Cons of the new bell schedules

In many school districts in California, a new policy has been put into place: school must start before 8:30 AM. Although schools are still permitted to have classes before this time, the time spent in these classes do not count towards the 70000 hours of school each school must have in a year. This change has been especially prevalent in the SVUSD. Schools like Laguna Hills and Trabuco Hills are getting out even as late as 3:45 PM. Although on the surface, starting school later seems like a good idea, it turns out that it isn’t.

The most obvious effect of this is that school ends later. For those who are involved in extracurriculars after school, it makes scheduling after school extremely tight, and some after school activities may even be cut into. These scheduling conflicts can be extremely inconvenient and can interfere with people’s lives outside of school. On top of that, it will encourage students to push their routine later. This will case students to go to bed later and do activities later at night, and therefore wake up later in the morning.

Another effect of this is that classes, especially for the schools that have block schedules, are way longer. Because the state of California requires a certain number of hours that schools need to have in session per year, not counting classes that start before 8:30 means that schools need to have classes that last longer and go later. As a result, students can become more tired and less focused. However, it is worth noting that these longer classes can have benefits, especially in an AP environment, as it simulates the AP testing atmosphere more.

In the end though, pushing school back to 8:30 was a poor change for the students. I write this from the perspective of a student, which is worth noting because I don’t know what it is like from the teacher’s perspective. It is what it is though. Sad face.

Capybara Video Evaluation

Capybaras are rodents that come from South America and thrive in tropical weather. They are considered to be the world’s largest rodent, and can weigh as much as an adult male. Do not be deceived by their size however, as they are very friendly! They love interacting with humans and even other animals; they have been known to interact and be social with dogs, birds, ducks, and other animals. Capybaras are very social creatures, and they thrive in packs of between ten and forty capybaras. The best part about capybaras is that they are very cute, and like all cute animals, there are a lot of online videos about them. Every single capybara video out there is amazing, but there are a couple that stand out to just be the best.

Back in September of 2014, YouTube user Crazy Cody’s Creatures uploaded a video titled “Capybara eating an Ice Pop“. As the title suggests, it is a 1 minute video of a capybara consuming a red popsicle. This video is great because the feeding process of someone’s pet capybara is documented, and a great angle of the feeding is shown. Not only is this video educational, but it is also very entertaining! The capybara eating the popsicle is very entertaining on its own, but half of the popsicle breaking and falling to the ground 24 seconds in just makes it so much more enjoyable. However, a main criticism of this video is that the video ends before the capybara finishes eating the popsicle. Because of this minor setback, I would rate this video a 9/10, would watch again.

Two years later, in December 2016, the same YouTube user uploaded a video titled “Capybara eating half a watermelon Full Video“. The video starts out with a minute-long time lapse of the entire feeding, followed by the feeding in real time. For nearly half an hour, the viewer gets to enjoy the sight and sounds of a capybara consuming a massive watermelon. That watermelon looks delicious!!! However, looks can be deceiving. Assuming that the video was uploaded shortly after it was recorded, it can be inferred that the Capybara ate the watermelon in a winter month. The problem is that watermelon is a summer fruit, and tastes best in the summer. Because of this, we know that the watermelon that the capybara ate in the video does not taste very good, which personally bugs me a lot and makes me sad. Consequently, I would rate this video a 3/10 because it violates ethical considerations through giving a happy capybara a sad meal 😦

The last video I will analyze today is a video titled “Capybara with mandarin orange on head みかんを頭にのせるカピバラ 伊豆シャボテン動物公園元祖カピバラ露天風呂 MAESTRO ZEN” from November 2018. It is a video of a group of capybaras swimming with oranges. This video is awesome because they decided to have the capybaras swim with a fruit that was buoyant, meaning that the oranges would not sink. If the oranges sank, then the capybaras would feel lonely and sad, since the fruit would likely drown. But since the oranges float, the capybaras are happy and content, which can be seen in their energetic swimming. Some would argue that they are swimming with a pretty poor tasting fruit. Although I personally would disagree, as oranges taste very good, it is evident that not a single orange is actually consumed by a capybara, so the orange-haters have no valid argument. Ending off on a high note, this video is a 10/10, and it is necessary for people to see this video some time in their life.

Stroop 1935 Study

Cognitive Psychology is the field of psychology that studies how the human brain works, specifically memory, emotion, and behavior. Within cognitive psychology contains the field of processing, which focuses on how the brain works to produce a response to some situation or dilemma, and interference, what factors may disrupt the ability to process.

