‘Shutter Island’ review

By: Eva Olson

‘Shutter Island’ is a thriller/mystery movie following the story of a U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio), and his partner, Chuck (Mark Ruffalo). They are brought to a psychiatric hospital on a secluded island to locate a patient who mysteriously disappeared from a completely locked room leaving no trace behind.

The plot was very fast paced and intense as well as suspenseful. It had a lot of dark themes like war, addiction, and murder/death. There was a good amount of gore and violence including many dead bodies and blood. This movie was pretty confusing but I think that just added to the uneasiness and suspense.

Even though this movie was very unnerving it was also very sad. I think one of the main causes of the melancholy theme was the time period it was in being right after the Holocaust. Another thing that added to the somber, but also unsettling, feel of the movie was the setting. Even the weather perfectly set the mood for each scene.

I thought the actors did a great job with this movie and played their roles very well. The casting was great and I recognized a lot of people. All of the characters were very complex and had many different sides to them so it was hard to predict what they were going to do next.

It was always hard to know who Teddy could trust and who was out to get him. Lots of characters kept trying to convince Teddy to believe him and every time I thought one of them was telling the truth and everything had been solved, some other piece of information would be uncovered and I’d be back to square one.

Overall, I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys an unsettling, intense, mystery movie. I wouldn’t recommend this movie to someone who gets scared or grossed out easily. I would give this movie a 10/10 rating. You can find ‘Shutter Island’ on Netflix.

Air pollution and how it can affect our lives

By: Fatima Mohamud & Sumaya Noor

What exactly is air pollution?

Air pollution refers to pollutants being let out into the atmosphere. It’s often talked about in the news but not taken as seriously as it should be. It can affect people of all ages, animals and the earth itself. About. 4.2 million people die per year because of outdoor air pollution, and about 3.8 million die from inside polluted substances according to the World Health Organization. 9 out of 10 people breathe air that is very unhealthy per day, and it’s become so normalized that it’s hard to tell, and our bodies have adjusted to it.

Air pollution can also get into our systems other ways than breathing. Air pollutants can enter you through your skin. Gaseous pollutants can deeply penetrate the respiratory system and absorb wet tissue. Some countries are more prone to air pollution such as Japan, South Korea, and others. When the air becomes too unsafe to breathe in, these countries usually take precautions and mandate you wear a mask to protect yourself.

How can air pollution affect your health?

Air pollution is responsible for many diseases and life threatening illnesses that happen to thousands of people per year. These consist of: stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, leukemia, asthma attacks etc.

People with breathing problems are very vulnerable to air pollution as it can become difficult for them to breathe. Pollution can severely affect your life and the way your body functions, however distancing yourself from these sources can help.

Air pollution can also affect animals such as your pets, farm animals and almost extinct ones.

It can also affect the way you eat; if you have an appetite or if the food you’re eating is actually healthy.

Where does air pollution come from?

As many people know, air pollution comes from places like factories, essential to society and everywhere in life, it also has its downsides because of health issues. Factories often emit gasses and chemicals such as carbon dioxide, methane, and other particles unsafe to consume.

Cars also let out pollution too, they let out nitrogen dioxide which is extremely unhealthy to breathe although we use our cars everyday. Vehicles are also one of the main reasons air pollution is becoming such a big deal, as they can also affect temperatures and weather.

Air pollution is usually fossil fuels, which fuels our cars, heats our homes, and factories. Taking these all into account, you can imagine how much gas are releasing into the atmosphere.

How does air pollution affect the environment?

The most common pollution to affect the environment are fossil fuels. These are burned and release gasses and chemicals directly into the atmosphere.

Smog is a common pollution that is a mixture of smoke and fog and is most common in less developed large counties or cities.

Air pollutants can also directly contaminate bodies of water, affecting aquatic life and our drinking water.

When pollutants contaminate soil, it can kill crops, young trees and plants. Farmers would deal with stunted growth of their crops.

Another example of how air pollution affects our environment is global warming; a huge issue created by pollution that is rapidly affecting earth. Global warming is the rise of temperatures around the world’s air and oceans. Carbon dioxide is a gas emitted into the air by burning fossil fuels, which powers our cars, planes, and heat our homes. But the excessive use of these fuels is the biggest reason for global warming, and if we don’t stop or find a solution we could be facing a dangerous future for the entire globe.

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Benefits of having plants in your house

By: Ella Sutherland

Let’s be honest, everyone loves plants. Plants just bring a good feel to your surroundings. I think they give your house an even more homey feeling.

