McCarthyism in Fahrenheit 451

McCarthyism is when people make false accusations about others. Joseph McCarthy was a United States senator who alleged communists had infiltrated the government in an effort to make the United States follow communism. In an effort to expose the spies, McCarthy searched for Americans who had relations with communism in the past, such as if they attended a rally about communism. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they supported communism or wanted the United States to follow communism. These people were ultimately taken to court and were forced to answer McCarthy’s questions, a violation of the 5th amendment of the United States Constitution. Not only were they then placed in jail, but they were forced to name others who also had followed communism, even if they knew of nobody. In other words, the people were blacklisted. Blacklisting is when people who cannot be trusted are compiled into a list. Some famous people who were blacklisted were Lester Cole and Herbert Biberman. They were both part of the Hollywood Ten, a group of screenwriters who were accused of being communists and refused to testify regarding their involvement. This violated everyone’s rights and censored the people as they could not freely express their opinions on communism. In Fahrenheit 451, the government burns books and limits the amount of knowledge the people gain. The people are restricted in formulating their own opinions and are forced to listen to the government and their views. Bradbury criticizes and shows the consequences McCarthyism has in Fahrenheit 451. 

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby

Unique and Interesting Exoplanets

There are many exoplanets in our universe, all with varying characteristics. Here are just a few of them that have been discovered.

#1: The Ocean Planet – GJ1214b

This planet is likely to be an ocean planet, meaning it is entirely covered with one large ocean (no land). It is located about 40 light-years away from Earth.

#2: The Fast Planet – PSRJ1719-14b

Exoplanet PSRJ1719-14b quickly orbits its star; it takes about 2.2 hours for the planet to complete a full orbit around its sun. However, this is not the planet’s only unique characteristic. In addition to its fast orbit, this exoplanet also has a chance of being made of diamonds, although this has not been proved. Diamond planets form when the pressure and temperature are high enough to turn the carbon on the planet into diamonds. It is about 3,914 light-years away from Earth. 

#3: The Dying Planet – WASP-12b

Despite being around the size of Jupiter, this exoplanet is constantly nearing its star. Eventually, the gravity of its star will pull this planet into the star. Currently, this planet is 870.8 light-years away from Earth.

#4: A Large Planet – TrES-4

This planet is over 70% of the size of the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter. What makes this planet unique, however, is that it has only %75 of the mass of Jupiter, giving it a much lower density. It is 1562.3 light-years away from Earth.

#5: An Old Planet – Methuselah

Estimations predict Methuselah is about 13 billion years old. Scientists believe that at that point in time (13 billion years ago), the materials to form planets were not actually able to form planets. This exoplanet is about 12,400 light-years away from Earth.

These are just a few of the many amazing exoplanets in our universe, with many more still waiting to be discovered.

-Peri A.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Typically this isn’t the book I would generally want to read because I don’t think it’s entertaining reading about psychological ideas. However, this book came across me when I saw it at my friend’s house and asked to borrow it. The beginning of the book made it to the point where it wasn’t tolerable to read that I ended up sectioning different parts every night for me to read in order to just get it out of the way.

As time went on, I kept an open mind reading this book, to see that the information was only trying to help me. Atomic Habits turned to be one of my favorite reads this year. I’ve learned so many valuable lessons through this book especially how to maintain/break habits.

James Clear cleverly uses athletes, comedians, big brand companies to help the reader get a grasp for how they became so successful. He documents a four step process to make habits more versatile in the daily use: making it obvious, making it attractive, making it easy, and making it satisfying. Just by reading about how to maintain a habit, inspired me to start fixing a routine and lifestyle that best suited me.

If you are interested in a book that can truly changes your perspective of life I recommend reading this book. Habits are more then they seem and help dictate the way you decide to live your life.

-Madison C.

Atomic Habits by James Clear is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster tells the story of young Milo, who thought that learning was useless and never stopped to smell the roses. Milo only focused on getting from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. And when he did reach Point B, all he would do was lie around and complain that he was bored.

Until one day, Milo finds a mysterious package in his room addressed to ‘Milo, who has plenty of time’ Milo, having nothing better to do, opens the strange gift. Inside, is a tollbooth, instructions, rules, coins, cautionary signs, and a map. Milo pays the tollbooth and drives his toy car to a very strange and confusing place.

After traveling past the city of Expectations (where everyone starts out but few go beyond), he meets Officer Short Shrift, who thinks everyone is guilty and won’t believe otherwise; the Whether Man, who never comes to a decision; the Which, who was sentenced to jail for abusing words; and many more. Milo realizes that the only only way to bring peace and order to the Kingdoms of Wisdom is to rescue the Princess of Sweet Rhyme and the Princess of Pure Reason.To accomplish this, Milo and his loyal friends Tock (a watchdog who goes tick) and the Humbug (a boastful beetle who doesn’t like to learn) have to travel up the Mountains of Ignorance and rescue the princesses from the Castle in the Air.

