Joke of the Issue: How do you make a tissue dance? Put a little boogie in it. (Provided by Hunter Flamm)
FeederWatch. A New Hobby?
By Nina V.
Fascinated by nature? Love animals? Want to do something for the environment? As it happens, there’s a program that allows you to pursue all of those interests and all from your own backyard - even during a raging pandemic.
Project FeederWatch, an initiative run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada, aims to protect bird populations in the United States and Canada. To accomplish this, they charge amateur birdwatchers from across both countries with recording data about local birds in their areas and submitting them to them for analysis. The enthusiasm among birders has been massive, with almost 16,000 people participating in the program from November to April each year.
The data each person collects contributes to the study of bird migration patterns, population, and even diseases. This information can then be used to protect birds affected by pollution, habitat loss, and infectious disease. In fact, Project FeederWatch was the first to document the bacterial infection avian conjunctivitis, also known as House Finch Eye Disease. Through the simple act of counting birds, citizen scientists are helping to protect this important piece of North America’s ecosystem.
After paying a small fee and downloading the FeederWatch app, I selected my designated “count site,” a specific spot in my yard that I committed myself to monitor on a regular basis. Ideally, a count site should include a bird feeder or some other food source, but this is not required. Participants commit to watching this spot for two consecutive days at a minimum of five days apart. The total time spent at the site during each two-day count can be anywhere from half an hour to more than eight hours, depending on how much time you have. To avoid duplicate counts, bird counts are recorded according to the maximum number of each species seen. You are not allowed to count birds that fly overhead or that you see on non-count days. The data collected is recorded into the FeederWatch app, which is then submitted to Cornell.
Over the past two months, I have religiously documented the birds visiting my own bird feeder. Every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, I’ve sat by the window for a half hour and counted every single one. I have learned to identify species of birds such as the song sparrow, the black-capped chickadee, and male and female cardinals. On one particularly busy day, the grass below my feeder was mobbed by thirteen mourning doves.
“This sounds like a lot of work,” you may think. “Why should I bother?” First of all, it isn’t as intense as it sounds - you don’t need to be completely laser-focused. If you want, you can listen to music or have a small snack while you watch. The most important thing is ensuring that your data is accurate. Second of all, although it seems simple, your research greatly benefits ornithologists throughout the continent. Lastly, it can really be fun, and you can find yourself getting attached to the different birds who visit your yard.
Even though it is the middle of the FeederWatch season, it is not too late to sign up. Go ahead and join! You may discover a new hobby even in the middle of COVID times, and perhaps an interest that lasts a lifetime.
By Sara S.
There are all manners of different pets around the globe, no matter how common or uncommon. There is everything from alligators to pigeons, all beloved by their owners. Each animal is certainly unique and interesting- if not a little strange! But here are three wacky pets from around the globe that might surprise you.
Capybaras are originally from Australia and are the physically largest species of rodent in the world, weighing up to 140 lbs. They look like excessively large guinea pigs, and many people find them cute.
Capybaras are very social animals. In the wild, they live in packs and communicate with squeaks, the same way guinea pigs do. Because they are very social animals, they do not do well on their own. As a result, owners usually make sure they have at least two capybaras to keep each other company.
They are also semi-aquatic and enjoy to swim, so owners also usually make sure to have a place where they can swim.
Even though they are fun and unique pets, there’s a lot of disagreement over whether they should even be pets. For example, it is legal to own a Capybara in some states, like Texas and Pennsylvania. Yet, it is illegal to own one in other states, such as Georgia and California. In the United Kingdom, it is legal, but owners must have a special permit. Luckily for us, we live in New York, where capybaras are legal. So, if you want a fun new pet, consider getting a capybara! (Although you probably won’t find them in Petco!)
Having a pet alpaca is a trend from Peru. In fact, 90% of the world’s alpacas live there! Most people keep them as pets but can profit from them as well. The fur on an alpaca can be made into wool, similar to what you get from a sheep. Alpacas are intelligent and easy to train. One dog trainer even taught his alpaca to surf!
People who keep alpacas usually keep them in a barn, not in their house. The alpacas like to be able to roam during the day, and they also enjoy having another species member for company.
Alpacas are herbivores, meaning that they only eat plants. Their diet consists of mainly grasses. You can have two to eight alpacas on one acre of land depending on the terrain and resources available to them. So, they are relatively easy to keep if you live in a rural area. In fact there are people in this school district who own one!
