Thinking about going green? Try a small business!

By: Reagan Welch

Small businesses are becoming the next new big thing and here’s why: small business owners take time and energy on creating your products while reducing the carbon footprint of business. That means keeping the environment clean.

Small businesses are the key to saving the environment. Instead of mass producing each and every product, over charging for the amount spent to make that product, and making more than necessary, they are making them in smaller amounts and in cleaner and greener environments.

A many small businesses are alternative energy companies: green retail outlets, organic food growers, and locally sourced craft sellers. Many businesses that are green have fewer employees but have a low turnout. That is changing though, and you can help them grow too!

As people grow and understand more about the environment, and global warming, there is a higher demand for green products, and small businesses are stepping up, producing more and keeping clean. Sure, each product is much more expensive than anything you can get from a fast fashion store, but that’s the price you pay if you want to keep the environment healthier and the earth alive longer.

Supporting small businesses is not only beneficial for you and the environment, it is extremely beneficial to the owner or owners. Almost all owners are extremely grateful and excited that you decided to buy from them, and of your support of them and their business. Some even include extra little gifts and thank you notes as an extra thanks. You could make someone’s day or help someone pay their bills just by switching up where you buy your clothes or gifts or anything.

Swikirti Sheela Nath from Linkedin says going green is working towards decreasing environmental pollution, therefore, improving the soil, water, and air. This will help slow global warming (loss of biodiversity, deforestation desertification, resource depletion, etc) which will automatically help the earth and its animals from destruction for as long as possible. That is why instead of just thinking about going green you should go green.

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A.I. Generated Music Article Title

lil robot guys playing some trumpets from the Toyota Kaikan Museum in Nagoya, Japan Image taken from:

You guys ever have the Travis Scott Burger™ at McDonald’s®? Cause I have, and it was glorious. I could feel my big stinky gullet grow with every bite of it, truly an experience for the ages.

But, why in the seven seas did I take a big ol’ chomp of this Travis Scott sandwich in the first place?

Well…because it was funny, because it was a hamburger with the name Travis Scott on it, and that amused my rat brain into giving money to McDonalds in order to get this regular burger with barbecue sauce. Like that was the only thing about the burger by the way, like it literally was just a regular burger, like they didn’t do anything wacky like put apple sauce and elk tongue on it (which is how I usually take mine).

But why oh why am I telling you this story?

Well…it’s because I just wanted to say that we, as individuals, like people’s names being attached to a product. Remember being a kid and buying that Spongebob Go-Gurt, that literally was the same as regular Go-Gurt, but it had good ol’ Spongbob on it?

It’s basically that, and now when I’ve happened upon this cool lil’ thing of A.I. generated music, it got me thinking of just how far could we take it, in regards to marketing a personable celebrity person attached to it.

If you don’t already know, a while ago, at an obscure song competition in the middle of Portugal, I think it was called Eurovision or something, they premiered a song that was entirely generated by an artificial intelligence, or A.I. The melody, instrumental, and lyrics were all procedurally generated by a computer microchip, and it was honestly pretty interesting, and it was legitimately structured like a real song. Here it is if you’re interested in watching it.

Anyway, but more compelling than that (at least in my dumb lil’ opinion), was this A.I. Travis Scott song I happened upon, because as opposed to the Eurovision one, which was just an isolated song, sung by a text to speech robot voice, with a lil’ machine avatar, this fake Travis Scott song, actually has opportunity to be sold and marketed, in place of an actual human production team that could create a product very similar to it. Like honestly, while this specific style of music isn’t really for me, I could see a song like this being popular to an extent, (though the lyrics could use a lil’ work in like, actually making coherent sense).

But in regards to brands, how marketable could an A.I. artist be? Like sorta if a Gorillaz type like fictional character(s) was/were the icon of it, and all their songs were generated by a big wacky computer machine, how far could we take it.

Shot from the game Detroit: Become Human where robots are basically a replacement for humans and are gonna take our jobs and are gonna drink our milkshakes and build our Ikea furniture and there’s nothing we can do about it, which it really makes you think and scratch your chin with your big ol fingers very inquisitively and go “hmmmmmm”

Well, that concept was explored in Detroit: Become Human to an extent where there was a guy playing a guitar on a street corner with a sign saying “real human music”, which was a pretty wacky scene, but I dunno if that’s gonna happen or not, for a couple reasons. Mainly because people’d probably see it as a fad, and sorta have an aversion to it, even if it did get to a level where you couldn’t tell otherwise, and also because A.I. artists would probably end up creating songs that attempt to appeal to everyone, which usually ends up appealing to…no one.

