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Soomin^2: The Search for Stars!

in Entertainment Columns/Search for Stars by

BY Soomin Chun and Soomin Lee

For most, May is the month of longer days, greener trees, and beautiful picnics in the park. For students, however, it is the month of books and papers stacking up miles high in preparation for exam season—the start of being trapped inside, forced to study day and night. But never fear, the Soomins are here! To get some of the weight off your shoulders, take a deep breath, relax, and listen to these stars that we think will help you get through it all.

FYI terms:

Bass drop | beɪs drɒp |
noun

  1. A drop in popular music, especially electronic music styles, where a switch of rhythm or bass line occurs and usually follows a recognizable build section and break.
  2. A heavy full bass line and “wobble” bass accompanied by a strong shuffling beat
  3. When a song goes from being slow to being really intense and WOAH

Our first selection is a pop song capturing the spirit of tired students who want to break free of their responsibilities and assignments to go have fun and dance.

Cool – Alesso (feat. Roy English)

You know the song cannot be bad when it is produced by Alesso, who also produced “Heroes” and “If I Lose Myself.”  The song starts off with delicate piano chords and chimes, but don’t be fooled into thinking this is a calm song. The chorus, with Roy English’s powerful vocals holding up the high notes, facilitates a continuous mood change, “Trying to keep it cool / But I can’t keep cool about it.” Right after the chorus, electronic music kicks in with drums and a bass guitar, perfect for explosive dancing at a party. The song continues to alternate between Roy English’s high-pitched soulful notes sung in a swaying rhythm and Alesso’s bass drops that pound out melodic vibes in a rocking powerful rhythm. Like how the music video portrays a nerd who dances his way out of class and transforms into the coolest guy at the school dance, this star will relieve your schoolwork stress and at least let your ears party if your body cannot.

Next up is a dance song sure to leave you daydreaming of summer parties on a sandy beach overlooking the glistening blue ocean.

Rock Bottom – Hailee Steinfeld (feat. DNCE)

A model, actress, and singer, Hailee Steinfeld once again impresses listeners with “Rock Bottom,” featuring rising pop rock band DNCE which stands for “dance”. Steinfeld’s distinct vocals start off the song strong, and the rhythmic beat of the bass that follows her vocals will soon leave you addicted. The real surprise comes at the chorus when powerful drums and guitars join Steinfeld as she sings about how she and her love are “on the right side of rock bottom.” Joe Jonas, lead vocal of DNCE, continues to describe the relationship in the second verse, realizing that although they argue endlessly, they still “make up the same day” because they are “on the good side of bad karma.” This catchy song will keep you on the edge of your seat waiting to press the replay button over and over again.

Lastly, a song that appeared on the film “Furious 7” with another great bass drop.

How Bad Do You Want It – Sevyn Streeter

This star sends off an exotic aroma from the very beginning of the song with a shrill melody and strange drum pattern. As soon as the song begins, Streeter’s powerful vocals that hold one note for over ten seconds will keep you listening at least a while—and you will not be disappointed, because not even 20 seconds into the song the beat drop takes place, a glorious harmony of bass drums, electronic melody, and a vibrating low bass to complete the experience. Don’t worry—you will get to experience the stupendous bass drop three more times, each time preceded by a warning from Streeter singing, “If the sky start falling now / And the World stop turning ‘round / Oh yeah, did you give your everything? You better give your everything!” Make sure to listen to this star during exam season not only for the life-giving bass drop but also for Streeter’s message to keep on going no matter what.

Happy listening, and good luck your final exams!
Sincerely, Soomin2

North Carolina’s Attack On Gender Identity

in Opinion by

BY Michelle Cho

On June 26, the citizens across the US rejoiced at the Supreme Court decision that ruled that all homosexual couples could legally get married. After decades of struggling for equal rights as heterosexual couples, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Intersex Asexual (LGBTQIA) community has recently made significant strides. However, the US has a long way to fully eliminate discrimination against the LGBTQIA community. Though constitutional by federal law, the lack of an explicit nondiscrimination act protecting LGBTQIA individuals create opportunities for discrimination. Such a trend is clear in places like North Carolina, in which transgender people are facing state laws that restrict their personal identities and rights, especially regarding equality and privacy

On March 23, North Carolina’s governor Pat McCrory signed the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act during a one-day special session to repeal an ordinance that would have allowed for individuals to use bathrooms based on gender identity rather than biological sex at birth. During the session, lawmakers additionally voted to prohibit local governments from enacting anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. North Carolina became the first state to legally require people to use public facilities that match the sex on their birth certificate. The law was enacted on the unjustified basis that transgender people would commit sexually charged crimes and would serve as an endangerment to the safety of the general public.

In a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal, a legal organization that promotes LGBTQIA rights, the law is discriminatory and a blatant violation of the most basic guarantees of equal treatment promised by the US Constitution because it singles out LGBTQIA people and explicitly writes discrimination into the law. Furthermore, the Obama administration commented that the law violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which is generally interpreted to include gender identity. The violation could put more than $4.8 billion of federal funding into state and local governments at risk. Despite the warnings given by the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, there is no indication that North Carolina will change its stance.

The enforcement of the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act is plainly discriminatory and promotes persecution based on individual gender identity. Moreover, it restricts the most basic forms of expression and pushes for a political agenda reeking of ignorance and intolerance. In response to the law, transgender people strongly believe that the law will expose them to more risks including physical violence and leave them to be more vulnerable. Instead of exposing individuals to more attacks, the government should be protecting the specific vulnerabilities of transgender individuals. The North Carolina state government is crudely painting an inaccurate caricature of transgender people that dehumanizes them as over-sexualized predators. In some localities, it seems as though all the efforts in favor of the LGBTQIA community have regressed back to square one.

Though this issue highlights mainly a humanitarian one, it concerns also the balance of state versus federal power. The Department of Justice interprets the Civil Rights Act to include the protection of gender, while the North Carolina legislature’s interpretation is much more adherent to the “letter of the law,” claiming that the Act does not specify protections for gender identity. Considering the controversy that surrounded the initial Supreme Court decision, such conflicts are expected to continue into the future. Until such issues are resolved with the implementation of a clear nondiscrimination act specific towards the LGBTQIA community, governments will continue to capitalize on inaccurate social perceptions and stereotypes to pass laws that violate the basic human rights of LGBTQIA individuals.

“Prez” Obama displays pop culture awareness at White House dinner

in Global News by

As 2017 nears, US President Barack Obama’s final term is also coming to an end. Though exiting political office, Obama showed at the President’s last White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on April 30 held in Washington D.C. that he is far from backing down into oblivion with his entertaining remarks on politics and last words “Obama out” accompanying a microphone drop.  His actions displayed his awareness of trending social media sensations once more as well as his sense of humor.

“Among all the presidents I learned about in my history class, President Obama stands out because he is so much more connected to a wide demographic of citizens,” said David Yoo (10), AP US History student. “He is often a topic of conversation for the youth because of his involvement in social media, such as appearing on the Ellen DeGeneres show or Oprah, shows that I know many of my friends watch.”

Obama has made many other pop-culture-related jokes over the past years, earning him the title “pop culture president” by the Huffington Post. His humor ranges from slow jamming news regarding major student loan legislation with Jimmy Fallon on the “Tonight Show” to declaring two-year-old Prince George’s appearance in his bathrobe to greet him a “slap in the face.”

“Obama always seems to play to my good side, whether through jokes about Kylie Jenner at the correspondents’ dinner or playing H.O.R.S.E. with Stephen Curry, a basketball game that rewards the player that can make unconventional shots,” said Paul Namkoong (11), a member of the varsity boys basketball team. “He has an awareness of pop culture that has kept him in the news not only for his policies but also for his comedy. Such awareness has probably helped him maintain high approval ratings, along with his relaxed and effortless sense of humor.”

Taking such efforts to maintain the “stardom side” of his presidency has gotten Obama the support of many younger citizens as well as recognition for his charisma. At the same time, however, critics point out that being up-to-date with every single new hit pop song or twitter feeds would take a lot of time and energy, possibly even away from his presidential duties. While some could take offense at his remarks, Obama seems to take this as just an opportunity to joke further. For instance, after mentioning that some people call him “arrogant, aloof, condescending,” at last year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, he retorted shortly after by calling those people “so dumb.”

Regardless of the effects of his humor, it is hard to refute that Obama is not only the first African-American president, but also the first president with such a modern sense of humor, revolutionizing the way American citizens relate to their president as more than just a dry politician. By using social media as a medium to show his more “fun side,” the President has delivered laughs several times over his past two terms and in the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

Colors of Adolescence: Gray

in Colors of Adolescence/Lifestyle Columns by

When he fumbled a ripped note into my hands at summer camp and pleaded with me to “please read it alone,” I prayed that it wasn’t a love letter. But as my fingers fished for a confession, they stumbled across an unexpected one: “I’m gay.”

Growing up, the absolute homogeneity at my school had what seemed like perks. My peers and I shared similar roots; we had common experiences that molded our world views. And, because I was sheltered from conflicting perspectives, I felt secure when I argued in debate or gave speeches in Model UN.

Whether my peers agreed with me or whether these issues simply didn’t matter to them, I don’t know, but I loved to talk about what I believed in—and, without any pushback from others, I stood by my beliefs. I loved the certainty of the black-and-white world within my school. But the world outside of my school gates—like where he and I met—had a lot more uncertainty.

He wrote on: “If only more Christians and Asians were accepting like you…” For a moment, the sweetness of his compliment masked its bitter core: while the conservative world I grew up in had been a source of security for me, it had been sheer suffocation for my friend.

That day, he came out of the “closet” with confidence, and I lost mine. Were my beliefs seriously flawed, or had I somehow betrayed my background—and if I had, what would now define who I was? There was nothing scarier than the possibility that the ground beneath was no longer firm.

Maybe the sameness of this world actually hurt those who, like him, felt different. Maybe the certainty that my world offered had its dark side.

And in the dichotomy of black-and-white, where would I stand?

But in retrospect—if he could confidently define himself ‘gay,’ I too can proudly define myself: ‘gray.’

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my unforgettable four years. Looking back, so many of my days were spent laughing away—sometimes until I was in tears. Looking back, I also stumbled and fell face-flat at times—and each time, someone was there to raise me back up. Each color of my adolescence has shaped me into the person I am today and I am eternally grateful to every single person who has been in my life.