In conclusion, alpacas are smart, easy to train pets. They are easy to keep if you have the proper space and resources. So next time you’re in the mood for an exotic pet, find some alpacas.
Of all the exotic pets, the serval is one of the coolest because it seems the most wild and dangerous.
A serval is a wild cat from Africa that resembles a small cheetah but can be kept as a house pet. As servals are technically a wild species, owning one is definitely not for just any pet owner. Servals are intelligent, but can be difficult to train because of their wild instincts. In fact, it is so wild that it is only legal to own a serval in half of the states in the United States. Sorry, this doesn’t include New York.
In the wild, servals eat rodents, frogs, insects, birds and reptiles. Servals at home still prefer live meat, but most owners feed them a mixture of raw meat and cat food. Diets vary as the serval grows and gets older, but it certainly is unique!
Like regular cats, servals can be trained to use a litter box, but they do need special habitats to live in. They need a place where they can climb and have space to run around in.
Owning a serval is very expensive due to its dietary and habitat needs. If you are thinking about getting one, be sure to save up and be careful (also move out of New York)!
All three of these pets are very unique and are beloved by their owners. The capybara is large and affectionate, the alpaca can generate income and is highly intelligent, and servals are the most exotic wild cats you can own. Which is your favorite? Would you consider getting one?
Social Media: Uniting Us in Many Ways
By: Sophia S.
This past year has been hard on all of us. During the coronavirus pandemic, it has been difficult to stay connected with friends, family, and peers. However, social media has provided a simple solution. Through social media, you can connect with anyone… friends, family, and even meet new people. Certain platforms have grown significantly in their number of users, while others have shrunk.
Social media is not just used for entertainment purposes anymore, although that still is often the case. Social media has also proven useful for educational reasons. Social media provides many useful opportunities for communication. During this past year and into the future, we needed and will continue to need social media. One such example of this need is Zoom. We would not be able to have school, clubs, business, or even this article without it.
Have you ever heard of Zoom? If not, here is what it is. Zoom is a video chatting platform founded in 2011 and launched in January 2013. Eric Yuan was the original founder of Zoom. In the beginning, Zoom was developed for business purposes. Throughout 2020 - mainly from the beginning of March- Zoom blew up across the world. The pandemic had separated families and businesses, putting people into lockdown. Suddenly, Zoom became the ideal option for most people. It was put into use for not only business but education and even personal connection.
But why is Zoom so popular? What has made it seemingly the perfect option for everyone? While Zoom was similar to competitors such as Google Hangout and Skype, it was also quite different from them. For one thing, Zoom had easy-to-use features. These included chat, hand raise, reactions, virtual backgrounds, and more.
However, Zoom is not perfect. Because the number of people using it went up so drastically, bugs and glitches began to appear. But Zoom employees went to work, and the glitches, including some major security features, were addressed promptly. This combated such problems as "Zoom bombing," which was an issue during early 2020. Zoom bombing is when an internet troller joins a private Zoom call and causes a disturbance. Zoom employees worked hard to ensure that this problem did not continue to happen by adding features such as waiting rooms and passwords. Overall, Zoom has had a positive affect on many lives and will hopefully continue to do so moving forward.
Although Zoom is relatively new, social media as a whole is here to stay. Adults and kids alike have come to rely on social media. However, their interests differ. Throughout the many options for social media, the most used site for adults is Facebook. However, Facebook is not the only app that has a popular ranking. Snapchat has also grown in popularity amongst teens and young adults during the past couple of years. A 2018 PEW report showed that 49% of Snapchat users tend to visit the app several times per day. Some suspect it my even continue to grow. Instagram is another app popular with teens and young adults. Instagram, commonly called Insta or IG, is owned by Facebook. These popular social medial apps have done quite well in 2020 and will hopefully continue to do well in 2021. Whether you’re a kid, teen, or adult, there is definitely an app for you.
Overall, social media has had a positive effect on our lives so far, especially throughout the pandemic. The coronavirus pandemic has made it hard to stay in touch with our friends, family, and peers. While we might not be able to see them in person, social media provides a simpler route to them for now. Through the different features of the sites and apps, we now have many options. Whether it’s Zoom, Instagram, or Facebook, there is a social media platform out there for those who are interested. Thankfully, social media is here to stay, leaving a dependable option for all of us. Connecting us. Uniting us.
How To Travel Safely During COVID
By Sophie B.
