Asteroid Made of Metal

By Jacqueline Pernice

November 18, 2020

      Most of the time when one hears about an asteroid, the immediate thought would be of a huge object hurtling towards earth, just what 2020 needs. But thankfully, this asteroid, nicknamed 16 Psyche, is not that.

   16 Psyche is considered to be one of the largest objects in the asteroid belt, nearly 140 miles in diameter, which surrounds Mars and Jupiter. What makes this asteroid so unique is the fact that it is made entirely out of metal. Scientists predict that this asteroid could be worth nearly $10,000 quadrillion, so add about 15 more zeroes and you would have your number. 

  “We’ve seen meteorites that are mostly metal, but Psyche could be unique in that it might be an asteroid that is totally made of iron and nickel,” Tracy Becker of the Southwest Research Institute revealed. Becker said. “Earth has a metal core, a mantle, and crust. It’s possible that as a Psyche protoplanet was forming, it was struck by another object in our solar system and lost its mantle and crust.” This would mean that this rock is worth more than the entirety of Earth’s economy. 

   Tracy Becker’s goal is to release a spacecraft also named Psyche, which would investigate the asteroid in hopes to find the origin of the asteroid. The spacecraft is set to launch in 2022 and will arrive in 2026, according to who also exhibits that, “Metal asteroids are relatively rare in the solar system, and scientists believe Psyche could offer a unique opportunity to see inside a planet.” Observations of 16 Psyche from the Hubble Space Telescope were recorded on According to their site, “Psyche is best matched with the reflectance spectrum of pure iron; however, our intimate mixture models show that small grains of iron may dominate the reflectance spectrum even if iron only comprises up to 10% of the material on the surface.” 

    However, what makes this asteroid so unique is the possibility that it could be entirely composed of a nickel-iron core, without the crust like a normal planet. This nickel-iron core is what makes the asteroid so valuable. New station suspects that “as the Psyche protoplanet was forming, it was struck by another object in our solar system and lost its mantle and crust,” creating what they call an early planet. A planet that does not bear a mantle and crust.

   NASA employees stated that their goal is to learn about planetary formation, but we are not going to be trying to bring any of this material back and using it for industry Carol Polanskey, a project scientist for the Psyche mission, told CBS that NASA has no plans to bring any part of the actual asteroid material back to study. They conclude that they do not possess the technology that would allow them to mine for the metals it possesses. 

   This asteroid could be worth more than you could ever imagine, and it’s just one of the billions and billions of asteroids out there. We have yet to discover more about our ever-expanding and wondrously vast universe. Every day we discover new things, learning and taking in as much as we can about the universe in which we live. This unique asteroid is just one of the many more to come. 

Fall COVID-19 Surge

By Luis Berg

November 9, 2020

Coronavirus daily infections have reached 90,000 cases in the United States alone. While many scientists predicted a second wave during the fall season, hospitals are overwhelmed, running low on beds and medical supplies they are also extremely under staffed. With Halloween weekend seeing a lot of people going out and enjoying the holiday. We can only wait for the cases to spike, putting more pressure on big city hospitals that are already struggling.The University of Utah Health System, one of the largest hospitals in the state, reported its ICU is 95 percent filled, and health systems in other parts of the country have been forced to relocate patients because of bed and staffing shortages.

      All around Europe countries such as Spain, France, Austria, Italy and czech have put in place a second lockdown with strict social distancing rules and curfews and all shops closed. In other countries like Germany and Ireland, they are just having partial lockdowns. Spain declared a state of emergency yet they are having less than twenty thousand cases a day. Although they have a much smaller population than the U.S. we are still experiencing cases at the same rate and we are taking little to no precaution compared to Spain.

     The United States also expects to find out who the new president is going to be for the next four years and stores and buildings were boarding up their windows fearing of riots after the election which would cause an even bigger surge in COVID-19 cases. This surge could potentially cause another lockdown and a big question is: will Americans adhere to the next lockdown? Many people are already fighting against wearing masks in public and not being allowed to have large gatherings, so it is  difficult to imagine how the U.S. would respond well to a second lockdown. With 18 million Americans out of work to close more stores and factories might not be economically viable. People need to bring money home to provide for their families. 

     While most schools are closed  kids are learning from home, not getting school lunches and keeping parents who can find a job from being able to go because there’s no one to watch their kids. People do not know how to make ends’ meat and Congress is not able to come to an agreement on a relief plan. This fall surge could bring the U.S. economy to a breaking point, only time will tell. Hopefully, we can improve testing and find a way to live with COVID-19 as a cure doesn’t seem to be in the near future, at least not a cure that is tested and available for everyone.

