Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier Face Off in UFC Match

By Colin Murphy

February 12, 2021

On Saturday the 23rd, Dustin Poirier avenged his loss to Conor Mcgregor from his 2016 UFC match. 

     The UFC lightweight contender shocked McGregor; beating him with a Technical Knockout after two minutes and 32 seconds of the second round. The event took place  Saturday night in the main event of UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. 

     During the first round of this fight Conor and Poirier went back and forth. Some believed Conor was dominating, however, the points revealed this simply was not the case. McGregor had a very strong first round. He landed multiple left handed swings and one very strong right handed upper-cut. This shot snapped Poriers head back, and many thought this was when the fight was going to end. Shortly afterward, however ,Poirier took down McGregor. Nevertheless, McGregor found his way up with relative ease.

 In the second round, Poirier took over, easing his way into victory. Poirier first began to hurt Mcgregor with kicks to the right calf. With an upper hand on Mcgregor’s hurt leg, Poirier knew he’d be slower so he began combining punches. According to ESPN, the final blow was a “shovel right hand that dropped McGregor,” he then followed up on the ground and the referee stepped in to make the call. This call made this loss McGregor’s first KO or TKO of his 13 year career.  

     However, many high ranking UFC fighters believe that nobody should count out McGregor yet. Although it was a very tough loss, he has been out of the octagon for quite awhile and has been very inactive, his managers shared. Post fight McGregor shared that he is very confident in his abilities and believes that he will be back in the octagon and will win again. “I have to dust it off and come back and that’s what I’ll do.” He said in his post interview. 

     Those who believe McGregors days as a top contender are over are just false. Losses in MMA do not mean nearly as much as they would in another sport, such as boxing. Headed into the fight, McGregor had only fought for 40 seconds since 2018. Although he lost, Porier is one of the best fighters there is. He came into the octagon with a great game plan and won the fight completely fair. If Mcgregor does make his comeback and proceeds to win that fight, he will most likely become a top contender (fighter) again. After all, McGregor is only 32. 

The Future of Concerts

By Claire Buran

February 12, 2021

The Flaming Lips, a psych-rock band from Oklahoma, pulled off their first full-length space bubble concert in Oklahoma City, with both the band and crowd members sequestered in their own sped up air pockets. 

     The band played out a few sold-out shows to promote their 2020 album “American Head,” with the 100 inflatable audience bubbles with enough room for 2-3 people inside. Frontman Wayne Coyne, who has been crowd surfing in these bubbles for years, held a trial in October after debuting the concept on an appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” in June. 

     Initially planned for December, the “Space Bubble” shows were deferred after COVID-19 cases started to rise in Oklahoma City. During the exhibitions, the band brought out huge balloons spelling out “F—You COVID-19.” 

     Is the idea feasible for different acts? Maybe — if venues take the precautions the band executed and if there is sufficient staff for bubble maintenance. To begin with, as Coyne told TMZ in November, you need a great deal of open space around the primary show floor to make it easier to keep the masked ticket holders separated while they get into the bubbles, a process that requires around 45 minutes. The bubbles, Coyne said, hold enough oxygen for three individuals to relax for roughly an hour and 10 minutes before they should be topped off or unfastened. 

     Inside the air pockets, as described in an instructional video on Coyne’s Instagram feed, are “high-frequency supplement speakers” for each concertgoer to wear around the neck like a behind the stage pass. This helps prevent the muffling of the sound through the plastic, particularly for those in the back of the venue.  

     The bubbles are additionally fitted with singular battery-worked fans, also worn around the neck, as well as water bottles and a towel to wipe down the condensation within your bubble  It can get quite hot inside, which is the reason each bubble also has a sign that says, “It’s hot in here.” The audience can then show the sign to an attendant who will refresh your bubble with new, cooler air. On the opposite side of the sign is the message, “I need to pee.” This message will prompt the attendants to assist you with getting and out without disturbing other audience members

     Toward the finish of the show, crowd individuals are told to roll their air pockets to the exit. A process that is sure to be as interesting as the actual show for that sure-to-be exhausted attendants. Once outside the venue, they are to unzip their bubble and get out. 

The Deeper Meaning Behind an Inauguration Meme

By Lola Weber

February 12, 2021

A star studded inaugural ceremony wasn’t enough to steal the spotlight from an image of an unimpressed looking Bernie Sanders, hunched in his seat with recycled mittens. Immediately following the inauguration, this image went viral and rapidly spread through various social media platforms. 

