COVID-19 vaccines

COVID-19 Vaccine. COVID-19 Corona Virus 2019-ncov Vaccine Injection Vials Medicine bottles. Vaccination, immunization, treatment to cure Covid-19 Corona Virus infection. Healthcare And Medical concept. Image taken from: https://amp.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2020/10/30/588822.html

*Note: due to the nature of the vaccine rollout, some information in this article may no longer be current.

COVID-19 has spread throughout the world. But now, there are authorized vaccines to prevent COVID-19 in the United States: the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, and  Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine​​.

Two doses are needed for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine must be given 21 days apart and the Moderna vaccine must be given 28 days apart.

The vaccines can’t be fully effective if someone does not get both the doses, the same doses, and at the correct time. If someone gets only one vaccine dose, they will not be fully protected from COVID-19.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is for individuals 16 years of age and older. The common side effects from this vaccine is a pain when it’s injected, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and tiredness. These side effects are experienced after the second dose of the vaccination. 

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine was made public on December 18, 2020. This vaccine​​ is for individuals 18 years or older. This vaccine also comes with side effects that will last for seven days. The common side effects are: tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, swelling, nausea, and fever.

These vaccines won’t be available to regular Americans for some time. The vaccines will be given to front-line workers first (that includes firefighters, police officers, food workers, postal workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, teachers, and daycare workers).

People 75 years and older will receive the vaccination second. People 65 to 74 years will also receive the vaccination, and then people aged 16 to 64 years, with underlying medical conditions, will receive it last.

After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, you will not test positive for the COVID-19 test. If you have already had COVID-19, and recovered, you will still need to get the vaccine. 

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Mental health and the pandemic

By: Grace Blumer-Lamotte

Mental health is classified as our emotional, physiological, and social well-being.

The first report of COVID-19 was in Wuhan, China, on December 31st, 2019. The first reported cases in the United States of America were sometime in January, 2020.

The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health. Whether it was beneficial or harmful.

To some people, the pandemic was beneficial to their mental health. I asked 4 people between the age range of 14-46 years old: “How has the pandemic impacted your mental health for the better?”

The 14-year-old answered that the pandemic has been beneficial to their mental health by being away from school and “toxic friends.”

The 16-year-old answered that the pandemic has not been beneficial to their mental health.

The 43-year-old answered that the pandemic impacted their mental health by having “More face time/contact with my immediate family and my kids.”

3 words they used to describe it being beneficial is “less-busy, family-time, and remote-work.”

The 46-year-old also answered that the pandemic impacted their mental health as the “flu-rate has dropped.” 

To other people, the pandemic was harmful to their mental health. The same 4 people answered how the pandemic impacted their mental health for the worse.

The 14-year-old said, “It is difficult not having social interaction.”

The 16-year-old said, “My girlfriend broke up with me. I lost multiple friends. My mental health went downhill.”

The 43-year-old said that the negatives about the pandemic are “Stress and worry about the safety and well-being of my family. Dealing with the unknown is exhausting.”

3 words they used to describe their mental health during the pandemic is that they feel: “isolated, stressed, and unknown.”

According to ‘The Philadelphia Inquirer,’ their crisis line has spiked and hasn’t come down since the pandemic started.

Everyone around the world struggles with something in their life. Whether it’s a mental illness(es), family issues, or abuse of substances. But since the Coronavirus has started, Federal Surveys showed that 40% of Americans are struggling with a mental illness and/or drug-related problem, and 75% of young adults are struggling.

Lack of diversity in psychology 

By: Joxery Mezen Camacho

Image taken from: ttps://online.csp.edu/blog/psychology/basic-psychology-disciplines/

Do you ever wonder how the mind works and why humans do things that they do? Well, that’s what psychology is for.

According to the American Psychological Association, psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Thousands of studies have been done over the years in order to learn more about the human mind, but to what extent are all of these studies able to be considered worldwide? 

According to ‘The Conversation’, many of the studies, data, and knowledge, that we know of human psychology is focused on college members, those of the middle class, those who live near universities, and citizens of affluent, developed and democratic nations who are highly educated. Many scholars now use the acronym WEIRD in order to more easily describe the focuses; it stands for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic. 

It was discovered that there are rare influential psychological publications that emphasize race, and when race is discussed, it is often written, and just about exclusively edited by, white scholars. 

Steven O. Roberts, an assistant professor of psychology a the School of Humanities and Sciences decided to do an experiment that would look at the race of academic journal editors, which get to manage the journal’s editorial board, recruit other scholars to look over submissions, and oversee the publication of the academic journals. 

There were 60 editors-in-chief who Roberts, and his research team (Carmelle Bareket-Shavit, Forrest A. Dollins, Peter D. Goldie and Elizabeth Mortenson), looked at in between the years 1974 and 2018. Of those 60, 83% of the editors-in-chief were white, 5% were people of color, and 12% were unidentifiable for one reason or another. 