“Scorpion” highlights intellectual, emotional struggles

in Entertainment Columns/Television Therapy by

BY Claire Kim and Rachel Kang

“My name is Walter O’Brien. I have the fourth-highest IQ ever recorded: 197. Einstein’s was 160. When I was 11, the FBI arrested for me for hacking NASA to get their blueprints for my bedroom wall.”

As students immersed in a highly competitive academic world, we naturally assume that a higher IQ is an inherent blessing. A higher IQ makes high school work less grueling, decreases the amount of work that needs to be done, and impresses others. Blinded by such advantages, we often fail to see the struggles that individuals of intellectual “superiority” face daily.

“Scorpion” centers around an elite team of intellectual geniuses that are employed by the Department of Homeland Security to solve problems concerning national security that require creative solutions. The team “Scorpion” consists of five members: Walter O’Brien, Happy Quinn, Tobias Curtis, Sylvester Dodd, and Paige Dineen; each member has his or her unique talent.

While Walter is a computer genius, Happy has expertise in mechanical engineering, and is seen to be able to make everything out of anything. Tobias M. Curtis acts as the team behaviorist, and Sylvester is a mathematical genius; a “human calculator” so to speak. Paige and Cabe are not the conventional “geniuses” we think of, but make sure the team can function and interact within the real world.

The team, as high as their IQ scores may be, suffer immensely from their inability to communicate with “regular” individuals; their high IQ is balanced by their low EQ. Therefore, they often run into problems that include being too blunt or being unable to empathize and show emotion. With a great mix of the intellectual pizzazz and the emotional struggles that the team endure daily, “Scorpion” is a great show for anyone who needs a bit of creativity mixed with a pinch of emotion.

Surprisingly enough, “Scorpion” is based on a real team formed by Walter O’Brien, an Irish computer scientist.  Though many of the details surrounding O’Brien’s hacking into NASA are rumored to be “confidential,” it is true that “Scorpion” has acted several times for the US Department of Defense as an outside contractor. The real O’Brien currently serves as a producer of the show.

According to Variety Magazine, “Scorpion” started and finished as one of the strongest contenders of the television season, and continues to be received well by viewers. The show was nominated in 2015 for Favorite New TV Drama for the People’s Choice Awards.

SOS: The Magnitude of Food Waste

in News/News Columns/Save Our Society by

When we throw away a half-eaten sandwich, we rarely pause to ponder the implications behind those actions. After all, how could half a sandwich hurt anyone? Such naive carelessness, however, is precisely what numbs us from realizing that our planet is slowly deteriorating into an enormous bucket of waste.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, roughly one-third of the food in the world ends up discarded. In other words, we are producing far too much food, even for our gluttonous selves to consume. To make matters worse, when we casually discard leftovers, we are also “throwing away” the time, money, and effort dedicated to producing the food. In a world where starvation and malnutrition still remain rampant in many underdeveloped nations, such wastefulness is socially, environmentally, and economically infuriating and raises an important question: What can we do to solve the issue?

While overcoming the food waste crisis will undoubtedly require tremendous amounts of time, money, and attention, a clear set of solutions does exist. One solution is called ReFED, a blueprint written by a collaboration of over thirty governments, businesses, and non-profit organizations outlining ways to reduce food waste. The plan is divided into three categories: prevention, recovery, and recycling.

The preventative solutions seem the most ideal: they seek to stop problems before they arise. Companies can adjust packaging and invest more time into the safe shipment of ingredients to avoid the possibility of spoiling. Such measures can, according to a report released alongside the ReFED program, save roughly $8 billion and prevent 2.6 million tons of edibles from being wasted.

While preventative solutions seek to stop issues from arising in the first place, recovery and recycling methods focus on putting existing unwanted food to maximum use. After all, why not make the best out of the mess we have created? For instance, tax incentives can be used to compel individuals to donate edible items, whether they are ingredients or fruits. Furthermore, the report calls for increased investments in recycling infrastructures, along with more efficient composting systems to help reduce the quantity of food destined for landfills.

While the ReFED system may not be the only way to approach this problem, it seems to at least bring us a step closer to drastically reducing the tremendous amount of food waste we have spewed into the dumpsters with impunity. Let us save our environment and economy by taking direct action against the food waste crisis toda

Sixth grade advisory students spearhead “Change for Nyaka”

in News/School News by

As students line up in front of the school store counter to pay for their snacks, a peculiar poster catches their eyes. The sign reads: Wait! What are you going to do with that change? Your change is worth too much to sit in your pocket. Donate it to Nyaka.

 In an effort to support the Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project, a non-profit organization that provides education and extracurricular activities to Ugandan orphans, Peter Brodhead’s sixth grade advisory group has spearheaded a fundraiser called “Change for Nyaka” since late April. In hopes that the hundreds of students who frequent the store everyday would donate their change to the cause, the sixth graders designed and placed a donation box and an informational poster in the school store counter and have been keeping track of their progress every week.

“We are excited that so many students are participating in our fundraiser,” said John Lee (6), member of the advisory group. “We are proud of our project not only because we can help the orphans in Uganda, but also because we are the only advisory group leading a fundraiser for Nyaka.”

According to Michelle Heo (6), the fundraiser was inspired by Jackson Kaguri, founder of the Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project, when he visited SIS on April 22 to instill a global mindset in students and raise awareness about his organization. In his speech, Kaguri emphasized that the fifth of a pencil empowered him to fight against and overcome the difficult situation he had faced as a child. This story inspired many students to reflect on the small things they take for granted everyday, such as pencils, notebooks, and pocket change.

“Students usually receive a couple hundred won of change every time they purchase a snack from the school store,” Mr. Brodhead said. “Instead of stuffing the coins into the pocket and forgetting about them, we encourage them to support our cause simply by dropping the coins into the donation box. The beauty of the fundraiser is in its simplicity.”

Change for Nyaka has already raised over 100,000 won in merely 10 days and will continue until the end of May, when all of the collected money will be donated directly to Nyaka via its website. According to Mr. Brodhead, the students behind Change for Nyaka hope that the funds they have raised will help provide students at Uganda with better education and more fulfilling lives.

Temporary holiday re-spotlight dominion of social pyramid

in Opinion by

“The government officials have decided to make May 6 a temporary holiday in hopes of contributing to booming tourism and domestic activation…”

 On April 28, this one sentence from President Geun-hye Park had enough power to spread cheer and happiness over many. On Thursday night, shop owners scrambled to prepare street shops for the influx of visitors the following week. The designated temporary holiday allowed citizens to take four days off work, in addition to Korea’s traditional Children’s Day on Thursday. The decision to create a new holiday was to fuel private businesses and foster an economic boom, similar to the Korean Black Friday created last year.

As appealing as this new temporary holiday may look on the calendar, there is something many of us seemed to have missed. Large companies showed ardent support for the creation of this temporary holiday, because it provided opportunities to broaden their range of customers and, of course, because all their workers get a day off. Though the policy managed to please the multinational corporations, it largely left smaller businesses behind. Using temporary holiday merely as an image-booster of the government has completely neglected the other workers; those who were ready to pack their bags and go on a road trip now seem to have the obligation to open their shops and spend a busier holiday.

According to the Korea Herald, Chae-woong Park, a spokesperson for the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry, justified the creation of the holiday by stating that it was purely a temporary measure due to the fluctuation of supply and demand. Thus, a temporary measure would be favored over a permanent one.

However, such assertion only provides leeway for more social injustice. There is significant discord between the government’s intentions and the policy’s practical effects. Though the holiday may have good intentions, it has served merely to further polarize the upper class from the rest of Korea’s citizenry. It displayed clearly that those who are richer ultimately hold more right to take a day off, while the small private businesses must work harder to make dinner plates for those big workers. Even though the power to create temporary holidays is not confined to the Korean government alone, such power to designate a different “kind” of holiday for citizens only applies to Korea. If the government called it a “national” temporary holiday, perhaps all industries ought to have the right to take the day off and enjoy the same privileges provided to only a select few. Despite the economic boost this temporary holiday might bring, the government should consider a real “holiday” for all citizens before stepping onto another stone.

 

 

Where it all went wrong

in News Columns/Race to 2016 by

It is actually going to happen. After months of fervent denial, Donald Trump is the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for President. With a resounding victory in the state of Indiana, destroying any hope of sustained opposition, Trump is now looking forward to a showdown with (presumably) Hillary Clinton. Short of any massive revelation, he will be crowned the Republican nominee come July in Cleveland. Where did it all go so wrong for the Republican Party? 

For decades, the dominant political theory has claimed that unelected insiders in both major parties have already pre-screened and selected their candidates before citizens ever cast their ballots. Highlighting the massive clout party elites had, political scientist, Marty Cohen, claimed that it would be impossible for any major outsider to upset the carefully crafted structure the ruling class had created. Looking at past elections, this theory seems to have held true in the vast majority of cases, and there was no clear reason to suspect anything different in 2016.

It is with this reasoning in mind that seasoned political pundits like Nate Cohn claimed that Trump’s lack of establishment support and inflammatory language would cause him to flame out quickly. It is now clear that these pundits could not have been further from the truth. While party elites do have massive clout over the nomination process, this year’s overly competitive field and an overreliance on political commentary have ultimately done the party elites in.

 When the election cycle began, the number of Republican candidates was a staggering 17. It was within the clamoring for attention that the brash language of Donald Trump cut through the din. In any other election, there would have been one or two establishment candidates to rally behind. But the sheer number of candidates kept many party elites and donors on the sidelines, biding their time to see who would become the front-runner. This period of indecision led to diffusion in the party elite’s influence, as they waited for the field to clear out. Unfortunately for the leadership, it never did.

But while this collective action failure explains why the party leaders did not back a sole alternative candidate, it still does not clarify why they did not attack Trump from the beginning. The reason behind this lack of action is a circular one. Because the establishment read the overwhelming consensus among the political pundits that Donald Trump could never win, they saw no reason to act otherwise. But here is the catch. The political analysts had factored in the party elite taking action when in reality, the party elite had factored in political analysis when debating internally on what action to take. In other words, because the “experts” had said that Trump had no chance because of the elites’ influence, those very same elites assumed Trump would burn out because of the pundits’ analysis. By the time that theory was disproven, it was already too late, and Trump had already taken a commanding lead.

 As of now, Trump’s nomination is all but inevitable. Looking back just a month, the conventional wisdom was that the Republican Party could still nominate a less divisive figure. Perhaps this would have been possible. But the party elites should have done something sooner, rather than suffer from the bystander effect and wait as Trump won state after state, heading to an inevitable nomination.