So, honestly, Ed Sheeranbot5000 isn’t gonna replace people anytime soon, at least in my opinion, but the concept of already established artists feeding their songs to an algorithm, and just trying to put stuff out that’s generated by that without anyone noticing, is a different story. But I feel like most artists who make music would actually wanna, y’know… make music, at least to an extent.

Like, I know not every part of the production of a song, at least with a large portion of artists, is really done by one guy in whole, like of course there’s a team of people who you’d never even think about in most major productions now. Like a few guys to mix and master stuff, production in the backing track/instrumental, needing to credit a guy who does sample tracks that producers pay to download and plop into their DAW then add extra drums and stuff to it if needed, and even if a song is made using reference vocals and ghost writing, at the end of the day, there at the very least is a team of people, who all would have a passion for what they do to an extent, who come together and just make something, and just put lil’ details in, that I don’t think technology really could calculate.

I mean, until it can. But, I dunno. Just enjoy what’s already out and gonna be out, and watch movies, read books, do whatever you wanna do to blow off steam, cause by the time A.I. could perfectly replicate what humans could create, in regards to art on that deep or personal of a level, they’re basically human at that point, so I guess it’ll be fine.

But, who’s to say, I dunno. Happy pride month everyone.

The controversy over Tokyo’s 2021 Olympic Games

By: Caroline Crosby

Japan was primed and ready to host the 2020 summer Olympics last year. They received the usual mass of international funding and built the “Japan National Stadium” in late 2019, at the expense of a mere $1.4 billion USD. Hotels and other widespread private tourist organizations were frantic with the construction of new establishments to host the influx of overseas visitors. Tokyo was looking forward to hitting the reset button on a global stage after years of economic stagnation following the devastating loss of life and property that it endured after being struck by the Tohoku earthquake, a tidal wave, the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and finally a global pandemic. 

They were ready for most of the usual contingencies, but not for what 2020 had in store with the rampant outbreak of COVID-19. As such, the 2020 games were optimistically postponed to the summer of this year. They will be held in Tokyo, from July 23 to August 8. The Paralympics will start shortly after, lasting from August 24 to September 5.

Over the past year and a half since the emergence of the pandemic, The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has forged ahead selling event tickets to fans, finalizing COVID-19 precautions, and preparing to welcome hundreds of thousands of international travelers to attend this year’s games. 

What could go wrong?

A recent survey, of Japan’s willing residents, asked if they approved of the country hosting 2021’s event at all. 83% believed that it should be canceled. The numbers speak for themselves, and many residents agree that Tokyo hosting this event will endanger community immunity and deplete already scarce medical resources stretched thin by the recent surge of COVID-19 cases. Only about 2% of Japan’s population is vaccinated. 

Japan’s government has heavily relied on adherence to strong social distancing measures. In this densely populated country, these measures will be further strained by an influx of tourists from around the world, all of whom will be meeting up at sporting and entertainment venues across Tokyo and its countryside. 

Even though overseas attendees got the boot, the Olympics will still instigate mass migration and raise the risk of the pandemic’s spread. Others are concerned that Tokyo doesn’t have space in the first place – with an estimated population of 37,339,804 residents at roughly 16,121.8 people per square mile, according to the latest revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects. 

A groundswell of residents in the event’s surrounding areas has begun sounding the alarm and protests have gained momentum. A petition recently gained traction with over 400,000 signatures calling for the cancelation of the 2021 games. 10,000 of the 80,000 local volunteers quit amidst growing concern over unsatisfactory COVID-19 precautions.

The International Olympic Committee (I.O.C.) issued guidelines that were supposed to have the consultation of the World Health Organization, but seem to lack sufficient detail and focus on out-of-date science. Many critics argue that the games should be canceled entirely to keep the Japanese public safe. The petition creator, Kenji Utsunomiya explains, “Turning to the Olympics the medical resources that are facing a serious shortage even in the [present], further tormented […] healthcare professionals who are battered by corona epidemic, endangering the life and livelihood of the residents and participants in particular.”

