Written by Michelle Lu
The historic collection of a surface material sample from the near-Earth asteroid Bennu by NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on Thursday, October 15 was almost too successful: NASA scientists found out that while a substantial sample was collected, there was so much material that the flap designed to keep the sample inside was jammed, allowing particles to escape into space. The team is planning on stowing the sample as quickly as possible although some will have inevitably been lost by the time of Osiris-REx’s return in 2023.
By Clare Nimura
Most of us dread looking at the “Screen Time” notification that tells us how many hours we’ve spent on our phones and computers in the past week. Now it’s 2020: with all activities moved to the virtual sphere, our daily screen use has skyrocketed. Many of us end the day with dry, strained eyes and a screen headache. Is the latest wellness trend, glasses that block blue light, the solution to our digital eye strain woes?
By Elaine Zhu
Just a few years ago, whenever I went to the dairy aisle, I only had to choose between buying skim, whole, or 2% milk. Nowadays, when I walk down that same aisle, I am bombarded with choices: soy, almond, oat, cashew. In recent years, many consumers have turned to plant-based milk, causing sales of dairy milk to slowly decrease. In fact, between 2009 and 2015, global sales of non-dairy milk alternatives soared to $21 billion while cow’s milk sales have dropped 7 percent in 2015 and are projected to drop an additional 11 percent through the end of 2020. Choosing plant-based milk is quite appealing to some consumers, especially if they are lactose intolerant. However, how does the nutritional profile of these plant-based milks compare to cow’s milk, and are they a suitable substitute for a dietary staple?
By Jimmy Liu
Of all the common pronouns we use, one stands out from the rest: “I.” People come and go, but the one constant in our lives is our selves. Indeed, the word is so special that we denote its elevated status by capitalizing it. It is a strange convention, especially since no two people ever refer to the same “I” like they do other proper nouns such as “George Washington,” “Microsoft,” or “The Milky Way Galaxy.'' To each of us, “I” is a priori—reality exists for us as long as the self is there to perceive it. Implicit in our special acknowledgement of “I” is the belief of agency, individuality, and at the core, its own reality—“I” is the realest thing in the world. But what exactly is the makeup of this fundamental “I”? Upon closer examination, one starts to find lacunas in the logic of “I.”
By Angela Mu
As the weather begins to cool and flu season kicks into action, you might notice an increased appearance of sharp syringe needles, dreaded nasal sprays, or perhaps even terrified little kids lining up to receive their shots. This is a time of discomfort for the countless individuals who view immunizations as invasive, painful, or simply bothersome. For these people, receiving oral vaccines may be much more convenient and less nerve-wracking.
By Tanisha Jhaveri
Ever wonder why the aroma of freshly baked cookies whisks you back to an oddly specific moment of your past—say, Christmas Eve when you were ten? Or why the smell of a particular laundry detergent lingering on your clothes evokes the warm memories of living at home? Do you feel yourself drifting off to crashing waves and sandy shores or feeling nostalgic about a road trip while listening to a certain song? Our senses, particularly those of smell and sound, are powerful tools that we often associate with emotions and memories; the associations that our brains construct can immediately—and often involuntarily—draw up vivid experiences or intense emotions from our past.
By Joshua Yu
The Fourth of July is usually a time for awkward family gatherings and sweltering barbeques. But with COVID-19 precautions this year, many families celebrated this holiday from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Even with the coronavirus upending much of what we consider normal, one thing remained constant this July 4: fireworks.
By Ellen Alt
When we hear the word eugenics, we likely think of one of the most expansive and horrific eugenics experiments in history—the atrocity and tragedy of the Holocaust and the human experimentation that occurred at Auschwitz. While we are still reckoning with the Jewish population decrease from the horrors of WWII, this incidence of eugenics is not singular: scientists have perpetuated damage in the form of eugenics before and after the Holocaust, even leading up to the modern day. Eugenics generally refers to the practice of controlling reproduction to produce desired genetic outcomes, with the goal of “improving” the human race. Even though eugenics is unequivocally considered unethical, why is the scientific community so blind to its modern iterations?
By Kevin Wang
The COVID-19 pandemic forced school districts to shift to online learning, and with this transition came an increased reliance on technology. Zoom and Google Meet have been effective platforms for communication, and developers have offered creative ways for teachers to provide personalized attention to students. Some of these include machine learning software to track students’ progress and automatically assign specific homework problems. Other technologies, however, have been far more daring—for example, algorithms that can grade students’ essays.
By Elaine Zhu
As summer blends into autumn, the air acquires a crisp and almost earthy scent. A deep breath in—the smell of cinnamon, hot cocoa, firewood crackling after a school bonfire—and memories come flooding through me, as if I’m transported to a familiar autumn day. It’s not just the smells of a cool autumn day that make me nostalgic: the smell of chlorine brings me back to my childhood swimming lessons and the smell of bread brings me back to baking with my family. With so many distinct smells in the world, how can one scent trigger such particular memories?