All posts by Editor Vanguard

Super Blue Blood Moon… Story by Luke Krautkremer

On January 31st, 2018 an extremely rare astronomical event occurred. This was the “Super Blue Blood Moon”. It has this name because at the time of the event the moon was being affected by a combination of a few different sub-celestial events.

First off, a “Super Moon” is when the moon appears to be larger and brighter because it is at its perigee while it’s full. A perigee is just a term for when the moon is closest to the earth in its orbit, this combined with the moon being full creates a Super Moon.

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Moon impression… A student’s sketch of the recent blood moon event. Photo by: Luke Krautkremer

Although to the amateur star-gazer the effects of a Super Moon can be hard to see with the naked eye, the Super Moon appears to be 7% larger, and 16% brighter than an average full moon. There has been a large amount of Super Moons recently. There was one in November that was the closest Super Moon to the Earth since January 26th, 1948. “Super Moon” is not the technical name, it is “Perigee-syzygy”.

A “Blue Moon” is the term that refers to when a full moon appears twice in one month. Full moons appear roughly every 29.5 days so it is highly unlikely that a full moon will appear twice in one month, hence the saying “Once in a Blue Moon”. Blue Moons are actually not that rare and happen about every 2.7 years. Typically, Blue Moons do not actually appear to be Blue. Although, moons actually can appear to be blue. If there is enough dust in the air it can act as a sort of filter that makes the moon appear to be blue.

A “Blood Moon”, or lunar moon, occurs during a lunar eclipse where the moon is eclipsed by the earth from the sun. This causes the moon to turn red since the moon is in the Earth’s shadow, which keeps the moon from getting almost any sunlight to reflect from the sun. The small amount of sunlight the moon does get comes from the atmosphere of the planet.

 Blood Moon Sighting... A student captures the “Super Blue Blood Moon." Photo By: Sean Korbitz
Blood Moon Sighting… A student captures the “Super Blue Blood Moon.” Photo By: Sean Korbitz

This causes the moon to have a red-orange color in appearance. The reason for the color is the same reason that sunrises and sunsets have their color along with the sky. It’s called “Rayleigh scattering” a process in which small particles disrupt the particles of radiation causing them to change in color.

If you missed the Super Blue Blood Moon, then you won’t be seeing it again anytime soon. The last one that was observable in the U.S. was in 1866. When asked what he thought about the Super Blue Blood Moon, student Troy Shepherd said “I thought that it was pretty nifty.” He said that he saw it for only five minutes and “From our area [Bonners Ferry] it was red with a bit of blue.” John Stevens told me that he thought that it was “Really cool. Once in a lifetime experience I’d say.”

 

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Lead in: Student sees special moon

Student observes rare astronomical event

By: Luke Krautkremer

Bitcoin: Digital Currency or Digital Tax Evasion?… Story by Skyler Kent

In recent years, cryptocurrency has become, for some, a new standard of paying for items on the internet. While this highly volatile currency has become a near overnight phenomenon, there might be a more sinister meaning to it. Before we jump into that, however, we should address the question that some people might have: what is bitcoin?

Bitcoin’s origins can be traced back 2009 when an anonymous person who went by Satoshi Nakamoto invented the currency. This currency was attractive to many because it eliminated the “middle man,” i.e. banks. Another reason people were attracted to it was the fact that it could be used anonymously, and that bitcoins are not tied to any countries monetary regulations. While bitcoins are not universally accepted everywhere, some companies such as Overstock (an online furniture retailer) and Expedia (a hotel booking website) allow bitcoins to be used as payment.

Student Ethan VanGundy explaining to the FBCS Journalism class how Crypto-Currency works. Photo by: Skyler Kent
Student Ethan VanGundy explaining to the FBCS Journalism class how Crypto-Currency works. Photo by: Skyler Kent

Before 2017, a single bitcoin was worth around 900 USD. As of last year, it skyrocketed into twenty of thousands of dollars.

 

There are two ways to get Bitcoin(s). One of which is to do what is called “mining.” Where multiple people compete against each other to solve equations, whoever completes the equation first is awarded a set amount of Bitcoin(s). The other method of getting them is by helping decode Bitcoin payments. Every year the production of Bitcoins slows and will eventually they will stop being produced. People don’t usually have the money to spend on making the best mining rig to become successful in mining, which leave the only option is to trade it. Websites offer the ability to trade regular currency to bitcoins as well as other types of crypto-currency.

