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Alameda County Science and Engineering Fair By Kerrie Wu Staff Writer From March 20-22, 335 Alameda County high school and middle school students showcased 265 science research projects at the first annual Alameda County Science and Engineering Fair (ACSEF), held at Chabot College in Hayward. Students were encouraged to design, research, and carry out their own experiments individually or in teams of up to three members. Many MSJ students proudly took home multiple accolades. Special awards winners and category awards winners from MSJ included Freshman Nancy Xu, Sophomores Kevin Chan, Jeffrey Chang, Aditi Cherian, Triveni Gore, Amy Huang, Basava Jon-

nala, Sara Lo, Jennifer Mou, Akaash Nayak, Joyce Qiao, Ayushi Sharma, and Kerrie Wu, Juniors Sai Chilakapati, Alice Chu, Allan Ko, Margaret Shen, and Rebecca Wang, and Seniors Bolun Liu and Merry Mou. Projects were judged based on originality, thoroughness, skill, scientific thought, design, and clarity of presentation in interviews with judges. The students who fielded the top two high school projects will move on to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), to be held in Pittsburg, VA, in May. In previous years, MSJ students looking to qualify for the Intel ISEF through a local fair were limited to the San Francisco Bay Area Science Fair, which only allowed a few students from the school to

participate each year. Now that MSJ is in the new ACSEF district, there is no participation limit. “It’s a great way for students to show their passion and gain experience in large scale science competitions,” said Chemistry Teacher Ling-Ru Kuei. “Just being there is a success.” AP Physics Teacher Jack Fendell also offered tremendous support to many students. Margaret Shen, a first-time participant in an Intel-affiliated fair like ACSEF, says, “Research was one of the most frustrating things I’d ever done, but it taught me how to think outside the box in solving obstacles and how much I really love science.” “The multifaceted skills, and


staff writer kerrie wu

Senior Merry Mou explains her science fair project to a judge. She later won first place in the Engineering category, as well as numerous special awards from sponsors.

Surprise! Stress-Free Day By Kyle Qian Staff Writer On March 22, 2012, Mission: SOS launched its covert plan to host a secret stress-free day for the students of MSJ. Proposed early in October, the event successfully retained its secrecy, its details known only to Mission: SOS and the school administration until last Thursday. The details were finally announced through the PA system Thursday morning, much to the excitement of normally

groggy-eyed first period students all across campus. Following the unveiling of the surprise, the event kicked off with a short activity that included a discussion question serving to gather feedback on ways to reduce stress, as well as a few teacher trivia questions. The responses were then collected by Mission: SOS in exchange for a small gift to the teachers for participating. The trivia responses with the most answers correct were then entered in a drawing for a donut party the

April 5 End of Third Quarter

March 30, 2012

Education reform movement

staff writer anna zeng

Sophomores Aaron Lin, Patrick Zeng, and Jonathan Lu are advocating reform in the mathematics curriculum, through the “Mission of Reform” movement.

By Anna Zeng Staff Writer Since the beginning of February, a group of students has expressed its discontent towards a traditional math curriculum. The “Mission of Reform” is a group seeking a reformed mathematical education that promotes creativity and free thinking. The movement is headed by Sophomores Aaron Lin, Jonathan Lu, and Patrick Zeng, who have all performed exceptionally well in math contests such as the AMC, AIME, and the Mandelbrot Competition. Lin is also a Math Olympian. “We aren’t doing this because math courses at Mission are too easy,” says Zeng, “rather, it’s because we noticed a lack of creativity in them.” Though the three sophomores have noticed this “lack of creativity” in the past, a paper by Paul Lockhart bewailing the state of modern math education, Lockhart’s Lament, inspired the three sophomores to form the movement. The Mission of Reform aims

to transform math education into a learning experience focusing on problem solving and understanding concepts instead of memorizing formulas. Its members admit that memorization and regurgitation are effective ways to teach math, but assert that the process is boring, unappealing, and robotic. If teachers taught by “asking the shortest question possible,” as quoted from TED talker Dan Meyer, and helping students pick their own paths to the answer, math would become a journey of discovery and exploration. The trio of math reformers feels that the subject would be more compelling and rewarding if it were taught with this inquiry-based philosophy. The group is planning to propose a reformed Honors Geometry class at MSJ in the future. Though they expect that building a year-long curriculum from scratch will be challenging, the


day after. The winner, announced at the end of the day, was Digital Arts Teacher Valerie Montano’s first period Digital Imaging class. After the survey, it was up to the teachers to decide how best to spend the rest of the day. Some opted to put on a movie and let their students have a free period. Others, like Math Teacher Evangeline Sugden and Chemistry Teacher Sai Kumar, even brought

See STRESS-FREE NEWS Page 2 April 6 Staff Development Day No school

staff writer tanya raja

Misson: SOS representative Anjali Kanthilal hands candy to students who found the hidden Easter eggs scattered across campus.

April 9-13 Spring Break No school

April 23-27 Multicultural Week

2 News

The Smoke Signal

News in Brief ASCEF | Science fair continued from page 1 U.N. Council backs proposal to end Syria conflict The 15-member U.N. Security Council unanimously backed international emissary Kofi Annan’s plan to end conflict in Syria on Wednesday, March 21. The plan includes a ceasefire and the peaceful transition of Syria’s government to a “democratic, plural political system” according to the statement released by the U.N. The statement warns of unspecified “further steps” if the Syria government does take action to follow the peace plan. Ultimatums were left out of the statement in order to secure Russia’s support.

not to mention the friendships, that I’ve gained and developed through the years have been priceless. I’m really excited about the opportunities that the ACSEF fair is opening up for MSJ students, and I strongly encourage everyone to participate next year,” said Mou, a veteran in science fairs. A major goal of the fair was to promote exploration of science and engineering. “We want you to go back to your schools, and your teachers, and all your other friends, and just tell them what a great time you had and why science is a great thing to be involved with,” ACSEF Fair Director Patti Carothers said

STRESS-FREE | Surprise day

to the student participants. The formation of the ACSEF brought new opportunity for many to participate in a competitive fair. The new fair was created with the expansion of the Tri-Valley Science and Engineering Far (TVSEF), which originally served only the San Ramon Valley and Livermore-Amador Valley School Districts. ACSEF plans to continue for many years to come, offering more students a chance to experience scientific research. “It’ll just get bigger and better,” says Carothers. ▪ For more photos of the science fair, see Photo, page 24.

U.N. Security Coucil has unanimously backed international emissary Kofi Annan’s plan to end the Syrian conflict.

PTSD diagnoses reversed According to information released by US Senator Patty Murray, a Madigan Army Medical Center screening team reversed over 40 percent of its post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnoses for veterans awaiting medical retirement since 2007. After an investigation by the Army Medical Command, the team has been suspended from PTSD evaluations. A soldier with a diagnosis can qualify for considerable financial aid in medical retirement, including a pension, insurance for spouses and dependents, and commissary privileges. One diagnosis can cost taxpayers $1.5 million over the lifetime of a medically retired soldier.

The Army Medical Command investigated the Madigan Army Medical Center, above, for reversing their PTSD diagnoses.

Bay Area to split $1.5 billion to fund high-speed rail line Local, state, and government officials met last Wednesday to reveal a way to split $1.5 billion to upgrade the Caltrain line. The plan would signal quicker San Francisco to San Jose commuter trains to be in use by 2018.The agreement calls for the state to pitch in $706 million through bond funds, a county contribution of $180 million in sales taxes and $500 million in federal grants. This would trigger renovation and expansion of Caltrain stations, enabling the agency to run more trains at less expense. Some officials, eager to secure the funding, believe that by the 2020s, the state’s bullet trains may share tracks with Caltrain. The five-year construction project might begin as soon as next year, but it is unclear when the state trains will join with the Caltrain.


food to share with their classes. As another part of the event and in keeping with the spirit of the upcoming Easter Sunday, 20 Easter eggs were scattered all over campus with slips of paper inside. Students who found these hidden eggs were instructed to bring their slips to the amphitheater in exchange for candy. Students were also treated to an extended lunch during which DJ Robbie Rich from WiLD 94.9 performed in the amphitheater. However, because the event was unannounced before that Thursday morning, the audience mainly consisted of the freshman residents of N-wing and some wandering sophomores. Furthermore, the junior class officer speeches were planned unknowingly on the same day as well, keeping half the junior class preoccupied in the B-wing quad. The other half of the junior class as well as most of the senior class were not entirely

aware of the on-campus festivity and used the extra lunch time to get food elsewhere. The jubilation of the event does have its unfortunate side, however. According to Mission: SOS representative Sophomore Anjali Kanthilal, the event was suggested because MSJ’s annual Stress-Free Week/Day is cancelled for 201112 due to budget cuts. “We didn’t want a year without a stress-free day”, said Kanthilal, “and everyone likes surprises. We just wanted a relaxing day for everyone to enjoy.” Although a few AP courses needed to keep pace in time for AP testing later in May, all teachers were encouraged to further participate in the event by avoiding giving any tests, quizzes, or homework assignments on Thursday. This, coupled with the minimum day on Friday, gave MSJ students a much-needed break in the middle of their rigorous second semester coursework. ▪

staff writer tanya raja

Students enjoyed a performace by DJ Robbie Rich during their surprise extended lunch.

REFORM | Math movement

Bay Area Math Olympiad

continued from page 1 sophomores are eager to supply a fresh perspective to a “math sector [that] has been done the greatest disservice,” says Lu. “Geometry is… more obviously creative than the other math sectors,” as he shows that the belief that “there is only one right answer” least applies to geometry. They are currently formulating specific plans to bring their proposal to life. “Some students need traditional math, and some parents need traditional math, too,” says Honors Geometry Teacher Charlie Brucker, who will help plan the future Honors Geometry class. “But there are also students who need to be engaged and challenged even more… [so] I believe in the spirit of the Mission of Reform. Their intentions, I support entirely.” Such educational freedom does have its costs, however. More than two decades ago, MSJ piloted a reform math program supported by the Department of Education, called College Preparatory Math. Its discovery-based curriculum, written by professors and

teachers who support creativity in math, seemed promising. “It was a sound program,” Math Department Head Jan Frydendahl says. “[However,] many students could not handle the freedom in the program.” The program was quickly voted out due to its reputation of the curriculum’s blatant failure to meet state standards and inability to prepare students for college. When asked about any future possibility of a reformed math curriculum, Math Teacher David Lau says, “We simply don’t have the resources or the time or the money to do it.” With a considerable number of students aiming for or taking advanced math courses, it’s easy to say that many MSJ students are working towards an AP math course to strengthen their performance in college. “If you look at the AP test, it needs more speed than creativity,” Calculus teacher Mehebub Karmali says. “Unless the demand[s] from AP tests and Colleges change for more creativity, it will be a battle to reform high school math.” ▪

for the march 2, 2012 issue Photo Page 24: Sherry Xiao’s name was misspelled.

continued from page 1

The Alameda County Science and Engineering Fair took place at Chabot College, above.

News Page 4: Melinda Wang’s name was misspelled.

Officials have revealed a plan to divide $1.5 billion to upgrade the current Caltrain line.