Additionally, the sudden cancellation of event admission for international fans has not gone over well. Many have devoted funds to and planned their attendance for over 2 years now. Ticket holders now search for refunds. Many are unclear on when, if ever, their money will be returned.

Self-dubbed superfan, Everen Brown, told the New York Times: “Since we are being barred, it is only right for them to make everyone whole and refund all of the money paid…It would be real painful watching this at home on TV and knowing they have the money, and not knowing when you’re going to get it back.”

Monica Treece told the Salt Lake Tribune: “At this point they’ve held our funds for two years already, and I’m concerned it’s going to take months more to get them back again…everyone is still in the dark. We’re just waiting.” 

Personal economic status isn’t the only pressing concern here. There are widely shared fears that Japan will fare worse than other past host countries. The most recent estimate, from February of this year, dictates that while the IOC’s bid committee originally projected in 2020 that the games would cost around $12.6 billion USD, Japan’s National Audit Board assessed that the final price would jump to over $22 billion USD with approximately 75% derived from public funding.

Let’s hope that Japan escapes Greece’s previous Olympic-catalyzed fate, whose 2004 Athens games, and resulting economic loss of hundreds of billions of dollars in debt, played a major part in literally bankrupting the country. 

Almost all facilities built for Greece’s 2-month event are now derelict. The Wall Street Journal estimates that the cost of canceling the IOC’s plans, and cutting Japan’s losses now, would result in a loss of $17 billion USD. This is a steep price, but the cost of a post-Olympic emergency would be far greater both economically, and in terms of human life.

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Understanding the alphabet of LGBTQQIP2SAA

By: Bijou Kruszka

Happy pride month!

You’ve probably heard of the LGBTQ+ community, but have you ever heard of the LGBTQQIP2SAA (I promise I’m not keyboard smashing) community?

Most likely, no.

Because it’s June, I’d like to walk you through this lengthy acronym and shine some light on some queer identities.

L stands for lesbian, which means a woman who finds
other women attractive. There has been a lot of discourse over
the word “lesbian” due to its negative use. Some dislike it, but others are fine with the term.

There have been many variations of the lesbian flag over the years but the most widely accepted one has five stripes, the top two being shades of orange, the bottom two being shades of pink, and a white stripe in the middle.

G stands for gay, which originally meant a man who finds other men attractive, but is now an umbrella term for any same-sex attraction. The word “gay” is often used as an insult, and that needs to be stopped.

The gay flag is the most recognizable of all the queer flags, with its six rainbow stripes.

B stands for bisexual, which means any person who finds both men and women attractive. Some people call being bisexual “spicy straight” which is an offensive term, as it is its own valid identity.

The bisexual flag has three stripes: the top being pink, the bottom being blue, and the middle stripe, which is slightly smaller, is purple.

T stands for transgender, which means any person who identifies with a gender identity outside of their sex assigned at birth. The T used to stand for transsexual, but this is an outdated term.

The transgender flag has five stripes: the top and bottom being a light blue, the two stripes nearest to the middle are light pink, and the middle stripe is white.

The first Q stands for queer, which is an umbrella term for all those who identify as not heterosexual (attracted to the opposite gender) or not cisgender (identifying as the gender you were born with).

While there is no official queer flag, a flag commonly used is a rainbow flag with a brown, black, light pink, light blue, and white triangle on the left side of the flag.

The second Q stands for questioning, which is a term describing all those who aren’t sure of their sexuality or gender identity yet.

There is no official questioning flag.

I stands for intersex, which means any person whose anatomy at birth isn’t exactly female or male.

The intersex flag is yellow, with a purple ring in the center.

P stands for pansexual, and despite what many people joke, it is not the attraction to pans. The word means people who are attracted to everyone, regardless of their gender identity.

The pansexual flag has three stripes, with pink at the top, yellow in the center, and blue at the bottom.

2S stands for two-spirit, which is a term used for indigenous people who don’t fit into the gender binary. The term two-spirit comes from the idea that these people possess both a masculine and feminine spirit.

There is no official two-spirit flag.

