she regained it 47 years later when she visited her hometown. Lyon’s job at the camp was to sort the belongings the prisoners brought along with them into separate piles. She worked for 12 hours a day starting at 6 AM, not including marching time to
staff writer alissa gwynn
and from work. With hardly any food to eat, Lyon began suffering from malnutrition and grew skinnier by the day. The German guards also injected a type of hormone in the women’s food to stop monthly periods. Lyon traveled to a total of seven concentration camps and narrowly escaped death at one. She jumped off the wagon transporting her to the gas chamber and followed a star in the sky that led her to shelter. Because of this courageous risk, Lyon escaped the gas chambers and several months later, she was liberated at Ravensbruck on Jan. 22, 1945. The Swedish Red Cross pleaded with Adolf Hitler for Scandinavian prisoners to be set free, and he miraculously agreed to release them along with all 13,000 prisoners of Ravensbruck to Sweden. Lyon never saw the rest of her family again, but sent letters to her mother. Her mother, father, younger sister, and two older brothers all survived the Holocaust, but her third brother was beaten to death just three days before the liberation. She is now married to Attorney Karl Lyon, a veteran of World War II, and has two sons, nine grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. Lyon, long with her husband and eldest brother reside in the Bay Area, while her sister lives in New York with her brother. Lyon left a heartfelt message with the students of MSJ and also wants the rest of the world to be aware of racist hatred. “These days we talk much about racism, often too lightly[…] the Holocaust was pure racism[...] it can happen again anywhere, to anyone [of ] any race or color unless we are consciously on guard. Everyone must do his or her share[…] my friend, now that you have heard yourself [of my story] you have become witnesses of the Holocaust,” concluded Gloria Lyon. ▪
It’s scientifically proven that relaxation is the best method to studying. Thus, to make the last few days cramming before finals as efficient as possible, here’s a list of effective ways for you to relax. Exercise – Just do it. Studies show that exercise increases alertness and energy levels. Even a short walk around the block helps enough for you to continue studying and concentrating, so a full-blown two hours at the gym isn’t required. Sleep – Sleep a full eight hours for the rest of finals week and take a few naps. We know, we know, finals are almost here and you really have to get those physics equations and
information you retain. Take somewhat frequent, short breaks between your study sessions, which will help to lessen any stress. On Wednesday, after your first set of finals is over, you may even consider chancing a longer break with your friends at the mall. Laugh – Readers’ Digest was right, laughter is the best medicine. The reason is that when you laugh, you aren’t stressing. Forget about whatever is happening in your life, and just let yourself off the hook. Laugh at whatever comes your way, even if your teacher’s jokes aren’t quite as funny as the SNL spoofs you would normally watch. Stretch – If your brain needs to relax, so does your body. Stretch out any muscles that you feel are tense, and try to relieve their stress. Some people even prefer lying down and imagining their muscles relaxing as opposed to actually physically performing the stretches. Use any method that works best for you.
It is esential to find time for a few good hours of sleep.
structures of the heart memorized. But let’s face the facts: those three hours you spend surfing YouTube or stalking people on Facebook may be two hours too long. Eat – Go ahead and treat yourself. Eat the occasional ice-cream or chocolate, and tell the barista that yes, you want whipped cream on your Caramel Frappuccino. For hours of torture, it is entirely okay to cut yourself some slack once in a while. Go out – Get away from work. The more you try to cram everything together, the less
Stretches such as this can help in relieving stress.
Just relax – There’s no other way to explain it more thoroughly than this. Take a hot shower or a warm bath. Read the latest chapter of whatever manga you find yourself addicted to. Watch Heroes. Scream at the top of your lungs. Just relax. ▪
Monday, January 26, 2009
The Smoke Signal
Bring it on, 2009! By Raymond Chou & Albert Yuan Web Editor & Staff Writer
The Cleveland Show (working title) – Fall 2009 The Cleveland Show, an offshoot of the popular FOX animated series Family Guy, is set to premiere fall 2009. The series is based around Cleveland Brown, a neighbor of Family Guy’s Peter Griffin. Cleveland moves to Stoolbend, Virginia to start a new life with former high school love Donna and her two children, after an affair between his wife Loretta and Quagmire. The Cleveland show is produced by Seth McFarlane.