These results show a lack of diversity in the field of psychology. In both the researchers and those being studied. This makes it seem as though the data brought from psychological studies aren’t as worldwide as many people think. 

However, racism is indeed a worldwide problem. Steven O. Roberts says, “Psychologists are supposed to know about racial bias and how to prevent it from stratifying the world, but if we, the so-called experts, have a problem, then society really has a problem.” 

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Mass extinctions

By: Mohamed Ahmed

Image taken from Tabletop Gaming

According to Amnh.org, to qualify to be a mass extinction, at least half of all species die out in a relatively short period of time. In this article we will be looking at the top 5 largest mass extinctions, the: Ordovician, Devonian, Permian, Triassic-Jurassic, and Cretaceous extinctions. 

The Ordovician-Silurian extinction was the second worst mass extinction, according to Study.com. This extinction wasn’t even that far behind the worst mass extinction, which we will later look at. Jawless fish were the most advanced life forms during this time, and the majority of all beings lived in the ocean. The global temperature cooled and sea levels fell. Most species were adapted to shallow, warm water, and that was the reason why 85 percent of all organisms on earth became extinct. It was one of many extinctions that happened in a short period of time. 

The Devonian extinction happened 375-360 million years ago. According to Britannica.com, the cause of the Devonian extinction was never actually solved definitively. There are many theories about this, varying from global warming, to meteors, or even a lack of oxygen. No matter the cause, the marine animals where the ones that made up the majority of the casualties. 

The Permian extinction happened 252 million years ago. This was the worst mass extinction in the history of the world and is known as “The Great Dying”. Over ninety-six percent of all marine life, and 70 percent of land species. No direct cause was found, but according to an article on MIT.edu, it is speculated that a volcano in Russia was the main cause of the extinction. 

According to ‘History of Life’, the Triassic-Jurassic extinction has a lot of debate about the specific percent of the death. The speculated causes are: large impacts, prolonged volcanic activity, climate change, volcanic gases rising, and rain becoming toxic other theories.

Only 66 million years ago, the most well known extinction happened. Why was it the most well known? Dinosaurs! They went extinct with some plant and marine life.  Around seventy-five percent of the population of earth was wiped out. The main cause is speculated to be an asteroid and a virus. The mixing of two is what made mammals the new dominators of the earth. 

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The impact of narco-culture on children in Mexico 

By: Kayla Arellano

*Note, this article may have material that could trigger individuals (descriptions of violence involving children), therefore, we present a trigger warning here.

Guadalajara México, northern Jalisco, Michoacan, Sinaloa are some of the main places that rival drug cartels have shootouts and cause several lifeless bodies slumped on the streets in pools of their own blood killing innocent men, women and children. Children grow up seeing this type of violence due to the fact that they are surrounded by it, or they live with someone that is in a cartel who shows them how it’s like having power by caring a gun, killing their rivals, showing them drugs and how they work and what they do ect. That’s what the life in the Barrios of Mexico is like for children and they start picking up those actions from whoever is showing them the narcotics culture.

Children from ages 5-8 start showing aggressive actions in school or drawing depicting realities of Mexico’s drug wars, María Teresa Prieto Quezada, a psychologist at the University of Guadalajara, held a study investigating how the violence of the drug wars affect children. According to Alijazeera.com, 3,500 elementary school children participated in the investigation. The investigations involve surveys, interviews, and drawings. They told the children to draw a picture interpreting the theme “The Mexico I Live.” Most children are victims, or have trauma, because of the drug wars that happen in the area they live in. “The Mexico they perceived was not a Mexico where they played happily in the streets, it was not what you expect from a child,” said Ana María Mendez Puga. “Children in primary schools know more about the history of the drug trade than the history of Mexico,” says Prieto Quezada, a psychologist.

Children living in the barrios didn’t have a childhood from them seeing shootouts, dead bodies in bags being thrown out on the street/ body parts in bags etc…it was normal to them. Children seeing all those things made them show no interest in school, or becoming something in life like a teacher, doctor, lawyer ect., because for them it was a lifestyle they wanted to live.

Children starting from 5-year-olds are saying they want to be a sicario (hitman/triggerman) or narco. “Sometimes I think I would like to be like them, I would like to have the power, the money, the luxury cars and all the rest. On the other hand, you don’t live as long….people want to come to your house and kill you,” says David to the researchers. Children look up to Los narcos/cartels; they are their heroes. Many children respect drug traffickers and they want to be just like them; they admire narco-culture.

