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Sahithi Lingampalli

founder tech and design co-director art co-director

Kavya Gurunath

vice executive science co-director

Geethikaa Tarra

art & media, opinion codirector

Anvitha Mattapalli tech co-director


Vrinda Gandhi

vice executive layout co-director

Juee Deshmukh

science co-director

Parker McElroy

politics & world events director

Samita Pandit

lifestyle co-director

Taruni Manam

vice executive lifestyle co-director

Manushri Bapat

art & media director

Nivi Chozhan

tech co-director

Evelyn Chen

art co-director

Harvi Karatha

editing co-director

meet the directors @theaffairmag Published monthly by The Affair. All Rights Reserved.


Uday Lingampalli editing co-director

Aathmika Radhachandran public relations co-director

Ashmita Annamalai

public relations co-director

Cindy Zhang

opinion co-director

Tiffany Fang

podcast director

Inchara J

layout co-director

Grace Yoon

politics & world events codirector


meet the staff

WRITERS: Ameya Aneja Anvitha Mattapalli Archini Desai Ashmita Annamalai Cindy Zhang Geethi Tarra Grace Yoon Juee Deshmukh Kavya Gurunath Neve Walker Parker McElroy Rachel Adam, Sahithi Lingampalli Samita Pandit Sierra Tan Taruni Manam Tiffany Fang Thejo Tattala Vanathi Kanth


EDITORS: Ameya Aneja Anvitha Mattapalli Aarav Navani Arushi Patil Geethikaa Tarra Grace Yoon Harini Akurathi Harshvir Chahal Harvi Karatha Juee Deshmukh Kavya Gurunath Myint Myat Theingi Samita Pandit Taruni Manam Uday Lingampalli PODCAST: Anvitha Mattapalli Ashmita Annamalai Geethikaa Tarra Kavya Gurunath Leesha Pillai Sahithi Lingampalli Sierra Tan Taruni Manam Thejo Tattala Tiffany Fang Vicky Huang


Aathmika Radhachandran Alicia Guo Harini Akurathi Inchara J Leesha Pilla Sahithi Lingampalli Shoffana Sundaramoorthy Vrinda Gandhi PUBLIC RELATIONS: Abigail Manuella Ameya Aneja Grace Yoon Sahithi Lingampalli Sierra Tan ARTISTS: Cal Shin-Koh Evelyn Chen Juee Deshmukh Sahithi Lingampalli Sharon Pan Thejo Tattala





















































Art & M Britney Spears’ Conservatorship Case: The Origins Britney Spears, a huge name in the pop industry, has been fighting to remove her dad from her conservatorship. Learn more about the origins of this problem in this article!

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Media The Inspiration Behind Luca The new Disney animate movie, Luca, has enraptured audiences of all ages. But what was the inspiration behind the creation of this movie?

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Britney Spears’ Conservatorship Case: The Origins Written by Sahithi Lingampalli | Edited by Geethi Tarra & Harshvir Chahal | Layout by Aathmika Radhachandran | Art by Sahithi Lingampalli Britney Spears, no introduction necessary, [is] of the biggest names in the pop industry, with a net worth of $60 million (Adams). Now, she’s fighting to gain control over everything that’s rightfully hers — but why did her father get Britney’s conservatorship in the first place?

Britney’s Rise to Fame Britney Spears began dancing and singing when she was two, and attended the Professional Performing Arts School, where she started appearing in commercials.. At 11 years old, Britney made it onto The All New Mickey Mouse Club cast which was cancelled in 1995 due to disagreement between Disney and ABC.


Britney, however, was determined to pursue her career, and created a demo tape that she sent to Jive Records. Two years later, at 16, she released her ever-so-famous hit single, “...Baby One More Time” (Farrow). Even though it was under controversy for Britney’s ‘provocative schoolgirl’ vibe in the song, the controversy helped it become a massive bop (Tikkanen). By the time the whole album, ...Baby One More Time, was released, the song was #1 in the US, and had sold over 10 million copies. Britney had reached fame at a young age, and disaster was about to follow.

Golden Breakup As Britney’s popularity grew, so did her wealth. She built her mother a 4.5 million dollar mansion, and in 2002, finally convinced her mother, Lynne Spears, to divorce her abusive father, Jamie Spears, who had trouble with alcohol addiction. Britney told People Magazine it was the “the best thing that’s ever happened to my family" (Farrow). Around this time, Britney and Justin Timberlake, who had been dating, broke up. Britney was devastated, as part of her public identity was being in this golden couple with Timberlake. To deal with the breakup, Britney spent more time out with her friends, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, as well as filling up her schedule with as many dance rehearsals, studio sessions, photo shoots, and stadium performances as she could (Farrow). Her makeup artist, Julianne Kaye, told The New Yorker that Britney was frequently crying, and even saying, “I just want to be normal.” To cope, Britney relaxed by partying, in which she smoked weed, snorted cocaine, and took marijuana. This would pave her path to drug addiction.

Wedding Bells Britney met Kevin Federline, a dancer, in 2004. She got married to him within six months, and initially did not secure a prenuptial agreement (Farrow). Her mother did not want the marriage to be made legal, as Britney had a huge fortune, so a wedding contract was signed after the ceremony. Britney was dying to have a family; she wrote on her website: ““I’ve had a career since I was 16, have traveled around the world & back and even kissed Madonna! The only thing I haven’t done so far is experience the closest thing to God and that’s having a baby. I can’t wait!” 10 months after she got married, Britney had her first son, Sean Preston. 1½ years later, she had her second son, Jayden James. During this time, the paparazzi ambushed her any chance they got, hoping to take advantage of her weak emotional state, trying to provoke her and get a reaction. Britney often cried, and in hindsight, her family speculates that she could have been suffering from postpartum depression. Spears filed for divorce with her husband two months after Jayden was born.


Conservatorship Cues Dealing with a Divorce Kevin requested full custody of both their kids; Jayden was still being nursed at that time. Britney was depressed for most of her day, crying often, and was subject to the paparazzi’s wrath. They plastered images of Britney breaking down on tabloids, with provocative headlines such as “Mommy’s Crying,” and Kevin barely received any attention. Unable to handle everything happening around her, Britney compulsively shaved her head, and five days later, attacked a paparazzo’s car with an umbrella (Farrow). These two events gave her public image a status of crazy, leading her to frequently turn to drugs and alcohol. Her friends suggested that if she wanted to see her kids more often, she should go to a rehab facility. Britney checked in for one day, and checked right back out. This was used in her custody hearing, and Kevin got primary custody of her children, with Britney receiving four days of monitored visitation a week.


Around this time, Jamie, Britney’s father, was getting close to a man by the name of Lou Taylor, who was thinking of putting Lindsay Lohan, one of Britney’s close friends, under a conservatorship. In Early 2008, Britney was meeting with her kids as part of her four day allowance. When the time came to an end, Britney didn't want to let go of Sean and Jayden. A bodyguard had arrived to take the kids back to Kevin's place. After some deliberation, Britney handed him Sean, but took Jayden and locked herself in her bathroom. According to The New Yorker, every extra minute she spent with Sean and Jayden violated the custody agreement. Kevin's lawyer called the police and fire department, which in turn, called an ambulance. Within minutes, it was like a standoff — helicopters circling overhead, firemen armed with axes, police swarming the inside of the house. The bathroom door was broken into, and firemen seized Jayden. A gurney was brought in, and Britney was strapped in — even though she was not the slightest bit hurt. It was later revealed that she was strapped in under a 5150, an emergency psychiatric hold, in which a person having a mental-health episode can be involuntarily hospitalized (Farrow).

This incident gave Kevin full custody of the children, and Britney's visitation rights were revoked. Britney's housekeeper remarked, “As a mom, I can tell you: Britney was a good mom. She didn’t want to hurt or do anything wrong with her kids. No. I was there, and I know all she wanted was to have her kids at least another night." Lou and Jamie decided that they definitely wanted the conservatorship now, to get Britney’s life under control. A couple of months later, another 5150 was called in, by Britney’s mother, for fear that someone was trying to “commit to Britney.” Britney was strapped into a gurney yet again, and taken to UCLA’s hospital.

After this event, conservatorship proceedings happened very quickly. The hearing finished within ten minutes, and none of it was discussed with Britney. Jamie, Britney’s father, shared conservatorship duties with Andrew Wallet, a man appointed by the court. Spears’s cars were disabled, the phone lines cut, and her medications were crushed and given to Britney in her food. Britney’s entire life was under control over her father, all because she wanted more time with the child she never got to spend enough with.