Halo Wars – March 3 The next addition to the Halo franchise, Halo Wars is a real-time strategy game developed by Ensemble Studios, the creators of the popular series Age of Empires. Halo Wars takes place twenty years before the events of Halo Combat Evolved, and allows you to take part in the early battles between the humans and the Covenant. The game features console optimized controls, new units, and an emphasis on combat; it is slated to be in stores on March 3, only on the Xbox 360. No Line on the Horizon – March 3 U2’s twelfth album, No Line on the Horizon is set for a Mar. 3 release in North America. U2 began production of the album in 2006, and according to Bono, will represent a musical shift. The album will be U2’s first since 2004’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. The album, produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, will be released in five editions, ranging from the standard jewel case to limited edition boxes.
A Day At The de Young By Victoria Gu Staff Writer
As the inventor of many classics, the late French-Algerian designer Yves Saint Laurent revolutionized our concept of style. And until April 5, some of Saint Laurent’s greatest achievements, including the trench, the safari coat, the peacoat and the pantsuit, are on display in a one-ofa-kind exhibition at the deYoung Museum.
Relapse – Spring 2009 Controversial rapper Eminem has confirmed a spring 2009 release for his sixth album Relapse, debunking rumors that Curtain Call would represent Eminem’s exit from the music industry. Being an enigmatic figure, Eminen will undoubtedly stir up controversy with the album. Aside from stronger personal material, such as a reflection on the death of his friend Proof, a dramatic change in style is currently unexpected. The album is largely produced by Dr. Dre and will be released by Interscope Records.
The Sims 3 – February 3 The Sims 3 will be the third major installment of EA’s Sims life simulators, and will allow a far greater level of customization and interaction between your Sims and non-player controlled characters. Characters will now realistically react to changes in their bodies and be able to fully interact with the neighborhood without the need for any loading screens. You can torture your Sims or allow them to peacefully carry out their lives on sims3.com February 3, when it comes out for the PC. Watchmen – March 6 Inglourious Basterds – August 21 Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming homage to war movies Based on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ comic book series, Watchmen comes to theaters March 6. Set and classic French films is set in the WWII era. A group in 1985 at the climax of the Cold War, a superhero of Jewish-American soldiers, known as the Basterds, go vigilante Rorschach uncovers a plot to murder various on a mission to take down operatives of the Third Reich other superheroes one by one. The previously outlawed in France. Meanwhile, a vengeful young Jewish woman superheroes must reunite to investigate the conspiracy undertakes a similar mission, leading to a shocking finale to save their kind. involving all the key characters, including Hitler.
popwatch.ew.com, ign.com, suite101.com
Brüno – May 15 Sacha Baron Cohen’s new mockumentary, Brüno is set for release on May 15. Bruno (Cohen), a flamboyantly gay Austrian TV personality, goes to America to host his show. The movie, shot in a style similar to that of Borat, is based on Cohen’s character in his TV series Da Ali G Show, and will feature Cohen exposing the homophobia of unwitting Americans.
Up – May 29 Up will be Pixar’s first film to be presented in Disney Digital 3D when released on May 29. 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen attempts to fulfill a promise to his childhood sweetheart Ellie to explore the mountains. As he ties thousands of balloons onto his home to fly off, he discovers he is accompanied by an 8 year old Wilderness Explorer named Russell, a stowaway on his trip. Together, they find thrilling adventure ahead in the jungles of South America. ▪
Che: A ‘Revolutionary’ Moviegoing Experience By Jordan Zhang Staff Writer
Director Steven Soderbergh successfully repaints the epic life of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, an Argentinian Marxist leader of the Cuban revolution in the mid 1900s. The four-hour epic will be released in two parts, titled The Argentine and Guerilla. Actor Benicio del Toro, who plays Guevara, spent seven years exhaustively researching the history
of the complex figure, whom he had considered a “bad guy” in his childhood. Director Soderbergh showcases two of the revolutionary
wars Guevara fought, a successful one in Cuba, and a failed one in Bolivia, which led to his execution. In vividly depicting Guevara leading the battles, Sodebergh aims to show his subject’s moral principles and passion. However, at around four hours total, the two-part movie takes quite a hefty bit of time. Both
