“There are multiple ways to say goodbye” Story by Alistair King

“There are multiple ways to say goodbye” Story by Alistair King

For the past couple month’s students have been perplexed by one thing… What’s Mrs. Amanda’s big news? Some people got close with guessing that she would be travelling overseas, and the top guesses were Pregnancy/Ability to Conceive, and Husbands Paperwork came through. While these weren’t correct Mrs. Amanda Stated that “It would be lovely to see his green card.”

Today we finally found out the truth, and the news is that she got

New Campus, Mrs. Amanda's new campus will be amazing.
New Campus, Mrs. Amanda’s new campus will be amazing.

accepted to Washington State University with a full scholarship to get her masters in Spanish. Mrs. Amanda stated that “As a teacher you can’t get ahead in a bachelors degree, it’s not enough money.”

That’s what makes this an amazing opportunity; she has been offered a full ride as well as a stipend to attend the school. Not only that but full health benefits. Mrs. Amanda states “This is my dream.” She applied for this opportunity and out of a mass of teachers, “they were crazy enough to pay me to go back to school.”

Teachers these days are not even remotely paid enough to get this opportunity by themselves. They often have to rely on spousal support,

Mrs. Amanda will be studying Spanish literature such as Don Quixote, other traditional Spanish literature, and some modern literature.

Another question is now in people’s heads is why did she hide this from the students? As she puts it “I’m not afraid of going back to school, I’m afraid I’ll hurt people by leaving. I don’t want people to be hurt.”

Mrs. Amanda will be kept close to us in these following years as she gets her Masters degree. She has taught us a lot and would like to leave us with this final message.
“I wanted to say that in foreign languages there are multiple ways to say goodbye. I’m not saying goodbye, but when we meet again. Even in death I don’t believe in goodbye. I’ll always be around.”

Thank you, Mrs. Amanda, for your kind heart and everything you’ve given us; we will see you around.

Innovations of the Week… Story By Alistair King

Nailed it… Students had the opportunity to display their projects to the school on these posters.
Nailed it… Students had the opportunity to display their projects to the school on these posters.

In this article we take a look at the innovative projects being formed by students of the FBCS. What are their projects? How will they change the world and what other ideas do they have? We are here to find out.

Just looking… Willem shows off one of the papers he’s writing for his project.
Just looking… Willem shows off one of the papers he’s writing for his project.

Willem Herman has an idea about streamlining the reality field. He wants to create a Virtual Program that will be used by realtors to allow prospective clients to see the house from their own homes. He believes that this can really change this field because being able to check out houses from your home won’t force you to drive to houses in other areas. He said that this idea took him about 5 minutes for the basic idea and another week to start formulating it. If he had to choose a completely different project it would be “Refrigerator Cargo Pants.”

Making it up to you… Sloan and Shaelyn could change the make-up game forever.
Making it up to you… Sloan and Shaelyn could change the make-up game forever.

Next, is Sloan Warner and her partner Shaelyn with their idea for a machine that will color match your make-up. This machine will “scan your face and make a base.” This will allow people to find the perfect makeup for their skin and not waste their time and money buying make-up that may not look the best. This will also allow companies to save money by only printing products that fit people. Sloan stated that this took her and Shaelyn about two and a half weeks to come up with because ideas kept getting thrown away.

A++… Andrew and Brandon are hard at work hoping to develop a class around their project.
A++… Andrew and Brandon are hard at work hoping to develop a class around their project.

Last for this week we have Brandon Michelsen and Andrew Van Winkle with their new video game called Steamrunner. The premise of the game is based around steampunk where you run around obstacle courses and collect pieces of inventions from famous inventors. He wants this to lead into an area of gaming that applies learning to fun games.  Brandon and Andrew have been discussing this project for little over a year before deciding on applying it to the innovation project. If he wasn’t working on this game Brandon would be working on “a self-charging generator, but that’s all I want to disclose.”

This is a great start for the innovation project, and it can only get better. Keep an eye out and keep working on your project!

Unlocking the Secret of Communication Story By: Andrew Van Helsing

Unlocking the Secret of Communication Story By: Andrew Van Helsing

vanwinkleandrew_415_91575_wolf howl-2Do canines communicate using dialects like humans? One of the largest studies on canine dialect and howling has uncovered some vocal fingerprints which may lead us to understand the meanings behind wolves’ howls. Originally, there was a repository of 6,000 different howls, ranging from domestic dogs to wild wolves. Researchers narrowed this number down to 2,000 and used a mathematical computer algorithm to create 21 different howl types used by the candid species. The types of howls range from a flat, monotonous howl to a strong, modulated howl.

