Public Schools Are Hurting Your Sleep — Here’s Why

How much sleep did you get last night? Five hours? Eight? Twelve? Chances are, if you’re a teen who goes to a public middle or high school, you’re not getting enough.

Sleep is a very important function in everyone’s lives, just as much as food, air, and water. Not getting enough of it can cause serious problems. People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to become overweight, not engage in daily physical activity, suffer from depressive symptoms, use stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol, and perform poorly in school. If that’s not enough, sleep deprivation has also been attributed to about 100,000 traffic crashes per year in the U.S., and lapses in attention, of which sleep deprivation is a major cause, are attributed to one million crashes per year — that’s one sixth of all traffic crashes per year in the U.S. This is especially magnified in adolescents.

Adolescents are different from children and adults with their circadian rhythms, or sleep cycles. Adolescence is a major stage of development, so the body needs, on average, about two hours more sleep than children and adults. In addition, the secretion of melatonin, the hormone which controls sleep, begins on average two hours later than in adults and children. The U.S. public school systems only add to the trouble.

According to the most recent Schools and Staffing Survey, which is conducted by the U.S. Department of Education every few years to provide data on the condition of elementary, middle, and high school education throughout the country, only 17.7% of middle and high schools of the 39,700 surveyed, start after 8:30 a.m., which is the start time the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urges schools to have in order to improve the health, safety, and academic performance of students. The countrywide average start time is 8:03. Only two states have average start times after 8:30, those being North Dakota at 8:31 and Alaska at 8:33. The even worse part is how early these start times get: 38.6% of schools start before 8:00, and 6.7% start before 7:30. Louisiana holds the earliest average start time, at 7:40.

A school boy sleeping at his desk.

A school boy sleeping at his desk.

Of an estimated 26.3 million students enrolled in public middle and high schools, the amount that have gotten enough sleep has remained at 31% since 2007, the first year that the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey included a question about it. The amount of sleep defined to be “sufficient” is 8.5 to 9.5 hours by the AAP, and eight to ten hours by the National Sleep Foundation.

Sleep is a very important aspect of life, and schools only make it more difficult for teens to get the necessary amount of sleep in order to function during daily life. Shifting school start times to even just a half hour later would benefit everyone’s health drastically. So, the next time you wake up miserably for school at 6 a.m., just know that it shouldn’t have to be the case.


 

Sources:
https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6430a1.htm https://sleepfoundation.org/sites/default/files/sleep_and_teens_report1.pdf

Episodes From Children’s Shows That Addressed Serious Issues – By Zach Mirsky

Episodes From Children’s Shows That Addressed Serious Issues
Show: Hey Arnold
Episode: Helga on the Couch
Aired: December 4, 1999
The plot:
The new school psychologist, Dr. Bliss, takes notice of Helga’s violent behavior and bullying towards her peers. She believes that her aggressive behavior might be hiding bigger issues underneath, so she calls Helga in for an appointment and with some prying, she gives in and goes to the appointment.
Helga leaves school, freaked out. When she gets home, her parents confront her because she’s recommended for therapy and her dad, Bob complains and says that this would’ve never happened to Olga, her sister.
It is in this appointment where we get insight as to why she behaves this way. She reveals a terribly sad picture of her family life. The episode shows flashbacks to her as a young child. Her parents play favorites and gives Helga minimal attention and praise, unlike the favoritism they show to her sister Olga. This episode shows with very painful accuracy, the effects of parental favoritism. On that note, Hey Arnold doesn’t get nearly enough credit for addressing the social issues that big city kids face.
Show: Doug
Episode: Doug’s Chubby Buddy
Aired: September 27, 1997
The plot:
It is very well known that both modern society and the media shows very unrealistic standards for what beauty is. To impressionable children and teens, this can be extremely problematic. In the show, Doug’s crush, Patty Mayonnaise, has always been portrayed as very skinny. She becomes convinced that she is fat after watching and worshipping a skinny teen TV star. A commercial for a dieting kit called “Waste Away” features the TV star and it becomes her main focal point.
She unhealthily diets and excessively exercises and when Doug confronts her coach with worry, he only shuts him down and explains that only athletes diet. Eventually, she stops eating altogether. After completing a long jump, she passes out and gets an explanation for the dangers of not moderating when dieting. Originally, at the end of the episode, there was supposed to be a short monologue by the actress playing Patty Mayonnaise explaining how serious eating disorders are and how to get help. That was later taken down and now there’s a long pause before the episode actually ends.
Show: That’s So Raven
Episode: True Colors
Aired: February 4, 2005
The plot: While racism is everywhere, few shows in the early 2000s cared to address this huge issue. At the time, a season three episode of That’s So Raven called True Colors tackled it in a very straight forward manner. The episode starts with Raven and Chelsea at a retail store doing an interview. Raven nails it while Chelsea does not do as well. Back at school, the friends are chatting and she finds out Chelsea got the job and she didn’t, and it confuses her since Raven did better than Chelsea. Raven has one of her visions and finds out the owner said to Chelsea that she doesn’t hire black people, leaving her distraught. She comes up with a plan and recruits a news station to catch the racist store manager. Chelsea wears a hat with a camera in it and catches the lady saying that she doesn’t hire black peoples to Chelsea.
These are just a few examples of very important episodes of from my childhood that have impacted me. Other people will have different lists and opinions but these are mine.

