TEDx host first official conference

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EDx Club hosted their first conference in two years, last Friday, April 6. The on-campus club shows TED talks, discusses current events and encourages many students to share their perspectives on certain events or ideas.  

Friday’s event welcomed six student and three adult speakers, all presenting on personal experiences that audience members could relate to or learn from.

“We are holding this event to echo TED’s message: ideas worth spreading,” said Junior Arleen Lui, an organizer of the event.

Organizers explained how they chose people who discussed different topics so there would be a variety throughout the presentations.

“Part of the thing with TED Talks is that they are personal, so in order to engage the audience you have to be personal,” said Junior Ashna Reddy. “We look for a message but also how the speaker got there, so it’s kind of like a personal talk but also with a message that can relate to the audience.”

There was one TEDx conference last year, however this was TEDx club’s first official conference, which they had to get licensed by the official TED talk company,  said senior Sahaj Putcha who is also a TEDx officer.

Senior Brandon Young gave a speech entitled “One Voice, One Action. It makes all the difference.” In his speech, he reflected volunteering he had done to train a little boy with autism in soccer. He also spoke openly about his own life struggles such as living with ADHD and the lessons he has learned from his experiences.

Young advocated for making a change in the community by reaching out to those in need and making a positive impact on their lives.

Junior Kathy Rodriguez who attended though that it was an eye-opening experience.

“I thought it was inspiring to hear stories of people who have experienced life changing moments. The speeches made me look at many things from a new perspective too,” said Rodriguez.

“Our school is so diverse and there are all these different thoughts and ideas that everyone has, so we just try to bring that together in this club,”said Putcha.

According to the officers, the desired  outcome for the first official TEDx conference was to inspire audience members to share their stories and advocate for diversity in thought. Rodriguez confirmed that the conference did exactly that.

“I hope the audience will kind of have a deeper understanding of the world and themselves when they leave,” said Reddy.

TEDx club held first official conference in cafeteria last Friday.

‘On My Block’ sheds light on teens of color in LA

On My Block” is refreshingly connected to not only teens of color, but communities of color.

The 10 episode Netflix Original is the latest coming-of-age comedy set in East L.A. that follows five young teens as they transition from the safety of middle school to the ever-changing dynamic of high school.

As a whole, the show attempts to bring light to several societal issues, from the prevalence and reality of gangs, family pressure, relationships, immigration laws, racism and discrimination. Through its genuine characters and hilarious one-liners, “On My Block” succeeds at opening its viewers’ eyes.

Photo courtesy of Netflix.

To tackle gang culture, Cesar, a protagonist (Diego Tinoco), is drawn into a gang, the Santos, by his brother and is expected to rise in power. Cesar struggles to adhere to familial pressure, connect with his brother and maintain his relationship with his friends.

The reality of gangs is further addressed with Cesar acing his classes and being on a path to success academically juxtaposed against the demands made by his brother, the gang leader, to be more involved. Despite his friends trying to get him out of the Santos, a feeling of lost potential permeates the show.

One of the first messages of the show is that to survive high school, one needs to stick with their friends. With Monse and Cesar beginning to see each other romantically, this becomes exceedingly difficult as they struggle to keep their relationship a secret from the Ruby, Jamal and Olivia in fear of it ruining the group dynamic.

While Monse’s actress, Sierra Capri, is arguably the weakest of the five with her headstrong personality often coming across as annoying, she introduces several important themes. Monse and Olivia are strong female characters who constantly battle being surrounded by teenage boys and being objectified by gang members.

Olivia is the newest member of the group and learns to adjust to her new life without her parents. After their deportation, she is left alone in the states and ends up living with Ruby, the anxious, talkative and adorable friend who is enamored by her very existence.

That leaves Jamal, who is the running joke of the show for always being forgotten. No one ever seems to believe in Jamal, especially when it comes to the RollerWorld conspiracy. The premise is that thousands of dollars were buried somewhere in the neighborhood by the Santos’ founders, and Jamal believes that finding the money will be the answer to getting Cesar out of the gang.