A study that explores this is Stroop 1935, and it relates to a theory known as the Stroop Effect. The Stroop Effect relates to how a mismatch between the color of a word and the word itself may lead to a longer time to state the color of the word. For example, if the word “blue” was printed in the color red, it would take longer to identify the color of the word than if it was just printed in the color blue. This theory helps people understand how brain processing works, specifically if words and colors would be processed in different parts of the brain. In Stroop’s study, he aimed at determining whether or not a mismatch of the color of a word and the word itself had any effect in the time it took to determine the color of the word it was printed in. To achieve this, he constructed three lists of words. All of these lists contained words that were colors, but the color that the words were printed in varied. In one of the lists, all the words were printed in black ink, while in the other two lists, the ink color varied. The first of these other two lists contained words that were printed in the color that corresponded to the word. For example, the word “green” would be printed with green ink. The last list contained words that were printed in mismatched colors. For example, the word “Purple” would be printed in red. Once the lists were constructed, the subjects of this experiment, who were 14 males and 56 females, were ordered to either read the word itself (for the list containing only the words printed in black) or state the color of the word that it was printed in (for the other two lists where the words were printed in color) as quickly as they could. From here, the time it took to respond to the lists, whether they were instructed to read the words or state the color of the words, were recorded. The results of the study showed that it took a longer time for the subjects to state the color of the word or read the word when the color printed mismatched the word itself. In addition, the experimenters also observed that there were more errors when the colors were mismatched compared to if they matched. Because of this, the study concluded that the mismatch of the color did indeed have an effect on the time it took to process information about the words, and it also provided evidence that colors and words are processed in different parts of the brain.

-Jeremy L.

T. S. Eliot’s “Lovesong of J Alfred Pufrock” Analysis

Love has been a hot topic in poetry for a long time, being a common topic in poems and even used by names as big as William Shakespeare himself. T.S. Eliot, a British poet from the early 1900s, is no exception to this. In his poem, The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock, the use of certain language and details throughout the stanzas of the poem helps indicate that the “You and I” mentioned at the beginning refers to Prufrock and a woman.

To start, Eliot uses the phrase “In the room the women come and go / Talking of Michelangelo” (Eliot lines 13-14 and lines 35-36) twice. The repetition of this phrase shows that women are on Prufrock’s mind, and it is something that he feels concerned over and pays attention to. Prufrock also notes that these women are talking about Michelangelo, which implies that they are talking about somebody who is very popular and prestigious: something that Prufrock is unlikely to be able to live up to. After the first time, this phrase is said in lines 13-14, Prufrock begins to talk about a yellow fog and smoke. The fact that the fog and smoke are yellow can be taken as an archetype for friendship, which may suggest that after hearing about Michelangelo, or somebody who Prufrock could never be better than, Prufrock feels that he may be seen as a friend rather than a lover, showing his loss in confidence. This same sense of lack of confidence can be seen after the second time this phrase is said in lines 35-36, where Prufrock begins to question himself about whether he should propose to this woman he is talking to, saying “‘Do I dare?’ and, ‘Do I dare?’” (Line 38). This questioning of himself represents how he feels that he may not be good enough for any woman, especially compared to the Michelangelo that these women seem to talk about. This observation followed by the loss of confidence in Prufrock implies that Prufrock refers to a woman in the phrase “you and I” through the fact that women talking about Michelangelo seems to have a genuine emotional impact on Prufrock. 

Next, Prufrock acknowledges “lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows” (Eliot line 72). Lonely men in shirt-sleeves has a very unromantic implication to it, and this unromantic way of life seems unappealing to Prufrock. This unappeal is supported by the two lines following it, stating how Prufrock feels that he “should have been a pair of ragged claws / Scuttling across the floors of the silent seas” (Eliot lines 73-74). These lines represent how Prufrock has hit a low point in life, as the floors of the sea are some of the lowest points on Earth. Such highlights how Prufrock feels very lonely and longs for some form of a romantic relationship, as the sight of the lonely men makes him feel as if he has hit rock bottom. This continues the idea that the phrase “you and I” talks about Prufrock and a woman, as a woman is the only thing that could fill this romantic void that Prufrock is experiencing.

In addition, the image of the mermaids singing in line 126 can show how Prufrock’s dream of a romantic relationship and a change in life is killed. For most, the image of a mermaid singing has a feminine aspect to it, as mermaids are typically female figures. In the line following when mermaids are first introduced, Prufrock notes “I do not think that they will sing to me” (Eliot line 127). Such implies that women do not seem to notice the presence of Prufrock and that he is of no interest to them. This observation, similar to the women talking of Michelangelo, seems to have a negative emotional effect on Prufrock, as in the last line of the poem, Prufrock says “Till human voices wake us, and we drown” (Eliot line 133), which essentially says that Prufrock’s dream has been killed. A cause-and-effect relationship is established here, where the mermaids not singing to Prufrock leads to his dream being killed. Because of this, it can be inferred that the absence of interaction with women in his life leads to Prufrock feeling meaningless and having his dream killed, implying how the “you” mentioned at the beginning refers to a woman. 