A 5-year-old boy aggressively attacked his classmate with a sharp stick saying he wanted to stab him. The teacher stopped him and asked him why he would want to do that to his classmate he said just because he wanted to then his teacher punished him by making him stand and think on what he had done. He got upset and threatened his teacher saying that after school his dad was going to be waiting for her to kill her; he has an AK-47. His teacher couldn’t believe that her 5-year-old student threatened her with death. The reason why the 5-year-old acted like that was because his dad is a Narco his kindergarten teacher said.

A narco’s son cannot fail anything in school; teachers would get death threats or even have gone missing for not passing their sons; they are terrified. In school, teachers try to teach their students that narcos are bad. What they do is harmful but it’s difficult to show a child that that lifestyle is wrong when they see it as something that is normal, and that they look up to. 

Many teenagers are already involved in cartels. They are the army of the cartels because cartels recruit 6-year-olds and up. Many young people see the drug traffickers as an almost untouchable figure. Many generations have been lost due to the cartels recruiting and teaching children how to use firearms and teaching them the narco lifestyle.

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How will Biden transitioning to the White House work?

By: Aisha Dirie

There are many questions surrounding when, and how, President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will transition to the White House. Many institutions and news outlets have recognized Biden’s victory.

Although Donald Trump has been making baseless claims of voter fraud, it is safe to say the election is over. As soon as Biden had been elected, he got started, and chose the top members that will assist him in the presidency. This is stepping in the right direction, and the first step to transitioning to the White House. 

Trump has said that he will cooperate with transitioning, but continues to make claims of voter fraud to invalidate the election. As Biden adds new cabinet members, the days until inauguration day are coming closer. Transitioning during the pandemic is also a struggle, with concerns about contracting COVID-19.

There has been some miscommunication between Biden and Trump’s transition teams this past week. These meetings are to stay connected to have a peaceful transition, and learn any other information. According to CNN, these meetings are set to continue, or more likely to continue after the long holidays.  

Although there have been many accusations made by Trump and his team of voter fraud in many key states, almost all of these have been proven false, and it is safe to say that Biden will assume office in 2021. Overall, the transition of President-elect Joe Biden and his team to the White House is going smoothly. There have been a few set backs, but those have been fixed.

Inaugurations day is set to happen January 20th, 2021. This is when Biden is sworn into office, and officially begins his 4 year term.   

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The effects of ADD in boys vs. girls

By: Olivia Miller

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According to Medicinenet.com, ADD is a mental disorder/condition that is common among children and adolescents. ADD/ADHD causes the person, who is diagnosed, to have difficulty paying attention. It can also affect how much the person is able to sit still (which could get difficult over a long period of time).

ADD is also known for taking a toll on young girls and boys learning ability in school. Getting homework/tests done can be twice as difficult for a kid with ADD. Also, these kids may not be able to sit still and quietly for a long period of time like most students do in school, which causes them to be seen as a kid who acts out, or is disruptive, which compromises their whole experience in school.

ADD also has many other effects that people don’t usually associate with ADD. These effects surprisingly can be very different between boys and girls who have been diagnosed.

Starting off, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, boys are three times as likely to be diagnosed with ADD than girls. Boys and girls can share some symptoms but other times symptoms can be different depending on gender. According to Healthline.com, boys seem to show external symptoms, which is usually the hyperactive side to ADD. This could mean running around, speaking out of turn, not being able to sit still, and any other external effects of ADD. Girls are the opposite, their symptoms are usually internal, this could mean having low self esteem, inattentiveness, and impulsivity.

In both boys and girls, ADD/ADHD can lead to other mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and various eating disorders. If not treated, ADD can be very difficult for children in school, and even adults when it comes to daily commitments. There are different medications that can be prescribed if someone is diagnosed with ADD. There are also different therapies as well that people try.

Although common, ADD is a disorder that can be hard to live with if you’re a kid. It doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or a girl.

Music and the brain

By Nora Doyle

Image by Thrive Global

Why can listening to your favorite song sometimes cheer you up like nothing else? Why can we remember all the lyrics to a song we haven’t listened to in years, but not math formulas?

Professors at the University of Central Florida have been trying to answer questions like these for a long time. They explore how music impacts brain function and human behavior, including by reducing stress, pain, and symptoms of depression, as well as improving cognitive and motor skills.

These professors say that these reactions on the brain can be seen on an MRI. Professor Kiminobu Sugaya says, “Lots of different parts of the brain light up.”

Music affects different parts of the brain in different ways according to this study by the UCF professors. For the temporal lobe, which processes what we hear, professor Ayako Yonetani says that this part of the brain allows us to appreciate and enjoy music. Have a favorite song? This part of the brain is what likes it.

Music affects the Broca’s area, which enables us to produce speech. This is because playing an instrument may improve one’s ability to communicate. This is where we express music.