New MacBook release spurs hope for Apple

in Lifestyle/Uncategorized by

By Michelle Lee

Since early May, Apple has experienced an unexpected decline in its stocks, reaching its lowest point in two years. The company had an eight-day losing streak starting on May 4, as their stocks have plummeted 12 percent since the beginning of 2016. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple has been suffering from a stagnation in innovative ideas, and without an inventive product to turn the tables completely, recovery deems to be difficult.

“In the case of Apple, a number of factors may have been involved in the recent stock declines,” said Steven Smith, AP Economics teacher. “First, there has been a lack of success with their new products such as the Apple Watch. Second, there are doubts about Apple’s innovative potential in the future. Many question whether CEO Tim Cook will produce the same innovative outcomes that Apple developed under Steve Jobs.”

Hartmut Esslinger, former lead designer of the MacBook, stated that innovation has been lacking in the company. While Apple has continuously developed and improved iPhone software, customers have not seen many changes in the designs. The iPhone sector of the company, which makes up over 75 percent of Apple’s total stock value, has yet to deliver a new product on the market. The most recently released iPhone SE was made more affordable and showed little change with slightly downgraded functions and physical outlooks, According to CNN Money, this product showed no increase in Apple’s revenues and sold 10 million fewer units than the iPhone 6S, emphasizing the necessity for Apple to reinvent themselves completely.

“The innovation seen recently in the company has been lighter in impact than the iPod that truly revolutionized the music industry. Tim Cook is still no Steve Jobs, who’s main idea was to get you to buy something you did not know you wanted—but it is no doubt that Apple will survive just fine,” said Ronald Slachta, shareholder of Apple Stocks.

Amidst this situation, Apple has announced a newly furnished MacBook that may change its circumstances. The new MacBook, expected to be released in late June, is pulling more attention as it has supposedly reinvented design and software. With an additional color and modernized design, the MacBook has been made slimmer and lighter. Moreover, a new touch-sensitive keyboard has been implemented to give more accessibility to the user. The USB port has also been compacted into one single port, sparking discussion on the convenience of the new device.

“I think the minimalistic style of the new MacBook—being extra thin—and the new keyboard, are exciting new features that a Mac user like me can look forward to as it is claimed to be lighter and more comfortable to use,” said Sky Park (10), MacBook user.

In spite of all the technological achievements Apple claims, its revival remains a concern. According to CNBC, Jia Yueting, Chinese billionaire entrepreneur and founder of LeEco, said that Apple would need to take more radical measures to truly restore their eminence. The MacBook contributes to 29 percent of Apple’s revenue, and according to Piper Jaffray, Wall Street analyst, it is not enough to pull the entire company back from their depreciated stocks, explaining Apple’s focus on the iPhone.

A competitive rival of Tim Cook in the IT industry, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, once said that companies should not be afraid of failure since if there is no failure there is definitely not enough innovation. Echoing the sentiments of many economists, there is no doubt that Apple will recover, but even experts are not sure how long it may take.

Soomin2 The Search for Stars: New Beginnings

in Entertainment/Entertainment Columns/Search for Stars by

Welcome to Soomin2: The Search for Stars!

March is the month of new beginnings. The bone-chilling wind finally drifts away and the warm beams of sunlight wave hello. The blue sky holds the perfect number of cotton candy-like clouds, vibrant splashes of color bloom rapidly, and baby pink petals start to fall ever so gently by the end of the month. Fall into the rhythm of the petals with the three songs of this month, and just like always, take a few minutes to relax and indulge yourself in a world full of expression and creativity with our stars.

First is a mellow duet by Tori Kelly and Ed Sheeran, perfect for those searching for calmness in the midst of chaos.

I Was Made For Loving You Ft. Ed Sheeran – Tori Kelly

The harmonization of guitar chords in the beginning sets up the song beautifully. Tori Kelly’s voice soon follows to immediately captivate you: her husky, high-pitched vocals intertwines perfectly with the strumming of the guitar. She asks her special someone to “please don’t scar this young heart” and instead “just take my hand.” In the chorus, she continues to relay her feelings towards the one, admitting that “even though we may be hopeless hearts just passing through,” what she is certain of is that she “was made for loving you.” Kelly receives a reply from Ed Sheeran, who assures her that he “won’t scar [her] young heart,” and that as long as she doesn’t let him go, they will be all right. This soft tune will leave you unconsciously hitting the replay button for hours long, drifting slowly into dreamland.

Second, a collaboration by PRIMARY, OHHYUK, and Lim Kim that will make you feel like you are cruising through a cool and calm ocean.

Gondry – PRIMARY, OHHYUK (feat. Lim Kim)

A collaboration between phenomenal producer Primary and two new hot vocalists Oh Hyuk and Lim Kim, Gondry cannot possibly be a bad song. Although in Korean, the husky ringing vocals and calming beat transcends language barriers to appeal to anyone wanting to fade into relaxation. This song is dedicated to Michael Gondry, the French filmmaker who made the film, “Eternal Sunshine.” This is shown in the lyrics of the chorus, where Oh Hyuk sings, “Sitting on the sunshine / sunshine is over me, she gets over me.” Although Oh Hyuk is more well-known for his soft and calming voice, Gondry is one of his few extremely chill songs. The slow-paced decorated delicate female vocals by Lim Kim, drums, piano, and cello are particularly well woven throughout the song.

Finally, a simple but mellifluous song from a famous movie sung by Keira Knightley.

A Step You Can’t Take Back – Keira Knightley

This star is from the famous movie “Begin Again”, but this particular song is one of the lesser-known ones from the movie. The song starts with Keira’s soft husky vocals and guitar, but is quickly joined by other instruments. The song progresses as she dreams of Steve, a music director in the movie. In a drunken stupor, Steve envisions drums, piano, and cello—all of which join her humble song to create sweet harmonies. Keira’s voice will surely lull you and bring you to peace in this simple yet delicate song.

Frank Underwood continues political battle in fourth season of “House of Cards”

in Entertainment by

[Warning: This review contains spoilers for Seasons 1-4 of “House of Cards.”]

“I think America deserves Frank Underwood. And in your heart, you know I’m right.”

Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, continued his ruthless search for power in the fourth season of Netflix’s hit show “House of Cards,” which premiered on March 4. Season 4 focuses mainly on the dynamic between Frank and Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) and how their decisions shape the future of America and the world.

“House of Cards,” while without the bloody action of “Game of Thrones” or the movie-level production of “Sherlock,” captivates the viewer’s attention by weaving dark but juicy narratives into the politics that we are familiar with today.

In previous seasons, Claire and Frank had plotted and schemed together to get themselves into the White House. However, once they step into the long sought-for building, there is a split in their relationship, as the power couple realizes there is only one chair in the oval office—something Frank quickly decides is his. Noticing an imbalance of control in their relationship, Claire chooses to break away from Frank and leverage her prominence for tangible power.

By the conclusion of Season 3, protagonist—or perhaps antagonist—Frank has emotionally manipulated, bribed, and even murdered on his path to becoming the President of the US. Power-hungry and cold-blooded, he conveys his character and lust for authority particularly through his deadpan delivery as he strangles a dog in the first lines of the show.

“There are two kinds of pain,” he says. “The sort of pain that makes you strong, or useless pain, the sort of pain that’s only suffering. I have no patience for useless things.”

Fast forward two seasons, and Frank has risen from being the majority whip to being the President of the US. However, the obstacle of reelection stands in his way, and Claire refuses to cooperate, leaving him seemingly for good at the conclusion of Season 3.

Season 4, however, begins with the two reuniting, albeit initially as enemies, not as allies. As the season progresses, viewers can see that the story is clearly divided into two major arcs—the first on the dynamic of the Frank and Claire’s relationship, and the second on the consequences of past actions.

Claire demands that she be named his vice presidential candidate, and Frank accepts her proposal. Old ghosts come to haunt the two when Lucas Goodwin, former reporter of the Washington Herald who was wrongfully accused in Season 2, returns to attempt to assassinate Frank. While the endeavor fails, Frank is haunted on his hospital bed by the images of Zoe Barnes and Peter Russo, people he intentionally killed on his path to presidency.

The season concludes with the Underwoods scheming to distract the citizens of the US from their political scandals by creating a diversion: the show’s version of ISIS, ICO, and its threats of war. As the couple watches an American hostage be executed on tape, Frank turns to the audience and says, chillingly:

“Thats right. We don’t submit to terror. We make the terror.”

Overall, the season serves to wrap up the loose ends from Season 3, as the dysfunctional, disparate relationship between Claire and Frank reaches an agreement. Past actions of the couple come to haunt them, but they begin efforts to brush it away through possibly even more violent actions. While the episodes struggle to live up to their famed Season 1 glory days, the overall season succeeds in developing the narrative further without much filler and delivers a clear, coherent message—that Frank and Claire Underwood are still hungry, and not just for ribs.

The Confused Person’s Guide to the filibuster against the anti-terrorism bill

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In an attempt to counter the proposed anti-terrorism bill, the Minjoo Party of Korea (MPK) began a filibuster in the National Assembly. Beginning at 7 p.m. on Feb. 23, the 193 hour long filibuster involved the opposition of 38 minority party representatives. For all the confused person(s) out there, here are some answers to important questions about this unprecedented South Korean filibuster.

What is a filibuster?
A filibuster is a parliamentary procedure in which debate about a proposed piece of legislation is indefinitely extended, allowing individuals or groups of lawmakers to talk about the bill endlessly and delay the vote. Minority parties in legislature often use filibusters to obstruct the passing of a bill when they lack the numbers to prevent the vote otherwise.

The South Korean National Assembly has had a history of conflict. Lawmakers of South Korea have even resorted to violent methods that include but are not limited to: shoving congressmen, causing verbal conflict, and throwing raw eggs within the National Assembly.

This is the first filibuster to be held in 43 years, as the revision of the National Assembly Law in 2012 allowed unlimited debate on any bill that was proposed to the National Assembly.

Who are the parties involved?
The two main parties of the South Korean government are the liberal MPK and the conservative Saenuri Party. Currently, the Saenuri Party holds the majority of the seats in the National Assembly. Along with the MPK, minority parties such as the Justice Party and the People’s Party are also participating in this filibuster.

What is the anti-terrorism bill?
Much like USA PATRIOT Act, the proposed anti-terrorism bill allows the National Intelligence Service (NIS), the Korean equivalent of the Central Intelligence Agency, to collect communications information, screen and prevent bank activity, and regulate entry and exit from the country for all “potential terrorists.” Concerns for this bill are potential violations of privacy and abuse of federal power.

