What happened at the YouTube town hall meeting concerning the COVID-19 vaccine

By: Hayat Osman

Image taken from: https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/ 2020/11/12/joe-biden-anthony-fauci-refugees-coro navirus

On May 24th, the President, Joe Biden, and Dr. Fauci, held a virtual town hall. The town hall meeting was held on YouTube. The town hall was with YouTube stars: Manny Mua, Brave Wilderness, and Jackie Aina. Joe Biden and Dr. Fauci addressed the concerns, about the COVID-19 vaccinations, brought to them by the YouTube stars.

With the help of the social media platform YouTube, the President, Joe Biden, was able to reach the target audience of those who are eligible to receive the vaccine, but were hesitant to take it. Biden used the chance to have trusted influencers help alleviate the concerns about the COVID-19 vaccinations.

In the first interview, Manny Mua asked Biden about rumors surrounding requirements for vaccine passports to travel to, or to go to, concerts. Biden responded saying “Federally, we are not going to mandate, and we don’t keep records, Federally, of people who have gotten the vaccine”. He also stated that rumors of vaccine passports would “Just play into paranoia in some people, in particular young people”.

To Peterson and Vins, who run the Brave Wilderness channel on YouTube, Biden talked of those who got the vaccine being able to travel with masks. Dr. Fauci added that “The gateway to safe travel is to be vaccinated”.

To Aina, YouTube beauty guru, who asked if the vaccines were safe and wanted to know about the science behind the vaccinations, Dr. Fauci emphasized the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. Fauci claimed that the science that went into the vaccine was absolutely pristine.

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Hollywood science: Fact or fiction

By: Grace Helmke

Hollywood has allowed us to visit incredible places and experience thrilling adventures filled with death-defying jumps, and heart-wrenching love stories. It has allowed science to come alive in a way that’s never before been seen. It has led us through stories of time travel, cloning, and so much more.

However, sometimes these films have a little more fiction than fact. Today, we are going to explore the science behind some famous TV shows and movies, and determine whether or not they are fact or fiction. 

Jurassic Park’ 

Image taken from: http

‘Jurassic Park’ centers around the idea that one one could create dinosaurs from blood in a mosquito, encased in amber, and preserved for millions of years.

This is simply false.

Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist, said that the likelihood of cloning a dinosaur is close to impossible. In order to make this happen, you would need the whole genome. However, no one has ever found dinosaur DNA. So, it’s incredibly unlikely that a T-Rex could get loose and wreak havoc in the future. 

‘Star Trek’ 

A major part of the show was the crew’s ability to travel at the speed of light. They called this warp speed. Warp speed essentially distorted the fabric of spacetime, allowing the crew to travel superluminally, or faster than the speed of light.

Einstein’s theory of general relativity suggests that this is not a totally unheard of thought. In fact, it’s entirely possible. In 1994, a scientist named Miguel Alcubierre discovered what today is known as the Alcubierre Drive. His theory was that it’s possible to bend space time in a way that contracts in front of you, and expands behind you, moving you in a forward motion.

‘Back to the Future’

This classic 80s film features the creation of the DeLorean, a time travel machine.

Is time travel truly possible?

NASA tells us it is, but not in the way one thinks. In NASA’s words, “Although humans can’t hop into a time machine and go back in time, we do know that clocks on airplanes and satellites travel at a different speed than those of earth.”

So, although it’s not possible to go see the dinosaurs, or visit famous historical figures, it is possible to travel in space for three years and come back to find that five years have passed on earth. This is called time dilation, and is an incredibly prevalent topic of study in physics and astronomical sciences. 


This film features a lot of fictional science and inaccuracies. It was praised for its realistic depiction of the search for extraterrestrial life.

The film used radio signals and the translation of alien language using mathematical equations. This is incredibly accurate and is rooted in science. Math is a universal language. So, it’s entirely possible that their forms of communication could be based upon science and math.

There are also some concepts that have stirred debate; such as the idea that the main character traveled through a wormhole to speak to the aliens. It’s difficult to say whether or not a person traveling through a wormhole would survive or not.

For a significant period of time, it was believed that upon entering the wormhole you would either be stretched out into a spaghetti noodle, or be expanded into molecules. Both would mean certain death. But a Harvard physicist recently discovered that not only do wormholes exist and can connect one part of the universe to another, but it’s possible to travel through it. The only catch is that you would have to do so very slowly. It would actually take less time to go to the location directly than it would through a wormhole.  

