Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Week of 12/14 in a Glance

Hi everyone! This week we've got three good stories in store for you, including coverage of the recent Republican debate. Just a reminder that if you are getting this as an email click the link. Also don's forget to comment and to follow us on Instagram. We will not post over break. Happy Holidays to you all!
-Your editors

Wanna Be an Astronaut?
Well, you’re in luck... you might get to be the main character in “Gravity,” “Interstellar,” or especially “The Martian.” NASA might just be your next employer (sorry, middle schoolers, you need to be qualified... see below) NASA just announced that they are now accepting applications for an astronaut position, and specifically to go on a vacation to Mars. Sounds fun, right?
Is this important? It really is. The last time NASA started accepting applications was four years ago. So they don’t give out jobs 24/7. Last time NASA picked people, Eight people were chosen, four men and four women. Let's put this to scale. 6,300 people applied. It is not easy to get this kind of job, and NASA has an image of what they want.
What do you need? Not much, surprisingly. Applicants need to:
  • Be a US citizen
  • pass an intense physical
  • have a bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science, or math
  • 1000 hrs of pilot-in-command time in jet, or three years of relevant experience.
  • You need qualities such as leadership, good teamwork, and good decision making.
Why does this matter? I’m in middle school! This is literally an irrelevant advertisement! No and no. This is actually a pretty big deal. These are future missions to Mars we’re talking about. We’re not trying to convince you to fill out an application; we’re trying to inform you that the next class of NASA astronauts, The NASA astronaut class of 2017, is being formed. These astronauts are our future, what they learn could be pretty important. What they find on Mars could be pretty important.

Purple Unicorns
On December 15th, the Republican candidates met for the last time this year to “debate.” Terrorism, National Security, and Donald Trump were of the main topics.
This was after Paris and San Bernardino, right? Yes it was. And those came up quite a bit. Remember how representatives met recently to discuss a solution to Global Warming? Well, Ohio Governor John Kasich thought that this meeting was a waste of time. He was wondering why people were talking about climate change when they could have been fighting ISIS. Kasich wasn’t the only one complaining about ISIS, though... Marco Rubio obviously doesn’t like supporters of ISIS, as he claimed that he did not think they should have the right to remain silent, or their Miranda Rights. Donald Trump’s ideas of protection from groups like ISIS was to literally to close down the internet in areas where “we are at war with somebody. Trump claimed that ISIS was getting into the minds of youth over the internet. “I do not want [ISIS] to use our internet to take our young impressionable youth,” he said at the Debate.
Earlier you said something about NSA, correct? The USA Freedom Act was passed last May. This took away the NSA’s right to own phone metadata. So the National Security Agency’s phone records were basically thrown out. Marco Rubio did not support this. He claimed that this phone data would have been useful in attacks such as San Bernardino. On the other hand, Ted Cruz thinks that after the act, the NSA actually ends up having more data than they had before. So why did these two get in a fight? Well, Cruz supported the act before it was passed, and so Rubio spit out accusations. Then Cruz played the “but now they have more data” card. Things got pretty tense.
Things got pretty tense...

What was Fiorina’s NSA story? Carly Fiorina really likes the NSA. She explained an incident she had with them after 9/11 on Tuesday Night. It was simple: the NSA asked Fiorina to stop a truckload of equipment and send it back to NSA headquarters. And she did it. Fiorina claimed that the NSA would help the government, if they just asked for it. Some people think that the story is different. Like these people
Purple Unicorns and our favorite neurosurgeon. At the debate, Ted Cruz started talking about purple unicorns. Really. He was talking about the rebels in the Mideast. These are the rebels that the US wants to arm. And Cruz called them purple unicorns, meaning, there are no moderate rebels in the Mideast. On the other hand, our favorite neurosurgeon Ben Carson didn’t talk a ton at the debate. But at one point he was asked an awkward question. Somebody asked him if if he was president he would be willing to kill many children and innocent citizens in a time of war. After making a children and tumor analogy, Carson said yes, he would be willing.
Donald Trump? He and Jeb bush aren’t really BFFs. On Tuesday, Trump called Bush’s campaign a massive fail. Bush retaliated, saying that Trump isn’t going to be able to “insult his way into the white house.” burn.

Rio 2016 Might Have a Problem
You might know that Rio is hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics. Are they completely ready? Absolutely Not.
The Main Problems:
Power   Aggreko, which was one of Rio’s top power suppliers, just kind of left. That’s right, power and energy is a vital part of the Olympics. Just think about all of the power-related things the Olympics needs:
  • International Broadcasting! And FWI, this is South America, so that means US!
  • The Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
  • Back up electricity for Olympic venues.
Polluted Water   You might already know this, but the water in Rio is not great right now. In fact, it is extremely polluted! Do we want the Olympic athletes competing in polluted water? I don’t think so. For example, sailing events are being held in Guanabara Bay, which is, well...
Guanabara Bay
Recession   Rio’s economy isn’t great, either. Employment is lower than ever, many cannot find jobs. As you can see, Rio de Janeiro doesn’t seem to be in awesome shape to host the olympics this Summer.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Week of 12/7 in a Glance

Hello all! Hope you are having a great start to December, and getting in the holiday mood. Remember to click the link above if you are receiving this by email, and to comment your thoughts! Hope you enjoy!

