The Paw Print

Novi Middle School's Student Newspaper

Volume 21 Issue 3 / December 7, 2020

NMS IN THE NEWS

Pile of books for AP classes

High school AP Classes present challenges, opportunities

By: Rebecca Borlace


8th graders are going to enter high school less than nine months from now. For some, the amount of class options in high school can be overwhelming. One of these choices is whether to take an Advanced Placement, or AP, class.


AP classes are part of a program that is run by the College Board (same people who make the SAT) that allows high school students to get the experience of a college intro-level class while still in high school, and even earn some college credit if you pass.


Seems like a great deal right? Well, not completely. Remember how I said if you pass. Yeah, that was on purpose. With great reward comes great risk.


AP classes are designed to be a college intro-level class, and so naturally, it’s going to be much harder than normal classes. Now, this also means extra homework on top of all your other classes. A lot of people find it hard to keep up with it in addition to the work from all their other classes.


Well okay, say you’re up for the challenge. You think that the college credits are worth struggling for. Well, you might not even get that college credit.


While taking an AP class is free, you need to pay a $87 fee to take the exam. You can choose to not take the exam, but if you don’t, you don’t get college credits. However, students at Novi High School have traditionally done very well on AP exams.


But at the end of the day, it’s really all up to you whether you want to take an AP class or not. Just make sure to think it over before you make the decision.

Pandemic makes a mental impact virtually, at school

By: Alyna Dohadwala


Life in a pandemic is different, to say the least. And as you might know, this affects mental health. But how does it?


Hybrid Students:

In Novi, hybrid students do two days in-person, one day virtual, and the other two days doing schoolwork at home each week. How have students been feeling about this?


An anonymous student has said that they, “...think hybrid schooling affects me in a negative way compared to regular school, but I don't mind it….I am barely able to talk with my friends even at school... I would like to do more group projects, but I understand if that's not possible because of covid."


This gives us an insight into how students doing hybrid may still have limited socialization. Other students have also worried about catching the virus and bringing COVID home.


Virtual Students:

In Novi, being a virtual student means having classes on Zoom five days a week. As a virtual student, I can tell you that while I do prefer in-person schooling, virtual schooling is alright. The effects of staring at a screen for 35+ hours a week is not favorable. However, I do like the organization of having all your schoolwork/homework on one platform. You also run a lower risk of catching and spreading COVID-19.


How Does This Affect Mental Health?:

Even before the pandemic, rates of mental health issues had been increasing.

According to Mental Health America (MHA), “9.7% of youth in the U.S. have severe major depression, compared to 9.2% in last year’s dataset.” This trend of higher rates of mental health issues have been increasing in the general population even before the COVID-19 pandemic.


But aside from that, social isolation has been shown to have negative effects.

According to The Scientist, social isolation can have negative effects such as poorer mental and physical health. This can hit especially hard when you are at home with little to no social contact outside of the people that you live with. In a society where we have more and more access to technology, it becomes easier to keep yourself socially connected amidst a pandemic. You can have regular calls with friends and loved ones, text people, have zoom meet-ups, etc. Whether you are virtual or hybrid, you should make sure to tend to your mental health.

Virtual student engagement forces school board to consider a return to school in 2021

By: Gowtham Kantamneni


Recently, the topic of returning to school has become more and more controversial. In the early fall of this year, a majority of students chose virtual in order to stay safe, but this choice has proven difficult, as some students struggle with virtual learning.


One of the main obstacles to virtual learning is staying engaged. Virtual school does not mandate turning on videos or mics which allows students to play games rather than pay attention in class. According to an article from students4sc.org, in-class students were nearly twice as likely to participate in class as compared to virtual students.


This drawback has instigated many concerns about the effectiveness of virtual learning. However, some parents prefer virtual learning due to its safer approach to learning. For example, hybrid students are forced to follow numerous safety protocols in order to ensure a safe learning environment, but still face the daily possibility of exposure to Covid.


Recently, the Novi school board voted to stay with the same plan for second semester. Families will be able to change from hybrid to virtual or virtual to hybrid, but then they will not be able to change again. The school board expressed an interest in forming a plan to allow hybrid students to eventually return to school five days in person before the end of the school year.

BEYOND THE BLUE ROOF

Yellowstone supervolcano viewed from above

Destructive ash, lava of Yellowstone supervolcano unlikely, but possible

By: Arianna Huyck


Yellowstone is a great place to go if you love nature. A national park spanning 3 states, it has natural wonders such as geysers all over the park.


