The Paw Print

Novi Middle School's Student Newspaper

Volume 21 Issue 5 / February 3, 2021

NMS IN THE NEWS

Teachers try to maintain their routines through changing times

By: Veena Karthik & Lorelai Raudszus


The pandemic has shaken up everybody’s lives. We are already aware of the differences in a student’s life, and so it may be interesting to take a look into a teacher's lives and what the new norm has become.


We interviewed two teachers to learn how an instructor at NMS goes about their day. From what we found, it seems teachers are even more swamped than students. But they still manage their time much more efficiently, all while keeping a cool and collected demeanor in the midst of this chaos.


Each teacher was asked a total of 11 questions. Ms. Evo, a virtual ELA teacher, and Mrs. Grebinski, both the virtual and hybrid Choir teacher, agreed to participate. The following is a form of the questions we asked our teachers, compacted and shortened to prevent an everlasting article. From the teachers’ responses, we drew conclusions finalizing what is most common amongst teachers for each specific time of day.


What do you do first thing in the morning between waking up and leaving for school and logging on to your computer?

A few teachers start their morning mindfully, and begin with an enriching task. For example, Ms. Evo takes some deep breaths and does some yoga to relax before facing the stress of the coming day. She even gets her blood pumping by bouncing on her trampoline and then focuses on journaling. Mrs. Grebinski works out every morning to start the day off strong and makes sure to get her kids ready for school. And of course, a filling breakfast finds its way into the morning as well.


What do you do before preparing for your first class and how do you get ready for first hour?

Before starting work, teachers make sure to care for their family and pets by feeding their pets, if they have them, and getting kids all set for school. Ms. Evo prepares her daily agenda the night before and makes sure to open Zoom and catch up on emails. On the drive to school, Mrs. Grebinski mentally plans for her day and once at school, checks for SEL lessons and WNMS episodes. As you can see, teachers try their best to be ready for the start of the school day.


What do you do during your free time on a regular day (during lunch and/or planning hour, in between classes)?

In between classes: Break to move around and relax for a few minutes. Mrs. Grebinski even gives her dog some lovable attention as she pets her dear Lucy.

During prep hour: Teachers take time to proactively plan for the next day and work diligently on grading assignments. Occasionally, some teachers do activities on the side like reading books to learn about new teaching styles (Ms. Evo) or submitting late attendance.

Lunch break: The time to quench the hunger which comes from the exhaustion of the day. During this time it is obvious that most teachers may eat. And most do; except for those that have made the sacrifice to skip lunch hour in order to instruct both the hybrid A and B groups when one group goes to lunch, as Mrs. Grebinski has revealed she has undertaken.


What do you do once school or your last class ends? How do you end your day?

Some teachers, like Mrs. Grebinski, leave our blue roof immediately to pick up their kids from their school. Other teachers, such as Ms. Evo, will stay online as needed to help students. For those teachers who have a busy household, they may care for their family and pets for the evening before returning to schoolwork for the night; Mrs. Grebinski explains.


And like anybody, teachers need to take some time to relax and de-stress after a long grueling day. While Ms. Evo spends time chasing her little thief as he barks around with socks in his mouth, Mrs. Grebinski is left to her own devices as she works tirelessly into the night and her family is already asleep. She enjoys watching T.V, especially detective shows, while Ms. Evo takes pleasure in knitting.


At last, a day in the life of our teachers is revealed and we can now learn to appreciate all the little and great things our teachers do for us, and just how much effort and time goes into their work.


Special Thanks To: Ms. Evo and Mrs. Grebinski for selflessly giving time out of their busy schedule to help create this article!

Daily productivity may improve with these simple steps

By: Samaara George


Do you feel lazy and unproductive all the time? Do you feel like you are wasting the days? Well, then you are in the right place. I have some easy steps to make you sure have a more productive day. This will help you finish all the things you need to do for that day and make you feel productive!


The first step is to find out what you have to do for the day. I recommend writing down 3-5 important things you have to do for the day. You can do this the day before or at the start of the day. Once you have completed a task, check it off your list. This gives me motivation for the day. Here are some examples: Study for the math test, buy a notebook for school, go for a walk, read for 30 mins. Try to think of things that will help you feel good and healthy.


Next, try to wake up early. If you are not a morning person, try to become one. Set an alarm for around 6:30-6:45 on weekdays when you have school, and on off days or weekends, try to set it at 7-9 in the morning. This will help do more in the day like exercising or just planning for the day. It will also help your overall sleep quality making you have more energy for the day. Having this extra hour in the morning will let you have a good morning routine. Most people try to do a workout and eat a healthy breakfast as part of their morning routine. You can also check what you have to do for the day.


Make sure to prioritize what you are doing at the moment. For example, when you are studying for a certain subject try not to think of other subjects or other topics. This will help you focus on what you are doing and excel at it. Try to take breaks between your tasks. This will conserve energy and focus as you work through the day. During your breaks, eat a snack or go on your phone. Make sure to spend your time wisely.


Remember a habit takes anywhere between 18-254 days to form, so don’t be frustrated on the first day. Just keep on trying!

“From Your Valentine”

By: Lakshmi Bijukumar


Regardless of its origin, Valentine’s day is celebrated all around the world. It is a day of love, friendship, and admiration. But how did it really start, what is its real purpose, and why do we celebrate it today?


The Tale of Saint Valentine

The history of Valentine’s Day is a shrouded mystery. According to the Catholic Church, there were three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus. One story tells of a saint named Valentine who was a priest that served during the third century in Ancient Rome. During that time, Rome was ruled by Emperor Claudius II, also known as Claudius the Cruel. Under the rule of Claudius II, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody campaigns.


