A quick update on the heated 2016 Presidential Race in America.
By now, we’ve probably all heard how complex the United States Presidential Election process is. Full of delegates, electoral colleges and swing states, voting in the US is far from self-explanatory. This article will walk through the complex process.
The first thing to understand is that the United States has two main parties: the Democrats, or “left wing” politicians and the Republicans or the “right wing” politicians. (There are other parties, but rarely are discussed.) Each party will choose one presidential candidate in the primary elections. The primary elections for this year have already started (on February 1st in the state of Iowa). Each state has an allotted number of delegates based on their population size. These delegates act as votes for the primary hopefuls of either side.
Each candidate needs a certain number of delegates to win: a Democratic candidate needs 2,383 while a Republican candidate only needs 1,237 delegates. Although the first two states to vote are inconsequential (because of the small amount of delegates they have), it holds a huge impact on the election. More often than not, those who win big in Iowa and New Hampshire also win primaries for its kick starts the campaign of the politician.
Called “Super Tuesday” because a large majority of states vote on their primaries on this date, March 1, 2016 marked an important day in the 2016 Presidential election. March 15 (another important date), marks when half of all the delegates have already voted. By June 14, all the states have voted and the primary for each party will be decided. (PBS)
The primary will choose a vice president and the two opposing parties will continue to campaign until November 8, the date for voting for the new POTUS.
However, the individual votes casted will not directly determine the new president. Each state has a certain amount of electoral colleges (also dependant on the population of the state: for instance, California has 55 electoral colleges, while Maine only has three). Within each state, the candidate with the most votes will get all the electoral college votes for the entire state. This process is controversial, especially after the Bush vs. Gore presidential race in 2000, where Bush won by electoral colleges, but Gore won by popular vote.
Presidential hopefuls mainly campaign in the swing states. States such as California and Texas almost always will vote for a specific party (Democratic and Republican respectively), however, some states are not quite as black or white (or should I say blue or red). These states are the swing states, or states that are just as likely to vote Republican as they are Democratic and determine the winner of the election.
After all the electoral college votes are counted, the new president is determined and will be inaugurated on January, 20th of the following year. Then, in four years, the crazy process begins again, but may be slightly different. If the current president was only in for one term, they may choose to run again. This president, called an incumbent, generally runs unopposed (especially if they were popular). However, there are exceptions such as Reagan vs. Ford, Kennedy vs. Carter, and Buchanan vs. Bush. One might note, however, that in all of these cases, neither of the politicians won and the win went to the opposing party.
Need to kill some time this winter break? Here are the best underrated TV shows of all time.
In A Nutshell:
Shawn Spencer, an uncannily observant and lazy man, gets hired by the Santa Barbara Police Department to help solve crimes under the premise that Spencer is psychic. Together with his partner-in-crime and best friend Burton Guster, his ex-policeman father Henry Spencer, and police detectives Carlton Lassiter and Juliet O’hara, Spencer uses his “psychic powers” to deduce hints and help catch criminals. Not only is Psych hilarious and fast-paced, but at times is insightful and even scary.
Total Watching Time:
8 Seasons, 121 Episodes
22 minute episodes
2662 minutes of 44.3 hours
In A Nutshell:
Neal Caffrey is a world renowned white collar criminal, jailed for bond forgery by FBI Detective Peter Burke. After realizing the two could mutually benefit from a new Criminal Informant program, Caffrey is released into Burke’s supervision and helps the FBI to catch other high-class thieves. Although Caffrey consistently proves to be a useful asset for the FBI, Burke is always suspicious of Caffrey and his lifelong friend Mozzie. Caffrey, a clever guy, always finds ways to twist his situation to his advantage and it is always unclear what his ulterior motive is.
