TikTok: How does it impact an individual’s attention span?

By: McKenzie Welch

TikTok is a social media phenomenon that took over the world in the blink of an eye, especially during the quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst it’s a fun app to scroll through rather than doing your homework or going to sleep, it has detrimental effects on the attention spans of individuals, and people are beginning to see this happen right in front of them.

I have first hand knowledge of this phenomenon because I am a user of TikTok, myself. I didn’t notice at first, as it was just a fun app to spend some time on when I had so much time to kill. But, when I started noticing that I would pick up my phone rather than reading a book, or that I couldn’t even make it through an episode of ‘Criminal Minds’ without scrolling through the never-ending TikTok for you page, I knew something was wrong.

More recently, I have noticed that TikTok has consumed my life. Rather than doing something productive, I’ll choose to spend time on TikTok, or sometimes other social media apps, for hours on end. I won’t even realize how much time has passed since I started.

It’s a cycle that is very difficult to break, and I haven’t been able to break it yet. I still find myself procrastinating my homework just to watch more TikTok, and it makes me wonder: Why does TikTok always draw me back no matter how much I want to move away from it?

The first reason that TikTok is so detrimental is because 32.5% of the users are ages 10-19. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an individual’s brain is still developing into their mid 20s, so the ages of 10-19 are the prime age to hinder development.

Because of TikTok’s short videos, which are on average 21-34 seconds long, they also keep people coming back for more. Because of the fleeting video length, you can watch videos for long periods of time without realizing how much of it has passed. Also, after watching videos that pass by so quickly, the brain becomes accustomed to that length. Watching things like shows and movies or reading a book becomes increasingly more difficult.

Finally, the reason TikTok is so addictive, in the first place, is because the videos shown to an individual are representative of the things they enjoy. This makes watching TikTok videos a fun experience that is difficult to stray from.

All in all, TikTok is not an inherently bad app, but it is one that should be used in moderation. Using it in moderation helps you maintain control over your attention span, and it allows you to use your time for things that would be considered more productive.

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NASA hit an asteroid with a rocket. Why? 

By: Brogan Frey

On Monday, September 26th, 2022, at 6:14 pm Central Standard Time, a rocket launched by NASA on November 24th, 2021, made impact with an asteroid named Dimorphos. NASA has been planning this mission for years. 

The first thing NASA wants everyone to know is that this asteroid was no threat to earth, and it has not become one after this mission. This was a test to see if we can, in fact, redirect an asteroid by crashing into it, in preparation for a possible doomsday situation, like ones seen in movies like ‘Armageddon’ and ‘Don’t Look Up.’ There is no threat to earth from any asteroid at the moment. 

This mission was conducted by the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), a NASA department. The mission was nicknamed “DART,” which stands for Double Asteroid Redirection Test, and was one of the first for the PDCO. 

When the rocket was just 19 minutes away from impact, scientists could finally see the moonlet Dimorphos for the first time. A moonlet is an object that has enough gravity to affect the dust and ice around them, but isn’t large enough to be classified as a moon. 

It will take a few weeks for NASA to tell if this mission actually had an impact on the direction of the asteroid, because this asteroid is over 7 million miles away, and it has a large orbit, so it will take a bit of time to notice any differences in the orbit. 

Before the crash, Dimorphos took about 11 hours and 55 minutes to complete one orbit, and this is expected to go down just a little bit. Even though we don’t know yet how much this affected the asteroid’s orbit, scientists are expecting the crash to shorten the asteroid’s orbital period by about 10 minutes. 

The asteroid weighs about 1.1 billion pounds, compared to the rocket’s 1200. It may seem too small to have any impact, and it sure does seem that way. Says NASA’s Elena Adams, “It’s basically like throwing a tennis ball at a 747 (airplane). If it goes fast enough, you’re gonna move it.” And this rocket certainly moved fast. It was going about 14,000 mph before crashing into the asteroid.

Overall, I think NASA is smart for testing this because there may be a day where we need to crash a rocket into an asteroid to stop what could be a catastrophic disaster. Because, although asteroids don’t crash into the earth every day, it has happened before, and being prepared is always ideal. 

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Teams battle for promotion as Group Stage wraps up in UEFA Nations League

By: Aeden Evenson-McDermott

Image taken from: https://www.uefa.com/uefanationsleague/news/0275-15381f6665f4-8ee5ed ebf148-1000–nations-league-where-to-watch/

In the international break, Europe’s best came together to represent their national teams. It would be the final meeting of the teams in preparation before the World Cup starts in early November. Nations League includes Europe’s senior men’s teams which compete in a biennial international competition.

On the final wrap up of the group stages, the highly anticipated action kicked off starting in Group A1 for the top spot with Croatia battling Austria and Denmark against France.

Croatia had previously beat Denmark a few days before, thus earning the top spot and tiebreaker over Denmark by 1 point. Croatia would have to beat Austria in order to get in and the result with Denmark wouldn’t matter if Croatia was able to hold on.

France went down and lost to Denmark 2-0 and Croatia held on to beat Austria 3-1. Croatia won the group with a total of 13 points, 2nd Denmark with 12, 3rd France with 5, and Austria getting relegated with 4 points.

Spain and Portugal met in their final match to decide the winner for A2. Switzerland and Czech Republic had been eliminated as they did not finish with enough points. Czech Republic saw themselves relegated on the final match day too. Spain got the last minute winner over Portugal to advance to the finals.

In Group A3, Italy and Hungary faced off in their decisive match. Italy held off an on point form of Hungary to win the group. Surprisingly, England and Germany both fell through and England was relegated.

In the final group, A4, it would be either Netherlands and Belgium to finalize the 4th team for the finals. Netherlands and Belgium would each have to win in order to eliminate the other one. A strong header by Virgil Van Dijk sent Netherlands to the final in last quarter of an hour in the game. Poland and Wales would be eliminated and Wales would be relegated.

In the 4 tiers of Group B, Scotland would win promotion in the group over Ukraine, and Ireland with Armenia being relegated. Israel would win promotion over Iceland, Albania, and Russia would be relegated and suspended in the competition. Bosnia and Herzegovina would escape Finland to earn the top spot and receive promotion with Montenegro and Romania being eliminated. Serbia would beat both Norway and Slovenia to earn promotion with Sweden seeing relegation.

In the 4 tiers of Group C, Turkey would win promotion with Luxembourg, Faroe Islands, and Lithuania being eliminated. Greece would gain promotion, which would eliminate Kosovo, Northern Ireland, and Cyprus. Kazakhstan would gain promotion leaving Azerbaijan, Slovakia, and Belarus eliminated. Georgia would win promotion with Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Gibraltar getting eliminated.

In the 2 tiers of Group D, Latvia and Estonia would see promotion while Moldova, Andorra, and Malta would be eliminated and Liechtenstein and San Marino would be relegated.

Overall, it was a very exciting group stage of UEFA Nations league. Teams had surprises and made big steps in improvement. Promotion to the group above was the goal for most, but some unfortunate saw relegation to a bottom tier below them.

Croatia, Netherlands, Italy, and Spain will be going to the finals which will take place in the summer of 2023 on June 14-15th. The upcoming draw for how the other tiers will be drawn will take place at another point in time in the near future!