What are the practical applications of the anti-terrorism bill?
If the anti-terrorism bill is passed, the NIS will have the right to wiretap private conversations, including communication through services like KakaoTalk. The NIS will also be able to have access to private CCTV’s and black box footage.

What are the stances on this bill?
The MPK believes that giving the NIS this power will potentially result in abuse of power and violations of human rights. Currently, the NIS plays the role of an intelligence-gathering agency. However, if the bill does pass, the NIS will be given national investigative powers in addition to intelligence-gathering rights, expanding the reach of the NIS.

The Saenuri Party, on the other hand, supports the bill, believing that NIS activity will not affect normal citizens but only serve to strengthen the security of the nation by investigating those “under suspicion of involvement in a terrorist group,” according to Saenuri lawmaker Cheol-woo Lee.

Following the Paris terror attacks, President Park stated on Dec. 8, 2015 that South Korea “cannot remain oblivious to the situation of terror and not pass the [anti-terrorism] bill.” According to the Hankyorae, escalating North Korean threats also seem to have contributed to the urgency of the bill. In comparison, the US’ justification for the surveillance proposed in the PATRIOT Act was based on the 9/11 attacks.

Is an anti-terrorism bill necessary?
The answer from the MPK is “no.” South Korea already has many laws regarding intelligence and counterterrorism, including the “National Anti-Terrorism Guidelines” that establishes National Terrorism Countermeasure Meetings. During his speech to the National Assembly on Feb. 18, lawmaker Kwangjin Kim questioned Prime Minister Kyo-an Hwang, asking if he knew who the leader of this National Terrorism Countermeasure Meetings was. Prime Minister Hwang responded that he “did not know exactly.”

His answer strengthened the MPK’s argument that the counterterrorism acts already in use were not being utilized effectively, and further weakened the arguments of the urgency argued by the Saenuri Party .

What were the consequences of the filibuster?
Fearing negative responses from citizens, the MPK chose to give up the filibuster on March 2. They instead proposed an alternative bill, which mainly clarified the boundaries of what a “terrorist” meant and established a checks and balances system between the NIS and the National Assembly. However, this alternative was voted against and nullified by the majority Saenuri party. All of the MPK and People’s Party lawmakers left the voting chamber in protest soon after.

After the filibuster came to an end, the original, unedited anti-terrorism bill passed with the entirety of the majority party voting for the bill.

Yesterdays with Yeena: The Comfortable Place

in Lifestyle Columns/Yesterdays with Yeena by
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Her wrinkles were cracks
of youth eroded by disaster
The chasms had breathed in
the sweat of strange men
(at one point she stopped counting)
who spoke
in noises & gurgles; incomprehensive
her skin perfumed by the aroma:
an undertone of war buried
in the pungency of stale hope

Let it seep in and erode her soul, she’d thought
Let it run along the valleys of her figure
so that she vowed to never love
and to never be loved

She’d scrape her body with nails lacquered in dust and coal
opened some of the streams herself
as she watched Innocence admire Ruin
They bathed in a well of their tears
But no washing could cleanse their dirtied spirits,
no crying would relieve the sin and shame

The man in white used to pound on the decaying door
Checkups in pretense, desire in disguise
He couldn’t—wouldn’t fix her
cracked her wider open,
broke her further past her broken

Wi-an, she called herself
But whose relief did she breathe for
her fingernails broke the skin of her palms,
and the place was comfortable;
comfortable enough for the world’s darkest colors
to spill, to splatter,
comfortable enough for windowless disaster
to stain her in the shadows of their evil.

Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Old Efforts and New Developments for Forensics Team

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You are the driver of a trolley hurtling down a train track, with brakes hanging off the edges. Helpless, you see five men apparently unaware of the incoming trolley at the end of the track, and you will surely hit and kill them—but wait—the track diverges just five feet ahead, and should you steer the trolley off course and into the other track, it would crash and kill only one man. Will you make the decision to steer the trolley?

Rarely do people ponder these moral dilemmas on a daily basis, but for Lincoln-Douglas debaters, these thoughts are as regular as morning pancakes. Every week in room B100, philosophical discussions flare as students prepare for their upcoming tournaments. The efforts paid off during their last tournament on March 5, as the competitors took second, third, and fourth places overall.

“I cannot ask for anything more from my Lincoln-Douglas team, as they performed up to my very hopes and aspirations,” said Coach Michael Silber, english and history teacher. “We performed extremely well this year overall as well, and I believe we could have easily swept the awards with a little more luck and determination.”

Although the Parliamentary and Public Forum debate teams were not able to place in the tournaments, the SIS Forensics team in general, including the Speech division, won first place in its conference for its dominance over the previous two tournaments. The Speech team achieved meaningful results as well, with speakers placing first and second in Extemporaneous category, second and third in the Original Oratory category, and third in Poetry.

“We are in a very strong position to win the final tournament as well,” said Coach Lee Piscioneri, Forensics adviser. “What is more exciting is how we have successfully incorporated the young and new members this season into the team, which has become even more important and pertinent as many of our top speakers will be graduating this year.”

Already, the coaches are looking forward to the next year, hoping to improve on what has already proved to be a successful season. As a newcomer this year, Coach Silber especially had fresh ideas to improve the performance and communication of the team.

“A large factor of our success was the frequent head-to-head sparring matches we held during our practices, which helped us identify the holes and weaknesses in our arguments,” Coach Silber said. “I am hoping to expand and further these matches, along with the roster of our team as well. Many of our top debaters will become juniors and seniors next season, and a challenge will be to replace them with promising underclassmen, who we will nurture and guide through the mentorship of older debaters.”

According to Coach Silber, a new wiki site is also under development for the Debate team to serve as an online space for debaters to discuss their arguments, ideas, and philosophy at all times and places. Despite these exciting developments, however, debate still boils down to blood, sweat, and grit, as participants toil to build their arguments and counter-arguments deep into the night.

“Even with the new methods of practice, I still believe that continuous practice and preparation remains above all other alternatives,” said Juhyung Park (11), Forensics member. “Practice is essential for any individual debater to do well and for SIS as a whole to win tournaments.”

Coach Silber agrees: “Debate is one of the higher-level activities which require more dedication and commitment, and this is why I have such respect for my debaters—the fact that they are able to address concerns that cannot be predicted beforehand is a testament to their skill, intelligence, and character.”

Ceasefire reinforced in Syria following negotiations

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Updated debates on Syria and its future resolutions were held at a peace conference in Geneva on March 10. Russia, a nation previously involved in the nation’s conflict, proposed the possibility of turning Syria into a federal state with global powers. The forum followed the peace talks held previously on Feb. 27, during which Russia and US agreed to a cease-fire in Syria.

The international community has since been supportive of the negotiations between US and Russia. The United Nations Security Council recently voted unanimously to end the civil war in Syria, which has killed more than a quarter-million and caused millions more to flee the country.

“There is still much left to resolve in the Syrian crisis,” said Michael Stanton, MUN adviser. “When declaring a ceasefire, people often fail to realize that it will not work as smoothly as they planned, especially not when the country is stuck in a civil war. The temporary armistice will not solve the ongoing refugee crisis unless the refugees are reassured of their safety when they choose to return to Syria. Besides, Syria has to develop proper infrastructure for refugees, who have been living in utter devastation– without proper shelter nor modern-day necessities such as electricity.”

However, despite the fact that nearly 100 rebel groups agreed to the temporary ceasefire, the truce cannot guarantee lasting peace to Syria due to the looming threat posed by large-scale terrorist groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS). To track down such potential violations of peace, US and Russia established separate operations centers: the former in Washington D.C., Amman, and Jordan, and the latter in Moscow, Latakia, and Syria as part of the treaty.

“The ceasefire in Syria is yet another small, but significant step to get closer to world peace,” said Julie Song (10), MUN delegate. “Although the truce may be temporary, the fact that some terrorist groups agreed to the armistice sends out an optimistic message about the peace talks. Hopefully [the armistice] will give Syrian civilians a brief but deserved break from the undesired battlefield that puts their life in great danger everyday.”

According to the Washington Post, the United Nations claimed that if the ceasefire were to be breached, military action proportionate to the initial offense will be allowed as a last resort. Following the truce, scattered but persistent reports of artillery bombardment and small-arms fire were noted, but such counts of violence were not counted as deliberate attempts to defy the agreement. Peace talks are expected to continue to occur until the situation is properly resolved.

“Breaches of the truce are inevitable in the more unknown parts of Syria,” said Alice Kang (11), debater. “Especially since Syria has been stuck in the state of civil war for the past few years, it is difficult to get rid of any violence that may reoccur. Ultimately, I believe such negotiations were necessary to stop the civil war in Syria, and am personally looking forward to the upcoming talks of peace, which could save millions of lives desperately looking for a trickling light of hope.”

New York Supreme Court upholds songwriter Kesha’s contract

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The New York Supreme Court ruled on Feb. 20 that songwriter and pop singer Kesha must remain in her contract with Sony Music. Ruling against claims that producer Lukasz Gottwald sexually assaulted her in 2014, Judge Shirley Kornreich refused to grant an injunction on the contract. Kesha, whose solo single “Tik Tok” topped the Billboard Hot 100 and sold 610,000 copies, filed a suit in Oct. 2014 to void her contracts with the company.

“Disputes between singers and their recording companies can often be quite noteworthy,” said Bright Chong (10). “Because of the difficulty in obtaining evidence in cases like these, it is hard to win a case when it is one person’s word against another. I feel like Sony Music faces a difficult situation because it has to balance its public image with trying to profit from an extremely talented singer.”

In her ruling, Justice Kornreich said that Sony Music would incur losses if Kesha did not fulfill the contract, and cited the lack of medical evidence behind her claims as legal justification.

“Contracts can be broken, but there is always a penalty to breaking them, unless there is a special circumstance,” said Paul Roberts, Government and Politics teacher. “In terms of a musician wanting to break his or her contract with Sony Music, it determines a lot on how the contract was written by the singer who signed with the company. The question is both if Sony had an obligation to keep her safe, and if the allegation that a crime has been committed can be proven.”

In response to the lawsuit, Gottwald countersued Kesha for defamation and a breach of contract, claiming that the claims were tantamount to extortion. Gottwald’s legal team reported to the New York Times that the singer was attempting to force him out of the contract with negative publicity.

