Substance abuse

By: Olivia Kendle

First off, substance abuse is when a person uses too much of that drug, or substance. Substance abuse is different from addiction because addiction is when you can’t stop even though you might be getting hurt in the process. Most people with substance abuse are actually able to change or quit their bad habits.

The first example of substance abuse is drugs. Drugs have certain chemicals in them that affect how your mind and body would usually work. Most people use these drugs to feel “high” to cancel out any stress or anxiety in their lives to relax themselves. But drugs can cause large amounts of damage to mind and body, such as lung cancer, insomnia, etc.

A commonly used drug is cocaine, which is made from leaves from a cocoa tree that are found in South America. The side effects are insomnia, dilated pupils, nausea, headaches, heart problems, etc.

Another commonly used drug is marijuana, also known as “weed” or “pot”. Marijuana is made from the hemp plant and has side effects such as slowness in reflexes, issue with balance and movement, euphoria, etc. A similar drug to marijuana is LSD which has a lot of the same side effects.

The next example of substance abuse is alcohol. Although drinking alcohol has different effects for everyone, drinking too much, and getting drunk, increases the chances of getting into an accident of some sort. Not only that, but it is unhealthy and can cause health problems such as liver failure and cancer in the breasts, colon, mouth, throat, esophagus, and liver. Studies show that alcohol can also increase the chances of you starting on drugs as well.

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A brief overview of philosophical ideologies

By: Annika Getz

There’s a great many philosophical ideas and beliefs. Today I will be explaining some of them, specifically: nihilism, determinism, solipsism, and utilitarianism.

Nihilism can be placed in two branches of philosophy, depending on who you ask, metaphysical (which tries to define the meaning of existence) or ethical. It is the belief that life is meaningless, and therefore trying to do whatever is ethically right is pointless. Nihilists reject all moral and religious beliefs or principles, under the belief that it doesn’t matter anyways.

The word “nihilism” stems from the Latin word ​nihil​, which means “nothing.” The concept of nihilism came up in 19th century Russia. The word was used by Friedrich Nietzche. It has since then of course, expanded from Russia, and is now a fairly well-known concept.

Onto determinism. Determinism falls into the ethical branch of philosophy (though, like Nihilism, it could be argued that it belongs in the metaphysical branch). It is the belief that all choices and events are predetermined (though what it’s determined by has been argued, some say it’s previously existing events and causes, while others argue that it’s some all powerful being, such as God), therefore there is no such thing as free-will.

I unfortunately couldn’t find when and where the concept determinism was first posed, as many sources had conflicting information, some saying it was Ancient Greece, others saying it was closer to the 18th century.

Next is Solipsism. Solipsism is the belief that you are the only thing which truly exists, everything else is either a simulation, or a projection of your subconscious. Some even believe that they are in comas, and that everything that’s happening is a projection from their decaying brain. The problem with this theory is that it’s impossible to disprove, as everything that happens simple reaffirms your belief.

Solipsism stems from the philosopher René Descartes, who lived from 1596-1650. He didn’t actually use the word “solipsism” however. He introduced “methodological doubt” which sort of serves as a backdrop for solipsism.

Now onto utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is the belief that any action is acceptable as long as it benefits the majority. Simply speaking, we should all base all of our decisions based on what is best for everyone else. This seems somewhat harmless on the surface, however, there is an issue with it. One could justify murder, abuse, or any number of bad things, as long as more people benefit from it than are hurt.

One thought experiment regarding utilitarianism is as follows: “You are a doctor, you can save five people, but you must harvest the organs from one healthy, innocent person.” Utilitarians would believe that killing the one person is morally right, since you can save five people.

There are of course, many more philosophical ideologies, but it would take forever to go over all of them. So there you have it, 4 basic philosophical beliefs.

How did Joe Biden get into politics

By: Caden Ligman

On January 20th, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. Before running for president in 2016, and 2020, Joe Biden served two terms as vice president behind Barack Obama, who was president for 8 years, beginning in 2008.

Biden has had a long career in politics, capitalizing on it by becoming the oldest president ever at 78 years old.