The emperor had to maintain a strong army but was having a hard time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. Claudius believed that men were unwilling to join the army because of their wives and families. To get more men to join his army, he outlawed marriage for them. Saint Valentine realized this injustice and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius imprisoned him before his execution. During his imprisonment, Valentine fell in love with a young girl, possibly a jailer's daughter. Before he was executed he wrote the first “Valentine” to the girl. He signed the letter “from your Valentine,” an expression used when exchanging cards and gifts today.


Why do we celebrate it today?

We still celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th to honor St. Valentine. Today, on Valentine’s Day, we exchange cards and gifts. We celebrate this holiday with our loved ones and appreciate them.


The story given is only one of many that exist. Almost every religion and culture have a different belief about the beginning of the valentine.

BEYOND THE BLUE ROOF

Biden putting on a mask

Biden has extensive plans for his first 100 days

By: Raima Saha


COVID-19 Plan

  • Have a $1.9 trillion plan so Americans get the help they need: Many Americans have suffered financially throughout the pandemic and several services may not be affordable for them. This would make it easier for many American families. It may be a hard plan to get through however because they don’t know how much support they are going to get on the Republican side, and it could be delayed because of Trump’s impeachment trial. But all this money isn’t just for the vaccines.

  • Where the money is going: Bigger stimulus checks, enhanced aid for the unemployed, rental assistance, and eviction notices. Help for the hungry, more money for child care credits, temporary increase for tax credits, and subsidies for health insurance. In addition to this, there will be the restoration of emergency paid leave, more assistance for small businesses, aid for states and schools, increased vaccine and testing, and a raise to $15 hourly wage. $170 billion will be going to support schools and $70 billion for a national vaccination program and funds for rapid testing.

  • Direct the CDC to provide evidence-based guides for social distancing guidelines. Such as when to open or close bars, restaurants, and schools: This is like a guide for when local cities can open and close businesses and schools. This would help us so that our cities will shut down and reopen at the proper times.

  • Make sure Americans wear masks when with people outside of their household. Then have local authorities and state governors make masks mandatory in their state: This seems like a good plan but, some people would agree with it because some don’t believe in COVID, and some downplay the virus. This would make it difficult to ensure that people are wearing masks. This isn’t a good idea, even though it has good intentions. Some states don’t agree with President Biden, so it would be hard to force masks there. Also, local officials may not agree with President Biden’s restrictions.

  • Ramp up PPE productions: This way nurses and doctors will have enough equipment that they don’t have to reuse theirs as often. And hospitals will get all the supplies they need. This will happen through the Defense Production Act.


Foreign Policy

  • Stop separating families at the border and holding immigrant children in America: This plan that will work. But many children have been separated at the border, and it would be nearly impossible for Americans to get in contact with those families on the other side of the border.

  • Terminate the travel ban for people from Muslim-majority countries: This ban stopped those from other countries get here. Many people have missed the births of grandchildren and haven’t seen their children due to this ban

  • Rejoin the Paris Agreement and restore commitment to science and truth in the government, including topics like climate change: Rejoining the Paris Agreement would prove our stance on climate change. This will prevent topics like climate change from getting worse. This will be a beacon for American leadership across the globe.


People With Disabilities

  • Guarantee full access to high-quality health care, including mental health care: This is a good idea, but it seems hard to pull off. This is because the government would have to agree to fund this program and then all disabled people may not get the funding.

  • Have transportation and affordable housing available to them: This shows support for disabled people, and it will give them the resources they need to go on with their everyday lives. It might be hard to put this plan into action because others may not agree with this plan.

Climate Change will impact millions, but can we prevent it?

By: Shashank Madhu


Introduction

If you haven’t been living under a rock, chances are you’ve heard the terms climate change or global warming in the news. Scientists say climate change could melt the ice caps, raise the sea level by >10 meters a century from now, and cause more intense weather events and flooding. Today, we will learn why climate change is way more serious than you think, and also provide a few student voices on the matter.


Devastating Repercussions

The effect of climate change you may know most of is the melting of the frozen water. Every year, an astonishing 750 billion tons of ice is melting each year. To put that into perspective, that’s 24,000 tons of melting water being added to the world's oceans every single second. If this keeps happening, 13 million people would lose their homes to flooding shortly, and cities and islands alike would be either heavily or fully flooded within decades or a few centuries, including but not limited to New York, Miami, Mumbai, Sydney, the Maldives, Seychelles, and parts of Hawaii.


The increased evaporation of water coming from increasing temperatures also could cause more frequent and intense weather events, like droughts, wildfires, heatwaves, storms, hurricanes, and storm surges. Just last year, fires ravaged Australia and California, burned 46 million acres(around the size of North Dakota) and 4.4 million acres(larger than the size of Rhode Island) of land, respectively.


Human livelihood will also suffer due to climate change. Agriculture would be in worse shape, due to an increased amount of droughts, floods, and intense weather events. Mosquitos and other pests that transmit fatal diseases such as malaria will see an increase as well. Warmer temperatures increase the formation of smog, further degrading the air and causing lung irritation and asthma attacks. Heatwaves and other intense weather events ultimately cause more deaths. And warmer freshwater means more disease-carrying pathogens.


And last but not least, more species get further driven to extinction. Due to sea ice melting, walruses and polar bears struggle to survive. The added heat from climate change causes coral to bleach, and that would destroy entire aquatic ecosystems. Overall, climate change paints a grim future for our planet if we don’t take action.


