Honoring Third Generation Gaming

Nintendo Entertainment System

8-bit is a measure of computer information during the 1980s generally used to refer to hardware and software in an era where computers were only able to store and process a maximum of 8 bits per data block. This limitation was mainly due to the existing processor technology at the time, which with which software had to conform. This resulted in blocky graphics and slow compute times.

At present, when 8-bit is mentioned, it is generally associated with slow computers, low-resolution graphics, and simplistic sound.  I’m pretty sure most people who grew up in the 80s and 90s have heard of 8-bit video game which include classics like Mega Man, Super Mario Bros 3, Popeye, Pacman, Sonic, Ms. Pacman, Pokemon. The 8-bit gaming universe is my personal favorite because it is filled with fun puzzles and real challenges.

Mario from Super Mario Bros

People are way too spoiled with the games they have today and they forget about the old days of 8-bit gaming. But if it wasn’t for 8-bit, we wouldn’t have these realistic games today.  Everyone remembers the old 8-bit Mario tune- who hasn’t heard it? A lot of these games have been played on an old gaming system called the Nintendo Entertainment System and when you hear the name, “Sega,” – that’s old!  The Nintendo Entertainment System is pretty much one of the basic gaming system for 8-bit games back then.

Link from the Legend of Zelda

Today, it’s called a ‘third generation console.’ Even if it did just have a joystick, it was still entertaining with all the puzzles and activities in the games. I say we should still remember the old video games that kept us entertained as children and might still keep us entertained as adults.

Mark Zuckerberg Gives Testimony

Mark Zuckerburg gives his testimony. 

Mark Zuckerberg gave testimony during congressional hearings regarding user data and privacy rights because there is a significant concern about Facebook’s role in the shaping of our democracy. 

Facebook’s ongoing Cambridge Analytica data-privacy scandal, and how Facebook has failed to guard against other abuses is the reason Zuckerburg was asked to appear. 

To make a point about the importance of privacy, one senator asked whether Zuckerburg, “would be comfortable sharing aloud the name of the hotel where he stayed on Monday night, or whether he would be comfortable sharing the names of the people he has messaged this week.”  Uncomfortable, Zuckerberg replied, “No. I would probably not choose to do that publicly here.”  

Mark Zuckerburg answering questions. 

 

 

 

The Festival of the Arts – A Very Fun Day At Village

On the last day of classes before spring break, Village School had its annual Festival of the Arts. Festival of the Arts is special because students get to showcase their talents and interests for peers and teachers. The day is organized by students and made possible by student enthusiasm and participation. 

The day was divided up into 25-45 minutes sessions for workshops and performances, with two- three different workshops running per session; students had a choice as to  which workshop they wanted to attend. For performances, the entire school would join together; no other sessions went on during a performance. 

Two teachers, Lauren and Megan, attempting- and failing- at origami!

One workshop was an  introduction to origami, led by Margaret. In this workshop, the students were taught how to fold an origami rose. They were given the choice of what color they wanted their roses to be as Margaret brought in a large variety of colors. Although some projects didn’t turn out as well as others, the students in this workshop enjoyed and introduction to the precision needed for origami folds. 

David demonstrates a drill as Adrien, Fen, and Nathan look on.

Another workshop was a soccer workshop held on the front lawn. David taught different soccer drills to students including learning the proper way to dribble and pass the ball. The students in this workshop also did different stretches and warmups before doing any drills. David could not teach shooting drills, as the space on the front lawn did not permit. Despite this, the Village School students in this workshop had fun and got in a quick workout!

The adorable Cogsworth.

A third workshop was a presentation by Rose. Rose brought in Cogsworth, a rat from her animal care program at BOCES. Her presentation was full of interesting facts about rats and was very detailed. The students in this workshop learned things about rats that they never knew before. Some of these facts included the lifespans rats, the maximum weight rats can weigh, and how to properly care for an adult rat. Rose’s goal was to debunk fears and myths people have about rats and in the end, she seemed to do just that with many students lining up to meet and pet Cogsworth after her presentation. 

A fourth workshop was cooking, led by Alexia and Ronni. The students made pizza in the kitchen during this workshop. It took teamwork to cook the pizza and was an excellent experience. While a student blended the tomatoes to make sauce, other students floured and stretched the dough. Then some students poured on the sauce while others put cheese on the dough. Then it was spread out in pans and baked in the oven. The pizza came out delicious and everyone at Village was invited to try it.

