Image above: A firefighter walks near a backfire during the Saddleridge fire in Newhall, California on October 11, 2019. Josh Edelson/Getty Images
By: John Lee and Payton Suh
As we look back at 2019, we have seen many natural disasters. From hurricanes to fires, here are some of the most memorable natural disasters from 2019.
The Kincade fire was reported on October 23 at 9:27 p.m. on the Sonoma County mountainside, about 80 miles north of San Francisco. Even though precautions had been made with power outages made by PG&E, which had difficulty keeping electric lines from igniting fires when winds, the fire still started. As Mercury News reported, PG&E later admitted that the fire could have been started by its own equipment. Californian Cal Fire agency said the fire was first reported close to the T – section joining Burned Mountain Road and Kincade Road, in Cloverdale. The fire started on private land that Calpine, a company known for being America’s largest electricity generating companies, used for geothermal energy operations.
Dry and windy weather in the beginning of the wildfire might have been what made the fire so destructive. Gusts peaked at 93 mph in the hills north of Healdsburg on Oct. 27. Because of this, the Kincade Fire quickly grew. Its growth doubled from the day before, with only 5% containment. During that Sunday, and even the day before, the fire forced nearly 180,000 people to flee their homes over the weekend as historic winds pushed the state’s largest utility to cut electricity for millions of people in an effort to prevent more spreading. Thankfully, the fire ended on September 7th, 2019. Altogether, the stats show that the fire burned 77, 758 acres, destroyed 374 buildings, and thankfully, led to the death of 0 people.
The Saddleridge Fire started at around 9 in the morning on the north side of the 210 freeway. It was not too severe, but there was currently a windstorm gusting up to 60 mph. The fire blew over the intersection of 210 and 5 over to the south side, igniting more brush. Evacuations were ordered for the safety of the citizens living near the fire. The California Highway Patrol closed down both highways in both directions. Reports from those motorists say they were stuck in traffic for hours because of the fire.
Elsewhere, more troubles were brewing. Moreno Valley, Banning, Newberry Park, and the Kern County – LA County line were burning. Because of this, power lines had to be cut. The first batch of power cuts was with less than 5000 residents, but that number grew exponentially, and topped nearly 175,000. More than 23,000 homes were located in the required evacuation area, which extends to the Ventura County border. Several districts, including LAUSD, closed some schools, and residents fled to shelters to quickly fill several schools. Up to 50 miles per hour of burning coals were blown up, and fire authorities burned along the roof of Porter Ranch, about 10 miles from the fire site.
How to Deal With Fires-
- Get educated on how to use a fire extinguisher.
- Construct a disaster preparedness kit. Here are some basic things that should be inside the kits:
- Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.
- Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio
- NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert.
- Create a family emergency communication plan.
- Collect contact information for your family and other important contacts.
- Make sure everyone carries a copy of this information with them.
- Have regular household meetings to review and practice your plan.
- When evacuating the building, be sure to feel doors for heat before opening them to be sure there is no fire danger on the other side.
- If there is smoke in the air, stay low to the ground, especially your head, to reduce inhalation exposure.
- If the building has elevators, avoid using them, use the stairs.
- Don’t spend extra time to recover valuables.
- Follow your family emergency communication plan.
- Get out of the structure (if you are currently in one) and call 911.
- Immediately evacuate and stay out of the distance of the fire.
Hurricane Dorian was the first major hurricane in the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season. It started on August 24, 2019 as a tropical wave and rapidly strengthened, becoming a hurricane only 4 days later. On August 31, 2019, Dorian strengthened to become a category 4 hurricane. On September 1, it finally reached category 5 intensity, while reaching the Bahamas. It was considered the worst storm system to hit the Bahamas. It stopped for about a day just above the Grand Bahamas. At the beginning of September 6, Dorian picked up speed and clipped North Carolina.
How to Deal with Hurricanes-
- Get a radio to hear significant storm updates, directions, and info.
- Go inside and avoid all fragile materials. Stay in a safe area. (Ex. an inner room, closet or 1st floor restroom.)