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The reason for social unrest in Colombia

By: Hayat Osman

Image taken from: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/03 /world/americas/colombia-protest-de aths.html

The demonstrations in Colombia began after the President, Iván Duque, announced a pandemic related tax reform on April 28, 2021. The reason behind the reform was because the government needed to raise
about $6.85 billion to fix the economic imbalance of the country. People quickly took to the streets to voice their outrage to the government. Unions and politicians were angry about the proposal.

Although the protests held in Colombia have only been ongoing for about 3 weeks, according to Colombia’s human rights officials, at least 42 people have died. Thousands have been injured, and many are believed to be missing, as increased violence and unrest spreads across the nation.

Unions who organized the protests, said the tax reform would disproportionately affect the middle class and poorest citizens, who have already been struggling due to the pandemic. Several protests, and a strike led by different organizations, were successful. After 4 days of protesting in large cities, the president decided to cancel the tax plan, and seek a new plan through a consensus.

According to NBCNews.com, researchers have pointed out that the tax reform was a catalyst for continued social unrest. Even though President Iván has withdrawn the tax plan, demonstrations continue being fueled by a mix of undelivered promises, inequality, violence, the mismanagement of the pandemic, and excessive force used by police. As violence increases, organizations are trying to negotiate terms with the government.

During the past few weeks, multiple videos of police abusing their authority over citizens have surfaced on social media. Both the UN, and European Union, have warned about the excessive use of force by the police. Despite the dangers, many protesters continue to take to the streets because of their disagreement with government policies.

The injustices that police have inflicted these past few weeks upon protesters in Colombia is unlawful. Protesters have asked for international attention. Let’s take the time to listen to the concerns of Colombians, and help them get the justice they deserve. Michel Adolfo Torres Carmona, a protester from Cali, Colombia has said, “There are many missing people. But we must continue the fight. The world must know what they are doing to us.”

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Ocean colonization 

By: Grace Helmke 

We live in a society based upon development. We develop our minds through education, our beings through spirituality and religion, and our cities through unusual thinking. It is no surprise that unorthodox ideas should emerge, especially when we are faced with issues of increasing population.

Ocean colonization has been proposed as a possible solution to modern issues such as overpopulation and climate change. It is believed to be a sustainable development which could aid in our world’s healing process. But upon looking closer, is this really the case? 

Ocean colonization is the theory of extending society to the water. Settlements would be created either as floating platforms, or as underwear habitats. There is the potential for practically anything in these habitats; buildings could be created atop a floating platform, cattle could be raised, a city could be built on the sea floor with a lid to create atmosphere, buildings could be built with their own systems of oxygen, bubbles suspended in the ocean could be created. Almost anything is possible.

The most popular design plan, and at this point in time most feasible, is the floating structure. The Seasteading Institute is a non-profit think tank promoting the creation of floating ocean cities. They have already finished their crowdfunding campaign and have created the company Blue Frontiers, who actually construct the floating islands.

These platforms are made of reinforced concrete that will last longer than a century. The design was meant to be flexible, so that they can be rearranged to fit the needs of its citizens. On top of these platforms, bungalow villas will be created, accommodating around 2000 residents. But, because of the design’s flexibility, platforms can be added to accommodate for the growing population.

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

One of the best regions to implement ocean colonies is the Atlantic Ocean, near the equator. Tsunamis and earthquakes are incredibly rare here, therefore destruction due to natural disasters would be incredibly rare. The water is also very temperate compared to other oceans. This would be appealing because it could create a tourist industry for those seeking a vacation destination or a place of work. 

Another argument which promotes ocean colonization is the pursuit of science. Creating structures in the middle of the ocean would allow scientists to further explore the mystery that is our ocean. It would also force us to come up with long term solutions to water pressure and corrosion.

While this sounds like a great idea, it is only that in theory.

The development of structures in aquatic environments actually disrupts marine ecosystems and destroys the natural environment. The construction process of many of these design plans would involve the demolition of part of the ocean floor. This would destroy vital ecosystems such as coral reefs and kelp forests, which are vital in slowing down the rise in carbon dioxide. These ecosystems are legitimately maintaining a liveable planet. Their destruction would accelerate the rate at which our earth becomes uninhabitable. 

In addition to the demolition of natural habitats, immense amounts of pollution will be created. The construction process is not in an enclosed area. This is the open ocean; debris, chemicals, and gases are bound to enter the water. What this does is kill off animal and plant life, cause eutrophication, and make the area uninhabitable to native wildlife. 

Colonizing the ocean could bring about a lot of good: new industries, new living spaces, advancements in science, and so much more. But something far more important is the evil it can do as well. If these structures were to be implemented, our oceans would continue on a downwards spiral. Life would die off, and our home would be put in danger. 