Total Watching Time:
3 Seasons, 81 Episodes
40 minute episodes
3240 minutes, 54 hours
In A Nutshell
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (also called B99 by fans) centers around Detective Jake Peralta, a hotshot detective with the highest arrest record who does not care for the rules of the precinct. However, Peralta’s life is turned upside down when a new captain, Captain Ray Holt, comes to the 99th precinct. Holt, being gay and black, has a lot to prove to the homophobic and racist elite police community and forces Peralta to respect his job. Other major characters include Detective Amy Santiago, who is a hardworking, suck-up detective close to beating Peralta’s record, Detective Rosa Diaz, an intimidating, down-to-business police-woman, Charles Boyle, a naive cop who idolizes Peralta and Gina Linetti, a free spirit civil worker and dancer.
Total Watching Time:
3 Seasons, 52 Episodes
22 minute episodes
1144 minutes, 19 hours
In a Nutshell:
A hilarious comedy full of sarcasms and innuendos centers around the Pied Piper tech startup run by introverted coder Richard Hendricks. Hendricks and his nerdy friends hope to make it rich in the increasingly competitive Bay Area. After Hendricks codes an incredibly powerful search algorithm, he is torn between selling his work for 8 figures or selling part of the company to a strange, but rich venture capitalist in exchange for funding and ownership. Insightful humor shows the crazy lives of those who work in tech start-ups and accentuates the character’s nerdy characteristics.
Total Watching Time:
2 Seasons, 18 Episodes
30 minute episodes
540 minutes, 9 hours
In A Nutshell:
An edgy TV show on teenage sexuality, mental health and drug abuse, is split in two three different generations. In each one, the series focuses on a gang of friends and the difficulties they each overcome, whether it being struggling with anorexia, coping with the loss of parents and friends, or pining for a girl. The group members although drastically different, each bring an essential part to the team. The TV series is unique for every episode is filmed in the point of view of a different character. This change in perspective adds a twist to the program.
Total Watching Time:
7 Seasons, 61 Episodes
45 minute episodes
2745 minutes, 45.75 hours
In A Nutshell:
This relatively unheard of show follows Tim, a father fighting for his son Marcus, in a custody battle. After applying to what he thinks is a civil service job, Tim is recruited to be a trainee spy at MI5. Marcus, an extremely mature and intelligent schoolboy, outwardly despises living with his father, but as the show progresses, he begins to realize how great his quirky father is. Spy hits touchy topics such as divorce in a humorous manner and never fails to entertain with its eccentric characters.
Whip out your scarves and knee-high boots, it’s fall fashion season! The dos and don’ts of autumnal clothing.
There’s no better way to dress up any outfit and keep warm than a nice woolen scarf.
2. BOOTS BOOTS BOOTS!
Whether your favorite pair of casual army boots to the classic knee-high boots, fall fashion is defined by the comfortable footwear. Easily layered with slightly longer, wooly socks, one can never go wrong sporting a pair of boots
3. Gold Eyes and Berry Lips
To match the falling leaves, makeup colors become darker, with an emphasis on berry (or dark red) lipstick.
4. Overabundance of Burgundy, Mustard Yellow and Brown
Mimicking the colors of the turning leaves, a staple of fall fashion is its color palet. As the more vibrant summer colors get packed away in the closet, the darker shades make its comeback.
5. Wooly Sweaters
A simple outfit for the colder days, layer an oversized sweater (extra points for autumnal colors) over a pair of jeans or leggings.
Whether beanies, berets or bowler hats, you can never go wrong with tucking your bedhead into a comfortable hat.
7. Return of the Tights/Long Socks
Continue to wear your summer dresses! Keep the cute shorts/skirts look and keep warm by wearing a pair of patterned black tights. Or wear a pair of long wooly socks to keep your toes warm and add a cute extra layer to your boots.
Get an inside look at KIS’s Cross Country both on and off the course.
“The Guam race was undoubtedly the largest sporting event I have ever participated in and arguably one of the most noteworthy points in KIS Cross Country history.”
