The Cost of Your Next Shopping Spree

By Abi Parameswaran

Sweatshop labour, something all may have supported in society at some point; two wards that continue to manifest its way throughout humanity. The daily cycle of students in this country primarily consists of waking up, brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, going to school, getting an education, considerably a normality in the Forest Hill community. This is not the case for many kids in other parts of the world. Many are forced into the physical labour industries as young as ten years old.

Stores like H&M, Joe Fresh, Forever 21, Aldo and many other clothing and accessory companies are culprits of this form of labour. People often work in dangerous, unsanitary locations for long periods of time, with unlivable wages to provide for their families. Many are unaware of these things and often when issues come up relating to this it is often hidden quickly or forgotten about.

Imagine coming home one day to find out that you would never be able to go back to school again; even worse you would be forced to work in an environment without windows, in large unstable buildings, or in polluted small confined spaces. However, realistically this is not imaginable since most of us live in conditions far from this and instead wear clothing that is formed at these types of factories. 

Many of the working conditions of these sweatshop factories are indeed brutal and workers that already live in financial and physical catastrophes tolerate these issues to scrape together less than a sufficient amount to raise a family. One of the most talked about incidents relating to sweatshop labour facilities is the Joe Fresh factory that collapsed in Bangladesh in 2013. Over thousands were injured and more than 250 were killed. This incident brought to life the real issues that surrounded sweatshop labours and after this incident, many companies promised to improve the working conditions and wages of workers in these factories. Most developed societies believed this blindly and many forgot about these incidents. Even though the evidence of change may have been present, it is far from being sufficient.

Still, many companies do not have functioning fire exits or safety precautions set in order, many companies still employ children at fourteen in working conditions that are unsafe. However, this factor does not change much for workers as they will work for as long as they can put food on the table and still face the risk of dying every day on the job. Thinking of the way that most of our clothing is sourced 

 

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CTV News

 

This is one of many imaged depicting the rubble created by the collapse of this factory

Making the big switch from shopping at stores that condone sweatshop labour to stores that enforce actual rules and laws in their factories are very hard. It is not always easy or affordable for many since many continue to live in different financial conditions. Change can be made; understanding the concept of sweatshop labour and knowing which stores do endorse this form of labour is indeed helpful. Perhaps the next time anyone decides to go on a shopping spree consider buying less from stores that endorse this and make small changes in their lifestyle.

Talking about this issue will change the way many see this and will promote people to think more about where their clothes come from and the reason why clothing tends to be affordable. Ignorance is often the reason why many are blinded to the many issues related to sweatshop labour and their affiliation with it. Perhaps learn about companies such as Lush, American Apparel, People Tree, Modcloth and many other on the list who either contribute less to this cause or make all their products within the country.

Coming to terms with the issue and talking about this can potentially change one’s life since corporations do catch on to number and once they see a drop with sales due to customers knowledge of a corporation’s actions they are compelled to create change! Perhaps a slow transition into shopping non-sweatshop labour by buying or supporting one initiative that sources products appropriately can be a start.

The idea of creating change starts in the hands of the consumer since they have the most power in the livelihood of billion dollar corporations and the billions of people that live by such companies all across the globe. Forest Hill change starts small and through the hands of the people. 

FHCI Students “Saddened​” By​ Holocaust Announcement Assembly​

On Friday Morning, instead of the regular Holocaust Assembly on Yom HaShoah, Forest Hill Collegiate Insitute changed it up and had a 15-minute assembly on the announcements during the second period. Jewish Culture Club members discussed the tragedy that was the Holocaust and honoured the approximately six million Jews and five million others who perished in the Holocaust as a result of the operations by Nazi Germany and its collaborators.

The assembly was broadcast across all classrooms in the school and discussed the importance of hearing about the Holocaust, the horrendous nature of genocides and listened to beautiful prayers for peace. Students were encouraged to turn off their phones and direct all their attention to the assembly. The announcement also talked about the recent anti-Semitic graffiti that was found on a student poster at Northern Secondary School.

Although many teachers and students believed that the assembly was a positive change, others had very different opinions. Grade 11 Student, Bailee Cohen, says that her “entire class had a debate” and felt like the assembly was “lazy” and “disrespectful”. Cohen also noted that the school has long assemblies in the auditorium for Prom but lack assemblies for “important days”, such as Pink Day. Her English class wrote a letter to the administration with her teacher that expressed their feelings for the assembly, according to Cohen.

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Other students shared similar opinions with Cohen. Noa Wolfe, a student in Bailee’s English class, says “the announcement played at my school this morning was a cop-out for the Holocaust assembly that Forest Hill has put on for years.”

I believe the millions of people who died during this time deserve more than a 10-minute speech over the intercom.

Wolfe says that she looks forward to the assembly every year. “It is an opportunity for me to learn more about this issue in an engaging and creative way. However, this year the assembly was cancelled and a quick announcement was put in its place.” She thinks that the regular assembly should not have been cancelled, “especially because of the large Jewish community Forest Hill has.” She adds that “we as a school should have given the very few survivors left the respected that they deserve.”

Marlee Moskoff, a grade 11 student at Forest Hill Collegiate Insitute, says that “the announcements were not nearly as effective as an assembly would’ve been. Assemblies have visual and audio components which are more engaging for students.” She noted many flaws with the new assembly, such as the fact that students tend to tune out for announcements. “The message of the Holocaust is important enough to take students out of class to better communicate the message.”

This is an extremely important message to me because my family was targeted in the Holocaust and I want there to be as much awareness as possible.

After the assembly, classes were invited to come to the foyer to sign a poster for “upstanding,” which was discussed in detail during the announcement. Upstanding is defined as an “honest” and “respectable” member of the community.

 

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Students on the March of the Living (2018)

 

A grade 12 student, who requested to stay anonymous, had this to say:

 I will agree that being an upstander is important but I am unimpressed that more time was spent on discussing the addition of this word to the dictionary than was spent honouring and remembering the Holocaust.

Eight students, initially driven by grade 12 student Jalen Manett, wrote a formal email to the administration about the importance of having a “real” assembly. They write:

“…Yom HaShoah is a day that hits close to home for many students at our school, a school with an above average Jewish student population, as for many it is a day to remember personal connections to the Holocaust through family members who perished or were affected by this tragic event. Many of us were even lucky enough to have had the unforgettable opportunity to march through the death camps in Poland and hear first-hand recollections of the heart-breaking stories of those who survived this tragedy. That is why myself and countless other students, both Jewish and not, were particularly upset by the decision to condense this year’s remembrance assembly into an eight-minute announcement. During which time my classmates who do not understand the significance of the Holocaust went on their phones, completed their homework, and took nothing away from this presentation.