Owning bitcoins isn’t as simple has putting coins in a wallet. Or is it? Bitcoins are stored in “digital wallets.”, which exists either in the cloud on the persons computer. The wallet is, in a way, like a bank account in that it allows the users to send and receive bitcoins. However, there is nothing insuring the wallets, so if the wallets were to be accidently deleted, then they are gone forever.

Also some have been looking out how it can be used for tax evasion. A prime reason that this could be occurring is the fact that bitcoin has near complete anonymity. That translates to having the currency being able to be traded to anyone anywhere with little record of the transaction taking place, as the only thing that is recorded in a bitcoin transaction is the wallet id of the sender and the recipient.

Rise and Fall... Bitcoins value has drastically changed in recent months. Photo by: Bitcoin.xyz
Rise and Fall… Bitcoins value has drastically changed in recent months. Photo by: Bitcoin.xyz

In the United States, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) classifies bitcoin income as income and expects people to pay income tax on it. However, due to the anonymity, it becomes difficult to prove if people are receiving income from them.

 

 

Recently the South Korean Government after conducting raids against bitcoin exchanges for committing tax evasion, have stated that legislation is on the way to ban cryptocurrency from being traded. This would add them to the list of countries that have already banned them, which includes Bangladesh, and Bolivia.

All in all, it can’t be said whether the true purpose of bitcoin is to give criminals a way to purchase goods with near anonymity, or to just be a currency that is purely digital. However, with the possible bans and decreasing value, the future of cryptocurrency may be in jeopardy.

 

Interview with Beet and Basil… Story by Leah Roth

Sandpoint has had its cornerstone restaurants around for decades, serving their trademark dishes and family comfort food for as long as locals can remember. However, when coming up with the idea for their restaurant, owners Jeremy and Jessica Holzapfel wanted to do something unique.

“There [were] a lot of different people that wanted to come into this space but…what it came down to was they were all high end fine dining restaurants again…they do higher end food, but we aren’t that …we prefer to bring alternative food into town and to fill a niche that never existed, or fill a niche that existed but that no one ever attempted to fill.”

After working for a variety of different restaurants both here and in Seattle, Jessica began to experiment with different exotic ingredients and spices.

“…we would leave town to find Indian food, to go get Pho, to go get Malaysian fried rice. We’d go to the international district in Seattle and walk around and try random things that we have no idea what it is because it’s not in English and then decipher what it is once we’re eating it…as we went to spice stores, she (Jessica) would open the different spices and smell them. She bought endless spices just to try, to experiment. So…for the last decade our house was like a constant array of different smells. You felt like you were in a different country every other day when you walked in our house just because of how intense the spice aromas were, because she’d be stewing something or something would be brining. She’s not afraid of spice, but she also learned how to balance it, and that’s really great for these dishes that she does here.”

While living in Seattle, they had an idea for a restaurant.

“So Beet and Basil was an idea that we’d had when we were a little bit younger in Seattle. Jessica had been bouncing around kitchens in Seattle, kind of learning on the fly… she started working at a bunch of different restaurants in Seattle, and she worked at this one ‘Poppy’ up on Capitol Hill, and it was an Indian fusion restaurant. The [chef] of the restaurant was (also) the chef at a really famous restaurant called ‘The Herb Farm’ (which) has a farm on premises, (and the restaurant is located) outside of Seattle. They harvest all of their own herbs and all these different things so they can integrate them into the dishes, and the dishes are very high end, fine dining. So as she was working for him in Seattle…they had people that just brought them strawberries, and they had…several people that brought them mushrooms and that foraged for them in the mountains.

Goblet of Fire… the spicy Chicken Vindaloo Bowl features a myriad of Indian spices
Goblet of Fire… the spicy Chicken Vindaloo Bowl features a myriad of Indian spices

So Jessica would receive all of this food and then it would become dishes and specials that the chef would come up with, and Jessica was a line cook at the time and so she would just make whatever she was told to and…it was super inspiring for her, but even there it was like she wanted to learn more. She just kept moving to different restaurants around the city and learned from all of these different chefs that happened to be in Seattle. While we were there we started to develop a concept, and we wanted to do a food truck. Then as we were developing this food truck…about 6 years, maybe even 7 or 8 years ago now, we also were like, ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing to bring all these flavors back to Sandpoint?’”