Joe Biden’s plan

Current president Joe Biden has some plans to combat climate change. A few weeks back, Biden signed an executive order that would have the US rejoin the Paris Accords. Earlier, He had committed during his candidacy that he wouldn't accept donations from oil and gas companies. Biden also stated he would roll back an old tax incentive that would enrich corporations at the expense of the environment, improve the infrastructure to withstand the impacts of climate change, fund research efforts of climate change, and ensure that the US would reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.


The Students’ Voices

An anonymous 8th grader said about climate change, “I am worried about climate change, and the government needs to do something about it. If no action is taken, then the ocean levels will rise because the Arctic is melting, and that will cause major problems also because the Earth will get hotter and in the future, the damage may be irreversible.”


8th grader Ethan C. also expressed his opinions about it. “Climate Change is a global issue and we gotta do something about it. Of course, I’m worried about it. It is fixable, but it is extremely hard to fix it, without affecting something else (Electric cars --> People spend more money on mining cobalt for the batteries)If no action is taken, we won't go extinct (at least for a long time), but a lot if not all the world's ecosystems would be damaged.”


Conclusion

In our society, it is often neglected, as corporations with power and money lobby against passing effective climate change legislation in the US, which makes it increasingly difficult. Despite all these qualms, the general acceptance of climate change by Americans gives me some hope.


Climate Change in its current state is definitely "fixable". We still have not passed thresholds of irreversible change, although we are close(as per WHO estimates). Even if we pass these thresholds, however, the globe as a whole must still take action to fight climate change and reverse any negative change that has been made.


But if you still want to take action against this monumental problem, you can do the small stuff(ex. planting trees, reduce energy consumption, walk or bike, etc.) and ask others to do the same. But you can also send a letter to the people in power, and ask them to fix it. The point is, if we want to save the Earth, we need to do this together.

The Presidential Inauguration Succeeds

By: Arvind Salem


Around noon on January 20th, Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States. John Roberts, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, swore him in and his Vice President, Kamala Harris, was sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Lady Gaga sang the national anthem at the inauguration, and Jennifer Lopez also gave a performance. Notably, among a slew of famous guests, President Trump was absent. However, Vice President Mike Pence did attend. The highlights of the ceremony included a poem by Amanda Gorman and President Biden’s inaugural speech, both of which emphasized the need for unity and healing in the country.


Due to the Capitol breach on January 6th, there were additional security measures in place including closing the streets of Washington D.C and closing the National Mall. All travel from Virginia to Washington D.C. was suspended. Due to Covid-19, attendance at the inauguration was limited. Instead, there were pillars of light that symbolized the United States’ states and territories, and the United States’ flag symbolized the people who would normally attend.

The Vaccine Release Plan

By: Ishaan Thurman


This pandemic and this past year have been extremely rough. Luckily, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The newly available coronavirus vaccines provide some hope as to how we’re going to get through this.


Vaccines:

There are currently two vaccines available and being sent out; the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine. Both vaccines are mRNA(messenger RNA) vaccines, which teach your cells to make a protein found on the coronavirus, allowing your immune system to create antibodies to fight it like it would if you actually have COVID. Multiple other vaccines are in stage 3 testing right now but are not yet ready to be used.

The Pfizer vaccine was the first vaccine to be FDA approved, on December 11, 2020. This vaccine takes two doses, which according to the CDC, are 21 days (3 weeks) apart. The Moderna vaccine was approved later than Pfizer’s. The FDA approved it on December 18th, 6 days after the Pfizer vaccine. Also, the 2 doses for Moderna’s vaccine are 4 weeks apart, 1 week longer than the Pfizer vaccine.


Statistics:

Current statistics and trials say that the Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective and the Moderna vaccine is 94.5% effective, only 0.5% less effective than the Pfizer vaccine. On January 11th, Michigan moved into the next phase of vaccinations which included childcare providers, teachers, first responders, and residents 65 years of age and older. The vaccine schedules in the U.S vary depending on the state so not all states have the same plan.

Presently, there have been around 19,500 vaccinations in Michigan and according to the CDC, approximately 22.7 million doses have been administered and around 41.5 million doses distributed.

In Michigan’s release plan for the vaccine, we are currently in Phase 1B. Phase 1A covered paid and unpaid people serving in health care settings who have direct exposure to patients along with residents of long-term care facilities. The phase we are in now, Phase 1B, allows those age 65 or older to get the vaccine as well as first-responders, pre K-12 educators, and more ( visit UofM Health for more information.)


Rollout and Phases:

The next stage will be 1C, which includes those at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to underlying conditions, as well as essential workers in transportation, logistics, etc. (see more here). The final phase is Phase 2, in which the vaccine will be available to all people 16 and older. While this mass vaccination campaign has no set date yet as to when it is supposed to start, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has said in her 2021 State of the Address, “In the coming months, the vaccine will be available to the general public.”

Here is a timeline from michigan.gov on the vaccine:



How this applies to us:

Sadly, the current vaccines will not be available to children under sixteen yet as it is not FDA approved right now, which means that no students in NMS can get the vaccine yet. However, some vaccines are underway in clinical trials including children as young as 12.

When the mass vaccinations roll out, this will actually help us. We can achieve something known as ‘herd immunity’ which is when so many people are vaccinated it provides indirect protection from the disease to those who are not immune because the disease can’t spread as much. This means that while we 7th and 8th graders may not have the vaccine, we can still be more protected against the coronavirus.

