A Synthesized Illusion

By Isabella Howe

March 8th, 2021

Sleep is a fascinating phenomenon. According to sleepfoundation.org, as human beings, it is required that the body obtains at least 7-9 hours of sleep if over the age of 18, and 8-11 if one is under the age of 18, with an increase in the amount the younger a person is.

When calculated, the average person spends a total of 26 years sleeping and seven years attempting to fall asleep (dreams.co.uk). Sleep is essential as it permits the body to accomplish a set array of tasks that the organ system would not be able to complete in any other state. 

In a state of sleep, the brain interchanges between REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and non-REM sleep. In most cases, the body begins the process of sleep in a non-REM state. The brain starts to lose its responsiveness to the outside world as bodily processes begin to slow; this is a transition from the stage of sleep known as N1 to the stage of sleep known as N2. The N2 stage is the phase that the brain spends the majority of a night’s sleep in as it lasts about 30-60 minutes which is the longest phase in the cycle. During the N2 phase, the body decreases its overall temperature and begins to form what are known as “sleep spindles” which are “bursts of coherent brain activity” (sciencedirect.com). 

  The body eventually transitions to the N3 stage, which is a “deep sleep” that only lasts from 20-40 minutes. During this stage of sleep, the brain is characterized by its production of delta wave signals. If one is to be awoken at this stage,  it is common to experience a mental fog known as “sleep inertia” (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). During the N3, the body performs the most crucial and essential task of sleep: it enacts a series of tissue, bone, and muscle regrowth as well as immune system strengthening. 

 Finally, the brain will enter REM sleep characterized by its erratic eye movement as well as fast tempo breathing. Only at this stage does a person experience what most would believe to be the only purpose of sleep, dreaming. The brain achieves this phase about 90 minutes into rest. The first REM period may only last about ten minutes, but during its last periods, it has the potential to last up to a full hour according to ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.

  During the sleep stage REM, in which the body actively dreams, it is possible to experience an occurrence known as “Lucid Dreaming”. Lucid dreaming was recognized and named by a Dutch psychiatrist named Frederik van Eeden in the early 1900s. Eeden is also responsible for recognizing the nine types of dreams that naturally take place (science.howstuffworks.com). Lucid dreaming is a term assigned to a form of sleep in which the dreamer is actively aware they are dreaming, which can then allow such dreamer to enact control over their dream. While lucid dreaming, the sleeper’s consciousness of the fact that they are in a dream does not take away or diminish the vivid experience dreams are characterized by. Some may not be able to control their actions while others may. As stated by webmd.com, lucid dreaming is a rare marvel that only occurs a handful of times in a year by around half the population. 

  Through a study looking into the science of lucid dreaming, researchers arrived to the conclusion that there is a bias in which people are more likely to observe a lucid dream. It was concluded that those with a more highly developed prefrontal cortex are shown to have a greater chance. The prefrontal cortex is a part of the human brain developed through evolution that allowed prehistoric humans to excel and reach a state of brain development that diverged from any other species (Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari). It is here where the cognitive ability to make decisions and recall memories occurs. Those who spend time contemplating decisions and deep thought evidently have a higher chance of lucid dreaming. It has also been discovered that lucid dreaming can not be distinguished as being either asleep or awake but rather in an in-between state. 

  Even though lucid dreaming is shown to be a more likely occurrence for those with highly developed prefrontal cortexes, ultimately, there are ways to manipulate and artificially cause the brain to produce a lucid dream. There are a selection of methods to do so. Keeping a journal in which you record any memory of a dream you had has shown to increase the chances of having lucid dreams as it allows the mind to focus on the process of dreaming and fundamentally become more aware of it. Another method is to wake up, after a suggested five hours of sleep, stay awake for a short period of time, attempting to hold on to the drowsiness, and then allow your body to fall back asleep and reenter the REM stage. This creates a passageway into the state of neither sleep nor consciousness where the lucid dreaming is suspended. Another method is to simply repeat to yourself in a series of repetitions that “I am going to lucid dream”. This creates a mentality focused and determined on the concept of lucid dreaming that can then translate into your rest. Lastly, it has been shown that drugs can also induce lucid dreaming yet this is the method least recommended as the repercussions and ramifications are at times drastic (webmd.com).