Drug Decriminalization In Oregon

By Justin Higginbotham

November 9, 2020

On Tuesday, November 3rd, Measure 110 was approved with 59% of the vote, decriminalizing personal possession of all drugs in the state of Oregon. The measure would greatly minimize the punishment for personal, non-commercial, drug possession. Possession of methamphetamines and similar drugs formerly have been classified as a Class A misdemeanor, meaning it could have landed you in prison for up to a year and/or cost a fine up to $6,250. Since the approval of Measure 110 possession of illicit substances is now only a Class E misdemeanor, the punishment for the possession of methamphetamines now being, at most, a $100 fine with no chance of imprisonment. Alternatively, violators can choose to participate in a health assessment for drug addiction in place of the fine. Although possession has become decriminalized, the manufacturing and distribution of illicit substances is still a criminal offense.  A study from The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission estimates that drug possession convictions would decrease by a whole 90.7%.

  Measure 110 would also begin a drug addiction treatment and recovery program funded by the newly established Drug Treatment and Recovery Services Fund (DTRSF). With reductions in drug enforcement costs, Oregon will have an extra 11.25 million dollars to be directed towards the  Drug Treatment and Recovery Services Fund. The DTRSF will be responsible for the funding of establishing addiction recovery programs in Oregon communities if they are capable of meeting certain standards, Ballotpedia writes that  “The centers must provide immediate medical or other treatment 24 hours a day, health assessments, intervention plans, case management services, and peer support and outreach.”

  Full drug legalization has proven to be effective in curbing drug addiction in other countries such as Portugal, yet decriminalization is a step forward from the failure that has been the War on Drugs. Policymakers and voters ought to watch Oregon closely, the measure’s success or failure is to be determined and could inspire other states to follow suit in decriminalization, and possibly full legalization. 

“Boycott France”

By Maya Mellberg

November 2, 2020

As police continued to investigate, they discovered there were thousands of people attending rallies across France to honor Samuel Paty, a teacher who was beheaded after showing his students cartoons of Mohammed.

    Prior to Mr. Paty’s assassination he had received multiple threats after showing these cartoons to his class, he wanted to bring attention to the cause of the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Charlie Hebdo was a French satirical newspaper that made numerous jokes regarding Muslims and Islam. There was a terrorist shooting were two gunmen entered the office during a meeting and shot journalists, these men killed a total of ten people that day. Mr. Paty showed his class these cartoons to bring light to the tragic murders on the 5th anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo murders. On Friday the 16 of October 2020, Paty was attacked and stabbed with a knife before he was beheaded. Witnesses claim that they hear the attacker scream “Allahu Akbar’’ which translates to “God is greatest”. Police fired at the unknown attacker, killing him, the murder weapon of Samuel Paty, a 12-inch blade, was found nearby. The Killer was identified as Abdoulakh A., an 18-year old from Moscow with no known connection to Samuel Paty. Abdoulakh was found to have a small criminal record with only minor misdemeanor charges. 

    He previously taught lessons regarding freedom of speech, including these cartoons of Muhammad. He had told his pupils that if they were Muslim, he advised them to look away as they might be offended. This caused issues with the school and parents came to complain and were angry with Paty’s choice to show these cartoons. One parent accompanied by Abdelhakim Sefrioui, a preacher and activist, created videos calling Paty a “thug” and demanded he be suspended from teaching. Upon this discovery, police noted Sefrioui had been known to French Intelligence for years before; he is now in custody with the parent he accompanied.

   The horrific murder resulted in people throughout France rallying to protest the death of Samuel Paty and demonstrate they have “zero tolerance to all enemies of the Republic”. Many spoke out against the murder, including Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer who said France would defeat their enemies of the democracy and that French teachers needed support. On the 21st of October, there would be a national tribute paid to Mr. Paty. An Imam of a mosque in Bordeaux, Tareq Oubrou, said “A civilization does not kill an innocent person, barbarism does.” 

    As a result of the support for Samuel Paty, France is receiving extreme backlash from countries such as Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, Turkey, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. French products in stores have been taken off the shelves as a boycott of French goods has taken place. The president of France, Emmanuel Macron spoke out in support of freedom of speech and the right of Mr. Paty to display the cartoons to his class. Macron received backlash from Turkey and Pakistan where he was accused of not respecting “freedom of belief” for the millions of Muslims in France. The President of Turkey attacked Macron again, suggesting he seeks a “mental check” for his opinion and views on Islam. As tension rises the boycott becomes more and more extreme, government officials in many Islamic countries are urging citizens to continue this boycott of French goods. A massive rally including 40,000 people took place in Bangladesh, participants marched through the capital of Dhaka towards the French embassy. This rally demanded the boycott of all french goods because of France’s stance on radical Islam. During this rally, a statue of Macron was burned and he has now become a target in many Muslim countries. This conflict continues to develop and the tensions between the Muslim countries and France drastically increases.