Kayleigh with her Paper Marbling project in Megan’s room.

Other workshops included paper marbling in Megan’s room, board games with Emma and Danielle, and beading with Margaret later in the day, both in Ronni’s room. Ryan gave two presentations entitled, “Intro to Documentary Theory,” and “Art Movements in Film.”

There were also some student performances in the gym. Amanda sang “Creep,” and was accompanied by Max on the guitar.  Kayleigh then sang “Landslide,” and then paired with Max in a performance of “December, 1963.” Afterwards, Matt performed “Chasing Cars.” Later on in the day, the author of this article, Britt, played guitar and sang an original song. 

Max and Kayleigh performing “The Four Seasons” classic.

Festival of the Arts was a really fun day at Village and everyone is already looking forward to what’s in store next year!

American Lunches VS Other Countries’

All around the world, most kids attend school from ages 5 to 18. There are different schools with different protocols, syllabi, philosophies, and, of course, different cafeteria lunch food. Cafeteria lunch food is usually made up of some kind of vegetable and protein with a fruit or yogurt on the side.  As obesity levels are climbing in America, school lunches have been including healthier options. Lunches all around the world are different and often given choices rather than the same meal every day. In Brazil, school lunch is made up of pork, mixed vegetables, beans, bread, salad, and baked plantains.

Typical Brazil school lunch

Other places like Thailand have lunches made up of sauteed chicken over rice. In America, there are different options such as grilled cheese, pasta, and pizza, paired with fruit or vegetables and a side of milk. School lunches are generally small, or so they say in America. Many students report that they’re still hungry after lunch. However, even with healthier school lunches, in America, the obesity levels are still climbing because of chips and other snacks. In America school cafeterias and vending machines sell a variety of chips, juice, cookies, and ice cream.

Typical American school lunch

Many schools have tried making up for it by replacing juice with water in vending machines. The difference between American school lunches and other countries differ from nutrition and quantity, but America is trying to make school lunches healthier and more filling as children grow and obesity levels drop.

Trump orders missile strike on Syria in response to the chemical weapons attack earlier this month.

On Saturday April 7th, dozens of people died in a chemical weapons attack on the city of Douma, Syria. Blood and urine samples from the attack tested positive for the use of chemical weapons.

The samples collected indicated the use of both chlorine gas and an unnamed nerve agent. Although U.S. officials weren’t 100% certain, they said they were confident with these findings as the Assad regime is known to have stocks of the nerve agent sarin, and has in the past used both sarin and chlorine gas in their attacks. Despite all of these findings, Russia and Syria both have denied any involvement in the attacks.

U.S. missile viewed from the Syrian capital, Damascus.

In response to the attacks, U.S. President, Donald Trump, alongside France and the United Kingdom, ordered the U.S. military to launch missile strikes on Syria, intending to hit sites “associated with the chemical weapons capabilities”.

On Saturday at the emergency meeting held by the U.N. Security Council, President Putin reiterated Russia’s belief that the chemical attack in Syria was a fake. Putin criticized the U.S. and its allies for launching the missile strike too soon after the attack without the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) sending their inspectors to verify the facts around the attack.

General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. and its allies struck multiple targets involved with Syria’s chemical weapons program. Dunford explained that the U.S. identified specific targets to limit civilian casualties, damage to unrelated structures, and “the risk of Russian forces being involved.”

In a series of tweets, Trump criticized both Russia and Iran, saying “[They] are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay.”

Trump’s decision to launch a military strike on Syria after a chemical attack is nothing new. Last year on April 6th, Trump launched multiple military strikes on Syrian airfields in response to attacks allegedly containing chlorine gas, as well as the nerve agent sarin.

Can’t Sleep? Information About Treating Insomnia

The definition of insomnia, as provided by the dictionary.

What is Insomnia?

The dictionary defines insomnia as the inability to sleep and habitual sleeplessness. It’s common for individuals to have difficulty falling asleep at night; an estimated 3 million people have this condition. For most people, insomnia is a result of anxiety, little to no exercise, depression, bad sleep habits, a more serious illness, or specific medications. Google suggests that insomnia is usually self-diagnosable because the symptoms are easy to spot. A first symptom is feeling excessively tired in the morning. Another symptom is having a very difficult time falling asleep. A person may also experience problems focusing on tasks during the day, doing tasks very slowly, feeling irritable, and headaches.