As this image continued to saturate political discourse throughout several outlets, Bernie soon transformed into a meme, having been photoshopped into historical moments, iconic art pieces, and a plethora of other pop culture moments. The emergence of this meme doesn’t come to much of a shock, as his ‘humble’ nature provided a refreshing facet to the pageantry of Biden’s inauguration. 

 Bernie’s stance, combined with the general appearance of a lack of interest, felt like an assumed rejection to the self-congratulatory mood of the inauguration. Sanders himself responded to the meme on late night with Seth Meyers, explaining that he was just, “sitting there, trying to keep warm, trying to pay attention to what was going on., so this obviously wasn’t an active attempt to ‘comment’ on the inauguration, but as with any cultural moment, the people make of it what they want.

 While the concept of the meme itself seems lighthearted, the utilization has been telling. At the heart of this meme, there is an immense display of reality for millions of working people. 

Ranging from moderate Democrats to the entire spectrum of the Left, this meme has become a massive cultural takeaway from the historical events on the 20th. Although this may seem like some sort of unity, the image itself takes on a variety of meanings depending on the differing viewpoints. Those who align themselves with a more moderate/centrist viewpoint have treated this image as a mere joke, seeing the surface level of a meme about an old and frigid ‘socialist’. 

For those who align with progressive politics, such as social Democrats, it signifies an apparent defeat and melancholy outlook to the new presidency’s future. As this meme reaches a further left perspective, it maintains the sentiment of defeat and ‘let-down’, but focuses more on a push towards the left rather than Sanders himself. 

This isn’t the first time that an inauguration has spawned a meme with such cultural buzz. The 2016 inauguration led to the viral video of Richard B Spencer, the man who coined the term ‘alt-right’, getting punched in the face. This came after Spencer’s victory lap at Trump’s inauguration, celebrating a supposed win for reactionary politics and his own white chauvinism.

Both the viral video of Richard B Spencer, and the image of Bernie Sanders, were shared by a similar range of audience, Democrats and Leftists, both symbolizing two different outlooks on these presidencies. While the video of Spencer was a joyous moment for many of those who were inherently ‘anti-trump’, it did signify the fear and genuine panic of Trump’s presidency. 

The meme of Bernie signifies a different reaction to a different presidency, one that does not scream chaos or horror, but thorough disappointment. While many may feel comfort to rejoice in this win against the hellscape that was Trump’s presidency, this feeling of despondency among many lingers. That feeling in contrast to the pandemonium of Trump’s administration, definitely sets the stage for these next four years.

This disappointment is evidently warranted, considering that in a social climate with extreme inequality and declining capitalism, people were hoping for a transformative government.

Biden does not fulfill that need, and represents the milquetoast neoliberal ‘compromise’ for this election. Whether it is the people’s disappointment within Bernie’s own loss of the presidency, or the broader concept of a loss of anything to the Left, this meme has a weighty truth to it. 

Free Speech After January 6th

By Diana Kerbeck

February 12th, 2021

What is the meaning of free speech in the digital age? Does a private company have responsibility for what is posted on their site? These are some of the questions that are being asked as the social media giants begin to censor disinformation, mostly from the right, on their platforms.

 This began after domestic terrorists stormed the Capital Building in a futile attempt to stop congress from certifying Joe Biden as the next president of the United States. This insurrection resulted in the deaths of four people and permanently damaged America’s reputation as a republic.

  Social media made this insurrection possible, it allowed conspiracy theories of election tampering to run wild and it allowed the most devoted of Trump’s supporters to organize and plan their revenge. 

 Since then, most social media companies have taken bold steps to combat disinformation and hate speech on their sites, most notably the censorship of former President Donald Trump. Is this an example of the silencing of free speech or a justified act that prevents the spread of false information?

  Legally, social media companies have the freedom to control what is said on their sites, and the First Amendment only prevents congress from regulating freedom of speech. However, this does create an ethics-based dilemma since a country that prides itself on its liberty has private companies controlling what is said on the most popular means of civil discourse. 

  In my opinion, the actions taken by social media companies so far are completely justified. They have immensely helped curtail the sheer amount of false information and violent rhetoric that has littered social media for the last few years.

  Social media companies have finally realized they share responsibility when the content posted on their sites leads to hate, violence, and death. More importantly, these tech giants’ actions may have helped prevent violent riots from occurring on inauguration day.