“I am sympathetic to the plight Kesha is in currently, and it is a situation many artists find themselves in,” said Jeffrey Park (11). “Ultimately, I think the way the system is designed makes it hard for contracts to be nullified. Because of this issue, it is hard for artists [who are] trapped in these kinds of situations to seek recourse.”

The case has been reserved until the judge will be able to dismiss the claims at a later time. Before then, a judge has the ability to let Kesha’s legal team file an amended version.

SOS: Public Speaking Classes

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If Martin Luther King had just thought about freedom, segregation may still continued be a reality. If Gandhi had held his tongue and just thought about a free India, perhaps the British would still be in control. Our thoughts only hold value once they are spoken aloud. And yet, for some odd reason, the society we live in does not seem to place much emphasis on such a fundamental skill, especially in the school curricula, where the practice of the craft is particularly essential. What accounts for this lack of prioritization?

This clear deficit can be attributed to the numerous claims that speaking classes are cruel to introverts, and that they force such students to partake in activities that could be humiliating or degrading. But that line of argument is no different from saying that we should stop vaccinating our kids because the shot is painful. We need to look at the bigger picture and question what is truly at stake. Although some of us fear the impending pain of an annual vaccination, we opt into these necessary evils because we understand how valuable they are, not only to ourselves, but also to the greater societal good. Likewise, public speaking classes nurture the confidence and competence of an individual, both of which are highly applicable in the communicative world we live in.

The world listens to those who are sure of themselves—or at least those who sound sure of themselves. Unfortunately, many students suffer from an inability to articulate themselves, whether during presentations or on a regular day-to-day basis. According to Breaking Down Barriers, an organization devoted to the promotion and training of public speaking, three out of every four students suffer from ‘speech anxiety,’ a general distaste for speaking in public or in front of unknown acquaintances. Fortunately, the solution to this problem is simple: that introverted individuals attempt speaking. As ironic as that may sound, this benefit can be achieved through mandated public speaking classes. Studies by Heidi Rose and Andrew Rancer, professors of communication at Emerson University, confirmed that enrolled students’ levels of public speaking anxiety decreased significantly over the course of the semester. In essence, the more one speaks, the more confident one can become.

Speaking classes also boost students’ future prospects and open up new opportunities. According to a study by a renowned sociologist named Andrew Zekeri, oral communication ranked first among the skills that college graduates found necessary in the realm of real-life business. If one wanted to be a scientist, he or she would have to know how to present findings to a scientific community. If one wanted to be a lawyer, one would need to present legal briefs. Every vocation in modern society requires varying degrees of public speaking and interaction—something society is obligated to prepare its future for.

If our thoughts are our ammunition, our voices are our guns. We are living in a world in which thinking is the only attribute that is prioritized. We are living in a world with infinite ammunition, but no guns. A gun without ammunition is powerless; but ammunition without a gun is no different. Ultimately, both pieces must co-exist to form an efficient tool that can transform society.

Race to 2016: Breaking down Trump’s mating call

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If you close your eyes and listen to a Donald Trump speech at a support rally, you could easily mistake it for a fourth grade classroom—and that is no accident. Back when Trump announced his candidacy in June, he utilized a combination of harsh and straightforward diction to decry the corruption of Washington politics, and its failure to deliver on its promises.

“How stupid are our leaders?” Trump said. “How stupid are they?” Seeming to lack the capacity to understand what qualifiers are, he launched into a comedic tirade, lambasting the current system with a lack of nuance. He called it “huge.” He called it “terrible.” He called it “big, fat, and stupid.”

But while this extremity may make the job of political satirists way too easy, what is often ignored is its unique appeal among both white and blue-collar voters. Making up a majority of Trump’s support base, it seems that they are being swayed specifically by this unprecedented manner of speech.

According to a recent study of political rhetoric by the Boston Globe, the language within Trump’s speeches closely models that of a fourth grader, the lowest level of speech among all Republican candidates. The review, which used an algorithm dubbed the Flesch-Kincaid readability test, condenses word choice and sentence syntax to categorize paragraphs into grade levels. While it seems logical that America would pick the most educated speaker, Trump’s language and straight talking points can defeat the flowery rhetoric of even the most talented speechwriters.

The simple fact is much of the electorate is fed up with politicians that are “all talk, no action.” Trump is being rewarded for his refreshingly straightforward rhetoric that appeals to an emotional and angry audience. Unfortunately, while US-Mexico foreign policy should boil down to a lot more than “building a wall,” and while tough talk doesn’t move unpredictable dictators, people inherently gravitate toward simple solutions rather than complex policy points. Furthermore, while Republicans are combatting this rhetoric with their own complicated speeches, Trump’s simple solutions are inherently validated, not harmed, by the evasive arguments of established politicians against him.

Such a phenomenon was most accurately demonstrated by a recent Bloomberg survey, in which respondents were polled and re-polled after presented with arguments for and against Trump’s plan to temporarily ban all Muslims. After being read a statement from the establishment’s discontent over Trump’s proposition, the percentage of supporters in favor of Trump’s statement only dropped by a measly one percent. The establishment’s rebuttals go as follows:

“Leaders from across the political spectrum have condemned this policy, saying that banning members of an entire religion from entering the country goes against everything we believe in as Americans. And it will make our country less safe by alienating the allies we need to fight ISIS.”

It is not surprising that this statement did little to dent Trump’s support. It is much easier to believe that terrorism can be eradicated by a blanket ban, rather than understand the deeper nuances of radicalization and what drives the desire to terrorize.

This argument, also known as the Overkill Backfire Effect, explains that arguments like Trump’s are persuasive because processing a multitude of arguments takes much more work than considering only a few. In other words, a simple fantasy is much more believable in the face of a complex, nuanced reality.

When Washington politicians with their fancy law degrees and limousines use sophisticated language and never deliver on promised change, anger is inevitable and to an extent, understandable. But anger is a dangerous emotion. In order to combat the uncomplicated mating call of Trump, the Republican establishment must develop its own simple and clear message, rather than count on its usual flowery rhetoric. Rhetoric as usual ended the moment Trump won by 20 points in New Hampshire.

Career Feature

in Features/Uncategorized/Website Features by

Last month, the Counseling Department collaborated with the leadership team and parents of students to bring to the student body a series of career presentations. Some of the most desirable jobs were covered, but with their busy schedules, many of the speakers were not able to cover all their talking points.

This feature includes a closer look at the Fantastic Four of desirable jobs, and more. And to preserve the eloquence of our interviewees, we present the interviews in their original, unadulterated form.

 

Shkreli fails in attempt to buy Kanye West’s new album

in Entertainment by

Titled “most hated man in America” by the BBC after raising the price of HIV drug: Daraprim, by 5,556 percent, Martin Shkreli reappeared on the news for attempting to buy the copyright to Kanye West’s new album, The Life of Pablo. He allegedly wished to keep the album to himself, contacting Kanye via Twitter to offer a starting sum of $10 million, which he soon raised to $15 million.

Although Kanye refused his offer, Shkreli aimed to delay the release of the album, as Kanye’s label requires such offers to at least reach the Board of Directors. Unwilling to postpone the release, Kanye ignored Shkreli’s request and instead released the contents of his album on the music streaming site TIDAL, to the delight of his fans.

“It was interesting how Kanye compared himself to Pablo Picasso [in The Life of Pablo], with his woman being Kim Kardashian,” said James Cho (11), aspiring artist. “[Kanye’s] songs always have a deep bass and profound lyrics that talk about the past, making most of his songs a pleasure to listen to. The songs in his album inspired me to make my own and possibly even release my mixtape on SoundCloud.”

Shkreli previously purchased the sole ownership of Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin for two million dollars, and his most recent offer to Kanye West was an attempt at continuing his personal music collection. In Shkreli’s Tweets and letter to West, he claimed himself “a tremendous fan” and that Kanye would “find this agreement more attractive than [West’s] current course of action.”

While Kanye rejected the offer, the artist did not see much success after the release of his album. The Life of Pablo, which included collaborations with artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, and The Weeknd, failed to rank on the top Billboard charts of both the US and the UK.

“Music serves as a connection for many, through which emotions and thoughts can be shared,” said John Kim (12), cellist, pianist, and DJ. “But when someone tries to take away the public enjoyment of music and keep it to themselves, like Shkreli, they are taking away the basic meaning of music. No one should be entitled to take away an artist’s creation from the enjoyment of millions.”

Shkreli already garnered a title of infamy through his company Turing Pharmaceuticals before he started his attempts at purchasing albums. Shkreli’s efforts to take sole possession of Kanye’s album were met with much anger by the public, but fans had the last laugh once the album was released.

“I know how important music can be to people, because I have particular albums–such as B2B albums—that I couldn’t live without,” said Judy Moon (10), avid fan of B2B, a Korean idol group. “Giving the album exclusively to one fan would extremely hurt and disappoint the rest. There seems to be little truth to Shkreli’s tweets, since he is already in much debt. Kanye also has his own debt to care about—both do not seem to be in the position to play around with copyrights.”

Soomins’ Search for Stars: Songs for new beginnings

in Entertainment Columns by

Welcome to Soomin2: The Search for Stars!

March is the month of new beginnings. The bone-chilling wind finally drifts away and the warm beams of sunlight wave hello. The blue sky holds the perfect number of cotton candy-like clouds, vibrant splashes of color bloom rapidly, and baby pink petals start to fall ever so gently by the end of the month. Fall into the rhythm of the petals with the three songs of this month, and just like always, take a few minutes to relax and indulge yourself in a world full of expression and creativity with our stars.

First is a mellow duet by Tori Kelly and Ed Sheeran, perfect for those searching for calmness in the midst of chaos.

I Was Made For Loving You Ft. Ed Sheeran – Tori Kelly

The harmonization of guitar chords in the beginning sets up the song beautifully. Tori Kelly’s voice soon follows to immediately captivate you: her husky, high-pitched vocals intertwines perfectly with the strumming of the guitar. She asks her special someone to “please don’t scar this young heart” and instead “just take my hand.” In the chorus, she continues to relay her feelings towards the one, admitting that “even though we may be hopeless hearts just passing through,” what she is certain of is that she “was made for loving you.” Kelly receives a reply from Ed Sheeran, who assures her that he “won’t scar [her] young heart,” and that as long as she doesn’t let him go, they will be all right. This soft tune will leave you unconsciously hitting the replay button for hours long, drifting slowly into dreamland.

Second, a collaboration by PRIMARY, OHHYUK, and Lim Kim that will make you feel like you are cruising through a cool and calm ocean.