Ultimately, the show succeeds because everything is incredibly thought out. My favorite one-liners include “You can’t declare yourself woke. Someone needs to tell you.” and “You lose the tone when you use the phone.” With the quirky characters, the sick soundtrack (peep “Devil’s Whisper” by Raury) and each intro being specific to the episode’s themes, “On My Block” is a blockbuster.

The Impatient Patient: In defense of a lazy, smartphone-obsessed generation

Lazy. Entitled. Snowflakes. According to Media Post, these are the qualities 71 percent of past American generations attribute to Generation Z. These sentiments are reflected not only by the parents of Generation Z, but in those belonging to it. 40 percent of parents and 45 percent of Generation Z themselves agree that within this “selfie generation” lies an inherent trait of laziness.

HHS students participated in a walkout on March 14. Photo by Riley Anderson.

Generation Z, or the cleverly nicknamed iGeneration are the 23 million born from 1995 to 2012. 4 million of Generation Z own a smartphone, and most have never known a world without apps and instant gratification. And some fear that the implications of a generation shaped by social media and smartphone are dire.

Lonely. Dislocated. Unhappy. Another triplet of not so flattering traits attributed to Generation Z. A study by The Atlantic ties the rapidly increasing rates of depression in teens to the devices they cultivate their entire persona upon — smartphones.

Teens hang out together less too, with a 40 percent drop from 2000 to 2015. Screen-related activities are linked to unhappiness, while non-screen-related activities are linked to a greater overall wellbeing.

    Yet although Generation Z may be suffering at the hands of of their smartphones, they’re also saving lives. A large social media following and the ability to condense thoughts into a relatable, retweetable 140-character limit may not be necessary an advantageous skill set for most, but the Parkland students and many other teen activists across the country beg to differ.

    Take one of the most well-known of the Parkland students, Emma Gonzalez. With her steely gaze, the high school senior, among with many others of Never Again MSD, organized the largest student-driven protest in American history thus far. Not only that, but Never Again MSD has been credited with the Florida Legislature enacting several gun control measures. Lazy? I think not. And Gonzalez has a remarkable 1.2 million followers on Twitter. Lonely? I think not.

And, who is to forget David Hogg, the Parkland shooting survivor who also made headlines following provocations from those like Jamie Allman and Laura Ingraham, who saw it fit to make jokes about sexually assaulting the 18-year-old, and mock his rejection from colleges.

While Ingraham boasts a net worth of 45 million, Hoggs boasts 753,000 Twitter followers. And, while there is not yet a conversion between American dollars and Twitter followers, Hoggs engaged followers in asking Ingraham’s advertisers to boycott her show. 25 have dropped so far.

While it is easy to argue that the Parkland activists are simply outliers in the convoluted model of how a Generation Z individual is supposed to act, many researchers who study adolescents believe that they are not. I know, because I see feats of activism among my friends, among my classmates, within my community.

The HHS March for our Lives protest was organized by two sophomores. The protest then made a detour to Sunnyvale City Hall made possible by a group of juniors and seniors, poor weather conditions be damned. They were joined by neighboring schools such as FHS and De Anza.

Inspiring. Revolutionary. Tenacious. This is what I believe Generation Z to be.

‘Isle of Dogs’ is an endearing and well-made film

The movie features both stunning visuals and off-beat humor. Photo courtesy to IMDB.

Director Wes Anderson’s most recent movie, “Isle of Dogs,” is a success similar to his previous films, which include “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “Moonrise Kingdom.”

The plot of the movie is set in the future, where a rampant “canine flu” in Japan forces all dogs of the nation to be quarantined on an island. A young boy named Atari ventures to this place in hopes of finding his beloved pet, Spots. As he searches for his furry friend and evades authorities, he’s assisted by five other anthropomorphic dogs: Chief, Rex, Boss, Duke and King.

“Isle of Dogs” carries the distinctive style that all of Anderson’s past films have: meticulously symmetrical compositions, distinct color palettes and an awesome soundtrack. As usual, it’s made with extreme technical proficiency, featuring creative and frequently stunning animation.

