Depletion in ozone layers 

By: Olivia Kendle

Ozone layers are found in the stratosphere in the atmosphere. The layers absorb ultraviolet (UV) radiation that is harmful to living organisms. The UV rays can cause health problems from eye damage to skin cancer.

Though the depletion of ozone layers does not play a role in global warming, it is dangerous for us if the ozone layers cannot shield us from this UV radiation or other dangerous rays emitted from the sun.

Depletion of the ozone layers is caused by the pollutants that humans have been putting in the atmosphere. These pollutants are chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons. The ozone hole, located in the upper stratosphere, shadows over the polar regions. Every living being below the hole, on Earth, is being affected by the radiation coming through the hole and touching Earth’s surface.

In 1987, scientists organized a program called the Montreal Protocol which was designed to phase out the depleting chemicals and reduce their concentration in the atmosphere. The Montreal Protocol has been successful and the whole project will be completed in around 2030. 

Global warming is also causing depletion of the ozone layers. The warming in the lower atmosphere (troposphere) leads to cooling in the upper atmosphere (stratosphere). Warming in the lower atmosphere is mostly caused by greenhouse gases. Because Earth’s heat would usually pass through the troposphere and the stratosphere and eventually travel out of the atmosphere but is now being trapped in the stratosphere. 

The heating in the lower atmosphere and the cooling in the upper atmosphere also explains the blanket analogy. The ‘blanket’ that covers Earth’s surface warms up as the Earth warms up with it. The heat gets trapped in the atmosphere or under the ‘blanket’ and no heat gets to the upper atmosphere while it is all in the lower atmosphere. The cooling in the upper stratosphere causes even more loss of ozone depletion.

Overall, the heating of the Earth (global warming) is affecting and changing the ozone layers or the ‘ozone hole’. More UV radiation rays and other dangerous rays are starting to come through the ozone layers but fortunately, the Montreal Protocol is helping prevent that.

For more information, please visit:

 

COVID-19 and how different countries are handling the it

By: Aisha Dirie

Many countries are handling this pandemic differently. Many countries are still in lockdown, have certain restrictions, or restrict all travel from or to countries.

The US is still battling this pandemic. Many states still have COVID cases rising.

This pandemic has affected the economy in many different countries.

How different countries are handling this pandemic shows a lot about their leaders, how quickly this virus has spread, and how dangerous COVID-19 truly is. According to Worldometers.info, there are currently around 37 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with the US at the largest number of cases. Following the US is India with the second most cases worldwide.  

According to EndCoronavirus.org, some of the countries that are recovering, or have recovered completely from COVID, are New Zealand, Sudan, and Haiti.

In late March, New Zealand put in a very strict quarantine. This led the country COVID cases to decrease exponentially. This was a good move for the prime minister of New Zealand (Jacinda Ardern) because currently there are only a couple, or almost zero, COVID-19 cases in the country of New Zealand.

Other countries that have gone into strict lockdown have been managing their COVID-19 cases as well. 

Many different countries are handling this pandemic differently. On different scales, levels, seriousness, and population. There is definitely a trend between what countries are doing better than others. Some countries are back to normal life already.

This is different than some countries, including the US, Canada, etc. We are already far enough into this pandemic to recognize why certain countries have failed to reopen.

Time will tell.

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The case of Gabriel Fernandez

By: Leslie Lopez Ibanez and Kayla Arellano

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

Gabriel Fernández was an 8-year-old boy from Palmdale, California who was tortured, abused, and killed by his own mother and her boyfriend. Gabriel was a very sweet, soft, kind, generous, smart, and innocent child who was helpful and loved his family. He was a happy and healthy child; he loved his mother so much even though she would abuse him along with her boyfriend. 

When Gabriel was born his mother had given him away to his uncle and his partner who took care of him, then he lived with his grandparents, then he was given to his mother along with his other 2 siblings in 2012. 

His mother had a really bad temper and she had mental problems; she was diagnosed with various disorders like depressive disorder, a developmental disability, possible personality disorder etc. Her family was scared that she had custody of Gabriel and his other two siblings. 

They say that Gabriel’s mom (Pearl Fernandez) was abused by her mother when she was younger; her dad was in and out of jail. She has a history of getting raped, and another attempt of being raped. Her childhood was very turbulent. 

Pearl had started using methamphetamine and drinking at age 9, this was during the time when her brain was developing; the drugs she was using stopped it from developing. She stopped going to school after 8th grade and has very limited intellectual capacity.