The main reason why myself and many others were so concerned by this is this gradual shortening of our initiatives to commemorate the Holocaust just goes to enforce the naysayers and Holocaust deniers who base their claims on a lack of information and knowledge, which we as a school are enforcing by neglecting to educate students properly on this important piece of history. Especially in light of the recent actions at Northern Secondary School I know the Jewish community at FHCI saw an increased importance in this year’s Yom HaShoah initiatives. I hope you will take our concerns into consideration as we only want to celebrate our history in a positive way with the rest of the Forest Hill community.”

 


The views reflected in the article do not necessarily illustrate the opinions associated with The Golden Falcon newspaper.

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Why Your Earphones May Be Killing You

By Josh Blatt

Music plays a massive role in modern day society. Almost anywhere at Forest Hill, students can be seen with Apple earphones in their ears. With the introduction of portable music players and apps such as Spotify, it is easier than ever before to listen to music on the go. However, there are a variety of dangers regarding the use of these devices that are often overlooked. The primary issue is how the music is [restrict]listened to. More often than not, people choose to listen to their music using headphones or earbuds while out in society. People play their music far louder than they should which poses auditory health risks, are not as alert which has led to more accidents involving pedestrians listening to music, and people are more socially isolated as a result of listening to music out in public.

First of all, the volume at which many students listen to their music at an extreme high. According to a study from the World Health Organization, there are over 1 billion people that are at risk of hearing loss as a result of listening to their music too loudly. Furthermore, the study found that 50% of people in wealthy countries around the world from ages 12-35 on listen to their music at unsafe audio levels. If youth keep on listening to music at the intensity that they do, the irreversible hearing damage will be an inevitable reality for many of them.

Earbuds can cause more than just auditory damage. A person who is listening to music and walking cannot as easily listen to their surroundings, meaning they are at a higher risk of being injured. The number of serious injuries caused to those listening to music while walking has tripled since 2004, with three-quarters of these accidents resulting in deaths. In British Columbia, it is illegal to listen to music with headphones while driving because it decreases the driver’s ability to hear emergency vehicle and police sirens, the honking of other vehicles on the streets, pedestrians, and other things. This same reasoning can be applied to pedestrians listening to music with headphones on, showing how this can be very dangerous.

There is also an argument to be made that listening to music in public is socially isolating.

There is also an argument to be made that listening to music in public is socially isolating. People are significantly less likely to start up a conversation with you if you are listening to music with headphones on. It would even be reasonable to that this contributes to the loneliness epidemic that plagues Canada’s youth since it has become that much more difficult communicate with one another. Additionally, it is quite annoying to try to get the attention of others when listening to music.

Having all of that said, there are some solutions to each of these problems. To prevent hearing damages, the World Health Organization recommends that you don’t go above 60% of the maximum audio level allowed on your phone and take listening breaks every hour. If somebody really wants to listen to music in public and also be relatively safe and socially integrated, perhaps a better option would be to only put one earbud in, so they can still listen to their surroundings. Music is a fantastic form of self-expression and entertainment; it just has to be listened to at the correct volume level and in a safe setting to lower the risk of potential harm.

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Salvator Mundi: The Last Da Vinci?

By Marian Pascual

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi is without a doubt, one of the greatest artistic rediscoveries of the 21st century.  It is one of the few 20 surviving Da Vinci paintings which made it a huge worldwide media sensation.  But what made the Salvator Mundi worth $400 million dollars?

On November 15 of last year, the painting was offered in a special lot in the Post-War Contemporary Art Evening Sale at Christie’s in New York.  Starting the bid at $70 million, the painting was sold 19 minutes later with the record sum of $400 million, breaking the record of the most expensive art piece in the world.  How crazy is it that [restrict]500 years later, Leonardo had no idea that his painting would be sold for over $400 million dollars, which is a million times greater than the currency back then!  Today, the painting is in the hands of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The history of the painting dates back 500 years ago (around the 1500’s) according to experts, and is known for certain that it was painted for King Charles I, since it was recorded in his royal inventory a year after his execution in 1649.  Salvator Mundi (‘Saviour of the World’) is a painting of Jesus in a Renaissance holding the world in his left hand, and giving a benediction or blessing with his right hand.  At first, the painting was thought to be a copy of a lost original, but after research and its removal over overpaint, the painting was restored which proved its authentication as the original one.

But can this be the last Da Vinci?  According to some reports, Salvator Mundi is cannot be the last Da Vinci since the Duke of Buccleuch owns Da Vinci’s Madonna of Yarnwinder, and if sold at auction, it would be sold for at least $1bn…  It would not be a surprise that after seeing the results from Salvator Mundi’s auction, he wouldn’t mind selling his Da Vinci too!

It is fascinating to think that after hundreds of years, the world would rediscover such an exceedingly rare painting by one of the world’s greatest painters.  With the development of technology, who knows what else humanity could discover?  Lucian Freud’s Francis Bacon?  Or the existence of aliens?  Only time will tell.[/restrict]

Racism in the Environment?

By Abi Parameswaran

Global warming, temperature modification and pollution; these are only some of the thousands of different issues across the world, some of which are addressed, and others hidden in plain vision. These problems remain prevalent in our society even though many hate admitting it. Most are unaware of environmental racism and continue to say it is a made-up distraction to take the focus off real issues. Inequalities, within the environment, is the reason why many areas lack support. It is a real issue across our country and in the world. Environmental racism is the lack of awareness directed at some geographical areas, the causation being political problems, societal standing and overall judgement. This problem is well-known in areas with strong minorities and can be seen in the early 1960s within Canada and with first nation communities in present days. Issues in unknown areas are ignored and it effects variations of citizens in the world.

Environmental racism has been in Canada since the sixties. In Nova Scotia, Africville was known to be home to families of people who were slaves. This area was a product of neglection. People lived there without sufficient water source, adequate housing, or functioning schooling systems. Africville did not get funds to live in a healthy environment. People who live in Africville separated after the government decided to destroy the area for being overly contaminated and an eye-sore. This area within Nova Scotia faced racism because of the absence of awareness and care to go towards the land these citizens lived on. The same problem remains, the First Nations communities and reserves across Canada being an example. Many First Nations people are harmed by projects such as pipeline constructions, lack of funding on reserves and educational needs not being met by people living on the land. All these factors are known and although efforts are made to stop these problems it is always temporarily talked about in the media than mass populations turn a blind eye shortly after. Even though advocates continue to fight for these simple rights for these communities many often commoners do not look further into issues of equality within the environment. Is it fair to subject Indigenous members of this country to such harsh living standards? The fact that Indigenous members of Canadian society have issues related to the environment that is not being addressed is a problem since many other areas do not face these inequalities and are oblivious to communities that do.