Dr. Arik Kershenbaum, from Cambridge University, states, “we’ve known for a while that you can detect differences in wolf howls by ear…we don’t know whether the cues that we are picking up on as humans are the same cues that are being detected and interpreted by the animals themselves.” Because of this, they went on to research the similarities and differences that were found in the howls, without human perception interfering. The study found that smaller canids have the more modulated howl while the larger canids have more of a monotonous howl. Kershenbaum also mentioned that we could use that information from the research conducted to better track and manage the wild wolf populations.

For example, red wolves are interbreeding with coyotes, which is causing major problems, as they are on the brink of extinction. One of the main reasons that they are breeding is because of the fact that both of their howls are classified as type 3. Researchers are hoping to use triangulation technology based off of the dialect study, so they can prevent the red wolves from doing this. They plan to use recording devices to send pack warnings to other wolf packs so that they can separate the two breeds. This technology also wields the possibility of preventing wild wolves from approaching populated areas, which, in turn, reduces the chances of conflicts between wild animals and humans. Kershenbaum said that they could play back appropriate howls to wolf packs, such as “we’re a strong aggressive pack” and not “we’ve found some interesting food here and we’re going to eat it.”

vanwinkleandrew_415_91576_dolphinspeak-2Prior to this study, Kershenbaum had also done research on dolphin communication and found that if you slow down a dolphin’s whistle, then it sounds like a wolf’s howl. He is sure that the secrets of the human language and its development lie within calls of social animals like wolves and dolphins. Is it possible that we could learn to understand and communicate back with other animals in the future? It may be more probable than you would expect.

The Prom 2016: A night in review Story By Mack Jastle

 

While the announcement that school prom would be at school itself would be expected at most other schools, at FBCS, the announcement was met a good helping of confusion.

Tranquility…An outside pavilion area gave students a place to talk and relax after dancing. Photo-by: Mary Jensen
Tranquility…An outside pavilion area gave students a place to talk and relax after dancing. Photo-by: Mary Jensen

It has long been a tradition for the FBCS Student Council to find a venue outside of the school to host the prom.  Whether it’s the Panhandle State Bank or the Heartwood Center, prom was always held at locations outside of the school itself.

However, this year was different.

Originally located at the Granary across from the Evan’s Brothers coffee shop, the prom was moved to the school due to a lack of early ticket sales.  Decorations for the dance began on Thursday and carried into Friday, hinting at the transformation that the school would undergo for the dance.

‘What was the theme of those decorations?’ you might be asking.   For this year’s dance, the theme that was selected was Italian Formal.  Plenty of rich golds and purples adorned the school on Saturday night, while a chandelier swung overhead.  A nearby table, supplied with snacks and desserts, provided nourishment to those brave enough to cut a few moves on the dance floor.

At the kitchen area, President Elle Mearns and her brother Conrad dished out fancy drinks and martinis (no alcoholic of course), of all shapes and sizes, quenching the thirst of the student body with grace… and just a hint of lemon.

In total, sixty-one tickets were sold, with most the sales occurring on the ‘Twin Ticket Thursdays’ that the Student Council implemented amid concerns of ticket prices being too high.  This awareness, coupled with the decorations students could see being put up, spurred many to buy their tickets before it was too late.

High Rollers….Several students try their hand at biribi, a classic Italian game. Photo-by: Mary Jensen
High Rollers….Several students try their hand at biribi, a classic Italian game. Photo-by: Mary Jensen

At the dance itself, the garden area behind the school was transformed, with pavilions and tables providing students a place to cool off once they had danced to a few songs.  It proved popular both as a place to hang out and talk, or just a place to cool off after tearing up the dance floor.

Back inside the main room, a chandelier hung suspended over the commons, with large bands of fabric stretching out from it like an explosion.  Numerous stars and globes hung from the strands of fabric, creating an entirely different atmosphere than what is normal in the commons.

A photo booth was set up inside the room to take pictures for free.  Students could buy the pictures for later if they liked how they turned out.

All in all, the prom was a very fun and exciting event.  Everyone who went had fun, and it was a blast for everyone.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Vows to Drink Water from Flint Michigan! Story By: Dave Dowel

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Vows to Drink Water from Flint Michigan!

