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Entertainment

Earth Day

Every day should be Earth Day, but April twenty-second is just a great reminder that we are all merely inhabitants on this planet and should care for it as it cares for us. Sure, throwing away your trash in the right bin or turning off one light before you leave the house won’t save the world, but together everyone can do their part to make a difference and preserve the natural environment for the years to come.

In the spirit of Earth Day, follow these few simple steps to make sure that the footprint you leave behind helps the world rather than harms it.

Step 1: Turn It Off

Leaving electronics like computers and televisions on without actually using them simply wastes energy (and money!). Only keep devices on when actually using them, and doing easy tasks like turning the lights off when you leave a room saves power and your wallet.

Step 2: Eat Less Meat

Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but cutting out or cutting back on red meat from your diet can have a significantly positive effect on the environment. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “the production, processing and distribution of meat requires huge outlays of pesticides, fertilizer, fuel, feed and water while releasing greenhouse gases, manure and a range of toxic chemicals into our air and water.” Can’t bear to give up a good tri-tip? That’s fine! Even reducing your meat intake can still make a difference.

Step 3: Recycle More

Before you throw something away, check to see if it can be recycled instead. You could be giving a product a new life instead of leaving it in a landfill to pollute our world and endanger animals.

Step 4: Compost

Don’t want to feed yourself with that wilting salad you “accidentally” left in the back of the refrigerator? Feed the Earth! You’ll keep waste out of a landfill, create natural fertilizer, and lessen a build-up of methane gas created by waste breaking down anaerobically.

Step 5: Cut Out Plastic

It’s as simple as buying a reusable water bottle and bringing reusable bags to the grocery store. Small changes to your life can make a big difference.

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News

History in Flames

On April 15, around 6:30 p.m. Monday evening, a fire erupted in the attic of famed Parisian cathedral Notre Dame. It then quickly spread to the roof and spire, integral sections of the establishment. Major parts of the structure did not survive the blaze, among them the lead-and-wood spire, built in 1860 by Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, and the ceiling of the nave (the long main section of the building).

The Gothic-style landmark, eight hundred and fifty-six years old, began construction in the center of Paris, France, during the reign of Louis VII. The first stone of the building was laid in 1163, and the beams and exterior of the roof date from between 1220 and 1240. Through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, major restorations and additions were made. The stonework and iconic stained glass windows depict scenes from the Bible, and the three hundred and eighty-seven steps up to the famed towers take visitors past stone chimeras and gargoyles, highlights of the architectural masterpiece.

Thankfully, the main structure, including the two bell towers, have been saved, along with the trio of immense stained-glass designs known as the Rose Windows. The Crown of Thorns, considered the cathedral’s most precious relic, was rescued, as well as the Great Organ which still contained pipes from the Middle Ages.

More information:

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News

Grab Your Tissues

Lots of rain and incoming warm weather make up the perfect recipe for a high pollen count this year, so grab your tissues.

In the Bay Area, where trees and flowers are blooming in excess, this season promises to be a tough one for allergy sufferers. “The pollen is able to travel sometimes 20 miles and it is certainly being spread evenly around the county,” says allergy specialist Dr. Bruce Paterson. He recommends allergy shots, a form of immunotherapy that lessens the effects of the various pollens.

If you’re not up to that, there are other ways to protect yourself (and your credit card, namely from tissue purchases) this season. First, the pollen count is often highest in the morning, so try to stay inside as much as possible then. Keep yourself protected indoors by keeping doors shut and using air conditioning instead of opening a window to cool down, both at home and in the car. In the chance that Walnut Creek gets more rain, the air is often cleanest and free of pollen right after a heavy downpour.

Allergy relief medication can also be a lifesaver – the local CVS often stocks nasal sprays, antihistamines, eye drops, and decongestants to relieve suffering and perhaps make spring a little more enjoyable.

Additional resources:

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Issue 6 Magazine Opinions

Why The Future Should Be Female

When a young girl looks up on the wall at a poster of our nation’s leaders, forty-four male faces stare back at her. Why is this? Do people not think that women have the capacity and intelligence to preside over our country?

Actually, facts prove quite the contrary. A 2014 survey of approximately 16,000 leaders and their co-workers found that women had a 54.5% leadership effectiveness rating, as compared to 51.80% of men. The same study examined more specific categories such as “takes initiative”, “displays integrity and honesty”, “inspires and motivates others”, and “collaboration and teamwork”, and found that women received an average of scores 3.9% higher than men. When the American Psychological Association released a study analyzing what leaders say about themselves versus what colleagues say, women were rated as significantly more effective than men overall, as well as in business and educational organizations and leadership level. (For the record, men self-rated themselves as much more valuable than their female counterparts).