Pearl’s sister and her family noticed Gabriel’s black eye and started getting worried about his safety. In court, she was asked if she had asked him what happened, and she told them that Gabriel had lied to her but later on he told her that his mom had socked him in the face. After that, she would sleep over at Pearl’s house to make sure they wouldn’t hurt Gabriel or his other 2 siblings. 

Then, once he started school, he asked his teacher if it was normal that your parents hit you with a belt. She said it depends, then he asked if it was normal to bleed, that’s when his teacher, Ms. Jennifer, took action and called the hotline to report it. His classmates and his teacher started to see a change in him. He wasn’t Gabriel, his classmates and his teacher said he developed a bad temper due to his mother’s boyfriend abusing him. 

After Gabriel’s teacher started noticing all the bruises and marks on him, she started to get worried, so she contacted child protective services. That’s when Stefanie Rodriguez was assigned to his case. She was new to the department and they had put her, with no experience, into the emergency response, which is one of the most important departments in the agency. 

She was obligated to have submitted a report requiring he been seen at a medical hub, because Gabriel had very significant injuries. If a doctor would’ve seen him, he would’ve reported Gabriel as a victim of very serious child abuse. 

Stefanie Rodriguez, and 3 other social workers, knew they had the benefit to take Gabriel to a hub, for him to be seen by a doctor, but they didn’t obtain a warrant obligating Pearl to take him there. 

The teacher would call the social worker several times to update her on the recent signs of abuse that Gabriel would come in class with every time. When Gabriel stopped going to school for 13 days, and came back after, the teacher had called the social worker one more time to let her know that the condition had become worse, but she never got a response back. 

During his whole case, Gabriel had four social workers, Stephanie Rodriguez, Kevin Bom, Greg Merritt, and Patricia Clement, who were supposed to take care of Gabriel and write down the abuse signs that were clearly noticeable on him. They were all sent to trial, but the case never made it to trial, so the social workers never faced a jury. All four of the social workers were fired after Gabriel’s death. They all failed Gabriel. They all knew his case but yet didn’t do anything to take him out of his home.

Gabriel Fernandez was abused and tortured by his biological mom and by her boyfriend. They would make him eat cat litter and feces, expired food, and his own vomit. They would burn cigarettes on him, hit him with a belt buckle, a wooden bat, a metal hanger, and was shot in many areas of his body with a BB gun. They would torture him by putting him in a locked cabinet and would make him sleep in it without letting him out to use the bathroom. His brother, Ezequiel, who was a minor at the time, said that his mother jabbed Gabriel in the mouth with a bat and knocked out several teeth. Pearl and Isauro would call Gabriel gay and beat him up simply because he would play with dolls, so they would force him to wear girl clothes to school. 

On May 22nd, Pearl called 911 to report that her son was not breathing. His mom and her boyfriend fatally beat him because he failed to clean up his toys when he was told to. When the paramedics arrived, they found Gabriel on the floor with several injuries all over his body. When he got to the hospital he was declared brain dead. 

On May 24th, Gabriel was pronounced dead at 8 years old. The official autopsy confirmed that he died from blunt force trauma, neglect, and malnutrition. 

Pearl Fernandez pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty and Isauro Auguierre pleaded not guilty. However, they were both found guilty and have been charged with 1st degree murder. Pearl is now serving a life sentence, without the possibility of parole. Isauro is serving a life sentence and has a death sentence, but a date still has to be set for his execution. 

Are we alone in the Universe? The search for extraterrestrial life  

By Grace Helmke

Our universe stretches billions of lightyears, and continues to constantly expand. It consists of trillions of galaxies, and houses upwards of 700 quintillion planets. There has long been speculation that somewhere out in this massive expanse of darkness and light, there may be civilizations; some possibly intelligent enough to surpass us in our technological endeavors. But is this just another conspiracy theory, or is there scientific truth behind this notion? 

The Milky Way alone is littered with hundreds of billions of stars, each accompanied by multitudes of planets residing in their smaller solar systems. Among these planets within our galactic neighborhood, tens of billions would be located in the “habitable zone” of their star. The planet would have to be close enough from the star for liquid water to exist, but far enough away that the water wouldn’t evaporate. This means that a planet’s climate would all but mimic that of earth’s. Leading to the scientific speculation that life could exist here. While we aren’t sure how many of these planets support life, we now know that it’s possible. 