The dry and darkly humorous dialogue regularly seen in Anderson’s work is also featured. However, I found “Isle of Dogs” to be considerably funnier than his other films.

Maybe this is because of the story’s focus on dogs or just the talent of the actors themselves, but the innocently awkward conversations and endearingly naive nature of characters made the film far more comedic and pleasant to watch.  

I will admit that Anderson’s films can be a bit jarring at times. His casual and apathetic handling of dreary subjects can be easily misinterpreted as insensitive, rather than an attempt at humor. “Isle of Dogs” focuses on subjects that are less dark than those featured in Anderson’s previous films, such as death, suicide and parental neglect. It is a much more light-hearted and pleasant film.

As funny and beautifully animated as “Isle of Dogs” is, it does have some flaws. The main one being is that the storyline is unpredictable, and not always in a good way. Subplots become more crucial than expected, plot twists have surprisingly little impact and impractical solutions are used to solve serious problems.

It’s not a movie to see if you’re really focused on the plot. This sounds a bit strange, as most movies are watched for their story, specifically. But Anderson’s films are intentionally made to be more than that; instead having numerous little details that eventually make a wonderful final product.

So if you enjoy lovable characters, amusingly eccentric dialogue and exquisite visuals, then this is definitely a movie for you.

Cardi B does it for the culture

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Cardi B makes her way to top spot of the rap game with the release of her debut album “Invasion of Privacy.” Photo courtesy of iTunes.

ess than a year after her rise to rap stardom with single, “Bodak Yellow,” Cardi B, the Bronx MC, released her debut album,  “Invasion of Privacy.”

When she announced her album release date my excitement and anticipation for the album was unbearable.

I remember listening to the first two singles “Bodak Yellow” and “Bartier Cardi” featuring 21 savage. Both of these singles were filled with an unapologetic attitude, hard-hitting lyrics and simple yet catchy production.

I built up a lot of hype surrounding her debut album and let’s just say the results were not disappointing.

The first track I listened to, which she released a week before, was “Be Careful,” where she raps about being in an unfaithful relationship and warning her partner to start taking her feelings into consideration.

The storytelling and vulnerability that Cardi showcases was a pleasant surprise. I think it was a smart choice to release this song before the album because people tend to always expect the attitude-filled, intimidating raps whereas this song had a different vibe that many women could relate to if they are going through any sort if strain in a relationship with a significant other.

In this track she also shows off her vocals, which were not unique, but still something new.

Cardi showcased her capability to present raw emotions through music in multiple tracks.

“Thru Your Phone,” was another more sentimental track talking about infidelity in a relationship.

Her other solo songs were also well constructed lyrically and production wise, such as the first track off the album, “Get Up 10.”

Cardi raps about her struggle of going from rags to riches over a mellow, simple beat that matches her aggressive, emotion filled tone.

Cardi’s ability to lyrically present situations in her life with a message to relate to her listeners is what makes her music so likeable and real.

To contrast to the more emotional songs, she still stays true to her aggressive, gangster like beats and raps that she came into the industry with.

Songs like “Money Bag” and “Bickenhead” are uplifting tracks that listeners can get down to and hype each other up.

From YG to SZA the album features some of the most well known rappers and r&b artists.

My least favorite collaboration was “Drip” featuring Migos, which just sounded like another Migos song with no lyricism or underlying message. Cardi still delivered on her part however she was overshadowed by the production and other three members of Migos.

The other collabs did redeem this disappointing track however, such as “She Bad” featuring YG,  “I Do” featuring SZA, “Best Life” featuring Chance the Rapper and “Ring” featuring Kehlani. Kehlani and SZA were perfect compliments to the album with their unique vocals and delivery.

Cardi also stays true to her latin roots through “I like it” featuring Bad Bunny and J Balvin who are some of the most popular latin music artist at the moment. The afro-caribbean beat and spanish lyrics had me dancing all throughout my living room.  