Joe Biden was born on November 20th, 1942. He grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and his parents were both blue collar workers.

Growing up, Joe struggled with a stutter and was made fun of at school. To get over his stutter he would practice for hours at a time, reciting poems in the mirror.

After graduating high school in 1961, Joe began his college studies at the University of Delaware where he studied history and political science. During his first few years in college, Joe developed a strong interest in politics. This was the beginning of his interest in politics and the spark that would ignite his political career.

After graduating from college and law school in 1968, he moved to Wilmington, Delaware and began practicing law. Joe quickly became an active member of the Democratic Party in 1970, when he was elected as a councilman in New Castle County, Delaware.

Joe’s first big political break came just two year later when he ran for a seat in the United States Senate in 1972. Biden and his family worked tirelessly on his campaign and he won his seat in an upset victory over J. Caleb Boggs. Biden served in the U.S senate from 1972-2009.

Biden’s presidential ambition started in 1987 when he ran for president. He ended up dropping out of the Democratic primary after there were reports that he had plagiarized part of his speech.

This was only the beginning of his presidential hopes. In 2007, Biden ran again for president but dropped out early in the race after receiving a low number of votes during the early caucuses. A few months later however, Biden was chosen by Barack Obama to be his vice president.

The rest is history, Biden served alongside Obama for two terms and ran for president once again in 2020, defeating Donald Trump and becoming the 46th president of the United States. ​

“True bravery is when there is very little chance of winning, but you keep fighting.”

― ​Joe Biden, ​Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose

The 10 Most Unusual Jobs in the World 

By: Grace Helmke

Our younger selves often dreamt of becoming firefighters, veterinarians, and doctors. But not all of us have followed these conventional career paths like we once thought. Some people have opted for a more unusual work day. Here are the top 10 weirdest jobs in the world.  

1. Professional sleeper

A professional sleeper is someone who gets paid to sleep. Generally, individuals with this job are participating in some form of sleep study. There are a few varieties of these sleep studies. They are as follows: Sleep apnea testing, CPAP Titration, multiple sleep latency test, and polysomnography testing.

Most professional sleepers make around $10 an hour, and an average of $15,000 per study.

Another way people make money off sleeping is through testing mattresses and bedding. They can make anywhere from $30,000 to $45,000 per year. 

2. Netflix viewer 

Netflix has begun to hire people to watch movies and TV shows. The title of this job under Netflix’s website is “Tagger.” They watch Netflix content, and place them under genre categories. They also place them under categories like “movies with a strong female lead,” or “LGBTQ+ TV shows.”

Taggers can get paid upwards of $60,000 per year. 

3. Scuba Diving pizza delivery 

In Key Largo, Florida, a hotel named Jules’ Undersea Lodge has hired an underwater pizza deliverer. Jules’ Lodge is located 21 feet underwater, and scuba diving is the only way to get to it.

In addition to being a pizza deliverer, duties of this individual would be similar to a bellboy. An underwater attendant that serves via scuba diving. 

4. Waterslide tester 

Possibly, the most exciting career a person can have is testing water slides. The job of these testers are to ensure that waterslides are safe in addition to being fun. Most likely, a person in this field would work for a chain of water parks or hotels. They would spend most of their time traveling across the nation to different locations.

Generally speaking, water slide testers make around $30,000 to $34,000 per year. 

5. Golf ball diver 

Country clubs and golf courses around the world pay people to scuba dive in the waters within golf courses. Most of the time, they pay $1 per ball. That may seem like a small amount, but in places with warmer climates, this is a great way to make a decent living.

People in this field make anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 per year, and a man named Glenn Berger, a Florida resident, has even claimed to have made $15 million in this field. 

6. Paper towel sniffer 

Paper towel companies work extremely hard to make sure there is no distinct scent on their product. Companies hire people with extra impressive senses of smell to do a sniff test to make sure that they smell okay.

People in this profession can make upwards of $50,000 a year. 

7. Professional slacker

An airline and vacation agency in Sweden, called TUI, has hired four individuals to be “professional slackers.” The job requirements are extremely laid back, as one might’ve guessed. All they asked is that you listen to some of your favorite music, do a little light reading, put your feet in the sand at the beach, and have a long nap.