Pandemic Unemployment Funds Exploited by Scammers

By Maya Mellberg

October 13, 2020

 Investigators unraveled an unemployment fraud scheme leading to the arrest of 89 individuals within the first 25 days of September. As investigators dig deeper, they expect to make many more arrests in the next few months.

    The immense impact of COVID-19 led to extreme percentages of unemployment all across the country. This led to many in need applying for unemployment funds from the government but many people decided to take advantage of the government’s efforts to help those without income. Scammers have created complex profiles and identities to reap the benefits of the unemployment funds illegally. Efforts to increase the speed of delivery of these benefits led to a less secure system where criminals found loopholes to gain unemployment funds.  

    181 debit cards were found in Beverly Hills, some of these cards carrying over $20,00 each with their combined values totalled over 3.6 million dollars. The suspects carrying these cards were also found with $289,000 in cash, as well as seven handguns. 

    These suspects spent their unemployment benefits on luxury rentals, cars, dinners, and merchandise. 

    It was discovered that many suspects had come into California from out of state to apply for unemployment and use false or stolen identities. They would take the identities of the deceased, living in nursing homes, or incarcerated. The EDD warns “Scammers are using a complex profile of stolen personal identifying information most likely obtained from national and global data breaches”.

    The California Employment Development Department was to be shut down for two weeks in order to improvise their services and prevent criminals from taking money from those who truly need it.

    As investigators continue to find and arrest those manipulating the unemployment benefits and using identity theft to reap the benefits, they are uncovering huge schemes set to manipulate the government to give money to those who are using it solely to their advantage.

Is Europe Experiencing the Second Wave of COVID-19?

By Kirstyn Hill

October 13, 2020

   For the last six months, people all over the world have been trying to normalize living in a pandemic. It’s been a huge change with no end date, and since the beginning of the virus outbreak, it has been a main focus to attempt to eradicate or control COVID-19, and return to life pre-pandemic.

   Although handled questionably, for a period of time the cases of COVID-19 dropped significantly. People all over the world were staying home and abiding by the World Health Organization recommendations and government-enforced lockdown. But since then as countries gradually began to lift restrictions, there was a huge resurgence in cases.

  Many countries in Europe largely depend on tourism as their main source of revenue to bring money into their economy, making up an estimated 10% of the European economies’ GDP. Countries in Europe began to attempt to reopen to cope with their months of lockdown. But soon after reopening, cases began to skyrocket all over Europe, especially in highly visited areas. On June 2 WHO, the World Health Organization, reported Europe brought their active case number down to roughly 16,000, whereas on October 3rd there were a reported 82,000 active cases in Europe. 

   This round of infection is thought to be the second wave of COVID-19, its overall killing less people, but this is thought to be because it is primarily infecting young people. The beginning of the outbreak seemed to primarily kill older and people experiencing preconceived conditions, such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and lung conditions. Whereas now it is spreading through younger people, due to schools reopening and travel bans lifting.

    According to the World Health Organization’s Europe director, Hans Kluge, “We are seeing rates of cases in older populations and vulnerable populations increasing again across all European countries,” he said. “So it’s a very predictable pattern actually, that across the UK and France or Spain we’ve seen younger populations being affected, and then about four to six weeks later … we’re starting to see elderly people being infected.”

   But countries such as Malta, Romania, Bulgaria, Spain, and Croatia are seeing a huge peak in cases due to tourism. After months of lockdown people everywhere are fed up, so they are traveling to these countries to go on an affordable while still exotic vacation. 

   While visiting these European countries, they act as a vessel of transportation for COVID-19. They could be staying at hotels, eating at restaurants, or going to clubs and bars, all while potentially infected. Tourists are thought to be one of the leading causes in this second wave of cases in Europe. 

   At this point in time, there is no clear solution or cure to COVID-19, and people all over the world are beginning to entirely disregard health recommendations from leading world health officials. If that trend continues, the cases will continue to steadily increase, not only just in Europe but worldwide. 

The Legacy of RBG

By Elle Baker

October 13, 2020

  On the 18th of September, Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away from complications with pancreatic cancer after giving nearly 30 years of her life to serving the United States Supreme Court as one of the most respected and honored associate justices in history.   

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg, sometimes referred to as “RBG”, was an inspiration to the nation for her advocacy for gender equality and equal rights. She has made history, even after her death, being the first woman to lie in state in the U.S. capitol, according to NowThisNews. 