  Additionally, spending these last few weeks without the dumpster fire that is Donald Trump’s Twitter account, has been quite refreshing. This all being said, there is still a concern over the sheer power wielded by these companies that is now becoming far more apparent than ever before. Should we trust private companies with the absolute ability to control the discussion of American politics?

 One must not forget that social media got us into this mess in the first place and that Facebook played a significant role in the election of Donald Trump in 2016. The overall issue, as it nearly always does, goes back to money. 

 The primary interest of social media companies is not to foster a free and open environment for civil discourse, or to help police the spreading of false or hateful rhetoric, but rather profit. These companies saw no issue with their platforms becoming breeding grounds for fascism, only now that they see their bottom line threatened do they act. Facebook and Twitter shouldn’t be receiving credit for doing the bare minimum, especially after the damage they have already done. 

  The solution is a highly complex issue, but since the only thing these companies seem to listen to is money, consumers do have the power to withhold support from social media that chooses not to reflect our values.

AstraZeneca Covid Vaccine Not to be Given to People Over 65

By Ian Klane

February 12, 2021

On Thursday, January 28th, The Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine effort received pushback from public health advisors of the German government. They doubt the effectiveness of the vaccine on patients that are 65 years or older. 

     The Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) at Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the country’s main public health authority, found that there had not been enough people who were 65 or older enrolled in AstraZeneca’s vaccine trials.

     STIKO has been quoted as saying that “There is currently insufficient data available to assess the effectiveness of vaccinations from 65 years of age.” The panel further stated that “no conclusion can be made regarding efficacy and safety in the elderly. This vaccine is therefore currently recommended by STIKO only for persons aged 18-64 years.”

  The debate that has erupted in Europe over  AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine is centering on the thoughts of the German government, with some German media outlets covering some government officials anonymously claiming the vaccine is only 8% to 10% effective in people older than 65. The German government,  AstraZeneca company, and the University of Oxford have denied these reports.

      Dr. Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisations at Public Health England, said both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are “safe and provide high levels of protection against Covid-19,” and MHRA Chief Executive Dr. June Raine saying that “current evidence does not suggest any lack of protection against Covid-19 in people aged 65 or over.”

    The scientists who ran the vaccine trials started with younger volunteers to get results as quickly as possible, urgently trying to ensure that the vaccine would be able to work well enough to help combat the pandemic. Officials say that there is other evidence to suggest that the vaccine will work well in older adults. Studies have shown people 65 and older to have strong immune responses to the vaccine with their blood having plenty of the required antibodies.

     With the German announcement coming as the EU is in dispute while leading manufacturers over a delay in delivery of Covid vaccines to the bloc, AstraZeneca production issues mean that its output of the vaccine will not be able to reach the promised number of doses. This delay in output poses a massive issue to the EU as they have ordered 300 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Valentine’s Day: Covid-19 Edition

By Jacqueline Pernice

February 12, 2021

Yeah, I know, yet another Valentine’s Day is here. Look, I don’t blame you for dreading the day. February 14th is either your day to feel special or, it’s the day where you wish hell upon anyone in a relationship. 

  Valentine’s Day is the time for gifts, flowers, and candy to be exchanged between loved ones, all under the name of St. Valentine. Weird, right? The fable was that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. The Emperor at the time, Claudius II made the executive decision to ban marriage for young men. He believed that single men made better soldiers than those with families. As a priest, Valentine believed Claudius’s actions were unjust and continued to marry lovers in secret. When the Emperor found out, he ordered St. Valentine to be killed at once. He was beheaded outside of Rome, so I guess that’s that.

  I know Valentine’s Day certainly isn’t the ideal day for those who may not be in a relationship, but honestly, who cares? Either way, you can still make it fun. Whoever said that chocolate and flowers can only come from a lover? No one. Exactly.

  Valentine’s Day is still a holiday, so use it! You may as well treat yourself to a day of self-love and care – everybody needs a little. First things first, spa day! Pull out all the stops, starting with a nice bubble bath alongside a book of your choice, some candles, and maybe even a few chocolates. Maybe even throw a manicure and pedicure in there. Relationship or not, it’s always fun to throw on a good rom-com and just binge. Eat Pray Love is one of my favorite choices, following Julia Roberts as she travels the world, taking on each location independently, and finding her motivation and empowerment within the chaotically peaceful world surrounding her. 