Spreading knowledge on this topic will help people realize it is an issue. However, people need to accept it is an issue. Living a life masked to these issues will only worsen the environmental standings of areas affected by this. This is a problem faced all over the world and being oblivious to such issues only makes this problem widespread and worse. Anyone that continues to believe environmental racism is not real, this is only one of the thousands of cases in the world. People need to realize that inequalities related to the environment exist all over the world. There are countless times these are spoken about, yet as a society, there is no progression being seen. Organizations can only take control and question such issues for so long. The general public needs to become aware of this situation and talk about it and address it. Considering that many are still oblivious to racism amongst people and continue to use racial slurs and offend people it is tough to bring awareness about a completely new realm of racism. This is just proof that awareness is needed in all areas of racism considering it is still prevalent in society. Environmental racism is one of many forms of discrimination that continues to exist across the world. With the awareness and action taken for these issues someday, as a society racism itself may become a word of the past. Everyone deserves the right of feeling safe and having access to the necessities in life, and if the factor that stops them from receiving this is inequalities in the environment than this is a serious issue and more people need to know of it. People need to wake up and see the reality of things as many issues are not as clear as perceived to be.

Semi-Formal, You Asked For It.

By Sapna Humar, Matthew Lindzon and Esther Eisen

Complaining may be the norm for Forest Hill students. Our school is now known as an academically inclined and non-spirited environment. This Semi-Formal seemed like a test: could FHCI students finally rise to the task and find their spirit and pride? The short answer: sort of. Almost all students at FHCI have been so used to being upset about the lack of school spirit and excitement. However, only 15% of students purchased a ticket to the Semi-Formal dance.

Only 15% of students purchased a ticket to the Semi-Formal dance.

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When February 15th came, I, along with most others, had some doubts, but we all came out of it feeling like it had been more-or-less successful. Generally, the overall opinion I got from most people who attended the dance was that it went better than they had expected. The venue was small, but it was enjoyable and didn’t feel cramped in the slightest. The decorations added ambience, and the DJ provided us with some great music. There were refreshments and snacks offered, as well as a photo booth, which I thought was one of the main highlights. My favourite part of the night though was the general vibe and atmosphere of the place — everyone was dancing and having a good time, and I feel like it was the first time in a long while where people were actually proud to be a part of this school and contribute to its identity. All of this, as well as the music and venue, served to make for a great evening.

Naturally, there were some things that could have been improved. For instance, although there were drinks and some snacks offered, there could have been more food provided. There was little to complain about other than that, but of course, the one major problem was the smaller number of attendees in comparison to the entire population of the school. It was already an overall great experience, but if more people had bought tickets and come, it would have been even better. Despite the constant complaining of FHCI not having any dances or events, once one did finally come along, people were reluctant to buy tickets. I don’t know if that was because of the venue, the cost, or the lack of school spirit, but I do know that this dance set an example for the years to come. Hopefully, others will be encouraged to buy tickets for future events, to not only have a good time, but to support our school as well!

In the past, Forest Hill has had some problems with school spirit and with making the place feel welcoming and exciting. This dance, which has paved the way for many more dances to come, was a huge step forward in skyrocketing our school spirit and improving the sense of identity shared by Forest Hill students. Thirty-five dollars may seem like a lot, however, in the grand scheme of things, an experience like a Semi-Formal in high school is priceless.

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Students at the Semi-Formal dance downtown on February 15th

The question I kept asking myself was whether students were not buying tickets in the first place based on the idea that they did not want to go to the event, or was it that students genuinely enjoy complaining about school events. For the last decade or so, students have been accustomed to complaining about the lack of school spirit in our school. A possible reason why tickets sales were not amazing could have been that students get satisfaction from finding small problems from events, more than having a spirited event itself.


Here are the stats for the event:

The number of students who attended: approx. 150

Most students attending were in grade 10, then grade 12, then grade 11 and the least number of students were in grade 9.


To sum it up, I think the semi-formal was both successful and necessary. Yes, there were not as many students as there could have been, but this only proves that Forest Hill was able to pull it off, even with a limited number of students.  Of course, a huge thank you goes out to the members of Student Council, as well as all of the staff who helped organize and supervise the event. These people, and all those who bought tickets and supported the dance, were what made it possible, and what helped set a strong precedent for Forest Hill’s bright future.

Students who did not attend the event probably are happy they did not ‘lose’ $35. The people who went to the dance likely are happy that they gained a great experience. When I am 50 years old, and I am looking through my Yearbook from high school, I hope I will feel joy remembering the great time I had with my friends at this event.

Maybe once students see that others had a great time at this dance, they will realize that they can ignore the small imperfections of this night and just have a good time. So what if they did not have food? Eat before the dance! The Semi-Formal was not about experiencing a perfect night; it was about having pride in our school and coming together as a community.

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Logan Paul is Making Some Noise

By Nat Jenkins

On December 31st, YouTube “star” Logan Paul uploaded a video to his channel featuring a suicide victim in Aokigahara, commonly known as the “suicide forest” because of the large number of people that take their own lives (estimates claim that over 100 suicides take place each year, although Japan no longer releases its death counts.)

Forbes Magazine ranked Logan Paul as one of the top entertainment influencers in the world; major companies pay him considerable amounts of money to post sponsored videos. With 15 million subscribers, it is no doubt that his videos have an impressionable effect on his audience, targeting mostly teenagers and children.

The extremely problematic video consisted of Paul and a small group of his friends planning to stay overnight in the woods where he hoped to “focus on the haunted aspect of the forest” and potentially film supernatural events. Paul’s attitude throughout the entirety of the video is disgusting, it is hard to tell whether or not he is being serious. In fact, upon discovering the body of a man who recently had commit suicide, his reaction was not of respect, but rather excitement:

“This is the most real vlog I’ve ever posted to this channel,”

and continued to say that “this is YouTube history because it never been done before.” While this in itself is repulsive, Paul continued to film the body of the victim and failed to hold back a laugh. “This was all going to be a joke; why did it become so real?” Aokigahara was and never will be a joke, Aokigahara is not a tourist attraction; it is a mass grave. In fact, Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, and at Aokigahara, Japanese officials have signs displayed around the forest asking victims who may be suffering from mental illness to seek help.

The following day Paul had received overwhelming backlash, as he should. Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul, Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner, and American Actor Dylan O’Brien are some of many who had criticized him for his actions.

In an attempt at good faith, Paul uploaded a one-minute-long “apology video” to his channel (notably, which did not contain any resources for anybody suffering from mental illness, which he claims to support.)

He also uploaded an apology to Twitter:

“This is a first for me. I’ve never faced criticism like this before, because I’ve never made a mistake like this before. I’m surrounded by good people and believe I make good decisions, but I’m still a human being. I can be wrong. I didn’t do it for views. I get views. I did it because I thought I could make a positive ripple on the internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity. That’s never the intention. I intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention and while I thought ‘if this video saves just ONE life, it’ll be worth it,’ I was misguided by shock and awe, as portrayed in the video. I still am.”