– Roger Han
As the fall sports season comes to an end, the Varsity Cross Country runners return from an international meet at Guam highly decorated, and very tan. Two cross country runners, Michelle Kwon (‘18) and Patrick Seong (‘19), received 14th place for girls and 15th place for boys respectively, came back with individual medals. Out of the dozens of teams that participated in this international meet, KIS came in 5th place overall making a mark in the international community.
As these athletes get ready for the season’s end, Blueprint interviewed them on their running accomplishments and their final thoughts on the 2015-16 cross country season.
How is this year’s cross country different from other seasons?
“I think the main difference between this season’s the past seasons’ Cross Country is that the team is much younger now. For example, this year’s Guam team included runners of all classes, from freshman to senior. In contrast, last year’s team consisted of three seniors, four juniors, and no underclassmen.
“In the past seasons, age hierarchies were strong, but this season, I have been noticing leaderships from all grade levels, whether that involves cheering teammates during races or being unafraid to voice their opinions.”
– Roger Han (’17)
“I think we are much more bonded as a team compared to other previous seasons. As the biggest team by far in KIS, we always faced difficulty having a solid bond in a team. I’ve faced challenges myself as a freshman and a sophomore trying to communicate with older members. Although I can’t really say we are perfectly unified, I can definitely say that we are much better than previous seasons so far. I really do hope that it gets better each year even after I leave. “
– Jerry Kim (’16)
“We as coaches sat down before the season started and mapped out every practice for the entire year. We had a vision going into the season of what we wanted to accomplish and because of it we’ve been a lot more organized and it’s shown in how well we’ve done so far.” – Coach Yanuszeski
How does it feel to get 5th place at Guam, an international cross country race?
“It’s a fantastic achievement for us and a surprising one, too, because we never expected to fully “compete” in Guam. We truly made history this year, with two of KIS runners earning the Guam award, something that has never happened before. It shows that KIS is now a serious contender among the Pacific schools. Personally, I feel privileged to be a part of the team at this notable moment.”
– Roger Han
“It truly feels awesome. For the first time in KIS history, we have placed 5th place overall out of 26 schools in API. Most of the schools competing there have a yearlong season with runners that run in both cross country and track and field. However, KIS runners have only 2-3 months of season. That just shows how hard and effectively we train during the short time we have compared to those other teams competing at Guam. Just last year, we were happy with placing in top 10 at Guam. Now, we aim higher to be at top 5. We are improving each season. Can’t wait until the next season to see how much better they improve.”
– Jerry Kim
“Finishing 5th overall and beating teams like SAS and HKIS prove that our team has been growing and getting better each year. It also proves we can hang with the big schools.”
– Coach Yanuszeski
Because the cross country team has 60+ members, many say it doesn’t have the same “team” feel, do you agree/disagree?
“I personally disagree, because I don’t think there’s a limit to the size of a team. Cross Country requires lots of motivation and dedication, and I think the runners need those 60+ members to help each other out along the way. During practices, we usually run more than 5k, which means that runners may get isolated and run by themselves. Thankfully, we have such a large team, which allows different groups of people to run together and push each other.”
– Roger Han
“I totally disagree. We are just a big team. It’s easy to think of this team as a huge family with tons of relatives. Although some relatives are closer than others, everyone in the family is special to us. It’s same for the cross country team. Volleyball and Tennis team have small family with just 12 relatives. Cross country just has 60 relatives who are all equally special. Although I do admit that some are closer than others, we have the bond that unites us all because we are a family.”
– Jerry Kim
“Yeah, the larger a team gets, the harder it is to feel like a family. That’s why we’ve tried to do some team building throughout the year. But at the end of the day everyone goes through the same tough workout and you kind of bond in those hard practices and see the reward in the race.”
– Coach Yanuszeski
“I disagree because I think that when I run, I am running for my team.”
– Beth Purdon
Any tips for future xc runners/those aspiring to make it to Guam next year?
“The trip to Guam is treated as the highlight of many participants, and with such big event comes responsibility and dedication. Runners at Guam represent KIS at an international level, so the participants must be ready to give it their all during races. There is a year of time until next year’s Guam trip, so with enough commitment to running, anyone could make it next year. The ones who have been to Guam multiple times during their Cross Country careers are the ones who love Cross Country and are ready to sacrifice other things for running.”