 The complete complexities and abilities of the human body and mind can leave one in awe. The ability to now direct and control one’s dreams is quite a discovery. The number of creative experiences that one might design through the process of rest are endless. Sleep does not have to be looked at as something to dread, as proven through factual evidence, it is possible to be highly productive in a state of physical idleness. 

Should Lawmakers Raise Minimum Wage?

By Kirstyn Hill

February 23, 2021

With the current minimum wage standing at $7.25 since 2009 regardless of the impact of inflation, it is about time Americans are due for a wage increase. With wealth inequality at an all-time high and the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly destabilizing the financial security of Americans nationwide, the need to raise the minimum wage is increasing. President Joe Biden’s 1.9 trillion dollars “economic rescue” package calls for gradually increasing the hourly wage in increments until it hits $15 in 2025. Additionally, it would be designed so the minimum wage is indexed to median wage growth, a move meant to guarantee wages keep up with inflation without needing new legislation. 

     It is believed that by gradually raising the minimum wage, incomes can keep pace with the increasing cost of living as well as, potentially lift millions of Americans out of poverty. A 2019 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report projected a significant improvement in the standard of living for at least 17 million people, assuming a minimum hourly wage of $15 by 2025, including an estimated 900,000 million people being elevated above the poverty line. An additional benefit from lifting so many people from poverty would be the projected reduction in federal and state government subsidies and expenditures for low-income individuals. The Economic Policy Institute found that increasing the federal minimum wage to $15/hour and eliminating the tipped minimum wage by 2025 would free up $13 billion to $30 billion in taxpayer revenue annually. 

     The downsides to raising the minimum wage are not to go unrecognized regardless of the potential advantages. Opponents argue raising the minimum wage could fuel inflation due to the probable consequence of businesses increasing their prices. By increasing the price of general goods, the cost of living increases, potentially negating any advantage to wage increase. The other projected problem is job loss among Americans. The 2019 CBO report estimates that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 would result in the loss of approximately 1.4 million jobs.  Additionally, it is argued that by raising the minimum wage, Americans incentive to strive for better opportunities may be diminished through the ability to maintain a comfortable lifestyle off of an entry-level position.

 Raising the minimum wage in the US from $7.25 to $15 over the next four years does not come without its potential negative outcomes. Regardless, raising the minimum wage and allowing it to be coordinated with current inflation is a policy that many lawmakers are set on passing. IN the U.S. from 1978 through 2015, they found that a 10% increase in minimum wage only accounts for around a 0.36% increase in prices, which somewhat disproves the fact that wage increase will have any huge impact on the price increase. However other downsides of raising the minimum wage do not go unnoticed, but the overall current consensus is that this could be the economic rescue the US needs following the pandemic. 

The Secret (and Not So Secret) Anti-Semitism Behind Conspiracy Theories

By Taylor Tomlinson

February 23, 2021

People often have a fascination with the unknown. We love science fiction, space travel, mystery novels; we’re obsessed with things we want to understand. The alluring pull for answers leads us on a quest for “the truth”, which can lead to falling down a rabbit hole on the internet. Our searches can lead us somewhere dangerous, in the hands of conspiracy theorists. In a country where the truth can become distorted in layers of bias, hearsay, and increasingly distanced from fact, it’s no surprise that conspiracy theories seem to be making their way into the mainstream.

  Conspiracy theorists have a different way of operating as opposed to the scientific method the public has known to trust. To them, you start with the conclusion you want and then look for evidence to support it, not the other way around. This biased researching process often leads to the finger being pointed at one group, in particular, the Jewish population. Anti-Semitism isn’t new, and neither is using Jewish people as a scapegoat for the world’s problems, but the internet and social media have allowed it to manifest itself in new ways. Lying underneath the surface of many conspiracy theories, Anti-Semitism festers and acts as fuel in the war against truth. 