Paul’s apology is not sincere. He is only defending his actions. If he truly wanted to “raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention,” then he should have included resources and tools that can help people who are suffering from mental illness. Not only that, but the video is monetized, meaning that if you allow the presence of advertisements before your videos, YouTube will charge advertisers for these and share the fees with you, allowing you to make some money from people viewing your videos.

After it was revealed that the video was monetized, Twitter went on to boycott Paul’s YouTube video to ensure that the vlogger would make no further profit. The fact that Paul’s video is monetized clearly raises the questions as to whether or not he is truly sorry for his actions, and if his initial intent was to raise suicide awareness and prevention.

Some people are frustrated with YouTube’s lack of intervention since Paul himself removed the video. Recently, however, YouTube has finally decided to reprimand Paul for his actions.

YouTube posted a statement on their Twitter account apologizing to its users and promised that “changes are on the way,” implying that “further consequences” would be at hand for Paul.

In addition to this statement, a YouTube spokesperson stated in a press release that the company had removed Paul from its Google Preferred advertising tier, cancelled the upcoming fourth season of the YouTube Red series Foursome, and temporarily stopped the production of Paul’s films in its “Originals” category, including the upcoming sequel to YouTube Red’s first feature-length thriller, a dystopian sci-fi called The Thinning.

Despite this, his self-created business empire still exists. He will continue to make an estimated eight-figure profit each year – according to a Forbes estimate – since he earns the remainder of his income without YouTube involvement, mostly through brand deals and his popular merchandise.

That means that Paul’s financial success is not entirely up to YouTube, but mostly to his fans and sponsors. If his fans stopped going to his meet and greet and buying his merchandise entirely, his earnings could drop 50% at least. This is unlikely, however, as PewDiePie (another YouTuber who had a recent controversy) managed to earn $12 million last year.

It is sickening that Logan Paul will virtually face no significant consequences for his actions. Suicide is not – and never will be –  a joke.


 

Editors Note: Contributing article by Natalie Jenkins. Natalie’s conclusions expressed in this editorial do not represent the predilections’ of our writers, contributors and editors. If you would like to comment on our articles or columns, refer to our contact section above.

 

The Mystery In Space Programs

By Ethan Blumberg

I have always asked myself why the Canadian and American governments annually spend enormous amounts of money on their respective space programs and different international space initiatives. The scale of the spending has led to a constant debate in both Canada and the United States for many years. While I do understand the global importance of space exploration, I believe that the two nations that are at the forefront of the field are allocating funds at a senseless rate. It seems to me that the negligent spending of both Canada and the United States is taking away funds from serious issues the two Countries face back on earth.

Growing up in Canada I have gained a good grasp of the adversity our continent faces and at the same time, I realize the magnitude of resources needed to combat issues such as unemployment, education and poverty. The transparency of how much is being spent by Both NASA and the Canadian Space Agency allows for me as an average citizen to see the immense capital needed to fuel the two organizations that are so synonymous with space exploration. The financial numbers that are constantly being exhibited by the two groups are extremely large, but rarely indicate or just what exactly will come out of the funding.  An example of this neglectful spending is that the Canadian government set aside $379 million in the 2016 federal budget just to preserve our countries partnership with the International Space Station.  Canada went ahead with the investment knowing there may not be a great return on the massive deal that was reached. Professionals, alongside elected officials, decided that this was the best use of all that money, while around 4 million Canadians still live with food insecurity. This statistic includes the over 1 million children in Canada who live in a household that struggles to put food on the table. Knowing this how am I supposed to be able to come to terms with the fact that Canada is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to enhance space exploration, at the same time that many of my fellow Canadians are facing detrimental obstacles in their day to day life.

There are similar issues with the much larger scale and more dynamic National Aeronautics and Space Administration South of the border. NASA is a storied part of the American government, with a long history of success. However, that is not so much the case anymore. Not being able to achieve the same level of technological breakthroughs has led me to believe that the inefficiency of the United States space exploration program should result in even more cuts than have previously occurred to this date. NASA’s yearly budget is still close to 20 billion dollars. The portion of the federal budget that NASA receives is about an astonishing 40% of what the U.S. federal government spends on education each year.  The public education system is often criticized for reasons such as overcrowding within American public schools. These numbers are just another illustration of the unconscionable mismanagement of federal funds that are going towards the countries space program rather than to assisting those in need.

Finally, I think it is important to state that I don’t want to discredit any of the programs I spoke upon, because I am well aware of the importance of NASA, the Canadian Space Agency and space exploration as a whole. I just believe that both Canada and the United States should take a step back and re-evaluate how they are funding their own space programs. In order to ensure the government doesn’t make negligent spending decisions that could instead be going towards more egalitarian causes.


Ethan is a grade 11 student at FHCI and is a Social Issues Editor for The Golden Falcon newspaper.

Image Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyEzsAy4qeU

Women Can Be Abusers Too

By Vanessa Ifepe

A pop star by the name of Melanie Martinez was accused of rape by her former friend Timothy Heller, a former member of the band Dresses. This accusation was said against her on Monday and quickly after, she sent a tweet out to her followers stating the accusations were a lie and Heller agreed to what had taken place. The next day, Heller told Newsweek that she thinks Melanie became aware of the pending accusation a month before which when Timothy sent out a tweet saying she was debating telling her story.Melanie tried to contact her numerous times probably for the purposes of keeping her quiet. Although a truly horrendous story, it brings up a conversation that isn’t had enough. It speaks the hidden truth, women can be abusers too.

With all the recent sexual assault allegations in Hollywood, we only see men being accused for this horrible crime but the reality is, an abuser has no gender. Anyone is able to be a perpetrator just like anyone can be a victim. Heller even explains in the Newsweek article that she didn’t come forward because the fact that Melanie wasn’t a man made her feel like her experience was invalidated. When reading all the abuse stories under the tag #metoo, she couldn’t determine whether her story was classified as abuse. This is the problem with our society. We assign gender to everything and when something does not go the way society views it, we see it as impossible. This should not be the case. Just like many other sexual assault victims, Heller loved Melanie even after it happened and felt that it was her duty to protect her by keeping the incident a secret.

“Girls can rape girls,” Heller wrote in her testimony on twitter, “best friends can rape best friends.” Melanie took advantage of her during her weakest point and tried to make up for it by helping further her career in little ways. She let Melanie abuse her because she loved her, because she felt she owed her and mainly, because she just wanted it to stop. This is the underlying tone of so many other victims stories and it’s sad to admit that, the people who you love can hurt you the most. It doesn’t matter who they are or what gender they identify as, they can hurt you.  In the words of Heller, friendship does not equal consent. Family members do not obtain automatic consent either.  It’s important to understand that anything that violates you or makes you feel uncomfortable in ANY way, is NOT okay.