In summary, the vaccine is a solution to the current crisis. And while it may take a while for it to be fully effective and for us to be back to normal, it is still a step forward against COVID.

Defining “impeachment”

By: Hitesh Tirumalasetti


On January 13, 2021, just a week before President Biden’s inauguration, 232 members of the House of Representatives approved the second process of impeachment on former President Trump for inciting an insurrection. Even though the President is no longer in office, some government officials are still planning on an impeachment trial. Read below to understand what impeachment means, and the rules behind it.


What does impeachment mean?

According to Google, impeachment means “a charge of misconduct made against the holder of a public office.” A person can be impeached without being removed from office. For example, following his first impeachment, President Trump was not removed from office.


Impeachment rules:

According to the US Constitution,(website found: constitution.congress.gov), Article II, Section 4, says, “The Constitution gives Congress the authority to impeach and remove the President, Vice President, and all federal civil officers for treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Furthermore, “the President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

D.C. Sniper Case of 2002: Duo kills 17

By: Rebecca Borlace


On October 2nd, 2002, 55-year-old James D. Martin was shot in a parking lot in Wheaton, Maryland. The next day, police found James L. Buchanan killed while mowing a lawn near Rockville, Maryland. However, the killings didn't stop with Buchanan, and by the time the snipers were arrested, they had killed at least 17 people. They were later known as the D.C. Snipers and became two of the most infamous snipers of all time. The police found the shooters behind this case to be 41-year-old John Allen Muhammad and 17-year-old Lee Boyd Malvo.


The duo shot anyone they could find out in the open. One of them, Muhammad, modified his car so that the license plate was retractable. They then staked out gas stations, shot people in parking lots, boarding buses, looking for their next target.


While the shooters shot most of their victims by random, further investigation revealed that most of the shootings were only a cover for their real target, Mildred Mahammad, John Allen Muhammad's ex-wife. This is because Mildred had full-court custody of their children after their divorce and he wanted them back.


Testimonies from people who knew Muhammad before he was revealed as one of the D.C. Snipers say that he cared for his children deeply. In an interview with Real Stories, Jon Ward, a Washington Times Reporter states, "His kids, I think, were increasing the only thing in his life that meant anything, and that gave him meaning."


Eventually, Muhammad took his kids, unlawfully, to the Caribbean. It was here that he met young Lee Malvo. Malvo grew up in a single-parent household with a strict mother. He longed for a father figure, and unfortunately, he found it in Muhammad.


Muhammad persuaded Malvo to come to the United States. Here, Muhammad trained a now much older Malvo to become the accomplice he needed. Every day, after Malvo finished school, Muhammad would take him out to the local gun range and train Malvo to shoot. Chrissy Greenawalt, Malvo's classmate from Bellingham High School tells Real Stories that, "One time we were watching the movie platoon in class... Someone asked the question, 'What kind of weapon did they have?'" To his classmates' amazement, he raised his hand, and he knew exactly what kind of weapon they had.


Muhammad didn't stop at just teaching Malvo to shoot a gun. Muhammad bought Malvo shooter games, had them both follow a strict diet of honey and crackers, and once he thought Malvo was ready, Malvo was assigned his first mission.


Malvo was to kill a friend of Mildred, Isa Nichols. However, he failed to realize that Nichols' niece, Keenya Nicole Cook, was home and could only shoot her before making his escape. Nichols quickly called the police but it was too late for Keenya.


The duo then drove around the country, robbing and killing people on a whim. That is until Muhammad caught wind that Mildred took the kids and currently lived somewhere in the D.C. area.


Once they found a suitable target, they would follow them around in their car. Muhammad would stand guard in the driver's seat, and Malvo would lift the back seat cushion and slide into the car's trunk. From there, Malvo would take the shot, and Muhammad would drive away from the crime scene.


The two sent calling cards to the police during their reign of terror. The first card was a Death tarot card found near the crime scene. It had a message written on it with the words, "Call me God." written with a black marker. They also demanded 10 million dollars to stop their attacks before police arrested them.


The D.C. Sniper case lasted 22 days before police arrested Muhammad and Malvo on October 24th, 2002. Police found the two sleeping in their modified 1990 Blue Chevy Caprice at a rest stop in Frederick County, Maryland.


After receiving the Death penalty in 2004, John Allen Muhammad was executed on November 10th, 2009, by lethal injection. His partner, Lee Boyd Malvo was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

Macbook chip keeps Apple ahead of the tech curve

By: Aahana Ashok


One small step for Apple, one big leap for technology. The new M1 chip is Apple's very own design, focusing on performance, power saving, and best of all, zero fan! This non-fan feature has popped up in other devices like phones and tablets, they don’t need a fan because their function is not as energy hungry as a computer, per say. Now, you might be wondering, how can we use the phone’s design and apply it to a computer to make it faster? Well, that's just what this Cupertino based company has done.


The amazing thing about this design is that all of the main components of the chip like CPU, Data Storage, Processor and more are close together. With those components closer together, the instructions that are being inputted (like a mouse click), do not have to travel as far to get their work done. This makes them more energy efficient and won’t get heated up as quickly, because all of those electrical signals generate heat. In Intel chips, which was what Apple had been using, there was that same problem; it would get hot easily so that is why they implemented that noisy fan.


What does this mean for Intel? Well, this new chip will not be as devastating as you might think. “Apple accounts only for about 2% to 3% of Intel’s annual revenue,” says the Wall Street Journal. The transition of applying these new M1 chips will also take a few years. However, Intel still takes a toll. Intel has had a grip in the PC's and Server processors market, and with the new Apple architecture, there might be new competitors. The market had been dominated by a certain style of chip, the x86. With the new innovation of the M1, who knows who else will come to steal the show.