The first A stands for asexual, which means any person who doesn’t experience sexual attraction. Another form of this is aromantic, which means they don’t experience romantic attraction. These two are somewhat similar but aren’t correlated.

The asexual flag has four stripes, that are black, gray, white, and purple.

The aromantic flag has five stripes: two shades of green on top, then white, grey, and black.

The second A, and last letter in the acronym, stands for allies, which means anyone who isn’t a part of the queer community but supports those who are. This is controversial and less widely accepted, as people who aren’t LGBTQ+ are considered part of the community, but aren’t minorities like the rest.

The ally flag is black and white stripes (technically the heterosexual flag), with a rainbow triangle.

In the end, even this lengthy acronym doesn’t scratch the surface of all queer identities. However, it’s a good place to start, and these are the most common.

Have a happy pride month!

The NBA playoffs and how different they are this year

Image taken from: NBA playoffs and how different they are this year

By: Charlie Fragassi

If you have tuned into the NBA playoffs at all this year, you’ll see an entirely different look then last year. Last year, COVID-19 stopped the season for a little while and the top teams were forced to play the playoffs in an NBA bubble, in Disney World, in Florida.

This year, the NBA had few COVID complications except that they started the season later, but they were able to finish the regular season normally and go into the playoffs.

This year’s playoffs have been really fun because they had a play in tournament for the bottom seeds, to see who made it into the playoffs, and who didn’t. This is a new feature that was different from last year.

Teams were also able to travel to each other’s stadiums for games and pretty much all NBA teams had some sort of fan capacity so there are fans at all the games, which is good for the players, team, and the fans.

Last year was a pretty crazy year for the NBA, but it’s good to see things get back under control and for them to have a somewhat normal playoff, and hopefully they have no COVID complications.

Some NBA fans even say that last year’s NBA finals winners, the Los Angles Lakers, win shouldn’t even count due to the fact that the season was cut short and the teams played in a bubble. But overall, it doesn’t matter where you play, the winners are going to win and it’ll stay that way forever.

The nature of nightmares

By: Grace Helmke

Dreams can be a place of great comfort, but they can also be an incredible source of anxiety. Nightmares are a phenomenon that have wreaked havoc in the night for centuries. They have been the perpetrator of sleepless nights, anxious living, and declined mental health amongst individuals of all ages around the world. 

Sleep happens in cycles. Most dreams occur during a cycle known as REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. During this phase, your brain releases glycine which causes the body to become paralyzed. This is likely a natural way to ensure that we don’t act out our dreams in real life. Oftentimes, this causes even more anxiety within a nightmare. It sometimes causes restricted motion within dreams, and can lead to sleep paralysis upon waking up, or exiting the state of REM. 

According to the Harvard Medical school, a nightmare was defined as a “Disease when a man in his sleep supposes he has a great weight laying upon him,” in the late 1700s. Although this definition doesn’t necessarily come up today, nightmares are still considered dreams which result in “Feelings of terror, fear, distress, or anxiety”.

Some researchers say that people are working through difficult moments in a day, or traumatic experiences in life. It can get to the point of dysfunction. If the individual has frequent nightmares, they may be suffering from “nightmare disorder”, formerly “dream anxiety disorder”. 

Dreams are defined as recent autobiographical episodes that are woven with past memories. Nightmares are simply dreams that produce a negative response. They are often confused with night terrors, which are fearful reactions that occur during transitions between phases of sleep. Usually, they occur when non-REM (non rapid eye movement) sleep transitions to REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.

Nightmares are generally caused by anxiety, stress, mental health disorders, irregular sleep, and medication. But possibly the most common cause is trauma and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). NIghtmares are so common in those suffering from PTSD that it has become part of the criteria for determining diagnosis. A study by Sleep Medicine Clinics found that 80% of people suffering from PTSD have frequent nightmares. A study that looked at over 200 episodes of nightmares found that they frequently contained physical aggression, emotionally intense situations, and failures or unfortunate endings.

Nightmares caused by trauma often involve elements similar to the trauma itself. In a study by the US Department of Veterans affairs, around half the individuals who have nightmares due to PTSD replay their trauma in their dreams. In PTSD nightmares, the regions of the brain involved in these behaviors work to identify potential threats, and could be overactive or overly sensitive. These nightmares caused by trauma are most likely not too different from flashbacks in the daytime, and the general anxiety that these people experience everyday. 