A few years later, they did just that and launched the Beet and Basil Bus in 2016. Parked in front of Evan’s Brother’s, the food truck was wildly successful and soon gained a local reputation. They sold food from May to October, and had planned to open for another season this year. However, fate had something better in mind.

“…we did the food truck and we weren’t sure how that was going to be received, so we did a lot of social media before we opened, we had a lot of friends in Sandpoint, because we’re from here, and we both moved here. She moved here when she was 15 and I moved here when I was 16, so we kind of grew up here in our 20’s and we’ve made endless roots here. So the truck did amazing like it was shocking how many people – we only survived on locals because we were parked in front of Evan’s Brother’s in the parking lot, kind of away from everything, didn’t have money to advertise so we used social media and word of mouth. I was still running the Starbucks store, between the two stores at the time, and so trying to support her and the truck, and then Jessica was also the chef at Spud’s when she opened the truck, so she would run the truck service and be open from 11 o’clock to 4 o’clock at the truck and go and open Spud’s for dinner at 5. She was working like 13 to 14 hours like 5 to 6 days a week and it was really crazy and really trying, but we were basically taking as much money as we could and putting it into creating this concept.”

Unlike typical restaurants, their diverse menu is ever changing.

“She never went to culinary school. She started as a dishwasher, actually at where Trinity is now, it was called The Beach House and that was in like 2000 or 1999. At the same time she started working at Spud’s and was a sandwich girl…At that time, Jessica hated tomatoes and sprouts and mushrooms and any seafood, like endless things, it was crazy. We started dating back then. Then she started working her way through kitchens here and quickly became a line cook at Spud’s…She would get bored over time doing the same food. Restaurants in Sandpoint tend to be very static, as far as like the food that they make…but I’m a super foodie and I have been since I was young. My mom was a pastry chef and I’ve been exposed to a lot of food from everywhere my whole life. So when Jessica and I started dating, I cooked mostly and so it was like whatever I felt like cooking and then she’d try it and we’d be kind of falling in love with all kinds of foods, and as she was kind of moving around, basically we ended up moving to Seattle because certain circumstances brought us there.”

Little Bowl of Asia… Vietnamese Pho Chay noodle soup
Little Bowl of Asia… Vietnamese Pho Chay noodle soup

Today you can explore the flavors of the world right from their dining room. North African Harrisa Shakshuka, Indian Chicken Vindaloo, Vietnamese Pho Chay, Malaysian Rendang Beef Curry, Cuban Press Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Korean Chicken Fried Steak Sandwiches–one of my personal favorites–and more are available for under $25.

“Our customers are accepting of our menu. They’ve learned it, they have their favorites. And we’ve kept what we call the five favorites from the bus and they’re on the menu always, so you can get them at lunch or dinner, they’re always there. But the rest of the menu changes, and now that everybody’s kind of gotten used to our menu, we’re actually going to expand it coming up here. Every month there’ll be a menu that has four or six different items on it, and they’ll stay on the menu for a month at a time so that the kitchen gets used to making those items and it isn’t a constant game of retraining and retraining everybody that’s working every shift. For our customers it’ll be a lot more exciting because for that whole month they can be sure that we’ll have those items, and they’ll actually be able to count on that fact. But we’re also going to use the larger menu template so we can showcase local farms [and] businesses that we work with.”

Not only is it delicious, many of the ingredients are organic and locally sourced.

“At home we eat mostly organic produce, we try not to eat very much processed food whatsoever… What we believe in is that our dollar is our vote. Yes, we had to pay more for the organic food. Yes, we had to pay more for this beef because it came from a local ranch. Yes, we had to do these different things and it cut into our budget, and it was more expensive, but it was also our vote… So here we are on a larger stage, and we buy thousands of dollars in food. We get to make that vote with a larger dollar, and we make our food purveyors find us these things or we search them out and we find the locals that will grow us different crops…It reminds me of what ‘The Herb Farm’ was and what ‘Poppy’ that Jessica worked for, the same chef, where he would go out and harvest the herbs from out back.”