Friday, March 30, 2012

By Rachel Choi Staff Writer On Feb. 28, 2012, MSJ students were victorious at the annual Bay Area Mathematical Olympiad (BAMO). The MSJ team placed first, and multiple individual students placed as well, including Sophomore Jerry Wu, who won Grand Prize, Sophomore Lewis Chen, who placed first, Sophomore Aaron Lin, who placed third, and Junior Matthew Jin, who received an honorable mention. Nine other students also participated in the competition. BAMO is a four-hour long exam that consists of five difficult proofs; its goal is to introduce students to the beauty of mathematics and encourage them to pursue math-related careers. It clearly attracts many students; this year, 467 students from 116 schools participated. “BAMO is an excellent competition with intriguing problems,” said Wu, “It’s time-consuming, but it’s definitely worth it.” Junior Jeffrey Yuan, who also competed, agreed with Wu,

saying, “I feel that BAMO fills a gap in the array of math competitions in the US. There’s a lot of emphasis on calculation-style problems, especially at the entry level, so I feel that BAMO is a great opportunity for students to become familiar with higher-order mathematical reasoning.” Because MSJ performed so well at the competition this year, BAMO Director Linda Green came to C-5 on March 22, 2012 during lunch to present awards and certificates to the team. Math teachers Charles Brucker and David Lau, as well as Principal Sandy Prairie, were also present to celebrate the students’ achievements. ▪

staff writer rachel choi

Sophomore Jerry Wu received his award from BAMO director Linda Green.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Smoke Signal

“I thought [Invisible Children] was really great! However, it wasn’t long before people started nagging about the cause, talking of how it was a scam. That bothered me because the main point of the video was to get the word out about what Kony was doing. They asked for donations but getting money wasn’t their priority. Then [Invisible Children co-founder] Jason Russell was found going crazy and now I just don’t know what to believe.” -Marianna Sartori, 11

On March 5, 2012, Invisible Children released a documentary on Kony, the leader of a Ugandan guerilla group, called KONY 2012, in an attempt to “make Kony infamous.” The video went viral soon after it was released, and reached more than 70 million Youtube views and 16 million Vimeo views within a week. Jason Russell, the founder of Invisible Children, states, “Its only purpose is to stop the rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and their leader, Joseph Kony.” His plan is to use the video to spur Internet viewers to pressure the Obama administration to send military advisers to central Africa until Kony is captured or stopped. Invisible Children is a non-profit organization founded in 2004. Its mission statement on its website is to use “film, creativity and social action to end the use of child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s rebel war and restore Lord’s Resistance Army affected communities in Central Africa.” Over the past few years, Invisible Children has attempted to use various methods to support its cause, such as urging the US government to take military action, soliciting donations, selling merchandise, and creating publicity through films and documentaries on the internet. Joseph Kony is the head of the LRA, a Ugandan guerilla group. However, the organization has a much broader reach to countries such as Sudan, South Sudan, Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The LRA’s purpose is to transform Uganda into a theocracy and “purify” the Acholi people who live there. Kony claims that he is the spokesperson of the Holy Spirit. Although the public initially supported the LRA, the guerilla group gradually lost support as its brutal practices were revealed. Since 1986, the LRA has taken over 66,000 children as child soldiers, and has killed 2 million

“I agree that people should stop terrorists from abusing innocent children, but the fact that [the video] spread across the internet so easily and the fact that there are people dying in Syria that no one really cares about kinda says something about how vulnerable we are. I think people should educate themselves before they support such a cause.” -Jonathan Lu, 10

News 3

people. The boys captured are forced to fight for the LRA and support its goals, and the girls are sex slaves. In 2005, Kony was finally tried by the International Criminal Court, but he evaded capture and has been in hiding since 2006. Invisible Children’s attempt to shed light on Kony has also directed the media’s attention toward the organization’s finances. According to publicly disclosed financial statements, only 37 percent of the $8.9 million the organization raised in 2011 was donated directly to Central Africa. Of the rest of its funds, 16 percent was used to pay employee salaries, 36 percent was used on awareness programs and products, and 11 percent on fundraising, media, and film. Soon after the media raised awareness about how Invisible Children spent its funds, many blogs and forum sites began criticizing the organization’s spending, the most notable of which was social news site Reddit with numerous posts titled “The Kony 2012 Campaign is a Fraud.” The media further emphasized that Kony has not been seen or been active in any guerilla organizations since 2008. Others raised accusations that the KONY 2012 video uses an emotional appeal to rouse its viewers, rather than with statistics, facts, and a clear plan of action. On March 12, a week after Invisible Children released its KONY 2012 video, it released another video and public statement to address public criticism and prove that the organization was “fully transparent.” While many websites are now against donating to Invisible Children, alternative organizations to donate to have surfaced throughout the Internet. Some include Eastern Congo Initiative, which seeks to rescue the child soldiers in eastern Congo, and Free the Children, which is involved with building schools and houses in Africa. ▪

“On one hand I guess it’s good that people are raising awareness, but the issue is already kind of past, and I hate that people only care about these issues when [they’re] on the Facebook news feed.” -Leena Yin, 11 “It’s really saddening to think that this is happening right now. Devastation and cruelty like this occurs everywhere, and KONY 2012 has brought at least one of the situations to light in the United States. Americans may complain that the traffic light won’t turn green or spend hours debating who the Republican nominee should be, but now we’re beginning to realize that the rest of the world faces far greater problems than we do.” -Dustin Chiang, 9,, layout by news editor allan ko

Pacific Commons to be expanded By Kevin He Staff Writer Entertainment buffs and local students will be happy to hear that the 318,000 foot expansion to Pacific Common shopping center, owned by Catellus Development Corporation, will soon find itself home to a brand new Target, Nordstrom Rack, and a highly anticipated 16-screen Century movie complex, in addition to a 1,000 job boost to the struggling local construction industry. Construction for this highly anticipated retail and entertainment district soon to be known as “The Block at Pacific Commons” began on May 26, 2011, though Fremont residents have been calling for the construction of a suitable downtown district for many years through Facebook groups like “Bring a Movie Theater to Pacific Commons” and other social networking campaigns. Major league baseball fans were disappointed to hear that the expansion to the Pacific Commons shopping center, originally slated for the development of a 34,000 seat baseball facility dubbed Cisco Field, would not undergo the massive commercial, retail, and residential renovations. However, thanks to this much-needed extension to Fremont’s already popular retail center, local residents will no longer have to travel out of city borders in search of the latest film or outlet store. Much attention has been drawn to Fremont’s major lack of clothing and entertainment retailers, two necessities that the average high school student finds in no small demand. Several MSJ students commented on the troubling lack of afterschool hangouts, including Senior Jonathan Poon, who said “there’s only two places to get clothes in Fremont: the tiny Old Navy at Pacific Commons, and Wal Mart. That means I get

to choose between paying ten dollars for a shirt I’ll never wear, or five dollars for a shirt that’ll last me a week.” Senior Kalvin Luo copied the sentiment, saying “It’s kind of lame to have to travel half an hour to Santana Row in San Jose just because Fremont doesn’t have anywhere classy to shop or chill. If I want my Superdry clothes, I should be able to get them in Fremont.” Fortunately for the clothing connoisseurs across the city, the Block will feature, in addition to the brand new Target and Century Theaters, a series of retail subsections including the “Theater Plaza”, the “Promenade”, and the “Palm Court”, all hosting a wide variety of offprice outlets for clothing, dining, and entertainment. Though the Block is still undergoing construction, the Target is already open and the 16-screen Century movie complex is scheduled to open in April. ▪

The Block is coming soon to Pacific Commons, including a highly anticipated Century movie theater.

Trash in fashion By Jason Chen Staff Writer MSJ’s first ever Green “Trashy” Fashion Show is taking place today, March 30, 2012, during lunch at the conclusion of the Service Learning Green Week. This interactive week features clubs and student organizations engaging in a variety of environmental protection and recycling projects. To end the week with a bang, the Green Fashion Show Friday activity will showcase the best costumes designed by clubs and student organizations at MSJ. The idea of hosting the fashion show coincides with MSJ’s participation in The Service Learning Waste Reduction Project (SLWRP). This countywide project aims to raise awareness about environmental protection and waste reduction by encouraging schools to participate in recycling and landscaping projects. As an added incentive, the SLWRP project links teams to leading waste reduction companies. With the help of Earth Team, Health Teacher Cate Ruebling’s freshman class scavenged the school looking for trash. Even though the project enjoyed great success, SLWRP leader Jeff Evans wanted an event that raises the awareness of the entire student body. After conferring with administrators from other Bay Area schools, Evans came up with the idea of hosting the Service Learning Green Week and the Green Fashion

Show. Evans said, “we want to have one big week promoting SLWRP and the fashion show allows students to create something using recycled materials and teach a lesson through it. ” To cap off the Service Learning Green Week, the Green Fashion Show aims to spread awareness to the student body. This interactive Friday activity makes waste reduction fun by cultivating creativity in the contestant’s costume design. Each club or student organization gets one entry and contestants are allowed to use any recycled materials or other unwanted material in their costume designs. Contestants will then have a chance to present their costumes on stage to the student body while receiving a score from judges. The winning clubs and student organizations will receive $50, a trophy, and entrance into the Charity Fashion Show. All students and staff are encouraged to come out and support the contestants. According to Evans, the Green Fashion Show not only benefits all clubs, but also the entire student body. The Service Learning Green Week and the Green Fashion Show serve as important steps in propelling SLWRP to new heights. With the increased awareness, the SLWRP team hopes to increase the number of waste projects at MSJ and accomplish ambitious goals such as planting a victory garden. Evans said “I hope kids get creative, get involved, and start something big at this school.” ▪

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Friday, March 30, 2012

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Weekday classes run Tuesday and Thursday from 7pm – 9pm Session 1: June 19th, 21st, 26th, 28th Othello by William Shakespeare Session 2: July 10th, 12th, 17th, 19th Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky Session 3: July 24th, 26th, 31st, August 2nd Shakespearean Sonnets Session 4: August 7th, 9th, 14th, 16th English Romantic Poetry: An Anthology Session 5: August 21st, 23rd, 28th, 30th Brave New World by Aldous Huxley Saturday classes run from 1pm – 3pm Saturday A: June 23rd 30th, July 14th 21st Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad Saturday B: July 28th, August 4th, 11th, 25th Iliad by Homer Pricing: Sign up with a friend for a 10% discount each. Sign up with two friends for a 15% discount. Registration Fee: $45 - Sign up before May 1st to waive this fee. For 1:1 classes, please call for availability. There will be no 1 Session $399 refunds for missed classes. Cancellations after May 15th take a 2 Sessions $379 each 3 Sessions $339 each $50 fee. No refunds after June 15th. Check out our website at 4 Sessions $309 each for other classes. Find us on Facebook at 5+ Sessions $279 each Simon Academics. Sibling discounts available.

Friday, March 30, 2012


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Smoke Signal

Mission San Jose High School Est. 1964 Vol. 47, No. 7 | March 30, 2012

The Smoke Signal

What a (Slimy) Mess We’ve Made By Courtney Tam Opinion Editor “Including in the national school lunch program’s beef products accomplishes three important goals. It improves the nutritional profile, increases the safety of the products and meets budget parameters that allow the school lunch program to feed kids nationwide every day.” Spoken by Beef Products Incorporated (BPI) spokesperson Rich Jochum, these words paint an idealistic portrait upon the beef incorporated into school lunches belonging to a nation’s worth of young schoolchildren as a healthy, all problemresolving addition. But unbeknownst to many until recently, much of the ground beef in school lunches contains a low-cost filler, dubbed “pink slime” by former United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist Gerald Zirnstein in a USDA memo. The slime, essentially waste trimming derived from meat close to the hide and extremely susceptible to E. coli and Salmonella contamination, is an additive commonly used in the formulation of ground beef. The low-grade trimming undergoes a multistep process before it is deemed edible: low heat simmering, fat and connective tissue seperation via centrifuge, and antibacterial ammonium hydroxide (ammonia gas) spray. Despite the intense industrialization of the meat, the pink slime is still labeled as “absolutely edible” by American Meat Institute President J. Patrick Boyle. Sounds revolting doesn’t it? But it just gets worse—something that seems so inedible, hidden under the guise of an USDA “lean finely textured beef ” label, is routinely used in a multitude of school lunch programs across the nation. In fact, 7 million pounds of the stuff was just recently purchased by the US Government to be integrated into such programs; ground beef used by schools often has up to 25 percent pink slime.