There are several ways that nightmares and PTSD are treated. The first step is to identify the stressor. From there, effective ways to manage it can be found through medication, psychological therapy, exercise, and so much more.  

Psychological therapy for nightmares involves image reversal therapy, sometimes called IRT. This involves the recollection and writing down of nightmares. The patient is then asked to rewrite the nightmare and give it a positive ending. The patient is instructed to rehearse the new version before going to bed with the aim of eradicating the unwanted content. This is a pretty effective method of treatment. It has been found to reduce nightmare distress by significant numbers. 

Nightmares are a response to trauma, anxiety, and stress experienced in life. They are a manifestation of what has harmed you. It is a record of your traumatic experiences and reminder of days you wish to forget. But there are ways in which people can heal and eradicate these pervasive dreams. There is always hope. 

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What happened at the YouTube town hall meeting concerning the COVID-19 vaccine

By: Hayat Osman

Image taken from: 2020/11/12/joe-biden-anthony-fauci-refugees-coro navirus

On May 24th, the President, Joe Biden, and Dr. Fauci, held a virtual town hall. The town hall meeting was held on YouTube. The town hall was with YouTube stars: Manny Mua, Brave Wilderness, and Jackie Aina. Joe Biden and Dr. Fauci addressed the concerns, about the COVID-19 vaccinations, brought to them by the YouTube stars.

With the help of the social media platform YouTube, the President, Joe Biden, was able to reach the target audience of those who are eligible to receive the vaccine, but were hesitant to take it. Biden used the chance to have trusted influencers help alleviate the concerns about the COVID-19 vaccinations.

In the first interview, Manny Mua asked Biden about rumors surrounding requirements for vaccine passports to travel to, or to go to, concerts. Biden responded saying “Federally, we are not going to mandate, and we don’t keep records, Federally, of people who have gotten the vaccine”. He also stated that rumors of vaccine passports would “Just play into paranoia in some people, in particular young people”.

To Peterson and Vins, who run the Brave Wilderness channel on YouTube, Biden talked of those who got the vaccine being able to travel with masks. Dr. Fauci added that “The gateway to safe travel is to be vaccinated”.

To Aina, YouTube beauty guru, who asked if the vaccines were safe and wanted to know about the science behind the vaccinations, Dr. Fauci emphasized the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. Fauci claimed that the science that went into the vaccine was absolutely pristine.

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‘Matilda’: The musical shown by HPSH Theater

By: McKenna Nutter

Images taken from: Photos from
Facebook: Joel Chirhart

‘Matilda’ is about a little girl born into a nasty, unappreciative family. A genius girl, full of stories and a mind as wide as the sky, trapped in a horrible family and a horrible school, run by the nasty Ms. Trunchbull. Agatha Trunchbull, ex-hammer throwing champion, runs a school much like a prison, and depending who you ask, some place much worse.

The only sort of light that reaches the classroom is the teacher, Jenny Honey. A kind-hearted soul, just as trapped as Matilda, Ms. Honey has never been able to find the courage to fight for herself, but when a clever little girl comes to her classroom, Jenny may find a reason to stand up for herself, Matilda, and her students. 

This year, Highland Park Theater got the opportunity to share this story. Senior Briana Li-Heidkamp sung her heart out as Matilda and Junior Jaya Bird could not have done better in her role of Ms. Honey.

One of the funniest parts in the show goes to Ms. Trunchbull, and senior Cleo Foley had everyone rolling with laughter.

This year has been a hard year, and in theater we had no exception. Without a full audience, it was harder to keep the spirit up in the auditorium, but between all of the hard work, the whole cast and crew were able to have fun.

Images taken from: Photos from
Facebook: Joel Chirhart

If you aren’t involved in theater, it’s hard to know how much goes into a performance. This year, we had actors and crew in everyday after school working hard on learning lines for a two hour show.

The end of J. Cole’s basketball career

By: Alexandra Rimbu

Rap star, J. Cole, has ended his short-lived pro basketball career in light of a “family obligation”.

During his time with Rwanda Patriots BBC, of the Basketball Africa League, he scored 5 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, and tallied 3 assists in 45 minutes, in three appearances – an extremely sub-par performance. This has prompted many to mock Cole’s career. Others, however, are more focused on the fact that his career should never have begun.