Traveling during COVID-19 for holidays or family events? This article will show you how you can stay safe in this pandemic so you can maintain your health for whenever you are traveling.
You will need to take precautions both before and after travel. The options that you should expect are quarantining for ten to fourteen days (depending on the rules in the state where you are going) and testing for COVID-19 or other viruses. If you’re feeling off before travel, stay in your house for three days or so, and if the feeling doesn’t go away, consider getting tested. Remember, just because COVID-19 is at a high rate right now does not mean that contracting other viruses or germs isn’t still a possibility.
Which mode of transportation to use is always a question for what to do when traveling, especially during this time. The three main ways of traveling are plane, train or car. Flying on a plane requires a lot of contact, including security checks, baggage checks, and sitting close to other people during the flight. Trains not much safer. Not only will you still be sitting next to others, but because you often have to switch from train to train to get to where you are going, you may have to come into a lot of contact with people while coming on and off the train. Cars are not perfect either. True, you do not get a lot of contact with strangers getting tickets, passing through security, or waiting at the baggage pick up, but you still have to get gas and food and get out of the car during long trips. So which method do you think is better?
People do travel for holidays and family events, but what if you’re the one hosting the event? When having people over, you might want to make sure everyone that was planning on coming over has been tested or has quarantined for fourteen days. You should also give guests their own towels and skin/hair care for showering. Disinfecting the house with cleaning wipes or other cleaners is also a good way to keep the house clean and safe for your guests and yourself.
Just because COVID-19 is around, it doesn’t mean that people have stopped traveling. According to TSA.gov, about one million people or less traveled every day in 2020. Traveling during COVID-19 can be tough, but so can not being able to see your family. When those family events or holidays roll around, you'll need to be ready and safe. In the end, as nice as it will be to see your loved ones again, keep safety at the forefront.
By Emma H.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg, often referred to as RBG, was an extraordinary, impactful, inspiring, hard-working and (don’t forget!) smart woman who really fought for what she believed in.
Joan Ruth Bader was born on March 15, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York to Jewish immigrant parents. Before she went to college, her mother died due to cancer. RGB did not let this sad experience stop her. She went on to receive a full scholarship at Cornell University. That is where she met her future husband, Marty Ginsberg. The young couple were happily married in 1954. Later, they had a daughter named Jane and a son named James. Soon, Marty was accepted to Harvard Law School. One year later, RBG was accepted into Harvard Law School as well.
RBG had a hard time fitting in at Harvard Law School, with her being one of only nine women out of 500 students at the school. During this same time, her husband Marty was diagnosed with testicular cancer. This made her life so much harder, especially with a three-year-old daughter to look after. But she persevered still. At the same time as being a student at Harvard Law School, RBG kept watch of her daughter and took care of her very sick husband. Luckily Marty recovered. While RGB’s experiences at Harvard were not easy, she continued to prevail.
After Marty graduated from Harvard, RBG transferred to Columbia Law School and graduated first in her class. But after graduation, RBG had trouble finding a job at a law firm because people discriminated against her. She was discriminated against because she was Jewish, a woman, and a mother of a young child. RBG finally scored a position teaching at Rutgers Law School. It is here where she continued her fight against gender discrimination. After working at Rutgers for almost ten years, she was nominated by Bill Clinton to fill a vacant Supreme Court seat in 1993. RBG went on to serve as a Supreme Court Justice for a full 27 years.
Throughout her career as a Supreme Court Justice, as well as throughout her life as a whole, RBG fought for women’s rights and had an amazing impact on American policy and culture. Women of all ages have fought for equality for decades upon decades, working for women to be treated and respected the same as men. Ruth Bader Ginsberg made sure of that. Many people admire Ruth Bader Ginsberg for her strength, perseverance, and courage to fight for what she believed in – gender equality, and she is a role model to many.
RBG Is a huge part of our country’s history in the fight for gender equality. It wasn’t just a dream or an image in her head, but something that she brought to life with hard work and dedication. Her impact can be felt by all, making it hard to forget the name Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
REVIEW: Laura Marx Fitzgerald’s The Gallery
By Miriam W.
One of the most enjoyable things about reading a book, besides enjoying a great story, is that it can engage the reader in a topic about which they do not already know a lot. Throughout Laura Marx Fitzgerald’s The Gallery, readers will be kept on the edge of their seats as they are taken into a mysterious world of wealth and art. But it also becomes a great opportunity for readers to learn about art and art history.