This new chip will be used in the 13-inch MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and the Mac mini. The company has promised that it will use the M1 chip or something similar in all of its next computers. This new chip is so good that it can run for 15 hours without battery. The performance rate is double, only using 25% of the power. That means that you can run so much more software and games than you could have before. One journalist from the Wall Street Journal, Joanna Stern tried for a week to get this machine to run its fan, or atleast, get warm. But she’s failed. With hundreds of tabs to hours of Netflix, the highest temperature reading she could get it was in the 80’s. She also compared the Intel Pro and the Air to the M1 Pro and Air. As you guessed it, no fan for the M1 pro, but a little for the M1 Air. We can conclude from all these tests, that M1 has risen victorious.

COVID continues to affect people across the U.S.

By: Raima Saha


2020, was a year to remember for all the wrong reasons. A global pandemic is one of them. COVID has made 2020 a tough year, and with the vaccine coming in early 2021, it has made it tough for many families. Due to COVID, over 72 million cases around the world and over 16 million in the United States. Over 1.5 million people around the world have died due to COVID, and 20% of the deaths happened in the U.S. alone. To top it all off, over 7.7 million jobs were lost. COVID has affected all of us one way or another, and some hit harder than others. It affected people all over the world, but here’s how it has been affecting many families around us.


Job Loss

Many families experienced a family member losing their jobs. This lead to families not being able to pay rent, pay for groceries, taxes, or bills. Even though there was an initial stimulus check, $1,200 per family member, families started running out by June or July. The second check was even smaller.


The Toll on Doctors

Doctors in the ICU of many local hospitals are being overwhelmed. Hospitals are running out of rooms and beds. Many doctors and nurses having to reuse PPE for days, if not weeks. Some doctors and nurses being treated in the very same ICUs where they worked. Our doctors have been working hard. From dealing with patients who deny COVID exists, to patients they can’t save. The toll on our doctors has been high.


Losing a Loved One

Countless families have endured a loss many can not imagine. COVID in Michigan has killed over 11,000 people alone. Many people who didn’t believe in COVID do now because they lost someone dear to them. Families who took the proper steps to prevent COVID have still lost people. One of the biggest spreaders were family gatherings. Over Thanksgiving, there were 195,000 new cases. And now many families are paying the price of getting together over the holidays.


Mental Health

COVID-19 has affected many people’s mental health due to the lack of interaction with people for a long time. This has caused depression rates to triple this year. Also, many people have felt anxiety symptoms throughout this pandemic. Overall, the lack of interaction with people has caused our mental health to decline.


In conclusion, COVID is not something that we should be taken lightly. Although the government can’t agree if COVID is real or not, we should listen to what our scientists and doctors are saying so that we don’t pay the price. We should wear masks and social distance so we COVID won’t get to us even more than it has.

SPORTS & ACTIVITIES

Young Quarterbacks Show Out at NFL Playoffs

By: Anirudh Kundurthy


The NFL Playoffs began on January 9th, with the Indianapolis Colts attempting to bring down the Buffalo Bills, who were on a large winning streak. The Buffalo Bills were the favorite by a large margin, but thanks to the rookie running back, Jonathan Taylor, effort and veteran quarterback Phillip Rivers’s guidance, the Colts brought the game within three points, though eventually crumbling to the giant that is the Buffalo Bills. The Bills’s young quarterback Josh Allen, earned his first playoff win and a trip to the divisional round.


The next game of Wildcard Weekend’s double triple-header was a matchup between divisional rivals, the Los Angeles Rams, and the third-seeded Seattle Seahawks. While Seattle had charged into the playoffs on a high note, the Rams struggled in their final few games, losing to teams such as the New York Jets, a zero-win team at the time. However, thanks to a tremendous defensive effort from stars Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, the Rams defeated the mighty Seahawks with a final score of 30-20.


Following the game was the matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Washington Football Team. Tampa ended the season with a winning streak, while the Football Team snuck into the playoffs by winning the worst division in the NFL. This meant the seeding of this matchup was off as the fifth-seeded Buccaneers took down the fourth-seeded Football Team, who were led by a backup quarterback.


Going into Sunday’s games, there was a lot of hype surrounding the Baltimore Ravens against the Tennessee Titans. Just a year ago, the Titans, who were seeded last, had defeated the number one Ravens, in a dominant performance. This year the story was different as the Ravens defense shut down the Titans star running back Derrick Henry, winning the game, and giving former MVP Lamar Jackson his first-ever playoff win.


The next game was the first-ever NFL game to be featured on Nickelodeon in a game with very few surprises. The New Orleans Saints dominated the Chicago Bears in a 21-9 beatdown game. To round out Wildcard Weekend, the understaffed Cleveland Browns took on the Pittsburgh Steelers as a large underdog. The game was the biggest shock of the weekend as the Browns jumped out to an early 28-0 lead, and rode it to victory signifying an end to the Browns rebuild.