Melanie had the audacity to contact Heller shortly after saying that she should go meet a healer. If the allegations are true, that’s such q cruel thing to say to someone whose pain you caused! How convenient to be concerned about the friend you cut off ties with after they accuse you of rape.

I am so happy that Timothy was inspired by the recent sexual assault accusations and came out with her own story. It angers me that people would abuse someone’s trust is such a way and then pretend as if the emotional toil that comes after is not their fault. It saddens me that this story may get neglected and skipped over just because the accused is a women. The world shouldn’t be like this. This shouldn’t be assigned to a gender, it just doesn’t make any sense to me why the world operates this way.  I encourage everyone who reads this to follow up on this story, read Timothy’s testimony on twitter and remember that, women can be abusers too.

I know fans of hers may be reluctant to believe these allegations and I get it. Nobody wants to believe someone they look up to would do something so horrible but I encourage you to set aside your bias and focus on the important message behind this allegation.


Image citation:

Nabaum, Alex. “Abuse.” theispot Stock, https://www.theispot.com/stock/search?search_stock=Abuse&search_stock_match=all&stock_subject=&stock_type=. Accessed 19 Dec. 2017.

Winter Break: Top Places to Go in Toronto

By Jessica Huong

Can you believe that the winter break will start in less than two days? How exciting! But, do you have anywhere to go? The two weeks might feel a bit stale if you have nothing to do. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Here are some ideas for some fun and interesting destinations, all within our city!

1. Escape Rooms

It’s cold outside, so why not have some fun inside? A fun activity doesn’t have to be outdoors! With a group of close friends, you could spend your time doing an intense escape room! There are several types ranging from simple rooms to scary ones, so choose one that matches you best. There are several locations in Toronto that you can go to for this!

2. The Distillery District

This pedestrian-only, 19th century inspired area in Toronto can be a very interesting place to visit, especially with its beautiful architecture, shopping locations, and the popular heart-shaped statue. This district is a great tourist attraction and a very interesting place to visit, whether it’s with family or a significant other. This must be a place that everyone must see at least once in their lives… so why not during the winter break?

3. Yorkdale Shopping Mall

You’re probably thinking that this is an obvious option, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be an interesting place to go! Yorkdale mall is one of our city’s most popular malls at the moment, especially after its recent renovations. There are a large variety of shopping options, like affordable clothes from Forever 21 or Chinese meals from the food court’s Manchu Wok. Not to mention, Christmas and holiday sales will be everywhere! You can pick up presents at a good price for your family while doing some browsing with your friends. Doesn’t that sound appealing?

4. The Royal Ontario Museum

Are you interested in art or history? What about both? If you answered yes to either of these questions, we have a suggestion for you – the Royal Ontario Museum! This oddly shaped museum can be a very interesting place to go when it’s freezing outside. Actually, this winter the ROM will be transformed into a lovely winter wonderland and will host special exhibitions. Check it out with friends or family and it’ll be a wintry scene to remember!

5. Home

Most of the first school semester has finished, and you must be exhausted. If you really aren’t in the mood to head out, that’s alright. You can enjoy your time simply cozying up next to the fireplace or binge-watching TV shows late at night. In fact, check out our article on Netflix shows to binge watch. Home, sweet home!

There you have it – the top places to go during the winter break in Toronto! We hope this gave you some ideas of what you want to do for the next two weeks before school returns. Have fun and don’t forget to dress warmly – it’s cold out there!


Jessica is a grade 12 student at FHCI and is a Technology Editor for The Golden Falcon newspaper.

 

Image Citation:

Hovland, Oivind. “a4092ir1095.” Theispot Stock, www.theispot.com/stock/search?search_stock=Winter&search_stock_match=all&stock_subject=&stock_type=.

The Beginning​ of Real-Life Cyborgs

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RFID stands for radio frequency identification. Many of us have never heard of RFID though most people this technology daily. It can be found inside library books, keys of vehicles, passports and, even in credit cards. RFID chips can store and relay information, enabling it to identify commercial products. Recently, due to interest from the masses, this technology was adapted into distinct areas of the market. Several individuals, for example, see the benefits of tagging their household pets so they can be tracked.

In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration approved human “tagging” to help retrieve medical records, but not many people signed up. The line between technology and reality blurred a little more when companies like Three Square Market allowed their employees to choose if they want a chip injected between their index finger and thumb. The chip, using RFID technology, enables the employees to enter the office building, use copy machines, share business cards and pay for food all with the swipe of a hand. Fifty employees in River Falls, Wisconsin have already agreed to have the chip implanted.

“We see this as another payment and identification option that not only can be used in our markets but our other self-checkout/self-service applications,” said Three Square Market COO Patrick McMullan.

It is clear that the RFID chips do not keep data regarding where you are or were, but the employee’s smartphone can – any iPhone could quickly provide data to nosey supervisors. Right now, this program is only voluntary though there is nothing stopping companies like Three Square Market from urging employees into getting these chips.

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Some people take this technology a step forward. Artist Neil Harbisson was born with achromatopsia, which means he can only see black and white. Harbisson has implemented a specialized electronic eye which executes colours as sounds on a musical scale. Essentially, he is able to “hear” colour through his device. “When I started to dream in colour, I felt [that] the software and my brain had united,” said Harbisson. He was excited about the technology and so, decided to establish the Cyborg Foundation, an organization whose aim is to assist humans in becoming cyborgs.

The most important thing to do is to set standards on the RFID chips. These should outline specific ownership and control over all implants, including educating the public with widespread literacy on how the chips work and what they are programmed to do.


To read more stories on technology, innovation and science, check out the science and technology section.

What Was Wrong With the TDSBs Attempt to Close Specialized Programs

By Josh Blatt

The TDSB previously announced in their Equity Task Force’s report that they would be planning for “optional attendance and specialized schools [to] be phased out.” This would mean the closing of programs such as advanced placement, gifted, cyberarts, MaCS, TOPS as well as many others. For obvious reasons, there was a large community uproar, as the school board threatened to close many of the programs that people are currently enrolled in or are passionate about. As a result, the taskforce amended their report and removed this clause. However, to many including myself, it is not clear what would have led them to believe that this would be beneficial. Are there reasons that specialized programs should be closed despite the Equity Task Force’s decision discard this idea? Or, was this an example of equity being stretched too far?

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Toronto District School Board (TDSB)

 

Equity can be defined as the equality of outcome, rather than the equality of opportunity. For instance, giving every student the same amount of time to complete a test is an example of equality. In contrast, giving specific students who have been professionally determined to require extra time on tests is an example of equity. The objective of both equality and equity is to create fairness, but they evidently each do so in a slightly different manner.

Nevertheless, it seems as though the taskforce felt they could achieve equity by closing many of the specialized programs and redistributing the funds that were previously allocated for them amongst many of the less fortunate schools to improve them. Given that the objectives of extra time on tests and closing specialized programs are the same, why is the latter so much more controversial?