San Bernardino
By Owen Tucker-Smith
Two seemingly normal people, an environmental inspector and a pharmacist, carried out the deadliest mass shooting since Sandy Hook. On December 2nd, in a city near Los Angeles called San Bernardino, fourteen people were murdered by gunmen at a holiday party located at a center for those with developmental disabilities. Obama’s reaction to the attack was crystal clear: we need to defeat ISIS, and we need to create stricter gun control laws, which was a debate that came big again after the Planned Parenthood shooting.

How did it happen?1    Suspects of the attack have been identified as Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik. After Farook attended and left the party, he came back with his wife to complete the attack. In addition to the shooting, the couple left explosive devices in the center as a bombing attempt. The cops did not find them immediately. A long manhunt occurred before the two suspects were killed.
The result? As you could guess, much of the city was frozen in shock. Schools, stores, and offices were put on a lockdown order or closed, and people were told to stay in their houses. And that shock carried out around the world even after the twenty police officers involved with the shootout killed the suspects.
Where is ISIS involved? Well, the wife, Malik, who many think was the brains behind the attack, had pledged allegiance to ISIS. Furthermore, Malik mentioned “we” in her social media post, suggesting that both suspects had been radicalized. And later after the attacks ISIS, on the radio, described the two as “supporters.” As you can see, ISIS doesn’t just terrorize. It inspires others to do so too. And that’s where Obama comes in...
Obama’s Speech   On December 6th, four days after the attack, President Obama gave a speech about his plans for ISIS. Which are to defeat it. Obama showed the nation his plans step by step (which don’t include putting his troops out there) Did he say anything else? Yes. He claimed that the Syrian Civil War needed to end, that more stricter gun control laws have to be passed to stop attacks like that in San Bernardino, and that ISIS does not represent Islam, so prejudice should not be given.
In a glance? The attack in San Bernardino was a deadly one and it was influenced by ISIS. It inspired Obama to be clear about his game plan of defeat, and to say some other things.
Reference 1: Nagourney, Adam, Ian Lovett, and Richard PÉrez-peÑa. "San Bernardino Shooting Kills at Least 14; Two Suspects Are Dead." The New York Times. The New York Times, 02 Dec. 2015. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.

No Child Left Behind Gets Upgraded
By Maddy Art
Sure, you may have heard of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, but have you heard of the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015? On Wednesday, Congress voted 85-12 to replace the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and President Obama signed the new law on Thursday. So what are these mysterious acts? Well, both have the same simplistic goals: to raise standards, to make sure students in grade K-12 are getting a good education, and to narrow or close the achievement gap between students. However, NCLB consisted of government (rather than state) control. Critics argue that too much time was spent testing, and that all schools and districts were given the same standards - a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach. On the other hand, ESSA gives more power to the states. States can now determine (to some extent) how they would like to tackle testing, including how to act upon the scores and how to evaluate teachers. States can now set their own goals for improvement, as opposed to the national goals set with NCLB. So how much will change around Mt. Greylock? Don’t expect any drastic changes. States are still required to test students, so MCAS is going anywhere. Apart from that, we will just have to wait to find out how Massachusetts handles this.

Beijing Smog
By Rose Gotlieb
Last week, we talked about good changes in the environment. This week, let's talk bad ones. China has always been notorious for its pollution. But now Beijing is having its worst air problems... Ever. This week, the smog got so bad, the government had to issue a red alert, shut down schools, construction sites, and limit the number of cars that could go on the road. Take a breath of fresh Massachussetts air as you look at these pictures:

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Week of 11/30 in a Glance

Hello and welcome back to The Glance! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. If you are receiving this by email, you should click the link above to access the actual entries. Don't forget to comment, subscribe, and follow us on Instagram - @thegreylockglance


By Maddy Art


    On Friday, November 27, Robert Lewis Dear murdered three people at a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado Springs. Planned Parenthood and abortions are  generally not topics we will cover, but here we’ve made an exception. Planned Parenthood is a non-profit organization that, as explained by their website, “delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide.” Planned Parenthood is especially known for providing safe, legal abortions. For those of you who don’t know, an abortion is when fetal tissue is destroyed in an unwanted pregnancy to avoid carrying to term. Those who are against abortion are often called “pro-life.” The procedure almost always occurs before the tissue is anything more than a clump of cells. Anyway, Robert Dear shot a police officer and two civilians on Friday because he was allegedly “motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion” (Vicki Cowart, president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains). This act is considered a “crime against women receiving healthcare services” (U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch), as well as an act of domestic terrorism. Ironic that Dear killed three because he was “pro-life,” isn’t it?


