Ruining Our Internal Clocks

by ALEX JOHNSTONE

Staff Writer

Sleep deprivation is common among teenagers. It can be caused by activities such as staying up late, working on homework or watching television and facebook. There have been surveys that show more than 90% of teenagers get less than the recommended amount of sleep per night. On average teenagers get seven hours of sleep a night as 85% are chronically sleep deprived.

When learning how to balance activities, it is important not to forgo sleep. It is important that teenagers receive more than nine hours of sleep a night. This is rare for teenagers to receive except on weekends, however many teens like to “catch-up” on sleep on the weekends by sleeping in. This does more harm than good because it disrupts the internal body clock. It is normal during the teenage years to have a body clock that prefers late nights and sleeping in. This is mainly caused by the production of hormones specifically the release of melatonin which tells the body to turn off forms of alertness. These hormones, along with activities such as sports practices and homework, cause teens to stay up later reducing sleeping time. Research suggests that schools with later start times have students that receive higher grades and appear more focused. This is because students are experiencing an adequate amount of sleep,arriving awake and prepared to learn. Research also supports that studying right before falling asleep promotes a higher chance of remembering the material.

Sleep assists in becoming prepared for all daily activities. Information recommends that obtaining the needed amount of sleep each night assists with memory and even weight loss. Not receiving enough sleep may lead to aggressive or inappropriate behaviors, bad complexion and contribute to illness. Driving while sleep deprived results in endless amounts of crashes a year. Sleep deprivation promotes lower grades than those who get adequate sleep per night because the necessity of sleep can override the ability to remember and comprehend.

Methods to avoid sleep deprivation include going to bed earlier, listening to music (but not too loudly) and turning off your cell phone. Avoid exercising or eating sugary or caffeinated items before attempting to sleep. To create optimum sleeping conditions, take all electronics out of your room and keep you room dark, cool and quiet. More extreme measures incorporate scheduling earlier dinners, removing all clutter from room and painting walls with calming colors. While waking up in the morning it is important to get into bright light as soon as possible, such as turning on an overhead light or opening the binds to let the sunshine in.

A lack of sleep can also be caused by sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea: the relaxation of throat muscles during sleep causing the air that moves freely through the nose and windpipe. Restless leg syndrome is a neurological disorder that reveals itself by expressing throbbing, pulling, creeping or other unpleasant sensations in the legs. Depression also hinders the ability to sleep. It is crucial to make sleep a priority in your schedule and to get a sufficient amount of sleep every night.

If you believe you have a sleeping disorder or are curious about sleep disorders speak to a physician or visit the American Sleep Association website at http://www.sleepassociation.org.

Addicted to Facebook?

by RYAN GINSBERG

Staff Writer

This world has come to a time where verbal communication is becoming obsolete. The future of communication is now in online websites. Most popular websites are Facebook, Twitter and MySpace if you haven’t yet realized how lame Tom is. The future of communication will be completely in cyberspace if we continue on this path. That future will most likely consist of Facebook.

This Facebook addiction is already beyond belief. Kids are now being rushed to the hospital with bleeding fingers and blistered thumbs for all this facebooking. Yes Facebook is also a verb, and Facebook is also made too convenient. It is available on computers, iPhones, iTouches, game systems and some TVs; when did TV get so boring that we had to Facebook on it?

People who wall post others that are right next to them are my pet peeve. “Like OMG I like totally see you right now.” Which brings me to the topic of Facebook acronyms. When I see LOL, TTYL, G2G it makes me want to GMEO(Gouge My Eyes Out). TOTDP(Type Out The Dang Phrase). Thanks. Another thing is numbers in words! Typ3!ng lyk d!$ !z !mb3@r$!ng, translated to “typing like this is embarrassing.” I guarantee that your mom didn’t name you D@na, J0n or $u$@n.