Pixar is well-known for its fantastical imagery and animation, which effectively transports viewers into breathtaking worlds and scenery. Its latest animated film, Luca, does exactly that, bringing the beauty of Italy to audiences around the world.

own childhood - including his best friend of the same name, whom he met at the age of eleven or twelve. Casarosa mentioned that Alberto (in real life) was a troublemaker & a passionate person, whereas he himself was more timid & sheltered.

Luca is a coming-of-age film, set in a picturesque, seaside town on the Italian Riviera in the late 1950s or early 1960s. The reason for this choice of time period was the fact that the director, Enrico Casarosa, drew upon his childhood as an inspiration for the summer story.

Casarosa said that Alberto helped him get out of his comfort zone, “and pushed [him] off many cliffs, metaphorically and not”. This brings out a key theme of the film, which is to learn from past and current relationships. Friendships are such an important part of life, in which you can teach, learn, and just live life with one another, which is just so special. Casarosa confessed that these sort of deep friendships are what’s truly at the heart of the film, where you’re helping each other figure out who you truly are.

The story of Luca revolves around the main character, Luca Paguro, and his newfound best friend, Alberto Scorfano, as they experience an incredible summer “above the surface” - a new experience, as they are both sea monsters. Alberto, having more experience on land, leads Luca through the dazzling summer filled with gelato and sensational scooter rides. However, will they be able to keep their underwater identities a secret? Casarosa has stated that the film is a celebration of friendship and acceptance. As mentioned before, the director’s inspiration for Luca was his


The Inspirat Luc

The sea monsters in the film were inspired by old Italian myths & folklore. “We were both ‘outsiders’, so it felt right to use sea monsters to express the idea that we felt a little different,” Casarosa told Disney. Producer Andrea Warren agrees with the monsters being used as metaphors for

tion Behind ca

“being different”: “We always liked the idea that the metaphor of being a sea monster can apply to so many different things. There is a theme of openness… confronting the idea that there's more to sea monsters than they realized,” she said. Casarosa agreed, and hoped that the sea monsters could be a metaphor for anyone who feels “odd” or “different” and having to accept oneself first, seeing from another perspective, just like how Luca and Alberto change their perspectives towards being sea monsters, after seeing their situations through one set of lens for their whole lives.

Some have interpreted the movie as a symbol of LGBTQ+ closeting, where Luca and Alberto have to hide their true selves from the public in order to be accepted. Parallels have also been pointed out between Luca and Call Me By Your Name, an LGBTQ+ coming-of-age film, directed by Luca Guadagnino. However, Casarosa has admitted that this was merely a coincidence, and that the relationship between Luca and Alberto was completely platonic.

“[Guadagnino]’s such a talent but it truly goes without saying that we really willfully went for a pre-pubescent story,” he stated. Nonetheless, he still said that the film was open to any interpretation. Luca is a beautiful celebration of childhood friendship and platonic love. It was released on June 18, 2021 on Disney+ - feel free to watch it and be transported into a world of gelato, Vespa scooters, and sea monsters.

written by Sierra Tan edited by Myint Myat Theingi & Geethi Tarra layout by Leesha Pilla art by Evelyn Chen


References Britney Spears’ Conservatorship Case: The Origins Adams, J. (2021, June 25). How much has 13 years under conservatorship cost Britney Spears? MarketWatch. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. (2021, July 15). Britney Spears. Encyclopædia Britannica. Tolentino, R. F. and J. (2021, July 3). Britney Spears's Conservatorship Nightmare. The New Yorker.

The Inspiration Behind Luca Hunt, R. (2021, July 3). When Does the ‘Luca’ Movie Take Place? Some Viewers Didn’t Realize It’s Not This Century. Showbiz Cheatsheet. Retrieved July 20, 2021, from Jefferson, C. (2021, April 28). Exploring Friendship, Acceptance, and Overcoming Fear in Pixar's Luca. Disney. Retrieved July 20, 2021, from Nemiroff, P. (2021, February 25). What Do Pixar Sea Monsters Look Like? 'Luca' Director Enrico Casarosa Explains. Collider. Retrieved July 20, 2021, from Polowy, K. (2021, February 25). Pixar's 'Luca' debuts trailer: Director says coming-of-age adventure influenced by Miyazaki, Fellini and 'Stand by Me'. Yahoo! Entertainment. Retrieved July 20, 2021, from Saunders, T. (2021, June 22). How the Director of Disney's 'Luca' Captured the Spirit of the Italian Riviera and Why He Thinks You Should Visit. Travel Leisure. Retrieved July 20, 2021, from



politics & w

Delta Variant As countries worldwide start reopening, they were caught by surprise as the Delta variant swept the world. Although many countries are prepared for another lockdown, the virus still continues to spread.

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Female Genital Mutilation in Central African Republic page 19

world events

Florida Condo Collapse On June 24, 2021, a condo building in Miami collapsed, leading to many deaths and people missing. This article breaks down the tragedy and what went wrong.

Haitain President Jovenel Moïse Assassination page 23

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As the Covid-19 cases numbers steadily come to a halt, The new Covid-19 variant, Delta, was first identified in India and has already spread to various different parts of the world. The Delta variant is estimated to be about 60% more contagious and dangerous than the original Covid-19 strain. Studies have found that the mutation replicates faster and possibly evades the human body’s immune mechanism. Also, the Delta variant can cause massive outbreaks with only a little contact. As more and more people start to take full advantage of the mask mandate lift, the number of cases rises. The virus that was once only found in India has quickly spread to the states; California alone has over one thousand reported cases. The Delta variant is known as one of the more dominant strains This new strain has more viral loads (a measurement of the amount of a virus in an organism) and is composed of more proteins. The increased number of proteins makes the virus an efficient predator and allows it to duplicate at a quicker rate. In addition, the new variant doubles the risk of hospitalization and death rates . If not

careful, hospitals and other healthcare facilities can be overrun by this new virus mutation. Areas with limited hospital beds, such as Palestine and Indonesia, are struggling to keep up with the rising number of Delta variantaffected patients. However, patients affected with the Delta variant have shown symptoms that are very similar to the original Covid-19 virus symptoms, such as headaches, runny nose, sore throat, loss of smell, shortness of breath, fevers, and persistent coughs. Many debates have sparked as scientists argue about the vaccine’s effectiveness against the Delta variant. Some experts, such as Dr. Rochelle Walensky, argue that the vaccine does work to an extent. Others argue that the vaccine is counter-productive, allowing the new variants to escape the body’s natural immune system defenses. With more research and time, a concrete answer may be established. However, for now, healthcare professionals and health officials continue to encourage the general public to receive their vaccines.

written by grace yoon edited by cindy zhang 17

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layout by sahithi lingampalli art by sharon pan 18

Female Genital Mutilation in the Central African Republic The World Health Organization defines female genital mutilation as “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” There are no health benefits to genital mutilation, yet extreme health risks are involved. Severe bleeding, problems urinating, cysts, and infections can occur, as well as complications in childbirth and added risk of newborn deaths. Female genital mutilation is a common tradition. Over 200 million girls and women alive today have been mutilated in 30 countries in Afro-Eurasia. About 30 million girls are at risk of being cut before their 15th birthday if there is nothing done to prevent this tradition. Female genitalia mutilation is, unfortunately, a common problem throughout the world, especially in the Central African Republic. The average percentage of women undergoing female genital mutilation in the Central African Republic is 24%, but it can range from 3%-53% in certain provinces, according to UNICEF. Of this percentage, 52% of girls underwent this procedure between the ages of 10-14.


The Orchid Project is an NGO that focuses on ending female genitalia mutilation throughout the world. It does this by “catalyzing the global movement to end female genital cutting.”(The Orchid Project) It does this by advocating among global leaders and governments to “ensure work to end [Female Genital Mutilation] is prioritized.” The Orchid project wants to change the world, and it does that through their efforts towards stopping female genital mutilation. With a goal of eliminating all female genital mutilation by 2030, The Orchid Project has been spreading awareness about female genital mutilation through their website.

The Murua Girls Child Education program is an organization that raises awareness on child rights and protection from harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation. “Every time I speak about FGC, I speak as a survivor of the practice… My daughter will never speak as a survivor,” says Seleyian Partoip (End FGC Activist, Founder, and Director of Murua Girl Child Education Programme). The Murua Girls Child Education Program's vision is to preserve, promote, and protect cultural practices while stopping harmful traditions. They do this by reaching out to schools, and communities and educating them on these harmful practices while also teaching them proper hygiene, their bodies, and their rights. The Murua Girls Child Education program also reaches out to youth in African countries.