Opinion 5

anthology Ignore the World at Your Peril By Anthony Chen

Once only used in cooking oil and dog food, pink slime has permeated into school lunch grounds—meaning young schoolchildren are eating something barely seen as appropriate for human consumption in the past. Even fast-food chains, probably establishments that are not the most health-conscious, such as Taco Bell, Burger King, and McDonald’s, have refused to use the filler any longer. It seems preposterous that something even fast food chains abstain from is safe enough, or “generally recognized as safe” according to the USDA, to feed students. How can they expect children eating this substance, for lack of a better term (is it meat? chemicals?), to obtain the full nutritional value from their food? School nutritional services often plan their meal portions and dishes around regulatory guidelines, so using something with what appears to have such little nutritional value completely undervalues the good-intentioned system. But what’s particularly infuriating about the situation centered on non-nutritional protein is that as of March 15, 2012, the USDA announced that schools have the option to purchase ground beef without the pink slime “due to customer demand” and parents advocating for change. Though the new offer seems to be a response to the public outcry, it’s disheartening to think that if such industrial techniques were used in dealing with waste trimmings and were not exposed publicly, children would go on eating the processed substance, unknowingly ingesting pink slime. The corporate reasoning that the “lean finely textured beef ” is not as costly as organic meat does not make it a valid defense for its usage. Pink slime should be eradicated from lunch programs all together: it’s a necessary reform when both children’s health and wellbeing are jeopardized. ▪

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EDITORIAL: Affirmative action

Opinion Editor It’s admirable that our generation rises up to protest against invasions of civil liberties or unethical behavior, but widespread “slacktivisism” (a portmanteau of the words slacker and activism) at best only spreads awareness. More commonly, it simply spreads misinformation and feeds the flames of mob mentality. When the hubbub is over, nothing has happened. If people actually want to bring about change, they need to start caring about world news, do their research, and find the facts. It’s a sad truth that many teenagers don’t care about the news, but ironically many still manage to get caught up in the newest fads in protests. The Kony incident produced many “activists” overnight who saw to it that a piece of heart-wrenching propaganda produced by Invisible Children got spread over social networks. There was controversy over the intent of the video, with some decrying the alleged untrustworthiness of Invisible Children and others applauding the spread in awareness; the justification of awareness, however, brings up the greater issue. Anyone paying attention to world news would know about the terrible atrocities that have occurred in Uganda and other parts of Africa. Being in a bubble in an affluent first world country has allowed many teenagers to turn a blind eye to anything remotely depressing or anything that even takes an ounce of effort to understand. And it’s not just about events that have no direct connection to us. Take the recent recession, for example. It was common for “activists” to share pictures and videos of people crying over economic losses, or angry protestors in the Occupy Wall Street movement, but what did it accom-

plish other than increasing the rage of the public? There was a lot of misguided and misdirected anger. Many didn’t even care. Teenagers tend to skip over this kind of topic because it’s boring, and yet if such a monumental catastrophe can be simply ignored by the rising generation, it’s going to happen again. Then maybe the ones who don’t care will turn into slacktivists, but that still doesn’t solve anything. Information disparities will continue to be a primary obstacle in the quest for change. Let’s take the recession as an example again. The ones who didn’t care and didn’t read the news only realized that a recession had happened and that people were angry. Perhaps they swallowed the opinions of mainstream liberals and decided that banks were evil. The “activists” stepped it up a notch. They participated in Occupy Wall Street. They read about mortgage fraud. They slandered investment banks, not commercial banks. Very few, however, actually found out the cause and the culprits. One of the reasons fraud went undiscovered for a while was that the creators of synthetic credit default obligations purposefully made them hard to understand. They widened the information disparity, and it worked. You can’t protest something you don’t understand. You can’t change anything by repeating the popular sentiment and giving in to the mob. And if you think world news is boring and irrelevant, realize that your civil liberties are being threatened, your economic prosperity is going downhill, and people all around are being exploited, abused, and killed. Search for the truth; knowledge is power. ▪ Send letters to the editor to

The Opinion of the Smoke Signal Editorial Board Recently, the issue of affirmative action has been prevalent in the news. The official definition of affirmative action is an active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups and women. This year, trouble appeared on a national level; Abigail Fisher, a Caucasian student from Texas, unsuccessfully applied for admission to the University of Texas—Austin in 2008. She ultimately sued the school for discriminating against her because she was Caucasian. Is affirmative action ethical? No. It takes away opportunities from those who work just as hard but are not disadvantaged by their ethnicity. In this regard, affirmative action is a terrible method of determining college admissions. Latino, African-American, and Native American races are considered to be disadvantaged and are often the subjects of affirmative action while Asian and Caucasian students are not. Affirmative action is flawed; it does not take into account those who are either Caucasian or Asian and are actually disadvantaged in terms of learning opportunities and income. As a result of affirmative action that targets ethnicity, economically disadvantaged Caucasians and Asians may be denied admission to colleges and access to potential jobs in the future. This is so, despite them having similar accomplishments to equally qualified candidates of higher

socio-economical and different racial backgrounds. A more practical solution would be based on judging a family’s income level. It makes allowances for the individuals who would not qualify for aid under a “racial affirmative action”. This will level the playing field and not hold anyone at fault for their ethnicity. Ironically, affirmative action helps those who are affluent but get placed into the “disadvantaged” category. These individuals can afford extra preparation and tools to succeed, whereas many others cannot. Statistics from the College Board prove that there is a strong positive correlation between test scores and income; the higher the income, the higher the test scores. Without regard for income, students automatically get pushed behind because of their race. This is not fair and contradicts everything affirmative action stands for. Less affluent families with children who will be the first to go to college, but are not underrepresented minorities, will be at a disadvantage. Affirmative action allows situations such as those to occur. As for Fisher’s case, she may win. If her claim remains solid, it will show that affirmative action held her back. Moreover, looking at the level of income provides a better standard for college admission than ethnicity does. ▪ Send letters to the editors at by April 20 , 2012 or comment online at

staff writer avery kruger

staff writer supriya yelimeli

6 Opinion

Child wars By Kenny Jacoby Staff Writer

Nine years into a committed life-partnership, two unmarried lesbian women decided that they were going to conceive and raise a child together. One of the women donated an egg that was fertilized in the other, and in 2004, their “test tube baby,” a little girl, was born. So the two women went on to live happily ever after, right? Think again. Two years after their baby was born, the two women separated from each other for undisclosed reasons. Less than two years after that, the birth mother fled to Australia along with the baby, not telling anyone where she was going nor that she was leaving. Miraculously, the biological mother was able to track down her ex-partner by means of a private investigator. Now, the two women are pitted against one another in a groundbreaking custody battle that society was not prepared for. In 1993, a Florida state law was passed in response to the birth of the world’s first “test tube baby” born 15 years prior. This law, meant to regulate sperm and egg donation, gave the birth mother total parental rights. After a trial judge reluctantly ruled in favor of this law, the 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach refuted the decision, allotting equal rights to both parents. This case is now before the Florida Supreme Court. The outcome of this case will undoubtedly set the standard for gay rights for many years to come. The use of out-of-body technology to conceive a child was clearly brought upon society faster than human ethics could process it. The 1993 Florida law was a haphazard attempt to establish order in a subject field that exceeds far beyond the

The Smoke Signal

Friday, March 30, 2012

Divided we fall By Aishwarya Thakur

realm of knowledge of a few haughty state congressmen. In what twisted world does the biological parent of a child have no custody over his or her child, not because of anything he or she did, but because of a technicality? What gives the birth mother all this power anyway? The father of the child is an anonymous sperm donor who waived all parental rights before the baby was born. Therefore, the birth mother isn’t at all blood-related to the baby girl. She is essentially a surrogate mother, and if she wasn’t in a life-partnership with the biological mother at the time of the birth, right now she likely would already be out of the picture. Just goes to show that you had better pick your soul mate wisely. The couple’s relationship is now history, but the crucial mistakes they made during it still loom large over their heads. The single worst course of action this couple took while they were together was only putting the birth mother’s name on the child’s birth certificate. Putting both parents’ names on the birth certificate would have made them each assume equal custody in the event that the women separated (which they did). As a result of this lapse in judgment, the birth mother has a chance to run away with complete custody. Besides being the only actual blood-related mother of the now eight year-old child, the biological mom should be given, at minimum, half-custody simply because the birth mother does not exactly fit the textbook definition of a good parent. Anytime your parent absconds with you to a foreign country without your other parent’s permission—or without telling anyone for that matter—you know something is wrong. Does society really want to reward the birth mother for her unstable parenting actions? Let’s just hope the Supreme Court—if it chooses to consider the case—doesn’t let that happen.▪

Staff Writer

staff writer sherry xiao

You hear about Romney and someone named GOP (maybe he’s a rapper whose initials stands for Grand Old Playah…) and some cat fight that they had last night. You think, “Is this is a new reality TV show that I don’t know about? Impossible!” Hopefully when you come to school tomorrow someone will tell you that was actually the Republican Party’s primaries. As average Americans are recovering from the recession, dealing with the still high unemployment rate, and worrying about the level of education in America, election candidates are diverting their attention from these matters at hand and focusing on…simply put, bringing each other down. Back-talking and “drama” should be left to high school. On the election platform, it’s just downright embarrassing. After Republican Party candidate Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina primary, fellow candidate Mitt Romney, in poor fashion, launched a series of TV commercials attacking Gingrich. Petty issues came up in the ads, such as Gingrich being the only person to ever be reprimanded in Congress and his numerous ethics violations. Additionally, before the Ohio primary, the Romney campaign released anti-Santorum ads. Slogans such as “20 years in Congress changed Santorum’s principles,” and, “Rick Santorum: Big Spender,” were the basis of these commercials. What about Romney’s own views or his platform? Romney’s strategy has been to put down the other player in order to succeed. Many experts speculate that Romney may not have even been the leading GOP candidate if it weren’t for his propaganda-esque ads. In those states participating in Super Tuesday, Romney accounted for 80 percent of the total money spent on television ads among the four candidates. The ad campaigns aren’t the only things that are focusing on frivolity though. The Republican candidates are avoiding the main matters and spending more time on lower priority issues. According to www., the top points that citizens want to see addressed are the economy and the budget. Topics that the Republican candidates have been focusing on are abortion, birth control, and gay marriage—topics not even on the list. Additionally, curiosity in how the candidates’ religious affiliations will affect the results seems to be more prevalent than anything else. In an interview with Rick Burgess and Bill Bussey, hosts of the Rick and Bubba Show, questions about Romney’s Mormon faith were repeatedly brought up. One of the questions was, “Do you, as a Mormon, believe America is the new Promised Land?” What importance

does this question have? And yet, Romney is constantly criticized on his religious beliefs. Yes, it is important for the primary candidates—as Romney clearly seems to be losing in highly evangelical states, such as Alabama and Mississippi—because voters will vote for whom they can connect with. However, questions that are not related directly to the elections should not be asked. The election is getting highly personal, among the candidates as well as the press. The year 2012 is also the year in which five million eligible voters will be denied the right to vote as per the Brennan Center of Justice at the New York University School of Law. Eight states have passed Voter ID requirement policies and thus more minorities and people in poverty are being denied the right to vote since the passing of the Jim Crow laws in 1876, according to the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Benjamin Todd Jealous. States are requiring IDs to be presented at the time of voting, but some of the restrictions placed are those which 11 percent of registered voters can’t fulfill. For example, IDs must be state-issued, have full name and address, or/and have an expiration date listed on it. College IDs are also not allowed, prohibiting much of America’s youth from voting. NAACP presented their case to the United Nations and explained the suppression of voting rights that these policies entail. As President Lyndon B. Johnson said, “The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.” This suppression of voting rights is suppressing the voice of the citizens, and even the presidential candidates aren’t listening to the voters—focusing on ways they can win the most votes instead. Romney said in South Carolina to a mostly-white crowd, “Is there anyone here who is over 18…that does not have a photo ID? Yeah, that’s what I thought.” The fact is, though, that many minority groups and disadvantaged people don’t have valid IDs, something that the Republican Party especially is ignoring. Doesn’t this negative campaign and election go against everything that America stands for? Patrick Henry said in one of his last speeches, “United we stand, divided we fall.” The constant attacking by the Republican candidates goes against the idea that America should try to be the best that it can be by its own standards and not the best after tarnishing the other group.The candidates should be focusing less on their personal problems and instead showing us how our future can improve. Next time you see political decorum spiraling out of control, recognize it. Don’t get swayed by what other people want you to think—get educated to make your own decisions. ▪