  QAnon has been a buzzing news topic for the past couple of weeks after many claim that theory fanned the flames for the insurrection at the Capitol. For those who don’t know, QAnon is a far-right conspiracy that champions former president Donald Trump as a savior facing off against, as defined by the New York Times,  a “cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who are plotting against Mr. Trump while operating a global child sex-trafficking ring.” Before this year, QAnon has lived in the shadows and could be easily ignored. Once insurgents donning QAnon gear stormed the Capitol last month, QAnon posed itself as more than just a foggy theory spouted by lowlifes on a few dark corners of the internet. When alleged former QAnon believer Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia’s 14th District was sworn into office as a House of Representative member, the theory proved it had more of an influence on legislation than ever thought possible. 

  It’s no surprise that a conspiracy based on a group of people controlling the government and media would have anti-Semitic roots. While QAnon is not explicitly Anti-Semitic in its stated beliefs, the tropes it’s founded on have been used to cause Jewish people harm for centuries. The discourse of a secret community of left-leaning, non-Christians conspiring  against a white Protestant isn’t exactly fresh material. Its members have also been known to encrypt anti-Jewish rhetoric in its secret messages. According to Insider, “many Jewish figures, including (George) Soros, have been met with anti-Semitic attacks from the community.” While QAnon, a conspiracy that fosters racist, xenophobic, and anti-truth discussions, having anti-Jewish biases shouldn’t be a shock, it may be a surprise to learn that most Global conspiracy theories have some anti-Semitic roots. 

  Flat-Earth had a reinvigoration over the past five years. Popularized by internet discourse and social media, “Flat-earthers” believe the Earth is not a spinning ball orbiting the sun, but a stationary surface with the atmosphere hovering above it. This conspiracy has based itself in a primarily Christian support group, with claims of a fixed Earth throughout the Bible. Demonstrated by Psalm 93:1, the Bible states “Thou hast fixed the earth immovable and firm …” which some Flat-Earthers use to disprove a globed Earth. Flat-Earth also accompanies theories of the space exploration organization NASA coordinating to hoodwink the public about the shape of the Earth. While many consider this theory silly and baseless, few regard this theory as being anti-Semitic. It appears the venn diagram of QAnon supporters and Flat Earthers are closer than many realize.

  While the theory of a Flat Earth has inherently nothing to do inherently with anti-Semitic finger-pointing itself, it’s easy to identify similar tropes that run within certain conspiracies. For flat Earth to be even remotely conceivable, it needs to be understood that NASA required thousands of their employees spanning decades to be committed to one lie. During times of political uncertainty, some grow distrustful of government organizations. This sentiment can be felt within the Flat Earth community. When journalist Kelly Weill of the Daily Beast went to the Flat Earth Conference in 2018, she observed a pattern of anti-Semitism among the convention. According to Weil, she noticed “Two tables over, vendors are selling a weighty book on Flat Earth. “Zionist Jews control the educational system,” begins Chapter 33 (“Mind Control”). The second paragraph is a block-quote from the wildly anti-Semitic and fabricated conspiracy text ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’, which the Flat Earth author concludes is proof that Jews are trying to hide the Flat Earth, in order to undermine God and control the world.” As Weill points out, religious conspiracies thrive under political chaos, and this pattern can be seen way back during World War I. As people grow fearful of government, and accompanying organizations, such as NASA and the FBI, anti-Jewish fervor can spread as well. The Jewish community is not a new culprit, so it’s no surprise that when Christain ideologies are questioned and political tensions are rising, people find no trouble refusing the scapegoats of the past.. 

  Living in an echo-chamber can have its consequences, and the internet’s “dark alleys” almost always have hidden agendas and are simply trying to push their own narrative. Internet discourse can have real-world effects. According to PR Newswire, “the new FBI Hate Crimes Statistics report found that more than 60% of religious-based hate crimes in 2019 targeted Jews, an increase of 14% over 2018.” Falling down an internet rabbit hole can be exciting, but it’s important to be mindful about where your information comes from. The social media landscape is as dangerous as ever, and in the age of misinformation, personal bias almost always affects the truth. The urge to question the world around us is a good one that can push human progress. However, the rise of conspiracy asks how much questioning can be done until we have to wonder the very basis of fact versus fiction?