Story By: Dave Dowel

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has been busy in the aftermath of a lead poisoning crisis in Flint - Photo by Associated Press
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has been busy in the aftermath of a lead poisoning crisis in Flint – Photo by Associated Press

Why Rick? Why are you doing this, oh wait you are doing this to prove that Flint Water is safe. Well, it’s not; the EPA says it’s not. Why can’t you believe them, they’re the EPA, but no your government is not trusting anyone and saying the water is complete safe? Yes the EPA said filters are helping, but they are not cleaning everything out. So to prove them all wrong you are going to drink the water for the next month at home and at work in Ann Arbor. He will refill on water when he visits every week.

The EPA was told Flint residents to try their tap water, while the lead is still exceeding the Federal Standards. Flint residents are still in danger because the lead is still exceeding the safe it’s according to the EPA. The real question is why was the Municipal government not do anything about the Flint water problem.

The city of Flint, Michigan, stopped sourcing its water from Detroit’s system and started pumping from the Flint River to save money. – Photo By Steve Carmody
The city of Flint, Michigan, stopped sourcing its water from Detroit’s system and started pumping from the Flint River to save money. – Photo By Steve Carmody

Is this simply a political move by the governor to save his job? The Flint water situation really started in 2014, when the City of Flint start pumping their river instead of pumping from Detroit because it was cheaper to pump from the flint river. The Flint River water was corrosive enough to erode the lead piping and that is what put lead into the water. Over time the lead became too toxic and many people developed medical problems. Virginia Tech tested the water and stated that it had too much lead. After that, the mayor tried to keep it covered up, but one of the doctors figured out that the water had too much lead in it and the secret was out. Virginia Tech when to Flint, to bring the bottled water to Flint, Michigan. Then the EPA stepped in and that’s where we are now.

Unregulated Mushrooms… Story by L.B. Van Dine

Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs are foods genetically engineered in labs that could be potentially dangerous. Normally, the USDA would regulate these foods and check for any potential hazards; however, these foods are making their way into our supermarkets without having to go through the USDA’s safety check. The question is, can these unregulated foods be a danger to the people who eat them?

A mushroom packaging company… is preparing to ship out unregulated GMO Mushrooms to our supermarkets. Photo by David Mdzinarishvili
A mushroom packaging company… is preparing to ship out unregulated GMO Mushrooms to our supermarkets. Photo by David Mdzinarishvili

Yingyong Yang is a student from Pennsylvania State University who is responsible for engineering these mushrooms. Yang used a gene slicing technique known as CRISPR also known as Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat, to successfully remove the browning gene from mushrooms while increasing their shelf life. Yang stated outright that his product wouldn’t be regulated by the USDA. Why is that? It’s because these mushrooms are outside of the USDA’s jurisdiction. Along with these mushrooms there are thirty other genetically modified organisms that have made it into the supermarkets due to loopholes that are out of the USDA’s reach. This means there are over thirty different products in our supermarket that could be labeled “organic” while in fact, they were made in a lab and just avoided the USDA’s concern.

Bruised White-Button Mushrooms… With the browning gene removed, this won’t occur as easily with supermarket mushrooms. Photo by kitchenexperiments.net
Bruised White-Button Mushrooms… With the browning gene removed, this won’t occur as easily with supermarket mushrooms. Photo by kitchenexperiments.net

The reason these mushrooms avoided being checked was due to the method the mushrooms were engineered. Typically the USDA is only concerned with foreign objects being added to the supermarket product. However, the difference between these mushrooms and other GMOs is nothing is being added to these mushrooms; rather genes are being removed from these mushrooms. The browning genes that cause these white mushrooms to turn brown and bruise are being removed.

Other than the USDA is unwilling to step in and examine these mushrooms and make sure there are no issues with selling these products to the masses. The FDA considers all GMOs okay and healthy for consumption, and the EPA only monitors foods that use pesticides. This means we have no official government organization monitoring if this food is safe for human consumption, or if these mushrooms will have any impact to our environment.

Giorgo Mushroom Co. is the company that funded Yang’s GMO mushroom. However, once the final product was produced the company was hesitant to put their label on these mushrooms. They aren’t sure if it is a wise choice considering the controversy there is surrounding genetically engineered foods. While many scientists say there are many misconceptions about GMOs, they won’t deny the possible dangers about them. In a survey taken in July 2015, 37% of adults saying they thought eating genetically modified organisms was generally safe, while 57% said that they thought it was unsafe.