Scientists have discovered the existence of more than 4,000 exoplanets (or planets outside the solar system) that have the potential to harbor life. This topic of exoplanets is an exceptionally fast growing field that will most likely remain an important scientific discipline, for decades to come, due to the fact that these planets are not just celestial objects, but the potential homes of extraterrestrial life.

Recently, scientists at the SETI institute (The Search for Extraterrestrial Life) have been going to great lengths aiming to discover life on other planets. They attempt to try and find traces of life in space by searching for technosignatures, which according to Phys.org, are detectable signs of past or present technology used on other planets. This would mean that an extraterrestrial civilization would be intelligent and advanced enough to be creating a society based around the development of technology.

When taking into account the sheer size of our universe, and the fact that it has been around for so many years, it is probable that the complicated biochemistry that created life, then intelligent beings on earth, occurred more than once in the history of the universe. Suggesting that humanity is an anomaly defies scientific reasoning and the mediocrity principle, which states that it is probable that our solar system is more likely a common event than an atypical phenomenon.  

In the near future, with space missions being outlined, technology becoming increasingly advanced, and great steps being made in science, it is likely that we will find concrete evidence of other life in the universe, whether it be small or large. 

For more information please visit: 

So, let’s talk about the presidential debate

By: Quentin Miller 

Image taken from: CNN

First things first, it was awful, and I’ll explain why.

Probably the most offensive part of the whole debate was the interruptions, think what you want of either candidate, interrupting your opponent is childish no matter how you look at it. And both Trump and Biden failed to understand the concept of letting each other actually answer questions almost the entire debate.

Next problem I have, Biden was very immature with some of his comebacks. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love some sas, but the first presidential debate is definitely not the right time or place. Specifically inappropriate quotes include, “Will you shut up, man?” and “It’s hard to get a word in with this clown.”

Problem number three, Trump’s insane takes, specifically on white supremacy. 

Now, did Trump endorse white supremacy openly? No. But he did refuse to condemn it, using the excuse he didn’t know the group, “The Proud Boys,” were actually white supremacist, despite the fact he was explicitly told they were indeed white supremacist. Also, while avoiding the problem, he said the real problem is Antifa and the left. And, when a sitting president says the most dangerous things in America are people who don’t like fascism and their greatest political threat, that might be a bit fascist. 

Next problem, Biden is kind of a fence sitter and people aren’t calling him out on it enough. Specifically, his stances on the BLM movement, because he really panders to both sides on it. While he says he is in support of the BLM movement (as anyone should be), he also constantly refuses to truly criticize active oppressors of the black population of America, specifically, police. One specific quote from the debate, and reported on Deseret.com, I think really shows how conflicting his opinion can sometimes be “Yes, there’s systemic injustice. The vast majority of police officers are good, decent honorable men and women … but there are some bad apples.”

So, let me get this straight, there’s systemic injustice, but also the people who work directly for a group guilty of said injustice are mostly good? That’s just not how it works, either the idea of police is systemically racist or most police fight for good, there’s no middle ground.

And that’s about every major problem I had with both sides, outside of these things, they mainly just yelled over each other while repeating the same things they’ve been repeating for the past few months.

Honestly in the opinion of someone who watched the full thing, I would have to say it’s not worth the watch. The recent vice presidential debate was much better, Harris and Pence both did much better jobs representing their running mates.

 

Reactions to the death of RBG

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG), a member of the Supreme Court died September 18, 2020, of complications from metastatic cancer. On hearing of her death, in front of reporters, President Trump said that “She was an amazing woman whether you agree or not she was an amazing woman who led an amazing life.” 

Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, also had something to say, “That people should focus on the loss of the Justice and her enduring legacy.” 

Later, in a statement, Obama, mourning Ginsburg, said, “Over a long career on both sides of the bench — as a relentless litigator and an incisive jurist — Justice Ginsburg helped us see that discrimination on the basis of sex isn’t about an abstract ideal of equality; that it doesn’t only harm women; that it has real consequences for all of us. It’s about who we are and who we can be.” 

RBG spent most of her life fighting for women’s rights. She was appointed in 1993, by President Bill Clinton. During her time on the Supreme Court, she has fought for abortion rights, same-sex marriage, voting rights, immigration, and health care. Days before her death, she said to her granddaughter Clara Spera, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” 

Due to her death, much is at stake. Mitch McConnell, Trump, and Republicans are determined to replace Ginsburg with a conservative justice, even though Mitch mcConnell himself, in 2016, when Obama tried to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, said, “Given that we are in the midst of the presidential election process, we believe that the American people should seize the opportunity to weigh in on whom they trust to nominate the next person for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. It is today the American people, rather than a lame-duck president whose priorities and policies they just rejected in the most-recent national election, who should be afforded the opportunity to replace Justice Scalia.”