The Indoguration of Major Biden

By Logan Epstein

February 23, 2021

Knowing that Joseph R. Biden was soon to be inaugurated on January 20th, the Delaware Humane Association (DHA) decided to throw a virtual “indoguration” for Major Biden, the Biden family’s dog since November of 2018. Major is the first shelter dog to ever live in the White House, so the DHA, the shelter where the Bidens adopted Major, wanted to commemorate the occasion.  According to an article from People.com, “The virtual fundraiser, powered by Zoom, recounted Major’s rise from former shelter pup to future First Dog and was emceed by Today’s Jill Martin.”  This event was touted as the “largest virtual party for dogs’’ and was covered by national news outlets, such as CNN and NPR. 

The indoguration was held on January 17th, and was open to the public. It was sponsored by the DHA and Pumpkin Pet Insurance.  “Overall, over 7,400 animal lovers attended the event, which raised awareness about what shelter pets are capable of and raised over $200,000 for DHA.” Unfortunately, Major and his family were unable to attend the event, as they were preparing for their big move into the White House.  However, the event was filled with many loving and heartwarming photos and videos of dogs of all breeds and sizes.  The event itself was approximately 20 minutes long, and a couple of special guests joined to welcome the first pups into the White House. One of the first things done during the event was an attempt at breaking a world record, the most users in a pet video hangout.  Shortly after, Patrick Carroll of the DHA expressed his gratitude to all who joined the event, and showed a heartwarming video of some pets at the DHA, waiting to be adopted.  

Next on the agenda was a montage of some baby pictures of Major as well as some clips from his adoption.  The next item on the to-do list was to find a new secretary of rescue dogs, a contest which was won by Harper, a border collie.  The winner of the contest was determined by Darius Brown, who makes matching bow ties for humans and dogs.  This contest was followed by a short explanation of the goal of Pumpkin Pet Insurance.  Next up was a performance from singer and actor Josh Groban.  Unfortunately, the event had to be cut a little bit short as the site crashed because of the thousands of people attending the virtual event.  But it was, overall, a very loving and heartwarming event.  The video of the event can be viewed using this link.

  There have been so many pets in the White House over the years, there are almost too many to count.  In fact, there have only been three presidents who have not had a single pet while in office.  One of them was Donald Trump, and the others were James Polk and Andrew Johnson, according to this website.  During his campaign, Biden appealed to animal lovers by saying that he would bring animals, particularly dogs, back into the White House.  However, Major isn’t the only First Dog in the White House.  Champ Biden, the Biden family’s other German Shepherd, also took office in January.  The Bidens got Champ in 2008, and both dogs participated in the Biden campaign.

  Champ and Major have shared many cute moments on their very own Twitter page, which you can access by clicking on The Oval Pawffice.  Major and Champ wasted no time in filling the White House with their happy noises, and some of these adorable sounds can be heard in this press conference.  In an interview with NPR, Patrick Carrol, executive director of the DHA, summed it up best, saying, “If Major is good enough for the White House, a shelter dog is good enough for your house.”

The Zone of Death

By Maya Mellberg

February 19, 2021

The purge, 24 hours of pure freedom, the dystopian fictional story that could only exist in a horror film; but what if it existed in America? Known as the Death Zone, this portion of Yellowstone National Park is theoretically lawless. 

The 50 square miles of Yellowstone National Park in Idaho was the topic of interest in Michigan State Law Professor Brian C. Kalt’s essay, “The Perfect Crime”. Published in 2005, it revealed his discovery of the constitutional loophole that would make this portion of America a criminal’s heaven. 

While researching the technicalities of the sixth amendment, Kalt attempted to find a location that did not have enough eligible citizens to form a jury. To try someone for a federal crime, the jury would need to consist of people from the same district and state where the crime took place. Kalt was shocked to find that such a place existed, the Idaho portion of Yellowstone National Park fits perfectly. This part of Yellowstone is so remote (there are no inhabitants or courthouses) that it would be impossible to form a jury, no matter the crime. 

 Once Kalt discovered this Death Zone, he focused his essay on fixing the loophole. One  would assume a horrifying discovery like Kalt’s would draw the government’s attention, but shockingly it was ignored. 