The Fidget Felonies

These three-pronged plastic playthings have become murder weapons

These three-pronged plastic playthings are the newest fad of the country.

Fidget spinners have, without a doubt, boomed with the general population in the past few weeks. They were originally made as a fidget tool for ADD and ADHD patients to have something for their hands to do so they could focus on other work. But as they met the general population, they have evolved into a toy, becoming the foreground focus instead of the background tool. Schools all over the country have banned these spinners because they were becoming a distraction. But that isn’t the real reason they’re being banned everywhere. The spinners have become more than just a fidget tool or a toy. They have become murder weapons.

In Detroit, Michigan, there have been a reported 26 deaths directly linked to fidget spinners, at least 14 of which were confirmed to be murders. But how does one take such an innocent toy and turn it into a murder weapon? Well, it turns out, it doesn’t take much at all. Specimens found at crime sites have had box cutters attached to them, covered in blood. The way the spinner works makes it really easy to just spin it and throw it like a martial arts shuriken at whoever the victims may have been.

However, the wound alone wouldn’t be enough to kill a person. It would take a direct shot between the ribs and into the heart to kill someone immediately, which is extremely unlikely. Even a very deep wound isn’t fatal if treated quickly enough, and in the correct way. So how did these people die?

One of the 14 deaths was linked to tetanus, due to the lack of vaccination. But what about the others? There are many other bacterial infections that people aren’t vaccinated for. Most of them can be treated with an antibiotic, but the extremely unsanitary conditions at the Detroit Medical Center could have made these antibiotics useless. Although the existing infections get treated, unsterile needles and other equipment cause new infections. These new infections are mistaken for the original ones, so other stronger antibiotics are then used. The original infection has already been cured by now, and the strong antibiotic instead starts targeting helpful bacteria, while the new infection continues growing. The other thirteen deaths were all either linked to other bacterial infections, or the lack of certain probiotics necessary to survival.

Due to these murders, fidget spinners have been officially banned in the states of Michigan, Louisiana, Missouri, Maryland, and Tennessee, as well as the cities of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Oakland, California; Cleveland, Ohio; and in Washington D.C. Those who simply own spinners will be sentenced to a fine of $150 per spinner owned, and those who commit crimes with them will be sentenced to at least three years in prison.

The fidget spinner has gone from a simple fidget tool to a distracting toy to a murder weapon. We give our odes to the victims, whose names have not yet been disclosed, while authorities keep hunting for possible culprits.

A Nevada Teen With a Love for Chicken Nuggets Makes History

As of 11:24AM on Tuesday, May 9th, a tweet by 16 year-old Carter Wilkerson, from Reno, Nevada, broke the world record for the most retweeted tweet ever, at 3,441,701 retweets, beating the previous record of 3,430,751 by a tweet from Ellen Degeneres. Best of all, Carter will be getting his nuggs, as well as over $100,000 to charity.

On April 6th, Carter accepted a challenge from Wendy’s official Twitter account to get a year’s supply of free chicken nuggets if he gets 18 million retweets. He then posted a screenshot of the exchange, commented “HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS.” The tweet then went viral, hitting a million retweets in just one day, two million on Monday, April 10th. On April 13th, Ellen Degeneres announced on her show that Carter was getting dangerously close to beating her world record, and that anyone who retweets Carter’s tweet should also retweet hers, so that she would stay ahead. Alas, the tweet hit three million retweets on Monday, April 17th, before finally hitting 3.441 million on Tuesday, May 9th.