However, this national park hides a secret. And it’s a big one. Spanning 50 miles (80 km) in length and 12 miles (20 km) wide, the Yellowstone supervolcano is, well, super. This is because it has 960 cubic miles (4,000 km) of underground volume, and that’s a lot of magma to erupt.


The last eruption of this supervolcano was about 640,000 years ago (thankfully before humans got in the picture). Over the past 2.1 million years, Yellowstone has experienced three large eruptions. To elaborate, imagine going outside and seeing a foot of ash outside your home. That may not sound like much, but then picture that scene all over the western and central U.S. You’re seeing a volcanic doomsday.


The first large eruption was 2.1 million years ago. It did not end well. The magma chamber collapsed-leaving a hole in the ground bigger than the size of Rhode Island. Fast-forward to 1.3 million years ago, another eruption occurred. Then back to 640,000 years ago. All of these eruptions helped further widen that hole in the ground, until it eventually became the Yellowstone Caldera (caldera is another word for volcanic crater).


So, you might be wondering, what would happen if this supervolcano were to erupt today, or sometime in the near future? First off, the odds of that are so low in fact, that it is possible that Yellowstone could never erupt again. Let’s backtrack: If Yellowstone did erupt, it would be a huge issue. If it happened in the coming months, there would be massive earthquakes and the ground would bulge. The eruption would be so huge that the ash would spread over the U.S. and even other parts of North America. Even just a few inches of ash can collapse roofs and homes, and that would really not help our cause.


The lava flows would stay small, within 40 miles of the park, but that’s not the biggest worry. An eruption from a volcano as big as Yellowstone’s would cool the planet’s temperature for many years. Crops would fail and large famines would occur. Many people would starve, and the ash would linger in the air around the planet for the years to come. Not exactly promising.


But hold up. The odds of everything in the two paragraphs above actually happening are very low. How low? Well: the odds of Yellowstone erupting on any given year: 0.00014%. There is a higher chance of Earth getting impacted by a civilization-destroying asteroid.. So, not very likely at all.


Yellowstone does continue to have small earthquakes and seismic activity; the park does sit on top of a volcano, after all. “Odds are very high that Yellowstone will be eruption-free for the coming centuries,” the USGS (United States Geological Survey) states.

President-Elect Biden chooses his Cabinet as he prepares to battle the coronavirus

By: Hitesh Tirumalasetti


On Tuesday, November 3, people all around the world watched as people in the United States elected a new president. In the end, Joe Biden won the election with 74 more electoral college votes than the opposition party nominee, current President Donald John Trump. After the election, the president is still not admitting defeat, but president-elect Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. keeps moving forward.


To make the transition smooth, Mr. Biden has already started to choose who will be in his cabinet. Senator Kamala Harris (future Vice president) and Ronald A. Klain (Chief of Staff) have been selected to be in the cabinet. While on the other hand, Anthony Blinken (pick for secretary state), Xavier Beccarra (pick for Health and Human Services), Janet Yellen (pick for Treasury), and many others need to be confirmed by the Senate in order for them to be in the cabinet.


In the response to the novel coronavirus, Mr. Biden wants to hire Dr. Fauci to help the country fight off this virus. He also wants to ramp up testing, along with enforcing mask mandates, and encouraging good hygiene. According to the Washington Post, he also is working on a plan to help distribute a vaccine when it is readily available.

What will 2021 bring?

By: Lakshmi Bijukumar


2020 is a year to be remembered, with a worldwide pandemic and a competitive election. Now 2021 is less than a month away, and so let’s take a peek at what it might look like.


COVID - 19

Next year, an approved vaccine offers protection but international deal-making has slowed down its distribution, making a worst case scenario 250 million people infected and 1.75 million dead.


Politics

The 2020 elections are due to make a big impact in the coming year. Joe Biden won the 2020 election by 306 electoral votes to oppose former president Donald Trump’s 232 electoral votes. Joe Biden claims he will make America great by giving money from people who have it to people who need it. He also says that he will increase taxes for the rich to improve society.


Education

Currently many schools are offering virtual and hybrid options, but due to an increase of Covid- 19 cases, more schools have become fully virtual. The majority of schools are virtual because it is a safer option for the staff and students. Hopefully by the fall of 2021, all students will be back in the classroom.

Key to Normality: Covid-19 Vaccines Make Significant Progress

By Shashank Madhu


It’s hard to believe that it's been 9 months since the first coronavirus safety measures in Michigan and around a year since the first cases were reported. Events postponed, birthdays canceled, classrooms have been replaced by Zoom meetings, and deaths rise by the thousands each day. But luckily, this is only temporary. Because companies such as Pfizer have been developing vaccine candidates for the coronavirus. These companies have crammed about a decade’s work into just one year.