Everything is done with the customer in mind.

“What we’ve learned is that people really like our food, and we get rave reviews on our food. We have opportunity with our service sometimes and with our hosting, and getting people set. But what that teaches me is those are high expectations, and I… don’t want to fail those expectations when people are telling their friends to come here.

So the only thing we can do is to not rest on our laurels and to continuously work to get better. To look for every single problem and make it be an opportunity to fix it, and have an open mind and not try to get caught up and frustrated in the day to day stresses of the restaurant, like customer flow and all these things. We have to come back to center and be like “How do we make this fun?” every day. [Sic]

But I like taking care of problems and problem solving. That’s probably my favorite thing…we have these compostable little plastic containers that we do to-go Pho soup in, and the Pho is really hot, like extremely hot to the point that it starts to melt the [plastic]. So we actually had to re-source and we found a new container that has a honey wax in it so it’ll actually break down that will actually preserve that paper. So it’s pretty awesome, I’m like “Okay. Yup. There we go. There it is right there, this is exactly what we’ve been looking for.” It’ll eliminate the spill for the customer, which elevates that customer experience, and makes it so that they don’t question ever ordering that item because they’re afraid that it’s going to spill in their car like it has in mine.

Come Visit!... Beet and Basil is located at 105 S 1st Ave in Sandpoint, ID
Come Visit!… Beet and Basil is located at 105 S 1st Ave in Sandpoint, ID

So just problem solving little things like that makes the customer experience better, makes them able to trust everything about the product. It seems so little, but when you are doing that all day every day, evaluating and fixing all these little things, it becomes a huge thing.”

 

He’ll even refer them to other restaurants in the area.

“…it’s amazing what word of mouth does. The businesses on this strip alone, sending people here this summer, is where everyone came from. They’d be like, “Where should we go eat?” and they’d be like, “Go to Beet and Basil.” The pizza place was telling people to come here! If you didn’t want pizza, they were like, “Oh, go over [there].” Even Ivano’s was doing it, they were sending people here. And we would send people [there]. I’d have people come in here so shocked by the menu, like it scares them, and if I can tell I’m not going to win them, I’ll instantly refer them to our sister restaurants. If it’s lunchtime, I’ll send them down to [City Beach] Organics, and I’ll send them to Spud’s, and I’ll send them down to McDuff’s Brewery. At dinnertime I’ll send them over to Ivano’s and be like, “They have Italian food here…” and I’ll explain the menus of each of the restaurants because that’s another huge thing.

I am not jealous of any restaurant, and I’m not trying to compete with any restaurant. I’m trying to fill a niche that isn’t filled, and be the other option.

Our number one mission is to stick to our values and also deliver on our concept, and to fill that niche that’s missing—or that’s there. So, to actually bring exciting new flavors and ethically source those ingredients, and figure out ways that we can do this using sustainable products.

And also, if I could give one piece of advice that I’ve learned through all my time…is never burn a bridge. Never burn a bridge…and always make sure you have good work ethic. Those are so important, and they have opened up so many opportunities for us because we hold true to those different values and it’s amazing what it does.”

Beet and Basil is a great restaurant run by even greater people. The next time you’re looking to eat something new, stop by in downtown Sandpoint for a unique dining experience.

All Photos by Lauren Roth

Picture 1: Goblet of Fire… the spicy Chicken Vindaloo Bowl features a myriad of Indian spices. Photo by Lauren Roth

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Picture 3: Come Visit!… Beet and Basil is located at 105 S 1st Ave Sandpoint, ID. Photo by Lauren Roth

Cover Photo by Lauren Roth

Rules of Making Money… Story by Eliza Lister

In the middle of last trimester, the FBCS craft fair showed off student businesses and creations and gave the economics class an opportunity to make money. This lead to Bird Eye News to ask a local CEO and internet businessman, Tony Lister, the rules to make money.

According to Tony Litster, one of two things to make more money. You have to “reach more people or you have to solve a bigger problem.” In solving a bigger problem “they are more valuable to the company” therefore getting paid more. When you reach more people you are able to “duplicate the effort.” And now there’s a handful of skills involved in making more money.

Communication is “understanding what really makes people tick. What you see is not what you get.  Most people are children in adult bodies. Instead of trying to talk to the adult to learn what actually driving the show in the child, what’s really going on behind the scenes.

