top of page

Individuality vs. Conformity

        As we grow older, we lose more and more of our individuality until we become the average conformist; at least, that's the case with most people. In simple terms, individuality is having a distinct existence and personality, distinguishing yourself from others. Conformity is following norms, standards, trends, etc., that society seems fit to follow. Both have their own risks; it just depends on what we are willing to lose, ourselves or our social status.


        As we discuss the two topics in class, I can't help but look around the school and notice how those who “dare” to be themselves are treated and how those who conform lose themselves in the process. We all want to promote individuality, but those who voice out their opinions and those who wear or act differently than what society expects them to are treated poorly. In most cases, these students are bullied and made fun of for how they choose to express themselves. How can we promote individuality and find ourselves when we are following the “status quo” and making fun of others just for the sake of following others?


        On the other hand, conformity is all over the school halls, whether it's a saying or an object being passed around, to the point where everyone begins talking the same and owning the same things. It becomes exhausting trying to keep up with everything new and anything old. Conforming can have its own dire consequences. We see others trying to act like people they’re not, and in return, forget who they are and forget what made them an individual. Conformity is a facade that people, especially students like us in high school, put up in order to fit in and gain social status.


        As we can see, both alternatives have their own consequences, it’s okay to get swept up in the trends, but it's also okay to set your own even if you're the only one following them. Our social status or ability to keep up with trends doesn't mean anything if we don't stay true to ourselves. Being an individual is what will get us where we want to go; it's what will stay constant throughout life; it's what we can depend on; it's what can tell us what's right and what's wrong, not society and not other people because we are in charge of our own lives and we are in charge of how we choose to live that life.

By: Ellen Grigoryan 
Image by Mélody P

Here is the New  “God of Thunder” – Apparently, Scientists Can Use A Laser Beam to Control Lightning!
By: Hovsep Ayvazyan

We are all somewhat familiar with multiple “masters of the skies”, dating back to even the Greek God Zeus and as early as Thor, the God of Thunder. Of course, such characters don’t exist and their abilities are nonexistent, right? Well, you may be thinking in a different way after reading this article, because scientists may have just figured out how to harness the power of lightning through a laser beam!


Has the God of Thunder met his match? Probably not, but this is the closest we can get to “lightning abilities.” Who knew that we could steer lightning with something as basic as a laser beam. But how does it work exactly? Well, to find out, we must take a look back in time to the year 1752, when Benjamin Franklin devised the lightning rod, which aimed to keep lightning away from the roofs of houses. This invention was no doubt revolutionary, but hence was the first step in the long “hall” of lightning-harnessing opportunities, such as the example that this article is about. The way Franklin conceptualized this idea was based on the “study” of lightning bolts themselves: lightning happens because of the intense amounts of static electricity building in storm clouds, breaking the surrounding air molecules. Once one of these weakened molecules’ paths reaches something on the ground, a massive 30,000 amp shock (basically a very powerful and deadly amount) strikes through the channel, setting anything on fire near it and obliterating the “area of interest.” Luckily, Franklin did us a favor there by saving our houses from intense static electricity. Sure, you might be thinking yeah, the lightning rod was great; but how exactly does a laser become a tool for the control of lightning bolts?


It may surprise you to know that the concept behind controlling lightning with lasers dates all the way back to the 1960s. How it would work was that the laser beam would create a path of ionized air to which currents would flow more easily. But of course, these ideas weren’t always crystal clear to work – in fact, it failed initially. But that wasn't the end of this idea. In the 1990s, more laser variations were developed that were shorter in length and lower in energy pulses, which could in fact prove to be more effective in “opening conductive channels.” A few years and technological developments later, this “lightning controlling” concept sparked a 4 million euro European project, to which researchers would disassemble a newly developed delicate laser up a mountain in Switzerland to reconstruct the laser on the peak (wow, that is a lot of work).


But then again, would Franklin’s concept still hold up today even with this new laser tech? In the context of the laser’s capabilities – no, or at least, it proves to be more powerful than the lightning rod (sorry Franklin). Physicist at Ecole Polytechnique Aurelien Houard states that the laser is supposed to act as a “virtual lightning rod”; basically, considering the amount of area that is protected by the common lightning rod, their “virtual model” hopes would be to make theirs very tall and to cover more area than the lightning rod. To “extend its range of coverage” (basically make it more effective). 

This is all amazing, considering the opportunities “lightning control” could open up for humanity in the future. Of course, this project is not perfected (yet it seems) and work on this “lightning controlling laser” still goes on today, we should keep looking to the skies and imagine a (hopefully) lightning-free world. Zeus definitely has some stiff competition.