Pfizer/BioNTech

Pfizer, along with BioNTech, is using a new type of technology called messenger RNA(mRNA) in their vaccine. Traditionally, vaccines use a weakened form of the virus or purified signature proteins of the virus. But in Pfizer’s vaccine, genetic material/instructions called mRNA gets injected into the upper arm. The muscle cells translate this to have the viral protein be made directly in the body. This gives the immune system a preview of the virus without getting infected, so the immune system can make antibodies for the real virus. This vaccine requires 2 doses set 3 weeks apart, and a week after the second dose before immunization. The only downside is the cooling temperature: The vaccine can only be stored in -94 ℉(-70 ℃).

Pfizer’s vaccine efforts have been bankrolled by Operation Warp Speed, a government initiative to speed up the vaccine research and distribution. Pfizer/BioNTech got 1.95 m dollars for manufacturing. On Nov. 9, Pfizer/BioNTech showed preliminary data that showed the vaccine was over 90% effective, a number which no one expected. On November 20th, Pfizer and BioNTech said they will be seeking Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA. On Dec. 2nd, the UK authorized the vaccine candidate for emergency use.


Moderna

Moderna is using the same type of technology as Pfizer/BioNTech; mRNA(refer back to Pfizer section for context). Moderna’s vaccine efforts have also been bankrolled by Operation Warpspeed($1.5 m for manufacturing), but Moderna also received 955 million dollars for research and testing- something that Pfizer didn’t accept. This vaccine also requires 2 doses set 3 weeks apart. In contrast to Pfizer, Moderna’s vaccines can be stored in 36-46 ℉ for 6 months. Moderna’s vaccine had its first preliminary results come out a week after Pfizer’s, and with a 95% efficiency rate. Starting Nov. 30, Moderna is seeking Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA.


Other Vaccine Candidates

Johnson & Johnson, as well as Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, started a Phase 3(wide-scale efficiency) trial in September. They are using a viral vector vaccine, which are other viruses engineered to carry coronavirus proteins. On Nov. 16, they announced they were doing a second Phase 3 trial so they could see the effects of 2 doses of their vaccine instead of just one.


The Gamaleya Research Institute in Russia is also using a viral vector vaccine. They were approved for emergency use in Russia in June before Phase 3 trials had even begun. Preliminary results in November showed that their vaccine had high efficiency in their Phase 3 trials.


AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, on Nov 23, announced a preliminary analysis that showed that their viral vector vaccine has a 90% effectivity rate. But questionability over the results has proved troublesome for the vaccine candidate.


Who Will Get Vaccinated First?

While everyone wants to get vaccinated, the problem is it takes time to make vaccines. So there will be some groups who will get the vaccine in their arm before others. But nothing has been confirmed by the CDC yet. A panel in the CDC is considering going to give priority to essential workers, people over 65, and people with underlying health conditions.


Students' Reaction to Vaccine

When asked about the vaccine, one Novi student replied, “Sure. [I’m]Kinda excited that the quarantine is gonna be over and I think everything will be normal by April-June."


8th grader Gursimar A. said, “I am excited about the new vaccine, and I think it's great that we are making progress in developing the vaccine. I think normality might start to be a thing in late spring of 2021.”


8th grader Dillon H. agreed, "I feel that the COVID vaccine is a pretty cool concept and can’t wait for things to go back to normal, although I also hope that it is completely tested before it’s given to the public. I think once it’s tested, it will be used all the time!”


Conclusion
These are not all of the facts of vaccine development; There are several other vaccine candidates tested from companies like Novavax, SinoPharm, and Medicargo, among many others. So if any vaccine candidate fails, there is likely another to take its place. For now, we can all appreciate that our current world situation is only temporary and will be gone by the end of next year.

Kamala Harris breaks new barriers in the nation

By: Tanu Vijay


Kamala Devi Harris, mostly known as Kamala Harris, was born on October 20, 1964. She is an American politician and the vice president-elect of the United States of America.


Harris was the junior United States Senator from California since 2017. She is a member of the Democratic party, and she is set to go to work as Vice President on January 20, 2021, with President-elect Joe Biden. Harris and Biden have defeated President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in the 2020 Election.


Kamala Harris is a multiracial American; she is Indian Tamil and Afro-Jamaican. Harris will also be the first female Vice President. She will also become the highest-ranking female official ever elected in United States history.


In her victory speech on Saturday, November 7, 2020, Harris talked about her mother and how all women of all races have waited for this day.


“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities,” Harris said to the cheering crowd.