parts of Che will be released in limited theaters and on Comcast OnDemand. ▪
an eclectic mix of every type of art imaginable. From ancient Teotihuacán murals, New Guinea ceremonial masks and African deity sculptures to abstract pop art, lithographs from the likes of Manet, and photographs depicting urban bohemia and the power of words, the de Young has something for everyone. Among the most notable exhibits is the hallway of
Fashion changes, style remains. —Yves Saint Laurent
With extravagant theatrical costumes, wedding dresses, evening wear and work suits, the multimedia exhibit exemplifies Saint Laurent’s diverse body of work. The collection gives viewers a peek at the man behind the clothes, his inspirations, and the cultural events of the time Yves Saint Laurent was the first designer to use black models and one of the first to use Asian models. His independent thinking and love for other cultures showed in his designs; he drew inspiration from around the world, including Russia, Italy, Asia, and his native Africa. He was also influenced by his childhood dream of becoming a theater costume designer, evoking the same opulence and grandeur of theatrical productions in many of his clothing. Just as magnificent as the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit is the museum’s permanent collection. Organized by origin and art movement, the de Young has
George Washington. The hallway, which is part of the Colonial section, features an assortment of works inspired by the first and most beloved president. While this display includes oil paintings often seen in history textbooks, it also includes the abstract. For example, one of the many pieces is a collage made entirely of one dollar bills that takes the shape of George Washington. Starting February 14, the de Young will feature a special exhibit dedicated to the works of Andy Warhol. The display will feature a variety of paintings, album covers, illustrations and photographs depicting music’s finest, including Elvis, the Rolling Stones, and even Michael Jackson. The deYoung Museum is located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. General Admission is $6 for students and youth and $10 for adults. The special exhibition fee is $10. ▪
My Mom Is A Fob
By Christine Cheng Staff Writer
Left to Right: JACKIE EARLE HALEY IN WATCHMEN, BRAD PITT IN INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, CARL FREDRICKSON IN UP, AND SACHA BARON COHEN IN BRUNO
Arts & Entertainment 14
Has your mom ever done something so unbelievably fobby that you couldn’t stop laughing? Mymomisafob.com is a site where people submit their funny Asian mom moments to share with the rest of the cyber world. Fob stands for “fresh off the boat,” and according to the website, is a term used to describe “Asian immigrants who just aren’t quite on track with American culture.” MSJ alumnae Serena Wu and Theresa Wu started mymomisafob.com as a site to post their funny mother moments and to let other people anonymously submit their own anecdotes. Many students at MSJ really are children of immigrants, and mymomisafob.com has a lot of material that they can relate to. Sophomore Chang Li described the site as “insulting, hilarious, [and] fabulous.” Some of the highest rated entries are anecdotes about mothers telling their kids to clean the house before the housekeeper comes, awkward pictures of featherless chickens being washed in a basin (captioned “naked chicks in hot tub”),
and general advice on how to live life as a better Asian child. Posted comments from people of different ethnicities, including Caucasians, further demonstrate the popularity of the site. Created in October 2008, the site received more than 65,000 views in the first few days. Mymomsiafob.com rapidly gained popularity and has been featured by many popular Asian-American icons, including Wong Fu Productions. The creators attributed their success largely to their online presence, spreading word of their new site on many social-networking sites. Mymomisafob.com is so popular that, a week after its launch, mydadisafob.com was created, so that fathers could also be represented. However, this did not come without some controversy. “We’ve been criticized for supporting racial stereotypes,” says Serena Wu, “but the truth is, we aren’t running the sites with any malicious intent. People send us submissions because they find their fob parents absolutely adorable.” Nevertheless, the sites are extremely entertaining and definitely worth contributing to and exploring. ▪
Monday, January 26, 2009
The Smoke Signal
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The Smoke Signal
Monday, January 26, 2009
