Tag Archives: FBCHS

Yahoo in Cahoots Story By: Iris Grayson

yahoo-1-1Yahoo is an internet site known for answering those stupid questions we have, sending e-mails, and informing us on the news, but lately they’ve been telling U.S Intelligence a lot far beyond their privacy policy. Yahoo claims to “Yahoo takes your privacy seriously.” (-Yahoo Privacy Center), but according to Yahoo workers Yahoo has been scouring hundreds of thousands of emails looking for information, for the U.S intelligence. What they are searching for is terrorist information. Sources say it was probably sent through a privet e-mail. Though Yahoo might not be the only one asked to search through privet information. The NSA states that if Yahoo was asked to search it is likely that other internet sites were asked as well. As more tech companies become more skilled at encrypting data it is likely they will receive more such requests.

Even though we don’t know the specific program used we do know that Yahoo’s tracking tool is similar to the tool used to the one used to look for spam, malware, and child pornography. However it is different than Upstream in the fact that it looks through message headers, message content, and message to and from. The government targeted the specific accounts of foreigners.`

“This is a troubling vision of the future where there might be massive government surveillance done with computers,” Opsahl states “The government may well say they were only targeting a string of characters used by a foreigner, but it just so happened that hundreds of millions of innocent people also had their emails examined too.”

Information such as Identifaction, social security numbers, date of birth, and location if

They are not the only company to have done this. Apple has done a similar thing when they wrote a program to break into an encrypted IPhone involved in the San Bernardino massacre. The FBI dropped the case after the phone revealed the help of a third party. According Sam Biddle, the Interpret, the other internet “giants” (Google, Twitter, Facebook and Apple) denied involvement in the “hacking”.

Not only has Yahoo violated their privacy policy, but they have violated the right to privacy stated in the Fourth Amendment.

yahoo2-1-1Yahoo has also sent a scan out through e-mail that detects a certain signature that was supposedly used in terrorist messaging.

“The company probably wants to say more, but are gagged by the very same company the accepted the request from.” Opsahl states.

Not long ago Yahoo resisted government demands. The Sunnyvale Company intentionally challenged the program in a battle dating back to 2007, despite being fined 250,000 dollars a day.

Though Yahoo was under different management. Melissa Mayer, a past Google executive for the past four years, was the one who denied such requests.

Yahoo currently has plans to sell the company to Verizon. Verizon currently has no comment on the matter.

Though the question must be asked: Yahoo was asked to do such things in the past, why have they said yes to this specific request?

Hurricane Matthew… By Mack Jastle

 

Weeks after Hurricane Matthew tore through Haiti and the southeastern United States, people and emergency management officials alike are finally able to focus on recovering from the damage.

Hurricane Matthew caused an estimated $1.5 billion dollars in damage, and that’s just what North Carolina reported.  The state suffered some of the worst flooding it has ever had, and waters are just now receding.

 

Devastation…Hurricane Matthew destroyed many homes, and left many without a place to go.  Only now is aid starting to reach these more remote areas.  Photo-by: Rebecca Blackwell/AP
Devastation…Hurricane Matthew destroyed many homes, and left many without a place to go. Only now is aid starting to reach these more remote areas. Photo-by: Rebecca Blackwell/AP

However, North Carolina wasn’t the only one hit hard by the hurricane.

 

Haiti is in dire straits after floodwaters and high winds have destroyed much of the nation’s crops, contaminated drinking water, and demolished thousands of homes.

Many people are left without basic staples in the wake of the disaster.  In more remote areas, people are forced to walk for hours just to get basic essentials like food and water.  Prices of essential goods have skyrocketed, pushing many families into poverty as they try to find enough to eat and drink.  While aid is being provided, many citizens watch as aid trucks drive right past them to help the major cities.

This is where Hurricane Matthew’s effects are the most pronounced.

Some of the more remote villages have been all but wiped off the map.  The extent of the devastation has prompted many to flee for the relative safety of the larger cities.  As a consequence, many of the small villages that were populated and secure before the hurricane are now desolate and empty.

However, while it has been over two weeks since Hurricane Matthew subsided, the danger is far from over.

In the wake of Hurricane Matthew’s floodwaters and water contamination, cholera is able to flourish.  Haiti has been battling the disease since late 2010, when it was introduced via UN peacekeepers leaking waste into a river.  It has ravaged the country since then, taking advantage of inadequate hygiene and medical facilities.  The hurricane only exacerbated this problem.