When Biden and Harris first appeared together, Biden said “Little girls everywhere, black and brown, will see her and think, I can do that someday”.


Here are some fun facts about Kamala Harris:

  • Kamala means "lotus" flower in Sanskrit.
  • She published two non-fiction books and one a children's book.
  • Her stepchildren call her "Momala’’, which means mother+Kamala.


ENTERTAINMENT & OPINIONS

Bad year brings bevy of books

By: Alexander Dyga


After many long, hard months 2020 is finally coming to an end. The Coronavirus pandemic has turned the world upside down and crippled much of the entertainment industry. Many highly anticipated movie and TV show premieres have been pushed back. However, throughout this entire pandemic one type of entertainment has consistently been released: books.


With winter break fast approaching, many students are looking for a good novel to read over the holidays. These new books from 2020 are sure to catch your attention early and keep you entertained until the final pages.


The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes By Suzanne Collins

Science Fiction, Dystopian


Set 64 years before The Hunger Games, the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes details the events of the tenth annual Hunger Games and the turning point in the life of Coriolanus Snow. This amazing novel will be appreciated by long-time Suzanne Collins fans and readers who liked The Hunger Games series.


The Snow family has fallen on hard times. They were once among the richest citizens of Panem, but the recent rebellion has left the family on their last legs. Coriolanus Snow struggles everyday to maintain his status and hide his misfortune. When he begins to give up hope on ever reclaiming his family's former glory, he is presented the opportunity of a lifetime. A mentorship in the tenth annual Hunger Games may be enough to turn his luck around. However his path forward will not be an easy one, and he will be required to ask himself how far he is willing to go to succeed.


Overall rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Legendborn By Tracy Deonn

Contemporary Fantasy


Legendborn by Tracy Deonn tells the powerful story of 16 year old Bree Matthews and introduces a creative new magic system that has already captivated thousands of readers. Fans of the Harry Potter series are sure to love this as well.


After her mother dies in a tragic accident Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family or hometown. A residential program for gifted high schoolers at UNC- Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape from her painful memories. Unfortunately all her plans go down the drain after her first night on campus when she witnesses a demon attack and is drawn into a secret society of students, who hunt and kill these demons as they emerge. As she learns the ways of these mysterious “Legendborn,” Bree discovers strange details regarding her mother’s death and becomes determined to learn the truth.


Overall rating: ⭐⭐⭐


Clap When You Land By Elizabeth Acevedo

Realistic Fiction, Poetry (Recommended for mature readers only)


Elizabeth Acevedo’s newest book demonstrates her talent for writing free verse poetry and tells a heartfelt story of two young women trying to make sense of their world.


Camino Rios lives for the summer, when her father comes to visit her in the Dominican Republic. Every year she waits at the airport for his plane to arrive. But this time she finds a horde of crying people instead of her father’s vibrant smile.


In New York city, Yahaira Rios is in the middle of another uneventful school day when she is called to the principal’s office. There she finds out that her father has been killed in a plane crash, forever altering her life and the life of the sister she never knew existed.

Separated by distance and secrets Camino and Yahaira struggle to make sense of their situation and forge a bond like no other.


Overall rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Dear Wildcat

By: Lorelai Raudszus & Aahana Ashok


Dear Wildcat: The holidays are arriving and I’m afraid that I will not be able to see many family and friends to celebrate because of COVID-19. I’ve also been having an issue with my sister ever since the pandemic. This is because we are stuck home together all the time. It's getting harder to be tolerant and kind. What should I do about the family I won’t be able to see and the sister I see all the time?

-Sour Sibling


Dear Sour Sibling: It is difficult to say what the holidays will look like. It’s probably true that not many people will be having a large family gathering. If I were you, I would expect to receive another lockdown warning around Christmas due to the current increase in numbers. If you are longing for your friends and family during this time, you can send them notes and wishes, call or Zoom them, and mail gifts so your presence will be felt. As for your sister issue, give each other some space. We understand the annoyance of siblings. Remember, mending a relationship takes two. You both have to put forth your best effort to sustain kindness and resist negative comments. No relationship is perfect.


__________


Dear Wildcat: I feel exhausted after school everyday, and yet I still have assignments to complete. I get such an abundance of homework, and it feels like much more work than it would be in ‘normal’ school. The finish line seems so far away, and I feel so overworked and depleted. I think, "When will this be over? Why can't they give less!?"