Wager Woes By Joseph Teng Staff Writer
We all know that many people out there bet on sports games, whether it is by spread, money-line or by point total. Spread is where a team has to beat the opposing team by a certain number of points, money-line is to bet on the winning team and point total is to bet whether the combined scores of both teams will be less than or over a certain number. There are also morons who bribe idiotic referees and plain-dumb coaches to make decisions that will subtly influence the outcomes of games. For example, NBA referee Tim Donaghy admitted to illegally altering Game 3 of the intense Spurs-Suns Series in the 2006 Finals and to rigging many other games. Who knows how many more games he might have manipulated just to make some extra money? Some of the coaches even bet on their own teams although they fully know the consequences if they are caught. Pete Rose, a candidate for the baseball Hall-of-Fame, was caught for betting on his own team, the Cincinatti Reds, and was banished from baseball. This resulted in his ineligibility for the Hallof-Fame. But the blame doesn’t lie fully with the un-
ethical officials and coaches. There is a cause to everything. In this case, the big-time betters are the people causing all of the trouble. These are the people pouring thousands of dollars into certain games and influencing the final outcomes. These people deliberately corrupt the integrity of the game and ruin it for those who truly wish to see real, fair sports. Because of these scandals, fans now never truly know if certain referees are either blowing calls by accident or are intentionally trying to change the tide of the game by calling it in their opponent’s favor. Every time a call is given, whether it’s a red flag, a technical foul or a pass-interference call, can we trust its reliability? Or must we always assume that there is money behind every officiating decision? I’m not saying that all of the people who bet on sports are horrible. I definitely have no problem with betting small amounts and raising the stakes just for fun. There is nothing wrong with putting money on the line behind your favorite football or soccer team. However, there is a certain limit or degree to which one can bet. I do have a problem with those people who cross this line by misusing their wealth to influence the outcomes of games when they could be using the money to support good causes. When people think of sports, they should think of “Where Amazing Happens,” not “Where Money Happens.” ▪
NCAA tournament bracket busters like Stephen Curry can really hurt your wallet.
Infamous By Ryan Tanakit & Audrey Tseng
Sports Editors Those who excel at what they do should be recognized for it. For instance, most professional athletes are well known because they are the best of the best in their sports. However, this is not always the case. There are a number of athletes who are famous not for their amazing skills but for their embarrassing moments. These athletes would be disregarded had the reasons for their fame not been so ridiculous. Possibly the best example of this type of player is ex-Dallas Maverick Shawn Bradley. Throughout his NBA career, Bradley put up decent numbers (in his best years he averaged 14.6 ppg, 8 rpg, and once led the league in blocks) but sadly, no one remembers him for this. Bradley’s legacy is “the player that got dunked on the most” or as some fans so tastefully put it, “NBA b*tch.” In fact, ESPN’s Sportscenter picked up on this fact and did a special “top ten dunks on Shawn Bradley,” featuring the likes of Kevin Garnett, Chris Webber and Shaquille O’Neal. Talk about embarrassing. If you thought Bradley’s case was bad, at least he played and wasn’t totally disrespected. John Odom, a minor league baseball player on the Calgary Vipers, caught the bad end of a hilarious trade when he got swapped for 10 double-dipped black Prairie Sticks maple bats. Odom, now a Laredo Bronco, didn’t seem to mind saying that it would only make a better story when he finally made it big. His manager’s take? “They just wanted some bats, good bats — maple bats.” I guess you could say it was a steal for one team, but that’s really degrading. The most recent case of undesirable fame occurred when Minnesota Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe got a little too much of the wrong type “exposure.” During Fox Sport’s postgame coverage of a Vikings/ Lions game, a camera crew gained access to the Vikings locker room and accidentally
caught Shiancoe in the buff, exposing their viewers to a little something unexpected. Less than an hour later, images and video of the event were already flooding the internet. Fox did publically apologize but the damage was already done. To be fair, Shiancoe’s towel only momentarily slipped off and he wasn’t
Tracy McGrady exhibits Bradley’s special skill.