Martha is a 12-year-old girl who has taken a job at the Sewell Mansion, a giant estate filled with many works of art and where she will work alongside her mother as a domestic servant. Martha assumes that it will be a regular job, but soon realizes something is not quite right about the mansion owner and the rest of the staff. One of the scenes that gets Martha thinking is when she learns about a member of the Sewell family named Rose. Rose never leaves her room, and Martha is told that she is not allowed to enter the bedroom, herself, even though her mother is. Martha ponders over why Rose stays in her room. Is she being forced to? Is she afraid of the outside world? Both? Or is Martha letting her imagination get the best of her? Throughout the novel, Martha spends time snooping around trying to find out what is going on and also begins to wonder if her mother might be withholding crucial information from her.
The mansion is filled with artwork, and the artwork plays a prominent role in the telling of the novel, both in the narrative and as a metaphor for the characters. Like paintings have both a text (what you see) and a subtext (its connotational meaning) so do the character and the circumstances of the story. And trying to interpret what is really going on in this household is very much like trying to figure out what is going on in a painting.
Though this novel takes place mostly in 1928, the story is still very much alive and engaging, and it will sweep readers into Martha’s exciting adventure. So, if you are looking for a new book to read and want something that will keep you thinking long after you have finished, it this is a great option to consider.
Paintings That Star In This Book
The Pandemic Through the Generations
By Parker W.
Although the pandemic has placed many strains on all of us, there seems to be a difference in how the pandemic has affected each generation. The Purple Press has decided to explore how the pandemic has affected three generations: Boomers (people born from 1946 to 1964, such as your grandparents), Generation X (people born from 1965 to 1979, such as your parents), and Generation Z (people born from 1995 to 2012, young people like you!)
For Boomers, the pandemic had made many of them feel very much out of control, like they cannot do anything about their situation. Because most of the deaths are in this age group, they need to take the guidelines more seriously, and this has caused almost everything to change for them. My Boomer interviewee said she misses traveling, participating in activities like exercise classes, and going to work in person instead of online.
All this loss has taken a big toll on the Boomers. They’re also feeling disconnected from people, such as family and others. Because they don’t have young children and are probably retired, they are not friends with their children’s friends’ parents nor have work colleagues they see every day. Unfortunately, for Boomers, this time of life is supposed to be a time to relax with family and friends, and the pandemic has messed all that up for Boomers.
Generation X, however, seems to feel like they have more control over the situation. My Gen X interviewee feels worried because this is a new experience but does not feel she has to be as cautious as the Boomers. Although they miss traveling and seeing friends as much, they have not had to give them up completely. This could also be because as parents, they have to be connected to other parents through their children and their children’s friends, and all parents want a good feeling of community for their children.
Meanwhile, Generation Z seems to be worried less about control and more about missing out on typical childhood experiences. My Gen Z interviewee thinks about how the pandemic will affect our friendships because we have not yet had much time to develop them. We spend so much time alone now, and we miss hugs, fun in school, and being able to meet in person. Luckily, technology is very much integrated into our lives, making it easier to maintain relationships than the other generations. It’s not the same as before the pandemic, but it’s better than nothing.
As you can see the pandemic has affected all of us differently. Boomers are worried about getting COVID-19 and the loneliness, Generation X is worried about keeping its children connected to the community, and Generation Z is worried about how this will affect childhood experiences. In the end, the important thing to remember is that we are all working through this together, and the main goal is to stay safe.
Vice President Kamala Harris
By Nonie W.
On January 20, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were inaugurated into the presidency and vice presidency, making Kamala Harris the first mixed-raced, female vice president in U.S. history. The Purple Press decided to learn some of the details about her. How was she raised? What did she do before becoming our new vice president? And how will her role as vice president be a unique one?
Kamala Harris grew up in Oakland California, the daughter of immigrants, a Jamaican father and Indian mother. Her mother had a great influence on her, saying things like, “Don’t sit around and complain about things, do something,” and “You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you’re not the last.” Her mother's words inspired her to be the activist she became. Furthermore, after her parents divorced when she was seven years old, the experience of being raised by a single mother gave her the confidence as a woman to keep trying her hardest and the belief that she could do anything put her mind to.
Before being elected, she had very impressive career. In 2010, she became attorney general of California, where she fought for marriage equality and helped more than 84,000 families in California with housing. In 2016, she became the second Black woman and the first South-Asian American ever elected to the United States Senate. As senator for California, Harris supported the Affordable Care Act and the Black Lives Matter campaign, as well as worked to curb climate change.