During Milo’s journey he’ll learn decisiveness, the importance of hard work, the value of time, that things aren’t always as they seem, and that it’s worth the effort to gain some new knowledge. Every character and setting in The Phantom Tollbooth has a clever meaning, and people like Alec Bings and Canby have very insightful wisdom to share. The Phantom Tollbooth is a very creative book, and I would highly recommend it.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

#1s in the United States for 2022!

Have you ever wondered what the most popular fruit in the United States is for 2022? Or, perhaps, the most used application? Well, here are some #1s in the U.S. for this year so far!

#1 Vegetable: Potatoes!

Potatoes, a versatile pantry staple, are predictably the most consumed vegetable.

#1 Fruit: Bananas!

Bananas are widely enjoyed across the U.S. as the most consumed fruit.

#1 Searched Google Keyword: “Facebook”!

The keyword “facebook” stands at #1 for most searched on Google.

#1 App: TikTok!

As one may have guessed, TikTok, created in 2015, is the most popular app.

#1 Book: It Ends With Us!

Colleen Hoover’s novel It Ends With Us has been the #1 bestselling book so far.

#1 Movie: Top Gun: Maverick!

Paramount/Skydance’s Top Gun: Maverick has become the highest grossing movie, exceeding $400 million.

#1 Song: “As It Was”!

According to the Billboard Hot 100, Harry Styles’ lead single “As It Was” off of his newly released third album “Harry’s House” is the #1 song in the U.S. as of this week, and it has been on the top spot for 10 weeks.

Thanks for reading!

-Lam T.

Book Review: Animal Farm

Animal Farm is a novel written by George Orwell and published in 1945. Animal Farm is about a group of mistreated and malnourished animals on a farm that is run by an alcoholic farmer that neglected his duties as a farmer. The fable reflects the events leading up to the Russian Revolution and into the Stalinist era of communism and the Soviet Union in the form of animals on a farm.

The book starts off with Old Major, oldest and wisest pig telling all the animals that he has a dream of a society where the animals would have control of the farm and everyone would have equal jobs and roles in the farm. A day passes and Old Major passes away and the rest of the animals decide to make Old Major’s dream come true and decide to start a revolution and kick the farmer off his own farm. The animals create a set of rules that make them all equal and have the same rights. The pigs are appointed to run the farm because they are the smartest and the pigs decide to slowly change the rules of the farm for their own benefit. The animals begin to run the farm and discover that the pigs are slowly becoming more human-like which was exactly what they didn’t want to happen.

I really liked this book. It is very interesting how the society slowly evolves and the pigs begin to manipulate the rules for themselves.  I found it interesting how every character and type of animal each have their own traits that represented an aspect of the Russian Revolution and Stalinist era. Animal Farm is a true classic novel that I would recommend to anyone interested in reading it.

Animal Farm by George Orwell is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

James Webb Space Telescope: First Images Revealed Event

Launched on December 25, 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope (or Webb) has the potential to revolutionize astronomy, astrophysics, and other space sciences forever. Last month, the first images from Webb were transmitted back to Earth, and what they show is astonishing.

On Saturday, August 20, the Mission Viejo Library held the James Webb Space Telescope: First Images Revealed event, which showcased the preliminary images received from Webb as well as a live presentation by NASA Solar System ambassadors alongside expert comments and conclusions from video panelists. 

Webb works by using infrared light (or heat, imperceptible to the human eye), to view and capture images from deep space. This new technique complements the Hubble telescope, but it also allows Webb to see extremely far away at distances over 13 billion years away – nearly as old as the universe itself!

One of my favorite images from the presentation was the Carina Nebula, shown to the left. The James Webb Telescope has captured the first image of a star actually being born in a stellar nursery, confirming scientific theories while also raising new questions about the details of star birth. 

I also liked the picture of the deep space field, shown to the right. Although the brightest stars are “photobombing” the image, since they’re part of the Milky Way galaxy, some of the smaller and dimmer spots are actually never-before-seen galaxies, part of the ancient world formed just after the creation of the universe. The curves near the center of the image also show concrete proof of gravitational lensing (or the curving of space-time as theorized by Albert Einstein). 

Despite all of these fascinating discoveries, Webb is far from finished. Not only is there so much left to be discovered and explained about the images it has already sent, it is projected to last for a decade or longer, so it will undoubtedly unveil more and more about the universe we live in. Overall, I really enjoyed the Webb event, and look forward to presentations like this in the future.

Images courtesy of NASA (nasa.gov)

– Mahak M.

Freshmen! Time to Get Involved!

Volunteering helps the community and is a great opportunity for teens to reach out and gain some leadership experience. For incoming freshmen in high school, it is the perfect time to start the first step in becoming involved in your local community and set yourself up for the opportunity to gain leadership experience. For incoming freshmen, I recommend attending your school’s club rush. Every school has different clubs with different unique opportunities. There are some common service-based clubs that most schools have that you should be on the lookout for. 