There are so many benefits of having plants in your house. First, they improve your mood. Something about them creates a soothing environment and makes you feel more relaxed and safe. Some plants, like ornamental plants, raise levels of positive energy around your home. Also, if you are constantly looking at, and being around, plants, it actually helps people feel more calm and relaxed, which then decreases levels of anxiety.

Second, plants reduce your stress levels by a lot. During photosynthesis, one of the products is oxygen; having more clean oxygen promotes healthier air quality. If you are working in an indoor environment, which lots of people are working from home because of the pandemic, then you will see that breathing in indoor fumes and toxins will make your mental health go down and you can get anxiety or depression, but plants will make sure that you’re not breathing in unhealthy air. Also, having something to care for, like plants, can reduce physiological and psychological stress.

Third, plants increase alertness and your memory. If you are around plants, either at home or at work, plants can help improve your memory and your attention and concentration span by 20 percent. It also increases concentration by making it easier for you to focus for longer periods of time. It makes your productivity level higher. There are studies that show that employees are much more productive when some common house plants were added to the place they worked at.

Overall, I think after reading this article you can really think about, and put in perspective, how good plants really are for you and your mental health. It doesn’t cost a lot to just put a couple plants in your home, and I guarantee you will end up feeling so much better.

Book Recommendations

By: Musab Muhamud

Image taken from: https://www.google.com/

‘Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief’ by Rick Riordan

This book by Rick Riordan is a fun and light read for anyone of all ages. It delves into Greek mythology and creates a magical world. It uses many themes such as family and nature to expand upon its characters while keeping the reading level low.

Percy is a young man who was raised by a single mother. He is shocked to learn that he is the son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the seas. He is introduced to many friends on his journey throughout the story, and his friends are important later on in the story.

The book shows many highs and lows that most young readers could relate to. I think this book is a very well written and impactful book especially for its level. This book is a solid foundation for a series of books to follow, including completely different mythologies being used as well.

‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins

This novel uses darker themes to expand its world. The story is set in a dystopian world where a despotic regime bleeds its 12 surviving colonies dry of their already meager resources. The capitol lives in lavish conditions and forces 2 representatives from every colony to fight to the death for their entertainment.

Katniss Everdeen is forced into this cycle by her own bravery in becoming a placeholder for her sister who was drawn into the Hunger Games. Katniss continues to exhibit incredible bravery throughout the book. She survives by her lonesome for a great part of the fighting and she eventually creates alliances and forms multiple rivalries during the fighting. Katniss shows her ability to make the best of a bad situation by surviving life before and after her involvement in the games.

From being a borderline mother to her little sister, to her will to stay alive, Collins leaves you with a hunger to find out what happens in the next


By: Sumaya Noor

What is personality typology?

Personality typology refers to distinguishing or categorizing people and animals due to their behavioral traits. It is an umbrella term that includes Myers-Briggs, Carl Jung, Enneagrams, and more.

Typology is claimed to be very accurate to the majority, and can either be studied for fun or to deeply understand one’s self or others. People’s behavior, beliefs and attitudes towards both their inner and outer world are analyzed and placed into many categories of personality types. For example, Myers-Briggs is one of the most famous personality type systems. Created by American author Isabel Briggs Myers, this type indicator is based on theories of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung.

How do you determine your personality type?

There are many ways to find out your personality type. For people who want to do it for fun, there are plenty of assessments to take online or physically. After answering a series of questions based on your individual preferences, beliefs and morals, you would be given one of the 16 4 letter types. “I” standing for “Introvert”, “E” for “Extrovert”, “N” for “Intuitive”, “S” for “Sensing”, “T” for “Thinking”, “P” for “Perceiving”, and finally “J” for “Judging”. Each of these traits will be determined by your results.

For those who are serious about studying typology, there is a very extensive research on cognitive functions, which is a mental process that one uses throughout their life. Created by Carl Jung, these functions can be used to analyze a person’s thinking, choices, and feelings when faced with different situations.

They can also be used to better understand one’s self, as the system has been deemed very accurate. In an article by Christian Roseler, “These significant changes are reached by Jungian therapy with an average of 90 sessions, which makes Jungian psychotherapy an effective and cost-effective method. Process studies support Jungian theories on psychodynamics and elements of change in the therapeutic process. So finally, Jungian psychotherapy has reached the point where it can be called an empirically proven, effective method.”

Where can I test my personality type?

There are a variety of tests, but popular ones are:

Please do note that these tests are not 100% accurate and are for fun.

How can students improve academically?

By: Fatima Mohamud

Image taken from: How can students improve academically?
https://yourteenmag.com/teenager-school/teens-high-school/achieving-aca demic-success

How can I spot bad habits before they start?

Many students struggle with bad habits that stop them from doing their best; especially with procrastination. Do you ever find yourself saying you’ll do your work later? Tomorrow morning perhaps?