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Smoke Signal

Opinion 7

Overpriced tech IPO’s? By Vipin Dulam

Situated in the heart of the tech industry, the Silicon Valley sees new inventions and technological innovations constantly. From flip-phones to high-tech iPhones, the tech industry has grown rapidly in the past 20 years and continues to hold massive potential for greater expansion. Many MSJ parents work in the tech industry, and have been important contributors to this fast growth. One of the financial factors that greatly affects this industry and its growth is the Initial Public Offering (IPO). IPO is a process in which a company decides to declare itself public. By doing so, the company is essentially selling itself (in terms of shares) to the public. For days on end, Facebook was the center of media attention when company executives announced their intention to go public. The topics of discussion ranged from ‘the young entrepreneur making even more money,’ all the way to ‘Facebook’s journey in today’s techworld.’ But did people bother to figure out what exactly the logistics of an IPO are? The hype following an IPO is a trap that many fall into, and at times it’s hard to get out of. The whole point of an IPO is for the company to be able to make money that it can feed into its profits chart or pump back in as investments. The pricing of a share is determined by the demand of the people, making it very similar to an auction. Famous companies, such as Facebook or LinkedIn that have been profitable before, will be high in demand for their shares. One of the driving forces behind share prices is public hype. A stock price is heavily determined by the amount of trust people put into the company, which is why the companies’ past records and revenues are usually

Staff Writer

staff writer kevin he

indicators of how a company’s IPO shares would sell. Groupon, which is a company that compiles many different coupons for various places, services, and stores around the country, is a new company that recently had an IPO. Groupon is a very small company and it has no history of making any promising revenues. Despite that fact, Groupon’s IPO had abnormally higher share prices than any other company in its range. Groupon isn’t the only company that benefited from this so called ‘IPO Advantage.’ Many other companies in the past have raked in money with

What a “meme” bully! By Anusha Rijhsinghani Staff Writer

In our Internet-driven generation, a common fad has slowly crept into the niche of social media: the meme. Memes are visual satires made to represent the ever-changing customs and fads in our society, ranging from racially oriented ones to those centered around pop culture. There are millions of memes plastered on the Internet every day, the majority made by individuals and then shared on social networking sites. Hundreds of high schools and universities even have their own meme pages, which creates a great camaraderie within the student body. A student from Mission recently created a page on Facebook called MSJ Memes which became an instant hit. Because the entire student body can relate to the memes and only Mission students understand them, they unify the student body with their realistic humor. If anything new or exciting happens in the world, someone instantly makes a meme about it. And it spreads like a virus. While most memes are made with good intentions and for the purpose of a good laugh, some cross the line from a joke to cyber bullying. There’s a fine line between what makes someone laugh and what makes them feel uncomfortable, and many people have not discovered that boundary yet. One of the many ways people can overstep this boundary is by making their memes overly racist. While there are sites that make memes specific to different ethnic groups, such as Desi Memes or Asian Memes, they usually make sure

the hype they created, quite a few of which went bankrupt later on, such as and Webvan. Although Groupon’s stock was very high initially, the company’s stock prices fell sharply right after the hype died out and the demand watered down. By this time, however, Groupon had already made a 36% revenue increase by selling their initial shares. The question to ask is whether or not Groupon deserves this money that it simply got because of the artificial hype the people propelled. What’s the guarantee that this company will be able to use the money that the public invested in it. If Groupon ends up failing, not only does it go down as a com-

that anything they post isn’t too racially controversial. Instead, they try and embrace racial stereotypes and poke fun at them, which is what makes them so amusing and relatable. But a major problem—one that applies to everything and not just memes—is that people are more interested in things that are controversial. The greater the controversy, the more people talk about it, and the greater the publicity. This provokes meme-makers to post more of these in order to attract more attention. When Jeremy Lin, for example, came into the spotlight for his new and impressive basketball career, the first thing that everyone noticed was that he was an Asian who graduated from Harvard. An Asian Harvard-grad who defied the stereotype and made the drastic change from economics to basketball. So of course they made memes centerspread editor frank chen about it. One of the newer and more popular memes made on this subject is a picture of Jeremy Lin and Derrick Rose standing next to each other, with a talk bubble coming from Rose saying “Isn’t that the kid that took my SAT?” While many of these memes helped publicize him and support the hype of Jeremy Lin, some such as this one went over the line. Memes are light-hearted and funny until they get overdone, which is when they turn from being harmless to hurtful and even offensive. Because it’s so quick and easy to make memes on sites such as www. and, people can sometimes unintentionally get carried away. They use them to represent virtually anything—from something big that occurred on their college campus all the way to their political views. While memes may be made out of love and admiration, sometimes that message is lost in translation. ▪

pany, but it also takes down the money of all those people who decided to invest in it. From the company’s point of view, it was the lack of organization or the lack of skill that led to failure. But from the investor’s perspective, it’s the lack of careful speculation that led to the bad idea of even investing in such a company. That decision was egged on by the demand and promise the company seems to have because of all the money all the other investors are putting into it. The initial public offering will always have an artificial hype that encases it, however small the company may be. The bubble that surrounds it acts as a magnet for those looking to invest in something small, but make a high profit sometime down the line when the company becomes a major success. Many of the tech companies, especially in the Bay Area, sound very promising, but what happens behind closed doors inside a company is something no investor can find out. A simple example would have to do with Solyndra, a company based in Fremont that recently declared bankruptcy. If Solyndra had declared an IPO, its stock prices would’ve been extremely high initially, because the solar company showed promise. Not only was it technologically sound, but the public opinion on it was pretty high; especially because the President of the United States himself had taken the time to come visit it. However, despite all this, Solyndra failed, and if it had been a public company, its investors would’ve lost lots of money in this company that they had high hopes for. The hype surrounding an IPO can be dangerous to those looking for a quick investment or a success overnight. But by thorough research and investigation, the trust one puts into a company should be independent of how many others follow the flow around them. ▪

Monetary differences By Nihar Parikh Staff Writer

The rising costs of post-secondary education have created an interesting paradigm for many families across the nation. Public education, which has always been a part of the American dream, is distancing itself from the reach of many Americans. Middle and lower class families are increasingly turning to private universities which can offer significant financial aid to selected students. This phenomenon is possibly the strongest in California, where the University of California and the California State University system’s fees have increased exponentially in the past decade due to budget cuts. These universities used to have a higher appeal due to the lower fees; in 1996, the average cost per year at a UC was $12,000. As state-owned institutions, they were mainly funded by tax dollars, and therefore were able to offer significantly lower prices compared to the $35,000 required today. Based on UC Berkeley’s and Stanford University’s official financial aid calculators, for the average Fremont family, earning an annual income of $100,450, the discrepancy between the systems can create a difference of almost $15,000 per year. In this scenario, a student attending UC Berkeley may have to pay approximately $23,568 per year while possibly having to pay only $8,400 per year at Stanford University. Also, if applicable, Stanford may guarantee in-term and summer work covering almost another $2,000. Therefore, private institutions may be a more viable financial option if students are accepted to both public and private institutions and meet financial aid eligibility re-

quirements. Financial aid is no guarantee, but these numbers show the contrasting pattern of aid packages between private and public universities. This means that a greater number of individuals in communities across the state, and in this community, will be forced to attend community college with an eye towards transferring to cut the overall cost of education, or consider alternative options to further education. The UC and CSU system will become increasingly inaccessible to the lower class families, ironically once being the most economical option. It is easy to place all the blame on our politicians and their disregard for education, but that would be looking at the problem superficially. The budget cuts are the root of the issue, but it’s the compromises the system has had to make that have extended the problem. One solution proposed by universities to get around funding cuts was to admit more out of state and international students that can pay out of state fees, but the system is dedicated to Californian students. Therefore, UCs and CSUs admit more qualified individuals from in state but ask for more “out of pocket” money to make ends meet. Fortunately or unfortunately, the system is not willing to sacrifice the basic public value of their commitment to in-state residents. The unthinkable has become a reality. Harvard, Yale, and others private institutions are potentially thousands of dollars cheaper for selected Californian students due to increasing UC and CSU fees and their ability to offer larger financial aid packages. Middle and lower income families who are admitted and meet aid guidelines now have a new, more financially viable, option by attending a private institution. Times have changed, and the original concept of the “public” university is may be fleeting. ▪

8 Feature


Turn Out the Lights, the Party’s Over! Definition: 1) A popular phrase originating from Kevin Mallon, Algebra II/Trigonometry teacher. Most commonly heard on test days when the bell has rung and students are still madly trying to complete their tests in time, signifying that there is no more time left and that everybody needs to turn their test in. 2) A comical way of saying that an end has come. Examples: 1) Nurse Joy: “No! We’re losing him! No! We just lost him!” Child: “No! No! No! How do I live without my father?” Dr. Pepper: “Turn out the lights, the party’s over!” ▪

MSJ Slang By Jin Peng Staff Writer

The Smoke Signal

Even at MSJ, students develop their own personal bubble of culture that influences the way they express their feelings to their peers. Old and new, here are some of the most notable phrases that are original to MSJ conversation.

B4ND 4 LYF3 Definition: 1) A representation of foreverstanding loyalty to Mission’s band program regardless of the physical and mental strife and sacrifice that one may endure as a part of band. 2) Anything pertaining to band, usually something humorous or unique. Examples: 1) Band Member Bob: “Marching band in the rain and mud for three hours straight…I’m glad to have risked my life to fight for my country’s freedom!” Band Member Joe: “BAND 4 LYF3!” 2) Patrick: “Should I join band?” Patroll: “BAND 4 LYF3!”

Friday, March 30, 2012

Dude! Strugglin’ Definition: 1) Used to represent a situation in which one has failed. Most commonly, these situations are the result of unfortunate mistakes that cause the subject to feel embarrassed.It is usually used in jest. 2) An apathetic reply to any negative occurrence for the subject. Examples: 1) Martin: “Yo dude, I was so tired this morning that I accidentally wore my sister’s skinny jeans to school and now my legs are broken!” Marcopper: “Haha, you be strugglin’, man!” 2) Random Student: “I just failed a test, my parents grounded me, I’ve been diagnosed with cancer, my girlfriend dumped me, and I’m out of Girl Scout cookies. I don’t think I can take it anymore…” Mission Man: “Strugglin’.”

graphics by staff writer jn peng

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Smoke Signal

Feature 9

Ways to break into spring By Sai Chilakapati, Vivian Jair, & Tanya Raja Staff Writers

With Spring Break just around the corner, many students are looking forward to days of freedom and relaxation. But before preparing to do absolutely nothing during break, keep in mind that slacking off isn’t the best idea in the world. Instead, why not use the time to enjoy yourself and catch up on some unfinished business? Below are the Smoke Signal’s Top 10 choices of what to do over this Spring Break in order to stay both busy and entertained.

1. Play Laser Tag If you are looking for a refuge from life’s many stresses, a dark room filled with hiding spots and lit targets is the place to go. Vests worn by player’s are sensitive to the infrared rays emitted by the guns, and will vibrate if you are shot, rendering your own gun useless for a few seconds. You can accumulate points by successfully shooting targets on another players vest, and the player with the most points at the end of the session is declared the winner. Even more fun if you go with friends, this thrilling game is a great way to alleviate your stress, and if nothing else, running around everywhere is a perfect way to burn some calories. Laser Tagging Inc., the biggest laser arena in the Bay Area, is right here in Fremont, so grab some friends and participate in an amazing experience this break. 3. Visit Colleges Seniors, Spring Break is the time to visit all the colleges you got into. However, college visiting doesn’t have to be for only seniors, juniors and sophomores can also go to get a taste of what colleges feel and look like. Before going make sure you book a college tour on the college website. Here are a couple of things to do while at colleges: get a feel of the campus, check out the dorms and learn about the dorm system, and most importantly sit in a class to get a feel for the teaching style of the professors.

5. Write Your Own Songs It is commonly acknowledged that writing songs is a great way to relieve emotional stress. Melodious music and poetic lyrics will do wonders for both your writing skills and state of mind. Regardless of what emotions you are experiencing, penning your thoughts will assist in balancing your stress levels. The possible subjects of your songs are limitless. Write about issues that matter to you, such as school, friends, and family, or about something even as insignificant as a headband. After successfully composing several creative works, you can bask in the glory of your accomplishment, and either share your songs with your friends or carefully stow them away to look over for another day. ape r Brain in Sh ld not be 7. Keep You to relax, shou textce an ch a g n , despite bei reading entire Spring Break ay. Of course, lly using this time aw t ro s in ra b fu let one’s idea, but care y weeks an excuse to t isn’t a good exams merel ou P ay A d d d an an ts in es T ay during d ct g je n ks b yi u oo d b e SAT S your stu th of h y it it W or . aj le m studying te the is preferab oring case of ea to comple b id a t e b ea gr to a as is at it h dy sessions away, it t who says th d creative stu u ol B h . to ak y re it B n g relatively portu Sprin ake studying ? Take the op m d en to n on la p rs er ou h e ot for h joyable. or devise som efully even en op with friends, h d an , ss painle

9. Relax With Friends Don’t forget that Spring Break is supposed to be an enjoyable, stressfree time! Hang out with a couple of friends at the mall or go out for a movie. Another option is to throw a giant party or potluck at your house to celebrate. Heading to a local amusement park with a pack of friends is also an exhilarating break from hardcore studying. Whatever the method, find a way to socialize with your friends without the anxiety of school. After all, this is the last chance to relax before the pressure of finals!