These lucky slackers would be paid hourly, at a sum most likely too high for the amount of work they’re actually doing. 

8. Panda nanny

In China, the Giant Panda Protection and Research Center hires people to take care of pandas. A nanny must be 22 years old, or older, and have basic knowledge of pandas, but otherwise there are no requirements.

Panda nannies make around $32,000 a year and are provided with adequate living conditions and meals. 

9. Snake Milker

This job involves extraction of snake venom. Individuals in this field milk snakes of their venom for the benefit of hospitals. Snake venom can help to create new treatments for existing conditions, as well as be used to create antivenom.

Income made from this profession varies to an enormous degree. Snake milkers generally make around $30,000 per year, or $2,500 per month. However, certain types of venom are more rare and valuable than others. One gram of some venoms can sell for over $2,000. 

10. Dog Food tester 

This is not, in fact, the job of one of our trusty canine friends. This is a job for humans. Most people in this field are highly skilled, and often have a doctoral degree from some important institution.

Dog food testers smell, and taste the dog food to make sure that it still tastes good, while also refraining from stinking up an owner’s house. Thankfully, in the end, they spit it out again. 

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A look into the world’s most prolific serial killer: Dr. Death

By: Olivia Knafla

Image taken from: Twelve of the 215+ victims of Harold Shipman. Image provided by the Coventry Telegraph.

Let’s say that you’re about to leave your hospital room to go into surgery. You may feel nervous, you may feel calm, and you more than likely are able to understand that the outcome of this surgery will rely on the work of a doctor or surgeon.

Do you trust this person? Surely you do, taking into account the years upon years of medical training one must experience to work at such a level. Luckily, most of the time, this person is worthy of your trust, being a competent healthcare professional who will do their best to perform a safe and efficient operation.

However, historically, this has not always been the case.

Meet Harold Shipman (also known as Fred Shipman), otherwise known as “Dr. Death”. What sets him apart from other doctors, who have misused their power, is his repulsively high victim count. Throughout his career of roughly 30 years, he managed to kill at least 215 people, possibly reaching up to 400.

Because of this fact, Shipman is believed to be the most prolific serial killer of all time to date. He killed his victims in his place of work – the operating room. He killed his victims by injecting them with dangerously high doses of diamorphine, and evaded capture throughout his career, which lasted roughly 30 years.

A question that many, myself included, may find themselves asking is: how was he caught? How, after getting away with so many crimes for so long, how was he finally locked up?

It wasn’t until the year 1988 that a doctor, by the name of Linda Reynolds, spoke with John Pollard, a coroner in the South Manchester District (in the United Kingdom), about her concerns regarding the alarmingly high death rate among Shipman’s patients. However, after a short investigation that lasted roughly a month, the case was closed due to lack of evidence. Some blame inexperienced officers handling the case, however, it is unclear as to whether or not that can be confirmed.

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Heteronormativity in the portrayal of historical figures

By: Irene Cohen and Ellie Mulvaney

Stigmas have been prevalent in modern society since its creation; limiting those who act or think differently than the status quo. Even now, there are conscious and subconscious prejudices against these people or ideas that taint the way they are perceived.

Homosexuality is one of such stigmas that has been frowned upon or discouraged in many communities, from the past through to present day. There are many figures in American history alone that have been rumored or confirmed as LGBT+, though this is often omitted when their stories are recounted. Let’s look at who some of these people are and why their sexualities were kept under wraps.

To begin, we have a revered poet and author responsible for works such as ​”I Hear America Singing​” and “​Song of Myself”;​ the latter of the two being a mildly controversial poem that sparked intrigue over the topic of sexuality. The University of Illinois reports that this poem contains a certain “Section V”, which contains explicit themes in a setting with another man. He titled the group of works centered around this man ​”Leaves of Grass”,​ and upon its discovery by his employer, this homoerotic poetry cost him his job. He was quickly rehired, but the work remained controversial and even prohibited in places. Since he self-published it in 1855, it underwent multiple transformations to muffle it’s suggested nature by scandalised editors, and was banned in Boston in 1882. At the time, Robert K. Martin was credited with saying “Whitman intended his work to communicate his homosexuality to his readers.”