-Laborious Learner


Dear Laborious Learner: This is a tough time for all of us. If you feel pressured, you can talk to your teachers about the amount of homework they are giving you. If you really don’t have enough time to complete your work, you need to ask for help. Try to finish your latest assignments, then do the earlier work. If you don’t understand what you are being taught and feel it's taking too long to complete, don’t fret. Many teachers are willing to spend time to sit and talk with you if you need help. It’s time we start taking responsibility for our learning. I don’t believe ‘normal school’ is in our near future, so get used to this new life and be patient. You got this!

__________


Dear Wildcat: During the times of the pandemic, it’s very difficult to make friends. Once I managed to form a friendship, it collapsed. In the beginning of our relationship, we were like two peas in a pod. But after a month or so they no longer cared about the friendship we had built. I don’t know when I will be able to form this kind of bond again.

-Frantic Friend


Dear Frantic Friend: It sounds like this friend you had previously made wasn't right for you. A real friend cares about you and wants to sustain your relationship together. Making friends whilst the pandemic rages can be very challenging. You can try to reconnect with your old friends and plan a day where you can call each other. Or, find a way to get together with someone who is practicing the same social distancing and COVID-19 guidelines as you to stay safe. Stay 6 feet apart, wear masks, and frequently sanitize. This situation will not last forever, but for the time-being, stay hopeful.

Inside a Speedcubing competition

By: Apoorva Rai


Speedcubing is a sport in which players solve several twisty puzzles, the most commonly known being the Rubik's 3x3 cube. Players compete at competitive levels and it is a tough competition because approximately 15,000 people participate in speedcubing competitions. In each round there is a different scramble and there are usually 100 participants in 1 large room. All either waiting for their turn or quickly solving their cube.


Speedcubing Competition

When you first enter the competition room, you are surprised to see so many people with cubes in their hand. You expected to see 50 people max, but you see around 100 families! Another observation is that there are barely any girls… this disappoints you quite a bit. There are several people rushing out and about assigning people into groups and explaining what is going to happen next. You are in group 3 meaning that you will have quite a bit of time before it is your turn. You wait around, nervously solving your cube, when the announcer asks for all people in group 3 to come to the front of the room. He asks for your name and collects your cube. A volunteer is waiting for you on a table with a timer. You have 15 seconds to look at your freshly scrambled cube before your time starts… and it starts! You quickly solve the cube and set it down carefully. You got 20.43 seconds, a usual score, definitely not record breaking, but you are proud of yourself because you made progress. The process repeats 2 more times, and the average time is the time you are going to be recognized for.


Speedcubing in Covid-19

There are no competitions (held by the World Cubing Association) going on because of the restrictions all the competitions have been postponed to around June of next year. However, throughout the lockdown, many new people have taken up speedcubing so when coronavirus is over, competitions will be back with a fresh batch of people! Speedcubing helps keep your brain active, increases your reflexes and is a great way to pass the time.


Fascinating Speedcubing Records

People solve their puzzles with lightning speed, each with years of practice with only one goal in common--improving their speed and accuracy. On November 24, 2018, Yusheng Du solved a standard 3x3 cube in a mindblowing 3.47 seconds. He defeated the previous champion’s solve speed by .75 seconds. The record for solving a 3x3 standard cube blindfolded is 15.50 seconds held by Max Hillard. All of these records are from the World Cubing Association. Another popular twisty puzzle is the Pyramix for which the world record is .91 second held by Dominic Gorny of Poland. All of these awe inspiring speeds are the result of dedication, resilience and patience.

Microsoft and Sony consoles provide unprecedented hype

By Anirudh Kundurthy


Around a month and a half ago, Microsoft and Sony released their largest and most hyped products of 2020. For Microsoft, it came in the form of the Xbox Series X/S, and for Sony, the PlayStation 5. The two most publicized products of 2020 sold out on the first day as expected. Both had console fanatics lining up around the block, hoping to buy one before they sold out even in a year in which a pandemic had taken place. To take a deeper look, here is the marketing surrounding the products, the improvements made from past consoles, and finally, the answer to which company sold more consoles this generation.


Generally, the iPhone is untouchable in terms of hype. This year, however, the consoles took the front seat. The excitement surrounding the products was unreal. Xbox was the sole topic of numerous news stories, and Sony was able to get Travis Scott to be a spokesman for their product. According to Esports Charts, the PS5 reveal event broadcast peaked at over 7 million viewers around the world. According to CNBC, Apple’s event in which they revealed the iPhone 12 only received 2.5 million. The difference is truly staggering. Both also performed well on Youtube with videos about both products receiving millions of views.