In the Wernicke’s area, where we comprehend written and spoken language, we simply enjoy the music through analyzing it. Analyzing lyrics, instrumentals, and tunes helps us enjoy a song.

In the optical lobe, which processes what we see, professor Sugaya says, in short, that musicians visualize cords and notes as they perform.

As for the cerebellum, which coordinates movement and stores physical memory, Sugaya says “An Alzheimer’s patient, even if he doesn’t recognize his wife, could still play the piano if he learned it when he was young because playing has become a muscle memory. Those memories in the cerebellum never fade out,” which is probably the most incredible thing that music can do to the brain! Muscle memory is a term that is also used in sports, like dance, because we also connect music to movement when it is choreographed.

The remaining parts of the brain are affected by music through translating notes from our brain to our fingers while playing an instrument.

There is the fact that music can be addictive like a drug. When I hear a song for the first time and love it, I want to play it over and over again. Also, songs are addictive in the way that they get stuck on our heads.

So, next time you listen to music, think of all the ways it’s affecting your brain!

Different animals going extinct

By: Leslie Lopez Ibanez

There are many animals going extinct. Some of them are: tigers, elephants, black rhinos, sloths, and red pandas.

There were, in total, 8 subspecies of tigers. 3 of them are now extinct. Tigers are endangered for a couple of reasons. Their habitat is being destroyed by human activities, by building road networks and clearing forests for agriculture and timber, and by the growth of human population. According to WWF, they have lost 95% of their historical range. Also, in some cultures, they use tiger parts to cure diseases like convulsions, rheumatism, dysentery, and typhoid fever.

There are around 40,000 elephants left in the world. The species is classified as endangered. They are going extinct because they are being killed to use their ivory tusks, which later are traded illegally in the international market. They also go through habitat destruction by building roads, mines, dams, and industrial complexes.

Black rhinos are critically endangered. They can be found in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya. They are going extinct because they are a part of an illegal wildlife trade. They kill them and take their horn. According to WWF, some Asian consumers, in Vietnam and China, use them for folk remedies. There are about 5,500 black rhinos left in the world.

There are 6 different species of sloths but only 2 of them are going extinct. The maned sloth is one of them. They are going extinct because of habitat loss. Pygmy sloths are actually one of the most critically endangered mammals in the world. There are less than 100 of them hanging in their island home. They can only be found on a tiny island off the east coast of mainland Panama.

Red pandas are another animal that is endangered. They are only found in the mountainous areas in the forests of Asia. The main threat to their extinction is habitat loss by human growth in the area. Climate change has also affected them by the temperature rising and them having to adapt to that. Climate change has led them to fragmentation, and a loss of land that they can no longer live in anymore. Red pandas eat bamboo but only a specific part of it. But since their habitat is shrinking, it is becoming more difficult for them to find food. Red pandas are also hunted. People like them for their fur and meat. According to the WWF, they have found red panda fur hats for sale in Bhutan.

The story behind the Utah Monolith

By: Caden Ligman

On November 18th, the Utah Department of Public Safety was conducting a routine count of bighorn sheep when they came across the tall, metallic structure. They had no idea what, or where, this mysterious structure came from. Pilot Bret Hutchings, who was flying the plane that spotted the monolith structure said, “It felt like a scene right out of the Stanley Kubrick ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.'”

With so many questions floating in people’s heads, the biggest one was, why put a structure like this in a place so remote?

As soon as the monolith was reaching its peak of internet fame, it disappeared. The disappearance of the monolith was just as strange as the discovery. The disappearance occurred only nine days after it was discovered leaving civilians and the government questioning where this thing came from.

Not surprisingly, one of the most popular theories for why this monolith came and went so quickly was: aliens.

As strange as the monolith is, the idea of aliens is quite facilitating. This theory circled the internet, becoming a meme among social media users. Even the San Juan County Sheriff’s department poked fun at the ideas, posing on their Twitter a collage of aliens, captioned, “If you recognize anyone from this lineup provided as being in the area of the strange structure on the night of November 27, please let us know!”

While the idea of aliens is entertaining, a more realistic explanation for this monolith is that it was a piece of art. Many people believe the monolith to be the work of the minimalist sculptor, John McCracken. McCracken’s style of art matched the Utah Monolith perfectly.

The majority of people close to McCracken, however, do not believe that he would leave his work in a desert. His son, on the other hand, recalled a conversation he had with his father in an interview with the New York Times. He told reporters, “We were standing outside looking at the stars and he said something to the effect of that he would like to leave his artwork in remote places to be discovered later.”

There are many theories circling the internet of where this mysterious structure came from and why it vanished so quickly.

What was the purpose of this monolith? And why was it placed in the middle of the Utah desert? These questions are what has kept the internet buzzing. What do you think the real story behind the monolith is?

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