Gondry – PRIMARY, OHHYUK (feat. Lim Kim)

A collaboration between phenomenal producer Primary and two new hot vocalists Oh Hyuk and Lim Kim, Gondry cannot possibly be a bad song. Although in Korean, the husky ringing vocals and calming beat transcends language barriers to appeal to anyone wanting to fade into relaxation. This song is dedicated to Michael Gondry, the French filmmaker who made the film, “Eternal Sunshine.” This is shown in the lyrics of the chorus, where Oh Hyuk sings, “Sitting on the sunshine / sunshine is over me, she gets over me.” Although Oh Hyuk is more well-known for his soft and calming voice, Gondry is one of his few extremely chill songs. The slow-paced decorated delicate female vocals by Lim Kim, drums, piano, and cello are particularly well woven throughout the song.

Finally, a simple but mellifluous song from a famous movie sung by Keira Knightley.

A Step You Can’t Take Back – Keira Knightley

This star is from the famous movie “Begin Again”, but this particular song is one of the lesser-known ones from the movie. The song starts with Keira’s soft husky vocals and guitar, but is quickly joined by other instruments. The song progresses as she dreams of Steve, a music director in the movie. In a drunken stupor, Steve envisions drums, piano, and cello—all of which join her humble song to create sweet harmonies. Keira’s voice will surely lull you and bring you to peace in this simple yet delicate song.

The Art of the Lawyer

in Features/Website Features by
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This interview was conducted by Claire Kim, thanks to Johneth Park, a corporate lawyer at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP.

What were your personal motivations in becoming a lawyer?

My father actually wanted to be a lawyer. A long time ago, very few people made the bar in Korea. I guess that sort of had an impact on me. I actually wanted to be a doctor and I went through all the pre-med requirements and I worked at the Dana Farber Institute, the cancer institute in Boston. I was there on an internship doing lab work; I thought that “I can’t do this. I can’t sit in a lab and do the pipette work,” so I wanted to do something different. When I was a freshman in college, there were two elections going on – one in Korea and one in the US, and I wanted to know more about politics, social issues, and that’s why I majored in government. As a lawyer I thought I could actually do something to make a difference. I didn’t know exactly what, but it was always in the back of my mind.

Lawyers often go into law school wanting to be public defenders, but only a small percentage actually do. Is this mostly an economic factor, or is it because motivations change?

Two things. Everyone wants to become a public defender and do something good for society, but once they go to law school, ninety percent actually end up going to law firms; it’s peer pressure. What’s the best firm they can get into? And obviously there is student debt; you have to pay it off. Public defenders make about $30,000 to $40,000 maximum a year, compared to $160,000 for law firm first years. Once you actually start a law firm, some people that I know actually go in thinking that they will stay only to pay off their student debt, but once you enter a law firm, it’s a culture. You get sucked in. With very few exceptions like my college roommate, who actually did a summer internship and got nice summer pay and got himself a nice suit, he chose to work at the legal justice center. He’s been doing this for seventeen years; he’s very happy.

If the initial training for those who want to be corporate lawyers would happen at law firms, where would the training happen for those who want to become public defenders?

Some people usually get scholarships or some kind of stipend. They have certain clinics like women’s centers, or some other legal public defender center. As a public defender, you get paid by the government. If you want to do litigation, going to work as a public defender is the best training because you actually litigate from day one because they want to train you; you’re actually on the job training. For people to go to court at big law firms, it will take about nine to ten years. Until then, you will be writing or doing something for your partner to do the court appearance. Again, it’s a choice of lifestyle: do you want to do it from the get-go? Not too many people choose to become public defenders, because the quality of your clients is not that great – these are like criminals, and you’re doing criminal stuff, and 90% of the criminals are guilty usually. It’s really drudgework, the same work all the time. Enlisting in a big law firm you get to know what the big cases are, you get to work as a team. You get mentoring and training and practice depositions – see, those are useful skills to have.

What would you recommend for high school students that aspire to become lawyers?

I would say if you want to drop in to a law firm for a week, or a day, just to see what a law firm looks like, how unhappy or happy people who work there are like, you should do that. But I think as a high school student, I would do something different. I would do something that broadens my mind. If you want to check it, being a lawyer, after college, there is a program called paralegal work, in which you would work a year or two as a paralegal. You’re not actually a lawyer, but do kind of do things that a first or second year associate would do, and check it out. But as a high school student, you should do something else. As I said, the law office is probably one of the most boring places you can be, unless you understand the law, talk about it, and do something about it. But otherwise, if you don’t understand, you’ll just be standing there. When I was in high school, I actually interned at an emergency room, at a hospital.

As a lawyer, what was the most difficult part? It is the number of hours, or is the work itself difficult sometimes – mentally, physically, or in any other way?

It’s really multitasking; it’s really being able to set priorities, because every client wants their work to be done the next morning. It’s being able to prioritize what really needs to be done, because there are a lot of false deadlines. It’s really trying to figure out the false deadlines and prioritizing work – that is the immediate challenge you will face as a junior associate. As time moves on, it’s finding the specialty that fits you. You’re being paid to give advice, so you have to have a body of knowledge.

How competitive is it to become a lawyer?

If you go to a US law school, there are these things called study groups – you can’t study on your own. Unless you’re good at it, it honestly helps if you work in a study group to exchange ideas, test each other. But then again, if you get into a really good school, you should be fine getting a job, so the competition is not that bad. But if you’re in not as good of a school, there are opportunities only for the top ten percent or five percent to get a job, that makes things more difficult and competitive. It’s the same anywhere – medical school; whenever there are a few good opportunities and many applicants, competition happens. But with you guys, I think SIS is the most competitive educational environment I’ve ever come across. But I think that there is usually a negative perception of lawyers because people don’t like paying for just talking. Doctors actually do something – they get a knife and suture, but as a lawyer, we just talk. There are some bad, rotten apples who try to get the most money out of clients and they overcharge. A lot of TV shows have divorce lawyers who make things worse when the couples are trying to pass things up and the lawyers make it worse. Pop culture does this, but again, as a lawyer in a reputable institution like a law firm or academia, you have to have integrity; you have to be trustworthy. You have to add to your client at minimum cost. Clients don’t really know about your work, so you live and die by your reputation whether you are giving good advice or inefficient advice. So your reputation is very very important.

Are there any myths from TV shows you would like to debunk about being a lawyer?

These courtroom dramas, they don’t really happen. If you do the litigation, that’s the exciting part. There are guys making speeches in front of juries – that only happens five percent of the time. Most cases get settled out of court, because litigation is very expensive. I mean if that’s what is exciting for you, ultimately, be my guest. Also, the courtroom dramas are really exciting, so yes, I do watch them.

When applying to law school, does the undergraduate major matter?

It’s going to be indirect. As a lawyer, you have to serve clients. The more comfortable the client is with you, it’s going to better to work with them. If you’re trying to work with a client that is a health care provider, or hospital, and if you have some background in biology or medicine, they understand your lingo. The comfort level is definitely better and the fact that you have a background may get you more interested and do more studying in that passion. But yes and no; it can help you but it doesn’t guarantee it will help you. But basically, at this point, you should do what really interests you, and not what looks good.

How do people transition from being lawyers to becoming judges?

If you are a US citizen, you have to be super super good in law school. You would clerk for a judge, or you could just become a rock star at a law firm doing litigation work as a specialist. They can nominate you for judgeship, but you have to be super super good. A majority of those that get nominated have extensive litigation experience.

Any final words for SIS students who want to become lawyers?

You can decide to become a lawyer in college, so at this time, just enjoy life. Pursue things that you really want to pursue, and don’t get hung up on this professional track; I think it’s too early, especially for lawyers. It can be a Plan B for a lot of people, and you only have to study really hard for one year to get a job. But being a lawyer is a self-satisfying, respected position; it is a profession, it’s not a job. It’s a procession you need a license to practice. Do things that you really enjoy in high school; you can worry about becoming a lawyer in college.

Chris Rock’s commentary on #OscarsSoWhite: a step backward in racial equality

in Entertainment by

Comedy has always been a means of raising social awareness, but at what point do we draw the line?

The 2016 Academy Awards, more commonly known as the Oscars, was heavily criticized for solely recognizing white actors and actresses, leading to the trending hashtag “#OscarsSoWhite.” In addition to criticizing the selection of only white nominees, many actors and actresses of various ethnicities boycotted the event, leading to a large media frenzy. The controversy over the Oscars’ ethnic diversity only refueled when Chris Rock brought two Asian children onstage to comment on how all Asians are diligent and good at math.

Making a couple of jokes about race is standard practice, both from the customs of the award show and Rock’s style of comedy. But Rock took it upon himself this year to publicly bring attention to Asian stereotypes. Judging from the reactions to the Oscars, Rock did use his humor to alleviate the tension surrounding the #OscarsSoWhite, but disturbingly did so by placing the stereotype on a different minority population—Asian Americans.

In addition, Rock continued to comment on how the Oscars failed year after year to nominate enough African Americans. However, he failed to present the fact that other ethnicities have been even more underrepresented in Hollywood. Among those unrepresented ethnicities are Asian Americans. According to the New York Times, although Asian Americans are becoming more prominent in western media, actors like Ken Jeong are still asked to represent stereotypical Asian roles. An additional study conducted by the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism showed that at least half of film productions, both on television and streaming, had non-speaking roles played by Asians, and if they did have Asians casted, that they were rarely in leading roles.

Diversity is not an issue that applies to one race or one ethnicity. Rather, it is a problem of perception, stereotyping, and a general lack of tolerance for differences. As such, the lack of diversity is not a problem that applies exclusively to African Americans, women, or other perceived social minorities. The lack of diversity is rooted in the inability to see others as genuinely equal. Therefore, to remove the stereotype of one ethnicity to place it on another incorrectly defines diversity beyond repair. It somehow suggests that moving the problem around creates a temporary fix, whereas the reality is that it creates a failed scenario similar to that of transferring a bully to multiple schools, hoping the issue will somehow go away.

Ultimately, Rock showed the world that it is not acceptable to target African Americans in the film industry, but that it is fine to transfer the target to another minority. He showed the world how easy it is believe in false diversity, and unfortunately, a large portion of his audience bought it.

Artist Review: The Trump Youth

in Opinion/Uncategorized by

Once upon a time, a man opened his mouth and spread a pandemic. His words drove a nation into an unrelenting frenzy, putting men, women, and children of all ages into early graves. The man was Adolf Hitler, and the ailment he spread was none other than the double-edged sword of nationalism.