In 2007 another piece was published to help gain attention from lawmakers, author C.J Box wrote Free Fire, a novel that featured the Death Zone. This novel sparked the interest of Mike Enzi, a senator in Wyoming who attempted to convince congress to discuss it, but the issue was left unresolved.

One would expect such an area to have skyrocketing crime rates because of this loophole. Shockingly the only known crime to have been committed was the illegal killing of an elk. Lawmakers have failed to address this issue and this section of Yellowstone remains “lawless”. Because of the government’s neglect on this issue, it continues to remain the Death Zone, with the inability to try someone in front of a jury these 50 square miles are America’s own patch of the purge.

Holocaust Remembrance Day

By Elle Baker

February 19, 2021

January 27th, 1945, the day Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army, now known as International Holocaust Remebrance Day. On the 60th anniversary of the Holocaust, the United Nations came together to commemorate a day for international remembrance, some choosing to following the January 27th tradition or other dates more meaningful to the nation, as with Israel’s Yom HaShoah observed on the 27th of May or April depending on the Jewish calendar. 

  Many are unaware there is such a thing as a Holocaust Remembrance Day since it is not widely reported on new outlets or practiced on social media. This goes hand in hand with the upsetting growth of Anti-Semetic and Holocaust denials across the globe. Only 16 out of the 50 states have a curriculum that require teachings of the genocide of 6 million Jews and 11 million others. The remaining states are often hot spots for Anti-Semetism and naivete to the reality of the Holocaust because they are uneducated. Even if they are taught some of the events, there is reason to believe that their lessons are neither extensive nor thought-provoking for the students. Some teachers feel it is too graphic of a topic or something of the past that will not be repeated, so why bother teaching the students and reminding the teachers of something that simply could not happen again? 

  Some educators do not even believe the Holocaust was a real event in history. This horrifying fact was proven in 2018, when a Floridian Principal exchanged emails with a parent regarding their student’s education on the Holocaust. The principal went on to say, “I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a school district employee. You have your thoughts, but we are a public school, and not all of our parents have the same beliefs,” according to USA Today. 

  This occurred over three years ago. Since then, various surveys have been conducted to record how many people are actually familiar with the events of the Holocaust, even just familiar with the name Auschwitz. More than half of Austrians surveyed didn’t know six million Jewish people were killed in the Holocaust, with nearly 60% of millennials and Generation Z not knowing the death toll, either. Furthermore, a quarter of Austrians and almost a third of its millennials and Gen Z-ers thought one million or fewer Jews were killed. 

  All of this comes down to education. By not implementing rigorous and extensive lessons in the curriculum, not only in America but across the globe, has shown that people are forgetting or not even being aware of the atrocities that occurred during the Holocaust. It is even sadder to hear that people within the countries were not only victims to Hitler’s regime, but took part in its actions, do not know nor believe that they actually transpired. It is safe to say that there is a large amount of work to be done to ensure future generations are educated on the past, as it slips further and further into history, so that it may stay just that: in the past. 

  As technology advances, it is critical that we find more ways to engage the younger generations in self-education if they are not receiving one from their schools, utilizing the platforms that are often taken advantage of. In honor of this Remembrance Day, please take some time to educate yourself so that you can take part in the betterment of society to guarantee history does not repeat itself.

Spring Break Day Trips

By Sophia Pilot

February 19, 2021

For Malibu High students, this will be the second Spring Break during a pandemic, but this time we are not confined to the borders of our own home. On January 25th, California Governor Gavin Newson lifted the Stay At Home Order, which allowed popular travel destinations to reopen under strict safety protocols. Here are a few COVID-compliant day trips to get you off your computer and outdoors this Spring Break. 

Under normal circumstances, Malibu High’s marine biology classes would take a field trip to one of the Channel Islands to apply their studies. Last year, the trip was postponed, and then canceled. Unfortunately, this year looks no different for marine biology students. Spring Break is the perfect opportunity to take your newfound knowledge to the field. The Island Packers that transport you to and from the islands are now operating with strict safety protocols; masks are required, capacity is limited, sanitation is enforced, and eating or drinking is prohibited. Tickets are available for reservation on https://islandpackers.com/, where you will find more information about the available tours. 