– Roger Han
“First, train in the off season. Nothing improves your time more than training in the off season. You might be the slowest runner in the team, but you can become a varsity runner just for running in the off season. It can totally change your season. Second, make use of every single practices. We have a very short season. If you start making excuses and skip practices, you will never be able to improve. You should put everything you have in all the practices we have in the season. Third and last, prevent injuries. Injuries can be devastating as it can ruin your season as a whole. Therefore, it is your duty as an athlete to take care of your own body. If you have an inevitable injury, then you should do anything you can to quickly shake it off. Time is the most important factor that coaches consider to choose athletes to go to Guam. Therefore, using these tips can definitely help you to drop your time and enjoy your time at Guam.”
– Jerry Kim
“TRAIN OVER THE SUMMER! That’s the difference. If they are serious about Guam, or making varsity then they have to train over the off-season and show up in shape. People who don’t train tend to break down and we’ve seen that every year.”
– Coach Yanuszeski
Things you’ll miss most as the season comes to an end?
“I’ll definitely miss running with my teammates the most. I still see my friends and coaches after the season, but I cannot meet with tens of people and experience the pain and joy of running everyday. This is also the reason why I think runners should cherish every single moment of the season, because they’ll never experience anything like a high school Cross Country team after graduation.”
– Roger Han
“I will really miss my team members. I can guarantee that this team has the nicest and the best members out of all teams in KIS. No matter how hard the practices were hard or races were tough, I was able to continue my cross country career because of my team members. I don’t think I’ll able to find a group of people as awesome as the group in this team.”
– Jerry Kim
“The team spirit.”
– Beth Purdon
“All the team bonding Fridays, the bananas after a hard practice, the ice cold Powerades after races, I don’t know… Everything!”
– Anonymous Cross Country Runner
“This is a loaded question…That moment when you see someone accomplish something they never thought they could do, when they rise to the challenge and meet it head on. That feeling everyone gets when they knew they gave it their all and earned that reward and being able to share in those moments with each person on the team… That’s what I will miss most.”
To summarize: “XC members reading this, thank you all.” – Jerry Kim
A recent report by the OECD states technology’s inability to improve classrooms and can actually hinder student’s learning
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an international organisation, recently released a report on the effects of technology in classrooms. This report stated the inability of technology in classrooms to help students and overuse of technology in class actually hindered student’s learning.
“Despite considerable investments in computers, Internet connections and software for educational use, there is little solid evidence that greater computer use among students leads to better scores in mathematics and reading,” the report said.
In 2014, roughly $1.9 billion was spent on technology in education worldwide and it is expected to exceed $2 billion at the end of this year. This shows significant change from just five years ago, where only about $385 million was spent according to CB Insights, a venture capital firm.
This extreme amount of money spent on laptops, iPads, SmartBoards and much more, naturally leads many to be curious on how effective technology in classrooms really is. OECD tried to answer that question with a two year long study.
It was stated in the OECD’s report “Students, Computers and Learning” that those with excessive computer use during the day had the lowest results regardless of their socio-economic class. Furthermore, since the beginning of the technology buzz, it has been reported that the skill level of rising ninth graders in fundamental subjects such as reading, writing and mathematics has dropped drastically.
“One of the most disappointing findings of the report is that the socio-economic divide between students is not narrowed by technology, perhaps even amplified,” says Andreas Schleicher, OECD’s head of education. Many attribute this to the amount of technology available at home. Those with more exposure to technology were able to perform better in the technology centric classrooms.
It was also repeatedly pointed out that countries with the lowest amount of technology use in classrooms, South Korea, Shanghai and Hong Kong, are also today’s leaders of education. It was reported that in South Korea, on average, less than ten minutes were spent on computers or other such Internet connected devices, while Shanghai was just under 10 minutes and Hong Kong close to 12 minutes.