Cardi’s versatility throughout this album has landed her the top spot amongst female rappers. She came into the game with a carefree vibe and it shines through her latest piece of work.

She is not worried about what everyone else is doing  nor should she be because she is setting the tone with her music.

She has a distinct sound that sets her apart from other mainstream female rappers. She does not go out of her way to try impress instead she goes into the studio, raps about what she wants to while staying true to her character and the simplicity behind it all is what makes it work so well.

 

The Hart of the Matter: Domestic violence and female homelessness heavily connected

Homelessness is a massive issue plaguing the United States, but it is rarely looked at as the complex and multi-faceted problem it truly is. One such overlooked factor of the homelessness issue is the role of violence against women.The U.S. Department of Justice reported that one in four homeless women are on the streets because of violence inflicted against her.

This isn’t a problem that solely affects women, but children as well; Among women who experience homelessness and have children, over 80 percent had previously experienced domestic violence, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty.

This isn’t just domestic violence in the far past with coincidental homelessness later on. The sheer amount of homeless women who have experienced domestic violence already contests this, but also, in an examination of twelve studies, the Family and Youth Services Bureau found that between 22 and 57 percent of women report that domestic violence was an immediate cause of their homelessness, with numbers varying depending on location.

Countless studies and reports have shown that domestic violence is a huge determinant in homelessness among women. And this only contributes more to violence against women.

Homeless women are significantly more likely to experience any type of violence than non-homeless women. This is partially because homeless people on general are prone to becoming victims to violence, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. However, homeless women are more likely to experience intimate partner violence than homeless men, showing how the issue of domestic violence against women continues into vagrancy.

Victimized homeless women very rarely report such instances of violence against them, the U.S. Department of Justice reported, and when they do rarely get legitimate response from the authorities.

When domestic violence and homelessness meet, it creates a brutal cycle of assault against women with little way out. The National Network to End Domestic Violence conducted a nationwide study in 2015 in which ninety-three percent of domestic violence programs participated in. In just one day, over 31,500 people escaping domestic violence went to a shelter or program for such victims. Over 12,197 requests were not met due to lack of resources.

More resources for victims of domestic violence are necessary now. Not only is support for victims of domestic violence something we should uphold as a civic duty to them, but it will also address a huge contributor to homelessness.

The Garlick Press: Does ‘flexible’ vegetarianism have a lasting impact?

It has long been known that climate change is happening, and that our everyday consumption of fuels and products contribute to the rising temperatures. But what people don’t usually think of straight away is how diet can affect the environment.

Yes, I am talking about vegetarianism. I have been a vegetarian for almost a year now, and recently been reflecting on my journey of cutting out meat and various dairy products with my family, and we’ve been discussing different kinds of vegetarianism along with what reasons I myself abstain from meat products.

Not only do people abstain from meat for religious, dietary or ethical reasons, they also stay away from consuming animal products for a better environmental impact.
Beef industries take up a lot of water and energy. According to a study from 2010 conducted by Water USGS gov, California uses around 101 to 250 million gallons of freshwater and groundwater for livestock, coming in as the second state for most bovine water consumption.

But of course, not everyone wants to give up meat in the blink of an eye — or at least, not for the rest of their lives. So the question of eating meat less frequently throughout the week comes to the table.

There’s actually a dietary lifestyle for this concept; flexitarian. Combining ‘flexible’ and ‘vegetarian’ to create this new term perfectly exemplifies what flexitarians are; mostly focused on eating vegetables and simply reducing their meat intake.

Flexitarians will eat meat on fewer occasions, and mostly opt for meals that do not have animal products, cutting down their meat consumption more than the average meat eater.

Studies show families who have ‘meatless mondays’ and ‘fish fridays’ save water. According to the Meatless Monday Website, a quarter pound of beef takes 425 gallons of water to make, whereas soy takes only 75 gallons.

Some people are’ financial vegans’, and buy no meat unless it is free to them, saving their pocketbooks while working for a cause. Meat is expensive, and the average meat consumer can save $2,200-$3,000 each year, by just eat four less meals that have meet each week would save around $600-$800 per year, according to SomethingFinance20.