This leads to forgetting you even had work, or not spending as much time as you should, and your grades can suffer majorly for this with you not getting the score you really want. Procrastination is hard to stop when it first starts, but once you can stop there’s many things you can do instead.

What are some good habits?

Calendars and reminders are always great to remind you to stay on track. While calendars remind you when things are due, reminders can help notify you when to do them and how early. I use reminders daily for homework so I can remember the small details.

Doing your homework immediately when you get home is a good idea to get a head start and leave no room for procrastination, then you’ll be able to get things done quicker and also be on top of your schoolwork. Studies show that you are likely to do well on tests if you spend at least that whole period of time at home studying.

How can these habits affect me in the long run?

Maintaining good grades are beneficial for your future and jobs after school. To stay on track it’s always important to do your work on time and come to class so you don’t miss a thing. Many students like to join in on study groups so everyone can help each other.

The good study habits listed above can also set you up for good grades in college too.

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Does America need more gun control?

By: Isaac Lund

Image taken from: thehill.com

For every 100 people in the U.S., there are approximately 121 guns. This is the highest amount per capita of any country in the world, and it isn’t close with Yemen coming in second at only 52.8. According to NSSF, the U.S.’s guns and ammunition industry created over 60 billion dollars in economic revenue in 2020 alone. So, how come so many life-threatening weapons are allowed to circulate unabaided?

Pro-gun Americans have long repertoires of gun control downsides ready to spout at a moments notice.

Many tend to bring up the second amendment, which states: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” With support from the most central document to the U.S. government, who’s to argue that gun owners don’t have the right to own firearms?

Another common argument is that many gun-related murders are executed by undocumented and illegal weapons. The thought process here is that gun control would only prevent law-abiding citizens from acquiring guns to use in self defense, rather than shutting down black market deals that provide murderers with their weapons. Gun control laws such as background checks and microstamping are often seen as an invasion of privacy as well.

Finally, gun owners frequently look at countries with completely different socio-economic demographics and crime levels like Mexico as “great examples” for areas where strict gun control laws were not effective.

Supporters of gun control are steadfast in their beliefs as well.

First and foremost, most mass shootings come from legal firearms. In a study conducted by ‘Mother Jones’ journalism, it was found that roughly three quarters of the firearms used to take lives were legally purchased.

Also, owning a gun obviously increases the chance of utilizing one for homicide. ‘The New England Journal of Medicine’ published a study by Arthur Kellerman showing that people living in a home with a firearm are 40 times more likely to commit homicide than those without one in the house.

Also, background checks seldom occur during the private sale of a firearm, allowing even those who explicitly are prohibited from owning one to acquire a gun.

Finally, gun control measures don’t necessarily involve confiscation; even something like licensing or required tutorials would be a step in the right direction.

At the end of the day, the second amendment was not designed for a time when easily concealable, multi-shot weapons can be owned by civilians, and we should not treat it as such.

‘Uninvited’ book review

By: Mary Koch

Image taken from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/

‘Uninvited’ is the first book in a 2 book series written by Sophie Jordan, and ‘Unleashed’ is the second one. I read the books the first time in 7th grade for English class, and they’ve been my favorite books since.

The first book follows Davy Hamilton after she tests positive for HTS, or the kill gene. People who test positive for HTS are supposed to have killing in their genes, so the government is putting extra control and rules around carriers. They have special classrooms in schools, curfews, and a social worker constantly checking up on them.

There’s also always the threat of getting an H tattoo on their necks which is meant to mark the more dangerous killers.

Before she got her test results, she was popular, nice, and she was going to Juilliard, but that ended when she was forced to change schools.

Eventually the government decides that carriers need to be quarantined, so they make camps, but some teenagers will be taken to schools to become trained killers. Davy, and her new friends Gill and Sean were taken to the schools where they had to escape.

The book is exciting, and the author made the characters relatable. They aren’t perfect people who randomly save the world. They all make mistakes, and they learn from each other.

The book also doesn’t get too boring with lots of serious talks from the government. At the end of a lot of the chapters, there are letters and updates that give more information about what’s going on in the world that Davy might not know about yet.

The story has a good pace, it’s not a quick read, and the characters take their time, but the story isn’t prolonged or over-filled.

If you’re looking for a new book to read, I recommend ‘Uninvited’, and the sequel, ‘Unleashed’.

Album review of ‘Punch’ by Autoheart

By: Annika Getz

Autoheart is a London-based Indie-pop group. Their debut album ‘Punch’, was released in 2013, and features 12 songs. I’ll start by saying that this is one of my favorite albums. With captivating lyrics, catchy hooks, and great vocals, it really is the whole package.