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Global warming

By: Charlie Fragassi

Image taken from: bioguia.com

Global warming is a huge problem that the world has yet to get under control. A lot of people may not know what global warming is at all. Global warming is basically when there’s a temperature increase in the earth’s atmosphere. This is caused by the amount of pollutants in the air today. Experts say that around the time of 1980, is when there began a huge increase in global temperatures, and it really hasn’t gotten much better at all.

Global warming affects a lot more than just humans; it also affects animals as well. For example, the polar bear is a common example brought up in global warming/climate change because the ice is melting at a faster rate and that’s part of the polar bears habitat. They use ice floes to catch seals and other marine animals. Unfortunately, there are fewer than 25,000 polar bears left in the wild, and at this rate, with the way everything’s going, they won’t be here much longer.

There are some ways to help with global warming, and one of the ways is recycling. This, along with just bringing your own shopping bags with you while you go shopping, reduces the waste of plastic that is brought out into the world.

Driving electric cars also tremendously helps the spread of global warming because there is no gas coming from the car, so it doesn’t produce pollution out in the air.

Another main reason global warming is such a pressing issue is because not everyone thinks that it is even real. Many people believe that it is fake and is made up even though there has been full scientific evidence backing it up. People still refuse to believe in it, and that causes things to get done at a slower rate.

Global warming could get under control a lot quicker if everyone was just on the same exact page.

For more information, please visit:

  • “Global Warming, Greenhouse Effect, Climate Change and Their Relationships” sgkplanet.com/en/global-warming-greenhouse-effect-climate-change-and-their-relationships/
  • “Global Warming 101” http://www.nrdc.org/stories/global-warming-101

Pfizer vaccine for kids

By: Alexandra Rimbu

On Monday, May 10th, the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) made the critical decision to expand the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 12-15, making it the first vaccine in the U.S. authorized for this age group. Previously, the Pfizer vaccine was authorized only for persons ages 16 and up. The two other COVID-19 vaccines, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, are still only authorized for persons ages 18 and up.

The authorization of this vaccine came after the FDA’s review of a clinical trial, conducted by Pfizer, involving 2,260 12-to-15-year-olds, which showed the vaccine’s efficacy to be 100%.

The FDA also took into consideration the immune response of these persons aged 12-15 in comparison to the immune response of persons ages 16 and above who were vaccinated as well. Results yielded that the response to the vaccine was good, and, in fact, the younger age group (12-15 years old) had better responses than those in the older age group.

With the vaccine authorized, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and its Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, met on Wednesday, May 12th, to advise the CDC on whether to recommend use of the vaccine in this age group. CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, decided the agency will recommend the vaccine’s use in the new group.

Following this recommendation, the Biden administration quickly mobilized to get vaccinations ready for 12-15 year olds through the federal pharmacy program, pediatricians, and family doctors. 

However, states make the decisions on who gives the vaccine and when, so there is no fixed date on which 12-15 year olds may begin to be vaccinated. As of now though, state licensing boards are discussing the distribution of the vaccine, and hopefully soon, the vaccine will be approved to be distributed throughout the whole state, a decision which will strive towards the eradication of COVID-19.

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The world’s worst ongoing COVID-19 outbreak

By: Alexandra Rimbu

India is now home to the world’s worst ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, having nearly more than 17.6 million reported cases since the beginning of the pandemic. And while this number may seem high, experts speculate the total number of cases (both reported and unreported) may be up to 30 times higher, reaching more than half a billion cases.

The great disparity between the total number of COVID-19 cases and the reported number of COVID-19 cases could be caused by several factors, including low testing levels and undercounting deaths. 

Last year, in late April, the country was only testing fewer than half a million people per day, compared to the 2 million tests they do per day now. However, it appears this is still not enough.

“That’s still not sufficient because the national average positivity rate is about 15% — in some cities like Delhi it’s up to 30% or higher. That means there are lots of people out there who are infected and not being detected just because of the capacity of testing … we will know only later how many was really the number of people infected,” says Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist for the World Health Organization (WHO), speaking on the low testing levels. 

The country also suffers an underfunded public health infrastructure. In normal times, according to CNN, only 86% of deaths nationwide are registered in government systems. During this pandemic, this number has decreased greatly. As hospitals have run out of space, more and more people die at home or in other places, where there are no doctors present to assign a cause of death, and these deaths then go unreported. 

As of April 27th, India reported nearly 198,000 COVID-19 deaths. However, Bhramar Mukherjee, professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Michigan, estimates COVID-19 fatalities could be underreported by a factor of between two and five, meaning the real death toll could be close to 990,000.