  Now, if you are in a relationship, COVID-19 has certainly made this holiday quite the challenge. The normal go-to restaurants that you may be spending a magical date at are most likely closed down, solely takeout, or, if you’re lucky, outdoor dining only. Yeah, it’s sucky. But here in LA, creativity is always the answer. 

  If you’re looking for something adventurous, try a new restaurant around you. Pick up to-go from a nearby kitchen and do a picnic in the park. In Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, you can sit in the grass surrounded by Egyptian date palms and sweet bay trees. Not far away, you can also relax next to the koi ponds in the Doris Japanese Gardens. 

  Next up would be the recent comeback of the drive-in movie date. Drive-in movies are offered around LA, giving you a quarantine taste of that Hollywood glam. The Drive-in Theatre at the Hollywood Roosevelt has movie after movie lined up for this Valentine’s Day weekend. From Breakfast at Tiffany’s to Casablanca, there is quite a variety.  

  Following the flower theme, The Huntington Gardens are the place to be, with 120 acres of themed gardens and plants to explore. Flowers are in full bloom, with the smell of peach, citrus, and blossoms in the air. However, you must still purchase tickets online ahead of time. 

  Last, but not least, plan an at-home date night with your own personal twist. Maybe do something you’ve always wanted to try together, do a cook-off, or do an online escape room. Your options are limitless with the internet at your fingertips, just be creative. 

  Whether it’s a Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day, or something in between, make the best of it. Amidst the pandemic, there can still be those cherishable moments, it’s all up to you. 

Malibu Middle Mascot

By Chloe Loquet

February 5, 2021

Mascots play a huge role in what we view as the “school experience”. These symbols allow us to gain a greater sense of community and belonging. Mascots allow us to boost morale and school pep. Now that Malibu Middle School has officially separated fr/om Malibu High School, we have been left mascotless. The question is: if we are no longer the Sharks, then what will be our schools new mascot?

One of the largest questions that our school must answer is if our mascot will follow the trend set by the other three public schools in Malibu. Webster Elementary has Wally the Whale, Malibu Elementary has their Sea Lion, and Malibu High has Sharky Shark. Will we continue the wave of choosing a marine animal as our mascot? As Juan Cabrillo and Point Dume recently joined forces to form Malibu Elementary, they also had to choose a new mascot. The school made the decision that their new symbol had to be a native resident of our local marine biome. That poses the question: how important is it that our new mascot be a marine creature that lives in our geographic area or would this criteria overly restrict our options? One positive of following this same specification is that it ensures that our mascot has a deeper connection to our community. 

Another question being asked is, should the name of our next mascot begin with the letter ‘M’ so that our name follows alliteration? One popular candidate that has been brought up is a Marlin. Marlins, which are part of the swordfish family, are fierce looking fish with snouts that resemble sharp spears. This sea creature not only begins with the letter “M” but the blue marlin is a native to Malibu’s marine biome. Yet another prime candidate is the Manta Ray. Manta Rays are huge, almost alien-looking ocean creatures that have wing-like pectoral fins. Although these animals are not native to Malibu’s marine community, they are sea creatures that follow the alliteration criteria. Other strong candidates for the role include the Megalodons,  Mariners, the Manatees, the Makos, and the Urchins.  

Yet another major question is whether or not our mascot should tie into Malibu High School’s. We have the shark stickers on our cars, and loads of shark apparel. Having been viewed as the same school for so long, we have built our identity around the Malibu High Shark. Now that we have journeyed off as our own separate school, we must form a new identity for ourselves. We have to decide if we want to connect our new identity to the shark that we have come to love. 

Something interesting that we often forget is the history of Malibu Park Junior High. Malibu High School was not actually founded until 1992. In 1963, Malibu Park Junior High was established open to grades 7-9. The original school’s mascot was a spartan and they barred school colors of green and yellow. It was not until 1988 that the school began integrating higher grades and in 1992, the site became Malibu High School, home of the Sharks. Although Spartans are not sea dwellers, they do hold sentimental value in our community and hold deep roots at our school.

A great aspect of having to find a new school symbol is that we, as students and members of the community, have the opportunity to find a mascot that truly represents our school’s present day spirit. You have the opportunity to take part in a decision that could last for decades. You have the ability to select a symbol to represent our school that embodies the values and principles you view to be most important within our community. If you could choose, what icon would you pick to represent Malibu Middle School for years to come?