The album opens with “Anniversary”, a great opening song. It sets up the general vibe of the album. An catchy song with an even catchier bridge and great lyrics, which gives you a baseline for what’s to come, without hitting peak lyricism yet.

Following “Anniversary” is “Factories”. This is my personal favorite from the album. The guitar work had me hooked from the second the song started. The lyrics have, to me, the perfect amount of ambiguity. The chorus “I am bride and groom in a darkened room, marrying anguish with one last wish. Will you and I make a breakthrough?” is a good example of such ambiguity. Once again the bridge is my favorite part of the song. The buildup is amazing and the lyrics “Do you recall with our vigor, with the pistol we can trigger, we can violate the liquor on the floor” are so pleasing to the ears.

“Control” is the third song. While I do enjoy this song, it isn’t really as memorable as many of the other songs on the album. It is, however, the first song on the album that isn’t super upbeat and fast-paced. I think it serves as a great set-up for the next song on the album, “Agoraphobia”.

“Agoraphobia” is much slower than the first three songs on the album, bringing a much different feeling. I find the melody to be slightly haunting, though beautiful nonetheless. “Agoraphobia” is a song which to me, perfectly encapsulates the feeling of not having it in you to get out of bed.

Fully shifting gears, the next song “Lent” returns to the fast-paced, upbeat vibe of the first few songs. “Lent” is one of Autoheart’s most popular songs and good reason.

“Moscow” is another one of my favorites from ‘Punch’. With an easy-to-remember melody, and great background guitar, it’s another song that’s just really pleasing to the ears.

“The Sailor Song” was their debut single, originally released in 2009, then re-released on ‘Punch’. This is a fan favorite for a lot of Autoheart fans, but isn’t super memorable to me personally. I find myself more interested in what I see as the catchier of the songs on the album. This isn’t to say I don’t like this song, because I really do, just not quite as much as some of the others.

Anyone like me, who finds themselves slightly underwhelmed with “The Sailor Song” will hopefully be revived by “Hungover in the City of Dust” the eighth song on the album. Once again, a bit of a slower song compared to many others, but something about it has me fully captivated throughout the song. Once again I find the bridge to be my favorite part of the song.

“January” and “The Witching Hour” are both great songs which I can’t seem to get into. I don’t skip them, since while I’m actively listening to them, I still enjoy them. They just aren’t very memorable in my opinion. I don’t seem to be alone in this opinion, since I never see too much about either of them online.

At risk of sounding repetitive, “Santa Fe” is another one of my favorites from the album. It is, like many other songs, catchy with great guitar work. I’m not quite doing it justice in my description, because it’s hard to encapsulate a song in writing, so you’ll either have to trust me, or listen to it yourself.

“Heartbreaker” is the final song on the album, and once again I find myself having trouble describing it well. It’s beautifully tragic, and is a great closer, even if it doesn’t really match the vibe of the rest of the album.

Overall, this album makes me feel like I’m the main character in an indie coming of age film in the best way possible.

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Should the US minimum wage be increased?

By: Isaac Lund

Image taken from: Theguardian.com

The minimum wage in the US was introduced under President Franklin during the great depression. At the time of its creation, it was 25 cents, but today, Saint Paul’s is $12.50.

1.8 million workers, or 2.3% of the US’s workforce, makes less than the federal nationwide minimum, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Should these minimums be increased?

Proponents of a higher minimum wage say it would increase economic activity and spur job growth. The Economic Policy Institute stated that raising the federal minimum wage by $2.85 would inject 22.1 billion dollars in the economy over a 3 year span, while simultaneously creating 85,000 new jobs.

Also, raising the minimum wage may reduce poverty: the current federal minimum wage is 8% below the national poverty level for single-parent households.

The minimum wage is also not indexed for inflation, so even as consumer prices rise, salaries for the poor do not necessarily increase in kind.

Increasing the minimum wage has also been shown to reduce income, gender, and race inequality. A Human Impact Partners study also showed that such an increase would reduce premature deaths by giving a wider range of people enough to eat.

Opponents of raising the minimum wage argue that raising minimum wage would increase unemployment levels. This would happen because companies would be forced to lay off some employees to stay afloat with the new minimum, and would also likely have to lower hiring levels. Many companies in their entirety may be forced to close.

Of course, consumer goods and housing prices would also increase sequentially.

Finally, many predict that more companies would outsource to countries with lower wages, like Southeast Asia, compacting on to an already-terrible issue.

Both proponents and opponents of this issue have valid points, and several of both sides’ predictions would likely come to pass if the minimum wage was increased. I personally believe an increase would be prudent, but maybe a small one at first, just to see what it brings.