Written by Neve Walker Edited by Harshvir Chahal, Grace Yoon, &Harvi Karatha Layout by Shoffana Sundaramoorthy Art by Juee Deshmukh

The Orchid Project is an NGO that focuses on ending female genitalia mutilation throughout the world. It does this by “catalyzing the global movement to end female genital cutting.”(The Orchid Project) It does this by advocating among global leaders and governments to “ensure work to end [Female Genital Mutilation] is prioritized.” The Orchid project wants to change the world, and it does that through their efforts towards stopping female genital mutilation. With a goal of eliminating all female genital mutilation by 2030, The Orchid Project has been spreading awareness about female genital mutilation through their website.



JULY 2021

WRITTEN BY KAVYA GURUNATH EDITED BY GRACE YOON, UDAY LINGAMPALLI, CINDY ZHANG LAYOUT BY ALICIA GUO ART BY THEJO TATTALA Blurb: On June 24, 2021, a condo building in Miami collapsed, leading to many deaths and people missing. This article breaks down the tragedy and what went wrong. A home is one’s safe place. A place one can go to and let go of any frustrations, wind down and get comfortable. It is a haven from the craziness of the outside world. However, for people living in Champlain Towers South, their home, their safe place, turned into a death trap. Champlain Towers is a high-rise condo building in Miami, Florida. On June 24, 2021, the condo partially collapsed. At least 95 people are confirmed to have been killed, and the search continues to find everyone else missing from the collapse. Usually, the disasters we hear about are natural. However, this collapse wasn’t caused by an earthquake or a tornado. It came out of nowhere.


Residents of Champlain Towers originally thought that the loud noise they heard was thunder. A survivor of the collapse, Bruno Treptow, states that he thought the roof was caving in. He hugged his wife and thought it was the end for him. Another survivor, Alfredo Lopez, who lived about five feet away from the part of the building that collapsed, says that where the hallway was supposed to be, there was nothing. A building that was 120 feet had collapsed into rubble (Staff, 2021). As rescue efforts continue, the discussion has turned to the cause of the collapse, which has not yet been determined. Engineer Greg Batista says that the pool deck fell into the parking area, and created a “domino effect” that caused the rest of the building to come down (Staff, 2021).


A report from a 2018 inspection of the condo building states that there was an issue with the way the building was built. The problem was that there was no slope on the pool deck, so the water stayed on the flat, waterproofed concrete until it evaporated. However, the waterproofing wasn’t effective and was causing stress on the building, resulting in structural damage. None of these concerns were addressed by the condo board. However, the condo board claimed they weren’t aware that the damage stated in the report was a safety threat (Staff, 2021). This damage has not yet been proved to be the reason the collapse occurred. The exact cause of the collapse is still uncertain.

Finding out the cause of the collapse is not the main priority right now. Getting people out of the rubble and finding all people who are still missing is the first priority, according to Mayor Charles Burkett. Rescue workers are working in shifts, day and night, pulling people out, extinguishing fires resulting from the collapse and trying to find everyone. The rescue effort had to pause as the workers started to get concerned about the remaining standing portion of the building falling.

To complicate matters further, there was a possibility of Tropical Storm Elsa hitting and causing the standing part of the building to fall onto the rubble left by the collapse. The solution to all of this was a controlled demolition of the standing portion of the building. Before this building was destroyed, rescuers took every effort to make sure that there were no pets in there, including searching everywhere in the building and using thermal imaging. As the search continues, chaos and change spread. People in condos are evacuating, as fear of a collapse in their condos makes them worry about their safety. Mayor of Miami-Dade County, Daniella Levine Cava, has ordered an inspection of all buildings 40 years or older to make sure they address all issues. In addition, a lawsuit was filed against the condo’s association by a resident of the condo, who claims that the association didn’t keep the residents safe (Staff, 2021). To ensure this doesn’t happen again, some officials want building codes to be changed. Hopefully, these changes ensure that a tragedy like this will never occur again.



The Assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse edited by written by Archini Desai

Following the unexpected assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, the country now struggles with challenging questions about the attack. From federal investigations to the hunt for the assassins, officials and civilians continue to seek answers on the true motives behind the assassination and the potential unrest that threatens Haiti. On July 7, 2021, Haitian President Jovenel Moise was assassinated at his home in Port Au-Prince. Police and security personnel estimate the time of the attack in the early morning, at which point a group of armed assassins invaded the President’s home. Security personnel found themselves in a standoff with the invaders, ultimately killing three of the assassins and apprehending two more (Hu & Dupain, 2021). Unfortunately, some members of the group were able to escape the area, prompting the declaration of a national state of emergency, as the government promised to capture the remaining accomplices. The former president of Haiti’s wife had been seriously injured


Anvitha Mattapalli, Uday Lingampalli

and was taken to a hospital in Florida, where she was said to be recovering. While Haitian locals are still reeling from the incident, taking a look at Moise’s presidency may provide more context to the assassins’ motives. Haiti has always been a struggle of two worlds. The upper class thrived while the lower class felt the brunt of political, social and economic turmoil. Poor leadership was not unknown to the people of Haiti, and Moise’s presidency (2017-2021) oversaw many protests and mass during his tenure. Mass demonstrations were largely centered around government corruption, with the president being accused of embezzlement, and unjustifiably strengthening his position of power. Moise brought back the national army years after it was disbanded, which was a very divisive decision given the military’s history of coups and human rights violations (Angelo, 2021). Though Moise had ensured the military would not interfere in political affairs, many worried over the possibility that armed

forces would be used to retaliate against government opponents. Similarly, in the fall of 2020, the Haitian government published public orders that modified the interpretation of what may be considered terrorism, and established a national intelligence and surveillance agency. The president would personally select officials that would lead the agency, and under this new interpretation of terrorism, actions such as robbery or causing public disruption would also be included (Johnston & Paulemon, 2020). Such changes gave the government more power to prosecute civilians over what they deem appropriate. These events during Moise’s presidency only scratch the surface of what his government has been accused of. Moise’s presidency term was supposed to end in February 2021, but he effectively delayed the new presidential election and actively sought ways to prolong his term. For months before the assassination, Haitians protested in opposition to Moise’s actions and demanded his resignation as president.

killed and wanted individuals, multiple are suspected to be Colombian and U.S. citizens. As of July 12, one of the latest suspects has been identified to be Christian Emmanuel Sanson, a Hatian American doctor based in Florida. According to the New York Times, “...a university professor who met with the doctor...said that he had spoken then of being sent by God to take over Haiti’s presidency.” Acquaintances of Sanson and the Haitian diaspora were surprised he was suspected because he was not well-known, but he has spoken out against corruption in the Haitian government before. Due to the nature of investigations, many aspects of the attack are still shrouded in mystery and left without definitive answers. New suspects continue to emerge, and these are only the beginnings of a much larger, more aggressive effort. While investigations are ongoing, the presence of a power vacuum continues to worry officials and citizens across Haiti. The streets largely remain empty in fear of potential violence and unrest. Haiti had already been in poor social, economic and political standing before the assassination, and so this unexpected turn of events only further jeopardizes the wellbeing of the country.

In regards to the aftermath of Moise’s assassination, 28 people were suspected of partaking in the attack as of the week of July 7. Around 17 suspects have been caught since the assasination. Police and security officials are still searching for the remaining five assassins that have not layout by been caught. Among these detained, Leesha Pilla

art by Sahithi Lingampalli


references Delta Variant

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). US COVID-19 Cases Caused by Variants. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Delta Variant Prompts Some Countries to Return to Lockdown . Voice of America. (2021, June 26). Fact check: What do we know about the coronavirus delta variant?: DW: 30.06.2021. DW.COM. (n.d.). Goodman, B. (2020, November 13). Study: New Mutation Sped Up Spread of Coronavirus. WebMD. Haseltine, W. A. (2021, July 15). The Delta Dilemma: Loosening Covid-19 Controls At A Time Of Increased Danger. Forbes. sh=3e82d1812750. Michael E. Miller, J. H. (2021, June 20). Delta variant could become dominant strain in U.S. this summer, CDC head says. The Washington Post. Ng, A. (2021, July 1). Parts of Indonesia are running out of hospital beds as delta variant surges, health minister says. CNBC. Times of India. (2021, June 28). Coronavirus Delta Plus Variant: Can the new Delta Plus variant affect people who are fully vaccinated? Here's what we know so far. The Times of India.

Female Genital Mutilation in the Central African Republic

Central African Republic | Rights in Exile Programme. (n.d.). Rights in Exile Programme | Refugee Legal Aid Information for Lawyers Representing Refugees Globally. Retrieved July 22, 2021, from,want%20the%20 practice%20to%20end Mersha, M. (n.d.). Female genital mutilation. WHO | World Health Organization; World Health Organization. Retrieved July 22, 2021, from MURUAGCEP – Muruagcep. (n.d.). MURUAGCEP – Muruagcep. Retrieved July 22, 2021, from Orchid Project Central African Republic - Orchid Project. (n.d.). Orchid Project; Orchid Project. Retrieved July 22, 2021, from TDF-Webredaktion. (2014, February 5). TERRE DES FEMMES - Menschenrechte für die Frau e.V. - Zentralafrikanische Republik (ZAR). TERRE DES FEMMES - Menschenrechte Für Die Frau e.V.