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of 2019, she announced that she was running for president of the United States. Although she lost the race to become the Democratic candidate to former vice president Joe Biden, she was eventually picked by Biden to be his vice-presidential running mate, and in November of 2020, they both won.
But her role as vice president will be a unique one. First, because the vice president is the constitutional tiebreaker if the Senate is ever deadlocked, and because the Senate is currently split 50/50 between Democrats and Republicans, she may often be the deciding vote in the Senate. Also, being a woman of Jamaican and Indian heritage is a very special part of her being elected. Every other vice-president has been a white man. Her election broke both a gender and race barrier, and for the first time Americans will see a non-White woman in this powerful government position. Furthermore, she very well could be the Democratic presidential candidate in 2024, and if she wins, that will break yet another barrier!
We welcome Kamala Harris as the new Vice President of the United States of America!
By Nico V.
You might have heard the term ‘swing state’ a lot in the news prior to the election. You might have even heard your parents talking about it. But what is a ‘swing state’ and how does it affect an election?
When you look at the electoral map, you will notice that each state is labeled with numbers. These numbers represent how many electoral votes a state has. These numbers are determined by the population of the state. In a presidential election, the winner is not determined by the number of states a candidate wins, but by the number of electoral votes. The whole system is called the Electoral College.
So, you would probably think that the states that have the most electoral votes are the most important. Look at California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Look at how big their electoral college numbers are: 55, 38, 29, 29, and 20. Obviously, candidates must spend all their time and money trying to win these states. These states must be the deciding states in any presidential election.
But actually, the candidates usually campaign in only two of these big states, leaving the other three alone. Why? Because two of them are swing states, and the other three are not, and swing states are the states that matter most in an election!
Candidates break up the fifty states into two categories – "solid” and "swing’ states." Solid states are states where the candidate whom the state will elect is not even in question. Usually, this candidate wins the state over the other candidate by a margin of 15% or more. A swing state, however, is a state where the candidate whom it will elect is uncertain, and either candidate has a chance of winning it. Even if one party won this state in one election, the other party might be able to win it back in the next election with a lot of campaigning. The winning candidate in these states usually wins by less than a 7% margin.
The 2020 Election
Swing states played a key role in the 2020 election last year. Both candidates spent an enormous amount of money and time in Florida and Pennsylvania. Both states voted for Trump in 2016, but both candidates knew that, as swing states, they were both flippable.
But after all of that time and money, they both got mixed results. Despite Biden’s hard work, Trump was still able to hold on to Florida and even increase his numbers from the 2016 results. Biden’s hard work, however, did pay off in Pennsylvania, which he was able flip. Again though, despite the victories and losses, the margins were very narrow – Trump won Florida by 3%, and Biden won Pennsylvania by less than 2%.
Biden’s win in Pennsylvania, along with victories in other swing states, like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Arizona, were all very close races, but were also the deciding factors in his victorious campaign.
How Do Swing States Swing?
Swing and solid states are not set in stone, though. Over time, a solid state that predictably voted Republican or Democrat in each election can eventually swing. One such example is Arizona, which voted around +6% Republican in the 2000 and 2012 elections, around +10% in the 2004 and 2008 elections, and +3% in the 2016 election. Yet, in the 2020 election, Arizona swung to elect the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden. In the next election, therefore, Arizona will be considered a swing state.
The main reason why a state changes from one party to another over time is the change in a state’s demographics. Demographics are ways to describe groups of voters. Race, age, level of education, and religion are examples of categories used to analyze groups of voters. Though membership in any of these categories does not 100% determine the way a person will vote, voters in some particular groups statistically tend to vote in particular ways.
The demographics of a state can change as people move from one state to another. One example of this is Texas. Texas has traditionally been a solid Republican state. But as many Californian Democrats have started to move there, Texas has started to show signs of becoming a swing state. Likewise, Florida has been shifting away from a traditionally solid Republican state as Democrats from the New York and New England retire there.
Sometimes what is thought to be a ‘swing state’ in polls before the election will turn out to solidly vote for one party in the actual election. This discrepancy occurs mostly because of the inaccuracies of polling. When results of a poll claim that 60% of voters support one particular candidate, it seems as if the pollsters asked every voter, and 60% of all voters support that candidate. But in reality, pollsters only ask a small sample of people from a certain area how they will vote, and then they use those results to predict how all of the voters of that area will vote. Sometimes the polls are accurate. But often the results of the poll do not reflect how all of the voters will eventually vote.