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TDSB Education Office – Toronto, ON

 

The main distinction that must be made is that equity (generally speaking) is fairer than equality if it does not negatively affect the general population. For example, giving students who require it extra time on tests does not negatively impact the rest of the class. However, the situation becomes far more complex as soon as you take resources away from one group to give it another. In the case of the Equity Task Force’s initial recommendation of closing specialized programs, the students aspiring to attend and attending these programs would undoubtedly be negatively impacted. The question that should be asked to determine if this should be done is: would the benefits of the additional funding at worse off schools outweigh the benefits these specialized programs offer to the students? If this were to be the case, then the equity task force should have explained these to the public. But since this was not done and a blanket statement saying that specialized programs would be phased out, it is no surprise that the community responded as they did.


Josh Blatt is the Head Social Issues Editor for The Golden Falcon newspaper. Write a letter to the editor via email at FHCIGoldenFalcon@gmail.com.

Let’s Talk About Those Sexual Harassment Allegations

The Golden Falcon responds to the Sexual Harassment Allegations in Hollywood


By Sapna Humar and Abi Parameswaran

 

So many allegations, such little time—how can this be justified? It’s been less than two months since the Harvey Weinstein scandal began to unfold, and yet, there have been numerous accusations toward other men in power positions since then. It seems that this case was the catalyst for many victims to come forward and bring these people to justice. It seems incomprehensible and malicious, to see men, and even women, in power abuse their authority in such a way to harm those who are simply trying to make a living in this complicated society.

It all started on October 5, when the New York Times published an article where decades of allegations against Harvey Weinstein were brought forth by well-known actresses such as Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd. Later on, after the news blew up, Weinstein was fired by the board of his company. Numerous celebrities, such as Brie Larson and George Clooney, openly responded to the Weinstein allegations, which spurred the Twitter hashtag “#MeToo,” which flooded social media with stories of harassment and assault all across the world. This hashtag brought to life the story of many other women and men who continuously struggle to face their sexual harassment issues within their own lives

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Kevin Spacey

Over the next two months, it seemed like every news story was about men or women who used to be respected, but now had been accused of sexual assault or harassment. The next big-time actor to be accused was Kevin Spacey, just over a month ago. Even more recently, on November 29th, American television journalist Matt Lauer was accused of “inappropriate sexual behaviour in the workplace” and his employment was promptly terminated by NBC News. Another case, brought forward on December 4th,  had Melanie Martinez, famous singer-songwriter, accused of rape by her former friend. This proves how it is not only men who commit these disgusting acts, but women as well, and both should be given equal punishment for their crimes. For these allegations to come out so recently shows that this issue is far from over and there are, without doubt, many more men and women out there who have so far gotten away with it. Hopefully, they will receive retribution as more and more victims stand up for themselves and others like them.

Of course, it is impossible to discuss sexual harassment without mentioning Donald Trump, President of the United States, and a very controversial figure in the media. He has over twenty different allegations against him from a variety of women, including his ex-wife, yet was still elected into office, giving us a hint as to where American priorities truly lie.

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Donald Trump, President of the United States

These atrocities can never truly be justified. Simple apologies and ignorance should not be the approach of the abuser—there must be real change seen in society. The fact that people are able to come forward and talk about these serious events already show the progression that is being made on the issue of sexual abuse and assault. However, it should not end there. People should continue to speak up about the injustices they face, and steps should be taken to ensure that this ruthless behaviour is halted. The countless allegations within the past weeks are unjustifiable, and the fact that so many stories have been brought to light in such little time shows the seriosity and longevity of this issue. It is time for this to stop. It is time to take a stand, one story at a time.

Perhaps it was Weinstein’s case that gave victims the courage to come forward, or maybe it was our changing society, that is slowly moving towards the de-stigmatization of sexual assault. Whatever it was, whether they be famous celebrities or middle-class workers, victims of sexual harassment and assault are no longer afraid to openly accuse the wrongdoer. They are no longer afraid to bring the perpetrators to justice, even though they may be men or women in powerful positions. The benefits of social media can clearly be seen with these cases as the bandwidth of victims from all across the world are coming together to voice their hidden stories. The past two months have been revolutionary for this topic and for these people, and if we continue on our current path as a society, if we continue to support and accept victims of sexual assault, our future will better and brighter than ever. Change is happening and these two months are proof of it. The difference that can be seen through word of mouth and awareness is truly profound, and will only lead to good things ahead.

 


Abi and Sapna are grade 11 students at FHCI and are both part of the editorial team of The Golden Falcon newspaper.

Take a Knee Campaign

Red Alert Politics

By Vanessa Ifepe

Twenty four NFL players at Wembley Stadium in London, took a knee during the
American National Anthem in protest of Donald Trump. This was after Trump made a
comment about players who take a knee during the anthem needing to be fired. Time
and time again, Trump has proven to get under people’s skin and caused protests
across the country. The constant intertwining of sports and politics has been frown
upon, but that doesn’t stop the players apparently. First it was Kaepernick sitting down
during the anthem and now this. If you ask me, it’s a wonderful movement.
I think it’s a good thing for various sections of the world to get involved. It helps spread
awareness and lets the people know that they aren’t ignoring this. It shows them that
they are listening as well and not taking everything with a grain of salt. I am not one to
get in the middle of politics, but this is something I am strongly for. It irritates me when
celebrities do not use their authority to be for or against things that can heavily influence
the public in a good way. What is the point of having a voice if you are too afraid to use
it? This is a big flaw in our world today. These NFL players are setting an example of
what celebrities should be doing and should have been doing already. Better late than
never.

20 ccs of Gun Control, Stat!

The Federalist
By Tatiana Bogdanov

26 people were killed on November 5th. Another 20 were injured. Texas experienced its worst mass shooting in modern history, in a church. Sutherland Springs, the community in which it took place, is shaken.  

The pastor’s 14-year-old daughter is among the dead.

Devin Patrick Kelley is the perpetrator of this crime. At around 11:20 am, he was seen at a gas station across from the church. Shortly after, he crossed the road, and opened fire as he entered. The shooter soon fled the church, as another resident opened fire on him. He was later found dead in his car due to a gunshot wound.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen something like this. Hell, it’s far from the first time we’ve seen something like this. Take a look at what happened in Las Vegas, where 58 people died and 546 were injured, the single deadliest mass shooting in American history. The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, where 20 children died, remains burned into many people’s minds.

Under the most narrow definition of mass shooting used by the Congressional Research Service, America has seen 10 from January 1st to November 5th of this year, one a month. Under the broader definition that the Gun Violence Archive uses, America has seen 307 mass shootings at the same time, raising the average to seven a week.

So what’s wrong? Why is this happening, in one of the most developed countries in the world? Why are we seeing so many innocent people reduced to statistics?