Florida Condo Collapse

Schuppe, J., Martinez, D., Hampton, D. J., Fieldstadt, E., & Barber, E. (2021, July 2). Florida building collapse reveals shortcomings of systems to protect residents, experts say. NBC News. Staff, I. (2021, July 13). Surfside Condo Collapse: What We Know. Intelligencer.

The Assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse

Angelo, P. 2021. The Assasination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise: What to Know. Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved from: Hu, C., & Dupain, E. 2021. Haiti on edge as the theories about President’s assassination fill the vacuum. CNN. Retrieved from: The New York Times. 2021. Haitian Officials Say U.S.-Based Suspect in President’s Killing Was Seeking Power. The New York Times. Retrieved From: Johnston, J., & Paulemon, K. 2020. What’s in Haiti’s New National Security Decrees: An Intelligence Agency and an Expanded Definition of Terrorism. Center For Economic and Policy Research. Retrieved from:



Augmented Reality (AR) is one of the most popular technological innovations right now, and it's only going to grow in popularity as AR-hostable smartphones and other devices become more widely available.


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Organ failure is one of the leading causes of death. But can recent technology solve that, saving the lives of numerous patients?


AR allowed us to view the real-world environment right in front of us—trees swinging in the park, children playing soccer, etc. Augmented reality is widely available and being used in several applications, including Snapchat filters, apps that help you identify your car in a congested parking lot, and a variety of shopping apps that allow you to try on items without leaving your house. Marketers and technology companies have struggled to fight the idea that augmented reality is nothing more than a marketing tool since its inception. Consumers, on the other hand, appear to be reaping actual benefits from this capability and anticipate it as part of their buying process. Aside from that, the benefits of augmented reality might extend to the healthcare industry, where it could play a far larger role. One method is to employ applications that allow users to examine extremely detailed, 3D pictures of various bodily systems by


hovering their mobile device over the target image. For example, medical practitioners might use augmented reality as a valuable learning aid throughout their training. Big data may help firms make better decisions and get insight into customer purchasing habits, among other things. AR instructions can be readily published and seen on a wide range of devices across the workplace from smartphones and tablets to RealWear and HoloLens 2 headsets. Unlike MR, computer-generated material cannot interact with the real-world components that viewers perceive. Because it analyzes the area in a room and blends digital things with the user's actual surroundings, the HoloLens is MR. The value of effectively adopting business AR is already being recognized by industrial companies in many sectors throughout the world. The Gatwick airport passenger app has received a slew of accolades for its innovative use of augmented reality

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echnology. As the software develops, may be able to assist in improving rport traffic flow. Augmented reality apps are being reated at a quick rate to boost arious sectors, from gaming to onstruction to AR in browsers that ffer information for what the camera splays. We may anticipate ugmented reality apps to impact many more parts of our life as new oncepts are created.

WRITTEN BY ameya aneja EDITED BY taruni manam & harvi karatha LAYOUT BY sahithi lingampalli ART BY cal shin-koh


Ransomware Cybercrime as a whole has increased 600% during the pandemic (Firch & Allen, 2021). Ransomware is predicted to be the most common type of cybercrime in 2021. So, what exactly is ransomware? Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts and locks a device’s files (such as photos and documents), preventing a person from accessing those files, until a ransom (usually paid in cryptocurrency like Bitcoin) is paid to the hacker. Once the ransom is paid, a decryption key may be provided, allowing the victim to access their files again. If the ransom isn’t paid, hackers may sell the files to other cybercriminals, publicly name the victim, and/or release the files to the public.

Written by Rachel Adam Edited by Harini Akurathi & Uday Lingampalli Artwork by Sharon Pan Layout by Shoffana Sundaramoorthy According to Time Magazine, the countries with the most cybercriminals are Russia, China, Brazil, Nigeria, and Vietnam (Rayman, 2014). Most cybercriminals work in organized cybercrime rings instead of working alone. 86% of cybercriminals are after money (Sen, 2021), since personally identifiable information like credit card numbers, home addresses, and Social Security numbers are extremely valuable and easy to sell on the Dark Web. The value of financial data has increased from 2020 to 2021. For example, the account details for a credit card with an account balance up to $5000 was worth $20 in 2020, but worth $240 in 2021. However, other cybercriminals have a more sinister motive behind their attacks: to threaten the stability of various countries worldwide. Recently, there have been calls for U.S President Biden to pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin to crack down on cybercriminals for their recent ransomware attacks on U. S


e Attacks On May 7, 2021, the Russian cybercrime group DarkSide attacked Colonial Pipeline’s systems, which led to fuel shortages, increasing gasoline prices (especially on the East Coast), and forcing American Airlines to add extra stops to two of its long-haul flights. A few weeks later, on May 30, JBS, the world’s largest meat producer, was targeted by Russian cybercriminals (suspected to be the REvil group). The attack made consumers and the U.S government fear meat shortages and an increase in meat prices. Luckily, JBS was able to re-open its meatpacking plants within a week of the attack, avoiding these consequences. Most recently, on July 2, Kaseya, an IT firm based in Florida, suffered a ransomware attack that not only affected its own systems but also those of its clients (who are based in approximately 12 countries). President Biden said that the attack only caused “minimal damage” to U.S businesses. However, it’s a different story in Sweden. Many of the 800 grocery stores run by the Coop chain were affected by the attack, and were forced to close for multiple days. In rural areas, where a Coop was the only place to buy groceries for miles, this turned into a major problem. The Swedish railway system and a pharmacy chain were also affected by

the attack. The REvil group (based in Russia) took credit for the attack, and it demanded $70 million to restore everyone’s data. As of July 14, the ransom has not been paid. Ransomware attacks are dangerous, and governments worldwide must cooperate to prevent them. They can affect every aspect of life, and they are the future form of warfare. In the meantime, though, what can you do to prevent yourself from being the unlucky victim of a ransomware attack? The U.S Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency recommends that you: 1. Update your devices and apps as often as possible. 2. Don’t click on links or open attachments from strangers. 3. Regularly back up your data. 4. Create strong passwords for all of your accounts. (try not to reuse them!) 5. Use secure Wi-Fi networks. 6. Use multi-factor authentication if possible. (for example, when you sign into Gmail, if you have twofactor authentication enabled, you have to enter your password, and a unique code sent to your phone.)



Written by Juee Deshmukh


For many years, humanity aimed to increase lifespan by restoring damaged organs. In 1982, Willem J Kolff invented what merges life, medicine and engineering- artificial organs. Artificial organs are engineered devices that are integrated into the body to replace or duplicate a natural organ. Different types of artificial organs have their own functions as well as their own pros and cons.

Artificial organs replace the functions of a deteriorated or missing organ. More than 120,000 Americans are on the waiting list for wellfunctioning organs. The average kidney recipient has to wait 3.6 years for a kidney replacement while more than 20 people die while waiting for an organ daily (Alliance of Advanced BioMedical Engineering). BiVACOR is a company in Houston, Texas that developed an artificial heart for patients who do not qualify for transplant. The device is called TAH, for total artificial heart. With technology like this, artificial organs can potentially solve transplant shortages and decrease the number of organ failure deaths all over the world. Artificial organs benefit medical research as well. For example, Organovo in San Diego is producing 3D bioprinting of tissues. According to AABME, the company has successfully printed tissue for the liver, heart, lung and kidney for research use,



Edited by Harini Akurathi & Anvitha Mattapalli Layout by Arushi Patil Art by Sahithi Lingampalli

toxicology studies and other preclinical drug testing (AABME). In medical research, artificial organs can accelerate the development of drugs and reduce animal testing for products. There are artificial organs generated to replace bones and joints, skin and soft tissue, internal organs (e.g. kidney, liver) and sensory organs like eyes. They can be divided into three classes: mechanical, biomechanical and biological. Mechanical organs are made of different polymers. Biological organs are developed with living cells and biodegradable polymers, and biomechanical organs are made with partially living cells and inanimate polymers (NCBI). One benefit of receiving an artificial organ is that one doesn’t have to wait for several months or years to receive a transplant. Transplant lists can be “significantly reduced or even disappear,” according to The Actuary.

