Digital Identity: How are you portraying yourself on social media?

By Lizzie

On social media, are we millennials really presenting who we are or are we presenting a hyper-idealistic version of ourselves? Teens are drawn to social media like moths drawn to a flame. About 90 percent of U.S. internet users visit a social media site each month. Clearly, social media is a popular place on the internet for millennials to post pictures with captions about their life. Although there are many benefits to social media, it is often misused. Many kids, especially young girls, are portraying themselves as people that they're not on social media. Instead of creating a false persona, a healthy social media presence should be aligned with a real sense of identity. 

Social media is a great outlet to share your life with friends and family, but many young girls today misuse this great tool in pursuit of approval from their peers. It has been argued that the social media effect creates a false sense of self and self-esteem through the use of likes, fans, comments, posts, etc. For many social media users, it is an esteem booster, which explains why so many people spend so much time on social media. It provides many individuals with a false sense of self and an inflated sense of who they really are.  

Because of this, the version of ourselves we show on social media is not who we really are. New research conducted by the Girl Scouts indicates that many teens are reinventing themselves. In a 2010 survey of more than 1,000 girls about how they portrayed themselves online:

- 74% of girls agree that “most girls my age use social networking sites to make themselves look cooler than they really are,” and 41% admit this describes them.

-Most girls portray themselves as more well-rounded in person than online.

Girls with low self-esteem are more likely to admit that their social networking image doesn’t match their in-person image (33% compared to 18% of girls with high self-esteem). Interestingly, 56% agree that social networks help them feel closer and more connected with their friends, but only 30% think that social networks have increased the quality of their relationships. Evidently, this is a very common theme for teens today. 

How can you make sure you online portrayal is what you want? Here is my top 5 list for keeping a healthy profile online:

  1. Don't post any pictures you wouldn't want your Grandma seeing. Remember, anyone who follows you can see "that picture of you in a bikini." 
  2. Remember, fake profiles DO exist. Anyone can create an account posing as a 13 year old girl, who is actually a 31 year old man. Be aware of this.
  3. Before you let someone follow you, a good rule of thumb for Instagram is: When someone requests to follow you, and you click on their account it will usually say, "followed by ___________, __________, __________. Those in the blanks are people you know and/or follow. If the person that is requesting to follow you and yourself have mutual friends, it is most likely ok for them to follow you. 
  4. Make sure you are always keeping up your relationships in real life, not just on social media. Technology is powerful, but real life communications are always the better route.
  5. See the world! Leave your phone at home for once! Make sure you are actually seeing the world in person, not just through a camera.

So, what are you waiting for? Go be with your friends in family! Go see the world! Leave your phone at home. It will always be there when you come back. Don't let someone determine who you are, or will be. Be who YOU want to be on social media, and in real life. 

Is a city the best place for a young person to live?

By Bailey

Will you live in a city when you’re in your 20’s? In the last decade there was a large rise in young adults in their 20’s who are moving to cities. These millennials are turning cities into desirable places, with lively culture and desirable jobs. Once you get out of college you should move to a city because you will have more opportunities there.

Over the last few years, lots of cities in America have been altered by millennials. These cities have been turned into desirable places to live. These young people are bringing in new businesses that are modern and fun to be in. The experience of living in a city is profound. Because of this group of new young people the city have become a fast-paced, exciting place to live.

Cities can provide a hip environment with a colorful and lively lifestyle because of their fun entertainment. In cities there are are many more fun things to do, like go to a museum, or shopping with friends, going to restaurants, and some of the best entertainment you will see nowhere  else.  You can meet so many different kinds of people and notice how much diversity there is. Because of these amazing entertainment options the city has become a fast-paced, exciting place to live.

Cities have jobs that can be better than suburbs . Some cities, especially big ones by water, like New York and San Francisco, have more “city like jobs,” like business and just normal jobs.  But now, urban job growth is increasing more quickly in those cities than before. Because of these amazing jobs the city has become a fast-paced, exciting place to live.

In your 20’s living in a city is better than living in the suburbs. Overall you should live in a city because cities in America have been altered by millennials, cities can provide a hip environment with a colorful and lively lifestyle, and the desirable jobs that are fun for you. So, what are you waiting for!