just “hanging out” in the nude. Unfortunately, no one remembers Shiancoe’s 65 recieving yards and touchdown that was critical in the Viking’s victory just hours earlier. These few examples are a mere taste of embarrassing yet entertaining instances of players who will forever be remembered for the wrong reasons. ▪
Star Criminals: Sports stars overstep bounds By Jonathan Ye Staff Writer
What is it that famed sport stars do after they retire? Most have enough money to simply retire and drop off the map. Many coach share their experience with other players. Still others get in and out of legal trouble. Charles Barkley, a former NBA basketball star, has been consistently dropping in and out of the news regarding a number of issues. On New Year’s Eve, Barkley was pulled over and arrested on suspicion of drunken driving. As if this DUI was not enough, while in his drunken stupor, he told police that he had run the stop sign in order to receive oral sex from an unidentified woman who he had picked up minutes before. Barkley, who is married, also said that he had come to the same woman a week before. Moreover, in trying to get out of the arrest, Barkley stated, “I’ll tattoo your name on my a**.” David Meggett, a former running back that played in the NFL, is once again in the spotlight. On Jan. 13, he was faced with his second string of allegations regarding rape. This comes only several months after he was charged with raping a South Carolina Woman. The accuser said she woke up at 1am to find “Mike” [an alias he used] sitting on her bed asking for the $200 that she owed. After stating that she did not have the money, Megget began raping the victim. His string of lewd sexual conduct traces back to the 90’s when he was charged multiple times for assault and battery, but was found not guilty of
either. One can only get so lucky in the courts. What would sports legal trouble be without OJ Simpson? Where to start? First in 1994, OJ was charged with the murder of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. However, he was found not guilty on both accounts. Obviously, “If [the glove] doesn’t fit, you must
Barkley’s mug shot after he was engaged in a 1997 fight.
acquit.” More recently, he became the perpatrator of a Las Vegas robbery to “take back” what was his. On Dec. 5, 2008, he was sentenced to 33 years in prison for multiple felonies such as kidnapping, assault, and robbery. We can only hope that 2009 begins better than 2008 for these superstars gone bad. ▪
Monday, January 26, 2009
The Smoke Signal
Athlete of the Month: David Wilson By Abhay Malik Staff Writer
Since his sophomore year, Junior David Wilson has been on Varsity Boys’ Wrestling. This past year, he has been honored as one of two wrestlers on the team seeded in NCS, and the only one on the team to place in the Zinkin Tournament. David also has a strong love for music, both listening and playing. The Smoke Signal asked David to sit down and talk about his experiences. Smoke Signal: How did you get into wrestling? David Wilson: In seventh grade I made an offhand comment to my dad about the sport, and he ended up making me join the team to teach me a lesson I suppose. SS: Are you glad that he did, considering that you’ve done so well? DW: Yeah, it’s a great sport. It takes a level of dedication one doesn’t realize [is] possible until they’ve done it.
SS: What tournaments did you play in this season so far? DW: I played in the Zinkin Tournament this year. It takes place in Fresno, where a lot of the top wrestling schools are. I placed eighth. SS: How long do you practice a day? DW: Roughly two to three hours. We run, stretch and warm-up with pushups, then we begin to practice moves and wrestle each other. SS: Do you have any other hobbies outside of wrestling? DW: Yes, I’ve been playing guitar since about May of freshman year. SS: Do you write songs as well? DW: Yeah, I’ve been writing songs for quite some time now. I also have a band with a couple of other juniors. SS: Is it difficult to balance school, wrestling, and music? DW: There’s almost no time for music. After wrestling season my band and I should be able to get some stuff together. Maybe actually play some gigs while we’re at it.
Girls’ Soccer matches Cougars By Ankur Dhar Staff Writer
On Jan. 13, the Girls’ Soccer team played valiantly to tie Newark Memorial with a final score of 1-1. MSJ kicked off with a shaky start, with most of the play being defensive for the first five minutes. Senior Brigitte Ngo and Sophomore Alison Lenci provided some offensive pressure from the right side, but then at the 16th minute Newark slipped in and scored a goal. The defense had collapsed by this point, with the goal being just one of many close calls in the half. The offense was just as disappointing, with numerous opportunities to score but no one by the goal to finish it. The girls were being beaten to the ball and oftentimes lost the ball due to confusion between two players. Despite this, the girls rallied near the end of the half, with Freshman Madison Hirsch having two successive shots on the goal, but neither scored. By the end of the first half, Newark had a clear advantage. After halftime the girls turned
staff writer cynthia kang
Sophomore Lica Monobe fights off defenders
staff writer niku jafaria
David Wilson juggles guitar and wrestling
SS: What’s the most awkward thing that has happened to you during a match? DW: During my finals match in MVALS last year, my nose wouldn’t stop bleeding. One of my teammates thought that karate chopping my neck would stop it, so he snuck up behind me and kept karate chopping my neck. Needless to say, it didn’t work. SS: What is your favorite part of being on the team? DW: The competitions and the friendship you develop with your teammates. The bond I have developed with my teammates is something that no one else has, because until you do it, you have no idea the dedication the sport requires. SS: What drives you to keep wrestling? DW: It’s a great way to take out anger. I also realized that wrestling is literally one of the hardest things I will ever do. I like the competition and knowing that I can do what most others can’t is great. ▪
Boys’ Basketball locks down American By Ryan Tanakit Sports Editor
staff writer cynthia kang
Junior Amrun Singh races upfield.