Then we get to the poke wars. Do you all remember when we were little kids and we chased all the pretty girls around the playground? Well, now we have become so lazy that we have to virtually poke them to flirt. I know, mad game. Let me tell you all a little story about my Facebook addiction. Just a few days ago I met this pretty girl that we will call Jane. I walked over to her, swag turned on high, and I say, “Hey there cutie with a bootie I’m Ry Gins, nice to (dramatic pause) meet you.” I even did the lifted eyebrow and everything; she then walked away laughing. As I watched beautiful Jane walk away, the only thing that came to mind was, “Dang, I can’t wait to get home and poke her on Facebook.” True story.

One time on Facebook as I was lurking through the news feed I came across a wall post that said, “Hey fool, heard you IMed my girl last night.” Oh, Facebook fight! I could feel my heart racing as I read the rest of this fight. The guy replied back, “Yeah I did, and she chatted me back!” “You better back off!” “Oh yeah? Make me!” “I will. I’m going to poke you right now!” BURN! “Ok, ok. I’m sorry, won’t happen again!” Facebook fights are the manliest things you can possibly do! Want to know another fact? Oh well, I’m telling you anyways. Chuck Norris once poked an army of cyber bullies to death. Yep, good ole Chucky.

Oh, I have 36 notifications. G2G, TTYL.

STAR Not Shining so Brightly for Students

by MAREN PETERSON

News Editor

Don’t you just love how we all jump for joy when we hear about standardized testing? Not. We all groan instead. We simply try to endure the tedious STAR and the CAHSEE tests.

The program overview for the CAHSEE says, “The primary purpose of the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) is to significantly improve pupil achievement in public high schools and to ensure that pupils who graduate from public high schools can demonstrate grade level competency in reading, writing, and mathematics.” (Senate Bill 2, Section 1[b]). Education Code Section 60850 The test covers basic algebra, and basic English. We should have been able to pass it in eighth grade. That is literally competency. Shouldn’t we need to know more in order to graduate? The exit exam should be challenging. We should have to actually study for it, because if that is all students have learned by the time they graduate high school, they will fail college, or never rise above a minimum wage job.

The STAR is also ridiculous. For one, students aren’t motivated to do well on it. They aren’t graded on it or impacted by it all. “The purpose of the California Standards Tests is to determine how well students are learning the skills and knowledge required by the California Academic Content Standards for each grade or course.” (standardized testing and reporting program) This is just the problem with standardized testing in general.

Basically these tests tell kids ‘you only need to be this smart’ they don’t push students on to try and be better. They put a limit on how smart kids have to be to get by in the world. There is no competition.

When Mr. Mayo was asked if the test achieved it’s purpose he said, “Yes, the CAHSEE definitely shows competency and the STAR shows progression.”

But is that all we want to know? Competency? Progress on from that little by little? Our school system is being destroyed and standardized testing is definitely the hammer slamming nails into the coffin.

Second Chances

by JULIET DINKINS

Staff Writer

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. We have heard this phrase countless times. It is imprinted in our minds. It is a part of who we are. Yet through the countless repetition and reciting it has lost meaning. It has become just words.

It is more than just a mere statement. It is a standard. It defines America. It represents freedom.

Although America believes in the right to life, we have the power and use the power, to take it away. In California, the death penalty is used as a punishment for criminals who have committed fatal crimes. Although the criminals that are to receive the death penalty have perpetrated a dire crime, it is a morally wrong reparation that is indubitably unconstitutional and unnecessary.

Out of the countless court cases that have been tried in the state of California only 13 people have been executed through the death penalty while approximately 700 people are on death row, awaiting execution, making the death penalty virtually useless. In addition, California taxpayers pay $90,000 more per death row prisoner each year than on prisoners in regular confinement. Why not simply place the death row prisoners in life imprisonment without parole? It would save us from hypocrisy by not inflicting upon them the same punishment that they have committed as crime and save the state vital money. The money saved could be used for more beneficial matters. Stopping the declining educational system and getting the state out of the heavily impacting budget crisis are just a few of the alternatives.