Different Types of Insomnia

  1. There are a few different types of insomnia. For example, one type is acute insomnia. Acute insomnia is a brief and short difficulty when trying to fall asleep. It is usually caused by a stressful life change, such as a challenging new job, traveling, or getting bad news from a loved one or friend. Typically, acute insomnia is solved without treatment involved.
  2. There is also a more major type of insomnia – chronic insomnia. Chronic insomnia is only when a person’s insomnia persists for at least 3 nights a week during a 3 month period.
  3. A third type of insomnia is comorbid insomnia. This is defined as insomnia that is occurring with another problem or condition. Conditions like anxiety and depression can cause sleep issues. Certain medical issues might make it more uncomfortable to sleep, like back pain or arthritis.  
  4. Another type is onset insomnia, which is defined as when a person has difficulty falling asleep at the beginning of the night.
  5. Maintenance insomnia is having issues staying asleep.

The effects that sleep deprivation have on your body.

Treating Insomnia

WebMD offers up options to stop insomnia from affecting people. It could be helpful to make a few lifestyle or behavioral changes. Things like relaxation methods can help people fall asleep faster. Some options can be meditation, using guided imagery, doing breathing exercises, or doing Progressive Muscle Relaxation.

 

Using Guided Imagery

Using guided imagery is a popular method that can be used to calm down and relax. Guided imagery can help the individual feel like he or she is is a peaceful setting when really, she’s just imagining it. This can help because of the connection between the body and the mind. The person will involve all of her senses when doing guided imagery. There are certain steps the person will have to take to do guided imagery. The person must close her eyes and find a place to lie down. Then, it’s recommended that the person start taking deep breaths to calm down. Next, the person should picture herself in a setting that’s both peaceful and calm. The individual might then want to add some detail after that and think about what she would feel in this setting. For example, if the person is imaging herself on a beach, she might think about how the breeze feels on her skin and how the sand feels underneath their toes. It is said that it helps to add a path to the scene. If the individual is imagining a meadow or valley, she could think about a path that will lead to the other side of the meadow. When the person is immersed into this scene, she should then should take a few more deep breaths. Lastly, the person should think of a simple word that will help her return to this place in the future. Lastly, she should slowly bring themselves back to the present.

Using Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Using Progressive Muscle Relaxation is another method used to help relax people. When a person is stressed or anxious, the body could respond with muscle tension. Using Progressive Muscle Relaxation is one way to relieve a person of this muscle tension. To do this, the person would tense a few muscles while breathing in and then relax them as they breathe out. She should work on relaxing their muscles in a specific order. This works because, when the body is relaxed, it’s harder for a person to feel stressed or anxious. It may be useful to learn the different muscle groups before doing exercises like this.

Other Treatments 

Lifestyle changes can also be made to help treat insomnia. Lifestyle changes are defined as easy things a person can change in her life that may improve how she sleeps. For example, some aspects to change could be being more active and watching what is being consumed. It is also helpful to set a regular bedtime to follow seven days a week. This will help the body get into the habit of falling asleep by a certain time. Also, try to avoid napping during the day.

For short-term problems falling asleep, a doctor may prescribe a person sleeping pills. Lifestyle changes will help for long-term sleeping issues. It is not typical for a doctor to treat chronic insomnia with sleeping pills. This is because becoming dependent on any form of pills, medication, or drugs is potentially harmful to the body. There are many different sleeping pills a doctor could possibly prescribe to a patient. However, people should only take sleeping pills with a doctor’s prescription.

There are also many home treatments to try. It might help to limit or avoid nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol late in the day and during the night. Trying not to watch TV or use her phone as a she tries to fall asleep can also help improve sleeping quality. Create a bedtime routine to follow each night before bed. This will get the body in the habit of settling down at a certain time. The room should be dark, quiet, and cool as the person tries to sleep. If the individual takes any medications, it might be a smart move to to ask a doctor if any of the medications are affecting the quality of her sleep. 

If the person still cannot sleep, she could try getting out of bed and doing a relaxing task before trying to sleep again. This will help her brain not make a connection between bed and not being able to fall asleep.

