Tiger endangerment

By: Jalalaisa Geleto

The Tiger is a troubled species of cat. They have been pushed to the brink of extinction many times, and some tiger subspecies are no longer with us.

Their territories were once all of east China, Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, Eastern Siberia, Central Asia, and the Malaysian Islands. Now, they are restricted to small pockets in each of those lands. They don’t even exist in most of China, Korea, and Central Asia anymore. To see a tiger that doesn’t live in India, or a Southeastern Asian country, is a miracle.

The reason tigers populations aren’t increasing much, even though organizations are actively trying to save them, is because each tiger needs a lot of land for themselves. They are not pack animals. There isn’t a place that’s “densely” populated with tigers, because they live on their own and far from each other.

The average tiger male requires 23 to 39 square miles to himself. The average female only needs 7. The amount of space tigers are allowed to live in has only decreased, leading to more tigers dying.

Since 1900, 93% of tiger lands have been taken from them, severely lowering their population. Since the 1990s, their population has decreased another 43%.

Tigers are a doomed species, and there is nothing you can do about it without giving them more land to live on. Which is not going to happen.

The Indians are mostly poor and are looking for land to make farms and build infrastructure. Many of them don’t care about the cultural aspects of tigers and focus on material things. At the rate India is modernizing and growing, the tigers might not have much space left.

In China, the tigers are doomed and are on their last legs. There are barely any tiger sightings in the country anymore. In Siberia, Russia, they find the Siberian tiger once or twice every year.

The only way to save tigers is to open more lands for wildlife. Until then, they will stay rare or even become extinct (especially in China).

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​The danger of high school movies

​By: Annika Getz

There are countless movies revolving around high-schoolers, and middle-schoolers, and their many adventures and misadventures. These movies appear to be harmless on the surface, but when one thinks about the material in said movies, and the results they have on real teenagers, it’s evident that they are more harmful than they seem.

For starters, there’s a significant lack of diversity in most of these movies. The majority of the time, the main characters are white, cisgender, able bodied, and straight. It is this exclusion of races, sexual orientations, and gender identities, which results in straight, cis, and white, being seen as a sort of default.

However, it’s not just the lack of diversity which makes these movies detrimental to teenagers. Another big issue is that they’re often very dramatized. The situation which the characters are placed in are more often than not, extremely unrealistic. This sets an impractical expectation for kids going into high school and middle school. School, in real life, often seems boring in comparison to the films that teens have watched leading up to it.

Many movies also include a “quirky girl” trope. This trope creates a girl who is supposed to break stereotypes, but usually it is not carried out well, and ends up only perpetuating said stereotypes. The “quirky girl” is often portrayed to be unlike other girls, however this implies that most girls are stereotypical “girly girls.” It also degrades those who are like that.

These movies also dramatize cliques, many times even giving names to each specific one. When this is done, it only enforces the idea that everyone has to fit into a specific group in order to enjoy their experiences in middle school and high school.

And while there are groups of friends, it normally isn’t as dramatic as it is in many of these movies (this is of course only my experience, and I’m sure there are some people who have undergone different experiences).

I believe another large issue with these movies is that they are not typically made with teenager’s best interest in mind. Oftentimes, they’re just capitalistic money grabs, fueled by corporate greed. This means that they aren’t made with the viewers wellbeing in mind. And sometimes, regardless of the creators intentions, these movies still have some sort of negative influence on the teens watching.

I’m not saying that high school movies are inherently bad. There certainly are some good ones, but sometimes, it feels like for every good one, there are ten bad ones.

Given everything I’ve just listed, I think it’s incredibly important that directors and writers make sure to keep the wellbeing, of their teenagers watching, in mind when making these movies, because when they don’t, they more often than not, end up harming their target demographic.

‘Great Gatsby’ review

By: Mohamed Ahmed

‘The Great Gatsby’? Never heard of it. What is it? 

‘The Great Gatsby’ is a book written by a famous author called F. Scott Fitzgerald. I am going to try to determine if this book is for you. 

‘The Great Gatsby’ takes place in the 1920s. The main character/narrator is a young man with dreams of hitting it big in the bond business. After his father put a timer on him Nick rushed to find a new home which ended up being close to a distant cousin and college acquaintance. His house also put him next to the title character.

One of the things I enjoyed most is the theme of the American Dream and the harsh reality of the real world. He delves into all sorts of relationships and how not everyone gets their perfect ending. 