Why should you care? With a conservative judge, your abortion rights, same-sex marriage rights, voting rights, immigration rights, and the right to health care are at stake. 

Replacing Ginsburg with a conservative judge would also shift the ideological balance of the court; that would mean the Supreme Court would operate with a 6-3 conservative majority, rather than a 5-4 conservative majority.

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How did Hurricane Laura affect people?

By Grace Blummer-Lamotte

On August 16th, 2020, Hurricane Laura started to form a disastrous path. It started its path just off of a large tropical wave that moved off the West African coast. On August 20th, 2020, it became a “tropical depression”.

The highest recorded wind speed of this hurricane lasted one minute and it was 150 miles per hour. This is the twelfth named storm, fourth hurricane, and first major hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. It dissipated August 29th, 2020.

The storm affected people’s lives by taking 42 lives and destroying homes. Family members have been lost, and major flooding after the hurricane caused damage to homes and towns requiring people to have to rebuild their homes and towns. The damage this hurricane did cost $10 billion dollars just on the Southwestern portion of Louisiana and the Southeastern portion of Texas, near the Gulf of Mexico. To put $10 billion dollars into perspective, you could buy at least 10 football stadiums and still have a lot more money left. 

You may be wondering why we name hurricanes. The reason is because they are tropical storms such as hurricanes, cyclones or typhoons that can last for months and sometimes years. Scientists used to track them by their year, but because we could experience 100 storms in 12 months, they started naming tropical storms so they are easier to track.

According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center they are forecasting 13-19 named storms with winds 39 miles per hour and higher, 6-10 that could result in hurricanes with winds of 74 miles per hour and higher, and also 3-6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4, and 5, which is winds 111 miles per hour and higher).

Seasonal Depression

By Nora Doyle and Olivia Miller

Image by: Alisha Naidu and Pranav Misra

Ever feel yourself slipping into a funk right around when the weather starts to get cooler, and your motivation is pretty much in the gutter? Maybe you start to have trouble staying awake, or trouble concentrating. This may be more than just a recurring funk.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise known as SAD, (kind of funny, right?) is common in young adults and even more so in women. In fact, it is 4 times more likely for women to have SAD.

According to Mayo Clinic, most cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder appear during late fall or early winter and go away when the sunny warm weather of spring and summer begin. But in some cases, symptoms can appear in the spring and summer, and go away in the fall and winter.

Although SAD can cause a drastic change to someone’s daily life, it is actually very common, affecting over 10 million Americans according to Psychology Today.

There are quite a few symptoms that can be recognized as Seasonal Affective Disorder. These include feeling depressed daily and for most of the day, losing interest in previously enjoyed activities, having low energy, trouble sleeping or trouble staying awake, changes in appetite or weight, feeling sluggish or easily agitated, difficulty concentrating, feeling worthless and or hopeless, and frequent thoughts of death or suicide. So yes, it can be very serious .

There are some differences in the symptoms of SAD in the fall/winter time than the ones in the spring/summer time. For example during the fall/winter time some of the symptoms are oversleeping and gaining weight, while in the spring/summer time some of the symptoms can be not getting enough sleep and you may even lose some weight rather than gain it.

A few things can cause Seasonal Affective Disorder according to the Mayo Clinic. The three big ones are your circadian rhythm, serotonin levels, and melatonin levels.

Your circadian rhythm is like your inner clock. Your inner clock has to do with the cycle of the moon and sun. The decrease in sunlight in fall and winter may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.

Serotonin is the chemical in the brain that affects mood. Reduced sunlight can also cause a drop in serotonin, triggering depression.

The change in season can also disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin. Melatonin plays a role in sleep patterns and mood. There are some factors that may increase the risk of SAD. Factors include family history, having major depression or bipolar disorder, and living far from the equator.

How Iceland became Green

By Grace Helmke

In an era of revolution and emerging awareness on all spectrums, environmental change, and the impact of humanity on planet earth, is a topic well discussed. But even with numerous papers published, research documented, and proof being given to confirm our planet’s great need for the development of environment friendly living, most of the world has yet to act upon this issue.

However, some countries have taken great strides in this mission; sustainability becoming their way of life. Iceland has been unofficially dubbed “poster child” of Nationwide sustainability, finding greener ways of life, and producing more renewable energy than anywhere else in the world. 

