New hobbies to try over the summer

By: Abi and Thalia

Since school is coming to end, homework will no longer keep you occupied. There are many new hobbies to try this summer!

The first hobby to try is reading. Reading for pleasure can be very refreshing. According to Markham Public Library, some benefits to reading include exercise for the brain, concentration and focus ability, and general knowledge. While reading a book, we have to remember the details of the book and it is a workout for the brain that helps improve our memory. Books are filled with many interesting facts and by reading a variety of topics and genres, we gain more knowledge. The materials for this simple hobby are easy, you’ll just need a book. 

The second hobby to try this summer is scrapbooking. Scrapbooking is a way to preserve any memories. This is done by arraigning it in a certain way with different materials such as pictures, artwork, and construction paper. According to DigiDesign Resort the benefits to scrapbooking include relaxation, a sense of accomplishment, and it helps you communicate your feelings. Scrapbooking has been proven to reduce anxiety and lower stress levels. This activity can also be done with friends and family. A simple scrapbook accomplishment can help boost your self-esteem. Scrapbooking can help you remember all of your goals and accomplishments throughout the years. With scrapbooking, it helps you communicate feelings through pictures and drawings. 

The third hobby is making jewelry. Making handmade jewelry can hold an emotional significance to the one who creates it or the one who receives it. According to Marla Trudine, the benefits of hand making your own jewelry is that it will never be like any other jewelry you see at stores. Another benefit is that you won’t use machines, it adds more care, hardship, and attention to detail to each piece that you create.

The fourth hobby is journaling. Journaling is writing down your feelings, thoughts, goals, etc. Journaling is different for everybody. There are many benefits to journaling, which include reducing stress and anxiety, keeping track of your personal growth and goals, writing down memories so you’ll never forget them, and it can also strengthen your memory. Journaling can be entertaining, especially to those who like writing. It can be relaxing to others. The materials can range depending on the different styles of journaling, some prefer just a notebook and pen while others like to use colored pens/markers, stickers, colorful tape, etc. All journals are unique and there is no one specific way of journaling. 

The fifth hobby is painting. Painting is the act of adding paint or pigment to a solid surface such as a canvas, paper, wall, table, etc. There are benefits to painting such as reducing stress and anxiety by painting out your emotions, helps with muscle control, you can make a profit off of paintings, and you can create decorations for your walls. Many people find painting entertaining because it allows a person to release creativity onto a solid surface. The materials needed for painting are any solid surface such as paper, canvas, a wall, etc. Any solid surface that you are willing to paint on. You will also need paint; there’s all kinds of various paints such as oil paint, watercolor, acrylic, and gouache. Lastly, you’ll need paintbrushes and your creativity. 

The last hobby is gardening. Gardening is tending or cultivating a garden. The benefits of gardening are reduced stress, spending time outside which can boost health by boosting your Vitamin D, and can improve hand strength. Gardening can be entertaining to those who like taking care of things, especially plants. It can give someone motivation to get out of the house and go tend to their gardens. It can also be fun for someone to pick which plants or flowers they want to add to their garden, even vegetables. Some basic materials you need for gardening are soil, gardening tools (shovel, trowel, gloves, garden rake, etc.), and pick what you want to grow, which could include green plants, flowers (tulips, roses, lilies, etc.), or even vegetables. 

Twitch Vs YouTube gaming

By: Reed Morris

What are the Streaming Wars

Ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the on demand entertainment industry has been booming. With people spending more and more time at home, they have been starting to look for more ways to keep themselves busy and engaged with the outside world. We saw explosive growth in the TV and movie streaming industry, the gaming industry, and the live streaming industry. While I’ve already covered some big news in gaming and tv/movie entertainment, it’s high time we address the competitive and extremely valuable world of live streaming. 

Over the past few years, there has been a huge race to see who will hold the crown as the best live streaming service. The first platform that really had live streaming figured out is a platform called Twitch. It allowed streamers to create their own live broadcast for viewers to watch and interact with. For a while, Twitch was a purely entertainment based platform, but over time the company implemented ways for streamers to monetize their work. This allowed them to put more time and effort into their content and for some of the more successful streamers, it allowed them to pursue this as a full time job. Because of the platform’s massive success, it was snatched up by Amazon in 2014, for just short of $1 Billion in cash. 

In recent years however, other major companies have noticed the growth and success of live streaming. They’ve seen this growth and have decided to throw their hats into the ring. While many companies entered, not many were successful. 

The Competition

Facebook entered the competition in 2020 with the famously bad launch of ‘Facebook Gaming’. After a rocky start, Facebook had an understandably hard time pulling in audiences from other platforms and has essentially not grown at all since its initial launch. While the company’s viewership numbers are high, they are extremely inflated as they count any interaction with live streams and viewership is somewhat forced across their platforms. 