- Stay within the protection of your residence until there is absolute certainty that the area is clear of storms. With high winds still approaching, the storm’s eye could make a short-term and misleading interval.
- Make sure the refrigerator is closed so the cold air is trapped and prevent spoilage of perishable food, if power is lost.
- Follow all the manufacturer’s instructions if you use a portable generator. Generators must be properly grounded to prevent electrical shock and should never be operated indoors, in garages, ebasements or outdoors near any windows, doors or vents. Make sure you have a working CO detector in your home, because generators produce carbon monoxide (CO).
Many natural disasters cover the earth, so it is essential to know what to do. With these tips you should be more prepared for fires and Hurricanes. We hope that these tips are useful. – John Lee and Payton Suh.
Hurricane Dorian at Category 5 intensity approaching the northwestern Bahamas early Sunday morning: (NOAA)
We wish you all a happy Valentine’s Day and hope that you enjoy your three-day weekend!
Check out the Science Academy Newsflash today! New, interesting articles are released all of the time!
-The Journalism TeamRead More
THE HISTORY OF
By Apollo Colligan and Ryden Sar
The Beginning of Minecraft
In 2009, Minecraft was created by Markus Persson, also known as Notch and was originally called Cave Game. This game was different than other online games where you create things because instead of simply creating structures, you also have to gather resources to build those structures. This mix was unusual because most games at the time usually only had the player gather resources and not build or to build but not have to gather resources. On top of that, Minecraft was also a survival game. You have to survive hostile mobs and can explore the vast world. You can also use your resources to craft new materials that you can use to create structures, survive longer, and craft more materials.
-Updates that occurred after the release was 1.0.0. It was the explorer update that added all the features in the base game, like health and other base features.
-The next update was 1.1, which added 51 new languages, including three fictional ones, and it added spawn eggs for all the current animals. Oak leaves also obtained a 1/2000 chance of dropping apples.
-The next update was 1.2.1. The items that it added were the bottle o’ enchanting and the fire charge. It also added mine shafts and desert wells.
-The next update was version 1.3.1. In this update, many things were added and improved. Some of the things that were added in the game were trading with villagers and another mode called adventure mode. Some structures were added into the game as well, including desert and jungle temples. Desert villages and emeralds were also added to the game.
-The following update was 1.4.2 (The Scary Update) which added many things including the wither, a second boss to the game. Some other things that it added were the anvil, carrots, potatoes, pumpkin pie, carrot on a stick, item frames, and flower pots. The mobs that it added were the wither skeletons, the witch, and the bat.
-The next update was version 1.5 also known as The Redstone Update and it was a very big update for Minecraft. Redstone -related blocks were added, more death messages were added, and slimes in Minecraft began to only spawn at certain times.
-The next update was known as The Horse Update and was 1.6. There were three mobs that were added to the game in this update, which was the horse, the mule, and the donkey. Many horse or pet-related items were added into the game as well, such as horse armor, lead, and name tags. It was also in this update that the end credits and the splash texts were added into the game.
-The 1.7 update, also known as The Update that Changed the World, lives up to its name. This update added 16 colors of stained glass and glass panes as well as new biomes, types of trees, and new flowers. It added salmon, clownfish, and pufferfish. Although there were not many changes that were made to the glass, after this update water, portals, and other glass blocks were visible through them. The new biomes that were added into the game included deep ocean, extreme hills, mega taiga, normal taiga, flower forest, birch forest, roofed forest, sunflower plains, mesa, and savanna.
-The next update was 1.8 (The Bountiful Update). This update added granite, andesite, and diorite, plus all their polished counterparts. It also added sea temples and all of their corresponding blocks/mobs.
In 2014 Microsoft bought Minecraft from Markus Person (aka Notch) for $2.5 billion. Many people were sad and outraged that Minecraft was no longer in its original owner’s hands, and many worried that Microsoft would ruin the game. However, people soon realized that the changes made were not drastic and that the game would keep its original feel.