Key Club International is a student-led volunteer club that has a large community across the nation that is linked together through social media and division-held events. For those in the SoCal area, the key clubs come together to attend the Fall Rally at Six Flags and decorate a float at the Rose Bowl Parade. Key Club has its own student board with positions like Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President, President, Historian, and more that are great chances to gain leadership experience.

Another amazing club is the Red Cross Club. The members of this club serve under the internationally recognized American Red Cross. All service events serve under the universal goal of humanitarian help. This organization gives the chance to become involved in and lead blood drives and much more.

Besides becoming involved in clubs on campus, the internet is a great source for finding very interesting and unique service opportunities. Search for local events that are looking for volunteers or create your own event based on a personal passion. One of the best parts of volunteering is that you can focus on certain communities or groups that you feel passionate about. Get in touch with different organizations and find out what you can do or present your own ideas! 

Also one of my favorite and most rewarding volunteer experiences comes from returning to my old elementary and middle school. Find different events that you may have attended when you were younger and volunteer at them! This could be a science fair or orientation. Either way, get back in touch with your old school and see if there are any upcoming events that you could return back to your old school days to help out.

The universal idea is to find a way of volunteering that is interesting and exciting to you. If you love music, find music-based service events. If you love reading, get in contact with the local library. Regardless, when you are starting your high school experience try to find your passion and use it to find a club or organization that interests you and allows you to give back to the community.

Charlie Bone and the Red Knight by Jenny Nimmo

Charlie Bone and the Red Knight is the eighth and final book in the Children of the Red King series by Jenny Nimmo.  The main character of the series is Charlie Bone, a boy who possesses magical power.  He attends a school called Bloor’s Academy, which is a school for children with special endowments.  In this thrilling conclusion to the series, the Bloor family is searching for a lost document.  The document contains a secret so important that the Bloors will stop at nothing to find it before Charlie.  Charlie hopes to obtain the document, because it would reveal the destiny of the heirs of the Red King.

Charlie faces many conflicts in this book.  For example, he confronts a magician with a sword that has a mind of its own.  Another man secretly tries to drown Charlie’s parents.  Charlie even encounters a powerful sorcerer from the past.  Charlie and his friends must combine their powers to overcome the evil forces fighting against them.  This leads to many exciting episodes, including an attempt to retrieve a powerful mirror from Charlie’s evil aunts, a dangerous mission to rescue one of Charlie’s friends from the past, and a huge battle between a sorcerer’s army and the Children of the Red King.

One of my favorite characters in this book is actually the Red Knight himself.  Not much is known about him at first, except that he rides a white horse and he wields an invincible sword.  However, his true identity is eventually revealed.  This became one of my favorite and most memorable scenes in the book.

Jenny Nimmo originally intended to write only five books for the Children of the Red King series, but fortunately she decided to write an additional three books.  This book is the last of the series, and a wonderful conclusion to this set of books.  This is my favorite book in the entire series, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has read any of the other books in the saga.

Charlie Bone and the Red Knight by Jenny Nimmo is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

Breaking Bad Series Review

Breaking Bad, created by Vince Gilligan, follows Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a financially distressed chemistry teacher recently diagnosed with lung cancer. His wife, Skyler White (Anna Gunn), is pregnant and their teenage son has cerebral palsy. In fear that he will not be able to support his family, Walter partners with his former student, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) in order to cook and sell methamphetamine in the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico. To keep his identity and family safe, Walter adopts the name, Heisenberg when engaging in criminal activities. Additionally, Walter’s brother-in-law, Hank Schrader (Dean Norris), is a DEA agent committed to finding and arresting Heisenberg.

The western crime drama spans over 5 incredible seasons. Originally starting as a dark comedy, Breaking Bad quickly becomes a serious, depressing series as each of the characters descend further into a criminal lifestyle. Many of the characters have a ton of depth, and Walter, himself, is one of, if not the most complex characters in television history. While parts of the show can seem a bit slow, it is still very engaging as the tension is amplified throughout. Furthermore, the show isn’t prolonged, giving the audience an amazing ending.

While Walter and Jesse often have the same goal, their characters are very different, giving the audience multiple perspectives on the events going on. Although many of the duo’s actions aren’t justifiable, it is hard not to follow their journey. The show also introduces some other famous characters like Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), and the owner of Los Pollos Hermanos, Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito). In fact, the lawyer, Saul Goodman, has his own television series called Better Call Saul which is currently ongoing. The themes of family, sin, and power are all expressed beautifully as we follow the flawed character of Walter White.

While this show may not be for everyone, I highly recommend it. Breaking Bad has had a major influence on television and has created other amazing spin-offs such as Better Call Saul and El Camino. It has won a plethora of awards and all five seasons are available on Netflix.

-Kern M.

Breaking Bad is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.