2. Take a Trip to Los Angeles Only a six-hour car ride away, taking a trip down to Los Angeles is both affordable and efficient. Once there, one can tour Hollywood’s studios and movie stars’ homes. There are also countless beaches, museums, and shopping centers to explore. The famous theme parks Disneyland and Universal Studios are also popular spots to visit. With both delicious food and innumerable attractions to visit, LA is a great place to vacation for a few days!

4. K1 Racing Ever dreamed of racing go-carts and drifting? K1 racing, conveniently located in Santa Clara, is the perfect activity to try over spring break to have the time of your life racing against your best buddies. Racing in 20 horsepower electric go-karts that can reach speeds up to 45 mph on specially designed high-grip racing tracks, K1 racing will not disappoint the racer inside you. But a word of caution, K1 racing is affordable, only $20, and extremely addicting.

6. Start a Blog Bored and have nothing to do over Spring Break? Start a blog! Blogging is a great way to post your thoughts and questions and interact with people all over the world. It is also a great way to enjoy yourself as you can peruse through other peoples comments and view their jokes. Furthermore, blogs can be a way of keeping track of your daily life; in a sense it’s an interactive online journal.

8. Watch Disney Movies Unleash the young child within you by watching Disney classics. Whether alone or with friends, watching old Disney movies is almost a guaranteed way to take a few wrinkles off your tired and gaunt face. These movies evoke feelings of hope and optimism even in the most steadfast cynic, and watching them is a great way to regain a positive outlook on what often seems to be a dreary existence. From the emphasis on accepting responsibility in The Lion King to the importance of finding a place to belong in Aladdin, Disney movies all significantly pertain to our lives even as teenagers, or rather, especially as teenagers, when we can take away more from the films than we ever could as toddlers. Be sure to watch a few old Disney films, and emerge from break with the same energy and attitude that you had as a youngster, ready to change everything you dislike about this world and yourself. 10. Go On a Reading Spree Due to the overload of homework and tests, many bookworms have found themselves without the time for a casual read. But no fear, for Spring Break is here! Take a day off from the Internet and head to the library. Once there, check out a few interesting books that catch your interest. Some lesser-known but nonetheless recommended series include the Gone series by Michael Grant, the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson, the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, and the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson., graphics by staff writers jade shih, connor williams, leland bernstein, rachel choi

& graphics editor kevin zhai

10 Feature

The Smoke Signal

Friday, March 30, 2012

Prom Advice: Style on a Budget By Leland Bernstein Staff Writer

Prom always seems so far away… until it’s not. What was three months has evaporated into three weeks and after scrambling to find your date you’re now wandering, unable to find a tux or a dress within your price range. Don’t panic though! There’s enough time for you to find everything you need still, and at discounted prices! Girls The biggest thing on your mind is your prom dress. It has to be perfect for you, and within your (or your parent’s) price range. David’s Bridal has plenty of prom dresses in every price range and you can even pick up a 20 percent discount for them at the Charity Fashion Show on April 5. Rent the Runway is another option if you want designer clothes for less, and if you recommend a friend – you both get $20 off your purchase. However, you’re unable to see a picture of the dress on Rent the Runway, so you’ll have to do research on the exact dress from your favorite designer before you buy. Also, if you’re not a part of the prom dress Facebook groups, you should try to get in one soon. You’ll get plenty of input on your dress (and reserve it for yourself so no one steals it!). If your date is like me and the last time he wore a tuxedo was for a wedding eight years ago, you’ll want to supervise his choices. It’s a little extra work to go with him to Men’s Warehouse, but it’ll make your night just that much smoother.


Last Thoughts On prom night, everyone looks good. All the planning has paid off, the limo arrived on time (or at least was fashionably late), and now there’s nothing left but to enjoy the night. Ladies, us guys understand that you put 1000 times more effort into prom than we do. However, it will take all of your man’s strength and chivalry to remain calm if all you can talk about on prom is how your hair should’ve been or how much prettier everyone else is. You’re fine, your date thinks you’re gorgeous, stop worrying and start enjoying. Guys, make sure you let your lady know that you think she looks amazing. Have fun at prom! ▪

Guys You only get three choices: Men’s Wearhouse, Tuxedo Warehouse, and Selix Formalwear. They have huge selections for you to choose from as well as good prices. In addition, they usually offer benefits such as 50 percent off your next purchase so hold onto them until senior year. Tip: if your date wants your tie and vest to match her dress exactly, you better get her into the store otherwise you’re going to be a shade off and ruin the picture (for her). While you’re classily renting your tux a week before from, your date is going haywire planning times to do her hair and make-up. You had the cojones to ask her to prom, but the amount of effort you put into your elaborate ask doesn’t hold a candle to what your lady’s going through. Once you’re matching with her, she’s out and about making sure her night will be perfect. Try to help her by taking any pressure you can off of her and never, ever, criticize the way she looks on prom night. That’s the quickest way to get a designer heel through your sternum., graphics by staff writer jade shih

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Smoke Signal

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The Smoke Signal

Friday, March 30, 2012

Scavenger Hunt

By Avery Kruger, Anjali Kanthilal, Sonali Toppur, Angie Wang, & Connor Williams Staff Writers & Graphics Editor


News A teacher quiz in the morning An extended lunch at noon It came from no where, no warning; We all thought it ended too soon.

The elections are drawing closer, People must make a decision, They listen to debates and form opinion, Select which candidate as President they envision.

Lunch was filled with “Yip” and “Hooray” All because of _____ _____ _____ !

But this year things are a little different, Don’t be surprised not to see, A couple of people missing from the polls, But not voluntarily.


(6 words) Considering our school colors, You would think people would care, Just a little more about going green, So make yourself more aware. If you want to dress to impress, You'll make your own outfit and it won't cost a dime, Participants can win prizes, While saving the earth a little at a time.



Being a Mission student is different, And not just because everyone’s so brilliant Students here have their own sayings They might even be called slangs You’ll find this article specifically funny Though it has nothing to do with money. Please don’t be strugglin’ ‘Cause it’s really not that puzzlin’ Now just find that heading Somewhere in this newspaper setting

ANSWER: (2 words) There are only few opportunities in a year Where students aren’t at school here Now find one specific place In this competitive race Many have visited “it” Since it is such a huge hit It’s a few hours drive Until you arrive So have lots of fun For this day has yet to come


(3 words) (6 words) Study, Study, Study Does one ever get a break? Chill out with your buddy, Or bake a yummy cake Read a nice book, Or learn to cook Take a long car ride, But just hurry up and decide!

The company gained loads of money, Before the hype went down, Their 36 percent revenue increase, Left ________ shareholders with no reason to frown.


A child was born to a couple, Two years after birth her mothers grew apart, The birth mother fled to Australia with the child, Leaving the other with a broken heart. She was found and now the custody battle ensues, Let’s hope justice does not fall short, We’ll see a case that sets precedents for gay rights, As the case goes to the _____ _____ _____.

ANSWER: (3 words)

If you did well in school and you’d like to do good, then you should have performed your talent (whether you juggle or saw wood). It began by ________ ___ ___ between the young and the old, tryed out your voice at the Merrill Gardens Retirement Home!

If you’ve always loved circuses, carnivals and fairs, flip to the photo page and pull up a chair. Come to the land where volcanoes are revived, then take a short trip down Technology Drive. Ever since first seeing them in elementary school, those first place ribbons always made us drool. So if you’re interested in learning about rare brown bears, be sure to check out the ________ _______ ____.



(3 words)

(3 words)

Some people call it crazy, That title’s true enough. An alliterative association Where breaking through’s quite tough. A meeting of the best and better, Where stats have high import, To find out who’s the champion, Go take it to the court.

It may come as a shock to you, The hobby I pursue. There’s electricity between us, Not love, that can’t be true. I know it’s rough and tumble, But by George I love this game, It charges me up every day, So can you guess its name?

A very small company, That took many by surprise, It had no history of promising revenues, But above the other companies in its range it did rise.

(1 words)

Centerspread 13

If Boba Fett tried playing sports, It might come as a shock, His perfect aim and fire arms Would make the audience gawk, But other athletes fighting back Would be acting just the same, As if they’d never heard of Star Wars, And were playing a normal game.




(2 words)

(2 words)

(2 words)

When your stomach’s really empty, It’s not a time to laugh. Sometimes you’ve got to fight for food And if you make a gaffe, You’ll have to go without, and then Go on your merry way. If merry you can call it When your face is deathly gray.

I see it in your fortune, The leaves have said it so. If you drink me you will get, A caffeinated glow. I’m the oyster of the restaurant, I’m good fast friends with Chai, I guess I’m not beyond compare, So come now, who am I?



(2 words)

(2 words)

What is this game That you dare to play Winning must be your aim Or else go away Find the name Or leave in shame Now please tell me What is the name of this game?

ANSWER: (4 words)

Now this newspaper has a name But within it lies a game Can you find the solution To answer this confusion? It’s one simple phrase In this complicating maze Two words that are proper nouns So don’t throw a frown Your almost done Find a picture, for this is no pun Look at the bottom center Can you find the picture near the border Now what is this called?


Having lost but once my prime, I’m a long and windy road. Walking, even watching me, May be quite a large load. Policemen come investigate, But conclusions require a leap, Investigate my mystery, Though it won’t be very cheap.

ANSWER: (3 words)

I can give just one hint You have most definitely seen this word That is, if you’ve read all the words in print That’s right! You haven’t misheard Do you dare explore the Minotaur’s lair? The Triwizard Tournament has this too Take on the challenge but please beware Of the hundreds of routes that are askew



So go a little crazy, Don't hesitate to be messy, Come out to the ______ _______ _____, We’re sure you can make trash classy.

(3 words)




(2 words) graphic by staff writer jade shi


The beakers were drawn and the goggles were worn, Many Mission students were there, Competing in the first annual, ____ _____ ____ ___ ________ ____.

Bringing you the news since 1964, the Smoke Signal always leaves you begging for more. Since we’ve provided you with such exciting thrills, we hope you’ll help us find our beloved green hills. Although not the usual mascot or Warrior, nor air mail carrier nor pit bull terrier, the _____ ______ ____ is incredibly dear to us and finding it ASAP is a must.


A battleground that draws, Only the best of the best, You would think that it's a place, Where many a valiant contender has been laid to rest.

The Smoke Signal

In this page you will find numerous riddles to key words inside the paper. Write the word(s) in the answer box and turn it in to Mrs. Cohen in N9! The deadline is April 2nd at 3:15 PM. The top five people who submit it with the most correct answers will get a free lunch of a chicken bake, chips, and a drink at our booth during Multicultural Week! Have fun exploring the Smoke Signal and may the odds be ever in your favor!

New voter ID requirement policies, In eight states we may note, Will deny ____ ______ eligible people, Of the right to cast a vote.

(3 words)

However the fields are fresh and new, An expansion on the old one, Along with new rules as for the first time, Even sixth-graders could have won.

Friday, March 30, 2012


The Smoke Signal

12 Centerspread

(1 words)

(3 words)

ANSWER: (7 words),

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The Smoke Signal

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Smoke Signal

By Catherine Ho & Sherry Xiao Staff Writers

Milk tea stores have long dotted the map of Fremont and its surrounding area.The stores usually offer a wide variety of drinks but, invariably, they carry the original pearl milk tea. The drink is made with black tea mixed with milk, a sweetener of some sort, and tapioca-starch pearls that are slurped through a large straw. Every store makes their milk tea a little differently,and the Smoke Signal provides some insight on which stores get it right, and which ones miss the mark.