The New York Times

The New York Times

Reviving Extinct Species, What’s the Cost?

By Nicholas

Have you ever wanted to ride a Wooly Mammoth? With the advances in cloning technology, scientists believe that they will be able to clone extinct animals in a few years to a decade. They would impregnate close relatives of the extinct animal making a cross breed of the two species. Bringing back extinct animals is both threatening to our ecosystem and cruel towards animals, so we should not use funding to research it.

Cloning extinct animals poses a threat to our ecosystem because we don't know what their effect on it would be. The reason that many animals went extinct if humans didn’t kill them was because they couldn’t adapt to the environment effectively, or because some other species killed them. Even scientist Hank Greely, an expert in cloning technology, agreed that “They could turn out to be pests in this new environment,” because many  of them have been dead for hundreds of years. Because of their unknown effects on the environment, these animals would be held under lock and key while being continually tested.

Attempting to clone extinct animals causes much pain to both the surrogate mothers who are supposed to give birth to the clones of the extinct species, and to the clones themselves. If we released the clones into the world it could cause many problems, but it is also cruel to make the clone spend its whole life being studied under lock and key. In an attempt to clone the Bucardo, an animal that went extinct in 2000, researchers tried to impregnate 57 different animals, but only 7 were impregnated. Of the 7 that got pregnant 6 had miscarriages, and 1 gave birth to a mix of its species and the extinct species which suffocated within 10 minutes of its birth because of an extra, large lobe that it had grown in its lung. Why keep on researching something that makes animals suffer and not spend time and money on other things?

Attempting to clone animals requires rigorous testing and lots of funding that we could be pointing towards climate change or finding and protecting new species of animals. We don't even have the guarantee that the animals would be the same as they were before they became extinct. In fact, they would be a crossbreed of the extinct animal and the first surrogate mother’s species. John Wiens asked, “Why invest millions of dollars in bringing a handful of species back from the dead, when there are millions still waiting to be discovered, described, and protected?” Many other scientists such as Glenn Albrecht believe that it is also “futile and a gross waste of money,” leading me to believe that though there are many scientists who think that bringing back extinct animals is a good idea, there are many that believe it is a horrible idea.

Scientists who believe that cloning animals is a good idea mostly just believe the same thing that Greely does: that “it’s really cool.” They think that it would be interesting to be able to see some type of long-extinct animal without considering all the suffering that they are making animals feel because they think it’s “cool”. The argument that scientists should be able to do it because “it’s really cool” is a mockery of non-human life. Humans are not the only living things; other animals have lives too.

We have no idea what effects extinct animals would have on the ecosystem and cloning is like torture for animals, so we should not invest millions of dollars of funding into the invention of it. Maybe one day cloning will be viable and cruelty free, but until that day we should not bring any type of animal back to life and instead focus on keeping the ones we have alive.


National Geographic




The Power of Rivalry

By Matthew

Have you ever had a rivalry with someone on a sports team? Well, the Golden State Warriors have an ongoing rivalry with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The rivalry is fueled by trash talk, and newly drafted players play a big role in helping their team, but in the end there has to be a winner. The rivalry between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors is a great example of why billions of people around the world play and watch sports.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have an ongoing rivalry with the Golden State Warriors.  But in 2017, the Warriors were seeking redemption because of their loss in 2016. The Warriors are doing great as they won the NBA final to end the trash talk. But Kyrie Irving even admitted some extra trash talk is actually motivating. Trash talk is another source of motivation; if a player talks trash to the opposing team, then that team will want to make it to the finals and prove them wrong. Another good source of motivation is knowing they lost to the same team last year. Harvey Araton said that, “The N.B.A. is the most top-heavy of our professional sports leagues, the most predictable in preseason every season, ruled through the years by a chosen few.” The two main teams that have been making it to the NBA finals are the Cav’s and the Warriors, so it makes sense that their rivalry is growing.  