Carter holds his certificate proudly after winning his chicken nuggets.

Carter holds his certificate proudly after winning his chicken nuggets.

At this time, Wendy’s posted a tweet saying “.@carterjwm is now the most retweeted tweet of all-time. That’s good for the nuggets, and $100k to @DTFA. Consider it done. #nuggsforcarter,” followed by a tweet from Guinness World Records saying “Congratulations to @carterjwm who just broke @TheEllenShow’s record for most retweeted tweet on @Twitter #NuggsForCarter.” But the chicken nuggets weren’t the only reward. During his campaign, he sold t-shirts, with all the profits going to Moms on the Run, a non-profit breast cancer organization based in Reno. In addition, Wendy’s donated $100,000 to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, another non-profit organization which aims to find homes for kids in foster care across the U.S. and Canada.

Although Carter won his nuggets, he isn’t done yet. After beating the world record, he posted that he was going to keep the fundraiser up, and is hoping to eventually reach the 18 million retweets, or five percent of all active Twitter users, that he originally strived for.

Artificial Womb Helps Raise Premature Sheep — Humans May be Next

Recently, scientists at the Center for Fetal Research in the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia reported that they had successfully raised eight prematurely born lambs in an artificial womb for 28 days. But how did they do it? Actually, it’s not as complicated as it seems.

This is a diagram of the system that was used to raise the lambs.

This is a diagram of the system that was used to raise the lambs.

The system uses a circulatory system, a closed fluid environment, and the fetus’ own heart to pump blood, to support a stable development. Blood pumped by the fetus’ heart is circulated through an oxygenator and back to the fetus, similar to the gas exchange across a placenta. A very specially made fluid mimicking amniotic fluid fills the womb, and is continuously exchanged, similar to how it is in the uterus. The fluid provides insulation, protects the fetus from infection, and helps maintain temperature, pressure, and light. The fluid is also very important in lung development.

The system worked very well. After four weeks in the artificial womb, all the lambs showed normal statistics in circulation, blood pressure, metabolic processing, growth, lung development, and brain development. Seeing these positive results raises a question: Will this technology be able to be used for premature human babies?

The hope is that it will eventually be used for humans, but it won’t be soon. Scientists still need to scale down the system to the size of a human fetus and find a good fluid to mimic human amniotic fluid, as well as refine the system to have the results compare to current neonatal intensive care treatments. Other treatment options for premature birth also discovered with sheep models, such as steroid injections used to help accelerate lung development, took over 20 years to get into clinical practice. When it does finally get implemented, though, the plan is to use it to get babies to 25 weeks, when there is about an 80% life expectancy, which is much higher than the near zero at and before 22 weeks. All of this will hopefully meet the unmet need of extreme prematurity.

A Friendly Rivalry – By Zach Mirsky

Over the span of being here for three years, I’ve learned Village School has the best traditions out of any school I’ve attended. Out of my top 3: the canoe trip (which was ruined — thanks Jared Gomberg and Sam Director); IHOP and Bowling and the Pizza Taste Testing, which is my favorite. The pizza trip consists of being dropped off by the Brooklyn Bridge. Next, the plan is to walk through Manhattan and hopefully get to the original ice cream factory in Chinatown, and then back over to DUMBO. But the best part of the whole trip is the pizza taste testing two rival pizza places named Grimaldi’s and the other one named Julianas.
But perhaps, besides tasting both of these legendary pizza joints, the most interesting part of the contest is the backstory behind the rivalry and why it all started. The founder of Grimaldi’s pizza, Patsy Grimaldi, was taught to make pizza when he was 10 by his uncle, Patsy Lancieri, who owned a pizza joint in Italian Harlem in 1941. Decades later, Grimaldi decided that he was going to open up his own pizzeria in Manhattan.
Before he even opened, he found out that those coal fired ovens he would use were illegal in New York. Grimaldi knew that using a coal fired oven was the best way to cook a pizza. All things considered, Grimaldi opened up a pizza shop in Brooklyn, New York under his own name called, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in 1990.
In 1998, Grimaldi retired and sold his name and franchise, excluding the locations in Hoboken, to a man by the name of Frank Ciolli. In 2011, Ciolli’s lease was declined a renewal, so he renovated an old bank and moved a block away from the original location, now landing on 1 Front Street in Brooklyn.
Very shortly after the initial move, Patsy Grimaldi made a triumphant return from retirement at age 80. After months of constant bickering, complaints to the state and a lawsuit or two, Patsy Grimaldi was able to open a new pizzeria. Since Grimaldi already sold his name to Frank Ciolli, he had to change the name of his restaurant. Now we have Juliana’s, named after Patsy Grimaldi’s mom.
The victory? Patsy Grimaldi got the original location where his old pizzeria used to be, 19 Old Fulton Street.
The trip was a success. We ended up not having enough time to go through the fringes of Chinatown, and crossing the Manhattan Bridge, due to heavy traffic on the way to Brooklyn. Plus, the Brooklyn Bridge is much more enjoyable to cross. The students and teachers both seemed to like Juliana’s pizza better than Grimaldi’s. Going on this trip once again confirmed why it is my favorite trip. It is sad that this was my last time doing this trip with Village.