So obviously, there was an insane amount of publicity, but why? Every time a new console comes out, there is always going to be the appeal of newer and more advanced games catering solely to the newer consoles. This was certainly also the case this year. The PS5 on one hand, had numerous exclusives such as Astro’s Playroom, Destruction AllStars, God of War: Ragnarok, and Gran Tourismo 7. The Xbox Series X has games such as Bright Memory: Infinite and Everwild. Other than games, both consoles are also significantly faster and smoother than their predecessors. Not only this, but they also are clearly running with less effort as their fans are much, much quieter. The loudness of the fans, particularly on the PS4, were often a point in which fans would consistently voice their displeasure about in past years.


Both consoles have improved a lot, but which console really won the “console war” this generation? Let’s take a look at the first week sales of both consoles. According to gamesindustry.biz, the Xbox Series X sold 16,247 units and the Xbox Series S sold 4,287 units on their first six days on sale. Meanwhile, the Playstation 5, sold 118,000 units in its first 4 days. The difference is staggering. So obviously Sony got the best of Microsoft here. According to Bloomberg, the PlayStation dominated and will continue to dominate Xbox for years to come. Tae Kim wrote that Sony had a “superior approach to game development and a lineup of exclusive titles that will be tough to beat.”


Both Microsoft and Sony had very successful years, and though Sony sold more this year, fans of both companies were awarded with the newest and best consoles available in the market. In a crazy year, both companies were able to take people’s minds off of the insanity, and entertain them with something a little bit more light and fun.

The Apple M1 Macs: What Sets Them Apart?

By: Akilesh Bharat


This year, Apple made a big announcement. Apple will be making their Macs with Apple Silicon from now on. Apple Silicon is Apple's name for their new processor chip for Macs. This is a big difference because Apple used to make their Macs with Intel. Intel is what Apple used to use as their processor chip for Macs before Apple Silicon. Intel is still used for many other computer companies. During the WWDC 2020 in June, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook announced that their first Macs with Apple Silicon will arrive by the end of 2020. Now they are finally here. Apple announced their first processor chip with Apple Silicon, Apple M1.


These Macs come with an Apple M1 Chip, which has a 5 nanometer process, and up to 16 billion transistors, which is a lot of power. Apple claims to have made all the pieces of technology needed for these macs in a smaller form factor with M1. It has an 8 core CPU which is one of the high performance cores, and high efficient cores, making it have the best CPU in terms of Cores. It also has the best performance in the case of watts. Apple M1 also has a 16 core Neural Engine and has a better Secure Enclave. These are parts of the Mac that are needed for performance, power, and security. These numbers make a Mac more powerful than before.


The Macbook Air is the first laptop to have the Apple M1 chip. The MacBook Air is a very thin laptop with lots of power,performances, and beautiful colors. It is the cheapest Apple laptop at a cost of $999. With Apple M1, it has a significant improvement with mainly 2 big changes, 18 hours of battery, and no fan in the laptop. The rest are better graphics, more power, and other stuff which make Macbook Air even more powerful. There is more increase in performance for minor things because of M1.


The new Mac Mini also has Apple M1, which is also a big improvement over its last generation because it works great with the Pro Display XDR, has better CPU, and better graphics performance. It is also $300 cheaper than the laptop, now starting at just $699. It also has a lot of other improvements too.


The Macbook Pro is the last Macbook Apple announced with M1. It has a lot of new upgrades like more performance, better CPU, better Graphics performance, much better battery life, and so much more. The Macbook Pro is a very powerful notebook. It is currently the winner of longest battery life out of the other current Macs in Apples lineup. The Macbook Pro starts at the same price from last year, $1,299.


Apple M1 is a big improvement and huge upgrade over all the other Macs. They make current Macs even more powerful than before. They can make Macs what people could never imagine. Apple M1 has a 5 nanometer process, an 8 core CPU, anda 16 core Neural Engine. But it has so many other huge improvements too. To conclude, Apple M1 and it’s transition to Apple Silicon is a huge improvement with powerful performance in many cases, really making it one of Apple's most powerful Macs.

Two mythical creatures exposed from mysterious past

By: Rebecca Borlace


Jiangshi


Jiangshi are commonly referred to as Chinese 'hopping’ zombies/vampires because they hop instead of walking. This makes for quite the fun battle scenes in movies, as they are decently large in the Hong Kong and East Asia movie industry.


The Jiang(僵) in Jiangshi means “hard” or “stiff”, and it is said that the Jiangshi are so stiff that they cannot walk or move their arms, that is why they hop around.


Jiangshi are believed to have originated during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) because they traditionally wear the clothing of that period. Jiangshi are often seen wearing the clothing of a Qing Official, with a sealing talisman stuck to its head. The talismans are said to have been put there by a Taoist priest.