Patients waiting for a replacement are less likely to go through organ rejection, which is when transplanted organs are rejected by the recipient’s immune system, because artificial organs can possibly be mass produced. A patient can go back to living a normal life in a shorter time. However, it is risky. Artificial lungs raise the risk of blood clots and infection, and patients must take medicine and receive intensive therapy. The possible complications make artificial lungs a less favored option. A patient needs to keep the risks that come with receiving an artificial organ in his or her mind. If produced well, they can replace transplants, saving many patients’ lives in a shorter span of time. In the years ahead, there will be obstacles such as device costs, ethical concerns and safety concerns. Nevertheless, artificial organs pave the way for further advancements in medical technology.


Hayes, A. (2021, May 19). Augmented Reality Definition. Investopedia.,and%20business%20applications%20in%20particular. Marr, B. (2018, July 30). 9 Powerful Real-World Applications Of Augmented Reality (AR) Today. Forbes. sh=d34a6902fe95. What Is Augmented Reality? PTC. (2021, May 28). What Is Augmented Reality? The Franklin Institute. (2019, December 18). What is Augmented Reality? The Interaction Design Foundation. (n.d.).

Firch, J., & Allen, J. (2021, June 5). 10 Cyber Security Trends You Can't Ignore In 2021. PurpleSec. Johansen, A. G. (2021, June 29). What is ransomware? Ransomware explained and how it works. Norton. Ransomware Guidance and Resources. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency . (2021). Rayman, N. (2014, August 7). Here Are the World's Five Cybercrime Hotspots. Time. Sen, R. (2021, May 14). Here's how much your personal information is worth to cybercriminals – and what they do with it. PBS. Canales, K. (2021, June 15). Experts say Russia gives hackers a 'tacit blessing' to attack foreign nations - as long as they don't target Russia or its allies. Business Insider. Shalal, A., & Satter, R. (2021, July 6). Biden says ransomware attack caused 'minimal damage' to U.S. companies. Reuters.

Wynn, H. 2017. What if artificial organs could replace the need for donors? The Actuary. Retrieved from: F & S2017. Innovations in Artificial Organs. Alliance of Advanced BioMedical Engineering. Retrieved from: Gebelein, C. 1984. The Basics of Artificial Organs. ACS Publications. Retrieved from: Xiaohong, W. 2018. Bioartificial Organ Manufacturing Technologies. NCBI. Retrieved from:



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MONDAYS THE WORST? Monday—a new, fresh start—right? Not so much. Read more to learn why the first day of the workweek is the most loathed.

page 39





DELTA VARIANT The Delta Variant has become a major headline topic as it spreads around the globe, but what is a variant and how do they occur? Keep reading to find out the science behind the Delta Variant!

page 41

The subconscious mind, one of the most complex layers of our brain, plays a huge role in our lives and futures. Understanding how it works will help you tap into it and make use of its benefits.

page 45

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NOTES ce n e i sc saturday



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WHY ARE THESE SO IMPORTANT? Recently, scientists captured a black hole swallowing a neutron star, a very rare occurrence. What can scientists do with this research and how can it help space exploration advance?

page 43

scie nce


monda y ay d n o m

why are monda y monday



You wake up to your phone’s vibrations and fumble to get out of bed. The bags under your eyes are heavy as you remember how exciting dinner was yesterday. Suddenly, the realization of today truly wakes you up. Rise and shine, it’s Monday! Studies show that on Monday, everyone is at their lowest mood. But Tuesday and Wednesdays are workdays too, so why isn’t our mood lower on those days? Considering the loss of freedom, dislike for work or school, and anxiety for the undetermined week, Mondays are the most psychologically challenging day to bear through. Mondays are the hardest to bear because you feel like you’ve lost a sense of freedom. Before Monday, almost everyone has two days of liberty and recreation. A sudden emotional shift from an eventful weekend to a day of routine and responsibility feels disappointing. Becky Stuempfig, a marriage and family therapist, notes that many “feel a sense of disappointment and dread about having to return to their


wednesday thursday responsibilities rather than spending time how they choose to spend it” (Bologna, 2020). The transition from leisure to restriction displays a loss of freedom for many, making their Mondays dreadful. Another reason why people dislike Mondays is because they might not favor work or school. Gallup poll results show that “70 percent of people hate,” or are uninterested in their job (Benjamin, 2015). One’s job might be stressful, whether it be a picky boss or rude coworkers. Regarding school, there might be a test, presentation, unfinished homework, or the teacher that they have to see first at 8 AM. Stress and depression that emerge on Sunday evening are called the “Monday Blues.” The Monday Blues remove any positive emotions for the following day. Disliking work and school combined with the Monday Blues makes Mondays challenging for numerous people of all ages. Finally, you might hate Mondays because the week ahead is uncertain. Anticipating what you’ll possibly face


removes any m your attention the week, yet focused on underlying p people are driv such as praise emphasizes th external rewa internal rewar (Bologna, 202 week, Monday people look fo will happen in t brings anxiet Mondays very

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juee deshmukh EDITED BY

kavya gurunath & harvi karatha LAYOUT BY

mon day

vrinda gandhi ART BY

NOTES TO DO: Marching band after nday o m school (3-6) Coding class (7-8:30) Math HW page 575 #3-57 (odds) Read Macbeth act 1 Study for science test Wednesday Study for history project due Thursday

evelyn chen 40

SCIENCE BEHIND THE DELTA VARIANT The Delta Variant, originating in India, is a variant of COVID-19 that is currently spreading rapidly around the world. As new research about the variant keeps surfacing, all the new information can get overwhelming. But, what is a variant? This article will go over all the basics of the science behind the Delta Variant. To first understand what a variant is, we need to understand what a virus is. A virus is a “microscopic parasite”, which is usually smaller than bacteria (Vidyasagar, 2016). Unlike bacteria, it needs a host to survive and to replicate in, and then continue to spread and infect other hosts. However, the virus doesn’t always replicate perfectly, and there end up being changes in its genetic sequence, called mutations. Viruses with a mutation or many mutations that differ from the original virus’s genetic sequence are called variants. If a variant becomes widely spread or established in a population, it may be referred to as a strain.


All viruses mutate when they replicate, but usually, the mutations don’t significantly alter the properties of the virus or the way the virus functions. If a mutation or set of mutations confers an advantage onto the virus, such as allowing it to spread faster, the variant of the virus will become more prominent in the host population it is infecting. A variant can have many advantages in comparison to the original strain of the virus, due to the change in its genetic sequence. It can spread faster, cause greater symptoms, evade testing for the detection of the virus, infect despite the host being immune, etc. (Shah, 2021).

So far, there have been four variants of COVID-19: the Alpha variant, Beta variant, Gamma variant, and Delta Variant. The Alpha variant, which first originated in South Africa, has many mutations, some on the spike protein that the virus uses to enter our body, which allows it to spread easier. The Beta variant has similar mutations to the Alpha variant but also has mutations that make it harder for antibodies to get rid of it. It was also first found in South Africa. The Gamma variant has similar mutations to the Beta variant. Finally, the Delta variant, which originated in India, is 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant (Travis, 2021).


The Delta variant’s ability to pass on so easily has allowed it to start becoming the most widely spread variant of COVID-19. It can also avoid parts of our immune system, giving it even more of an advantage, as it is more likely to survive than some of the other variants. Antibodies have less of an effect on protecting cells from the Delta variant than the Alpha variant or the original strain from Wuhan, China. This is why it has become a massive problem around the world. To learn more about the Delta’s variant’s effect on the world, read the “Delta Variant” article in the Politics section of the magazine issue! Even though the Delta variant is still a problem, even more variants will probably emerge as the pandemic continues. It is possible that a variant that won’t be affected by our vaccines will emerge. The best way to reduce the possibility that the virus will mutate is to reduce how much it replicates. As stated before, a virus needs a host to replicate. So if we can reduce transmission of the virus, it will replicate less, therefore reducing the possibility of more mutations. So stay safe, get vaccinated if you can, and hopefully, this pandemic will soon come to an end.

Written by Kavya Gurunath Edited by Juee Deshmukh, Uday Lingampalli, & Ameya Aneja Layout by Alicia Guo Art by Cal Shin-Koh



In 1916, Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves, or ripples in spacetime that happen when the most massive massive objects in the universe collide. These waves were first detected in September 2015 when two black holes had struck. January 2021, however, was the first time that there was evidence showing two black holes swallowing massive neutron stars. As the black holes and neutron stars collided, massive gravitational waves were produced which took about one billion years to reach Earth (Strickland, 2021).

Up until now, scientists have predicted that a black hole swallowing a neutron star was possible but couldn’t prove it until interferometers, which are gravitational wave detectors, provided solid evidence of such collisions. Interferometers are prevalent in a growing field of research known as gravitational astronomy, where scientists study minor distortions of spacetime to understand how the universe works.