Back then, being anything but straight was heavily condemned, and hidden almost completely by those who that pertained to. Despite progress made in terms of acceptance in the present day, there still is heavy criticism around the LGBT+ community. Could this in part be accredited to the lack of normalization?

In the case of Walt Whitman, even after his unconventional poems, that called mass amounts of attention to his identity, his sexuality is not commonly known. In my own years of studying and analyzing his work, this detail has always somehow been excluded from what I’ve learned about him. Teaching about honored individuals while being fully transparent in who they are can not only provide role models for LGBT+ youth, but also give more insight into the lives and experiences of said individuals.

A personal idol of Walt Whitman, who had similar gender preferences in relationships, was the renowned president Abraham Lincoln. Famous for documents such as the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln is one of the US’s most prominent political figures.

As familiar as many are with his achievements in office, his personal endeavors are much less known. One piece of information that many point to, to support the claim that Lincoln was actually gay, is the fact that Lincoln admitted to sleeping with another man, Joshua Speed, for four years, though Speed was far from the only man to have shared a bed with Abraham Lincoln over the years. Lincoln’s law partner, William Herndon, mentioned that Billy Greene had once said to him “They were as perfect as a human being could be,” in reference to Lincoln’s thighs.

Another, Captain Derrickson, was known to sleep in Lincoln’s bed and use his nightshirts when Mrs. Lincoln was out of town. Despite this overwhelming amount of corroboration for the idea that Lincoln was gay, historians to this day are maintaining that this esteemed president was heterosexual. One could argue that had any of these citations been with women rather than men, the claim that these people had an intimate relationship with Lincoln would be almost completely certain.

Looking back in the history books, it is evident that there is a lack of LGBTQ+ figures. The idea that people have only now begun to identify as anything but straight is nothing but illogical, though historians have seemingly edited out the parts of history they deemed unnatural or distasteful to further this notion. The public not seeing this aspect of the identities of figures they respect, or idolize, can be toxic to the queer community. Treating being gay as some sort of taboo stunts the movement and normalization of the existence of queer people.

Hopefully, the discussion opens up more and more in the future about just how many capable, and successful, people lived a non-heterosexual lifestyle.

From Thanksgiving to the Indian Removal Act

By: Caden Ligman

Image taken from: giving%2Ffirst-thanksgiving-meal&psig=AOvVaw1xDDSAfN3asCFhdmTZiMnB&ust=1606195270591000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAMQjB1qFwoTCNjB9ub1l-0CFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD

Years before the first Pilgrims landed in the Americas, the continent was inhabited by Native Americans. When they did eventually come, the Pilgrims started to colonize America. The Native Americans responded to them in various ways. One of these ways was feasting with the Pilgrims, on an autumn day, in 1621. This day is now a national holiday in the U.S. known as Thanksgiving. It is where we celebrate this peaceful interaction between the two parties.

As the Pilgrims continued to colonize North America, tensions between the Native Americans and the colonists grew. The colonists grew hostile and battles broke out around the country. Less than a year after the first Thanksgiving, the Powhatan tribe attacked colonists in Virginia.

This attack is what has come to be known as the Jamestown Massacre. The Powhatan killed 347 of the colonists. This massacre was the first of many conflicts between the colonists and Native Americans. Local governments began to take advantage of the Native Americans, stealing their land and killing tens, of thousands, of their people.

After the U.S. became a country in 1776, elected presidents began to further terrorize the Native Americans. When Andrew Jackson was elected in 1826 he began his campaign to relocate Native Americans away from the colonies.

Jackson introduced the Indian Removal Act in May, 1830. The act gave the president the ability to negotiate with the Native American tribes to relocate them from their land east of the Mississippi in exchange for new land west of the Mississippi. A few tribes complied with these negotiations and moved west, however, the Five Civilized Tribes (Chickasaw, Choctaw, Seminole, Cherokee and Creek) were not as compliant and refused to relocate. The U.S. responded to this by using force to remove them.