So the question is: Is KIS’s computer policy advantageous for students? Many will quickly answer “Yes!” With responses which highlight the limitless knowledge the internet provides, as well as its versatility (textbook, calculator, notebook, etc.), students will go on and on in the ‘advantages’ of personal laptops. However, many students admit it can often be distracting with unchecked access to videos, social media and games.
“It is true that classrooms with high technology have more distractions. The question is does one value higher information flow over being off task for a higher amount of time. I believe the trade off is worth it,” says, Mr. Hopkins, a science teacher.
Julie Suh, a KIS sophomore, has a different stance. She says she “find[s] it easier to study and retain information when [she] writes with a pen and pencil” rather than on a computer.
Technology in classrooms, however, is not all bad. As the world becomes increasingly technological, it is a vital skill to be able to proficiently use certain technology. Exposure to it at an early age will prove to be advantageous in the workforce. Furthermore, it creates a more engaging environments for students. The incorporation of educational games and videos can make dull lessons more exciting.
OECD states that technology in the classrooms is not the problem, but the use of it should be more regulated. It also reports that blindly spending money on technology in education is useless. Regardless, technology is starting to become an important aspect of education.
The Syrian refugee crisis is becoming the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.
In what is described to be the worst humanitarian disaster of our time, more than 11 million Syrians, half of Syria’s population, have been displaced because of the Syrian civil war. Starting with citizen protests for the return of a Democratic Republic and freedom of political prisoners in 2011, the war has stretched on with close to 220,000 citizen deaths. Using tactics such as chemical warfare and the deprivation of citizens of basic necessities such as food, water and shelter, more and more Syrians are becoming displaced; 7.6 million citizens within Syria and 4.1 emigrating out of Syria.
Although these displaced people need a new home, many countries are refusing to or are limiting the number of refugees they let in. Good examples are the Gulf Countries which have let in zero refugees according to Amnesty International. The U.N. (United Nations) predicts that if the Gulf Coasts were to let in refugees, close to 2 million could seek asylum in these countries.
Even though many peg this situation as a European problem, it affects people internationally. Historians around the world agree that with the largest refugee diaspora recorded, all countries should be pitching in to assist the helpless refugees. America, a country which has supplied arms to the Syrian troops, has taken in exactly 1,434 Syrians in the past four years. Similarly, countries who are known for their humanitarian efforts are all lagging in their support of the Syrian citizens. Canada has taken in roughly 1,000 displaced Syrians, and Australia less than 2,200. The United Kingdom and France have both announced that by 2020, 20,000 refugees will be let in. However, many criticize these countries’ limited efforts, knowing they are not enough to help this humanitarian disaster.
Because so many countries are refusing to let Syrians in, bordering countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan are bursting at the seams. Many of the Turkish people resent the influx of refugees as unemployment rates skyrocket and cities become overpopulated. Lebanon has had a 25% population increase, with one in five citizens being a Syrian refugee. Iraq, also struggling with the displacement of it’s own people, can’t keep up with the growing number of refugees within its borders.
Currently, any Syrians who escape their warring hometown and make it to the EU (European Union) are forced to stay in the country of their entrance until their application for asylum is reviewed and accepted by a European country.This leaves a high concentration of refugees trapped in countries bordering the Mediterranean such as Italy and Greece, which border the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, these countries give little support to the Syrian families. With limited resources, many Syrians are unable to restart.
As the crisis worsens, a hero emerges. German Chancellor Merkell has signed a law allowing Syrians to stay in Germany as they apply for asylum. This small change is monumental for the thousands of refugees in Germany, who would otherwise face uncertainty in Europe. As Germany takes more responsibility for the Syrian refugees, pressure is taken off other European countries.
New technology allows scientists to alter genes in-vitro in live cells
GUANGZHOU, China –– Results of the first trial of gene editing in live human embryos were published in April of this year in the Beijing-based journal, Protein & Cell, restarting the debate on the ethics human gene alteration.