While India still continues to struggle, it is receiving aid from overseas and taking steps itself towards lowering COVID-19 cases.

If you would personally like to help with the COVID situation in India, here are some links to sites where you can make a donation: 

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A new dinosaur species has been discovered in Argentina

By: Alexandra Rimbu

A new dinosaur species has been discovered in Argentina. Paleontologists have dubbed it Llukalkan aliocranianus, or “The one who causes fear”. This name is derived from the fact the creature appears to be even more terrifying than its cousin, the T. Rex, bearing enormous claws, a skull covered in bumps, horns, and deep-seated crests, and razor-sharp teeth.

The species’s appearance alone was enough to invoke fear into its prey and make it a successful predator, but what truly made Llukalkan aliocranianus a unique apex predator was its incredible hearing. 

The Llukalkan aliocranianus had cavities in the ear area that other abelisaurids, a class of carnivorous bipeds including the T. Rex, did not have. Llukalkan aliocranianus’s extraordinary sense of hearing was actually provided by one of these cavities – a unique air-filled sinus pocket near its middle ear. 

The species also possessed a powerful sense of smell. This powerful combination of super hearing and olfactory senses was a tremendous advantage in the food chain and served to further establish the species as a top predator.

Paleontologists have dubbed this discovery as significant to the research of all dinosaur species as a whole. “These dinosaurs were still trying out new evolutionary pathways and rapidly diversifying right before they died out completely”, said Ariel Mendez, a paleontologist from the Patagonian Institute of Geology and Paleontology. 

Paleontologists have also labeled this discovery as particularly significant for abelisaurids themselves. National University of San Luis, Argentina, paleontologist Gianechini said, “This is a particularly important discovery because it suggests that the diversity and abundance of abelisaurids were remarkable, not only across Patagonia, but also in more local areas during the dinosaurs’ twilight period”. 

Ginanechini remarked that he believes this find will signal many more important abelisaurid discoveries to come. He believes that the fact of the Llukalkan aliocranianus’s hearing ability alone means that researchers have more to learn than previously thought, and this discovery has unlocked new pathways to unlocking the secrets of these prehistoric creatures.

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Recent events in St. Vincent

By: Hayat Osman

Image taken from: https://news.un.org/en/story/ 2021/04/1089592

The island St. Vincent, of the Caribbean, was subjected to multiple explosive eruptions by a 4,049 foot volcano, La Soufrière, on April 9, 2021.

According to ‘National Geographic’, volcanic ash is formed by tiny particles of jagged rock, glass, and minerals. Due to the ash of volcanoes being made of sharp jagged fragments it is very lethal causing eye, nose, lung irritation, and diculty breathing.

The Volcano La Soufrière emitted so much ash that many were forced to flee towards safety.

The Prime minister of St. Vincent, Ralph Gonsalves, ordered an evacuation as a precaution, on Thursday, for about 1,600 people living in the northern part of the island, after several days of increased activity. Evacuation continued on Friday. The country’s National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) said that the ash from the first eruption was at 20,000 ft in the air drifting eastwards.

Later on Friday afternoon, 2 more eruptions happened, spewing more ash into the air to the point that the ash had complicated evacuation efforts as visibility was poor. Many citizens of the island shared pictures and photos on social media of the heavy ash fall.

4 cruise ships were sent on Friday, two from Royal Caribbean, and two from Carnival Cruise Line, to help evacuees escape to nearby islands.

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Killing of Daunte Wright

On April 11, 2021, a 20-year-old African American man, Daunte Wright, was fatally shot by police officer Kimberly Potter during a traffic stop. Officer Potter has worked at the Brooklyn Center Police for 26 years. 

This incident happened just miles away from where Derek Chauvin was on trial for the murder of George Floyd, another African American that died at the hands of a policeman. 

Wright was pulled over for a traffic violation, but when he tried to get back into his car, there was a struggle, after the officers had attempted to handcuff him on the side of the road. 

In the body camera video that was released by Chief Gannon, an officer was heard saying: “Taser, Taser, Taser”, then Wright was seen getting into his car while the same officer says: “Holy s***, I just shot him”.

Wounded by the cop, Wright crashed a few streets away. Chief Gannon shared that officer Potter meant to use a Taser but mistakenly drew her gun instead. 

On the Tuesday after the shooting, officer Potter resigned saying, “I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign.”

A day after her resignation she was arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter. She was released, after posting a $100,000 bond. If she is convicted, she could spend 10 years in prison.

Protesters took to the streets in the days after, and demanded justice. Monday morning, the Brooklyn Center mayor announced a curfew from 1 a.m. until 6 a.m, asking protesters to “Be safe and to go home”.

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