The Warriors have a new player who has helped Golden State to rise to an even higher level. Even though Kevin Durant is a newbie he is amazing at scoring and defence, and his height allows him to get rebounds easily. Although the Warriors have Kevin Durant they did not need him to get to the finals, but they needed him to win the finals. Kevin Durant is not the only new player who has helped the Warriors a lot; he is just the best out of the new players. There are also other other good new players like JaVale McGee, Matt Barnes, David West, and other great newbies. The newly drafted players have not only been helpful but they have also transformed the Golden State Warriors into an unstoppable, undefeatable, NBA team.

At the end, in game five, the Warriors won 129 to 120. Golden State went home with joy, but Lebron was not mad. In fact Lebron even said the Warriors are “built to last.” He meant that the new and young players are factors that make Golden State so great. The younger the players are usually means that the greatness of that team would last. However, the cycle will start again, because the Cav’s will try even harder to beat the Warriors and seek a chance to redeem themselves next year.                                

The rivalry between the Warriors and the Cav’s has grown to be more than just a rivalry. Kevin Durant and all the other new players on the Warriors added to their team’s greatness, and in the end the Warriors won the 2017 NBA finals. This means the Cav’s and the Warriors could remain the best teams in the NBA. Which team will step up to beat the Warriors next year?


The New York Times

The New York Times

Blasting News


By Romeo

Have you ever won something so big you can remember the feeling and the joy you had when you won it? Well that is exactly how the whole team of Real Madrid felt on June 3, 2017, especially Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been on Real Madrid for 10 years and has won three Champions League trophies with the team, making him one of the most accomplished players in the game. In the last three years Real Madrid won two Champions League trophies, showing Ronaldo’s dominance, which has grown over time. Real Madrid has proven to be one of the best soccer clubs in the world, if not the best club in the world, with their star Cristiano Ronaldo.

On June 3rd, 2017 at 2:45 Real Madrid played against Juventus in the Champions League finals. The Champions League finals was hosted in Cardiff, Wales. Real Madrid defeated Juventus 4 to 1. By the end of the match, Real Madrid showed the world not to mess with them. Cristiano Ronaldo, who is the left winger for Real Madrid, scored the first goal to give Real Madrid the lead. A few minutes later, Mario Mandzukic scored an amazing bicycle kick goal to tie the game up. At the 60th minute Casemiro the Brazilian midfielder scored a banging shot from outside of the box. Later Cristiano Ronaldo scored another amazing goal to seal the deal for Real Madrid. At the 90th minute, Marco Asensio scored the most important goal of his career to give Real Madrid a for sure win. Even though Juventus is one of best teams in the world, Real Madrid made them look like all other normal teams that they play.

Winning the Champions League is a very big deal to all soccer clubs but winning it twice in a row is even more crazy. Last year, Real Madrid played against Atletico Madrid and won, showing their dominance. The score was tied 1-1 at the end of the game, so the game went to penalties. Juanfran, a defender for Atletico Madrid, missed his penalty. If Ronaldo scored his penalty, Real Madrid would win. This put all the pressure on Ronaldo’s back. If he scored they'd win, but if he missed they would have to take more penalties. Of course Ronaldo scored and won the Champions League final for Real Madrid. That made Real Madrid the only team ever to win two Champions League finals in a row. Rory Smith wrote “Real Madrid’s title was its 12th, extending its record, and its third in four years.” These two victories show that Real Madrid is by far one of the best soccer clubs in the world. Real’s success would never have happened without Ronaldo

Starting at nothing, Ronaldo has excelled to the top of the sport of soccer.  Cristiano Ronaldo was born February 5, 1985 in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. His parents’ names were Maria Dolores and Jose Dinis Aveiro. In 2003, Manchester United signed the 18 year old Cristiano Ronaldo for 12 million pounds. This was the start of something really big. In the 2004 FA Cup Final he scored a hat-trick to seal the deal and win the championship for Manchester United. This was one of the greatest days for Ronaldo.  However, 2007 was a bad year for Ronaldo. His mom had breast cancer. He was very close to his mom and was always there. His dad also died that year, because of alcohol abuse. It made Ronaldo very mad that his dad died because Ronaldo always tried to make his dad go to rehab for his drinking problem. Two years later, Ronaldo got an offer by Real Madrid to come play for the club. Real Madrid offered 131 million dollars. Ronaldo told reporters, “It means a new challenge and is going to help me be the best footballer." This attitude shows that Ronaldo wants to be the best player in the world. Ronaldo has been a pro soccer player for 14 years now and is still one of the greatest soccer players to ever play the game of soccer. He will be remembered for ever and will always be a hero of this sport.  