The next weekend was the Divisional Round, and it kicked off with the L. A. Rams taking on the number one seeded Green Bay Packers. In a game that was played in below-freezing weather, the Rams from Southern California struggled in stopping the Packers’ offense, eventually falling 32-18. The Ravens then took on the Bills in a game between two young star quarterbacks. The game did not pan out as expected, however, ending in a low-scoring affair of 17-3. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson left the game early with a concussion as the Ravens fell to the Buffalo Bills. Going into the next day, the surging Browns took on the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs jumped out early, but a concussion protocol exit by superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes allowed the Browns to battle back. It wasn’t enough, however, as the Chiefs won 22-17. To end the Divisional Round weekend, a battle between two legends, Drew Brees and Tom Brady. The Saints had defeated the Buccaneers twice in the regular season, but the results did not reflect. The Buccaneers defense forced 4 turnovers by the Saints offense, granting them a Conference Championship berth in a win of 30-20.


Conference Championship weekend, was a story of two games. The Kansas City Chiefs kicked things off facing against the Buffalo Bills. In what was supposed to be a highly contested game, the Bills jumped out to an early 9-0 start. They didn’t go anywhere after that though, as Patrick Mahomes went to work and dominated the rest of the game-ending at a score of 38-24, giving the Chiefs their second straight Super Bowl appearance. In the NFC, Tom Brady faced off against Aaron Rodgers, in a much-anticipated game. The Buccaneers had dominated the Packers in the regular season, and the results stayed the same this time around. The number one Packers fell to the fifth-seeded Buccaneers with a final score of 31-26.


The Super Bowl will be a match between the greatest quarterback of all time and his possible heir to the throne. Patrick Mahomes will look for a repeat as the Buccaneers will attempt to stop him. The game will be played on February 7, and The Weeknd will perform at halftime.

How to solve a 3 by 3 Rubik’s Cube: The Ultimate Guide

By: Apoorva Rai


Part 2: Completion of the 1st layer and 2nd layer. If you have not read the first part, with the white cross, do take a look at Paw Print Issue 4.

Completion of 1st Layer

In order to complete The first layer you have to make the corner pieces line up and make a complete first layer. In order to do that you'll have to learn an algorithm The algorithm is R U R’ U’ and we will call this the Righty Alg. The R means the right column, clockwise, U means the top layer clockwise, and the R ‘ and U’ simply mean the right column R, and the top layer U, anticlockwise. Any time you are learning any sort of algorithm for solving pretty much any type of cube, remember that the apostrophe means anticlockwise. So, in order to orient the corners and fully solve the 1st layer, you have to look at the sides you have to add the corner to. You have to make sure the white cross side of your cube is always facing down, and line up the corner pieces that would go in the designated area. Now, simply do the Righty Alg. until the piece is where it is supposed to be. Repeat these steps for the other 3 corners and once you are done with that you have completed the first layer of the cube.

2nd layer

In order to solve the 2nd layer, you will need to learn another short algorithm, but do not be concerned as this is the last algorithm you will have to memorize in order to solve the cube. The algorithm is L U L’ U’, and we will call this the Lefty Alg. This algorithm is basically the Righty Alg. on the left side. In order to solve the 2nd layer you have to identify the edge piece that will be there when the cube is solved, put the edge piece one face away from where it is supposed to be, do the Righty Alg. on the face it is supposed to be on, and then turn the cube to the right, and do the Lefty Alg. If you have done this right, you have a fully solved edge. Repeat this for the 3 other edges which need to be oriented. This may sound a little overwhelming at first, but eventually with a couple days of practice, you will be able to solve the full cube in a matter of seconds.

Yellow Cross

The first step to solving the last layer of the cube is to get a yellow cross. After completely solving the 2nd layer of the cube you will have 1 of 3 scenarios, depending on the scramble. The first scenario is the Line, in which on the top layer of the cube, there is the yellow centerpiece and 2 other edge pieces on the left and right of the centerpiece, like a line. In order to get the yellow cross from this scenario you have to turn the bottom layer (the layer under the line, make sure the yellow centerpiece is facing you) turn it to the side, and do the Righty Alg. on the face before the yellow side and then turn the layer you took aside back to where it was. The second scenario is the corner, the Corner is when the centerpiece is surrounded by 2 edge pieces in which it forms an 90 degree angle with a corner piece between the edge pieces. In order to solve this scenario you take the bottom two layers to the side of the cube, and just like you did for the line, the Righty alg. and turn the two layers back. The last scenario is the Dot, in which there are no other solved yellow pieces except the center piece. For this you have to do the Line scenario, which will form a Corner scenario and then do the steps to solve the Corner scenario in order to get the Yellow Cross.

For more help, click here to follow along with my instructions.

Some ideas to exercise in this pandemic

By: Aditi Jethri Kompally


In this pandemic, people have been getting less exercise because of not going outside, and, as a result, have also been gaining weight. Even kids are getting less exercise and gaining more weight because of online school. They don’t have exercise if they are just sitting on the chair and doing school work all day. But the most important thing in this pandemic is to get exercise because then you will become more fit and have a fresh mind too.


Exercises:

  • Walking/Jogging: you can get your cardio in by walking or jogging by yourself in your neighborhood.
  • Yoga: if you do yoga at least 2 times a day then you will feel good that at least you physical energy in your body(Below is a yoga called Sun Salutation)
  • Cycling: one of the best ways to exercise because it is safe and helps with your lower body parts by exercising your legs

“Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury” -New Updates And Expansions

By: Akilesh Bharat


“Super Mario 3D World” was one of the top selling games on the Wii U. Wii U is a console that was released in November 2012, which did not do well because of the bulky design of the Wii U gamepad. Yet, the Wii U had great games that were released to be played on. “Super Mario 3D World” was a great game because of the classic characters like Mario and Luigi, the 3D structure, and the levels ranging of different varieties. Now, “Super Mario 3D World” is coming back to Nintendo’s latest console, and has a new name, “Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury”. This version of, “Super Mario 3D World”, is not just being put on the switch, but has updated levels, the addition of a classic character called Bowser Junior, and a whole new expansion to the game.


“Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury” has been updated and has some great updates for the Nintendo Switch. This new version is available only on the Nintendo Switch and will be released on February 12th, 2021. This game will have updated and new features such as actions for the character, like faster speed, and a new expansion called, “Bowser’s Fury”. This includes a very furious and extremely large bowser, a new power up for Mario, and cats and cat shines that are only able to be used in, “Bowsers Fury”. In addition, there are also minor updates like better graphics and more.


“Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury” is an awesome game with the same features from the original, “Super Mario 3D World”, but with minor editing to the original version, along with the addition of a new character of the game, and a whole new expansion called, “Bowsers Fury” It will be available only on the Nintendo Switch and will be released soon. You can preorder the game today or until the date of the game's release.


ENTERTAINMENT & OPINIONS

man laughing

Comedy positively impacts the body, and that's no joke

By: Alyna Dohadwala


Whether they are puns or cunning comparisons, we hear jokes all the time. But you may have noticed, not all of them are funny to you. You might find something to be funny while others don’t. You might have also noticed that you feel better after a good laugh. Why is that?


How Comedy Works

First things first, how does comedy actually work? When someone hears a joke, they often feel positive emotions, like amusement, and negative emotions, like disgust, at the same time. This means comedy occurs when something feels simultaneously wrong and right, like seeing someone wipeout massively. You might also feel amused when hearing a joke where you are confused until the punchline, as figuring it out triggers your brain’s reward system.

Comedy is actually good for your health. A good laugh can release beta-endorphins, which alleviate depression. The act of laughing can also increase the flexibility of your blood vessels, allowing your blood to flow more freely, as well as releasing growth hormones that help your immune system stay healthy.


Types Of Jokes

Jokes often can be classified by different genres. First, there is slapstick comedy, which you see a lot in cartoons and movies, and is marked by making comedy from exaggerated gestures, situations, and body language. Another kind of comedy is deadpan humor, which is more of a delivery style than comedy and is used to better deliver a joke. To say something with a deadpan voice, you would say it in a monotonous voice. Self-deprecating humor is when you make humor out of your own flaws.

One of my personal favorite flavors of comedy is sarcasm, which usually is saying the relative opposite of what you mean. This kind of comedy is usually improved by using deadpan delivery. You know those ridiculous cartoons that have nonsensical storylines? That would be a use of surreal humor, which often overlaps with slapstick comedy, but tends to be more, well, surreal. There are a ton more genres and subgenres of comedy, but these are some of the most common ones.


Want To Learn More?

Here are some articles on the topics discussed above!

Why Do We Dream About Certain Things?

By: Alexander Malan


Have you ever had a dream where you wake up in the morning and wonder why you dreamt it? Maybe you dreamt about your little sister’s unicorn toy tap dancing or maybe you dreamt you accidentally went to school in your underwear! Where do these dreams come from, and why do we dream?


Healthline.com says, “Your dreams may be ways of confronting emotional traumas in your life. Because your brain is operating at a much more emotional level than when you’re awake, your brain may make connections regarding your feelings that your conscious self wouldn’t make.” So maybe if you’re going through something rough, dreaming about it helps you get through it.


From Piedmont.org, “Research suggests dream content can be bizarre because the prefrontal cortex in the brain isn’t activated while we dream,” she says. “The prefrontal cortex is associated with higher-level reasoning. When that part of the brain isn’t activated, your mind doesn’t realize dream activities, like walking through walls, isn’t possible.”


REM stands for rapid eye movement. During REM sleep, your eyes actually move, but don't send any visual information to your brain.”


According to researchers, there are certainly benefits to dreaming. For example, dreaming in the REM stage "also allows us to commit things we learn to memory, meaning dreaming will help with cognitive processes. As well as this, dreams offer emotional benefits, such as introspection” (dream.co.uk).


Dreams help us process the things that happen in our lives, they can help us remember things and they help us emotionally. So even though our dreams don’t always make sense, they are helpful in more ways than we might think!

Dear Wildcat

By: Alexander Dyga


Dear Wildcat: I’ve been learning virtually since the beginning of the second semester. So far it's going well, but I’ve had trouble dealing with my little brother. They are constantly trying to talk to me during classes and won’t leave me alone during lunch. It has become a huge problem in my house. My parents and I are getting into fights about it everyday. I want them to help entertain my brother so that I can focus on my classes, but they’re being very stubborn and are refusing to help me. What do you think I should do?


-A Sullen Sibling


Dear Sullen Sibling: Younger siblings can be hard to deal with, especially when you’re learning from home. Students in situations similar to your own have found that devoting time to siblings before and after school makes it less likely that they’ll pester you during your classes. You could also try to attend Zoom meetings in an isolated part of your home. If you’re out of your brother’s sight, chances are he won’t want to come talk to you as much. As for your parents, they are undoubtedly under a lot of stress. The best way to improve your relationship with them is to avoid arguments by resolving the issues regarding your brother without their help. They will likely be very thankful that they won’t have to intervene in your problem, preventing any more major arguments.


__________

Dear Wildcat: I’m a 7th grade student who is new to Orchestra this year. I got violin lessons over the summer, but I’m nowhere near as talented as the other students. People have been talking about how far behind I am, and there is a group of kids that makes fun of me all the time. I really like playing the violin, and I feel like I’m getting better at it, but I’m debating dropping out of Orchestra next year. Do you have any advice?