It has been 70 years since, and the same jingoistic disease that once consumed the lives of over 50 million has emerged again; this time under the seemingly innocuous presence of three girls dressed in red, white, and blue. Behold the “American Freedom Kids”.

Formed by Jeff Popick, the American Freedom Kids performed a dance praising US presidential candidate Donald Trump on Jan. 13 in Florida. Calling on America to “take down” supposed “enemies of freedom”, the trio of girls made national headlines that brought forth a barrage of righteous criticism to Donald Trump. Trump’s use of minors to further his cause is as hypocritical as it is absurd. The method takes advantage of the political naivety of underage children by indoctrinating and brainwashing them into supporting a cause that they may never fully understand.

Imagine an 8-year-old kid voting. Imagine the uproar that would ensue from Democrats and Republicans alike on the absurdity of giving a political voice to someone so young and so easily suggestible. Such is the reason that the 26th amendment affirms an individual’s right to vote to be assumed when he/she is “18 years of age or older”. Why is it that a nation that has adhered so firmly to this ‘teens are too young to hold a political voice’ sentiment, allows 8-year-old children to publicly sing in favor of a presidential candidate? A more age-appropriate political involvement may be learning to spell, not preach, “liberty.” If we are going to protect our youth from making ‘poor political decisions’, we should go all the way.

Going beyond the legality of this issue, the lyrics that these girls are singing are further worth noting. From highly suggestive phrases like “deal from strength or get crushed”, to actual threats like “take [enemies of freedom] down”, the words these children utter hold dangerous implications. By calling upon listeners to “answer freedom’s call” and “make America great again”, Trump is using patriotism as opposed to logic to garner support. While politicians promising “a free and equal America” is nothing new, Trump’s case is unique because he uses the appeal of patriotism to sugarcoat certain aspects of his policy. This song teaches the world to associate “freedom” with a man who has threatened to expel all Muslims from America. This song teaches the world to associate “liberty” with a man who, on numerous occasions, has generalized an entire race for the actions of a few. This song is a lie, one that contradicts what Trump’s true policies are and one that must be stopped.

The lyrics are also written in absolutes, which makes the nation come off as highly forceful and aggressive, quite contrary to the image of acceptance and embracement that it should hold. And to those who argue that the girls are merely singing for freedom and not Trump, refer to the chorus of a Hitler Youth song:

“Freedoms is the fire,
It is the bright vision,
As long as it flames high,
The world is never small.”

Sounds remarkably familiar doesn’t it? Like Hitler, Trump has managed to sugarcoat his political messages with quixotic notions of freedom and liberty—messages that seem all too endearing for the political ignorance of 8-year-old children. Please, let us prevent history from repeating itself.

The Art of the Diplomat

in Features/Website Features by
Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 8.43.00 AM

This interview was conducted by Nicholas Kim, thanks to Yeonghan Choi, the Director General of the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee in the National Assembly.

What should students anticipate as they enter the service?

We, as members of the foreign service, enhance friendly relationships with the host country, gather and report information, and protect and support overseas nationals.

There are three main types of diplomatic organizations that students should expect to work in. These range from working in an embassy and acting as a small government representing your home country to working in a consulate general to protect your nationals, and finally a permanent mission, in which you represent your country in international organizations.

 What should students be aware of when entering this service?

If you want to be a good diplomat, there are several important characteristics, some of which include honesty, consideration, and courage. The first thing that should come to mind is that meeting people is not an easy thing to do. It could be easy if you just introduce yourself, but when you do the diplomatic activities, you need to be able to persuade your counterparts. You have to be able to articulate your position and make that person understand your position. It is not an easy job, and you need to develop your own communication skills. Sometimes you may fail, but you cannot just give up. We have to try again with different tools and different methods to prepare for those difficult scenarios. 

How did you decide to join the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?

I do not really remember why I chose the career of as an officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One day when I was in high school, I just began to start being exposed to the job of a diplomat. I researched into the area, and it looked like quite a good fit for me.

What majors would you recommend for students who wish to pursue this kind of a service?

I chose international relations as a major in college, and it is the general major most diplomats choose. In order to do those majors successfully, you need to have some interests in social sciences and language. Reading is also very important. You can learn many other things from reading that you cannot learn at school and from your formal education system.

Are you optimistic about the future of South Korea-North Korea relations?

It is difficult for me to say if I am optimistic or pessimistic because the North-South situation has been there for over 50 years. I take that situation as a fact. However, at the same time, we have to prepare that something can happen at any time because North Korea is very unpredictable. In this way, we have to keep in mind that they are simply there and that we have to prepare for them to do anything unexpected that might occur.

Colors of Adolescence: Canary Yellow

in Colors of Adolescence/Lifestyle/Lifestyle Columns by
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They say there are two ways to tell time: by the ticking of a clock (obviously), and by the growling of the stomach. The latter has always been my go-to morning alarm; and the ringing tummy has but only one way to hit snooze.

They say there are many ways to make meaning in a trip abroad: one of which is to observe the world around you. But I’ve always been a proponent of a greater meaning—why observe when you can absorb (quite literally)?

But the conflict arises when you have both questions to juggle: a starving stomach and a foreign city. Like all other days, I was resolved to not to give up on either of the two—I was a legitimate New Yorker, which meant only one acceptable breakfast: bagel and iced Americano from a vendor, one in each hand.

I eeny, meeny, miny, moe my way feeling blessed that the city is one of grids. I run and run and run as the buildings pass, and even more people pass. My savior is not far. I screech as I approach the vendor I’d spotted.

“Lady always on the breakfast run in black?” he teases.

I laugh and nod away in sheer amazement.

“Must be new around town? Haven’t seen you around,” he asks.

Where or how that conversation sparked afterwards held little importance. But like two old friends reunited, the chatter blurred naturally and smiles came genuinely. He’s no longer just any bagel vendor to me. He’s a father of a three-year-old princess daughter. He’s a victim of the recent financial crisis and the struggles of street vendor work.

He’s a new friend I’d made amidst the frenzy.

The next day I charter a new route and once again, pass by buildings and even more people. I begin to assign these nameless folks their own shares of character depth: he’s probably a little boy’s superhero daddy; she probably hates the stress her employer gives her; she’s a precious lover’s one and only. I’ll never find out but it does leave me questioning–

They say many things. But who are they?

The Art of the Lobbyist

in Features/Website Features by
Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 8.39.02 AM

This interview was conducted by Soomin Chun, thanks to Dr. Christopher Hansung Ko, Ph.D, who is the CEO of Samsung Bioepis, a biopharmaceutical firm.

Did other companies not come to try to block the entry of lower priced medicine like yours?

That’s why we formed our own lobby group.

Haha, it’s like you’re playing a game.

We register as a lobby group in Washington D.C., meeting with senators…because we are telling everybody that sure, we are not violating other people’s IP (intellectual property), once it has expired—that’s what the patent system is for—then we want to bring a quality product to as many patients as possible. It’s the patient’s choice. If they prefer a branded product and they want to pay more, that’s fine. But we want more people to have access, and a choice.

But the industry doesn’t want that to happen?

No, they don’t want that. But restrictions pass over time, and the US government with the policy of Obamacare, the VP CIA act has been passed and these products are required to be marketed now, so I think people will change their minds.

What should students that aspire to be bio-pharmacists do currently, at school?

Well, they should definitely study biology. As many subsciences as you can, like chemistry, anatomy. So every class you guys offer in science like physics, you should actively pursue those [classes].

What parts of your job do you find most challenging?

Setting priorities amongst the many good ideas. Trying to pick what we consider the best ones is always challenging, because we don’t have unlimited resources.

Then how do you pick which idea is best?

That’s why we have a process. We have team members, everybody speaks and then at the CEO at the end of the day I have to make the decision. Hopefully the right decision.

In a typical workday, how many hours do you work?

At least 10 hours a day.

Isn’t that really tiring?

Yes it is.

Do you think too many or too few people are entering this profession of bio-pharmaceuticals?

In my view, too few, because I think the future for bio-pharmaceuticals is very very bright. This is actually going to surpass what is called traditional pharmaceuticals using small molecules. So if you have the right discipline, and the background, then I think this will create a great career opportunity considering the large market that will be present in the future as well as the few people entering it.

If you could start over again, would you change your career path in any way?

At this point, no. If you asked me ten years ago or ten years from now I might tell you something different, but I would not want to go back right now.

You said one of the things you do is hire new people, so what qualifications do you seek in a new employee?

Just have a passion, sincerity. We care about accessibility, we want to bring the product to more people, but you have got to have the passion to drive you to the goal. Otherwise the process is just too hard.

Daily fantasy sports ban in the US stirs controversy

in Sports by

27 states across the US, ranging from New York to Alabama, decided to ban the operation of various websites hosting daily fantasy sports, a subset of traditional fantasy sports. Fantasy sports is a popular online game format where players assemble and manage virtual sports teams based on real-life records. This state-by-state regulation has been ongoing since November 2015, based on claims by government officials that fantasy sports are similar to other forms of illegal gambling.

According to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, daily fantasy sports websites fuel the same public health and economic concerns that illegal gambling does. His office’s investigations into the two most popular fantasy sports websites, DraftKings and FanDuel, revealed that both websites had gaming systems that were very similar to that of a lottery.

“Daily fantasy sports is extremely different from the more commonly played traditional fantasy sports and comes with many more harms,” said Joonhee Han (11), experienced player of both traditional and daily fantasy sports. “I know that players cannot earn much money from the process of playing traditional fantasy sports itself, so it is very distant from the idea of gambling. On the other hand, daily fantasy sports involves directly betting and earning money, which makes it a much more dangerous and addictive activity.”

Despite such concerns, however, the restrictions set on daily fantasy sports have stirred up controversy amongst fans of e-gaming, as they deem it more a form of entertainment than a method of gambling.

“Daily fantasy sports often involves more skill than luck, because players are required to draft real athletes to form their own fantasy teams,” Toby Han (12) said. “Knowledge about various athletes’ strengths and probable performance are crucial to form a successful team—mere luck cannot bring about desirable results. Daily fantasy sports is more of a recreational activity that many people use to kill time, and should not be problematic on a legal level.”

Previously, more than 300 daily fantasy sports fans crowded around in the sidewalk outside of Schneiderman’s office near Wall Street, protesting against his ban of fantasy sports websites in New York. Among the protestors were employees of fantasy sports websites and members of Fantasy Sports For All, a group created by leading providers to protect the rights of fantasy sports players. This grassroot effort, however, has been met with conflicting perspectives.