Researchers hope to fill in the gray area between our knowledge and these complexities using specific gravitational wave data. So far, scientists know that when massive stars die, they collapse under their gravity to leave behind black holes. On the other hand, the stars can also explode and leave remnants known as neutron stars (Hanna, 2020). Furthermore, there’s so much unknown: how big or small they can get, how they pair off, or how fast they can spin. Based on the statistics the gravitational wave data gives, scientists hope to ultimately discover how the extremes in our universe are made (Fishbach, 2021). From the Virgo gravitational-wave observatory in Italy, where some of the most sensitive observational instruments lie, researchers found the mass and location of the collision just from the nature of the waves. They found that the black holes and neutron stars were much heavier than the sun and several million years from Earth, outside the Milky Way galaxy. Although this might seem small in the scope of the entire universe, even the minute discoveries help us understand the nature of different binary systems of the universe and why they don’t exist in the Milky Way (Lamberts, 2021).

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pite all of the new data acquired the gravitational waves, ing is still uncertain since there y two signals from a black hole wing a neutron star. To make observations and models, sts hope to observe more ors of this event. With the newer owever, previous models of the n star and black hole merger can ned, potentially leading to a comprehension of the formation olution of objects in space. nderstanding these objects in is beneficial as it expands our the universe and helps evaluate ic theories on Earth. Frequently, jects in space turn out to be e examples of existing concepts h. Seeing these concepts play the universe helps scientists out any effects on Earth. With ack hole and neutron star g , scientists can find how a ole affects Earth, for instance. ore data, scientists can start by tanding objects in space and develop this knowledge into ing new.

byvanathikanth editedbyjuee deshmukh,aarav navani,&ameya aneja layoutbysahithi lingampalli artbyjuee deshmukh


Behind the Mind written By Ashmita Annamalai Edited by Kavya Gurunath, Harvi Karatha,

& Ameya Aneja

layout by harini akurathi art by sharon pan

Our brain is perhaps the most complex organ of our body. Within it are three distinct layers: the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious minds. The subconscious mind makes up about 95% of your brain power and manages everything your body requires to function properly. The subconscious mind is not creative or logical, yet it remembers everything you have ever seen, said, or done. It controls your actions through emotions and instinct. The unconscious mind is somewhat a part of the subconscious. The other 5% of your brain, the conscious mind, interacts with the physical world through your senses. It helps you think and rationalize. The unconscious mind is somewhat a part of the subconscious. The other 5% of your brain, the conscious mind, interacts


with the physical world through your senses. It helps you think and rationalize. The main function of the subconscious mind is to store and retrieve data from your life. It ensures that you respond exactly the way you are programmed to. To do this, it makes everything you say and do fit into a consistent pattern with your self-concept, or a collection of beliefs you have of yourself. Your subconscious has a homeostatic impulse. It maintains your body temperature, keeps you breathing regularly, and your heart beating at a healthy rate (Tracy, 2018). Through your autonomic nervous system, it maintains balance among the billions of cells involved in your physical existence, creating harmony within yourself. It also practices homeostasis in your mind by making

sure your thinking and acting manners are consistent with what you have done in the past. The subconscious mind has memorized all of your comfort zones and works to make sure you do not stretch beyond them by making you feel emotionally and physically uncomfortable whenever you attempt something new. This sense of discomfort is a psychological sign that your subconscious has been activated. However, in order to accomplish more, you must break the wall your mind has created and go out of your comfort zone. This will reprogram what has already been stored in the mind and expand your comfort levels.

You can utilize your subconscious to acquire its great benefits. Here are some things you can do to tap into your subconscious mind: 1. Communicating to your subconscious a. Eliminate fear and negative selftalk; repeat positive affirmations to reprogram your thought patterns. Since “you cannot outperform your image of yourself that is stored in the subconscious mind” (Karefilakis, 2019), you must alter any negative images of yourself that have been stored into positive and optimistic ones. b. Set goals fueled by passion and

envision yourself achieving them. This will increase your motivation levels and help you use your conscious mind to override the programmed thoughts in your subconscious. Once your subconscious mind understands what your conscious mind wants, it will start taking steps to make it happen. c. Develop your writing skills. The subconscious mind plays a huge part in what we write and thus, journaling is a great way to reach it. Our subconscious absorbs so much information and ideas, most of which doesn’t even pass through our conscious mind. Therefore, getting ideas down on paper is a great resource and helps you to get in touch with your subconscious emotions and thoughts. 2. Taking care of yourself a. Meditation and yoga. These will help you calm your body and stabilize your state of mind. b. Look after yourself and take care of your body. Exercising, eating, drinking plenty of water, socializing, and relaxing are all important for your body. By taking care of yourself, you’ll be functioning at an optimal level, ensuring that your conscious and subconscious are working their hardest to make your dreams a reality.


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MONDAYS THE WORST? Benjamin, K. (2015, December 21). 6 Scientific Reasons Mondays Are the Worst. Mental Floss. Bologna, C. (2020, November 16). Experts Explain Why Mondays Are So Psychologically Hard. HuffPost.




DELTA VARIANT Shah, D. (2021, May 11). What is a variant? An expert explains | News. Wellcome. Travis, K. (2021, July 2). What experts know so far about the delta variant. Science News. Vidyasagar, A. (2016, January 6). What Are Viruses? Livescience.Com.

Heljala, H. (2018, December 3). How to Use the Power of the Subconscious Mind to Succeed. Management 3.0. Karefilakis, M. (2019, February 22). The Conscious and Subconscious Mind. Kare Psychology.

Mayer, G. (2018, March 14). Subconscious Mind – How to Unlock and Use Its Power. Thrive Global. Tracy, B. (2018, December 12). The Power of Your Subconscious Mind. Brian Tracy’s Self Improvement & Professional Development Blog.


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Gamillo, E. 2021. Astrophysicists Detect a Black Hole Gobbling Up a Neutron Star in Two Separate Events. Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved from: Penn State News 2020. Black Hole or Neutron Star? Penn State. Retrieved from: ck-hole-or-neutron-star Hawkins, D. 2021. Scientists detect black holes devouring neutron stars. Retrieved from: Chu, J. 2021. LIGO and Virgo detect rare mergers of black holes with neutron stars for the first time. MIT News. Retrieved from:

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no-bake cheese


style the power of meditation How can devoting a few minutes to yourself each day benefit your life? Read more to learn how the art of meditation can be lifechanging.

page 49

Mangoes are refreshing trea What would b enjoy mangoe and delicious simple No Cheesecake is to whip up summer.

page 53

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the guide to organization Organization is an essential part of our daily lives. Whether you spend most of your time at work, home, or school, it is important to have a neat, orderly, and disciplined environment to work in.

page 57


The Power of


Meditation is a technique intended to bring forth a heightened sense of awareness and a clear mind. It is believed to have originated in India several thousand years ago, but almost every religion has its practice. Although meditation can be practiced in several different ways, the two main types are concentrative meditation and mindfulness meditation. Concentrative meditation involves focusing on an object and tuning out one’s surroundings. This type of meditation lets one reach a higher state of self by focusing on the breath, an affirmation, or a mantra. Mindfulness meditation practices being aware of the present moment and making oneself open and accepting. Meditation is powerful because it increases self-awareness, increases willpower and can bring more positivity into life.


practices allow one to develop a greater understanding of oneself and the surrounding environment by selfinquiry. Focusing on one’s thoughts allows him or her to perceive harmful beliefs, and undo the negative thought patterns for a positive outlook. By living in the present moment and reflecting on one’s thoughts, one is less likely to believe and replay negative, selfsabotaging beliefs. As one gains more awareness towards his or her thoughts, he or she can steer them into positive and accepting thoughts. And as these thoughts become a habit, one is towards becoming his or her best self through self-awareness and acceptance.

Another benefit of meditation is an increase in willpower. At Brown University, a study demonstrated that people who meditate consistently were more “able to use their willpower and strength of will to ignore any kind

of pain” (N the brain a isn’t focus They redu creativity strengthen calmer an pain and a one can anxiety lev and stron situations.

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NeuroNation). Alpha waves in are produced when the mind sing too hard (Larson, 2019). uce stress levels and increase levels. Mindful meditation ns alpha waves, making one nd less likely to respond to anxiety. Through meditation, improve depression and vels, leading to a better mood nger will power in stressful .

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Evelyn Chen

The bottom line is that there is a meditation practice for everyone, whether you want to relieve stress or attain spiritual enlightenment, find quiet or flow through movement. Don't be afraid to venture outside of your comfort zone and try new things. It's generally a case of trial and error until you discover the right one. Meditation can help lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, decrease pain, ease symptoms of depression and improve sleep. Those who practice regular meditation are sure of the benefits in their life, whether the benefits are anecdotal or scientifically established.