-A Vilified Violinist


Dear Vilified Violinist: If you love playing the violin, then don’t let others convince you to quit. If you pay attention in class and practice frequently, you’ll be just as talented, if not more talented, than all of your peers in no time. Other students make negative comments about your violin skills to make themselves feel better. Try your best to avoid or ignore them and you’ll soon become one of the most skillful, dedicated, and confident violinists in the entire school.

The case for cash: Banning cashless stores is a must

By: Samuel Xie


I firmly believe that we should ban cashless stores. It is endangering our privacy, undermines low-income communities, and it increases unreliability.


One reason we should ban cashless stores is because it endangers our privacy. When you pay cash, there are no other factors. You pay, you receive goods or services, end of the story. When another step becomes part of the transaction, that middleman often gets to learn about the exchange. Due to our weak privacy laws, there are many ways to abuse that fragile information. That is extremely bad.


That middleman can then sell their customer's financial data to anyone they choose, including credit card information and the personal details consumers provide when they fill out applications. Consumers have no privacy under federal regulations unless they affirmatively take steps to opt-out of this sharing, repeating the process for every financial service provider who may have data about them.If you choose not to opt-out, that means the middleman could be collecting a vast amount of detail about our lives: how much we spend on travel, restaurants, political or religious donations, and more. Of course, that kind of information is more powerful and revealing when combined with other data. According to this evidence, we should ban cashless stores.


Also, we should ban cashless stores because it harms low-income communities. Participation in a cashless society needs a decent level of financial stability. Unfortunately, many people do not have that. Opening a bank account requires an ID, which poor and elderly communities lack. It also requires other documents such as a utility bill or proof of address, which homeless people lack, creating almost impossible barriers to participating in electronic payment networks. Banks also charge fees that can make things worse for people living on the economic margins. Also, because merchants usually pass along the cost of credit card fees to all their customers through their prices, the current credit card system transfers money from poor communities to high-income communities. All this makes the poor poorer, the rich wealthier, and the money gap even bigger between middle and lower-income communities. Therefore, we should ban cashless stores.


I firmly believe that we should ban cashless stores because cashless systems are unreliable. For example, around a year ago, the nationwide outage of electronic cash registers at Target stores several weeks ago left customers unable to make purchases, except for those who had cash, which ruins the point of a cashless society. That is a reminder that electronic payments systems can mean more unreliability, not just technical failures like Targets, but also security failures. A cashless society would also leave people more susceptible to economic slump on an individual basis: if a hacker, government error, or natural disaster shuts a consumer out of their account, the lack of a cash option would leave them few alternatives and potentially find themselves in a sticky situation. In conclusion, we should ban cashless stores.


You could argue that eliminating cash payments eliminates the costs associated with handling and transporting cash. It is true, cashless businesses no longer need to pay banks fees to deposit and process cash and coin, nor do they need to pay for armored carriers to transport money to and from the bank.


However, many people only trust or only have cash. Also, cash payment is more manageable to accept than credit or debit cards for businesses. A study found that even when including costs like point-of-sale transaction time, back-office costs, counterfeit costs, and fraud prevention, cash was cheaper than debit in revenue per $100 of sales. Cash payment only cost retailers $0.53 per $100 of sales, while $1.12 is token away for signature debit and $0.81 for PIN debit. As you can see, credit or debit payments could hurt revenue and wages for employees. Even though eliminating cash payments eliminates the costs associated with handling and transporting cash, going cashless does more harm than good.


As expressed, cashless stores cause below-average privacy, threaten low-income communities, and cause unreliability. As stated, that is why we should ban cashless stores.

The Richest Man in the World: Elon Musk

By: Ajay Annamalai


Elon Musk became the richest man in the world recently. This is especially noteworthy because he ended the previous streak belonging to Jeff Bezos, who had that streak for nearly three years. Many people don’t understand how he got that money suddenly, and it's not as straightforward as one may assume.


Before we can talk about how he became so rich, we must first clarify some complex vocabulary. First is net worth; net worth is the total amount of money you have plus the worth of your assets, assets are properties that hold financial value. The next term you need to know is what stocks are. Stocks, which are a form of assets, are stakes in companies that can be sold or bought.


As you may be able to guess, Elon Musk has the majority of his money in stocks. More specifically Tesla stocks, he owns an insane 20% of all Tesla stocks. Tesla Stocks went up a staggering 556% from the first quarter of 2020, from $156 to $835. At the beginning of 2020, Elon Musk had roughly 20 billion dollars, he now has 202 billion as of 2021. Elon musk's current net worth consists of roughly 250 million tesla stocks, roughly 2 billion in cash, and an assortment of stocks from his other companies.

NMS kids said these were their Top 15 songs so far this year

By: Abhiram Gadde and Srijan Agarwal


According to students at Novi Middle School, here are the Top 15 songs of the year that brightened people’s day:


1. Sunday Best by: Surfaces

2. A Million Dreams from The Greatest Showman

3. Hall of Fame by: IBP

4. St. James Infirmary Blues by: Cab Calloway

5. Wolves by: Post Malone

6. Happier by: Marshmallow

7. Lonely by: Justin Bieber and Benny Blanco

8. High Hopes by: Panic! At The Disco

9. Circles by: Post Malone

10. Dark Side by: Alan Walker

11. Attention by: Charlie Puth

12. The Doctor Said by: Chloe Adams

13. Believer by: Imagine Dragons

14. One Foot In Front of the Other by: Walk The Moon

15. Jump by: Van Halen