I’d wager to say that gun control may be the issue here.

Apparently, not even a shooting where 58 people were killed can convince American lawmakers that something has to be done. Not even a shooting where kids lost their lives could convince American lawmakers that something has to change. Not even a shooting in a church, a sacred place for the 67.3% of Americans that practice Christianity/Catholicism, is enough for a, “huh, maybe laws do have to change”.

Of course, not every American is turning a blind eye to this. In fact, most aren’t. According to the Pew Research Centre, 52% of Americans believe that gun control laws should be more strict. There is broad support for preventing people with mental illnesses from purchasing guns, requiring background checks at gun shows, and creating a government database to track all gun sales. But, the Centre also finds that these people are less likely to contact government officials about gun law reform, than people that are in favour of less gun control.

So, in the end, nothing gets done.

After a mass shooting in America, the news is overtaken by the event. The conversation, however, has little focus on gun control laws. We receive coverage of what happened, some talk about gun control reform from liberal news sources, and lots of talk about how it’s the fault of mental illness from conservative news sources and the NRA, until something else happens, and the country just… moves on. Shrugs it’s shoulders, and looks away. The debate for stricter gun laws is never long enough to actually push for any change.

It’s almost as if people have become numb to the carnage because we see it so often.

And of course, conservative news sources aren’t necessarily wrong; America does need a better way of “dealing” with people with mental illnesses. They need to implement more support, more understanding; destigmatize it so people feel comfortable seeking out this support. Make psychiatric services more accessible for legitimately struggling people.

But I personally don’t think this is the root of the problem. The way America deals with mental illness also has to be discussed, but the number one way of preventing so many mass shootings?

Gun control laws.

We’ve seen it around the world. It’s not a particularly radical idea.

In 1996, Australia experienced its history’s worst mass shooting, and promptly tightened up gun control (which included buying and destroying over 600,000 firearms from its population), and it hasn’t had a mass shooting since. After a school shooting in the UK, the Firearms Act 1997 was passed and all gun crimes fell dramatically. Japan has banned all swords and firearms, with a 1958 law stating, “no one shall possess a firearm, or firearms, or a sword, or swords,” and in 2014, only had six reported gun deaths.

Even Canada, perhaps the most similar country to the US, deals with gun laws better. And, we can still be considered as “having a gun control problem.” We have the fourth highest rate of gun homicides when compared to the countries in the European Union. 331 shootings have taken place in Toronto this year alone. We just have to look at the shooting that occurred at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City on January 29th, to know that Canada has work to do too.

Comparing Canada to the US though? It makes Canada seem pretty damn strict. Canada implements background checks for anyone purchasing a firearm, in any situation, focusing on mental illness and addiction. The US only requires one when purchasing from a licensed dealers. Canadian residents wishing to purchase a firearm are required to take a safety course, which includes a written and practical exam, and have to retake it every five years. In the US, there is often no such requirement.

As Canadian citizens, as the neighbours of the good ol’ USA, we have to be concerned about this problem. What starts in the US can spread all around the world.

We’ve seen that with Donald Trump and his ideologies, with 92 lawmakers part of a far-right party being elected in Germany, with the January mosque shooting in Canada being perpetuated by a man who expressed support for Trump.

So for now, we should work on minimizing gun violence in Canada and the countries still dealing with this problem, and hope that the US follows suit. No country should have citizens dying for no reason at all.

Period.

“How many people will have to die before we will give up these dangerous toys?”

-Stephen King, Guns


Do you agree or disagree? Share your opinion here.

Creative Writing: Janitor

A Raymond Carver Style Short Story

By Esther Eisen

The alarm rings. I sit up and look at my messy apartment. I get up and take a
quick shower before putting on my uniform. It still smells from yesterday. I finish up
getting ready and walk to the bus stop.
The bus comes and it’s the same bus driver as usual. We nod at each other
and then I go and sit down. I overhear two teenagers.
“Oh my god, I hate school,” she says.
“It’s the worst. I’m so stressed. I just want to go home,” he says.
“I can’t wait to graduate and move on. I hate the whole high school
atmosphere. Just looking at the building gives me chills,” she says.
“Same. It’s so gross. Just yesterday I felt gum under my desk. Isn’t it
someone’s job to make sure it isn’t there?” He says.
I feel my face flush. I clench my fists. I take deep breaths and move to the
Other ends of the bus.
As I walk to the back door of the school, I see my co-worker, Andrew. We
started working here the same year.
“Hey,” he says.
“Hey,” I say.
“How’s it going?” he says.
“It’s alright,” I say.
“Same,” he says.
I walk to the basement and into the room. As I walk through the halls, I hear
conversations among the students.
“I want the new iPhone because I’ve had mine for a year and sometimes it
freezes”, she says.
I look down at my flip phone as I hear a boy say, “Yeah, I’m getting a car for
my grad present. But it better not is some junk car or else I’m going to be mad.”
Once I’m in the room, I grab my equipment and walk up to the top floor girls’
washroom.

“Anyone in here?” I say.
“Yes,” a girl says.
I wait 3 minutes. The girl walks out. She looks me up and down and then
walks away. I walk in and mop the floors. I could do this in my sleep.
My pager buzzes. It’s the boss.
“Kid threw up in room 142. Take care of it, would ya?” He says.
“Yes Sir,” I say.
The day goes on and eventually, my day is finished. I don’t have money for the
bus ride home so I walk.
“Got any food?” a homeless man says.
“Sorry, man,” I say.
I climb the stairs past the urine to my apartment.
6:30 AM. I wake up and repeat my day. I do the same job, see the same
people, wear the same clothes. But today feels different. There’s a new kid on the
job.
“Welcome to the job,” I say.
“Thanks. I have some first-day nerves but it should be fine. How long you
been doin’ this? ” he says.
“Twenty years,” I say.
“Do you like it here?” he says.
“It pays the bills”, I say. “I’ll give you the tour and show you how things work
for the first few days,” I say.
This means I have double the work to do but my boss told me to and I can’t
say no. Today isn’t all bad though; it’s payday.
I go to the convenient store to get my lottery tickets.
“Payday, huh?” the clerk says.
“Yep,” I say.
“you’re usual?” she says.
“Yep,” I say. I pull out the $500 I cashed at the bank.
The clerk hands me my stack of tickets. “Good luck,” she says.

“See you in two weeks,” I say.
“See ya,” she says.
The next day I get up and go to work. I wash the floors, I clean the toilet
bowls, I refill the soap. After work, I go to a pub so I can watch the TV. I put aside a
few bucks for a beer and rent. I stay for a while and watch the soccer game. I talk to
a few women and almost bring one home. I stay late to hear the winning numbers.
The next day I wake up and go to work. Andrew sees me.
“Hey,” he says.
“Hey,” I say.
“What’s new?” He says.
“Not much,” I say.