the game around. Sophomore Elisa Chen led the offense early, and after only five minutes Senior Kelly Cannon crossed to Sophomore Taylor Jackson for a goal. At this point the momentum changed dramatically in MSJ’s favor, with the offense led by Jackson and Hirsch pushing the ball more and more into Newark’s half. Cannon got a couple shots in, but by this point neither side was able to score. The mishaps of the first half were nonexistent in the second half. Junior Allison Day also did a much better job at stopping Newark’s shots, including three corner kicks. Shortly after, Junior Preetman Sandhu had to abruptly excuse herself from the game due to complications from asthma; she recovered soon after. There were some oddlycalled penalties, including one in which Junior Shelley Wenzel was knocked down while going for the ball, but the referee awarded Newark the free kick. None of these influenced the game overall. Newark grew more desperate near the end, with two offside calls and Day stopping a shot right before the game ended. Despite a rocky start, MSJ pulled it together in the second half to finish the game with a tie. ▪
The Boys’ Basketball team started off their home season with a game against American on Jan. 15. The gym was packed with raucus fans, hoping for a victory. The Warriors looked great throughout the night, playing stifling defense and getting great numbers from Senior Captains Ryan Mahuron and Eric Gwynn. MSJ dominated the second half, winning easily with a score of 52-37. The Warriors won the tip and the opening minutes of the game belonged to Mahuron who had scored six early points to lead the Warriors. American would struggle to contain MSJ’s bigs the entire game. Still, both teams held their own on the defensive end, ending the quarter tied at 14-14. The defensive struggle continued well into the second quarter as it took almost two minutes for Mahuron to net the first and second bucket of the quarter. Junior Brendan Tsao followed Mahuron’s points with a three from the corner as MSJ finally began to pull
staff writer sonya john
Senior Captain Justin Liau blows by his defender.
away. Gwynn also began to make his presence felt as he contributed points all through out the quarter. Mahuron came up big for the Warriors once again when he nailed a buzzer beater with two seconds left to increase the lead to 26-20 going into half time. MSJ only permitted six each in the second and third quarters. No surprise, Mahuron got things started in the third quarter by split-
staff writer sonya john
Junior Caleb Scherer hustles for a loose ball.
ting a pair of free throws and hitting a lay-up before recording a steal on the defensive end. With each basket Mahuron scored, Gwynn answered with one of his own and going into the fourth quarter Gwynn had 14 points. Every member of the team contributed defensively and the Warriors led 39-26 at the end of three. As Mahuron owned the first quarter, Gwynn took over in the fourth, scoring eight points and finishing with a total of 22. Mahuron finished with 17. Senior Captain and team catalyst Justin Liau held down the fort as the Warriors coasted for the final minutes and wrapped up the victory. Gwynn commented on the performance “It feels great to get the win in front of our home crowd and even better that I beat Ryan Mahuron in points.” The Warriors take on James Logan next on Jan. 30 at home. The last time the two teams clashed, Logan won the game by two points. However, with strong support and a healthy team, MSJ can record another win. ▪
Boys’ Soccer falls to Newark By Audrey Tseng
staff writer jordan zhang
Junior David Roche battles for possesion as Senior Ryan Chan looks on.