Iceland can thank their incredible geological features for allowing them access to plentiful hydro and geothermal resources. These natural assets account for over 85% of Iceland’s energy supply, and 100% of their electricity production.

When compared to the United States, this feat seems far more impressive. Our nation’s renewable energy production only makes up 11% of our supply, and 17% of electricity generated. This is such a significant achievement for Iceland because of the incredible good it can do for our planet. Generating energy from fossil fuels furthers air pollution and global warming. This contributes to eustatic change, intensified natural disasters, and temperature rise. 

Not only is Iceland a leader in renewable energy, but they have taken steps in educating their nation’s children on climate change, and the effects we have on our environment. Sustainability is one of the national requirements in the Icelandic education system. Students are taught what global warming is, and that it will continue to happen if nothing is done to change it.

This is in comparison to The United States’ system, where the teaching of climate change is optional, and largely not discussed for an extended period of time. 

Plastics are also a major concern when it comes to the environment. But starting in the summer of 2021, all single use plastics are being banned in Iceland. This includes: straws, cutlery, bags, and dishes. The only exception will be single use plastics required for medical reasons. All products sold in restaurants and fast food chains will now be reusable or biodegradable, including cutlery and packaging. 

Iceland has taken major steps in healing our environment for future generations. They lead all nations in renewable energy production, and have implemented changes to provide a better environmental education, and a tighter restriction on eco-friendly products. There’s no doubt there are more changes on the way, as other countries join Iceland in pursuit of a greener way of life. 

For more information, and more statistics on Iceland please visit:

https://visiticeland.com/article/renewable-energy

https://www.government.is/topics/business-and-industry/energy/

How COVID-19 has affected students’ education

By: Leslie Lopez Ibanez and Kayla Arellano

Image taken from: ps://napavalleyregister.com/opinion/article_c0d56bba-492b-5892-ac59-edf39607dec2.html

In December of 2020, a virus was discovered in Wuhan, China. The virus slowly went spreading worldwide creating a human pandemic. This virus is called the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and thousands of people have died from it. Some have recovered, but there is no cure for it yet.

To prevent the spread, there have been restrictions that caused all businesses and schools to shut down with only a few businesses open because they were deemed essential.

Now that the schools are closed, teachers are forced to be giving online classes. They are slowly opening everything back up, but still with restrictions, and it’s very difficult because school districts have to get their system approved on how they are going to manage to have all their students in school safely.

COVID-19 has affected student’s education in a couple different ways. Many schools around the U.S. have switched to full time online learning to prevent the spread of coronavirus and to social distance.

Other school’s have chosen to do part time online and part time in school.

Students K-12 are not being able to do face-to-face learning because of the restrictions. A family source informed the authors that because of this, parents are now taking their kids out of public schools to put them in private school because private schools are now open.

But not everyone can afford a private school, and are instead forced into isolation. They also can face depression and anxiety due to always being inside their house and not being able to go to school everyday.

Some students also don’t have equipment that the school provides for them like WiFi, food, and much more. A lot of families can’t afford WiFi, or an everyday meal for their kids, and a lot of students rely on the schools for that. 

Due to the pandemic, and school getting held back, student assignments are getting canceled or postponed. This is affecting students in a negative way because it’s interrupting their learning and they aren’t receiving the education they need.

Studies show that students have lost a large percentage of their learning skills, achievements in math and reading, and overall learning skills. According to brooking.edu, students are now showing low grades and are making less than 50% of educational gains, which may be putting them almost a year behind compared to when they were attending school. 

The class of 2020 graduation was also affected by COVID-19. College students have experienced teaching interruptions in the final parts of their studies. Instead of them graduating on time, they get to graduate at the beginning of a major global recession. As for high schoolers, they didn’t get the graduation they thought they would’ve had. Some schools did virtual graduation and some schools did a graduation ceremony, but having to be 6 feet apart or more without any family or friends being present. 

Many high school graduates have changed their mind about going to college and what they want to study for because of the crisis going on. Some of them are having a delay on college to start, or some of them just have decided to just work and not even go to college anymore. 

Even though all this negative stuff is happening, let’s look on the positive side!

Students are getting the chance for a new learning opportunity. Some people may find online school better for them and might just switch to online school learning from now on. People are also considering this because they find it more affordable and it’s a way to keep yourself socially distanced.

With all of this happening, this also means that there are more online resources for the students. More programs and educational resources are becoming available for students doing online classes.