Today, the Indian Removal Act is seen as a prime example of how horribly Native Americans were treated.

We celebrate Thanksgiving each year with family and friends. Thanksgiving is a holiday where people appreciate the ones who are close to them and give thanks to the ones they love.

The first Thanksgiving marked the beginning of the relationship between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. This relationship however, did not stand the test of time, and sadly, turned hostile, eventually leading to the Indian Removal Act and much more.

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Lucid dreaming

By: Grace Helmke

Dreams are where our subconscious creates fantastical and terrifying visions of life. We run away from monsters in slow motion, fall from ledges, and jolt ourselves awake. We soar above jungles, run through glowing forests, and walk on water.

But what if dreams could become more than a subconscious vision in a state of sleep? There has long been speculation that some individuals have the ability to “lucid dream,” or become conscious within their sleeping state. 

This subject has captivated individuals as far back as 3000 BC. In ancient Egypt, they depicted three bodies: one of the corpse body (shat), one of the living body (ka), and one of the soul (ba).

In Egytian hieroglyphics, ba is generally portrayed as a bird with a human head. A famous image of a man and his ba depicts a person laying in a bed with one eye open. The bed symbolizes sleep, while the eye means awake. Ba can be seen floating above the sleeping Egyptian, symbolizing an out-of-body experience.  Putting all of this together would translate to “sleep awakening.” This Egytian portrayal is known as one of the earliest depictions of lucid dreaming.

But the first to harness the ability to lucid dream were Tibetan monks. They taught the ability to control one’s dreams through yoga, which is a spiritual practice aimed towards enlightenment. They use techniques to maintain awareness while slipping into a state of sleep.

This method was said to be the passing on of enlightenment. Those that could lucid dream would communicate with enlightened beings, shift into the physical form of other creatures, and fly with beings of another world. They believed that awareness within a dream was the purest form of consciousness. 

The term “lucid dreaming” was developed in 1913 by a Dutch psychiatrist named Frederik van Eeden. He preached the idea that there were nine different types of dreams including: initial, pathological, ordinary, vivid, symbolic, dream-sensations, lucid, demon-dream, and dissociative. He is known for having recorded his own lucid dreaming experiences, including his thoughts and actions before, during, and after the dreams took place. He states, “In these lucid dreams the reintegration of the psychic functions is so complete that the sleeper remembers day-life and his own condition, reaches a state of perfect awareness, and is able to direct his attention, and to attempt different acts of free violation.” 

Today, we continue to study and attempt to decipher what it scientifically means to lucid dream. There have been some recent findings that will provide a basis for the research of awareness within sleep.

Lucid dreaming is a form of metacognition. In other words, you are aware of your own awareness.

While normal dreams can happen in any stage of sleep, it was discovered by British parapsychologist Keith Hearne in 1975, that lucid dreaming tends to happen in REM sleep. The state of REM, or rapid eye movement, is the last stage in the sleep cycle. All other stages are considered non-REM stages.

Some studies have found that the prefrontal cortex, which is the section of the brain that’s responsible for, is connected to lucid dreaming. While most physicalities of a person do not factor into the likelihood of lucid dreaming, it was found that the prefrontal cortex is bigger in those that can lucid dream. In addition, activity in the prefrontal cortex is comparable to levels when a person is awake. 

Lucid dreaming has occurred all over the world for centuries. This fascination with the unusual, and relatively unexplained state, continues to drive individuals to study and gain more knowledge of what causes us to control our own dreams. 

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What is money laundering?

By: Caden Ligman

The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crimes estimates that annually, up to $2 trillion was made from illegal businesses globally. In the U.S. alone, this number is about $300 million, about two percent of the US’s economy. However, in order to cover up this illegal revenue, criminals hide their money. In order for them to actually be able to access their money they must be able to hide, and move their funds. Therefore, criminals resort to money laundering.

Money laundering is the process of cleaning illegally obtained money from its criminal origins. Placement, layering, and integration are the three basic steps involved in money laundering.