– In the 1.9 update (The Combat Update) new types of arrows were introduced into the game known as tipped and spectral arrows. The tipped arrows had effects on them, and when someone is hit by them, the effect is inflicted on them. Along with that, shields were added, which reduced your movement speed to crouching but made it so that all damage dealt by arrows are nullified and melee damage is reduced, and if you combine a banner with your shield, it will dye the shield. A new kind of potion was added to the game as well, called lingering potions, which lingers around where you throw it. Swords also obtained a ‘sweep attack’ which can hit multiple enemies. A new slot was also added to the game so that you can hold things in your left hand. The end was updated as well, allowing you to travel farther into it if you have an ender pearl and igloos were added into the game too. This update also released mobs called shulkers and skeleton horses.
-Update 1.10, also known as the Frostburn Update brought the auto jump feature, which makes you automatically jump when you go next to a block. A few blocks were added into the game as well, including magma blocks, which damaged you if you stood on it, nether wart blocks, brick, and bone blocks, which can be found in bone structures. Three new mobs were added to the game as well, which included polar bears, and strays, which were just skeletons that spawn in snowy places and inflict slowness with their arrows. The last mob that was added to the game is the husk, which is a mob that is another version of the basic zombie but spawns in deserts and is immune to sunlight and also inflicts hunger on enemies that it attacks. Endermen after this update can reach the Nether. Roads in villages were also changed depending on where they are.
-The next update was 1.11 (The Explorer Update). This update includes llamas, a passive animal that is able to be tamed. When attacked, it will spit at its foe. Another thing added was the woodland mansion, a naturally generated structure. It also added the End City, able to be reached after killing the Ender Dragon, with shulkers that shoot levitation bullets and drop shulker shells.
-The very next update was known as The World of Color Update. That was because this update was more focused on adding color to the game. There were only two mobs that were added. These two mobs were the parrot and the illusioner. The parrot naturally spawns in jungle biomes and can be tamed if it is fed seeds. The second mob that was added into the game was the illusioner which is a villager mob that is equipped with a bow and arrow. As for the blocks that were added to the game in this update, there were three, all with sixteen different color variants. The blocks that were added into the game were concrete, concrete powder, and glazed terracotta.
-The following update was 1.13 (The Aquatic Update). It added many new blocks, mobs, and structures. The mobs that were added were the dolphin, a passive mob that gives you a speed boost if you swim near it, and the drowned.
-The next update was the 1.14 Village and Pillage Update. This update greatly changed villages and added quite a few mobs as well. The mobs that were added into the game were the wandering trader, lama, fox, panda, pillager, and ravager. Some blocks that were added were scaffolding and lanterns, as well as many utility blocks. As well as these things, the villages were changed as well, making it so they match the biome they are in. There was also one weapon that was added to the game known as the crossbow.
Minecraft has many updates to come over the next years to come. Minecraft has changed immensely over the past ten years it has been around. It is an ever-evolving game with everyone at Mojang and now Microsoft constantly working on it to improve and continue making certain that the game is fun and challenging. Be sure to watch out for creepers!
By Milan Vuletic and Harrison Reisner
The Nintendo Switch Lite is a cheaper alternative version of the Nintendo Switch system. The original Switch’s gimmick was the ability to take it anywhere you want in portable mode and to be able to use it on the big screen in docked mode. However, the Switch Lite is only available to play in handheld mode. It also doesn’t work with certain games that require the Joy-cons. However, most games don’t require them, and therefore can run on both the Switch and the Switch Lite. Is it still worth it? Let’s find out!
Compared to the standard Switch, the Switch Lite lives up to its name with a 5.5 inch screen compared to the 6.2 inch screen on the standard Switch. The Switch Lite is also about 30% lighter compared to the standard Switch, making it even easier to carry around. However, to reach the $200 price point, certain compromises had to be made, such as the removal of the kickstand which allowed for easier multiplayer play. The Switch Lite also lacked the Joy-cons, which allowed for playing with other people on the fly. However, the Switch Lite provides an alternative. Up to eight people, each with Switch Lites, can get close together and connect via wireless connection in games that support multiplayer. The Switch Lite also got rid of the directional buttons with a proper d-pad with made the controls even more smooth.