Others run into the ethical farm dilemma; if a chicken has been happy all its life living on a nice farm, and cannot stop itself from making eggs, is it ethical to eat them? Some will say yes, as the chicken was not harmed and is not contributing to global warming since it lives on a small scale operation. Besides, if you didn’t eat the egg, it could potentially become food waste.

Either way, it is up to the consumer to decide what is ethical to them and what makes the most important change for them personally. After all, becoming vegetarian is a personal choice.

Eating less meat could have health and ecological benefits, and decreasing the rate of one’s overall consumption could do a considerable amount of good for the environment and our population.

Making educated decisions about what kinds of dietary changes one can make to fit within a lifestyle is important for everyone’s health, as well as the planet’s.

The Denome’s Advocate: Israel, an apartheid state? (Opinion)

Author’s note: It has come to my attention that this article has garnered extreme criticism from the opposing perspective. However, after a number of productive conversations on the issue with critics, and doing further research, my stance on the issue has not changed. I understand, though, that many statements were made without source attribution. So in that regard, I have made several corrections and clarifications to the article and cited sources, as noted in the revision below.

 

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he entire world, not just the U.S., seems to be on edge lately. Along Gaza’s border with Israel, in the always-contentious Middle East, 29 Palestinian citizens were killed last week in protests against the Israeli government, mostly by Israeli snipers, according to NPR.

Normally, I leave discussing world issues to my colleague Aishwarya, but something about the Gaza protests in particular struck a nerve with me. This kind of violence doesn’t happen in America during protests; there’s no reason it should happen in Gaza, or anywhere else.

While militants from the terrorist group Hamas were among the protesters killed, a number of citizens perished in the violence as well, and thousands more were wounded, according to NPR. Among the citizens killed was a Palestinian journalist, Yaser Murtaja, who was wearing a jacket that clearly marked him as a member of the press.

Israel claimed that the protests had turned violent and citizens were being encouraged by Hamas, as an Israeli army spokesperson said to foreign press. However, there’s no excuse for shooting journalists who are clearly labeled as such, or other bystanders such as farmers, as NPR also reported. A pro-Palestinian legal organization, Adalah, called the response to the protests a violation of international law.

This isn’t the first time Israel has viciously treated Palestinians; it’s been a common occurrence for about a half-century, in both Israel itself and the occupied territories that Israel controls. Since 2000, over 7,000 Palestinians have been killed in conflicts with israel, as compared to just over 1,000 Israelis, according to B’tselem, an organization that tracks human rights abuses by Israel in occupied Palestinian territories.

However, tensions ratcheted up even further in late 2017 when America, under the direction of President Trump, announced that it would move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, officially recognizing the city as Israel’s capital, according to the Washington Post. Palestinians — and much of the rest of the world — were outraged, with the U.N. soon passing a resolution condemning the U.S. decision 128-9, as the Post also reported.

While the protests last week were against Israel’s continued ban on travel from the Gaza Strip, the heightened tensions of late have likely played a hand in both Israel and Hamas’ more extreme behavior. And while Hamas has had a presence at the protests, throwing rocks and firebombs at Israel’s encampment, no Israeli soldiers have died so far, according to NPR.

Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is eerily similar to how apartheid South Africa treated black citizens in the second half of the 20th century: with segregation, racism and needless violence. A report by a UN committee of Arab countries from 2017 accused Israel of committing apartheid-like international crimes.

The U.S. response to this? Rather than further investigating whether apartheid was actually happening in Israel, America, led by UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, threatened to stop funding programs perceived as “anti-Israel,” according to the Washington Post. Less than a year later, the U.S. announced the embassy move, sparking another round of protests.

Israel is responsible for the killings themselves, but the U.S. needs to examine its role in allowing their ally to continue to oppress the Palestinian people. Israel can claim it is the real victim and the Palestinians are obstructing peace all they want, but it does not really help their cause when they fire at protesters from behind a wall.

Updated 4/13/18