The groundbreaking technique used by Junjiu Huang at the Sun Yat-sen University is called CRISPR/Cas 9 and was first developed by researchers at UC Berkeley in 2012. Since the discovery of the technique, it has taken over genetic labs with thousands of studies published since 2012. Each breakthrough using the CRISPR/Cas 9 technique has been increasingly controversial and has many scientists questioning the ethics of the gene manipulation.
Watch this video for a concise explanation of the CRISPR/Cas 9 technique.
CRISPR, short for “Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats”, was first discovered by scientists in Japan studying the E. coli bacteria. A palindrome is a sequence of letters or numbers that is the same whether it’s read forwards or backwards. After publishing a paper on these patterns of palindromic DNA strips, many scientists have found similar structures in other bacteria.
The purpose of CRISPR was discovered around a decade later. Paired with Cas proteins and RNA segments, the CRISPR/Cas system is imperative for the bacteria’s immune system. When an invading source of DNA attacks the bacteria, the CRISPR/Cas 9 system allows the bacteria to incorporate the invasive DNA between the palindromic repeats of its own DNA. If the bacteria ever encounters the same invasive DNA, it can quickly identify and cut the foreign DNA, disabling it with the Cas protein’s specialized splicers.
Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier, two researchers at UC Berkeley, successfully manipulated the CRISPR/Cas 9 system to cut a strand of DNA and replace it with a preferred DNA segment. This new gene-editing tool, much like a find and replace function, makes it easier than ever to change the genes of live cells, including those of humans.
Starting with individual cells such as human and mouse cells (2012), CRISPR/Cas 9 was soon applied to macaques monkeys and zebrafish in 2013. By the end of 2013, scientists could control the effects of the technique and get it to accurately create desired genes and in 2014, a liver disorder was successfully edited out of laboratory mice.
Although the jump in technology from animals to humans would be small, scientists are wary of crossing an ethical line. Many are concerned that humans may begin to “play God” or create “superhumans” with this new technology. The National Institute of Health, America’s largest sponsor in the field of biomedicine, released a statement stating the termination of all funding to gene alteration projects. In addition, two scientific journals (Nature and Science) refused to publish Huang’s study because of ethical reasons.
This hesitation comes with good reason. Not only is the technique still lacking, but it also changes how genes are passed down through generations. Since both chromosomes are altered, it creates a gene drive which completely defies Mendel’s hereditary laws. Gene drive shows how nearly 100% of all offspring will inherit the altered gene.
The high imprecision of this technique was highlighted by Huang’s study: out of the 86 human embryos used, 71 survived the treatment and only 54 were viable for genetic testing. Out of the 54 tested embryos, only 28 were successfully spliced and even less had successful integration of the desired gene. Many of the embryos with successful splicing were found to have strange mutations due to the CRISPR/Cas 9. Admittedly, the embryos used for testing were all embryos which were unable to come to full term which could have skewed the results.
Huang acknowledges that it was premature to start testing on embryos and is currently working with adult human cells to try and find a more precise technique. However, it is rumored that four other Chinese laboratories are doing similar research with human embryos.
Regardless of the ethics of CRISPR/Cas 9, this discovery is admittedly one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of the decade. Hopefully after careful consideration and further research, there will be a cure for patients with hereditary diseases once and for all.
“The Age of the Red Pen; Genome Editing.” Economist 22 Aug. 2015: 18-21. Print.
Collins, Francis S., M.cd., P.h.D. “Statement on NIH Funding of Research Using Gene-editing Technologies in Human Embryos – The NIH Director – National Institutes of Health (NIH).” National Institutes of Health. National Institutes of Health, 29 Apr. 2015. Web. 07 Sept. 2015.
Cyranoski, David, and Sara Reardon2. “Chinese Scientists Genetically Modify Human Embryos.” Nature.com. Nature Publishing Group, 22 Apr. 2015. Web. 07 Sept. 2015.