47954 Warm Springs Blvd. Fremont, CA 94539

Verde Tea Cafe is a hidden gem located in the corner of a small plaza in Warm Springs. The unique wallpapers and dim lights gives a welcoming feeling to its customers. Customers are given the options to dine-in for a full meal or take-out beverages and appetizers. The Green Tea milk tea was served in a fairly large cup with an eye-catching layer of foam on top—somewhat showing it's freshness. The drink itself was on the sweet side, with a tad too much ice, but with a generous amount of pearls. Verde serves its milk tea with fresh brewed tea and milk and offers to vary the amount of sugar and ice served in their drinks. The cashier was very patient in introducing their most well-liked drinks and definitely made us feel welcomed. Verde Tea Cafe's prices are fairly cheap compared to other places which definitely makes it a get-at.


Arts & Entertainment 15

39055 Cedar Blvd. Newark, CA 94560 Fantasia would be the Starbucks of pearl milk tea if Starbucks served nothing but frappuccinos. The store has a hip atmosphere, speedy, attentive service, and over-sweetened drinks. The small store, also located in the Newark Lion Market area, is decorated with modern décor, and, with the free wi-fi, would probably make a nice place to study. The original milk tea has a distinguishable, though not remarkable, tea taste and a trace chocolate taste that makes it reminiscent of a mocha. The Green Tea Pearl Milk Tea has a much stronger tea presence, but both the original and the green tea drinks are far too sweet. The mediocre drinks were partially compensated for by the server who truly went out of her way to ensure customer satisfaction, even offering to remake the drink if I didn’t like it, and by the chewy, immacu-

Tea Station is mid-size milk tea restaurant located in the Newark Lion Market Hub. Customers can choose to sit down and try some of the store’s many entrees or appetizers, or order their milk tea or food to-go. The pearl milk tea itself is delicious, with a distinctive black tea taste and a hint of brown sugar. The default sweetness is slightly too sweet, but customers can customize the amount of sugar in the drink. At first, the pearls are too soft, but they harden once the ice melts and the drink’s temperature evens out. The Rose Green Tea Milk Tea is exceptional, with masterful balance between the faintly bitter rose and jasmine teas, milk, and sugar. Unfortunately, the store is hampered by the brusque, bordering on rude, service and the expensive prices, although servings are relatively large.

late pearls. The drinks are priced lower than those at most other stores, but Fantasia’s portion sizes are smaller, so the tea is really not much cheaper.


39115 Cedar Blvd. Newark, CA 94560

MILK TEA PRICE PEARLS SERVICE AMBIANCE RATING 46196 Warm Springs Blvd. Fremont, CA 94539 Tea Island is an extremely small beverage store located in the Marina Supermarket. This hole-in-the-wall tea cafe serves its drinks with relatively big portions and offers a wide variety of flavors and other drinks for non-milk tea lovers. This place also offers customers over ten selections of sweets they can add to their drinks and the options for half sweetened or light ice. Tea Island’s milk tea had a very interesting aftertaste—the bitterness of the tea, but at the same time, the sweetness of the pearls and milk. The milk tea can often get overly sweet, however the pearls were delicious—having a soft and chewy texture. The cashiers, were friendly and polite, but seemed to be in a rush and not having enough time for any communication. The server recommended the Jade/Hojicha milk tea.


46807 Warm Springs Blvd. Fremont, CA 94539


Café Ophelia is located in Fremont’s Little Taipei hub, facing Ranch 99. The restaurant includes a sit-down area, complete with European-style décor and ambient lighting, for dinein patrons and a counter for to-go customers. Ophelia carries a decent range of beverage options, and service is polite and efficient, but the real drawing point is the price. At $1.99 a cup, Ophelia’s milk tea is the cheapest of any of the milk tea places we visited. Granted, their portion sizes are smaller but are still about the same size as your average fountain soda. The milk tea is creamy, not too sweet, and has some tea taste, but isn’t outstanding. The Passion Fruit Green Tea fares better with a unique combination of sweet, sour, and bitter with the sugar, passion fruit flavoring, and strong tea, but tastes a tad too concentrated. The pearls included are overcooked, but not unbearably so. Overall, Café Ophelia isn’t the place to go if you’re looking for an absolutely amazing drink, but is a great place to get a cheap, no-fuss milk tea fix. ▪

photos by staff writers catherine ho & sherry xiao,,,,,,

16 Arts & Entertainment

The Smoke Signal

Friday, March 30, 2012

‘Games’ Leaves You Hungry for More

By Maya Ramachandran A&E Editor

While some hail The Hunger Games as the next Twilight, it embodies everything the vampire franchise does not. The Hunger Games beats the love triangle stereotype, portraying a strong heroine and her determination to beat the odds in a futuristic dystopia. Katniss ( Jennifer Lawrence) lives in Panem, a future North America split into thirteen districts after a calamitous world war. In order to keep order in this totalitarian country, the Capitol orders one boy and one girl to represent each of the twelve districts in the Hunger Games, a competition where tributes are forced to fight to

the death, and only one may survive. With her skills of archery and survival, carefully honed alongside her partner Gale (Liam Hemsworth) in order to provide for her younger sister Prim (Willow Shields), Katniss is resolute in her quest for success in the Games, alongside her fellow tribute Peeta ( Josh Hutcherson). The Hunger Games film doesn’t stray far from the book, especially with Suzanne Collins co-writing the screenplay. Filmed from the third-person point of view instead of Katniss’s, the viewer is privy to scenes left out of the novel, including conversations between the Gamemakers and President Snow. These scenes provide a sense of how helpless the tributes are in the games, and

No Ting Special

By Jaynelle Gao Staff Writer

The Ting Tings are an English musical duo consisting of Jules de Martino and Katie White and have resurfaced in the musical world with the release of their second album, Sounds from Nowheresville. A completely self-produced album, Sounds from Nowheresville has ten tracks. “Hang it Up,” the lead single, has a noticeably different sound palette than “Hands,” the first song the band released, does; drums, synthesizers, and a guitar riff in the middle gives the song its catchy, upbeat tone that is reminiscent of the band’s chart-topping single “Shut Up and Let Me Go,” from their first album. What makes the entire album unique is that each song reflects a different genre. The Ting Tings

jump from electro (“Silence”) to reggae (“Soul-Killing”) and electronic rock (“Give it Back”). Unfortunately Sounds from Nowheresville failed to deliver overall. For example, “Guggenheim” has practically no tune, which is a shame because the verses, presumptuous spoken-word monologues about heartbreak, are great, but they allude to an amazing chorus that never happens. A number of the other songs are loud and aggressive, and they seem to go on a little aimlessly without delivering a fantastic chorus or climax. For instance, “Silence” is literally a repetition of the same four lines for the duration of almost four minutes. The Ting Tings were going for “a very primal, raw album that was honest and experimental and as always rhythm based.” There is no denying that Sounds from Nowheresville has appealing beats and rhythms, but some of the songs’ decent verses disappear when the rest of the song lacks anything substantial. All in all, Sounds from Nowheresville cynical tone and lack of enthusiasm or hooks makes the “experimental” album one that doesn’t have a lot to show for one that has been a very, very long time in the making. ▪ Rating: B-

how desperately they are fighting for their lives. The movie is also filmed with a hand-held camera, making the viewer feel embroiled in the action on screen, even dizzy at times. Despite these additions, the film as a whole, loses the primal intensity that builds throughout the novel version. Except for the bloodbath in the initial scenes of the Games, the “killer” children seem almost comical in their pursuit of others, smiling and singing as if they are playing a game. Instead of looking dirty and tired, as one would expect of people living in the wilderness, the tributes look put together and fashionable throughout the Games. Because the novel is centered on the protagonist, Katniss, she is also the lynch pin of the movie. Lawrence’s performance glues the film together, transforming what would have been a rough movie into an exciting thrill. During the scenes where she volunteers for her sister as tribute, or she sings to her lost comrade in the arena, she viscerally portrays her emotions through body language, truly embodying her role as Katniss and captivating viewers. Alongside a star-studded supporting cast extremely well fitted to their roles, including Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) and Peeta, the performers breathe life into a movie that is a little rough around the edges. With excellent CGI and special effects, The Hunger Games makes the fictional world of Panem a reality, satisfying concerns of book-lovers everywhere. Despite a sense that the movie was haphazardly framed, the believable acting and exciting plot lets The Hunger Games stand on its own as a movie, not just the first part of a million-dollar franchise. ▪ Rating: A-

‘Jump Street’ Leaps to Success By Ditha Balaji Staff Writer

What a blast. 21 Jump Street is a hilarious thrill-ride from the getgo, with the comic tendencies of newcomer Jonah Hill, coupled with the infectious charm of heartthrob Channing Tatum. The movie was inspired by the 1980s TV crime drama with then-freshie Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise, where undercover cops try to solve issues among youth. Similarly, the newly-released film features Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum), two screw-up cops assigned to take part in an undercover drug bust at a local high school. They must assume the roles of typical teenagers, which forces them to move back home and face the same challenges they did twenty years ago. Jenko is excited to go back to his prime where he was football captain, prom king, and adored by his peers. Schmidt, on the other hand, had a close-totragic high school experience, having been bullied by Jenko and his buddies. Oddly, upon returning to their roots, the duo notices that the scene has completely changed. The cool kids possess similar qualities and interests as Schmidt, push-

1D Keeps You ‘Up All Night’

By Jade Shi Staff Writer

Amidst frenzy and anticipation, the debut album Up All Night of British-Irish boy band One Direction was released in the US on Mar. 13, 2012. The band was originally put together on the British version of the show The X Factor by producer Simon Cowell, and has since gained fame and adoration around the world. Boasting notable songwriters like Kelly Clarkson, and Ed Sheeran, and Savan Kotecha (X Factor vocal coach), the album, as a whole, maintains a fun, guitar-laden pop rock theme reminiscent of the days of NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys, while still holding its own special bite. The slightly overdone but nonetheless effective guitar strains

and sentimental lyrics allow Up All Night to present itself as a work unafraid of throwing inhibitions to the wind and embracing a powerful sense of freedom through carefree, youthful lyrics and dance-pop rhythms. The first single “What Makes You Beautiful” begins with a catchy guitar riff and branches into a strong drumbeat intermixed with uplifting, rich vocals. The use of synthesizer stabs beneath the last word “beautiful” is effective and characteristic of up-tempo teen pop. In its appealing lyrics and overarching happy theme, the song is a perfect icon of the album. “More Than This,” a slow-tempo pop ballad in an upbeat-tempo-dominated album, is an emotionally driven song commendable for its soothing vocals and melodious guitar strain.

ing him to the top of the social pyramid. Slowly, Schmidt fosters a friendship with popular kid Eric (Dave Franco) and even falls for the school cutie. Jenko struggles to fit in and ultimately finds comfort among the AP Chemistry students. As Jenko and Schmidt attempt to break into the drug ring, they both begin to discover alternate identities from what they were accustomed to back in high school. Throughout this film, the audience never seemed to cease laughing. The unexpected duo of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum creates a complicated on-screen chemistry, that of a true brotherhood. Dave Franco, in one of the more prominent roles of his career, did not fail to add the alluring spike to the ecoconscious, new-age, “cool kid,” who does not bully, but instead saves trees and sings tunes about the environment. The only concern about this film is the fact that the humor is a bit raunchy and it is definitely for mature audiences only, demonstrated by its “R” rating. Overall, 21 Jump Street humorously portrayed the difficulties of coming of age, making the film a worthwhile watch. ▪ Rating: A The title track and fifth song on the album, “Up All Night,” is certainly a party anthem with electro pop and dance pop influences. The song even name-checks and effectively immortalizes Katy Perry in its lyrics. “I Want” is perhaps the most original song in the album, in its deviation from classic boy band pop, with a dramatic piano line and slight classic rock style. Lyrically, the song is about wanting the love of a girl who only cares for material possessions. “Moments,” a mid-tempo Indie pop song released only in the limited Yearbook Edition of the album, is an enlightening breath of fresh air in the otherwise guitar-heavy pop style of the majority of the album. Heartbreakingly beautiful, the ballad describes the death of a boy’s love, and his eventual decision to commit suicide to be with her again. The gentle guitar melody is well coupled with the rich tones of each singer in the band. Overall, Up All Night is a toetapping, all-around fun album with enough variation from a consistency to be enjoyable and pleasing. Though not particularly original in artistic liberties, One Direction shines through with a surprisingly charming personality in their music, and the album’s high-polished and somewhat commercialized feel is softened by remarkable vocals and a pure desire in relishing in the carefree sensibilities of youthful life. ▪ Rating: A-