No-Bake Mango Cheesecake

written By Grace Yoon

& Samita


Edited by Neve Walker, Myint Myat Theingi,

& Taruni


Ingredients: For the Base:

2-3 biscuits of your choice-you can use Biscoff, Graham Crackers, Digestive Biscuits 1 tsp of granulated sugar 1 tbsp of melted butter (adjust as needed)

For the Filling:

⅔ cup of softened full fat cream cheese (the block kind works best) ⅓ cup of powdered sugar 1 tsp of vanilla extract ½ cup of mango puree + 1 tbsp ⅓ cup of heavy whipping cream that is room temperature


Small-sized bowl Medium-sized bowl Whisk 4 inches-long springform pan Toothpicks



l. For the base, add crushed biscuits and sugar into a small bowl. Then, add 1 tablespoon of melted butter and mix until the small clumps start to form. Add more as needed. 2. Put this mixture into the bottom of the springform pan. Using a little bit of pressure, press the crumbs in by using the back of a spoon. Place it in the fridge for a minimum of 10 minutes to set. 3. For the filling, whisk the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract together in a mediumsized bowl. Then add ½ cup of mango puree and whisk until it is well combined. Add heavy whipping cream and whisk until the texture turns smooth and light in color. 4. Carefully spoon the filling into the springform pan and use the bottom of a spoon to level the mixture. 5. To decorate, put drops of mango puree on top of the filling and use a toothpick to create a swirl pattern. 6. To set, place the cheesecake in the freezer for at least 4 hours. 7. Once set, carefully remove the sides of the springform pan and slice. 8. Enjoy!


Apply a good amount of pressure as you press the biscuit crumbs into the bottom of the pan since there can be holes created from the unevenness which can result in the base falling apart when slicing at the end. Whisk in the mango puree completely before adding heavy whipping cream as the mixture can curdle. Use a spoon or small knife to go around the cheesecake to help release the sides of the pan.

layout by harini Akurathi

& vrinda gandhi

art by sharon pan


How to Let Go Letting go is an art form that when used correctly, leads to the liberation of the mind. The word “detachment” tends to have a negative connotation. The word is synonymous with parting, disconnection, and separation. However, detachment is also synonymous with freeing: a word with a positive connotation. Detachment is a form of art and when used healthily, can be liberating to a person’s mind. There are a number of reasons for the negative connotation behind detachment, but one reason that most agree with is the positive connotation behind detachment’s anytonym: attachment. The opposite of detachment is a product of passion. If you have ever wanted something so bad that you would do anything for it, you would understand this feeling of passion leading to attachment. Detachment, however, is often associated with the separation of your passion and having to let go. In order to look at detachment positively, it’s important to maintain a mindset that will do so. While passion is an important quality of a human being, sometimes it’s more important to look at the bigger picture of the


world: there is more to life than the neediness of our minds. As curt as it sounds, life may not be all about what you want at the moment. More so, it’s about living in the moment. Therefore, detachment is not a form of withdrawal or separation. Additionally, detachment is not about letting go of responsibilities. Instead, detachment can be seen as a way to live. It is about remaining fully involved with a passion while letting go of a need to be attached. When practicing the art of detachment, you step out of your mind to see the world objectively. So, the question remains: How to let go? Letting go takes an immense amount of time and effort. Here are four steps you can take to help you along the way.

1) Analyze the thoughts around your attachments Here is where you start to step out of your mind. You need to objectively ask yourself questions and answer them. Here are some examples of questions you can use: What are you afraid of? Why is it difficult to let go? What does this attachment mean within you? As you ask yourself these questions, you get to understand the fear you have of letting go. This allows you to healthily shift your thoughts.

3) Practice mindfulness Letting go is like a roller coaster because there will be at least a few instances of back and forth when taking on the art of detachment. Therefore, you need to monitor your progress. Make sure that whenever you feel a sense of attachment, go back to asking yourself your questions. If you need a change, mindfulness techniques will help. Techniques such as meditation, yoga, mantras, and visualization are known to help with both mindfulness and self-control.

Written by Taruni Manam Edited by Samita Pandit, Arushi Patil, & Neve Walker

2) Let go of expectations There is a sense of the unknown when digging deeper into the outcome of attachment. It is unknown how long it will take to let go. It is unknown what lies ahead of you. Therefore, it is important to trust the unknown. Let go of the expectations you hold for the future, and trust what you cannot see right now.

4) Focus on yourself The attachment you have takes control over you. It is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is not always healthy. Now that you have focused so much time on detachment, you have to shift your focus from your attachment to you. Check-in with yourself. Healthy detachment gives assurance that no matter what happens along the way, you will be okay. This is a good time to build relationships and interact with others in order to be happy.

Ultimately, letting go is a choice. However, letting go will provide freedom and liberation of the mind along with a sense of control to see life objectively. So, please use the steps above whenever you feel that you want to healthily let go.

Layout by Shoffana Sundaramoorthy Art by Juee Deshmukh


the guide to


Organization is an essential part of our daily lives. Whether you spend most of your time at work, home, or school, it is important to have a neat, orderly, and disciplined environment to work in.

For the majority of the country, the back-to-school season starts in August and September. After the pandemic, this year’s back-to-school season happens to be the first month of full in-person learning for many schools across the country. After 2 years of online learning and a chaotic school year, it can be very hard to switch to a physical learning environment. So to be organized for the start of a new school year, it is best to follow a few essential tips and tricks. Firstly, make sure that you sort out your information by subject. Have different folders (or pockets within a folder) for each subject (math, english, science, history, etc.) to hold your information.


Store all the handouts, papers, pamphlets, and flyers that you receive in your folders. This technique helps to prevent confusion and mix-ups. While it is not required to color-code your belongings, labeling them helps. Make sure that you label your notebooks and folders according to subject in easy-to-see large, bold letters.

It is also helpful to add your name and a method of contacting you (phone number, email, etc.) in case you lose any of your possessions. It is also helpful to have a miscellaneous folder for when your school gives you information not directly relevant to your classes. This method makes sure you have all your important information in one place, separate from papers for other classes. Next, make sure that you organize your school supplies neatly and efficiently. It is preferable to have a compact, medium-sized pencil pouch with 2-3 pencils of your choice (wooden or mechanical), 3 pens of different colors (red, black, blue), a couple of highlighters of different colors (yellow shows best), a large eraser, and a small binding tool (glue stick/small roll of tape/mini stapler with staples). Be sure to add in a small hand-held sharpener if you are using wooden pencils or extra lead if using mechanical ones.

If your classes recommend any unique supplies (math sets, paintbrush sets, etc.), then it is helpful to group them in a smaller pouch to prevent you from losing or breaking any materials. This is just a suggested list, but be sure to adjust it to suit your needs. Additionally, your backpack is a very important tool to help you get through your day. It is essential that your backpack is big enough to hold everything, including a water bottle, but is compact enough that it can fit in your locker and is easy to carry. You will be holding your notebooks, folder, pencil pouch, valuables, lunch, and water bottle in your backpack. To make sure that you can find your possessions easily, organize your backpack by pocket. In the back pocket, place all your academic materials (notebooks, folders, books, pencil pouch). In the front pocket, place your lunch and water bottle (and if you do not have one, that pocket remains empty for now). Make sure that your lunchbox is tightly sealed and that the lid of your water bottle is fully closed to avoid any leaks. In the smaller pockets, place your valuables, such as money, jewelry, ID cards, etc. Make sure you put these valuable items in a safe place, where people cannot easily take them when you are not looking. Placing small items in smaller pockets helps isolate them. You can also store your pencil pouch in a separate pocket if it is more convenient.


written by thejo tattala & samita pandit edited by arushi patil, taruni manam, & cindy zhang layout by inchara j. art by sahithi lingampalli

At home, you have to manage storing many objects in separate spaces. To organize these, you have to use the trick called classification. When you are storing your clothes, it is best to hang them vertically so that they take up less space. Classify your clothes by casual, formal, and jackets beforehand so that you do not have to spend hours looking for the perfect outfit for school. When you are storing your shoes, it is best to store them beneath your clothes in pairs, separated from each other. Shoes can also be classified by “formal”, “casual”, “exercise”, and other categories of your choice.