It is important to understand swing states. There is always a lot of media coverage in a state that could go either way in presidential or congressional races, so we hear a lot about those states before and during the election.
Swing states can affect where candidates spend their time and money campaigning. The closer a state’s polls are, the more attention that state receives. And even though New York has 13 more electoral votes than Georgia, we can now understand why election coverage spent all of its focus on Georgia, and not New York.
By Nonie Whelan
I was going to write an article about procrastination
I will find a picture, too
Four Things About Latin You're Getting Wrong
By Nina V.
Sixth grade is rapidly approaching. Your friends have gathered to discuss language choices. One friend wants to someday move to France, so they decide on French as a language choice. Another friend decides that Spanish is more practical because of how widespread it is. The French and Spanish supporters soon start arguing over which is superior. Then one friend pipes up, “What about Latin?” Everybody else immediately beats them down, saying it’s dull and difficult and useless. But is that true?
Of all things taught in school, Latin is one of the most controversial ones. From year to year, schools debate over whether to even teach it because so few children take it. Despite the general lack of enthusiasm for Latin, it’s actually a very useful and enjoyable class.
1) Latin isn’t relevant to anything I like.
You might not think Latin has anything to do with your interests because Latin isn’t usually front and center in the action. Usually, Latin is used for things like character names to give them a hidden meaning. Take, for instance, the Harry Potter series. All the spells in Harry Potter are in Latin. Wingardium leviosa comes from the Latin words arduus, “high, steep” and levis, “light (as in weight)”. Accio means “I send for”. A few character names are also based on Latin, such as Draco Malfoy, whose name comes from the Latin words for ‘dragon’ and ‘bad’. Dolores Umbridge’s first name means ‘pain’, and her last name comes from umbra, “shadow”.
Harry Potter isn’t the only place where Latin can be found. The nation of Panem in the Hunger Games is an allusion to the saying “panem et circenses”—bread and circuses. The saying originated with the poet Juvenal, who stated that the Romans only cared about bread and circuses. The emperor gave the people free grain for bread, and they loved to watch gladiator fights and chariot racing. ‘Panem et circenses’ represents the whole idea of the Hunger Games: distract the citizens from real problems with rewards and competitions.
Additionally, if you’re Christian and/or are very interested in the religion, the Bible was written in Latin. It could be fun to try to read the original Latin transcript. There are multiple references and mentions of Rome in the Bible as well. Rome played a role in the formation of the religion in the first place. Learning Latin and Roman history adds a lot to the study of Christianity.
2) Latin is boring.
Latin isn’t boring in the slightest! When people say this, they’re usually thinking about dusty textbooks and minute grammar rules. This is not an accurate picture of the language. The technicalities are left to professional scholars. When you’re learning Latin, you read a lot of mythology, and aside from the well-known myths, you get to hear a few truly bizarre stories. Weird stories are universally loved, and Roman mythology is packed full of them.
If you’re taking, say, Spanish, you might get to learn about the people who speak Spanish, their culture, their history, and their beliefs. In Latin class, you get to do that as well. You’ll hear about Roman houses, gods, buildings, customs, food, clothing, etc. As a Latin student myself, I have gotten the opportunity to learn all of this during class. Sometimes we even do activities based on these things. Last year, we built a forum and Mount Vesuvius, then made Vesuvius explode. Instead of final exams, we have a cena romana, where we dress up in togas and bring in food. Latin itself has never been dull, and Latin class is even less dull.
3) Latin is hard.
In many ways, Latin is easier to learn and use than English. For instance, in English, the same string of letters can be pronounced very differently depending on what word it’s used in. Take the combination “ough”. It's used in the words through, rough, cough, and borough, all of which pronounce this combination differently. Imagine how hard learning English must be for those who don’t speak it and have to deal with all these inconsistencies. Yet in Latin, letters mostly all sound the same, making it one of the easier languages to learn.
Another thing that makes Latin easy is the cases and tenses. In English, word forms are kind of arbitrary. For example, in English, you have the words ‘cat/cats’, ‘wing/wings’, and ‘spider/spiders’. But then you have words like ‘mouse/mice’, ‘goose/geese’, and ‘genus/genera’. In Latin, everything is organized in a uniform manner, apart from a few irregular verbs, and you can use basic charts as a guide.