All of these accomplishments prove that Real Madrid is the greatest club and Ronaldo is the greatest player. Madrid’s victories in the last two Champions League finals place them in a category that is above all other teams. Ronaldo gave it his all to become the greatest player in the world. Will any player ever be the next Ronaldo?  


The New York Times

The New York Times




Hackers, Malwares, and Disasters

By Ashley

Have you or anyone you know ever been hacked, or experienced a blackout?  Many countries around the world are concerned about the growing threat of the Russian government and their hackers, and the possibility that they could cause those kinds of disasters to reliable technology.  In 2016 and currently in 2017, the United States government has discovered more ways that Russia has become superior in cyberwarfare.  The U.S. is still trying to gather more information, including from the cyber attack in Ukraine, and different malwares the U.S. has found before they were put into action.  The general public and the military need to know and understand more about cyberwarfare.

Last December, Russian hackers snuck in and hid a preprogrammed genuine malware cyber bomb into a computer control room located in Kiev, Ukraine.  The cyber bomb was able to shut down part of Kiev’s power grid, and caused a terrible blackout.  The cyber bomb was put into action at 11:53, on December 16, 2016, and left 225,000 people without power, and in darkness for 75 minutes. Security researcher Robert Lee, CEO of Dragos, the first cybersecurity ecosystem, says that, “the malware wasn’t built as a one-time weapon. It’s designed from the ground up to be easily reconfigured for a variety of targets and contains some payloads that weren’t even fired off in the Kiev attack.”  United States’s power companies are worrying that the hackers are planning to attack the U.S., and poses a great threat towards the country’s reliability systems, such as infrastructure in hospitals.  The United States is trying to decide how they can defend against these cyber weapons if they ever targeted the U.S.

Dragos, the cybersecurity firm mentioned earlier, studied the malware found in one of Kiev’s computer control rooms, and found that, “ it could be deployed against U.S. electric transmission and distribution systems to devastating effect” says Sergio Caltagirone, director of threat intelligence for Dragos.  Dragos has named the disastrous malware that shuts down electrical power grids, “Crash Override.”  The malware was made from scratch, which could mean that the Russian hackers could have many more wherever they are built them.  The malware fortunately can not cause any major blackouts, but only small regional blackouts for about an hour, which can still cause a devastating effect.  Although the United States knows much more about the Russian hackers than about two years ago, they are still trying to figure out effective ways to stop cyber attacks from Russian malwares.  

The attack on part of Kiev has had an important impact on the United States’ approach on the hacking against the U.S. and other countries. If they did not know about the cyber attack, they probably would not know that Russia has already developed a working and effective weapon.  What is the next step in fighting against the threat of Russia, and protecting the citizens of the United States?


The Washington Post

The Washington Post



The Daily Beast





By Nicholas

Have you ever wanted to go to space? At Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the first private company to go to the ISS, scientists and engineers have been working to make space travel less expensive. SpaceX has made reusable rocketry possible with its new spaceship, the Falcon 9. The Falcon 9 lowered the cost of space travel and made it possible to use the same rocket multiple times, because of the genius of the engineering behind it. If this type of progress continues, it will become possible for many more people to go to space.

The Falcon 9, a new type of reusable spaceship, has lowered the cost of spaceships dramatically. This new type of spaceship made the cost of building orbital class spaceships drop from 90 million dollars to 62 million dollars. However, companies would like to lower the price of taking someone to space to around 30 million dollars for the first flight. With more progress, they could make the price of spaceships go down to even less than 30 million dollars.

Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, believes that reusability is “just as fundamental in rocketry as it is in other forms of transport - such as cars or planes or bicycles.” He believes that he can make space travel much cheaper and affordable: “if one can figure out how to effectively reuse rockets just like airplanes, the cost of access to space will be reduced by as much as a factor of a hundred.” If this truly happens, and the price of spaceships can go down by a factor of a hundred, then he could move the price of making a spaceship from 62 million dollars to just 620 thousand dollars, making space much more affordable. This can be accomplished through the technology building over time at SpaceX.

At 5:21 P.M. on March 30th 2017, SpaceX sent the first reusable cargo ship to the ISS, from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A), which made it out of orbit and sent the engine back to a drone ship on the earth. Later, the Dragon would return from the ISS, becoming the first reusable cargo ship. At 5:07 P.M. on the next day, SpaceX was about to send the returned cargo ship back up to the ISS. When it reached the ISS, it was to become the first returning spaceship ever, but the flight was delayed 2 days because of thunderstorms. In spite of this setback, the mission continued. Two days later, at 3:00 P.M., they tried again to launch the recycled ship which landed on the ISS, becoming the first returning spaceship. This was an important breakthrough in the realm of reusable spaceships.

The Falcon 9 is a new combination of the Dragon Spacecraft and the Merlin thrusters, which further increases the efficiency of these rockets. According to SpaceX’s Falcon 9 page, the Dragon is a “fully autonomous spacecraft designed to transport cargo and ultimately people to and from orbit.” It has 1 Merlin Engine specially modified to work in the vacuum, and 9 Merlin Engines to allow the ship to exit the atmosphere. It can also re-enter the atmosphere safely onto a drone ship because of its landing legs. The engines are active for 162 seconds, allowing for a thrust of 8,227 kN (1,849,503 LBS) while in a vacuum and a thrust of 7,607 kN (1,710,122 LBS) at sea level. This design allows for reusability in spaceships, and will ultimately allow for less expensive space travel.

The promise of the Falcon 9 will eventually lead to space travel being generally accessible. The cost, process, and workings of the Falcon 9 and eventually other ships will all be improved in the years of research to come. With research like this happening all the time, maybe we can even use interstellar spaceships to travel between stars.


Space News






Space X



New York Times


Earliest Homo sapiens Ever to Live

By Bailey


If you thought Lucy was the oldest Homo sapiens, you're wrong. Archaeologists in Morocco have recently found bones of Homo sapiens that date 140,000 years before Lucy.  Although there is not enough evidence to conclude this was a whole new species, there is enough to tell it changes everything we thought we knew.  Knowing more about paleontology will lead us to who our ancestors really were.

Earlier this June, archeologists found Homo sapiens bones that lived earlier than Lucy in Morocco. The Homo Sapiens that were found were 3 young adults, 1 adolescent, and 1 child that was about 8 years old. We know the bones were of these ages because of the extent of the size the bones have grown. Scientists have an algorithm to find the age of bones. The bones were found in a rock layer that they know is 300,000 years old, so therefore the bones are 300,000 years old. Homo sapiens will remain a mystery for some time until we figure out how to interpret this information.

This discovery changes what we thought we knew about our ancestors.  For millions of years, Homo sapiens remained very ape-like. They had small brains, and were short and could only use basic stone tools. Homo sapiens were still half ape so they were not as smart as humans today. The bones of Lucy were excavated in Ethiopia so she was there at some time, but the new discovery in Morocco suggests that our ancestors came from all over. This changes the theory that all humans came from the same place within Ethiopia. Scientists will be arguing how to interpret this data for many years.

When paleontologists learn more about what came before us we can understand who we really are. Knowing what came before us can help us learn more about our world that we live in. Overall, the bones that were found in Morocco were an amazing discovery for everyone.



New York Times

The Electric World of Eels

By Alexandra

Have you ever been shocked by an eel? Well, Dr. Kenneth C. Catania, an eel specialist, spent hours studying these slimy green sea creatures, uncovering what was really behind the power of their shock. In a 2014 study, Catania measured the power of the shock, and in 2015, a new study showed the way eels deliver their shock. Catania’s work reveals the true power of eels and the way they see the world.