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Smoke Signal

Arts & Entertainment 17

By Alekya Rajanala and Diya Roy A&E Editor & Editor-in-Chief

As seen by the recent release of the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ book, The Hunger Games, interest in young adult dystopian novels has significantly peaked over the past few years, with throes of novels in this genre being published and printed yearly. A dystopian novel creates a nightmarish dystopia where society is unknowingly in a repressed state. Many novels create this world as a metaphor for the different directions humanity can take in its choices, resulting in either an ideal utopia or the opposite. The Smoke Signal presents a closer look at this new trend, starting with a review of the latest dystopian novel Pure by author Julianna Baggott. In a culture defined by shades of gray, I think the absolute black and white choices in dark young adult novels are incredibly satisfying for readers.” -Writer Maggie Stiefvater

“These [dystopian] books are really about defying the social order,” -Megan McCafferty, author of novel Bumped

Julianna Baggott’s recently released young adult novel, Pure, begins with the introduction of a future set in the wake of a number of horrific “detonations.” Survivors live in the desolate remains of the world we know today. The bombs, wreaking unimaginable havoc, have left people fused with nearby objects: imagine a man with a fan fused into his throat, a group of three people forever bound together, someone with a dog instead of a leg. A select few, known as Pures for their unmarked visages, are protected within the safe haven of the Dome. Pressia, a sixteen-year-old living outside the Dome, was only six when the Detonations struck and left a doll’s head in place of her right hand. She is on the run from the OSR, a terrorizing military force, when she meets Partridge, a Pure who escaped from the Dome in search of his mother, and Bradwell, another fugitive who harbors illegal conspiracy theories regarding the Detonations. The trio teams up to survive the bleak, treacherous landscape of a post apocalyptic world. One of the more disturbing dystopian young adult novels I have read, Pure utilizes horrifyingly vivid imagery to convey a world that most readers cannot (and do not want

to) imagine. The premise of the book in itself is a bit gruesome; the descriptions of the leftovers of our present world succeed in making readers cringe and subsequently fear the possibility of such an apocalypse. Pure is most definitely not a book for the weakhearted or easily-disgusted. The plot, though engaging, is extremely slow-paced and several times the extensive descriptive detail impedes progression of the storyline. Baggott borders on “long-winded” despite her well-written prose. The book could have easily been shortened without sacrificing the depth of plot into which she delves. The changing points of view allow the main characters, portrayed as ideal, flawless heroes, to be well-developed. Yet somehow, though not for a lack of detail or characterization, the novel fails to inspire empathy or compassion for its characters. Pure, on the whole, turns out to be an interesting read. The glorification of the teenage protagonists combined with the premise of kids struggling against parental tyranny appeals to young adults, provided readers are undeterred by an unflinching depiction of a harsh dystopian future. ▪ Rating:,,,,,,

By Frank Chen Centerspread Editor

A free music-making tool, JamStudio is based on guitar chords, allowing users to make melodies using the simple “click-toadd” method. Other tools include the setting of time signatures and guitar effects, which changes the tone of the sound being played, adding more complexity to the songs created. Users can also create an online account to save and share their scores. Even if you are unfamiliar with guitar at all, the website has many tutorial videos detailing everything you need to know to create your own personal masterpieces.

“I think FL Studio is one of the easier [applications] to pick up quickly. It is much more intuitive than Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Reason, or any other DAW [digital audio workstation].” -Kyle Lam, 11

This application, available for free on the Google Chrome web store, is a powerful online music production studio that allows the user to use real music-creating devices in a 2-D platform. Users can create melodies from the Pulverisateur synthesizer and connect it tools, such as a minimixer, and effect synthesizers, such as Pitchdelays and Stereodrums. Each device has its own modules and settings that can be manually changed for different effects. Users will be able to observe detailed and minute graphics of each device at work, while simultaneously enjoying the music they created.

Calling all classical music composers! Noteflight is an online website that gives users the ability to compose their own scores using musical notations and different instrumental sounds. Once finished, users can send, share, or sync their compositions. Noteflight offers both a free account and a paid one, depending on user’s necessity. For beginners, the free account is most likely the best option, for it offers all the preliminary settings that will get them started. ▪

For more advanced users, FL Studio is a paid software that can be downloaded online at different prices for different bundles. Overall, its capabilities include audio editing and manipulation, including pitch correction and harmonization. Users have the freedom to create not only rhythm and beats, but also lyrical songs using this application. It is a challenging software to learn, requiring users to become familiar with how to execute actions using the sound tools before they can actually make beats and rhythm. One setback is that there are multiple versions, so more features are included as the price goes up. Be sure to look at which version suites you best before you make your decision.,,,

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The Smoke Signal

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Smoke Signal

By Sanjna Shukla & Omar El-Sadany Sports Editors


As an editor of the Sports Section of a newspaper, I (Sanjna) do the best I can to stay in shape (not Omar). I mean, I don’t want to seem like a hypocrite by telling others about sports and how to stay in shape and then stay at home and eat popcorn while watching reruns of American Idol. I would never do that. If I did, it would only be in the winter months, when no one wants to go outside anyway. Like November and December…and some of October. Let’s just say my mom’s holiday sugar cookies didn’t do me any favors either. Needless to say, come January, I realized I should probably do something besides putting a dent in the couch. I ordered brand new blue Pumas and decided I would go running every day. That plan lasted one day longer than it did last time; I ran for two straight days. Plain old running just wasn’t exciting enough for me, so I kept looking for a routine that was more involved and included intense cardio. After some research, I found Zumba. Zumba seemed like the perfect solution. As I read on, I realized that it is a high-paced dance class where all the moves are based on Latin dances such as Salsa, Rumba, and Merengue. The closest I had come to dancing involved a lonely Saturday night, me in my pajamas, my mirror, and an imaginary Justin Timberlake next to me. I was wary of signing up but decided to give it a shot anyway. As I walked into my first class, I took my place in the back corner. All the

other attendees looked like professionals with their custom Zumba clothes and shoes. Once the class got started, I was surprised at how quickly I was able to pick it up. My feet were moving much faster than I ever imagined and fortunately I didn’t fall flat on my face. Before I knew it, I was working up a sweat and was trying to catch my breath. I left the class feeling a little tired and somewhat sore, but very exhilarated. Even though, and perhaps in part because, I had a blast, I was skeptical that Zumba is really an effective workout. However, according to, one hour of Zumba can burn up to one thousand calories, depending on the person’s weight. Besides being a great way to fit in cardio, it also increases muscle strength. Many of the dance moves work muscles which wouldn’t be isolated in a regular run. So not only does Zumba help you lose fat, it helps you gain muscle mass. Zumba originated in Colombia in the 1990s when choreographer Alberto Perez forgot his tape of aerobic music for a class he was teaching. On the spot, he put in tapes of salsa and merengue music he had with him and improvised a dance class to substitute his aerobics class. His students really enjoyed the class, and asked him to hold more classes in that style. Since then, Zumba has taken off and classes are now held around the world. Some skeptics believe that Zumba is just a fad and any dance class will burn that many calories. However, the unique thing about Zumba is the incorporation of Latin dance techniques. These dance moves work the core, glutes, and thighs

By Grace Wu Staff Writer

Ever find yourself lost in a conversation about baseball and saying something along the lines of “Michael Jordan made a great hit last night.” No worries, The Smoke Signal’s Baseball for Dummies is here to help.

Part 1: The Basics Baseball involves two player teams: the home team and the visiting team. Each team may only have nine players on the field at a time. The winner of the game is the team that scores the most runs which is when a runner crosses the four bases: first, second, third, and home. There are nine innings in every game, which is essentially a round. The innings are divided into two halves, one called the top half and the other called the bottom half. The visiting team plays offense while the home team plays defense in the top half and vice versa in the bottom half. Each team is allowed three outs per half inning. Part 2: Offense The offensive team’s main goal is to get as many runs as they can. The team has nine hitters lined up in batting order. The first batter steps up to the plate and waits for the pitcher to throw the ball. A batter is allowed three strikes until he is given an out. Strikes can be given for swinging but missing a pitch. They can also be given when the ball goes out of the foul lines. The batter doesn’t receive a strike if he doesn’t swing at a pitch that is not in the strike zone; this is known as a ball.The hitter is granted a walk, guaranteed safety to first base, if he receives four balls. If the batter hits the ball in the field of play, he attempts to run as many bases as possible without getting an out (and the batter is then referred to as a runner). If the ball is hit outside the outfield wall then all the base runners can advance to home base. Part 3: Defense The defenses’ main goal is to make the offensive team get three outs so that there’s a

turnover in the game. Outs can be given when the batter misses three pitches (called a strikeout), when the defensive player reaches the base with the ball before the runner (called a putout), when a defensive player catches the ball in the air before the runner reaches the base (called a fly out), or when a runner is tagged with the ball (called a tag out).

in ways that other dance forms cannot. If you want to try a new workout to help get you off the couch, I definitely recommend taking a Zumba class. If you see me around, make sure to say hi! There are many places that offer Zumba classes around Fremont such as 24 Hour Fitness, Mission Dance and Performing Arts, and Mission Peak Fitness. Visit their websites to get more information. Mission Dance and Performing Arts: http://missiondancef

Mission Peak Fitness: If you’re a video game person, Zumba fitness is available on consoles such as the

Zumba Fitness is now available on various game consoles.

SEE YOU AT THE GAME upcoming home games:

MSJ baseball vs. kennedy April 6 @ 4:00, Mission MSJ softball vs american April 17 @ 3:45, Mission MSJ boys’ volleyball vs. james logan April 3 @ 5:00, Mission

By Matthew Farberov Staff Writer

In Tak Ball every player is armed with a regulation UTB taser.

Wii, the PS3, the Xbox 360 and the Xbox 360 Kinect. ▪

24 Hour Fitness Class Schedule:

Does your idea of fun include playing a soccer-like sport on a smaller field with only four players per team? Not only that, but the goal is unmanned and periods only last seven minutes. You can use your hands as well. Seems like the ideal sport, right? It does until you factor in 50,000 volts of electricity running through your body as you make a play. No, you didn’t run into an Part 4: The MLB and Notable Players electric fence, you were actually tased. And MLB (Major League Baseball) is divided into it is perfectly legal. The sport is called Ultwo leagues, National and American, which timate Tak Ball (UTB), and it has amassed are made up of 16 teams each. Every year the a following in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, best team from each league faces each other San Diego, Toronto, and even Thailand. in the World Series championship. The New The UTB league, founded by Leif KelYork Yankee’s and Texas Rangers are two lenberger, has been gaining attention from prominent teams in the American League. extreme sports enthusiasts around the Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants and globe. Self dubbed, “The Future of Sport”, Philadelphia Phillies are among the top teams the UTB League boasts on its site (utblive. in the National League. com) that “UTB incorporates 20th century technology with team strategy in an action Part 5: Terminology packed game. UTB is a high-octane expeBases Loaded: runners on all bases. rience for both the participating athletes Bench: place where players sit when they are and spectators.” not on the field. Curveball: a pitch that deviates from the expected straight flight path. Hit the Dirt: to slide into a base. Fly Ball: a ball hit up high in the air. Rubber Arm: a pitcher who can throw several pitches without getting tired is said to have a

America’s pastime can be very confusing for the casual viewer

Sports 19

What some may call inhumane or brutal is actually not as bad as it sounds. UTB tasers produce no more than 3 milliamps, and are set extremely low at only 50,000 volts. That kind of power is enough to provide a very unwelcome surprise, but not enough to cause seizures or spasms. Police tasers are set at a similar 50,000 volts, but tend to produce more amperage than UTB

stun guns. Regardless, Officer Gregory Pipp said, “I would definitely not want to do this.” The rules of the game are simple. The aim is to move a 24-inch ball across the 200’ x 85’ rectangular playing field, and put it into the opponents goal box. The sport is played with full contact and that includes shocking. However, one may only shock an opposing player in clear possession of the ball. Despite its sadistic appearance, UTB actually has an extensive rule book. The rules include everything from sudden death, penalties, to required apparel. Players are required to wear shorts, jerseys, and safety goggles. During the game, players are subjected to strict regulations that can lead to penalties, and even ejection. Some of these major penalties include “kicking, punching with intent to hit player and not ball, shocking above the shoulders or in the groin (with intent), biting, spitting or tripping” according to the official 2012 UTB Rule Book. If skydiving, paintball, or BMX don’t tickle that bone of extreme sports for you, UTB may be a viable option. Just make sure you don’t have a heart condition or a pacemaker. Besides that, your biggest obstacle would be overcoming yourself. According to UTB Star Player, Jerry Desvarieaux, “If you’re scared, don’t play.” The Smoke Signal does not encourage, recommend, or condone the use of tasers. Tasers are dangerous and can cause serious injury or death. Do not try at home. ▪

Ultimate Tak Ball, a mixture of sports, is all the rage right now.