A Shifted Stance – by Zach Mirsky

Earlier on Monday, April 24, 2017 Trump’s stance on his long-standing campaign promise on building a wall and Mexico paying for it hadn’t changed according to a White House correspondent. On Monday, he posted this to Twitter: “The Wall is a very important tool in stopping drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth (and many others)!”
Now, as of April 25, 2017, the day after his unwavering view, Trump is hinting that he might be willing to wait until September or even 2018 to secure the funding of his wall on the border of Mexico. He will do this to avoid a government shutdown.
White House Correspondent, Trey Yingst said in a tweet “On funding the border wall, Trump said he could get it this week or the administration could come back to it in September.” Even White House press secretary, Sean Spicer who said “We feel very confident the government’s not going to shut down,” couldn’t even officially say there would not be one.
Given the fact that the deadline is Saturday, the only way both sides will get away without having a government shutdown is if they come up with a ‘temporary spending plan,” would buy them a week. For Democrats, there’s a catch — they can keep the pressure on Trump by opposing him, but that would only leave the party to blame for a shutdown. Budget analyst Stan Collender says “I don’t think there is a relationship between Trump and congressional Democrats yet, I don’t see them doing anything to help him at all.”

The Harsh Reality of Depression

Life is supposed to be happy. People should be able to feel good about themselves. If they get sick, they should have hope of getting better. But there are many people who can’t have this good life. They spend every day of their lives miserable about their existence. They lose hope in the world. This is the harsh reality of depression.

Depression never comes up randomly. There’s always a reason, even if it may be hidden. By far the most common one is a traumatic experience, or a series of traumatic experiences, that wind up affecting a person’s life permanently. The trauma could be anything from a physical injury, to the death of a loved one, to sexual abuse. This causes a chemical imbalance in the brain, usually of reduced levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. These chemical imbalances are what cause depression.

Often times this trauma will implant a trigger in the victim’s mind. That trigger could be something really insignificant or inexplicable, like penguins. But the triggers all have reason. What if penguins were their abuser’s favorite animal? Bringing up the trigger causes the person to recall memories from the trauma. It makes them experience the trauma again mentally and makes the depression worse.

Depression is very unpredictable. Sometimes it will take days to set in, sometimes months. One day you could be feeling like the happiest person in the world, and the next day you could be miserable in bed all day. Sometimes it’ll get better in weeks, sometimes it takes years. But no matter how unpredictable it may be, it always takes a major toll on people’s lives.

The worst thing depression brings is the lack of motivation to do anything. Without motivation, someone is likely to stay in bed all day, not eat or bathe, stay in the same clothes for weeks. They won’t want to do work. They may not even want to do the things they usually love.

There comes a point when someone is so depressed, they may want to end their life. They feel that they don’t deserve to exist in this world, and that nobody would care if they left it. If someone is close to attempting suicide, they may seem unusually happy, because they have their plan concocted and are ready to execute it, and end their misery. If you ever see a sudden mood change like that, talk to them about it, and get them to call a suicide hotline.

The point of all this is that depression is bad. If someone you know is depressed, try to comfort them and help them through it. The times are hard, but it always eventually gets better. Just keep pulling through.