My Trip to the Southwest

 

My view of the Grand Canyon from the helicopter.

Sign on a bus in Zion Canyon indicating why tourists shouldn’t feed the squirrels.

Over the break, I traveled to the states of Arizona and Utah with my family to visit scenic places. In Arizona, we went to Sedona, a small town surrounded by red cliffs and hills, and also to the Grand Canyon.  Near Sedona, we went to a place called the Palatki Heritage Site, a place with Native American ruins that are hundreds of years old. We also went to Jerome, a town famous for its interesting history and hundred-mile views, from which we left for the Grand Canyon.

At the Grand Canyon, we went on a few hikes as well as a helicopter ride. The helicopter flew across the canyon, giving us spectacular views for miles around, including both the canyon’s north and south rims. I also saw wildlife at the Grand Canyon, including 3 elk that stood only 30 feet away from me, bats, several species of bird that aren’t found in the eastern US, and rodents such as rock squirrels and cliff chipmunks.

View from side of the road in Zion Canyon.

After leaving the Grand Canyon, we traveled to Utah to see Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park. At Bryce Canyon, we saw hundreds of natural stone pillars known as hoodoos, as well as a natural arch. At one point, we were at an altitude of over 9,100 feet! From Bryce, we went to Zion National Park. Driving through the park to get to our hotel was incredible, there were huge cliff faces all around us, At one point, my dad had to stop the car because there were Bighorn Sheep standing in the middle of the road. The next day we hiked along the river to see amazing views of the canyon. During the hike, there were rock squirrels that were so brave that they would come within a foot of us! Sadly, we had to leave for our hotel near the airport in Las Vegas later that day.

I would highly recommend all of these places to anyone considering a vacation. They were all incredibly beautiful and unforgettable.

Science Fiction Series: ‘Supernova Rhythm,’ by Andrew Fraknoi

‘Supernova Rhythm’ is a story by Andrew Fraknoi that is about an astronomy student, Even, who is in graduate school and discovers a sort of rhythm to supernovas in the NGC 6946 galaxy. This is a difficult task for her because she needs the help of Professor Yates, who is not too fond of her. She shows him observations she has made and the known facts of the universe, but he clearly doesn’t want to believe her.  Eventually, she convinces him, and he tells her to go on with her research.

Andrew Fraknoi clearly has a good understanding of supernovas and star death. Supernovas and star death are explained clearly in the story so the reader can understand it. He is the professor of astronomy at Foothill Community College in California. He was named the 2007 California Professor of the Year awarded by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The International Astronomical Union named Asteroid 4859, ‘Asteroid Fraknoi,’ to commemorate Fraknoi’s contributions to science education and to the public understanding of astronomy. This story is great for science enthusiasts everywhere.

Stephon Clark, Never Forgotten

On March 19th, 2018 a young black man, Stephon Clark, was shot to death by local law enforcement in his own backyard in Sacramento, CA. Two police officers shot Clark 20 times, without providing lifesaving efforts. The two officers claim that Clark was pointing a gun towards them, but a weapon was not found anywhere near the scene. All that was found was Clark’s phone. Body cameras on the officers were muted. The two officers, one black, were placed on paid administrative leave. Stephon Clark was only 22, and he left behind two children.

People all around the country have shown their feelings and spoken out.  The Sacramento Kings and Boston Celtics wore warm up jerseys that read, “Accountability. We are one,” with the back the jerseys reading “#StephonClark.”

The officers are awaiting a decision as to their fate, and Clark’s family is pushing for criminal charges. Many people are furious and want change, and it’s time for it. This shouldn’t have happened, Clark was a young black man, leaving behind two children at the age of 22.

An independent autopsy was done on Clark, and it was found that he was hit 8 times; 6 in his back, one on his side, and one on his leg. The case was ruled a homicide according to autopsy reports. The autopsy contradicted what police originally stated. Police stated Clark was advancing towards them, but that would’ve been virtually impossible since he was hit in the back 6 times. According to the autopsy report, if Clark had survived, he would have been severely disabled with a shattered vertebrae, a collapsed lung, and an arm broken into “tiny bits.”

Protesters and supporters have taken the streets almost everyday since Clark’s death. They don’t want his name to be forgotten, they want him to be remembered.