Hang in there… Some of a students designs for the craft fair hanging from a tree
Hang in there… Some of a students designs for the craft fair hanging from a tree

This brings in fears. It brings in insecurities. It brings in inner dialogue. It brings in screwed up stories they have about themselves. When you communicate to the person’s pain, you actually get somewhere.”

When it comes to sales the truth is people “always selling.” When you do a job interview you’re selling. When you show up at work to perform you’re selling. When you’re in a meeting with your colleagues you’re selling. When you’re on a project, you’re selling. So learning the basic skills of selling is invaluable because they’re always selling themselves. “Life is selling, so it’s critical you understand how to present it.”

Negotiation is where you will make the very most money in the shortest amount of time out of any job that you can do. And people miss that. The simplest negotiating skill is to point out a reason why some things are flawed and ask for a discount.

“I just did a sale on land for my client and the guy went from 2 million to 1.5 million in a conversation that lasted 45 minutes. So in 45 minutes we saved a half a million dollars. In what job could you generate that kind of revenue, in 45 minutes? Then you follow up with a question: is that the best you can do? That question alone, how many seconds does it take to say, “is that the best you can do?” After asking these seven words and most people will think of a way they can do better.”

Student Businesses... The economics class used these skills at the craft fair last November
Student Businesses… The economics class used these skills at the craft fair last November

The last one is marketing. What is marketing? There’s a difference between sales and marketing. Sales is the “actual transaction of selling something.” Marketing is building the “story” around it. Learning how to tell the story in a way that it “reaches the emotions of the person who has that need.” That’s what marketing is. Marketing is the story telling.

On, “it is the story telling” Litster says “if that person learns communication and they learn sales and they learning negotiating and they learn marketing and they suddenly become the most effective at their job cuz they’re able to listen to what’s not being said and pay attention to it. Suddenly they add more value than just their role.” That’s the key to becoming invaluable to the company.

Although most schools aren’t doing much to teach these skills there is effort on the teacher’s part in schools such as Forrest Bird Charter School. Mr. Webber’s economics class and craft fair are a wonderful showcase of teaching these skills in a high school.

All Photos by Kai Eagley00

 

From Bad to Worse: California Disasters… Story by Lydia Martin

Ever since October, California has found itself in a situation well known to the area, as large forest fires started to engulf the state. The fire area ranged from Northern California all the way down to San Diego and has caused at least $9.4 billion in damages to houses, cars, and other public buildings. People are without homes and food and others without family as the death toll is at least 44 people.

Up in flames… A firefighter puts out a flaming palm tree during the Thomas Fire. Photo by: Stuart Palley
Up in flames… A firefighter puts out a flaming palm tree during the Thomas Fire. Photo by: Stuart Palley

It has destroyed up to 281,893 acers making it the worst fire in California since the Santiago Canyon Fire of 1889, which burned at least 300,000 acres. But this is not all.

At the beginning of January, there began a downpour of rain causing flood waters to rise and mud to accumulate and cause serious damage. At least 13 people are dead with those numbers expected to rise. Again, people are without homes and the area is a disaster. Sheriff of Santa Barbara County described the area: “It looked like a World War I battlefield. It was literally a carpet of mud and debris everywhere, with huge boulders, rocks, down trees, power lines, wrecked cars — lots of obstacles and challenges for rescue personnel to get to homes.”

Search and rescue… A group of rescue workers lead a girl out of her collapsed house. Photo by: VenturaCoAirUnit

Rescue workers are out doing what they can to help the people in the area but California might struggle to overcome and recover from these catastrophes. It is especially difficult as the state has just come out of a record breaking drought, and has been ravaged by similar disasters in recent years.

People have been working together to help by opening places for people to stay, doing search and rescue and clearing debris from areas to make it safer. These people are helping those in need and that is a great thing and something that could be done something like this happened in the area. Many people are providing shelter, food and warmth for those in need. California is just one of many examples of catastrophes in our country and world.