Handbags can go on the top racks, or on a separate shelf, spaced out evenly. Finally, accessories can be organized in drawers. It is best to classify them by type (ie: headbands, hair ties, hairpins, etc). You can have these accessories in smaller boxes within the drawers. Finally, you can organize your jewelry (necklaces, bracelets, earrings, etc) in jewelry boxes (put in a very safe place).

part 2 next issue! (organization at home and work)


refer ences the power of meditation Bertone, H. J. (2020, October 2). Which Type of Meditation Is Right for You? Healthline. Cherry, K. (n.d.). How Meditation Impacts Your Mind and Body. Verywell Mind. Chow, S. (2021, March 18). Meditation History. News. Larson, J. (2019, October 9). Alpha Brain Waves: What Are They and Why Are They Important? Healthline. The powerful advantages of meditation. NeuroNation. (2020, May 15). SMGadmin. (2016, June 28). 5 Ways to Develop Self-Awareness Through Meditation. Vantage Point Recovery. Thorpe, M. (2020, October 27). 12 Benefits of Meditation. Healthline.

how to let go? Owens, W. (2021, July 6). The Art of Detachment: Learning to Let Go. Shenoy, S. (2018, November 23). The Subtle Art of Healthy Detachment. The Dream Catcher. Youssef, E. (2017, September 5). How to Practice the Art of Detachment in 4 Steps.: elephant journal. How to Practice the Art of Detachment in 4 Steps.


OPIN Should school start times be later? Teens are notorious for their bad sleep schedules. But are early start times the reason for this? Read about the benefits of later start times!

page 63


NION on asexuality Learn more about asexuality through an interview from a member of the asexual community.

page 67


Should school sta

YES. Do you always feel exhausted walking into your first class of the day? Early school start times could be to blame.

According to the CDC, 72.7% of teens are getting an insufficient amount of sleep, with 20% of those teens sleeping less than six hours per night. Teens are biologically wired to be night owls, falling asleep later and waking up earlier in the morning. School start times disrupt and clash with teens’ natural sleep patterns, forcing them to wake up before sunrise, thus preventing them from getting enough sleep. Due to factors including their bodies’ biology, extracurriculars, and large piles of homework, teens simply can’t fall asleep early enough in order to get eight to nine quality hours of sleep.


written by Rachel Adam

Sleep deprivation can cause problems like poor grades, an increased risk of getting into a car accident, an increased likelihood of alcohol and drug usage, an inadequate attention span, and an increased risk of obesity, anxiety, and depression.

As a student who has suffered through the effects of sleep deprivation, there have been many cases in which, during my last class of the day, I would struggle to not fall asleep and stop paying attention because I had slept late the night before trying to complete numerous homework assignments and studying for tests. Even if I didn’t have much schoolwork or other events going on, I didn’t naturally feel tired until around 11pm, and I’d only have around six to seven hours of sleep, instead of the recommended eight to nine.

rt times be later? My school’s start time is at 7:30am, which is one of the earliest start times in America. Sometimes, though, we would have a two-hour delay in our start time, due to snow, and I could sleep in later. During the two-hour delay days, I definitely felt more alert and ready to learn. I likely am not the only one to have felt this difference.

Sleep deprivation is turning into a national health crisis amongst today’s teens, causing many to feel burned out trying to balance their social and academic lives. Scientific studies show that later school start times could put an end to this crisis, and the pros of moving school start times far outweigh any cons. The evidence is clear: if we want to bring out the best in Gen Z, we have to ensure that they are as healthy and motivated as they can be, which can be achieved by pushing school start times back and allowing students to get more rest.

In fact, a group of researchers found that one additional hour of sleep increased the probability of graduating high school by 8.6% and college attendance rate by 13.4% (Sabia et al., 2017). Another study found that students’ grades increased by 4.5% one year after introducing a later school start time (Dunster et al., 2018). Additionally, in 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement saying that school start times should not be earlier than 8:30am. Yet, only 18% of US high schools have heeded this advice.


no. Sometimes, you just don’t want to get up in the morning and go to school. Unfortunately, starting school later is no easy fix to this problem. Most parents/guardians drop off their student(s) at school before they go to work. A later school start time would make it difficult for some parents to make it to work on time. This becomes challenging for younger children who need the supervision of an adult to get ready and be dropped off at school. If school starts later, that means it has to end later. This can put a strain on extracurricular activities like sports and music that are commonly after school. It leaves less time for students to fulfill their hobbies, which can have a negative impact on their health and ability to complete schoolwork.

written by Anvitha Mattapalli

A commonly-touted benefit of starting school later is that students will be able to sleep in, preventing sleep deprivation, but that is not the case. How many times have you stayed up on a Friday night just because you don’t have school or work the next day? I have, too many times. Just because we don’t have work to do until later doesn’t mean we will be asleep longer. In fact, this delay actually encourages us to stay up longer.

Overall, starting school later has a negative impact on not just the student, but those around them as well.

Edited by Harshvir Chahal, Geethi Tarra, Myint Myat Theingi, & Cindy Zhang

Layout by

Aathmika Radhachandran

Art by

Cal Shin-Koh 65




interview conducted by cindy zhang

introduction Asexuality, as defined by the Asexual Visibility & Education Network (AVEN), is a sexual orientation that covers a spectrum of people who do not feel sexual attraction towards others. Currently, asexual individuals make up about 1% of the global population (AVEN). Asexuality has been famously dubbed “the invisible orientation” from activist Julia Sondra Decker’s book of the same name. The erasure of the “invisible orientation” often stems from societal ideas regarding sexual attraction. As a result, those in the asexual community face discrimination in the healthcare industries, where uneducated medical professionals see their sexuality as a “disorder.” Asexuality may also be incorrectly referred to as “celibacy.” However, celibacy is a choice-- asexuality is an identity.


In a research brief published in October of 2020, the Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that “asexual youth reported higher rates of depression and anxiety compared to the overall LGBTQ sample” (The Trevor Project 2020).

The following interview was conducted with an anonymous member of the asexual community and has been edited for length and clarity. Additionally, please note that because asexuality itself is a spectrum and because the community is extremely diverse, no one member of the community can speak for everyone. However, the experiences of each individual are still valid.




edited by anvitha mattapalli, geethi takara, arushi patil layout by inchara j.

art by evelyn chen




interview Q: When discussing asexuality, what do you think are some important terms to know? A:Some important terms to know are

aromantic and sex-repulsed. These are important because they help people further specify and distinguish between their personal identities. Someone who is aromantic does not experience romantic attraction. Romantic and sexual attraction are different, so an aromantic person is not necessarily asexual and vice versa. Someone who is sex-repulsed has no desire to have sex. Not everyone on the ace spectrum is sex-repulsed.

Q: What do you wish more people understood about asexuality? A:I wish more people understood that many asexual people are still capable of having romantic relationships and living fulfilling lives. We aren’t “incapable of love.”


Q: What are some common misconceptions about asexuality? Why are they harmful? A:There is a stereotype that asexual people are too young or naive and don’t know enough about sex to know that they’re asexual. This infantilizes asexual people and invalidates their sexuality.

Q: Do you believe that asexuality is adequately represented in pop culture? A:I

do not believe asexuality is adequately represented in pop culture because I don’t think I know a single fictional character who is asexual. Also, many asexual artists I know are not often given a lot of attention.

Q: What types of societal changes do you believe we need to see for the asexual community to feel more included? A: Amatonormativity,

which is the ingrained assumption that everyone wants to get married to someone of the opposite sex and have kids, etc., is pretty prevalent at a societal level, and it looks down on people who prioritize careers, friendship, or other forms of relationships above romantic ones. Not only is this damaging to asexual people, it is damaging to anyone who deviates from the ‘ideal’.


We as a society need to stop placing so much value on romantic/sexual partnerships.

Q: On an individual level, what can people do to be more inclusive of the asexual community? A:People can be more inclusive towards the asexual community by being more aware of asexual history and including them when talking about the LGBTQ+ community. Also, when talking about sex or sexuality, people shouldn’t assume that their conversation partner has or will at some point desire to engage in sexual activity because that may not be the case.

resources For those who are asexual, questioning, family, friends, or allies, the following are some great support resources:

The Asexual Visibility & Education Network:

The Trevor Project:

Aces & Aros:

Demisexuality Resource Center:


references Should school start times be later? yes: CDC: Most Middle and High School Students Don't Get Enough Sleep. APTA. (2018, January 29). Suni, E. (2020, August 5). Sleep for Teenagers. Sleep Foundation. Richter, R. (2015, October 8). Among teens, sleep deprivation an epidemic. Stanford Medicine. Caesar , J., Lamm, R., Rodriguez, M. C., & Heistad , D. J. (2021, April 10). Changes in school start time have a significant effect in the amount of sleep and reported grade point average of students . American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting. sequence=1&isAllowed=y.








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anonymous I celebrate 4th of July celebrating my parent’s birthday! I’m reading and volunteering for the summer.

ashmita a i celebrated 4th of july at a campsite with friends and family; i'm binging shows, doing lots of work for organizations, doing some research, and taking a couple of courses

kavya g I celebrated Fourth of July by watching fireworks with my family. To make time pass in the summer, I am reading, painting, watching every new show Marvel comes out with, listening to music, and preparing for the SAT.


th theaffairmag How did you spend your fourth of July? How are you keeping yourself busy this summer?



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