“I find it ridiculous that most of the people protesting against the daily fantasy sports ban consisted of people working for the industry,” Sarah Park (9) said. “It seems like they are only against the anti-fantasy sports law because their jobs depend on the gaming, not because of the merits that the game brings.”

The Flint Water Crisis

in Opinion by

It was a chilly March evening when LeeAnne Walters woke up to the sound of a blood-curdling scream. Anticipating a burglar, she sprinted upstairs, baseball bat in hand. What she found was not a thief, but something just as shocking; her 18-year-old daughter Kaylie, staring in shock at the brown clump on the floor that used to be her hair.

Walters’ case is alarming. Sadly, it is not unique. For many months, residents in Flint, Michigan have noticed a variety of absurd symptoms–ranging from hair loss to random bursts of aching bones. While these cases were initially shrugged off, reports revealing Governor Rick Snyder’s switching of Michigan’s water source from Lake Huron to the toxic Flint River have recently sparked national outrage. While the Obama administration has taken steps to remedy this problem, the damage has been done. Thousands of residents remain intoxicated and incapacitated by the high amounts of lead in their body. They serve as testaments not only to the dangers of lead poisoning but also to the greediness and mismanagement tainting local governments.

The case all began when Governor Snyder took office in 2011. One of the first measures Snyder enacted was a multi-billion dollar tax break that decreased the amount of taxes that the rich had to pay. To compensate for this decreased revenue, Snyder had to start cutting costs. Schools, welfare systems, pensions and countless other public services were slashed in an effort to scrape up as much money as possible. Next up on Snyder’s radar was the city’s water source. Supplied by Lake Huron and purified by the Detroit Water Plant, Flint had enjoyed the best quality water for decades. To “cut out the middle man” and garner even more profits, Snyder unhooked the city from this reserve of clean water and instead, forced residents to drink from the toxic and untested Flint River. For over an year, the city has been drinking and bathing in this toxic lead-filled water.

What makes the matter even more absurd is how easily this issue could have been combated. Federal laws require all water systems to have a coating that prevents lead from leeching into the water; and hundred dollars a day for three months is all that would have to be paid. This choice proved itself ironic because the state willing to sacrifice the health of its residents for $9,000, now faces up to $1.5 billion to clear up the mess.

Consider this: a few months after this switched water supply, General Motors filed a complaint to Governor Snyder, asking him to switch back to the non-corrosive Lake Huron water that was better to purify car parts. Snyder was willing to spend $440,000 to quietly hook that one company back to the original Lake Huron source, while the rest of the city bathed and drank liquid lead. Clearly it’s fine for our children to be poisoned but god forbid our cars should rust!

KAIAC chess tournament allows students to showcase their abilities

in School News/Uncategorized by

On Feb. 20, the second of three KAIAC chess tournaments took place at International Christian School at Pyeongtaek (ICS). For the first time this school year, the varsity chess team took home all three trophies—Jason Choi (11), Seehyun Park (10), and Haram Cho (11) winning first, second, and third place respectively. The three secured their wins through the play-offs, during which a computer system pairs two random competitors up for each round. The points are then calculated, and the top three players with the highest scores place respectively.

“The tournament this year was small due to the fact that we only had about three or four of the schools [that usually participate] show up,” said Seehyun. “Regardless, this was my first time seeing the people who usually placed in the finals not show up, so that caused excitement among many of us. The competitive atmosphere also helped each of the players play to the best of their abilities.”

In preparation for the first tournament of the second semester, students invested large amounts of personal time, often staying after school up to twice a week to sharpen their skills. With such practice, teammates felt comfortable showcasing their abilities, and many players consequently ended up with improved results.

“We put in more effort for this tournament,” said Bright Chong (10), varsity team member. “Despite our heavy workload, we sacrificed a lot of our time both at and away from school to polish our chess skills. I think the sacrifice really shined through this tournament and I was able to witness the improvements of all my teammates as well. Although [the tournament] was very competitive, I believe each player was able to maintain a calm mindset and pull through until the end.”

According to his teammates, Jason particularly devoted himself to develop an improved play to secure his first place. Not one of the usual top contenders, he began at a relatively lower value on the rating system, a quantified indicator of the chess player’s standing and record. But in addition to practicing with the team at school, he also set aside time at home every single day, often spending hours to utilize new playing strategies. His perseverance and dedication to the sport allowed him to exhibit a more aggressive play, a difference from the reserved style he performed in previous competitions.

“I think my win was a well-deserved win because it reflects the fruit of my labor,” said Jason. “I believe persistency allows people to achieve what they wish for. Just two years ago, I started off with an average rating of 800, but with constant practices, it eventually shot up to 1700, and I became one of the stronger SIS chess players.

The members of the SIS chess team hope to continue to bring in good results, and are working towards their goal through the practices and meetings that they have set before the next tournament in April. As Jason puts it: “Persistency with a bit of mouse clicking enables us to become who we wish to be.”

Samsung debuts first virtual reality camer

in Lifestyle/Uncategorized by

Spurring the growth of the field of virtual reality (VR) photography, Samsung announced its first ever 360-degree camera, the Samsung Gear 360, on Feb. 21. The device is designed for consumers to capture full range videos and photos, and is set to select countries of release by the second quarter. Months before the camera’s debut was announced, Samsung also released its first consumer VR headset, the Gear VR. This device was developed in collaboration with Oculus VR and allows for users to interact with virtual environments using a Samsung Galaxy device.

The Gear 360 resembles a white sphere slightly bigger than a golf ball. Fisheye lens, tripod, and single lens mode are just a few of the many functions of the camera. A personalized VR world can be created with the press of a single button, which uses its dual fisheye lenses to stitch together such 360-degree videos. Consumers can then use the Gear VR to watch these videos by moving their heads. However, viewing the images in 2D requires a newer Samsung phone, a downside to the product according to TechRadar.

“I think the Gear 360 is a cool development,” said Victor Kang (10), technology enthusiast. “Now, there is a way for you to take pictures of whole landscapes and share them through different devices. [These developments] provide another leap into the virtual world with immediate access to the devices we have now.”

Integration of VR in not only images, but also social platforms are also rising in popularity. Creating additional momentum around VR viewing experiences for pictures, Flickr announced its plans to develop a new page highlighting 360-degree panorama photos and create a new “sharing” button for these online pictures. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg also expressed his anticipation for the realm of VR gaming, a platform he believes will alter the way people these days work, play, and communicate. In his interview with the BBC, Zuckerberg cited the firm Oculus, as one with the potential to create the most social platform ever.

“These gadgets are interesting not only because of their new functions but also because of the positive impact they can have on technology in the long run,” said Shelley Jeon (9), follower of technology. “With 360-degree cameras, it may be possible to take pictures of outer space or areas unfamiliar to the public as a fresh learning experience. Although I am unsure about how much of the public will use them for their daily use, but the implications of VR for future explorations is worth anticipating.”

The Art of the Actor

in Features/Website Features by

This interview was conducted by Ariel Lee, thanks to Joonghoon Park, who is an actor, director, and star in the media industry.

What were some initial perceptions of acting and how did this differ from reality?

When you’re acting as an amateur, it’s really fun because you get to do what you want without real pressure. I’m great in front of an audience. If there’s 500 people, I’m comfortable. It there’s 5,000 people, I’m even more comfortable. So it’s great. But when you’re acting professionally, you really need to be responsible. The audience, director, and film crew are all paying you for you to give an authentic performance. This sort of responsibility can be a pressure that you don’t feel when you first stat acting.

What type of scripts do you most want to work with?

There’s a saying in my industry that the script does 90 percent of the acting for you. When I read a good script, before I even know it I’m already acting. So you really know in the first couple moments when a script is really good.

What kind of directors do you most like to work with?

The worst director tells you exactly what to do, giving no room for personal creativity. The worst director also tells you to do anything at all. The best director is someone who is able to put you in a range

What is it like working a heavily emotional role?

When you’re acting, you have to believe in the role you’re taking and really live in that situation. If you don’t believe yourself, then the audience knows and no one else will believe you. Once, I had to act as a king who slaughtered his wife and three children. In reality, I also have a wife and three children. So I had to kill Bason and Sophie and Meehee, at least in that moment. This really does have emotional effect on the actor. Acting is an emotionally burdensome profession, and you have to be willing to feel these emotions in order to create a convincing scene.

[intense_image image=”http://i.imgur.com/TGAPGIe.jpg” align=”middle” caption=”Standing at the microphone in front of the audience, Joonghoon Park delivers a review of his profession while expanding on his own career as an actor and director.”]

What does a director have to do to make sure to be both friendly with the actors and maintain creative vision?

The question of the line between creativity and mere stubbornness will be an eternal question for all artists. Sometimes when a director asks an actor to do something in a very specific way, it really doesn’t contribute to the artistic quality of a film, but sometimes it does. Things like these will always be contended.

Why did you decide to be an actor?

I wanted to be an actor because I wanted to. To me, what I wanted was more important than what I should do or what people were telling me to do. My father worked for the government, and back then, it was even more scandalous to become an entertainer. When I first told him that I wanted to be an actor, honestly, he hit me. Luckily, I’ve been able to star in 40 films as a lead role and I’ve been a successful movie star in Korea. But others have not been so lucky, because very few get to this level. And my father knew this too, so he wanted to prevent me from taking the harder road of life.

How do I know whether I should or shouldn’t try acting?

I have to be really honest right now, because I’m talking to students. And when it comes to acting, you really need talent. In my industry the success rate is very low, and many actors practice and practice but they struggle to gain recognition. This doesn’t mean that you should give up immediately because you think you have no chance. If you’re not sure whether you’re talented or not talented, you should try.

HSSC Election Debates

in Uncategorized by

Hosted by Quill and Scroll and HSSC, the new HSSC Executive Election Debates are a new initiative made to bring the candidates closer to you, the students, than ever before. It gave audiences the opportunity to decide which candidate is the best suited to hold the position, and are uploaded here to give those of you who did not attend the same chance.

Executive Secretarial Debate (Andrew Ahn, Victor Kang)

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jX4qPh1Omr8&feature=youtu.be” width=”560″ height=”320″]

Executive Vice-Presidential Debate (Eric Song, Jaeha Kim)

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvp-AEQDFGQ” width=”560″ height=”320″]

Executive President Debate (Nick Yeo, David Choe)

[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/M-FdQIVtdMc” width=”560″ height=”320″]

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