 

News is Entertainment… Editorial by Alex Chow

How important is news? News keeps us informed of the changing of events, issues and characters that provide citizens information to make the best possible decision about their lives, their communities, their societies, and their governments. Even though news is factual and boring, people still keep abreast of news as they take it as a responsibility. When people have the right to vote and obligation to pay taxes, they will feel this responsibility. Who could be appropriate representative of them, how taxes are spent and so on, news helps them to figure out these questions. The government is the keeper of the powers while journalism is the guardian of the powers that prevent the misuse of powers. However, the guardian goes astray since people do not care about boring news.

“Everybody wants to be entertained by the news,” says Todd Gitlin, a professor of sociology and journalism in the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. It is hardly surprising that people prefer entertaining news like ‘The Daily Show’ than a serious and in-depth news report.

Fox "News"?... Channels like Fox have more opinion pieces for entertainment than actual news
Fox “News”?… Channels like Fox have more opinion pieces for entertainment than actual news. Photo by: Washingtonian

People are intellectually lazy, they are reluctant to investigate any issue; rather, they are eager to be told something as simple and interesting as a joke. Media will lose audience, unless they turn news into entertainment. News should reveal the truth, sadly truth does not matter now, only fun is important. According to the Pew Research Center, 10 % of ‘The Daily Show’ viewers are watching the half-hour show for its news headlines, 2% for in-depth reporting and 43% for entertainment. Obviously, a soaring number of people care entertainment more than facts.

Moreover, media is a business, and the purpose of news is making money more than exposing the corruption. To be honest, running a news site costs a lot of money, and when corruption can no longer catch people attention, the media has to change their strategy such as making entertaining news.

Media tycoons... Station owners like Fox's Rupert Murdoch control vast amounts of the news
Media tycoons… Station owners like Fox’s Rupert Murdoch control vast amounts of the news. Photo by: Forbes

More entertaining the news is, more audience they have, more advertisements they get and more money they earn. Fox news is known as entertaining news, and Fox is Basic Cable’s Most-Watched Network for 17 Months, and has far more audience than other serious news. Fox News is ‘successful’ as it has a considerable revenue, whereas a news channel that exposes corruption cannot be defined as successful.

Also, the media tycoons themselves may share the same interests with certain politicians. These tycoons could be part of the corruption, so how could you expect them to reveal their tactics? They cannot get much viewership anyway. If they keep exposing corruption between the government and big companies, the big companies will not be stupid enough to subsidise an enemy. Speaking of profit, news should be entertaining instead of exposing corruption that nobody cares so as to be profitable.

What is going on in the society? Corruption is becoming untraceable since the news is trying to cover it instead of exposing it. Politicians work for the big companies instead of the citizens, they vote according to the orders from their ‘boss’. News is no longer a news, people are entertained and fooled at the same time, and the government is corrupting is due to the civic ignorance.

Logan Paul Youtube Controversy… Story by Catherine Ross

Logan Paul is back. The YouTube vlogger posted a seven minute video about suicide prevention and awareness on January 24, 2018 It featured a man named Kevin Hines, who when he was 19 years old, jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. Throughout the video, it talks about suicide and how large of an influence it actually has in the United States. But, even though this video is trying to promote suicide lifelines and helping those who may be struggling with those dangerous thoughts, people are torn over the fact that this might just be a well time PR video for Logan to bring back his career.

On December 31st 2017, right before the New Year, Paul posted a vlog while in Japan which showed a man who had recently committed suicide in the alleged ‘Suicide Forest’ on the northwest side of Mount Fiji. The video was up for around 24 hours, even hitting the top ten trending list before it was removed from the platform.

Late Reactions- Even after the video was flagged and reviewed, it still was up without an age restriction before being taken down later that day. Photo by: Kavos YouTube channel
Late Reactions- Even after the video was flagged and reviewed, it still was up without an age restriction before being taken down later that day. Photo by: Kavos YouTube channel

The video caused the 22 year old to receive a lot of backlash and the removal from Google Preferred ads, as well as putting his various YouTube projects on hold. Paul issued two apologies for this video, which included a Twitter apology and YouTube video. He later went on a three week hiatus. During that hiatus, his younger brother, Jake Paul, made a video on January 23, which hinted at the fact that Logan would be able to recover his career despite this mistake.