In America any genetically engineered food is allowed for consumption, but not many other countries follow our example. Many European countries including France and Germany have banned the cultivation and sale of these foods. Other countries that have GMOs banned include Austria, Hungary, Greece, Luxembourg, and more. More and more countries are banning the distribution of these foods, but the United States of America seems to be the only country set on keeping these foods available to our people.

Standardized: The testing industry’s cutthroat profit margin… By Mack Jastle

As the shuffle of test booklets and the scratching of #2 pencils echoes through the halls, one thing is made clear.  It’s testing season.  that means  students all across the country will be taking standardized tests that will directly affect their lives moving forward.  Well, at least the companies paid to create these tests care about the students….right?

It’s not quite that simple.  The testing industry is literally a billion-dollar industry, raking in total profits of close to two billion dollars annually.  Millions of dollars are spent every year lobbying federal and state officials to support policies that enforce standardized testing.  In some cases, these officials are even hired by these companies.

You may be wondering which companies are being mentioned here.  This brings us to the four titans of the testing industry, these being McGraw-Hill, ETS, Houghton Mifflin, and Pearson Education.  These are the kinds of names that you see on most tests and, coincidentally, the textbooks to study for them.  These four control the bulk of the lucrative testing industry, and thus control a large amount of the American educational system.

Lucrative…..The testing industry’s profits total in the billions annually, and that number only rises as more students enter the system. Photo-by: Politico
Lucrative… The testing industry’s profits total in the billions annually, and that number only rises as more students enter the system. Photo-by: Politico

In addition to cornering the testing market, they also make a fortune providing textbooks for college and K-12 students to study from.  And, as anyone who has ever had to foot the bill for one of those books knows, they are very expensive.  Those expensive books make those four companies a lot of money, in addition to the profit they make from the tests themselves.

Today, our education is more of a testocracy than ever.  The average American student has to take a total of 112 mandated standardized tests before graduation.  By contrast, most countries currently outperforming the US in education test their students three times during their K-12 education.

Seems a little suspicious, right?  Those statistics mean that even though American students take thirty-seven times more standardized the tests than the leading nations, we are still far behind.  This brings up a good point; why have so many standardized tests if they aren’t improving our nation’s intelligence?

To answer that question, we’re going to have to dig deeper, and ask a lot more questions.  (Counter-intuitive, I know).

How did standardized tests become so deeply embedded in our education?  What caused this dependence on standardized testing that we currently have now?  The answers to these questions lie hidden in the history of Standardized Tests’ Past, we must first look at America’s history of educational reform.

Educational reform was seriously batted around near the end of the twentieth century, when worldwide surveys concluded that America was falling far behind in its’ educational standards.

The response from legislators and policymakers was decisive.

Standardized testing was pushed as the be-all end all to improve our standings in the world.  While testing was pushed forward, it wasn’t until 2001 that the testing industry really began to pick up steam, when President Bush unveiled the No Child Left Behind Act.

The NCLB massively increased the number of standardized tests taken by American schoolchildren, and severely penalized schools that either failed to give these tests or consistently scored poorly on them.

Ever since, American students have learned to fear the testing season.  But for the testing companies themselves, testing season is met with considerably more excitement.

Is it healthy to have our intelligence benchmark measured entirely by standardized testing?  Is it worth it for us to spend this much money and put our faith into testing?

Standard…..Standardized tests have become the primary method for state and national measure of academic achievement. Photo-by: morecaucusnyc.org
Standard… Standardized tests have become the primary method for state and national measure of academic achievement. Photo-by: morecaucusnyc.org

The answer is murky at best.  While standardized testing does give us statistics to base improvements on, it can lead to teachers teaching to the test, and to students with less resources being unfairly prejudiced against.  The educational value of the questions is also dubious…are these questions really helping our children improve, or just conditioning them to agree with the testmakers?  Evaluating a student’s intelligence based on how they did on one particular day is fundamentally flawed, and we have to figure out a better way.

We have to seriously evaluate just how much we want to go into standardized testing, and whether or not we want continue funneling money to these companies.

America has a decision to make.  Despite all of this increased testing, we are still far down on the education totem pole.  We must decide whether or not our current level of standardized testing is needed, or if we should cut back.