The story starts out very slow however. It takes a long time to set up the main characters and the new environment all while keeping the story mysterious. He slowly builds a world and gives hints to foreshadowing. 

When all the pieces are in place though, the story comes together in an incredible way. The author found a way to word the story so that he keeps the mystery of Gatsby alive, all while keeping the story flowing. 

There are lies, ghosts from the past (not literally), mistakes, and heavy plot twists. 

The most important thing about the story is that it is from an outside perspective. If the narrator was all knowing then there wouldn’t be anything left to the imagination. There are vague scenes. It leaves the story up to interpretation inviting discussion because depending on your education level, life experiences, and knowledge about the author, you will interpret scenes in different ways. 

Due to the number of times that the author rewrote it, you know that the story is carefully crafted and the words that are used are intentional. 

All-in-all, to most people, I would recommend this book, especially if you can pass the first phases when the characters are all being introduced. 

Xenophobia in the Western music industry

By Ellie Mulvaney and Irene Cohen

Music is often called a universal language; something that ties people together without bounds. Throughout history, genres have been passed through people and geographical groups to spread different traditions, dances, and instruments through the music they originate from.

With this history, it’s hard to imagine that modern society is sometimes extremely intolerant with music, and the culture that’s associated with it, sometimes resorting to racism or xenophobia to hate on unfamiliar forms of media.

K-Pop is a genre of music thats name is a direct conjunction of its meaning: Korean pop. It’s typically associated with bright colors, vigorous dances, energetic songs, and is usually performed by groups.

The genre has spread west in past years, led by worldwide sensation group BTS. The group kicked off their first US tour in 2015, and since then, has only grown, getting their first Grammy nomination in the “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance” category in November of 2020. However, the road to this accomplishment was anything but easy, and to this day, they still are on the receiving end of countless amounts of unjustified hate.

The stage makeup and outfits they wear are beaten down for being too feminine, while their songs are often branded as shallow, despite the language barrier that many Americans don’t care to overcome when looking into their music.

On a professional level, they have been void of some opportunities that many theorize could be due to where they’re from. At the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, the group received a nomination for “Best Collab”, which was won with regards to their song with an ​American​ artist, rather than a nomination for their solo music video that broke the record on YouTube for the most views in 24 hours.

This lack of Western recognition for the current, biggest, boy band in the world seems to run deeper than just simple coincidence, and bleeds into the xenophobia in America.

Some argue that BTS even being included in award ceremonies is the representation of East-Asian music groups that is needed in the award ceremonies. While BTS is able to get some representation from mainstream Western media, this is the first step in a very long journey to be more inclusive in award ceremonies.

Even when foreign groups are included in these ceremonies, they have special award names like “Best in K-Pop” instead of simply “Best in Pop.” They have these categories to make it seem like these groups are good but cannot be compared to our Western music artists. It is almost demeaning to have these categories.

This doesn’t just happen to K-Pop idols, either. In many music award ceremonies they have “Latin Pop” for Latinx artists instead of giving them just the “Pop” award.

We have seen countless times that when a song isn’t in English, it does not get the same representation in the award ceremonies that English songs receive. Many a time, songs not performed in English have performed extremely well worldwide to get beaten out by some English pop songs only known in the Western world. And that’s the best case scenario. Most of the time these songs aren’t even nominated for an award.

The Western music industry needs to be more inclusive in their coverage of music. Too long the Western music industry has not recognized the success or impact of a song, album, or artist just because it is foreign. The mindset of this music industry needs to change so that products of Western artists will not always be considered better than that of different regions.

Music should surpass language and culture, not be judged on it.

Does Jake Paul have a chance of beating Conor McGregor in a boxing match?

If you haven’t already heard about YouTube, and social media superstar, Jake Paul, challenging the notorious Conor McGregor to a boxing match, you probably aren’t very active on social media as Jake Paul’s challenge to Conor McGregor went viral.

Jake Paul is just a YouTuber who boxed another unfit YouTuber, and a former NBA player, who was only 5’9. He won both fights and thinks he can beat one of the best MMA fighters of all time.

Jake Paul rose to fame alongside his brother Logan Paul. The two brothers went famous on the old app called Vine. Then, when Vine was no longer a thing, they switched to YouTube and became some of the most popular people on the platform, and in social media as whole.