If one compares Latin grammar rules to English grammar rules, it’s quite evident that Latin is less complicated. The only roadblock is that you already speak a different language. That makes it seem intimidating, but once you learn the basics, it’s a breeze.
4) Latin is a “dead” language.
True that almost no one speaks Latin as their primary language. But many languages people do speak come from Latin.
The Romans conquered much of Europe, and when the Roman Empire fell, Europeans in different areas changed Latin into new languages, the “Romance languages,” such as French, Italian, and Spanish. Even English is a mixture of Germanic languages and Latin, and Latin roots are still very evident in much of our vocabulary. When you begin to learn Latin, you’ll start making connections between it and English. Oftentimes, I’ve encountered an English word and suddenly realized which Latin word it came from.
Therefore, Latin is very much “alive” because it is a gateway language to multiple different modern languages, and learning any of them will be much easier if you’ve already taken Latin. You’ll recognize words as you go and get an idea of what they mean much more quickly.
Latin is a language for all sorts of people. Class is nothing but fun (if you’ve got a good teacher, like our Magister Knittel), and you are guaranteed to learn something every single day. There is no experience quite like it. So, when your friends are dissing Latin, simply ignore them and take it anyway. You will find that it is much better than what they thought!
Scams and How to Avoid Them
By Chloe Z.
In the early 1900s, an ad appeared in an American newspaper, saying that Prince Bil Morrison of Nigeria wanted some American pen pals. Many people thought, “Why not?” and began to send letters to the prince. One day, however, the prince asked for four dollars and a pair of pants from each of his pen pals in exchange for ivory, diamonds, and emeralds. People immediately started shipping these materials to the prince, hoping to become rich. But no one ever received any of the promised wealth. Complaints were sent to the post office, and the police eventually were able to track down the “prince,” only to discover that Bil Morrison was just a fourteen-year-old American boy.
What this kid did is called a scam. A scam is something that people set up in hopes of earning someone’s trust in order to trick them into giving away something of value, usually money. In the 1800s and early 1900s, most scammers used newspapers to find victims. But more recently they have been relying more on new technologies, particularly the Internet. In fact, 98% of scams nowadays are attempted on the Internet.
So, how do these scams work? There are many different types of scams lurking around on the Internet, but among them, these are the some of the most common ones.
In this case scammers hack into your device or account and load a program on to your computer that takes away your access to your own files. The hackers then demand that you send them money if you want them to give you the password that lets you get access to your files again.
This when the scammers set up a fake on-line profile and try to meet you and become your friend. Once they have gained your trust, they pretend that something has happened to them and ask to “borrow” money from you. For example, they might say that they are stuck in a foreign country and cannot afford a ticket home until you’ve sent them some money. Since they have been able to get you to care about them, they are hoping you will help them in the hour of need.
In this case you might get contacted by a scammer that pretends to be from a reputable organization requesting sensitive personal information that they can then use to rob you. For example, you might receive an email from a "Microsoft employee" warning you that your computer has been hacked and that they are reaching out to help. They then try to convince you to download an “anti-virus software” that is really a hacking virus that allows them to steal your sensitive personal information.
How To Avoid Scams
The best way to avoid being scammed is to be skeptical – assume it’s a scam until you’ve proven it is not. Ask yourself, “Who sent this message?” If you know the person who sent you an e-mail requesting money, contact that person in real life so that you can verify it was them. If, in fact, this person that you know and trust in real life is asking you for your personal information through the Internet rather than asking you in person, give them the information they need in real life. If they didn’t send it, then someone has probably hacked into their account, and they will be grateful that you have made them aware of it.
Likewise, if it’s an organization that emails you, and you are suspicious that it is a scam, you should only respond to them through the official customer service email address or phone number found on their official webpage. If you can confirm it was them that requested the information, you can give them the information over the official e-mail or their official phone number.
If you’re suspicious that something is a scam, you should report the scam to the company so that they can resolve the issue. However, if the situation worsens, you should report it to a local police department or federal enforcement agencies.
Although scams are scary, you can stay safe if you know how to recognize them. In the early 1900s, people did not know much about scams, and scams like the Nigerian prince scam flourished. Now that we know more about scams, it is easier to recognize and avoid them. The next time you find a suspicious email, make sure you don’t send anything to a “prince” of Nigeria.
The Online Shopping Takeover
By Sara S.
Have you noticed that recently more and more businesses have closed? Have you ever guessed why businesses are closing? One factor is online shopping. It has taken over much of modern-day shopping and is rapidly growing.