      A twelve-year study led by Quantopian discovered that, when compared to the male-dominated S&P 500 enterprises (an American index of the 500 largest U.S. stocks), female-run Fortune 1000 companies produced equity returns 226% better than those from corporations led by men.

     According to the American Journal of Political Science, women also achieve more in Congress than men. Females secured an average of $49,000,000 more per year for their districts than male legislators, sponsored 3 more bills and co-sponsored 26 more bills per session, and bills they introduced survived deeper into the legislation process. 

      Aside from all the facts and percentages, perhaps the greatest outcome of putting a female president in office would be inspiring young women and paving the way for future leaders. The year 2020 marks a century since the 19th Amendment was passed – the bill that gave women the right to vote in America. This marked a turning point in U.S. history, and it’s only fitting that we continue the progress and reach for a day when presidential pronouns are not limited to “he” and “him”. Not only that, more than 112 women currently serve in Congress, a significant increase from the previous record of 107 female representatives. Most every girl grows up being told that she can be whatever she wants, but never truly believes it. These advancements are only the beginning to proving that one day, perhaps sooner than we expect, a young woman can look up to a female president and truly think to herself,  “one day, that can be me.” 

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Opinions

Yoga Before Bed

Getting a better night’s sleep is easier said than done, but yoga might be here to help. In this day and age, lack of sufficient sleep is an unfortunate norm, but relaxing body and mind exercises like yoga and meditation can aid in getting good rest. According to siddhiyoga.com, yoga “promotes a restful sleep” and relaxes the body and mind as well as “improving breathing and reducing stress.”

A study conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School followed twenty people with insomnia over the course of eight weeks who practiced yoga before bedtime. Participants kept sleep diaries and reported increased total sleep time, better sleep efficiency, and faster sleep onset latency (the amount of time it takes to fall asleep).

People often have trouble sleeping because they have something on their mind, and yoga can help “empty” out the brain to ensure a peaceful rest. “Doing yoga before bedtime will allow toxins to be released,” says Siddhi Yoga, “which calms the mind” and “takes daily stresses off the body.”

Yoga breathing techniques can also help reverse the effects of snoring and sleep apnea, as well as alleviate stress and anxiety. All in all, just taking a few minutes out of your day to practice yoga can greatly improve sleep and give you the rest you need to take on your day.

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Entertainment Uncategorized

Avengers: Endgame

A third official trailer for much-anticipated Infinity War sequel Avengers: Endgame was released March 14, and, as expected, fans dissected every second of the clip. A short teaser was released during the Super Bowl, following the first glance into the film from December 7.

However, directors and brothers Anthony and Joe Russo threw fans for a curve in a recent interview, in which they reported that content from the trailers might not even be in the movie. According to MovieWeb.com, the pair “made it that way by design,” so “some of the footage in the trailer is intentionally manipulated.”

For fans who are aggravated by this plot twist (I know I was – I want to know what I’m getting myself into here, people), Joe Russo has a well-crafted explanation that I will begrudgingly accept.

“We look at the trailer as a very different experience than the movie,” stated the director. Audiences are so predictive now that you have to be smart about how you craft a preview, because “an audience can watch a trailer and basically tell you what’s going to happen in the film.”“The thing that’s most important to us is that we preserve the surprise of the narrative,” he says. “When I was a kid and saw The Empire Strikes Back at 11 a.m. on the day it opened. It so profoundly moved me because I didn’t know a damn thing about the story I was going to watch. We’re trying to replicate that experience.”

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Entertainment

Wakanda Forever – Black Panther wins Oscars

Marvel’s blockbuster film Black Panther may have been released over a year ago, but that didn’t stop it from continuing to break records at last Sunday’s Academy Awards. Despite Marvel’s nineteen other successful movies, this blockbuster film became the first in MCU history to win an Oscar. Not one, actually, but three: Best Original Music Score, Best Costume Design, and Best Production Design. (The film was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing).

According to Wired.com, Black Panther’s costume designer, Ruth Carter, became the first African-American woman to win the the Best Costume Design category. Production designer Hannah Bleacher continued the winning streak, not only becoming the first African-American woman to win Best Production Design, but also the first to be nominated for the award.

Many of the movie’s cast was at the awards ceremony to witness its achievements, including Chadwick Boseman (T’challa), Danai Gurira (Dora Milaje warrior Okoye), Michael B. Jordan (villain Killmonger), Angela Bassett (Queen Ramonda), and Letitia Wright (fan favorite princess Shuri).