America, get your No. 2 pencils out, because you’re being put to the test.

Middle East Crisis Prediction or Plan?… Story By K

Prediction or logical conclusion... General Wesley Clark between circa 1997 and 2000.
Prediction or logical conclusion… General Wesley Clark between circa 1997 and 2000.

General Wesley Clark was general of the United States Army from 1966 to 2000. In 2003, on Democracy Now! and in his book Winning Modern Wars he outlined a plan from within the government to “take out seven countries in five years”. These counties were: “beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and finishing off Iran.”

All of these countries are now in a state of political, economic, and/or social chaos. What Wesley Clark is suggesting is that this could be the result of U.S. military action and/or C.I.A. operatives. This is the same man who served in the Kosovo and the Vietnam Wars.

When ISIS / ISIL is left unchecked... Map showing regions in Syria and Iraq controlled by ISIS.
When ISIS / ISIL is left unchecked… Map showing regions in Syria and Iraq controlled by ISIS.

General Wesley Clark goes on to explain that if it were not for oil, the Middle East would be like Africa. There are horrible regimes and governments in Africa, but no one is threatening to intervene. In fact the U.S. government supported Apartheid South Africa. Then president, Richard Nixon thought it was important to keep a close relationship with the white leaders. (source: THE BIRTH AND DEATH OF A TAR BABY:  HENRY KISSINGER AND SOUTHERN AFRICA. A Thesis presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School at the University of Missouri Columbia by Aaron T Dowdall and supervised by Dr. Carol Anderson in December 2009)

Many people would like to believe that the U.S. and Britain are special somehow and they won’t do terrible things for power, but they are not. They are just as hungry for power as any other country. The U.S. government will lie and use “terrorists” as scapegoats so that they can get cheaper oil and impose their power upon countries that don’t comply with the global capitalist system (like the “socialist” government in Somalia).

It is important to note that I try not to say “our government” or “we went in to this country”. This is because WE do not do anything. They do it and say they’re acting in our name. We should not make the mistake of thinking that the U.S. government actually acts in our interest, they act in the interest of big business.

What General Wesley Clark is saying is important. It proves that the U.S. did not go to war in those seven countries because of nuclear or terrorist threats. The U.S. government is mainly interested in maintaining the “petrodollar” and exercising it’s power.

Could this be the end? Story By: Alistair King

Could this be the end… Xbox and PS4 might settle their differences with this new cross system play. Photo By Game Spot
Could this be the end… Xbox and PS4 might settle their differences with this new cross
system play. Photo By Game Spot

For years gamers have been fighting over which console is better; PS4 with their innovative systems, or Xbox One with their ease of control and dedicated servers. Everything that can be construed as good by these systems is boasted about by the gamers of their side and scrutinized from gamers of the opposition. But recently something big has happened; could this mean the end of the console wars?

On April 14th Microsoft Director of ID@Xbox Chris Charla sent out a letter entailing future updates to the Xbox One. The most interesting part of this is the cross system play. Previously this has only been between Windows 10 users and Xbox One players. But in this letter it states:

First, in addition to natively supporting cross-platform play between Xbox One and Windows 10 games that use Xbox Live, we’re enabling developers to support cross-network play as well. This means players on Xbox One and Windows 10 using Xbox Live will be able to play with players on different online multiplayer networks – including other console and PC networks.

In their own league… Rocket League creators Psionix were the first to crack the code and allow cross system play. Photo By Kotaku
In their own league… Rocket League creators Psionix were the first to crack the code and
allow cross system play. Photo By Kotaku

This is what’s going to make a 2 console system turn into a single console system.  While PS4 hasn’t given a direct answer they did state that they have been using cross platform play for quite a long time and would be open to talking about it with developers. The first developers to allow cross system play are Psyionix’s Rocket League. This is going to be the first step in creating a full network of cross system gaming.

However there are still a few boundaries in the way. Sony is still wary about going full in on this and in a recent interview with Shuhei Yoshida stated that its still an issue of business interests; “Rather, the dance-off will revolve around whether it is in Sony’s best interests to allow it.” While this won’t mean that Sony is not going to go for it, but it will mean that it could take some time for a large scale network for both Xbox and PS4.

What will this mean for future generations of gaming consoles? Could this be the end of the countless arguments over which console is better? And can Nintendo realize it needs to be part of this change? Time will only tell.