Some Like it Hot

By Rose Gotlieb


This month, leaders from almost 200 countries are convening in Paris to attempt to slow global warming.
Back up. Did you just say Paris? Yes, I did. Despite the attacks in Paris on November 13, they are still going ahead with their initial plan… along with tons of extra security.
    Has this ever been tried before? Actually, it has. In the 1990’s, nearly 200 countries agreed to a climate deal called the Kyoto protocol. But the U.S. didn’t like that it didn’t include developing countries like China, and was worried about the economy, so ended up not agreeing. Because the U.S. is one of the biggest contributors to climate change, the whole plan sort of fell through.
    What changed? There’s been a debate for a while now: Is global warming real? And now, the U.S. seems to be saying “yes”. (Well, not everyone. *cough* Donald Trump *cough*). President Obama made climate change a big part of his campaign, and met with some of the leaders of the other biggest polluting countries in ‘09. They agreed to cut their pollution, but didn’t sign anything. So, that fell through the floor too.
    So what’s happening in Paris? Luckily, everyone seems to be agreeing: the climate deal needs to happen. Leaders from all over have gathered - including Obama, Indian PM Narendra Modi, and Chinese president Xi Jinping. The main problem? Money. Developing countries don’t think they should have to help pay for the deal, considering the already developed countries polluted as much as they wanted when they were getting started. Developed countries are going to give some cash, too, though.
    What are people saying? The Democratic presidential candidates are saying, “Yeah, I back that.” Some Republican candidates think that climate change is real; some don’t think humans are causing it; others, (*cough* Donald Trump *cough*) don’t believe in it at all. Pope Francis says “Amen”; he believes that humans are causing global warming.

A Stab in the Back
By Owen Tucker-Smith

On November 24th, Russian President Putin reported that Turkey had given Russia “a stab in the back.” Putin was referring to a Russian warplane that had been shot down by Turkey somewhere around the Syrian and Turkish border. With the Syrian Civil War going on and the recent Paris attacks, this was a continuation of some not-so-new tension between Russia and Turkey.

What happened? Why did Turkey shoot down the plane?1   Good question. Of the two pilots, one of them was killed, we don’t know what happened to the other, and a marine died trying to save the pilots. Why was the plane shot down? According to Turkey, the Russian plane was currently in their airspace. In addition, Turkey had given the plane ten warnings and the pilots had not listened. Seems pretty straightforward, right? Not so much. The problem is, Russia claims that the plane never actually crossed the border after all. Putin claimed that “[the plane] was flying 1 kilometer away from the Turkish border when it was attacked. In any case, neither our pilots nor our jet posed any threat to Turkey.” According to Putin, the airplane was heading to Northern Latakia to fight against ISIS. As you can see below, where the plane actually was flying is very complicated, but Turkey’s claimed path passes through Turkey and Russia’s claimed path does not.

What’s This Tension? What About Paris?   For the past four years, the Syrian Civil War has been happening. ISIS seems to enjoy war struck places, as they are doing very well in Syria. Where do Turkey and Russia come into all this? Well, they’re on opposite sides of the war. Turkey is on the side of the rebels, and Russia is on the side of President Assad. So Turkey and Russia aren't so friendly these days. And here’s where Paris comes in. After the attacks, many of these countries have been trying to unite and go against ISIS. A “stab on the back” like this doesn’t really help countries unite. And Turkey doesn’t actually think that the plane was headed for ISIS, but a rebel group that Turkey’s friends with. Seems tense, huh? It is.

In a glance?   After Turkey shot down the Russian plane, things got even worse between them than they were before. As for the US, President Obama claims that Turkey had the right to protect its airspace. This is also the first time a NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) has shot down a Russian plane in half a century, Perfect timing.

Reference 1: Melvin, Don, Michael Martinez, and Zeynep Bilginsoy. "Putin Calls Jet's Downing 'Stab in the Back'" CNN. N.p., 24 Nov. 2015. Web. 3 Dec. 2015.

An Update in the Polls
We haven’t really talked a lot about the elections a lot lately, with all this international stuff going on... But here are the current polls: (Source: HuffPost Pollster)

REPUBLICAN (top ten)

  •  Donald Trump 34.4%
  •  Marco Rubio 14.6%
  •  Ben Carson 13.9%
  •  Ted Cruz 13.4%
  •  Jeb Bush 5.5%
  •  Carly Fiorina 3.0%
  •  Chris Christie 2.9%
  •  John Kasich 2.9%
  •  Rand Paul 2.6%
  •  Mike Huckabee 1.8

  •  Hillary Clinton 58.3%
  •  Bernie Sanders 31.3%
  •  Martin O'Malley 3.6%