As Cole has previously expressed, his two dreams in life were to pursue music and basketball. Cole focused more on music however, and he is now a mainstream rap star.

Basketball has always remained as one of his hobbies though, and it is for this particular reason that many argue he should never have been given a chance to play pro, because the fact remains that basketball is just a hobby for him.

Cole told ‘SLAM Magazine’, “The main parallel that I always draw between music and basketball is like, ‘Yo, it’s just a matter of hours. The difference between the pro guy that sits on the bench and the superstar, it’s just a matter of intentional hours”. Cole has put in these intentional hours for music, but he has not put in the intentional hours for basketball. 

Many label Cole as being selfish in this respect. He has not put in the effort the way others have, to build a career for himself in basketball, rather he was served it on a silver platter. He used his celebrity to take part in his favorite hobby, contradicting even himself. How can he claim that in order to make it big you need to put in the hours when he himself has not done so?

Cole has robbed more deserving athletes of a chance. Athletes who make it based on their skill, not their name. Athletes who sacrifice their lives to make it. Athletes who have put in those intentional hours.

So, it comes that Cole’s finished basketball career is, in fact, a blessing. For his spot can now be given up to someone more deserved, who will be able to accomplish the dream they have so long strived for.

Hollywood science: Fact or fiction

By: Grace Helmke

Hollywood has allowed us to visit incredible places and experience thrilling adventures filled with death-defying jumps, and heart-wrenching love stories. It has allowed science to come alive in a way that’s never before been seen. It has led us through stories of time travel, cloning, and so much more.

However, sometimes these films have a little more fiction than fact. Today, we are going to explore the science behind some famous TV shows and movies, and determine whether or not they are fact or fiction. 

Jurassic Park’ 

Image taken from: http

‘Jurassic Park’ centers around the idea that one one could create dinosaurs from blood in a mosquito, encased in amber, and preserved for millions of years.

This is simply false.

Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist, said that the likelihood of cloning a dinosaur is close to impossible. In order to make this happen, you would need the whole genome. However, no one has ever found dinosaur DNA. So, it’s incredibly unlikely that a T-Rex could get loose and wreak havoc in the future. 

‘Star Trek’ 

A major part of the show was the crew’s ability to travel at the speed of light. They called this warp speed. Warp speed essentially distorted the fabric of spacetime, allowing the crew to travel superluminally, or faster than the speed of light.

Einstein’s theory of general relativity suggests that this is not a totally unheard of thought. In fact, it’s entirely possible. In 1994, a scientist named Miguel Alcubierre discovered what today is known as the Alcubierre Drive. His theory was that it’s possible to bend space time in a way that contracts in front of you, and expands behind you, moving you in a forward motion.

‘Back to the Future’

This classic 80s film features the creation of the DeLorean, a time travel machine.

Is time travel truly possible?

NASA tells us it is, but not in the way one thinks. In NASA’s words, “Although humans can’t hop into a time machine and go back in time, we do know that clocks on airplanes and satellites travel at a different speed than those of earth.”

So, although it’s not possible to go see the dinosaurs, or visit famous historical figures, it is possible to travel in space for three years and come back to find that five years have passed on earth. This is called time dilation, and is an incredibly prevalent topic of study in physics and astronomical sciences. 


This film features a lot of fictional science and inaccuracies. It was praised for its realistic depiction of the search for extraterrestrial life.

The film used radio signals and the translation of alien language using mathematical equations. This is incredibly accurate and is rooted in science. Math is a universal language. So, it’s entirely possible that their forms of communication could be based upon science and math.

There are also some concepts that have stirred debate; such as the idea that the main character traveled through a wormhole to speak to the aliens. It’s difficult to say whether or not a person traveling through a wormhole would survive or not.

For a significant period of time, it was believed that upon entering the wormhole you would either be stretched out into a spaghetti noodle, or be expanded into molecules. Both would mean certain death. But a Harvard physicist recently discovered that not only do wormholes exist and can connect one part of the universe to another, but it’s possible to travel through it. The only catch is that you would have to do so very slowly. It would actually take less time to go to the location directly than it would through a wormhole.  

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