Located 22 miles off Long Beach, Catalina Island is a popular tourist destination, welcoming over 1,000,000 visitors a year – prior to the pandemic. Catalina Island Company has announced that most hotels, tours, and restaurants are back in business after the Stay at Home Order was lifted. Health requirements and travel restrictions can change, but for now, the Catalina Island Company is accepting reservations starting February 10th, 2021. Boats leave from Dana Point and San Pedro to the island. For more information regarding the reopening, visit https://www.lovecatalina.com/covid-19/whats-open/. 

If you’re prone to sea-sickness and prefer a quick road trip, Ojai, a quaint town with organic farmers markets, outdoor trials, and farm-to-table cuisine, is just an hour’s drive north of Malibu. The landmark, Ojai Valley Inn, a luxury resort is a five-minute drive from Nordhoff High School, one of Malibu High’s rivals in the Citrus Coast League.  Ojai is home to some of the best hiking trails in California, with levels ranging from easy to extreme, you’re bound to find a perfect trail to immerse yourself in nature during Spring Break. 

 If traveling is not an option, or you just want to stay home and study for the AP Tests, there are lots to do in your own backyard. Malibu is a popular vacation destination to people across the globe as evident by the beachgoers and traffic galore. If you want to join the crowd, the beach is a free and socially distant option. If you need some relaxation amidst this crazy time, start your day with a socially distant meditation class at the Mindry in the Malibu Country Mart. Grab lunch at one of your favorite restaurants, and then watch the sun go down at the beach.

 Traveling may look a little different during a pandemic, but there are still ways to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Be mindful and stay up to date with the various health protocols when traveling. All you need is a mask and gas in your car to take a socially distant day trip this Spring Break.

CGI Controversy in Anime

By Liam Moore

February 19, 2021

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about CGI (computer-generated imagery) in anime. This topic has arisen once again because of the anime Attack on Titan which, after getting a new animation studio, now uses CGI instead of hand-drawn “stop motion”. 

  Now what exactly is CGI? CGI or CG is where computers are used to render 3D models onto the screen. In contrast, normal animation is a series of hand drawn images that are strung together, like stop motion, to create the illusion of motion. For some reason, when anime watchers hear that a show has or uses CGI, they seem to shy away from watching it or make the assumption that it’s bad.

 But why do anime watchers, including myself, tend to stay away from CGI shows? Well, the answer is simple, animation studios that use CGI rarely get it right. As popular anime YouTuber Gigguk said, “Bad CG is bad CG because you notice bad CG”. For the majority of watchers, bad CG takes the watcher out of the experience because things just don’t look right. Also, most anime are either all CG or no CG. There are few anime that take advantage of both, purely for budget reasons. There would be a need to pay artists for both hand-drawn animation and animators for CG animation.

  When an anime is purely reliant on CG for its animation, it has to nail the CG to get good reviews, despite if it’s a perfect  story.. For example, Berserk was one of the most popular manga in Japan and got an animation in 1997 and was well received. In 2016, the show was redone with CG and fans were not happy. I have not watched the show, but from what I’ve seen, the CG animation was very bad and I couldn’t tell whether I was watching a western cartoon or a Japanese animation. From weird facial expressions to awkward body movements, CG did not help the show gain popularity, but more so ruined the reputation of CG anime

  Berserk set the bar very low for anime fans, low enough for people to avoid CG shows altogether. The next best thing would be to combine CG and normal animation, which many anime studios are beginning to do. However, the problem people still have is that the two animations tend to clash with each other if not used properly. For example, in Golden Kamuy, the characters are all animated normally but there is a CGI bear that they interact with and fight. The difference in animation makes the bear seem clunky and out of place, ruining the immersion for the watcher.

  However, Wit Studio, the animators of Attack on Titan seasons one through three, have cleverly used CG to enhance the show. Wit Studio took advantage of the fast-paced action scenes to create a CGI background in which normally animated characters move through.  Because the background is moving at such a fast pace, the watcher doesn’t have time to recognize that there is even CG. I never even realized there was so much CG until I went back and watched certain scenes and focused on the background. This is an example of good CG in anime because you would never notice it.