On the contrary though, the Switch Lite has about 30 minutes more battery life than the standard Switch. The Switch Lite gets about 3-7 hours of battery life compared to the 2.5-6.5 hours on the standard Switch. The Switch’s battery life is mostly determined by which game it is currently running, as some games require more processing power. When I got to try out the feel of the Switch Lite, it felt extremely comfortable to hold, especially on the back. However, the Switch Lite might feel a little small in someone with big hands.
In conclusion, the Switch Lite is a “lighter” version of the Switch. I think it is still too expensive for all the features that were removed. The removed features add up to about $160. So, if you were to purchase the removed items, you would pay more than the standard Switch. But if you’re on a budget, the Switch Lite might be for you. The Switch Lite is great for kids and people that travel a lot who don’t really have time to play at home. I think the next step for Nintendo would be a Switch Pro that would have more features and be more expensive than the standard Switch.Read More
By Kwanghyun (Joseph) Kim and Mitchell Glass
There are all kinds of laptops. Some are made for work and some are made for gaming. When looking for a gaming laptop, it should be portable, powerful, and affordable. The ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX701 and the MSI GF63 Thin are examples of computers made for gaming. As their name suggests, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX701 is provided by ASUS and the MSI GF63 Thin is provided by MSI. ASUS is a multinational computer and phone hardware and electronics company headquartered in Taiwan. MSI is a Taiwanese multinational information technology corporation also headquartered in Taiwan. Two of the best laptops provided by ASUS and MSI are the GX701 and GF63 Thin. When looking for a gaming laptop, most gamers look for a good graphics card, CPU and monitor. Battery life is also something that is important, but it is less looked at. The GX701 and GF63 Thin are two laptops that have all of these features. They also have slim builds, increasing mobility. These laptops are powerful enough to handle most games, but which of these laptops are better?
The MSI GF63 Thin has a size of 14.13 inches by 9.99 inches by 0.85 inches with a total of 4.10 pounds. The screen resolution is 1920 x 1080. The ASUS Rog Zephyrus GX701 has a size of 15.7 by 10.7 inches by 0.74 inches with a total weight of 5.73 pounds. It has a 17.3 inch screen and its screen resolution is 1920 x 1080. The GX701 has a slightly bigger frame than the GF63. Because of the GF63’s size, it would be more portable and easier to carry than the GX701.
The GF63 has a battery life of approximately 7 hours. Depending on the situation, the GX701 can operate for approximately 2 to 3 hours. If you happen to overwork your computer, for example by playing an intense game, you will obviously have less battery.
The storage of an electronic device is the amount of physical data it can store on the hard drive or solid state drive. An SSD, also known as a solid state drive, is a storage device that uses integrated circuit assemblies to store data, while a hard drive writes data to a physical magnetic disk. SSDs are generally faster than hard drives. The GF63 has 256 GB SSD in storage and the GX701 has 512 GB SSD in storage. The memory of a device is the amount of temporary information the computer can access quickly with ease. The GF63 has 8 GB of DDR4 2666MHz SDRAM. and the GX701 has 16/32 GB of DDR4 2666MHz SDRAM.
The job of the core processor is to read and execute central processing unit instructions. The GX701 has an Intel i7-9750, which is a 9th-Gen 6-core CPU. Similarly to the GX701, the GF63 is also equipped with an Intel Core i7-9750H. The GF63 uses the Nvidia GeForceGTX 1650. The Zephyrus is available with a Nvidia GeForceGTX 2080/2070/2060 GPU with real-time ray tracing that can boost up to 1230 MHz.
The network card of a computer is a component that connects the computer to a network. The GX701 has an Intel 802.11ac (2X2) Gigabit Wi-Fi network card but does not have an ethernet port. GF63 has a 2×2 Intel 9560 802.11ac Wireless and also does not have an ethernet port. The MSI GF63 can cost up to $800, making a fairly cheap gaming computer. The GX701 costs around $3,500, which is a lot more than the MSI GF63 but worth it.