5 Reasons Why CRISPR is Beyond Exciting

Rafael Lopez

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By Matt Lindzon


Starting now, scientists can successfully edit the DNA of viable human embryos using the new gene-editing tool called Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat commonly known as CRISPR. It can efficiently tweak almost any gene in any animal or plant. This technology could be the first step in preventing infants from having incurable diseases or disorders. Despite all its benefits, CRISPR has stirred up some discussion on the ethical implications of genetically altering human embryos. Though, in this article, we’re going to focus on the positives:

CRISPR HAS STIRRED UP SOME DISCUSSION ON THE ETHICAL IMPLICATIONS OF GENETICALLY ALTERING HUMAN EMBRYOS.

  1. Scientists have been able to successfully reverse signs of Huntington’s disease as they were able to remove corresponding genes from test mice. The researchers are one step closer to using this technology on humans. It is entirely likely that this brilliant technique could one day be used on humans as well.
  2. CRISPR Gene editing has been used by researchers to make viruses force superbugs to kill themselves. Scientists are hopeful that they will be capable of developing new ways of conquering antibiotic-resistant pathogens. https://twitter.com/merebauer/status/897957502175682560

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    nobeastsofierce/Shutterstock
  3. Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh have used gene editing to eliminate HIV from three different living animal models. CRISPR allowed them to remove the virus DNA which cleared up acute and latent infections.
  4. Using CRISPR, mosquito-borne diseases could be eliminated. Scientists have discovered a technique that can limit the outbreak of mosquitoes by editing their fertility genes.
  5. Thanks to CRISPR, we can now target the hybrid fusion genes that sometimes trigger tumour growth of cancer. Researchers have made a cancer-defeating gene that can even shrink tumours in mice who have prostate and liver cancer cells.

Judge or King of the League: MLB MVP Races

By Aaron Gotkin

Hot days filled with sunshine and children wearing shorts hardly feels like a typical fall day. Nevertheless, it is fall and that means time for postseason baseball. So far in the playoffs, underdogs have rallied and surpassed some top tier teams in series filled with energy. The playoffs and the upcoming World Series may be an exciting event on everyone’s upcoming radar, but there are still MVP awards to decide upon.

In the American League, there are a plethora of different types of talents to pick from with no sure winner. However, the popular vote is likely to be Aaron Judge. This tight end playing right field for the New York Yankees has had an unheard of the rookie season. This season he passed an old home run king, Mark McGwire for most round-trippers hit by a rookie, with a daunting 52. With his limitless power this season he as well has scored 128 runs and has hit in 114 of his teammates, first and second in the AL respectively. MegaJudge’s unlikely counterpart in this MVP race is the 5”6-second baseman for the Houston Astros, Jose Altuve. Unlike Judge, Altuve has posted a far above .300 batting average of .346 which led the entire MLB this season. Along with his portrayal of superior contact ability this season, Altuve has hit 24 balls out of the park and has scored 112 runs, second only to Judge. The small yet quick Venezuelan has also swiped 32 bags and has played Gold Glove-caliber defence. Although one of these men could be mistaken for the other’s son, they both have strong cases for AL MVP especially with their teams currently competing in the American League Championship Series.

Altuve has posted a far above .300 batting average of .346 which led the entire MLB this season

The National League has a quite opposing feeling to the AL race. There seems to be an almost guaranteed MVP winner with only a few other unlikely candidates. It is almost certain that the NL’s 6”6 version of Judge, Giancarlo Stanton will take home the award this season. He has led the entire MLB with 59 home runs, the most by any player since 2001. He has put up massive run production numbers with 123 runs scored and 132 batted in. His team might not be in the playoffs, but his historic season builds a great case for the award. The only other players that have a minute chance to beat out Stanton’s insane season are two fellow Colorado Rockies, Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado. This duo each place in the top ten of almost every NL stat but still seem to stand inferior to the aura of Stanton.

This season has been filled with players aiming to hit the ball out of the park every at-bat and trying to maximize their chances with new hitting philosophies as well. More and more balls seem to be flying over the fence every night and it seems that the player in each league with the most balls over the fence is going to win their respective MVPs.

“Love of Violets” from New York, I Love You: A Film Commentary

 By Marian Pascual

     It is hard to capture the definite meaning of this film, but what intrigues the audience most is probably the delicate mystery that unfolds, ever so slightly.  New York, I Love You is a recreation of the original film, Paris, Je T’aime, where a variety of segments are filmed in different parts of each cinematic city.  The seventh segment of New York, I Love You featured the chicer part of the city – Fifth Avenue- where a woman revisits a hotel and encounters very strange things during her stay there.  I urge you to watch this film because it raises the question of existentialism and because overall it is a very beautiful film.

     In “Love of Violets,” a woman revisits a fairly vacant hotel in Upper Manhattan, where she is assisted by a crippled Russian bellhop.  We learn that she is a retired opera singer, and about her love of violets.  She requests for some to be brought up to her room, and somehow there were already some violets waiting for her in the lobby… coincidence? Not just yet!  The bellhop reveals that his father, who is also the manager of the hotel, was a great admirer of her singing back in the day; he had watched her perform many times in Paris.  Suddenly, the bellhop has a random violent nosebleed inside her hotel room, and then leaves the scene (as if things could not have gotten weirder).

     At the end of the film, the bellhop offers to close the window for her.  As he walks towards the window, he slowly starts to fade into the light. He says his final words before he falls to his death, “How can you bear it? I don’t know how you can bear it.”  It could be that perhaps he relates to how she feels about not being physically able to do the things that make her happy, the same way he is crippled, which restricts him from enjoying life to its maximum capacity.  Or it could be that the melancholy bellhop is part of some kind of schizophrenia she has (because she was seen talking to herself in the first few minutes of the film) and symbolizes who she is on the inside, crippled and physically restricted from doing what brings her the most happiness – to sing.  This theory is backed up by the fact that whenever the bellhop made an appearance in her room, he was reflected in the mirror that the woman was also reflected in.  Therefore, it is to say that she was symbolically looking back at herself in the mirror, and the bellhop represented the struggling part of her inside that we tend to mask to the outside world in order to portray a happier image of ourselves.

     After the bellhop commits suicide, something even more strange occurs.  A second bellhop, who we can assume to be the original one, climbs back from the balcony to tell the woman that there was no one down there and suggests she could have just seen something in the street.  He then offers to close the window for her once again, and she  replies very firmly: “Yes, please close the window.”  This could mean that she accepts the sad truth of never being able to sing again, and that she wants to start new, without having that sad person conscience restricting her from living her life.  Towards the end of the film, she was seen dressed in a white gown, almost like she was getting engaged.  A wedding symbolizes a new beginning, and in this case it was the beginning of an end, and that is what I think Shekhar Kapur intended to do with this beautifully haunting film.