Placement is when Illegally made money is invested into companies or operations that seem legitimate. This is done by depositing large amounts of money into a bank account by posing as someone else. Depositing large amounts of money into a bank account however can raise suspicions among the feds.

The second step is layering. Layering is the process of distancing the funds from their origin. For example, someone who is laundering money might purchase real estate or expensive cars. This allows money launders to store their wealth in assets.

The last step, which is integration, Is the process of re-entering the money into the economy so that it can be spent or invested. Money launderers may invest in a legal business where they will claim payment by producing fake invoices that were never actually paid.

Money laundering has potential devastating economic, and social consequences. America’s greatest threats, such as drug dealers, terrorists and arms dealers, use money laundering to grow their operations. According to a report done by the U.N., laundering costs countries around the world $800 billion to $2 trillion each year. Money that is laundered also goes untaxed which results in higher taxes for average citizens.

There are also social effects money laundering has, money laundering also drives up the cost of government because of the need for extra law enforcement.

Today, the United Nations, and national governments, fight against money laundering, yet this practice still plays a major role in global crime. Not only have individuals practiced money laundering, but governments and high ranking officials have as well. No one knows for sure the total amount of money laundered around the world each year, but some believe it to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

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The terror of Genhis Khan 

By: Mohamed Ahmed

Childhood and young adulthood

There is a lot controversy around Genghis Khan’s childhood. Based on information from multiple sources, this is the basic background of Genghis Khan’s early life. He was born superior to others. In his blood flowed the blood of the great Khabul Khan. When he was born he had a blood clot and to the superstitious Mongols that meant that he was destined to become a great ruler. 

When he was nine his father was poisoned by a rival tribe. He wanted to take charge of his clan immediately but the clan refused to acknowledge a nine-year-old. His family was removed from power and he was enraged. 

He soon later killed his half-brother and became the leader of the Mongols. 

Rise to power 

Genghis was captured by another tribe at age twenty, and was tortured but he wouldn’t submit. When he escaped his reputation spread like wildfire. 

He wanted to unite all of the Mongols so he made an elite fighting unit. He used that squad to one by one unite the smaller tribes into his own. Then he would draft the men from the tribes that he beat. 

His force was over twenty thousand strong when he went up against the rival tribe that killed his father. He easily defeated them and went on to his next revenge. 

His next target was the tribe that tried to enslave him but couldn’t because of his iron will. He beat them and boiled all of their chieftains alive. 

He beat one more tribe before he had full control of Eastern Mongolia. 

He planted spies and knew the importance of intelligence using his spies to figure out military strategies and to assassinate rival strategists and key opposition members. He used new tech from enemies he defeated. He used many communication techniques so that his troops could adapt mid battle and receive commands long distance. 

The reign of terror/benevolence 

He made sure the quality of his troops was high and didn’t let anyone in his army who wasn’t an expert at horse riding and close range combat. Genghis had elite troops that could handle horses with just their legs so they could shoot arrows or use their lance, shield, javelin, or dagger with their hands. 

Genghis knew that a battle wasn’t only the men at the front so he had carts with extra supplies, officials who cataloged the plunder, and shamans who could give spiritual support, raise troop morale, and even treat the wounded. 

The shamans then bestowed the title of Khan on him. 

He then, with all of Mongolia with him, conquered the Xi Xia province of China in only two years, and earned the unconditional support of its people. He then attacked the Jin Dynasty, and had an epic battle that lasted twenty whole years. 

While that was happening, he had diplomatic relations with a combination of Turkey, Afghanistan, and Persia. These relations were destroyed, when he sent a caravan with 450 men, and they were executed as they were thought to be spies by the Turkey, Afghanistan, Persia group. 

Genghis then sent three diplomats. The lead diplomat was killed and the other two’s beards were shaved. They returned in shame. Genghis Khan then invaded their dynasty with 200 thousand men and razed city after city. In only two years he forever destroyed this dynasty. 

He started an age that had many morals and values and brought law to the war torn lands and even made it a meritocracy. He made religion free choice, and even made a mail system that was better than the ones for the next few centuries. 

Image taken from:

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