On December 2014, Dr. Kenneth C. Catania made the fascinating discovery that eels can be used for technology, also known as ‘batteries.’ He used video footage from Vanderbilt University, and found out that an eel’s shock gives out 600 volts, and 400 electric pulses a second. Even though Dr. Catania works with these animals all the time he comments, “It’s extraordinary to me.” Catania’s goal was to measure how powerful an eel’s shock and sting is, and his discovery shows an eel’s shock is five times the power of a United States wall socket. Catania discovered the surprising power of eels.

Because of their strange appearance, distance from us, and our little knowledge of these creatures, many people misunderstand and fear electric eels. Eels live in the Amazon and Orinoco basins of South America, where they have cylindrical bodies, flattened heads, and dark green, yellowish-gray skin. It is rare to die from an electrocution, however it is possible if you have heart failure. Sometimes you can even drown from a stunning jolt. Even though electric eels can be frightening, they are only trying to survive, and have no intention of hurting humans. If we overcome our fear of eels we will be able to realize how interesting and fascinating eels can be.

Dr. Catania continued to learn how eels shock their prey. He discovered this in June 2015, by entering a fake arm into a tank with an electric eel. Lights in the arm light up when the eel strikes, so they know that nerves are being stung. This shows that eels electrify their prey by simulating their prey’s nerves. These control its muscles and cause them to freeze, and doing this makes it easier for eels to scoop up prey. Also Catania discovered that eels can make short jumps out of the water to sting their prey. According to Catania, this attack is “both literally and figuratively shocking.” He learned this from the famous battle between horses and eels  that Alexander von Humboldt witnessed about 200 years ago, when eels jumped out of the water attacking the horses with their electric shock. Because of Catania’s dedication to the study of eels, we now know more about these creatures’ ability.

In the end, Dr. Kenneth C. Catania’s discovery now makes us realize the beauty of the ocean and all the creatures and animals in it. The studies in 2014 and 2015 give us a greater perspective on an eel’s shock. After Catania’s study, the question remains: how do eels get their energy or electricity to give their shock, and how did these strange animals come to be?


National Geographic

The New York Times

 Research News at Vanderbilt University


Learning to Read



        As children learn to read, the world around them takes on a whole new dimension; signs become meaningful, directions become more clear, and stories and books offer an entirely new world of fantasy, adventure, and discovery. While your child will certainly receive great instruction in school, there are tons of fun and simple ways to reinforce those lessons at home and on the go. Below you will find an overview of how great reading skills develop, and our favorite tools for supporting literacy growth.

       The first building block of reading is phonemic awareness, which is a child's ability to hear and identify the sounds in spoken words.  This is a skill that can easily be developed on-the-go as you shuffle your child around the city by challenging her to think of rhyming words, or by playing I Spy with beginning or ending sounds (I spy with my little eye something that begins with a /d/ sound). 

       Once your child is able to hear these individual phonemes (which is just a fancy word for sounds), she can begin to learn learn the letters that go with each one. This predictable sound-symbol association is called phonics. While this word is often synonymous with dull and repetitive exercises, it doesnít have to be. With hands-on games such as Alphabet Go Fish and Alphabet Bingo, you can spend quality time with your child and help her learn letter names and sounds. Digital resources also offer the opportunity for engaging independent practice, and the best of them allow you to monitor your child's progress as well. Some of our favorite phonics apps include Learn with Homer, Phonics Island, and Letter School, which also targets handwriting skills.

       After these foundations have been laid, it will be time for your child to work on developing her fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. The first is a question of practice makes perfect. The more your child reads, the better she will be able to quickly identify words; and the more your child hears a fluent reader model how to read with expression (pausing at punctuation, showing excitement at exclamation marks, etc.) the better she will learn to do this herself. The last two building blocks of literacy will develop as a result of talking with your child about books. It is important to not only ask about who, where and what is involved in a chapter or story, but to also think about bigger picture concepts and connections that can be made. What motivates a character? What are some of the problems or challenges she faced? How did she overcome them? How was the book similar or different to your child's real-life experiences? 

       Most importantly, though, reading should be fun. The more you, as a parent, are able to express and share excitement and enthusiasm for stories and books, the more likely your child is to embrace the exciting possibilities of written language!