Prufrock is most likely to be referring to a woman with the use of the word “you” at the beginning of the poem due to the many hints of negative emotions caused by issues regarding women that are seen in the poem. These negative emotions could all be resolved by a drastic change in Prufrock’s life, which could include engaging in a romantic relationship or marriage with a woman. 

Significance of the Title “Chronicle of a Death Foretold”

If one were to commit a murder, the last thing you would expect them to do is to tell everybody about it before it actually happens, in most cases at least. Gabrielle Marquez’s novel Chronicle of a Death Foretold shows the unlikely case where an entire town knows about a murder except for the victim. Through the plot, characters, and point of view, the significance of the title “Chronicle of a Death Foretold” becomes apparent.

Chronicle of a Death Foretold’s plot effectively helps show the significance of the title through what the Viccario do to Santiago. Despite not having clear evidence, the Viccario twins decide to hunt down and murder Santiago for taking the virginity of their younger sister, Angela. However, the twins decide that instead of keeping it a secret to avoid getting caught, they will tell everybody in a boasting manner. This detail of the plot shows how the death was foretold, yet nobody decided to warn Santiago about it, assuming he had already heard about it or that the murder was justifiable. Everybody knew about the murder prior to when it actually happened, showing how the lack of action from others in the town directly costed somebody’s life, a very preventable mistake.

In addition to the plot, the characters of the story also greatly relate to the title of the book. Throughout the book, there are many instances of the Viccario twins straight up telling people about what they are going to do to Santiago. However, the characters’ decisions to dismiss these claims as bogus directly shows the predictability of the crime. Through these characters who decide not to warn Santiago or take any further action, such as Colonel Aponte, the word “foretold” is appropriate to use, as everybody in the town was aware of the crime to take place, yet they decide not to tell Santiago.

The perspective of the story is told by an anonymous narrator, which shows the significance of the title. The narrator decides to tell the story in non-chronological order, jumping between different people and time periods frequently. Such shows the irony of the title due to how it is not actually a chronicle. Because of this, the reader is required to piece information together throughout the book, which can help them understand the events that took place more clearly. 

The significance of the title was effectively shown through these aspects of the novel. Because of this, the reader can connect the dots easily and have a better understanding of what goes on in the book, along with any potential purposes or messages posed by the author.

-Jeremy L

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

How Reliable Is Decision Making?

The coming to decisions based off observed patterns and past experiences is known as a heuristic. On the other hand, algorithms are step by step procedures that guarantee an outcome, and require lots of trial and error. Heuristics are often much more efficient than algorithms, yet they do not always guarantee a solution. For example, in a grocery store setting, an algorithm would be going up and down every single aisle looking for a specific item. Although there will always be a one hundred percent success rate, there is a lack of efficiency and most would not feel this as the best way to look for an item. A heuristic in this situation would be to look in certain labeled aisles that may contain the specific item that is being looked for. One type of heuristic that impacts decision making is the representative heuristic, or the judging of the likelihood of something by intuitively comparing it to particular prototypes. Although the use of this representative heuristic can make decision making quick, it may have a negative effect on the accuracy of such decisions. 

This is shown in the study Khaneman and Tversky 1974. This study attempts to prove the hypothesis that when people evaluate probability by representativeness, prior mathematically probabilities would be neglected. To do this, subjects were told to determine what the likely occupation of a certain person would be (engineer or lawyer?) based off of a description. However, this description would often have little to nothing to do with the occupation at all. To cope for this, the particpants were either told that there were 30 engineers and 70 lawyers, or that there were 30 lawyers and 70 engineers. Theoretically, the ratio of the participants’ guesses should be seventy to thirty because of mathematical probability. However, the study found that the participants of both groups had guesses closer to a ratio of fifty to fifty. Such shows that the subjects used to representative heuristic to make their decisions rather than using the probabilities given to them, causing decision making to become unreliable.

This study is useful in showing how the data does not match what one would expect based off the idea that the subjects were aware of the unequal amount of each profession. However, this does not directly prove that the representative heuristic is responsible for this distortion, as there is lots of room for error in the descriptions that the participants were given for each person. In the end though, the study still supports how decision making can become unreliable and cause errors.

-Jeremy L.

Schema Theory

A schema is a pattern of memory that is heavily influenced by pre-clustered ideas, and is known as the framework that organizes social information. Schemas are often used to interpret and learn information, as we are more likely to comprehend what we learn if it matches our schema. For example, if we always know that grass is green, then we will be able to comprehend the fact that the grass in Texas is also green much better than the (not-so-true) fact that the grass in New Mexico is purple: because purple grass does not match our schema of grass.