In addition to its high costs, ethical value becomes a prominent factor. The eighth amendment of the US Constitution states that there will be no cruel and unusual punishment. Putting someone to death by a lethal injection and in the past, the electric chair, violates this cherished amendment through its clearly inhumane manner. If California wishes to remain steadfast in its cherished principles the death penalty should be abolished, cleansing the state of its unconstitutionality. This punishment not only defies the Constitution, but is also defies morality that ultimately achieves nothing in return for its brutality; no victims will be brought back and crime will perpetually continue.

A deeper perception says that it is not society’s responsibility to determine who should live and who should die. We do have the power to choose yet it is a part of humanity to determine parameters with our choices and define what is right and what is wrong. Although the criminal has committed wrongs of extremity and not set personal boundaries with their own choices, we must exercise our freedom and choose not to repay them with a punishment identical to that of their violation. Hypocrisy is an offense in itself.

Teach the World to Fish

by GARIMA VERMA

Co-Editor In Chief

“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” In our world, tragedy surfaces around every corner and with it comes each country’s attempt to do its part in the mending process; however, this continual cycle of calamity never ceases to appear time and time again. With the disaster in Haiti, the United States provided resources such as food to help with the rebuilding processes yet we did not help to prepare them for the future. If we helped them to be ready for future disaster by outlining evacuation plans, save resources and construct buildings that can endure then they could tackle any problem that came their way. When confronting worldly predicaments, people often simply give those in need solutions that will merely resolve these problems in the short term yet if these setbacks are not addressed entirely, difficulty will continue to arise over and over again; history never ceases to repeat itself.

Whether tragedy reveals itself through a natural disaster or a governmental crisis, countries are unable to cope with calamity leaving the rest of the world to scramble to lend a hand. Rather than simply provide resources for repair or nourishment for people at the time, why does the rest of the world not instruct them in the art of restoration and educate them in the methods of cultivation? Teaching others to become self-sufficient not only solves the problems at hand, but proactively prepares for the future.

As a strong believer in this theory, I have adapted the proactive mindset and related it to my own life and my own methods of helping others. Alongside the seemingly conventional methods of volunteering, I also strive to provide people who lack resources techniques of altering their lives for the better: permanently. Over the course of each year my family contributes to those less fortunate in India and we inevitably end the year by visiting the country ourselves. India as a whole is an under privileged country with conditions unimaginable by those of us that enjoy our secure American lifestyle. Trivial aspects of life which we take for granted are scarce; you can be sitting at home at any given moment when the electricity will simply shut off for a long period of time. While this is occurring numerous times of day, as a parent you are struggling to get your child simply through elementary school because the education system requires you to pay for their schooling, uniforms, books and all other resources. Many children are left without an educational opportunity while others struggle simply to eat, unsure of where their next meal will come from. Throughout my lifetime, my family has observed these hardships through our visits and has worked to mend the conditions so that children may obtain education that is necessary for their future successes, allowing them to provide for themselves and inevitably for a family. In addition to the necessities such as food and clothing, we have helped provide a computer and technology lab so that students in India can utilize resources that are not as readily available to them as they are to us. Alongside this we have established a scholarship, if you may, that students can earn through hard work and dedication; a scholarship that will pay for the schooling of select children, forcing them to remain devoted to their studies while also providing them with opportunities for the future.

If the world were to take on this mindset, would the demand for assistance by under-privileged people decrease? Would the world see less drastic desperation and allow people to be able to independently cope with problems that arise? Could we be prepared for anything that comes our way, getting closer and closer to a perfect world?

Society’s most noteworthy obstacle is lack of educational preparation for the future for although the world assists those in need, proactivity is necessary. All disadvantaged people require the tools to effectively function in a self-sufficient manner, allowing them to evolutionarily adapt and survive in the world’s constantly shifting arrangement. Personally, I prefer to teach them how to fish.