Jake recently got into boxing, and like I said before, has had two fights against two non-boxers, which he won both fights, and actually didn’t look half-bad. Supporting my opinion though, and many others’ opinions, boxing and sports experts say his chances of winning against McGregor are little to none.

Now, Conor is an MMA fighter, which is mixed martial arts, which is a combination of everything fighting such as: boxing, wrestling, jujitsu, kickboxing, and many more forms of fighting. So, Conor actually isn’t strictly a boxer as Jake is, but Conor has been boxing since he was 14, and stand up fighting (boxing) is the best part of his game; he is considered one of the best stand up MMA fighters of all time.

I’d say Jake’s chances of winning a boxing match vs. McGregor is probably around 0.5%. So, around a 1 in 200 chance of winning. My reasoning for the percentage not being lower is an old saying called the “Puncher’s Chance” which this basically means there’s always a chance you can land just one lucky punch and knock your opponent out.

By the way, I am a McGregor fan and not a Jake fan!

Obsessions with serial killers have gone too far

By: Olivia Knafla

Whether you spend your time on Instagram, Tiktok, or YouTube, you’ve probably seen a thing or two about serial killers at some point. Whether it was a short video summarizing a case or a post to remember victims, there is lots of information on the internet about these killers that people naturally find terrifying, heartbreaking, fascinating, or all three.

True crime is captivating for a number of reasons. With the tap of a screen, or click of a button, we can delve into spine-chilling words from the comfort of our own couch and return back to real life afterwards. We can learn about the situation without being thrown into the danger. On top of that, true crime can appeal to many interests from psychology, to criminal justice, to law. It’s easy to see the appeal for the genre because there is so much to be learned from it.

That being said, it makes sense that people find serial killers and the cases surrounding them so intriguing – but where should the line be drawn?

I believe the line lies between two words: interest and romanticization.

The illustrate my point, consider the two following situations:

  1. A person spends some time learning about what a serial killer did, how they were caught, ect., because they find it interesting to research and learn about.
  2. A person spends some time learning about a serial killer to then post online about how much they love said serial killer, whether as a joke or in seriousness.

Which situation feels strange or disturbing?

Most likely situation B. Why? Because the person from situation B is no longer interested in what happened or why, but only in the killer themselves, and for all the wrong reasons.

It may seem unrealistic for somebody to post about their fondness for a killer online, but it has happened more times than can be counted.

Even off-screen, killers in prison can receive up to hundreds of letters of fan mail weekly or even daily. And while online, such interactions may be less direct, they are certainly not invisible.

From people posting about how attractive Ted Bundy is to making fan accounts for Jeffrey Dahmer, it’s an understatement to say things have gotten out of hand. This was not the work of a couple internet trolls or people posting solely for attention (although I’m sure those people have some sort of involvement in these types of posts), but a large number of people.

For example, in January, of 2019, Netflix had to take to Twitter in response to people posting about how hot Ted Bundy was in the documentary: ‘Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes’ and near the release of: ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile’ with the following statement:

Netflix’s Twitter statement in response to the people romanticizing Ted Bundy.

All of this being said, it is no secret that Hollywood enjoys glamorizing killers and their relationships. Take the TV series ‘You’ for example. The show is centered around killer Joe Goldberg and his relationships with women who just seem to love him so much.

Rather than talk about, quite literally, anything else, social media flooded with posts about how attractive Goldberg was, creating a uniquely uncomfortable environment for actors and those affected by similar situations.

Possibly worse than all of this though, was in early 2020, when teenagers located the Instagram account of an alleged active killer in the east coast, named Peter Manfredonia, a 23-year-old student at the University of Connecticut. Authorities were attempting to locate him after he was suspected of murdering two people, assaulting one, and finally kidnapping another. However, this did not prevent his comments from being flooded with everything from compliments to people writing down their home addresses and phone numbers.

Below are some of the comments that were left under his photos.

Screenshots provided by distractify.com

It should be obvious that these responses are not normal nor acceptable, and there are several answers that go further in depth explaining why.

Firstly, to show appreciation to somebody who is a serial killer is wildly insensitive to the victims and their families. Walk a mile in the shoes of somebody who was tortured and killed and then consider leaving these comments or making such remarks.

If that is not enough, think of the further damage such remarks could cause. Of course, no person is the same, and killers all have different ways of thinking and unique minds. However, by directly inflating the ego of one of these people, especially those who are not yet incarcerated or dealt with legally, is irresponsible and foolish.