Many families would hire Taoist priests to perform a ritual to reanimate the dead. These Taoist priests would tie the body's single file to two bamboo rods and ring bells to alert others that they would be coming through with the bodies. This was so that no one saw the bodies, as it was considered bad luck for a living person to look at a Jiangshi. The corpse's hands were tied to the poles outstretched, giving them the appearance of holding their hands out. Two men would carry the rods on their shoulders, giving the corpses the appearance of hopping while moving, this being enough to trick the townspeople into thinking that they were hopping.


This ritual was called Xiangxi Ganshi and was popular in Xiangxi (now a city in China’s Western Hunan province). The people of Xingxi used this ritual to transport the bodies of the dead back to their hometowns, as it was believed that the dead’s souls would feel homesick if they were buried somewhere unfamiliar.


Jiangshi that are let loose, however, attack people and drain them of their qi, or life force. While the Jiangshi were dangerous, they were not without weakness. Jiangshi are supposedly weak against a lot of things. For example, if you drop a bag of coins, a Jiangshi will stop to count it. A Jiangshi is also afraid of the call of a rooster.


Dokkaebi


The Dokkaebi is a Korean goblin creature, however most of you probably know it as the black and white haired character from Rainbow Six Siege. Dokkaebi are nature spirits or deities, who love to use their powers to play pranks on humans, but they help humans at times as well.


In some legends, Dokkaebi are harmless tricksters. Challenging travelers to a ssireum (Korean wrestling) match to give them the right to pass and other tricks. The Dokkaebi however, are insanely good at ssireum. The only way to win against a Dokkaebi is to attack their right side. In some tales the Dokkaebi only have one leg, so the way to win is to hook their leg and push their upper bodies.


The earliest appearance of the Dokkaebi is in the Silla-era tale, Lady Dohwa and the Bachelor Biyeong, from the Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms, but are later featured in many other documents. Descriptions of what Dokkaebi look like are inconsistent throughout the different eras of Korea, but most people seem to agree that they are fearsome and awe-inspiring, and usually wear a Hanbok (traditional two piece clothing worn in Korea for formal or semi-formal occasions and events.) The most common description is based on ancient roof tiles with Dokkaebi carved onto them.

HOLIDAY FOOD, FESTIVITIES, & FUN

Boy flying off of sled

Baking, sledding, and decorating are among activity options for Winter Break

By: Fiona Fortin


With COVID and quarantine in general, we have to find some alternatives to do in the wintertime that is safe and fun, so here are some activities to do this winter season!


If you plan to go outdoors…

  • Find a hill and go sledding! I genuinely enjoy sledding because it is so fun to do with friends or family, and I always have such a great time.

  • Ice skating! I have gone ice skating a couple of times and even though I am not that great at it, it’s still fun to try! There are some places around Novi you can go to, and if you do decide to, make sure to check out the safety protocols!

  • Shopping! First of all, there is always some sort of sale at many, many stores around the holidays-so that could be your first reason to go if you’re trying to convince your parents! I recommend shopping at some small businesses, maybe in downtown Northville, etc. especially during these times! Of course, remember to wear your mask as you head to stores.

  • Some of the malls I enjoy going to are the Twelve Oaks Mall and Somerset Mall. I love walking around and seeing the malls decorated all festive and even if you don’t buy anything, it’s just fun to go with a friend. You can also go to Target and buy Christmas decorations. Walking downtown and taking pictures is also a super fun activity to do with a friend or even a sibling. Remember to social distance if there are lots of shoppers.


If you are planning to stay inside…

  • Personally, one of my favorite things to do in the wintertime is to bake and make gingerbread houses with a friend or sibling! There are so many different kinds of houses you can buy and decorate from Target, Meijer, Walmart, etc.

  • I love going on Pinterest to find new recipes like sugar cookies and brownies to make when I am bored and want a treat!

  • I also enjoy finding new shows and movies on Netflix and re-watching some old Christmas movies on Disney Plus.

  • Another great activity to get into the winter spirit is decorating my house for the holidays. I celebrate Christmas so every year I look forward to putting up the Christmas tree, hanging up lights, and making my house festive! If you celebrate something else, you can decorate and make your own treats also.

  • If you are in the spirit of Christmas but you can’t go anywhere, you can online shop! Some days I like to just have my computer and sit near a fireplace and an online shop for gifts or just for fun, even if I don’t buy anything.


I hope these activities give you ideas to have fun this winter! Make sure you are staying safe and being careful! Have a great holiday season!

Marshmallow dreidels and gingerbread men lead to a (ful)filling holiday

By: Zan Malan


The holidays are coming up and it's time to get into the most wonderful time of the year and what better way than to eat a bunch of yummy treats! The goodies below will make you wish you were eating them and will also give you a little background on them!