IV…Clinics like this one have been set up to combat the spread of cholera in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.  Photo-by: Meredith Kohut/New York Times
IV…Clinics like this one have been set up to combat the spread of cholera in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. Photo-by: Meredith Kohut/New York Times

Previously clean water sources are now contaminated, and rivers and reservoirs used for bathing and clean drinking water are now contaminated by the disease.  To make matters worse, many clinics and aid centers that could potentially have provided treatment were wiped out by the hurricane, leaving many with nowhere to go.

The sheer volume of patients and scarcity of medical supplies has forced clinics to use less than optimal medical treatments.  Oftentimes the only aid these clinics to offer the sick is an IV and some water.  Making matters worse, many of those suffering from cholera refuse treatment, preferring to tough it out without wasting resources.  These people often perish without receiving medical care.

While Hurricane Matthew may have long since dissipated, there is still much to be done.  Aid must be provided for the victims of this tragedy, and soon.

Rated M for Marketing… Story by L.B. Van Dine

: Rated M by the ESRB… this is what people will see on the cases to games that are recommended to 17+ players
Rated M by the ESRB… this is what people will see on the cases to games that are recommended to 17+ players

It’s incredibly noticeable that the standard of what is and what isn’t safe for children to view is changing. When you look at a game rated “T” for teen what do you think most teenagers think? Apparently most don’t find these games appealing considering that these games are becoming more incredibly scarce as more games are being produced. This is the exact same thing that happened to the G-Rating concerning movies. There are no longer movies being released with the rating as “G” because that causes immediate judgement and the film will not receive nearly as much profit as Rated R Dead Pool for example.

Halo 5 sold less than all of its previous games in the franchise. This could all be due to a poorly made game, but the Halo series is one of the most iconic series’ on the Xbox, why didn’t it get the same sales as its predecessors? Could it be the fact that Halo 5 has been rated-T and the moment kids saw that rating in the corner it lost its appeal?

The most mainstream games are rated M for mature matters such as blood and gore, drugs, sexual content, inappropriate language, and graphic violence. However, just because they are rated M it doesn’t mean that it’s only interesting to a mature audience. According to a survey by The Pew Research Center reported “in 2008 that 97% of youths ages 12 to 17 played some type of video game, and that two-thirds of them played action and adventure games that tend to contain violent content.” Just because something isn’t recommended to children doesn’t mean it isn’t marketed towards them.

Various games… that are popular with many people and a large amount of the interest is with children photo by dailymail.co.uk
Various games… that are popular with many people and a large amount of the interest is with children photo by dailymail.co.uk

Today, many kids are constantly lining up to buy big titles games such as Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Grand Theft Auto.  Many voices heard online are the voices of children online, probably no older than eleven years of age. It shows that a rating holds no meaning it is merely a regulated recommendation, but it’s pretty noticeable that people often ignore these recommendations.

Some of these games seem like they can make the cut and be considered games rated for Teens, but there are many on the internet who feel that game industries add extra blood, gore, and profanity only to get the game to reach rated M on the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s scale. One hundred percent of students asked at FBCHS believe that the gaming industries would purposely rate these games as mature to market and make it seem more appealing to children.

 

Editorial: Students sue the U.S. Government over Climate Change… Story K

Students protest the government's failure to respond to climate change
Students protest the government’s failure to respond to climate change

It is surprising to see that a judge in Oregon did not dismiss a lawsuit filed against the federal government for its failure to take action against fossil fuel emissions. Usually the issue of the future of our planet is ignored because the corporations that are poisoning our planet control our government. The so-called “representatives” are wealthy elites working in the interest of big business.

The future of our planet is in our hands
The future of our planet is in our hands.

What makes this case especially interesting is the fact that these are children who are trying to make a case against the government. Will government act in its own interest or in the interest of future generations? If we were in their position, I think a lot of Americans would side with the children. Different sources have different views on how much of America believes in global warming. Thinkprogress.org says 70% of Americans believe in global warming. Wikipedia says 67% believe it is a threat.

Graph of climate change - provided by NASA
Graph of climate change – provided by NASA

The case being made is that by failing to take action against climate change, the U.S. government is denying them their constitutional right to life. If we are not following the constitution, then we are no longer a constitutional republic. If most of America believes in global warming and think it is a threat, then how can the politicians do nothing about it and claim they act in our interest?

I think the most important question here is: what kind of world do we want to make for our future generations? How do we want our society to be remembered? If we start asking those questions, then it could make a difference.

For more info visit Democracy Now!

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.

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.