Another thing schema causes is stereotypes, or the idea that certain groups will have certain traits in common. This is because our schema of the particular group that we envision has been influenced by social/cultural norms. However, the most notable and fascinating thing that schema does is the distortion of memory. In the 1980s, psychologists Brewer and Treyens conducted an experiment, where participants were asked to wait in a waiting room that resembled an office (these participants were under the impression that they were waiting for an experiment, when in reality, the waiting room was the experiment). After a brief period of time in the waiting room, the participants were asked to name items that were in the waiting room. A lot of things were recognized correctly, but things that normally did not appear in an office were not recognized.

Even more interestingly, participants seemed to recall things that normally appeared in the office, but actually were not there at all. For example, many participants recalled seeing books in the office, even though there were no books in the office. That is attributed to the fact that there are usually books in offices. This area of psychology is very fascinating, and helps us understand human behavior better.

-Jeremy L.

Why Discord is the Best Social Platform

Nearly everybody has heard of or used social platforms such as Instagram or Snapchat. However, a less commonly used platform is Discord. Discord has all the features most social platforms already have, which include a messaging system, ways to attach media files, and the ability to create group DMs. However, it has extra features that are very nice and make Discord heavily underrated.

Discord was created back in 2015 and was meant to be a platform only for gamers. Since then, they have promoted their platform to include other activities and to make their platform more favorable for many people. For example, people can set up what is called a server, to do activities together. A server is a sort of group chat with a lot more features, such as voice channels, the ability to add bots, and different roles. These can promote a better form of communication and control between people. Discord users can join up to 100 servers, so there is a wide variety of servers they can join. These servers include public servers, such as servers for a video game or a server for memes, or private servers, which can include servers with just your friends. The possibilities are nearly endless with servers.

If users really want to step up their game with their servers and really make them complex, yet efficient for the user, they can add in bots. One very popular bot that a lot of servers have is the Mee6 bot. This bot has many customizable features, such as giving users a role when they react to a certain message, or timed messages (a certain message that sends at a certain time of the day).

The possibilities of Discord are nearly endless, and people meet new people nearly everyday on this platform. So if you are getting bored of the normal social media everybody has, consider Discord!

-Jeremy L.

Chick fil A vs Raising Canes

Fried Chicken is one of the most iconic foods that almost everybody loves. However, everybody has different ways of obtaining fried chicken. One popular place that people get fried chicken is KFC. However, it is widely agreed that KFC is not the best friend chicken chain. So what is? There is no definitive answer to this, but most people agree that it is either Chick-Fil-A or Raising Canes, and I want to give my opinion on this topic.

Everybody loves a good chicken sandwich from Chick fil A on a Friday night. In fact, the only thing better is a box combo from Canes on a Sunday evening. Although Chick Fil A does a lot of things right, Canes has higher quality chicken and is cooked better. However, I will agree that Chick fil A does season their chicken better. Unfortunately, that is about as good as it gets for Chick Fil a, as Canes stands out in nearly every other perspective. One of which, is that Canes serves Texas Toast and their signature sauce with nearly every meal.

When it comes to fries, Chick Fil A’s waffle fries are about neck and neck with Cane’s crinkle cut fries. Both are usually cooked similarly, and is a very pleasant side to the chicken we order. However, Canes’ crinkle cut fries are better, as they are cut in a way that is less messy and easier to eat.

So that is why I believe that Canes is better than Chick Fil A.

~Jeremy

Why Twitch is going to die soon

We all know Twitch as the live streaming platform that millions of creators stream daily. It is one of the largest content-creating platforms today, falling shortly behind YouTube and other websites. However, in a couple years, we may not see Twitch as it is today unless Twitch does something to change these things.

To start off, growing and starting off on Twitch is very hard. When people stream big games like Call of Duty or Minecraft, it is very hard for people with a small number of viewers to get noticed, as the Twitch discover page is sorted based on viewer count. In order for streamers to get noticed, they have to branch out on other platforms, and then bring their following on those platforms to their twitch channels. However, this may cause people to take these other platforms more seriously than Twitch, which can be a negative effect on business.

Another reason why Twitch is dying is because of other platforms people stream on. As YouTube streaming becomes more common, Twitch streaming will become less common. Since nearly all Twitch users watch YouTube, once their favorite Twitch streamers switch to YouTube, it gives the viewers no reason to go back to Twitch, contributing to Twitch’s fall as the best streaming platform.

So to top it all off, streaming on Twitch is becoming irrelevant. However, hope for Twitch is not lost. If Twitch can change their algorithms to make small streamers more discoverable, and add more features to streams to make them stand out compared to other platforms, Twitch will stay the top streaming platform for a while.

-Jeremy L.