The first mouth-watering treat is the classic gingerbread cookie! Just a little man or woman with candy, icing, and sprinkles galore! But have you ever thought about why the gingerbread cookie came to be? Many of you might be thinking about the gingerbread man story about the man and woman who made a little man fill the hole in their hearts but the gingerbread cookie according to the Smithsonian Magazine, “According to sugarcraft scholar Steven Stellingwerf (I want his job!), gingerbread may have been introduced to Western Europe by 11th-century crusaders returning from the eastern Mediterranean. Its precise origin is murky, although it is clear that ginger itself originates in Asia.”


If you love sprinkles more than your homework, then these delicious cookies are for you! Some of the yummiest cookies around, the sugar cookie! You can make them into anything you want, Christmas trees, Santa faces, snowflakes, stockings! According to sugar.org, “The modern sugar cookie was originally called the Nazareth Sugar Cookie, after German Protestants who settled in Nazareth, Pennsylvania and improved the recipe.1 When forming the dough, they made the cookies resemble the state’s keystone emblem.


Another yummy treat is Torah cannoli! For those of you who don’t know, cannoli is an Italian pastry with a sweet filling that usually has ricotta in it! You can even make them into fun shapes like a Torah shaped one! These delicious goodies go all the way back to around 1091! If they’ve been around this long they have to be good!


Something that may be more for children but is still yummy all the same is Hanukkah Marshmallow Dreidels. Marshmallows covered in bright blue sprinkles with a Hershey Kiss on top and a pretzel as the handle. These don’t have a clear origin but they’re yummy so I had to add them to the list!


These treats will keep you filled up and happy as you enjoy family time during the holidays!

How do we celebrate in a pandemic?

By: Srijan Agarwal


Will Christmas be the same even though a deadly pandemic is spreading around the world taking so many lives?


“As bad as the country’s infections and hospitalizations are now, they will probably worsen in coming weeks because of the millions of interactions that occurred during Thanksgiving, experts say,” (Washington Post). This means that COVID cases may rise a lot if people socialize in Christmas. That will lead to worse situations since the US is already receiving cases above 200k nowadays. Let’s get into more detail!


If a COVID vaccine is released in mid-December, then will the 2020 Christmas be the same as past years? With Pfizer being 90% effective, it increased the chances of federal regulators releasing it in mid-December. Pfizer gives us some hope of the pandemic ending earlier than expected, but scientists predict that many successful vaccines would still face obstacles in getting distributed. This causes uncertainty as to whether to celebrate Christmas by socializing or by only celebrating with members of their household.


Should large gatherings take place due to Christmas Eve? In the view of most experts, no, large gatherings like galas should not take place. If you invite visitors to your home, you are putting yourself and the visitors at risk of being infected. Studies have shown that COVID symptoms show up about a week after being infected. You may seem totally fine to yourself, but there is a chance of you or your visitor having the virus. People should take precautions by not inviting visitors for Christmas.


In conclusion, Christmas should be spent at home with family members only. America is reaching heights in the number of cases that are recorded every day. Looking at these dangerous statistics, we should limit socializing with other people. We should also cooperate with COVID warriors like doctors and police officers by following the COVID restrictions.

This season's hottest presents for kids cover a variety of interests

By: Samuel Xie


  • Lego Super Mario Adventures Set ($40.00 - 60.00) This interactive Lego set is exactly like the game, will explore infinite possibilities, and create cool worlds. For ages 5+


  • Nerf N-Strike Elite Rhino Gun ($79.99 - 99.99) This Nerf Gun can shoot 4 bullets per second and comes with 100 Nerf bullets. This is the perfect toy for older children with awesome features so it never gets old. For ages 12+


  • Exploding Kittens ($10.00 - 15.00) This silly game makes everyone laugh with all its ridiculous cards and is really simple to play. Kids will develop strategies, cruel or nice, that will make the game worthwhile. For ages 10+


  • Playstation 5 ($399 - 499) In this all-new generation console, you can experience lightning-fast loading with an ultra-high-speed SSD, 4K TV gaming, and 3D Audio with compatible headphones all in the new PS5.


  • Xbox Series X ($499) This console is another game-changer. It has a terabyte custom CPU that puts you in control, not an algorithm that doesn’t suit you. Xbox has really stepped up its game for us to enjoy.


  • Adventerra Game’s Global Warming ($24.99 - 29.99) This fun and strategic board game that also raises concerns about global warming is a great game to play that will help your family learn about the Earth. For 12+