Which brings us to his current video. Though the video has pulled over nine million views in 22 hours, it’s still up for debate whether or not Logan Paul will change his attitude and how he deals with life and others. But is it really all Paul’s fault for his behavior? The answer that first comes to mind might be yes, of course he’s responsible for his behavior, but YouTube isn’t entirely innocent when it comes to the young vlogger. Both Paul brothers have been known for their ‘loud and obnoxious’ videos and personalities, doing pranks to neighbors and just having that wild and reckless behavior in general. YouTube never seems to do anything about it. It seems that the YouTubers are the ‘golden boys’ of the platform and get away with most of the things they do without getting trouble for it.

Now YouTube and the Paul brothers can’t be the only ones getting blamed from this unfairness. The subscribers of both channels are guilty as well. By constantly watching the videos they bringing more revenue to the Paul brothers, giving them more material to make more videos. The subscriber demographic for both channels is as young as eight years old, which makes them very impressionable, and unable to always know or process what the videos are actually doing or what actions they are promoting.

Even with the Suicide Forest video, YouTube allowed the video to be up for a day without adding an age restriction to it, before it was removed. Since the video had been flagged, YouTube had to manually review it to see why it was flagged, and even then, they still kept it available for all ages before it was later taken down. YouTube’s actions against Paul weren’t instantaneous, Google having pushed for a ‘punishment’ if you will first by removing Paul from their Google ad tier program. It took time, but YouTube eventually put a hold on Paul’s programs and stopped his income from the platform. Though, where these late reactions the correct ones to take?

The Apology- This was the Twitter apology letter that Paul posted on January 1st of this year. Photo By: Njtechreviews
The Apology- This was the Twitter apology letter that Paul posted on January 1st of this year. Photo By: Njtechreviews

YouTubers are known to make mistakes, whether it’s from things like racist jokes and comments, being inappropriate in general, or plain disrespectful in other countries. The fact that Logan Paul was able to have a video up which showed the body of a man who had committed suicide shows that the platform has issues with the staff. It currently is having people manually view and filter videos now, and the possibility of a video such as Paul’s being posted again is slim to none, but will videos that should have age restrictions or be taken down be left up for anyone to see? YouTube has a very heavy influence over the younger generation and the videos can change the actions of someone if they are of that impressionable age. So should more videos be filtered and have age restrictions? Should certain YouTubers be allowed to post on the platform? It’s a grey area, but YouTube seems like they are trying to make it a safer place for all people, and viewers can only wait and see what the future holds.

If you or someone you love/know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please contact someone who can help, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255). This is available 24 hours every day.

End of Net Neutrality… Story by Celena Wadopian

Over the end of 2017, many companies and individuals have waged a campaign to maintain net neutrality. Net neutrality guarantees the equal treatment of data on the internet, so that no website or platform can be promoted or put at faster speeds. Ever since the appointment of a new director of the Federal Communications Commission, the board that upholds net neutrality, republicans have gained a majority. With this majority, there was a serious risk that net neutrality could be repealed. In fact, on December 14, 2017, the FCC voted to get rid of this internet freedom.

In the vote, 3 all republican members opted to remove net neutrality, against 2 democrats who voted to keep it . In doing so, this means that they have sacrificed the freedom that American Citizens have on the Internet. Internet Service Providers (ISP) can now slow down any website they want, as well as block any website they prefer. Another thing they can do to gain more profit is charge their customers in order gain the privilege to visit certain websites at normal speed or at all, and they can do this by creating certain “packages”.

Blocked off... Parts of the internet could be offered as part of 'packages' to purchase. Credit: CNN
Blocked off… Parts of the internet could be offered as part of ‘packages’ to purchase. Credit: CNN

For example, a customer of Frontier Communications can buy a package that allows 20 GB of high speed internet per month. Without Net Neutrality, Frontier Communications can legally also make it part of the package that a customer cannot access certain social media sites. In order to access these sites, they must upgrade their package. Packages with more offers would also cost more.

But how about an ISP practicing something like this even before Net Neutrality was taken away? Verizon currently sells an unlimited data plan that isn’t actually unlimited. Customers with limited data plans get more preference in internet speed over those with the unlimited plan, and this means that the person with an unlimited plan will have their internet throttled. According to the Verizon website, an unlimited plan costs $40.00 per line per month for Go Unlimited, compared to their Beyond Unlimited plan which is $50.00 per line per month. Other cell phone companies only have one type of unlimited plan for one price with all included features. There isn’t much of a difference between these plans, except Go Unlimited is low on the speed priority list. And this is where Verizon makes their extra profit, and in turn, customers are lied to; they are taken advantage of.