20 Sports

By Connor Williams Staff Writer

When you look around MSJ’s main gym you will notice banners on the wall. On those banners are the names of sports; Football, Girls’ Basketball, Boys’ Volleyball. Underneath those names you will see a year. That year represents a season in which that team won a league championship. MSJ swimming has won this for the last 35 straight years. Historically the team has always been a success, with a “golden age” in the 1980s and ‘90s. In 1994, the team went the farthest in its history, 2nd in NCS, out of more than 150 teams competing in the same tournament. One of Mission’s great swim coaches, and Math Teacher Jan Frydendahl said “Mission was always extremely good at swimming after establishing itself as a powerhouse, the team has always attracted fast swimmers.” He should know, he attended and swam for Mission f rom 1976-1980, was the swim team’s captain in 1980, and coached the team f rom 1985-87 as well as 1991-2000. His coaching record alone is very impressive, 117 meet wins and only 3 losses. Boys: The MSJ swimming program has produced some incredible athletes who have gone on to swim for college and beyond. Some notables include Tom Montoya, class of 1984, who set the 50 f ree record with an incredible 21.61 and a 100 f ree record of 46.79 in 1984,those records lasted over 20 years. Some of Montoya’s records still stand today. Bryan Hoff-

By Vishak Menon Staff Writer

It comes as no surprise when athletes get injured playing football. It is one of the most rigorous sports in the world due to its intense level of play and hard hits which players endure on a daily basis. But often times, the line between a solid hit and an illegal hit gets blurred. Recent accusations have been made towards players of the New Orleans Saints for just this reason. Certain athletes were not only prompted but paid to make hits on important members of opposing teams during the 2009-2011 seasons which is a clear violation of the league’s “Bounty Rule”, that prevents payment for hits of this nature. These allegations began in 2009 after vicious hits from Saints defensive players on quarterbacks Brett Favre and Kurt Warner during the playoffs provoked an investigation by the National Football League (NFL). Officials discovered that up to 27 players of the Saints defense were promised $1,500 by Gregg Williams, the defensive coordinator at the time. Players regularly contributed to this pool of money which at its height was almost $50,000. Williams, who is now the defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams, made a statement to the press on March 2. “It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it. Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it. I take full responsibility for my role. I am truly sorry. I have learned a hard lesson and I guarantee that I will never participate in or allow this kind of activity to happen again.” Williams is now under investigation for his work with other teams including the Titans, Redskins, and Bills. However, members of the Saints still continue to deny that such activity was happening. Star safety Darren Sharper admits that money was being exchanged between players but argued that it was only meant for legal

The Smoke Signal

Friday, March 30, 2012

man, class of 1994, led the 1994 team that placed 2nd in NCS, arguably the best team in the program’s history. Jeff Newnan, class of 1986, went on to swim for UCSB, one of the top swimming schools in California. Bret Tremewan, f rom the class of 1990, swam for Chico State. And in more recent years both Adam Peterson and Morten Graverson have gone to UC Davis for swimming. On the whole, Mission has produced many college caliber male athletes in its history. Girls: Of course Mission has had its share of notable female athletes, such as Michelle Chatman, class of 1985, who still holds the 200 f reestyle record. Chatman went on to swim for Stanford on a full ride scholarship. Ellie Monobe, another of Mission’s swimmers that went on to swim in college, has just finished swimming for Cal, another one of the best swimming schools in California. Monobe graduated in 2007. Kristen Arnold, f rom the class of 1990, had one of the best high school careers f rom the female side. Arnold won the MVAL title for the 100 f ree for three consecutive years, an achievement only topped by holding the MVAL title for the 50 f ree for each of her four years at Mission. As a f reshman she set the league record for the 50 f ree, though this record only stood for a hand full of years. Arnold went onto swim for Chico State. Nina Suryoutomo, class of 1999, continued on to swim for Brown University. Lisa Peterson also swam at UC Davis, like her brother. Adam Peterson had a

plays such as interceptions and fumble recoveries. He went on to say that certain bounty systems are commonplace in the locker room of every team and are meant to promote strong, hard play-not to intentionally hurt other players. The Saints franchise is now forced to deal with the heavy consequences inflicted by the NFL in response to the bounty program. On March 21, the Saints’s head coach of 6 years Sean Payton was suspended for the entire 2012-2013 season along with General Manager Mickey Loomis who received an eight game suspension. In addition to these penalties, the NFL also charged the Saints with a $500,000 fine. Gregg Williams, the man behind the scandal, is suspended indefinitely as the defensive coordinator on the Rams, but there is a chance that this may be the end of his career in the NFL. In any case, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made it clear during his statement, also on March 2, that further bounty-related incidents will not be tolerated. “It is our responsibility to protect player safety and the integrity of our game, and this type of conduct will not be tolerated. We have made significant progress in changing the culture with respect to player safety and we are not going to relent.” ▪

Gregg Williams’s role in the scandal has likely cost him a career.

MSJ Swimming has been upholding the team’s rich history and tradition.

very strong career, going to NCS for her 100 butterfly as a f reshman, and is currently back in the Bay Area coaching a local year round swim club in Livermore. The Team Today: Nowadays the MSJ swimming team still dominates the competition. After the loss of head coach Joseph Martinez last year, the team’s then assistant coach, Cory Audiat, stepped into the role. Audiat had been the assistant coach for last five seasons, so the transition into the head coach role has not been a problem. A swimmer to watch is Junior Michael Choi, who as a sophomore, broke a 25 year old record for the 100 fly. Choi swims year round, and would like to continue swimming in college.

staff writer avery kruger

The team is off to a great start this season, with swim meets every weekend in March. So far the team has won every meet, in every division that they have competed in. Already, two meets into the season, all of the Varsity team’s relays have made NCS consideration times. With the biggest tournament that the team competes in, the De La Salle Invitational,over the team has already gotten two NCS automatic times. This is mostly due to Audiat ’s aggressive start to the season, the team has been weight training since November and practice has “gotten very hard, very fast ” according to Audiat.The team fully expects to continue to dominate MVAL, and looks forward to competing in NCS. ▪

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Smoke Signal

Sports 21

Final Four Preview By Hannah Shih Staff Writer

The National Football League (NFL) has verified a $200 million G-4 loan to finance a new 49ers stadium in Santa Clara, making the 49ers the first team to utilize the stadium fund forged in an agreement with NFL players last year. This new $1.02 billion stadium is to be blueprinted and constructed by both HNTB Corporation and Turner Construction, and will be flexible to all types of events whether they are sporting, performing, or commercial. 90 percent of the capital for the new stadium will be paid by stadium asset sales including support from local hotels, the NFL, naming rights, and stadium builder licenses (SBL). SBLs allow ownership of seats for a defined length of time, and go toward construction and maintenance of the new stadium. The rest of the funds for the stadium will come from the City of Santa Clara itself, more specifically the Santa Clara Stadium Authority, which is part of the Redevelopment Agency of the city council. The $850 million fund was agreed upon months ago, back in December. The new 1,850,000 square foot steel stadium surpasses the current Candlestick Park’s 985,000 square feet by far. The eleven highway options, over 40,000 parking spaces, and walking distance access to Amtrak, city buses, VTA rail, and ACE trains will create more public accessibility and convenience. In addition to the one of the largest lower bowls of the NFL, with the ability to house 45,000 seated spectators, there will be 68,500 seats, 9,000 club seats, and 165 theater style suites. Other than that, the stadium will accommodate a 49ers Hall of Fame, an official 49ers merchandise store, numerous plazas, open public area, 1135 bathrooms, 17 elevators, 30 escalators, and 370 concession points. In an effort to modernize the stadium, Wi-fi and mobile connectivity will be provided stadium-wide as well as broadcasting

on the 13,600 square feet worth of HD video boards. The designers of the stadium are also attempting to be as environmentally friendly as possible with photovoltaic panels, a green roof, bicycle parking, easy access to public transportation, water conserving plumbing, recycled materials, and many other green construction methods. Candlestick Park, on the other hand, has been from its opening in 1960 until now, one of the most criticized stadiums in the majors. In fact, in a 1983 poll, it was voted the worst stadium, and Keith Hernandez legendarily set a clause in his contract with the New York Mets to ensure he would never get sent to San Francisco. In 1963, the New York Mets manager, Casey Stengel, watched the destructive winds pick up the entire batting cage, and dump it sixty feet away. The intense cold, dropping down to about the mid 50s, and the wind, hitting 30 mph, were caused by the hill near third base, which tunneled the wind right into the stadium, creating dust swirls and wrecking havoc upon players and audience alike. Though the stadium has gone through numerous renovations, about $50 million worth since its opening, it is still unable to suit the needs of the 49ers. The NFL, the City of Santa Clara and the team itself stand behind their decision to build a new stadium, to be completed in 2014. ▪

The 49ers stadium proposal in Santa Clara would represent a technological upgrade over Candlestick Park

By Brandon Fuhs Staff Writer

The biggest tournament in men’s college basketball is underway, and even with millions of ruined brackets and quite a few major upsets, the entire country will still be watching the top four teams in Division I. Along with the upsets, many college and NBA coaches consider this class of student-athletes to be one of the best college basketball has ever seen. Kentucky: The Wildcats were the number one overall seed in the NCAA tournament, and with their skill are still the favorite to win it all. Kentucky won the South bracket after defeating the number three seed Baylor Bears 82-70 in the Elite Eight. This is the Wildcats’ second straight appearance in the Final Four. The Wildcats are led by freshman Anthony Davis, who is in the running for player of the year. Davis has a school record with 175 blocks this season. The previous record was 82. Kentucky’s defense has the most blocks in a single season in NCAA history with 326. All five starters for Kentucky average over 10 points a game, making their well-balanced offense difficult to defend. VS. Louisville: The Cardinals will represent the West bracket in the final four, after beating 7 seed Florida in the Elite Eight 72-68 to reach the Final Four for the first time since 2005. The 4 seed in the West bracket finished the game on a 23-8 run, making that their second come from behind victory of the tournament. Louisville is led by senior Kyle Kuric, who has averaged 15.1 points and 5.8 rebounds a game over the last 15 games. What Louisville has been known for the season is their 2-3 zone defense, which held Michigan State to just 28.6 % from the field. That’s the worst shooting percentage ever by a number one seed in NCAA tournament history.

Louisville Coach Rick Pitino has been a driving success behind his team’s Final Four bid.

Kansas: The number two seed Jayhawks will be representing the East bracket in the Final Four after beating the 1 seed North Carolina Tar heels in the Elite Eight. The Jayhawks haven’t been to the Final Four since 2008, when they won it all against Memphis. Kansas is led by junior Thomas Robinson, one of the other front-runners for the player of the year. He averages 17.7 points a game, and is known for his strength in the low post and his presence on the glass. He’s joined by senior Tyshawn Taylor and junior Elijah Johnson. This “big three” has carried the Jayhawks through the season as well as the NCAA tournament. VS. Ohio State: The number two seed Buckeyes defeated the number one seed Syracuse Orange to represent the East bracket in the Final Four, makign their first appearance in the Final Four since 2007. Sophomore Jared Sullinger has been carrying the Buckeyes all season, averaging 19 points and nine rebounds a game. Sullinger finished with 19 points and seven rebounds, but when he’s forced to play the bench Ohio State is not nearly as effective on the glass, offensively, and defensively. They’re definitely on a roll, but so is every other team heading into the Final Four. ▪

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The Smoke Signal

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photos by staff writers kerrie wu, hannah shih, & lindy zeng

Vol. XLVII No. 7  

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