No person who willingly hurts or preys upon others deserves any sort of fanbase, and by giving it to them you are telling them that you approve of them and what they are doing. And make no mistake – there is no excuse for it.

So, one may ask: how are we to get people out of this mindset? How are we, as a society, going to stop showering the monsters who walk among us with love and appreciation?

While there may always be some who enjoy the attention or shocked laughs they receive for glorifying these folks, the best thing you can do is to not do it yourself. If you choose to interact with an individual who participates in such behaviors (either online or in person), explain to them that it is wrong and why. Only when we all value our lives and the experiences of others will we move forward from this. And that I hope we do.

Important resources that are depleting

By Olivia Kendle

Some of our most vital, natural resources are starting to run low due to human capacity and destruction in the environment; destruction such as deforestation, pollution, etc. Here are some of those resources, and why they are so important to us and the creatures and environment around us.

One very big one is water. Only 2.7% of all water is freshwater, meaning that there won’t be enough water in the coming years. It is estimated that in 2025, some countries will go into severe dehydration with barely any supply of fresh and clean water.

Not only is drinking water being affected by water in oceans and lakes, where other animals and creatures live are slowly depleting and poisoned too; the Mediterranean Sea being one of the most polluted oceans in the world. According to ‘A Dive Into Junk’ blogs; “​The United Nations Environment Programme has estimated that 650,000,000 tons of sewage, 129,000 tons of mineral oil, 60,000 tons of mercury, 3,800 tons of lead and 36,000 tons of phosphates are dumped into the Mediterranean each year.”

The next important resource is oil. In 2010, the S​tatistical Review of World Energy, in June​, concluded that there was 171.3 tons of oil worldwide, and that if industries and the economy kept using oil at the current rate it is now, there would be little to no oil on Earth in about 47 years from 2010. Oil is very important to the production and natural gas industry and has helped put around 10 million people in jobs. Oil has also been used to power transportation vehicles.

There are many other very important resources, but those are just a couple of the main ones.

GMOs vs. organic

By Nora Doyle

Image taken from: The Gazette

The debate on whether or not GMOs are good or bad has been going on for a while now and has become more of a commonly talked about issue as the organic foods movement has become more popular.

What are GMOs? GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. ​Forbes.com​ scribes GMOs as an organism whose genetic material or DNA has been changed in an unnatural way. ​’Forbes​’ also says GMOs are mostly designed to increase the nutritional value, and protect crops against pests.

As for organic food, ​’Forbes​’ describes it as food that doesn’t contain any pesticides or fertilizers, and is completely natural. Some people swear by organic foods and refuse to eat anything that has been genetically modified, and others don’t want to spend the extra money just for products that are fully natural.

The first topic of this argument has to do with this money opinion.

When you look at a package of organic blueberries at the grocery store, compared to blueberries that do not say organic, you will notice that the organic blueberries are significantly more expensive. Some people believe it’s worth the extra money, but some don’t.

There are a few reasons why organic food is more expensive according to ​OrganicAlberta, ​and one reason is that the demand is often greater than supply. Also, they say organic farming methods are more expensive than non organic farming methods, meaning they have to sell at higher prices.

Is organic food actually better for you?

According to ​Harvard Medical University, ​organic foods don’t appear to have nutritional advantages. USDA data shows that organic foods do have fewer pesticide residues, but both organic and non organic are the same level of safe for consumption.

However, Harvard studies do say that organic farming doesn’t feed their animals growth hormones. They are mostly naturally raised, so it may be arguable that organic is better for the animals.

Overall, it seems as though GMOs don’t really do much for us, but neither does organic food. Eat what you like how you like it!

2021 resolutions

By: Anna Hisle and Lizzy Woxland

New Year’s resolutions are a very good way to find some motivation to help better yourself. With 2021 beginning, here is a list of some uplifting New Year’s resolutions we think you should try and how they benefit you.

Why you should make a resolution?

Making New Year’s resolutions are sometimes looked at as a “waste of time” but we believe that New Year’s resolutions are a good way to find motivation to help better yourself and others.

It’s important that you set yourself a New Year’s resolution to help you become the person you know you can be. Setting a few resolutions helps you focus and reflect on what’s important to you and your life, help clear your mind, and focus on who you want to become.

Recently, with how things have changed, it’s really hard to find motivation to do anything, especially new challenges. We believe that setting some positive and uplifting resolutions will help gain motivation and help in these difficult times.