    RBG’s death was met with much controversy and upheaval because once a justice on the Supreme Court resigns or passes away, a new seat must be filled via a nomination from the president and a vote to pass in the Senate. The controversy being whether or not President Trump should be allowed to nominate a new justice just a few weeks before the 2020 Presidential Election. 

   The final wish of RBG was to have the next president fill her vacant seat, so when our current president announced he would nominate one prior, many people have voiced their opinions against his statement. When President Trump went to pay his respects at RBG’s casket, people greeted him with boos and shouts of “Honor her wish!” and “Vote him out!” according to NowThisNews.

   More than 100 of the late justice’s former law clerks stood guard at the Supreme Court, and some served as honorary casket carriers, accompanying her flag-draped casket inside the building. 

   Ginsburg was an incredible role model for young women across the country for her advocacy for women’s rights and equality during her life and time on the Court. Her legacy includes votes supporting the legalization of abortion and same-sex marriage and fought against various sex discrimination laws.

   Knowing that the nine men on the Supreme Court would be unsympathetic towards the discriminations felt by women, RBG turned the argument on its head and rationalized the discriminations the men felt from these laws. It turned out to be a rather successful strategy and argument because not only was supported, it was also undeniably true. 

   The gender discriminations that were seen as more “medieval” for their cookie-cutter style households, such as the roles that steered women towards caretaking and the men towards work, were strongly advocated against by RBG. For example, Ginsburg successfully advocated in court for, among others, a father who was denied Social Security survivors benefits after the death of his wife, because the law dictated that widows were eligible but widowers were not; a woman in the Air Force whose husband was denied a spousal allowance that military wives were automatically entitled to, according to The Atlantic. These laws did not account for the people in those circumstances, and because of RBG, they now do.

   Ginsburg’s approach to her litigation work increasingly helped women carve their path in the world. Before the mid-1970s, women were often denied access to their own credit cards, “on the presumption that their husband controlled the family’s financial assets,” according to the Atlantic. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 banned such discrimination, which was extended to mortgages as well. 

   Because of RBG’s work in the legal field, the way households and household roles are shaped today has been significantly changed. She is not necessarily responsible for every woman who decided to go and get a job, however, she is responsible for the increased availability of job opportunities and the benefits those jobs entail. 

   The legacy of RBG is expansive and complex, but to sum it up, she has carved a pathway for women to have more opportunities in the workforce, for men to be able to be a stay-at-home dad, for being able to love who you love, and to not be discriminated for such decisions. The United States would not be the way it is today without her help. 

Updates in DNA Matching Help Investigators Solve the 40-Year-Old Case of the Golden State Killer.

By Maya Mellberg

September 21, 2020

   After 40 years on the loose, the Golden State Killer has been identified as Joseph James DeAngelo and has been given multiple life sentences for his numerous murderers, rapes, and burglaries that terrorized California between 1973-1986. Investigators were able to discover the notorious killer with the use of online genetic DNA matching systems such as GEDmatch.

    Joseph James DeAngelo began his 13-year crime spree in 1973, as he moved across the state of California taking a minimum of 13 murder victims, 50 rape victims, and 120 burglaries. Originally investigators believed that these were the crimes of multiple different men, but as DNA testing further developed they were able to match the numerous different samples from the countless crime scenes to a single person. Although the identity of this man was still unknown. 

     For over forty years, his identity was a mystery, until the recent DNA sharing companies allowed investigators to submit and connect his DNA to potential family members. Investigators were able to directly relate the DNA to the great-great-great-great-grandfather of the unknown killer. Then through the creation of multiple family trees, they connected the DNA back to previous potential suspect DeAngelo. These technological advancements have greatly aided in the capture of multiple criminals. Without this new technology, he would have continued to live without consequences for his heinous crimes. DeAngelo received multiple life sentences without parole on August 21, 2020. 

Where There is Smoke, There is Fire

By Elle Baker

September 21, 2020

   Over the past few weeks, the United States has been hit by extreme weather of all kinds,  including record-breaking hurricanes, wildfires, and heatwaves. Many people were expecting an intense hurricane and fire season this year, but what has occurred is far worse.

   California alone has been ravaged by a series of record-breaking wildfires, heatwaves, and heavy winds.  The first fire recorded this season was started on August 17th by a series of lightning storms in the Bay Area, named the Bear Fire, according to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. 

   The lightning strikes themselves were record-breaking from the last storm in 2008 where there were more than 5,000 strikes that sparked thousands of wildfires across the West Coast. This storm struck nearly 7,000 times in a span of three days and the fires it ignited have continued to destroy over 254,000 acres with 38% containment. The evacuees included those who were forced to flee the Camp Fire in 2018. 