Online shopping popularity has been rising ever since it began in the early 1990’s, when people started getting access to the Internet. But because Internet speeds were very slow, nobody really used it then. As Internet speeds increased, however, and more people gained access to the Internet, online shopping really started to take off.
Of all the early online businesses the most popular two were Amazon and eBay. Amazon, though it started as only an online bookstore, has become one of the largest online retailers in the world. It is so successful that the founder of Amazon makes $78,500,000,000 a year. On the other hand, eBay really got online person-to-person selling going with its auction services. This was especially beloved by collectors of items that one seldom saw in stores.
At first people were afraid of online shopping because people were afraid of their accounts getting hacked or getting their credit card information stolen. But as new security has been put into place, people have embraced online shopping. E-commerce has significantly grown over the past twenty years, starting at 0.8% of retail sales in 2000 and reaching 10.5% in present day 2020.
This growth in E-commerce, however, is not benefitting brick-and-mortar stores and is causing some of these stores to go out of business. And it’s getting worse every year. According to businessinsider.com, in 2019 alone, about 9,300 retail stores have closed, an increase from the 5,994 businesses that had already closed in 2018. This is an unusual jump to occur in the period of just one year, and one obvious factor in this increase is the growing use of online shopping.
E-commerce is also affecting us socially, particularly kids and teens everywhere, who are no longer getting the same experiences as their parents did. For example, if you ask your parents if they ever went to the mall with friends when they were young, they will most likely say "Yes." This is one experience that most adults once experienced, but most of today's kids will not. Because of online shopping, kids just buy anything they want online. This means kids are not having the same fun experiences as their parents did when they actually went shopping to get things.
In conclusion, online shopping was unpopular to begin with, but is now spreading and endangering the future of brick-and-mortar stores. Unfortunately, brick-and-mortar stores have become even more susceptible as the 2020 pandemic has shifted even more commerce away to online retailers. So, if people still want to have downtowns with cute little shops, like Katonah, then they are going to have to go out of their way to support them. Because if no one buys from them, they will go out of business, and towns like Katonah will no longer be the same.
Our Future of Car Safety
By Miriam W.
We are all excited to be able to drive soon, but our parents are probably a bit concerned about accidents, car damage, and, most importantly, our safety. But luckily, there are new features found in cars that can help us avert accidents. What are these new features, what do they do? Are they helpful? The Purple Press has looked into this topic.
Imagine, you are driving on a crowded highway and want to merge into the lane on the left. You think that it is safe to merge into the next lane because you do not see any cars next to you, but what you don’t realize, is that there is a car in your blind spot. A blind spot is a part of the road next to your car that is not visible to you, even by looking in your side mirrors or turning your head. Many accidents happen because drivers make land switches and do not see other cars hiding in their blind spot.
This might have been a problem a few years ago, but now cars have a new piece of technology called Blind Spot Detection. This system will flash an icon on your sideview mirrors to alert you that there is a car that is coming up behind you in your blind spot. This new piece of technology is helping people all over the world avoid accidents, so when we start driving, we will not have to stress over being unsure where the other cars are on the road.
Next, picture that you are driving your family on a road trip through beautiful scenery, and you can’t help but look out the window. Now, looking out the window for just a moment is one thing, but getting totally engrossed and distracted is very dangerous.
With a new piece of technology called Drivers Attention Monitor, however, we can better avoid accidents that are caused by looking out the window. When a camera in the car notices that you are getting distracted and not paying attention to the road, the car’s steering wheel will start to vibrate, alerting you to refocus your attention to the road. A coffee-cup icon will also appear on the dashboard, suggesting that maybe you need to take a break from driving. Getting this reminder is a very helpful because it will help you avert accidents.
Finally, visualize yourself driving a car full of people. It is loud and noisy, and you can hardly even hear the music from the radio. You are probably getting distracted and having a hard time paying attention to the road. With a new mechanism called Emergency Automatic Braking, however, the car can slow or stop itself when it senses it is getting too close to a car or other obstacle in front of it.
By the time we start driving, these new driver's assistance features will probably be standard in new cars. So, hopefully, whenever we find ourselves in a dangerous driving situation, we should be able remain calm and know that we are going to be safe. Even better, maybe cars will become so safe someday, that our own children won’t know what a “fender bender” even is.
What is the Purple Press?
The Purple Press is a student run newspaper at John Jay Middle School. We have been actively publishing since 1998. The articles are student-chosen and cover a variety of topics.
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