the Cougars’ attempt. The Warriors had many close goals, including attempts by Kafi and Junior Ashwin Khurana, in an effort to tie up the score. The referee, who had made questionable calls in the first half, made yet another call against the Warriors. This lead to the Cougars obtained a penalty kick and scored their second goal of the night. Due to objections made by the coaches and fans, Assistant Coach Pablo Garcia received a yellow card from the referee. Arguably one of the most outrageous events of the game, Kafi was yellow-carded with less than two minutes on the clock. After an attempt by MSJ, Newark’s goalie fumbled the ball for an extended period of time. Kafi slid to get the ball but unintentionally slid into the goalie’s leg. The goalie then proceeded to put on a show worthy of an Academy Award and over-
Cougars best Girls’ Basketball By Cici Cao
Graphics Editor On Jan. 13, the Girls’ Basketball team suffered a tough home game loss against the Newark Memorial Cougars. Despite an aggressive fight to the finish, MSJ still came up short with a final score of 3752. From the first quarter, the game was intense. The opening tip-off was won by Newark’s Chaunise Powell; however, with the Warriors’ strong defense, the ball was quickly stolen back without a chance for the Cougars to score. The first point of the game was a foul shot, once again by Newark’s Powell. The Warriors started their short comeback immediately afterwards, with Sophomore Jessica Woo scoring MSJ’s first two points. Still, the Cougars put up a tough fight, immediately regaining possession of the ball and quickly furthering their lead on the Warriors. Through numerous steals by the Cougars and bad passes by the Warriors, first quarter ended with a score of 8-18, with the Warriors trailing behind by 10 points. As second quarter ensued, both teams became even more aggressive. Yet, it was hard for the Warriors to overcome the Cougars’ speed and accuracy of shooting. Still, the Warriors managed to score 11 points to the Cougars’ eight, thanks to a five point contribution by Woo. As the first half of the game ended, the Cougars’ lead lessened with a final score of 19-26. The second half began with the Warriors’ possession of the ball. Both teams were still very aggressive, matching each others’ shots during the first few minutes of the quarter. However, with a stellar 9-
exaggerated his injury to try to get Kafi ejected from the game. After several minutes, Kafi was yellowcarded and the Cougars subbed in their second string goalie. The Warriors kept the Cougars goalless for the remainder of the game, with a final score of 0-2. Commenting on the game, Head Coach Al Garcia said, “I think our team played great. I think they sustained their ground. They actually played like how I wanted them to play. They were a hundred percent concentrated in this game.” Although it was a loss for MSJ, the team battled through it, gave the Cougars a run for their money and is ready for the rest of the season. Said Ha, “It was our biggest challenge this season so far. We didn’t prevail, but once we get our second crack at them with a healthy squad, we’ll be ready to redeem ourselves and win.”▪
Monday, January 26, 2009
Better, Faster, Stronger... But Not for Long By Victor Chen
In the midst of the chilly weather, the Boys’ Soccer team faced the top team in the league, the Newark Memorial Cougars, on Jan. 14. The game was hard fought for the Warriors although in the end the score was 0-2, the win going to the Cougars. For the majority of the first half, the scoreboard remained unchanged. The Cougars were living up to their first place ranking, but the Warriors stepped up their game to counter the Cougars’ attack. Captain Senior Parsa Kafi shone through the opposition, showing his agility and endurance in multiple instances. The team was also led by Captains Senior Brandon Ha and Junior David Roche. With 3:58 left in the half, the first goal of the night was put up by Newark as the team took advantage of the open goal. Shortly after, Senior Andre Abrahamians went up for a header, attempting to tie up the score for MSJ. The ball just missed and the first half ended with Newark in the lead 1-0. Starting off the second half with their team cheer, “Ubuntu,” the Warriors were focused and ready to fight. Junior Ronak Gajjar made spectacular saves in the first half and this half was no different. Less than four minutes into the second half, Gajjar jumped to block a ball headed for the high corner of the goal and succeeded in deflecting
The Smoke Signal
Humans are getting better, faster, and stronger. The 2008 Olympics showcased a remarkable onslaught of broken records in both swimming and track and field. Highlighted by Usain Bolt’s shattering of the 100m and 200m sprints, along with the 66 broken swimming world records, the Olympics create a question for many of us: how fast can humans go in the future? Stanford University researcher Mark Denny seems to have provided an answer. Based on the “S” shaped curve that shows human performance, Denny predicts that humans are close to reaching their maximum performance on the track. Studies of animals have shown that horses and dogs have already reached their potential speed, but Bolt’s easy record this year has led many believed that humans still have lots of room to approve. Yet the inevitable limit established by Denny’s statistical analysis predicts that the 100m sprinters will reach a maximum of 9.48 seconds, while marathoners could cut their present record by 2 to 4 minutes. After all, human physiological talent can only reach a maximum efficiency. Studies show that the elite sprinters are physically different from the average person. Whereas many competitive sprinters are blessed with 70% of the explosive fast-twitch muscles and 30% of the stronger slowtwitch muscles, Bolt has about 25%
superfast-twitch muscles compared to the average sprinter’s 1-2%. A far greater increase in such natural talent seems to be impossible for a human’s natural physical frame. Though predictions for swimming limits have not yet been researched, experts do believe through a simple logistic curve that swimming has much more room for improvement than running. The current boost in speed
Speedo’s LZR Racer.