Other notable Marvel actors in attendance included Captain America’s Chris Evans, Ant Man’s Paul Rudd, Captain Marvel’s Brie Larson, Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie from Thor: Ragnarok), and Samuel L. Jackson, who plays series regular Nick Fury.

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Issue 5 Magazine News

Assassins Game at Las Lomas

Whoever said that Nerf guns were for kids clearly has never heard of Assassins, the popular game that has found its way into the traditions of Las Lomas. So, if you start seeing some suspicious-looking juniors and seniors patrolling downtown loading cartridges full of neon foam bullets, don’t worry – it’s all part of the fun. 

Assassins, a privilege reserved for juniors and seniors, is a game in which groups of three try to hunt other assigned groups of three. According to senior Alle Carrol, leader of the game this year, “‘kills’ happen when you shoot someone on the team you are assigned to hunt, or on the team assigned to hunt you.”

“Kills” are achieved by hitting your target with Nerf guns. Basically, you try to “kill” the people you’re hunting or are being hunted by, without getting yourself “killed,” in order to continue on with the game.

Why do students play? First off, there’s a fairly significant cash prize for the winning group, so teams have that incentive to encourage them to win. Also, it’s an upperclassmen-only opportunity, so “kids tend to like taking advantages of those kinds of privileges,” Carrol says. “Freshmen and sophomores aren’t allowed to play… and it makes upperclassmen want to take advantage of being able to play when they can.”

“I enjoyed Assassins because it was a fun and exciting way to learn about people who you normally wouldn’t see outside of school,” says senior Flora Blandl. “It’s a group effort, so you can bond with your friends, and at the same time, you might learn the names of people you didn’t know before.” As for the paranoia that might come with being hunted: “Even though it’s scary to feel like someone could be following you at all times, that nervousness can be equally exciting.” 

Hunting at Las Lomas begins on February 11th; however, school campus is a safe zone during school hours, meaning that you are not allowed to play the game on Las Lomas grounds. Assassins has been a tradition at Las Lomas for at least the past four years, so by following school rules and making sure this is a fun and safe opportunity for everyone, the game can be continued for years to come. Watch out!

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News

Let It Snow

Skiers, snowboarders, and snow lovers unite – this 2019 winter has been quite a white one, and the snowstorms aren’t projected to stop any time soon.

Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, both prominent ski resorts in the Sierra Nevadas, have gotten 503 inches of snow this season – that’s 42 feet of much-needed precipitation.  According to the Sacramento Bee, Squaw received 246 inches, or 20 ½ feet, in February alone. That breaks the record for the month by 50 inches and is only 3 feet less than the snowiest month ever recorded.

California’s snowpack, referring to the amount of snow on the ground at a given time, is at 141% percent so far, which is already way above the April 1st benchmark when the snowpack is typically at its highest. The National Weather Service reported that California has received about 18 trillion gallons of water this month, enough to fill up 45% of Lake Tahoe.

Much of this beneficial precipitation can be attributed to the atmospheric rivers, narrow bands of concentrated moisture in the atmosphere that have been dumping rain along coastal California and massive amounts of snow in the mountains. This has helped replenish our water supply and pull most of the state out of drought. Even more storms are projected to pass through in coming weeks.

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Opinions

Too Paranoid, or Not Enough?

I can’t describe to you the panic I felt when I first heard the shots ringing through the air; the sounds of people screaming and dropping to the floor. I can’t describe to you the terror I felt as I hid, curled into a ball, underneath a counter, praying that one of my worst nightmares wasn’t about to come true; hoping that the 911 operators my coworker was urgently dialing would get to me before the bullets did. And I can’t describe to you the relief I felt, washing over me like a tidal wave, when I learned that what I thought was an active shooter was actually just an old car backfiring a few times.

But I can tell you this: Our society is really, really messed up if something as simple as a worn-down vehicle slightly malfunctioning can cause two hundred people who were simply ice-skating over the holiday break to think that, even for a second, their very lives were in peril.

    No, it’s not that we’re so irrationally paranoid about something happening to us that our mind immediately jumps to the worst conclusions when hearing a loud bang. It’s the fact that we have reason to be paranoid, and a good one at that – according to Business Insider, when defined as “a single incident in which four or more people are shot and/or killed”, there have been three hundred and seven mass shootings in the United States in 2018.

This was only a painful reminder that these recurring tragedies are much more modern reality than appalling dystopia.