  Moving on to the controversy. After Attack on Titan season three ended, the director announced that they would be hiring a new studio: MAPPA Studio (Maruyama Animation Produce Project Association). For almost all fans, this was a good sign because the studio had already animated two hit anime in 2020: Jujutsu Kaisen and The God of High School. However, after the first episode of season four aired, fans noticed that the titans were animated with CG, instead of normal methods. For many fans, this meant the end of the world because they believe that all CG is bad. Most of the other comments I’ve seen have been indifferent to the new animation. 

  In my opinion, the use of CG in Attack on Titan does not ruin the show, like many fans would like you to believe. I prefer this new animation by MAPPA over Wit Studio. I feel as if the CG movements of the characters match with the creepy and evil sort of feel that season four has adopted. 

To all the people who think CG ruins all anime, I used to feel the same way until I watched season four of Attack on Titan, which was the first time I favored CG animation. To all the Attack on Titan fans who dislike MAPPA Studio for using CG and cling on to Wit Studio for its traditional animation, Wit Studio actually used lots of CG but because it was used masterfully, fans never noticed. My stance on the controversy is this; Wit Studio had good CG because no one noticed the good CG and MAPPA Studio uses good CG. After all, it does not ruin the immersion for the watcher. As long as watchers are not complaining every second about the use of CG, people would soon realize the masterpiece that is the animation of Attack on Titan.

Grades Slipping?

By Joseph Kurtz

February 19, 2021

With the current COVID-19 pandemic and distance learning, it makes sense if your grades are slipping. Your grades are important and need to be maintained. This is why there are a lot of different ways to improve your grades, even in distance-learning. 

  Completing your work on time is a really easy way to improve your grade. Each time you forget an assignment and turn it in late you lose points. Although, the current school policy allows you to not lose points for late work as long as you turn it within 5 days after the assignment was due, you should still try to turn it in on time. If you have a busy life and have a hard time keeping track of these assignments, turn on your Google Classroom notifications or check your phone every few hours for new assignments. Also, check your email regularly for communication from your teacher. 

If not your assignments, you need to study for your tests in order to improve your grade. The idea of reading after a long day of staring at the screen sounds very boring, which is why channels like Crash Course and Vox were created. Crash Course states that “Crash Course is one of the best ways to educate yourself, your classmates, and your family on YouTube”. Those channels have lots of accurate study material for most subjects. Khan Academy and TED talks have great information for science and math. Khan Academy helps improve grades to the point where “studying for the SAT for 20 hours on Khan Academy’s free Official SAT Practice is associated with an average score gain of 115 points. That’s nearly double the average score gain compared to students who don’t use our free test prep”. Quizlet also helps with most subjects, especially because of its flashcards and practice test options. If you don’t want to look at the screen, crack open your textbooks. Read, make flashcards, take handwritten notes, and repeat until your grade improves. You could also try writing about your subject. For example, if you were learning about WWI write a letter from the perspective of a German soldier or if you’re learning about chemistry write a paragraph on how ammonia is made. 

You might not know this but your environment plays a big role when it comes to improving your grades. For example, if your daily life is busy (lucky you) but unorganized you will forget about that chemistry assignment. With that in mind, manage your day  and allow yourself at least two hours in the afternoon to do your homework. Now, make sure you sit down in a place where there isn’t much sound. Your brain can only focus on so many things at once. Your own room or your outside patio would work, if you can put your devices in a different area. This will allow you to be fully focused on your work. Lastly, consider chewing some gum and use blue ink when writing notes. This helps you remember the material better. 

     Last but not least, ask your teachers for help if needed. Utilizing resources such as office hours allows you to ask questions that will help you boost your GPA. It’s also a good idea to ask if any tests or quizzes are open notes. It may feel weird to ask your teachers for help but if you don’t understand something it’s necessary, plus teachers love when you come to them for help. Your teachers are certified to educate you and that means that any questions you have should be answered by your teacher. 

  Your education is key for future success. Whether you want to go to college or not, education will help you properly communicate your ideas to others. That’s why checking Google Classroom, turning in work on time, and studying is key to achieving a high GPA. Remember, your education is your freedom.