The Zephyrus also has this useful system for cooling called the Active Aerodynamic System. What is does is it basically opens up the bottom of the laptop and lets 32% more air cool the laptop. This translates to a 20% drop in temperature compared with conventional cooling. The GF63 Thin can enhance audio detail by 30% with a built-in Audio Power Amplifier. The computer also has software included, such as the MSI App Player. This was made with the cooperative efforts of MSI and Bluestacks.
The two computers have their strengths and weaknesses. The MSI computer has a longer battery life and is smaller in size, making it more portable. It also costs a lot less. The computer developed by ASUS is slightly bigger than the GF63 Thin, but it has more storage, memory, and computing power. If you are looking for a good gaming computer and don’t care about the price, the GX701 is good. If you have a low budget, the MSI GF63 Thin is for you. Overall, the computer from ASUS, the ROG Zephyrus GX701, is the better computer.
By Angie Choi and Olivia Kim
This year we have two wonderful new teachers. We would like to introduce our new P.E. teacher/ yoga instructor, Ms. Curtis, and we’ve been quite curious about her. So we did an ‘Ask me Anything’ – with her. Lately, we’ve been wondering when she wanted to become a P.E teacher. “I wanted to become a P.E. teacher when I was in college. But I decided to study about being a physical therapist instead. Later on, I gave up on physical therapy and eventually went on to teach yoga, be a personal trainer, and work in corporate wellness. After about ten years in those industries, I finally decided to become a P.E. teacher.
Another question we had was why she likes being a P.E teacher. Not every adult can handle 40 kids running amok, so we’re very grateful for what Ms. Curtis does. Anyway, here’s what she said: “I really enjoy seeing students learning a new skill or gain new knowledge about fitness that they did not have prior to my class. I like to see when students make progress in achieving the fitness goals they set for themselves.”
Ms. Curtis enjoyed many sports as a kid, and still does (hence why she’s a P.E teacher.)
Ever since Ms. Curtis was little, she liked fitness and sports. She had lots of interest in basketball, volleyball, track, swimming, and tae-kwon-do.
Something else we were curious about was where she grew up, and if that place influenced her to become active in any way.
Ms. Curtis grew up in the Valley before moving to Northridge when she was nine. She said that she had good role models of her own P.E teachers in middle and high school who influenced her athletically. Additionally, she grew up in an active family and community.
Which schools did you consider being a P.E teacher for? Was Science Academy your first choice?
She first student-taught at Kennedy High School before going on to teach at New Los Angeles Charter and Madison Middle School before coming to the Science Academy. Additionally, Ms. Curtis was a yoga teacher for 10 years and also worked in corporate wellness before becoming a P.E teacher.
We know there must be hard things about being a P.E teacher – Here’s what they are. “The hardest part about being a P.E. teacher is having to deal with environmental issues, such as the weather or sharing space with other P.E. classes. The other hard part is having a higher number of students in each class than other subjects.”
We originally assumed that Ms. Curtis had found out about the Science Academy through a friend or family member, but the answer was actually quite simple – “I found out about the Science Academy through the LAUSD job search engine.”
What high school and college did you go to?
I went to Cleveland High School in Reseda where I played basketball, volleyball, and took part in the track team. I went to CSUN (Go, Matadors!) for college, where I was a heptathlete on the track team for 4 years.
Was being a P.E. teacher your dream job?
“Yes, being a P.E. teacher is my dream job. I get to be outside and share my passion for movement. I am living the dream because I get to inspire students to lead healthy and active lives.”Read More
By Chelan Kostello and Oliver Arett
As incoming 6th graders, we interviewed ten eighth-graders and Ms. Welch for their advice to the new sixth graders in the Science Academy because they have already been through the process of succeeding in the Science Academy.
- Do not procrastinate or panic about school work, even when we are under extreme pressure to finish with an upcoming deadline.
- When you are doing essays, you should try to calm yourself and think clearly before you start writing. You should not have your mind cluttered with extraneous thoughts.
- We should always try to get extra credit whenever it is available. This will give you extra points to get rid of a bad grade and stay at an A. Then we can still get an A, even if we miss a few problems.