Setting goals/resolutions can also improve your mental health greatly. By doing something and sticking to it, it creates routine. A routine in your life will let you be more positive knowing that you have something you enjoy doing or something you want to do.

Your resolution will also improve your mental health when you complete milestones within the resolution. You will feel more positive as you see more progress.

Ways to stick to your goals

One thing that has help us with sticking to goals is consistency. Being consistent with your goals is one of the hardest yet most important tricks in sticking with your goals.

Be consistent even when you dont feel motivated. If you only work on your goals when you feel motivated you won’t get much progress if any. But, if you work on your goals even on the days where you don’t want to do anything, that’s when you see progress and change.

Another way to stick with your goals is to write them down. When you write down your goals, you are way more likely to stick to them. Writing down your goals will create  a vision in your head of what you want to work towards.

When you visualize your goals and write them down it helps create a change in the way we act and gives us more direction.

Taking breaks also helps you stick to goals. Occasionally you have to step back and take a break. Growth happens over time, and if you’re too obsessive about one thing, it can lead to unhealthy habits.

Even just taking a one day break can be great for your mental health and goals. When you step away, you can come back and have a refreshed mindset.

Ideas for healthy goals for the new year:

-Make more time for the things you love

During times like these it’s super easy to get caught up in feeling like everyday is the same. When you take time each day (could be just 10 minutes) to do something that makes you happy, it will raise your mood and can make you excited for new things.

An example of this could be skateboarding, drawing, journaling, running, ect. Setting time aside for yourself each day is something that everyone should try and do.

-Try going out of your comfort zone:

This is something that is very important. Right now nothing feels comfortable so now more than ever, it’s time to learn how to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. This could be as small as taking cold showers or going on runs. Both of those things push you out of your comfort zone. Doing those consistently will lead to growth in your mental strength.

-Less screen time/social media

During quarantine, it might’ve been hard to not be on an electronic or be productive. Now, in the new year, it might be time to explore more things not on your screen. Going on walks, studying, or even just spending time with friends or family is a great way to not be on electronics.

Being more productive without electronics not only will improve your mental health but it will also let you feel less stressed now that you don’t have social media around you all the time.

-Exercise more

As the new year begins, one of the most common goals is to lose weight/workout. While this goal is one of the most common ones, it is also one of the ones that is least followed through.

Instead of working out to look good for someone else, workout to look good for you!

Exercising relieves stress as well as increases dopamine, endorphins, and adrenaline which will make you happier.

‘The Social Network’: A smart movie

By: Hayden Fitzsimons

In the conversation of the greatest films ever, The Social Network regularly crops up. David Fincher’s 2010 film has been seen as an incredibly perfect film with little to no mistakes within its creative elements. The screenplay, provided by world-renowned Aaron Sorkin, is often seen as the greatest screenplay, or at the very least one of the best to ever grace the earth. With a director such as Fincher, and a writer of Sorkin’s calibre, it seems as if the potential of the film was too good to be true, however, in my opinion, the expectations were sufficiently met.

While I personally don’t see The Social Network to be the best ever, it is without a doubt a masterpiece of some of the highest quality. Fincher is a personal favorite of mine, and his ability to get the best out of his actors once again is exhibited in The Social Network.

Fincher has also always been a director with a very specific visual style, and this style is seen once again in this film. The pairing of a visual director with Sorkin, who is a very dialogue-heavy writer, seems odd on paper, yet when it comes to its fruition the pairing worked wonders. Sorkin’s skills lie within his unparalleled ability to write realistic and attention-grabbing dialogue. So, it’s unsurprising that The Social Network has been praised mostly for it’s dialogue, which is of a quality rarely seen in film.

Comparing The Social Network to many of the other dialogue driven films I’ve seen, I find myself at a loss to fins other films which can rival the quality of Sorkin’s work in this film. The Social Network relies heavily on this supreme dialogue as it is the main selling point, however this isn’t to say the other elements of the film are lacking. It’s quite the opposite; every element of The Social Network rivals the quality of Sorkin’s writing.

The performances from Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garlfield, and Armie Hammer (who played two characters, often at the same time) amongst others are all incredible to the point where the viewer may likely forget the names behind the faces and be fully enveloped in their performances. The eclectic editing aids the equally dramatic story to a perfection, all thanks to Fincher’s understanding of camerawork and pacing.

To put it simply, if you haven’t yet seen The Social Network, you should, and you shouldn’t worry about having high expectations as they likely will be met.