Memorium of Those Lost In 2016 – By Zach Mirsky

Though not physically here anymore, these legends have each left us behind with their legacy. Their voices and musical contributions will always live on.
Here’s a list of the most influential artists we’ve lost from 2016 to now:

  • January 10: David Bowie – Best known as “Ziggy Stardust” and for his gender bending artistry and pure talent. Nothing short of a legend.
  • February 4: Maurice White – Best known as the leader and founder of the group Earth, Wind and Fire. They had a legacy as being a funk and R&B band.
  • March 11: Keith Emerson – Co-Founded the progressive rock supergroup, Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The band was best known for their live performances and pyrotechnics. They were also considered the first prog rock supergroup.
  • April 21: Prince – Possibly one of the biggest guitarists/artists ever. Flawlessly mixing genres between rock, pop and funk, beloved by generations. Dead at 57, his songs and influences in pop culture will live on.
  • November 10: Leonard Cohen – Another extremely influential singer/songwriter and a beautiful poet. At 82, Cohen released his last album, entitled You Want It Darker, which explored the concept and questions of god and mortality.
  • December 25: George Michael – British star and gay icon, George Michael mixed his progressive social commentary with danceable pop music. He was considered to be very controversial.

Honorable mention:
The 23rd anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death was on April 5th this year.

YouTube’s “Restricted Mode” Blocks LGBTQ+ Topics

YouTube recently updated their “restricted mode,” which filters out and blocks videos that would be considered not family-friendly. The controversy about this update, though, is that videos about LGBTQ+ topics are now being blocked.

YouTube's error screen when trying to view a blocked video in restricted mode.

YouTube’s error screen when trying to view a blocked video in restricted mode.

This sparked a huge backlash on social media sites such as Twitter. The hashtags “#YouTubeIsOverParty” and “#YouTubeRestricted” were in the top ten trending topics on Twitter for quite a while after the update was implemented. One user uploaded the exact same arbitrary video to YouTube twice, except one of them had the word “gay” in the title. That one was blocked, but the one without “gay” in the title wasn’t.

Videos aren’t the only thing being censored. Entire channels were being blocked just because the creators are LGBTQ+. Micah Scott, a transgender YouTube creator who makes videos about electric engineering, had her entire channel blocked because of the mode, even though she doesn’t have a single video about LGBTQ+ topics on her channel. Micah tweeted “Schools that use restricted mode should know they’re letting a buggy AI define their students’ access to information.”

LGBTQ+ rights activists are saying that this is preventing children who may be questioning their sexuality or gender from getting access to helpful resources. YouTube is the main medium that kids will look through to find other people who may share similar experiences and have useful information for people like them. Blocking those topics is like preventing children going through puberty from learning about what is happening to their body. It could leave them confused, upset, angry, and depressed.

YouTube replied to the outcry by saying “We are so proud to represent LGBTQ+ voices on our platform–they’re a key part of what YouTube is all about. The intention of Restricted Mode is to filter out mature content for the tiny subset of users who want a more limited experience. LGBTQ+ videos are available in Restricted Mode, but videos that discuss more sensitive issues may not be. We regret any confusion this has caused and are looking into your concerns. We appreciate your feedback and passion for making YouTube such an inclusive, diverse, and vibrant community.” People didn’t take that as an apology, though.

The fact that YouTube openly admitted to censoring some LGBTQ+ videos only caused more backlash. It outright goes against their democratic motto, “Broadcast Yourself.” Many creators are arguing that this is YouTube’s way of equating LGBTQ+ topics, and even people, as “not family-friendly.” Social media rioted even more than they did originally after this statement.

Because of this, Johanna Wright, Vice President of Product Management for YouTube, made another apology: “While the system will never be 100 percent perfect, as we said up top, we must and will do a better job. Thanks to your feedback, we’ve manually reviewed the example videos mentioned above and made sure they’re now available in Restricted Mode — we’ll also be using this input to better train our systems. It will take time to fully audit our technology and roll out new changes, so please bear with us. There’s nothing more important to us than being a platform where anyone can belong, have a voice and speak out when they believe something needs to be changed. We truly appreciate your help keeping the YouTube community archive and engaged on topics that matter to creators and YouTube fans alike.” Channel owners were then given the option to make individual cases if needed.

Controversy is still going on about this topic, and how YouTube could be purposefully blocking LGBTQ+ creators and topics. But for now, the fact that creators have a voice in whether their videos get blocked is a step in the right direction.