  As of September 10th, “about two dozen major wildfires are now raging in a year that already has seen 2.2 million acres charred. That’s a record for the Golden State for one year, and four months remain in the fire season.” Cal Fire said.

  A more interesting source of these fires began on September 5th in El Dorado at a gender reveal party. The couple decided to use a  “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device” to announce their baby’s gender, which resulted in a 7,400-acre fire as of September 7th according to The New York Times.    In addition to fires, hurricane season is upon the Eastern Coast and records have been broken within the first month. Hurricane Isaias was a destructive Category 1 hurricane that caused extensive damage across the Caribbean and the East Coast of the US, including a large tornado outbreak that created the strongest tropical cyclone-spawned tornado since Hurricane Rita in 2005. The hurricane began on July 30th and lasted until August 5th. In total, the hurricane cost more than $4.3 billion dollars in damage and 18 lives in total.

   Hurricane Laura came in with the same gusto as Isaias, but with three times the fatalities and racked up a category 4 rating. It tied with the 1856 Last Island hurricane as the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in Louisiana. 67 fatalities in just over a week. Just devastating.

   It is difficult to deny the reality of climate change when there is a winter storm advisory warning for Denver residents after temperatures in the 100s just two days later. They are set to have temperatures dropping over 60 degrees from 101 degrees on Saturday to a predicted 32 degrees on Tuesday according to CNN.  

  Climate change has been an incredibly large contributing factor to all of these natural disasters and it has been proven by multiple scientists across the world. Rostin Behnam, a Democratic commissioner, told CNN “It’s incumbent on policymakers, elected officials and regulators to start building in rules about climate resilience so we don’t suffer in the long run from these dramatic weather events. These are real-world climate events happening on a more frequent basis and more extreme manner.” 

   The only reason why these extreme weather events have become more and more frequent is from the lack of action by the United States government in taking preventative action against the ever-growing threat of climate change. The president has blatantly denied the reality of climate change and has even gone as far as to say that windmills cause cancer – which is one of the best natural resources in efforts to reduce pollution – and has called climate change a “hoax”.

  Regardless of what the theories are about how climate change came to be, there can no longer be any denial of climate change’s presence and the impact it is having on the whole world. 

   With every hurricane, heatwave, winter storm, and wildfire, all anyone can do is hope that the U.S. can get through the rest of 2020 in one piece. 

Pandemic Parties

By Colin Murphy

September 14, 2020

   Blake Gray and Bryce Hall, two influential TikTok stars, were both charged with misdemeanors on Friday, August 28th for hosting two large house parties in defiance of local health orders, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced. 

   Both Gray and  Hall are now facing up to a year in jail and a fine of $2,000. Combined, both influencers have a following of over 19 million. With a following of that amount, some criticize that these two should both be behaving appropriately in the time of a worldwide pandemic. Others argue that they need to set good examples for their fans, especially the young teens that look up to these content creators and want to be like them. 

“In the middle of a public health crisis, you should be modeling great behavior…rather than brazenly violating the law,” Feuer said during a press conference.

The two boys, ages 19 and 21, held a party on August 8th and the police were called regarding a complaint. Less than a week later, the police were called again due to a “shots fired” call. Officers arrived to find over several hundred people gathered into the home celebrating Hall’s 21st birthday. 

Los Angeles Police Department officers were unable to get into contact with Mr.Gray until August 14th when he said that he knew about the previous LAPD warning on August 8th according to Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, Gray was then cited. Five days later on August 19th, power was cut to the home as authorized by Los Angeles County Mayor Eric Garcetti.

 “Despite several warnings, this house has turned into a nightclub in the hills, hosting large gatherings in flagrant violation of our public health orders,” said Mayor Garcetti in a news release. “The city has now disconnected utilities at this home to stop these parties that endanger our community.”

The LAPD and Mike Feuer are hoping that by filing these charges, other influencers and those who look up to these influencers will not follow in the footsteps of Blake Gray and Bryce Hall. Despite the citations received by Gray and Hall, party-goers are not subjected to any citations or charges, but Feuer says that could change if the behavior continues.

 “Everyone’s health in our community depends on remaining vigilant,” said Feuer.

 It is still unknown whether or not any COVID-19 cases have been linked to the parties, however, Malibu has been full of packed Bonfires that are still occurring on the beaches in Malibu. These LA parties have even been attended by Malibu High School students. We do not condone this behavior, however, we just recommend that students be aware of COVID-19 and have respect for those whose health will be affected by the virus.