Another competitor that crashed and burned even harder than Facebook was Microsoft’s ‘Mixer’. The company started around the same time as Facebook Gaming, and had many similar problems in regards to growth and viewership. Mixer famously sought out big names in streaming such as streamer Tyler ‘NInja’ Blevins. The world famous Fortnite streamer was signed to Mixer for upwards of $30 million in return for an exclusive 3 year contract. After his switch to Mixer, Blevins’ viewership dropped and Mixer made almost no money off of the 30 million dollar deal. Before the 3 year contract concluded, Microsoft completely shutdown any operations related to the Mixer platform. 

Who’s left?

The two platform’s that still stand are Twitch and YouTube Gaming. The war between the two platforms has been growing exponentially over the past year or two and is finally reaching its peak. The reason that Twitch is able to keep up and compete with a gargantuan company like YouTube (owned by Google) is because of the culture and community it has built around its service. There is close to a decade’s worth of culture and history that Twitch has that YouTube can’t mirror. The loyalty that Twitch has garnered from its users is almost unmatched on any other platform in the world. While Twitch has the community, YouTube has the money, and in recent months, have really been flexing their financial muscles. 

The money

Unsurprisingly, the most important aspect of the streaming industry to the platforms, is the cash flow. There are many ways on both YouTube and Twitch that users can subscribe to, or spend money on, the platforms to support their favorite streamers. While this is a great aspect of the space, the platforms that the streamers use usually take a good amount of the money spent. The most common and most important type of monetary splitting between platform and streamer is the ‘sub-split’. The percentage of every subscription cost that goes to the streamer vs the platform. 

Twitch has been having a hard time keeping up with YouTube’s growing popularity, and so they have needed to find a better way to make money. As Amazon owns Twitch, there is a lot of wiggle room for Twitch to not make that much money, but at this point, it is just bleeding cash. The methods that Twitch has announced they are going to use to keep itself in business has caused a lot of controversy and backlash from the community surrounding the platform. While there were a lot of small changes that were detailed in their release, the most noticeable change is the extreme decrease in the sub-split for the creators. 

For streamers contractually signed to the platform, they would usually be seeing something close to a 50% or 75% percent profit split, meaning that Twitch would only take in 50-25% of the revenue that any given signed streamer would receive. While this is still a lot of money that Twitch is taking out, streamers would still make a lot of money, enough for them to continue to use streaming as a full time job. The big change that Twitch has announced is that they are reducing sub-splits to somewhere around 20-45 percent. This is an extreme and terrifying change for many content creators. 

Final Points

The biggest thing here is the money. Streamers need to make their money somehow, and Twitch just might not be the place for that anymore. With YouTube keeping sub-splits in the 50-75% range, and signing on huge community names such as Ludwig Ahgren, Sykkuno, and Valkyrae, YouTube seems to be slowly coming out on top. 

While the war has a lot more time left in it and neither side is giving up any time soon, this extremely valuable and influential conflict between obscenely large corporations doesn’t show any signs of stopping. 

What are GMOs and how do they affect us?

By: Haroon Yonis

GMO is an acronym for “genetically modified organisms”, a term exclusively meant for foods that have been modified in some way, shape, or form genetically. GMOs were first introduced to the public in 1994, when a tomato was genetically modified so that it would become ripe quicker than its natural counterpart. Seeing this as a cost efficient way to “save” foods and crops, and as a result increase their profits, many companies began using GMOs.

Today, GMOs are used in practically every packaged food, whether it be cereal, fruits, or vegetables, GMOs are now so widespread that it is almost impossible to avoid the term on your favorite food/drink.

The main purpose of GMOs is that it makes it easier to deal with pesky things that would usually destroy an individual’s crops, such as the environment, insects/animals, and much more. You can liken GMOs to pesticides or herbicides, except much more effective on a larger scale. It is undeniable that GMOs have widened the farming industry and completely changed the way many grow their crops. 

But what do GMOs mean for the consumer, the individual actually consuming this product?

There is  an abundance of health related issues typically associated with GMOs, and this shouldn’t be surprising considering you’re modifying the crop from its original, natural state. Firstly, a chemical that is commonly found in GMOs, “glycophosphate ”, has been linked to a plethora of cancers, like prostrate, and other diseases. 

But, we must realize that GMOs are a relatively new thing in the food industry, and as the FDA continues to improve health regulations surrounding it, hopefully the chemicals used in these GMOs will no longer be harmful to the human body. Even WebMD states that the American Medical Association has stated that there have been no reports of GMOs negatively affecting the body.

Ultimately, it’s your choice whether or not you decide to consume GMOs, and as we continue to discover more about GMOs , keep in mind that even cigarettes were considered healthy at one point.

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