- We should follow directions very precisely, participate constantly in class/ask any questions you have, and by doing this, you can understand tough concepts. They also said that we should make sure to keep our textbooks in good condition and to not lose them since we have to return them at the end of the year and they’re expensive!
- Another bit of good advice we received is that we should always get your homework done because it’s easier to keep up than it is to catch up. Participate in class, pay attention, ask questions if you don’t understand, and always write your assignments in your agenda so that you do not forget any.
- We also asked Mrs. Welch for her advice. She said that everyone should regularly check Schoology and that their parents also should. She also said to take advantage of Social Communication to do homework, collaborate, and get help on assignments. During this time you can get lots of homework done, giving you more free time at home. She also said to ask teachers for clarification whenever we do not understand something and to take advantage of lunchtime tutoring in different teacher’s classrooms and from other students in the Science Academy. The last piece of advice she gave us is to always be expanding our circle of friends.
- Take good, clear notes, use our agenda to its fullest, and to not talk to your friends during class or you will miss the information being taught and get bad grades on tests.
- One student advised us to not worry too much about the high expectations and warnings issued by Mr. Lauchu and Ms. Huff, that they really want what’s best for us and they can be understanding if things don’t go the way they should.
- Sixth grade is not very hard if you are a good student. They also said that we should do the outlines yourself so we actually learn the material and figure out what the primary aspects of a subject are.
- We should try to make a lot of friends and not be too hard on yourself if you get a bad grade on a test.
If you follow this advice, you’ll be a long way towards having a successful first year at the Science Academy STEM Magnet!
By Jose Salamanca and Gideon Said
This year, the Makerspace lab has been utilized more than ever! Here, kids are allowed to work on any projects they want. In this room, there is a wide selection of materials from flight simulators to VR. You can 3-D print anything you need for whatever project you are pursuing. In this lab at the Science Academy, students are working on very unique and interesting projects. Many of them are direct solutions to modern world problems and other problems of all varieties. One project is a hexapod robot. A hexapod is a six-legged robot. The great thing about it is that you can code whatever movement styles you want! It can walk in a wave or shuffles and many other motions. Also, buying a ready-made hexapod would cost up to $2,000, while building it costs $200!
Another project is a VR Driving Simulator which stimulates the effects of drunk driving. It contains features that can change your reaction speed based on your blood toxicity. Also, it blurs the screen to make your vision worse based on the amount of alcohol coursing through you virtually.
Another project is a prosthetic arm that will be controlled with electrical impulses originating from your brain. This will allow the controlling of prosthetic limbs in injured people.
Regenerating concrete is another project trying to be completed. It could prevent against earthquakes and acid rain. The concrete would automatically regenerate itself from any cracks and/or fractures.
Another VR project is a surgery simulator that will be programmed with many different surgeries for medical students to practice on. This will contain many different operations widely used throughout the world on people. You will be able to practice and learn the correct methods when performing surgeries in real-life.
Another group will be designing an entire, interactive VR model of the school. You will be able to explore classrooms and hallways. All of these projects utilize the many capabilities of the Makerspace room. More details of these projects will be provided throughout the year as they develop and are built here in the Makerspace room.
Recently in Makerspace, there was a challenge where we had to create the tallest tower we could, using only one meter of string, twenty spaghetti sticks, and one meter of tape. This challenge tests your social capabilities and engineering skills under the pressure of time and limited, low-quality materials. On top of that, it has to hold a marshmallow on top so you have to hope that your marshmallow will not collapse AND be held higher than several other groups. Additionally, the tower has to be free-standing and can not be held for support. A short 18 minutes is all that is provided to the three/four-person group. The marshmallow challenge is mainly based on your skills in working together and breaking things down into simpler parts. This challenge requires clear communication and the ability to quickly start building instead of wasting precious time planning a design. Studies have shown how different types of people have different skill levels in doing this. Surprisingly, kindergartners have one of the highest scores because of how they put the marshmallow up first. Then they slowly add on, but the marshmallow is always on top. Many grades participated in this challenge. Our top record here in the Science Academy was an eighth-grade group at 27 inches tall!
Graph (top) Photo of Marshmallow Towers (bottom)