Future of the Internet... A humorous depiction of blocking websites. Credit: nerdreactor.com
Future of the Internet… A humorous depiction of blocking websites. Credit: nerdreactor.com

One could argue that what Verizon is doing isn’t necessarily bad. Net neutrality is defined as fairness and equality on the internet and equal distribution between websites and applications. In providing two unlimited plans, each with different prices and different preferences regarding network abilities, net neutrality isn’t actually being denied because Verizon is not throttling specific websites upon committing this act. According to the Verizon official website, on the Go Unlimited plan, “In times of congestion, your data may be temporarily slower than other traffic”, while on the Beyond Unlimited plan, “After 22 GB per line, in times of congestion, your data may be temporarily slower than other traffic”. It is clearly stated that they throttle speeds of internet connection when there are too many people online, which is what it means when they say “congestion”. Verizon is doing this as to distribute speeds upon everyone.

But what if Verizon is doing this to give priority to those who pay more? What if they are trying to get people to spend more? Or what if they are doing this for the exact purpose of net neutrality: fairness in data distribution? These are all questions one can ponder, but there cannot be a factual answer until Verizon confirms all of this. In the meantime, American internet freedom is gone, and some people have already seen and experienced this. Slowly but surely, ISP’s are figuring out how they can take advantage of this to get more profit. ISP’s are conspiring against the American people, and what they have been planning to do is in violation of our rights. Because, everything in this day and age is about profit.

 

Racism in Sandpoint… Story by Luke Krautkremer

Ever since April of 2017, as well as some activities before this, fliers have been reported across town depicting racist drawings of African American, Hispanic, and Jewish men with over exaggerated proportions to make them look related to various stereo types. At the very top of these fliers is a picture of your average white family. The fliers do not only have the racist images; they also have some racist remarks, such as “Don’t believe Jewish and Liberal LIES/ RACE IS REAL/ Keep Idaho Safe… Keep Idaho clean… Keep Idaho WHITE” and underneath each of the caricatures is the word “NO!”

Racist flyers in Sandpoint...One of many flyers that have been, and continues to be, placed all around Sandpoint. Photo by: KrisS on Twitter
Racist flyers in Sandpoint…One of many flyers that have been, and continues to be, placed all around Sandpoint. Photo by: KrisS on Twitter

These events have been, naturally, very alarming to the community in, and around, Sandpoint. Mayor Shelby Rognstad has also been a target of the racist propagandists. Mayor Rognstad has received a photo shopped image of himself in a gas chamber with a Nazi cartoon frog referred to on the internet as “Pepe” ready to flip the switch. Initially, the activities were simply planned on being ignored as no actual laws were being broken. But, then came the events on August 12, in Charlottesville, Virginia. The activities began to become more and more frequent, according to Mayor Rognstad “It’s almost been on a daily basis the last couple of weeks,” and “My hunch is that it’s just one or two people trying to get as much attention as possible,”. “Initially, the attitude was to ignore them. But now, since Charlottesville and these fliers now being distributed every day, it’s time to speak up.” Said Mayor Rognstad. (Interview taken from The Spokesman Review)

Love lives here... Posters have popped up around town to counter racist rhetoric
Love lives here… Posters have popped up around town and in newspapers to counter racist rhetoric

Scott D. Rhodes was identified after being caught on surveillance footage placing propaganda CDs on students’ windshields at Sandpoint High school. It’s unlikely that he will be charged with any crime as his actions do not infringe upon “Free Speech”. However, he is also a suspect in a case in Alexandria, Virginia where, in last Fall, the Mayor of Alexandria and other city council members received racist and anti-Semitic phone calls including a recording of Adolf Hitler from a number linked to Scott’s phone.

While these fliers have been put around Sandpoint for over a year now, this has not divided the community. The town of Sandpoint has continued to fight against these racist activities putting up posters with the phrase “Love Lives Here” showing support, for equality. While there may be some people who choose to be hateful, the majority of the community will not tolerate it, and will continue to support all people regardless of race, religion, sexuality, and circumstances.