at the Olympics relied heavily on new equipment, mainly the Speedo LZR Racer. However, a steeper growth trend indicates that humans are much farther from their limits in swimming than in running. All in all, human achievement and improvement through the recent past is already remarkable within itself. Jesse Owens’s 100 meter dash record of 10.3 seconds in the 1936 Olympics is now only par for junior level athletes. Whether humans continue to improve or not, our noteworthy accomplishments should still be appreciated. ▪
Super Bowl Showdown: Cardinals face Steelers
By Anthony Wu Staff Writer
graphics editor cici cao
Freshman Riya Modi goes up for a layup.
point contribution by the Cougars’ Danielle Robledo, the gap between the scores widened yet again. Even with Junior Keila Mah’s notable three pointer, the Cougars were able to score another two points at the buzzer, bringing the score to 28-43. The last quarter of the game started with a three-pointer by Newark Memorial. However, the Warriors didn’t give up hope and fought back for their comeback. Due to several steals yet again by the Cougars, it was hard for the Warriors to stand their ground. On top of that, the Warriors committed 10 team fouls total for the last half, giving the Cougars many chances to score from foul shots. The game really tightened up during the last minute, which started with a three-pointer by Junior Rachel Chang with 40 seconds left on the clock. Within five seconds, the Cougars retaliated with another two points of their own. With a failed last second three-pointer, the Warriors lost with a score of 3752.▪
On Feb. 1, millions of Americans will drop what they’re doing and gather together to celebrate a momentous occasion that comes only once a year: the Super Bowl. Although Super Bowl Sunday is not an official holiday, it might as well be; it is one of the greatest days of food consumption, second only to Thanksgiving. The television broadcast for the NFL’s championship game is also the most-watched broadcast of the year. Viewers often tune in to watch the extravagant half-time performance, which always features popular celebrities and entertaining acts (like Janet Jackson from 2004). In fact, the Super Bowl attracts so many people that companies pay millions of dollars to have their commercials aired throughout the duration of the game, knowing full well that their ads will reach a wide audience. But real football fans know the true purpose of the Super Bowl: to pit the two top teams from each NFL conference against each other in a fight for the league championship and the title of the best team in football. Super Bowl XLIII will feature the defensive-minded Pittsburgh Steelers and the pass-focused Arizona Cardinals. The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the NFL’s most popular teams. Despite the low number of points that the Steelers score compared to other teams, their tenacious defense
and hard-hitting players make the Steelers the most intimidating team in the league. Their top-ranked defense, led by Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison and AllPro safety Troy Polamalu, will be the deciding factors in whether or not Pittsburgh walks away with its sixth championship. But don’t forget about the Steelers offense; quarterback Ben Roethlisberger won a Super Bowl in just his second year in the league, so he’s been in this situation before. Assuming that wide receiver and Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward is healthy, count on Ward to connect with Big Ben’s throws and make some great plays. On the other side of the field, the Arizona Cardinals have something to prove. They have been considered underdogs in every one of their postseason match-ups so far, and this one is no different. Led by two-time MVP quarterback Kurt
Warner, who has also won a Super Bowl before, the Cardinals will try to overcome the pass rush of the Steelers and get the ball to their receivers. All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has already broken the all-time record for most yards in a postseason this year, surpassing Jerry Rice’s record. And since the Cardinals favor passing and are ranked as the second-best pass offense in the league, expect Warner to throw to Fitzgerald early and often. The Steelers and the Cardinals are two contrasting teams. While the Steelers have already earned the respect of the football world, the Cardinals have been one of the league’s perennial laughingstocks. And although the Cardinals have shown much improvement by making it to their first Super Bowl ever, the Steelers remain the favorites, and in the end Super Bowl XLIII will belong to Pittsburgh.▪
Pittsburg Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is looking to lead the Steelers to another title.