Image by Lora Ohanessian

Artsakh Crisis

By: Silvia Muradyan

The crisis in Artsakh continued as the blockage started on December 12, 2022. People in Artsakh have been deprived of gas, electricity, and food. Azerbaijan closed off the only source of supplies from the Lottchen Corredor. Also, vaginae still claim peaceful intentions for their blockade, but we can see that it is causing severe consequences for the population. Around 120,000 residents are trapped in the region. Recently, in Los Angeles, we have seen a sign that says Azerbaijan plus turkey plus Pakistan plus Israel equals four brothers will wipe Armenia. The mayor, Karen bass, said, "there is no place for anti-Armenian hatred in Los Angeles or anywhere else." On January 30, 2023, a British charity donated £350,000 to those affected by the blockade of the Lachin Corridor. On January 31, the international committee of the Red Cross facilitated the transfer of three patients from Artsakh to Armenia for treatment. Many scheduled surgeries continue to be suspended in the medical facilities of the Republic of Artsakh. Seven children remain in the neonatal and intensive care units of Arevik medical center 12 patients stay in the intensive care unit of the Republic Medical Center, five of them in critical condition, and a total of 58 patients have been transported so far from here to talk to Armenia with the medicine and support of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

World Cup
By: Matthew Samarghachian

Following the pauses in competition due to COVID,  theorts Art legendary quadrennia tradition has returned at the usual time of year. The World Cup, which is unofficially the world’s largest sporting event ever, is going to be played in the compact, yet alluring nation of Qatar, located in the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East. The highly commercial Islam country won the bid to host the monumental tournament almost a decade ago, controversy included. The World Cup is played between 32 national teams from around the globe. The event was moved from its regular slot in the summer to accommodate the blistering heat in Qatar, where normal July days can reach up to 108°F. Now, the tournament will be played around Thanksgiving until the week before Christmas. Qatar has spent most of the past decade building and revitalizing stadiums across its desert. That expensive revitalization also came with a cost, as the country was also involved in a human rights controversy over the treatment of the laborers physically constructing the world-class stadiums. The finals of the prestigious cup will be played in the pristine new Lusail Iconic Stadium, completed just last year. The stadium represents the lavish preparations the country has made for the event. 

Currently, Brazil is favored to win the tournament, and the team is ranked number one in the world. France’s national team is favored second and was the winner of the previous tournament. The United States will also make a grand return to the World Cup following a stunning absence four years ago. Russia is a notable team that was barred from competing in the tournament due to its invasion of Ukraine. The other potential contenders for the World Cup are England, Spain, and Germany, all of which have seen varying degrees of success this past decade. The hype has begun building, and advertisements for the World Cup have started to appear, emphasizing the changing season to Winter. It is estimated that over 5 billion people will be watching the World Cup when the first whistle is blown. Fans must pick a team to root for and wait patiently.

Playing Soccer in Stadium
Image by Erik Karits

Ever Wonder Why Mosquitoes Seem To Favor You for their Buffet?
By: Hovsep Ayvazyan 

Everyone loves the summertime, whether hanging out with their friends and family on the beach or sitting back and kicking it at home for the entire summer (sadly, what most people prefer). But really, what is there not to love about summer? It’s the season of “fun,” is it not? Of course, all things have their downsides, and this season seems to follow this “guideline” – mosquitoes. Everyone hates mosquitoes, and it is no surprise. I’m sure you dread the moment when you return home with red bumps all over your legs and arms, and for the remainder of the day, you can’t stop itching those bites. And seriously, how come one family member seems to come out with more bites than you do? Is it because you didn’t shower and you smell like raw sweat? Yes, except it’s not that way, as a new study suggests. 


Scientists believe that, based on various studies, humans produce certain levels of a different acid on the skin layer, which contributes to most of the skin’s natural moisturizing layer. Not everyone makes the same amount of these acids; some may produce more of them than others. What’s more, is that bacteria (not the type that is getting you sick every week) will eat up these acids and then make some of your skin’s odor profile (the magnet smell that is causing mosquitoes to fly to your arm every week and take a bite). Those that seem to get bitten every second of the day have a high number of those acids in their skin. How did they come to this conclusion? This study was driven by an experiment that was said to test this hypothesis, in which 64 participants of the experiment were asked to wear nylon stockings (like the ones you use to stash up your Christmas gifts) around their forearms to “capture” the smells on their skin. Then, they placed those stockings in traps at the ends of long tubes and released a large group of mosquitoes (primarily those subject to diseases like yellow fever). Surprisingly, mosquitoes tended to favor one particular smell over the other (not much competition, I guess). Wherever those mosquitoes “flocked” seemed to be 100 times more attractive than the rest! That is a massive number! 


I guess now we know why some people end up more like “mosquito magnets” than others do. What’s even worse is that some mosquitoes favor that smell on your skin for a long time (I guess they like you). But on the bright side of things, we could use this information to develop new forms of pharmaceuticals that keep those mosquitoes from coming back for dinner, and the answer isn’t just removing those acids entirely; because, surprisingly, it’ll jeopardize your skin’s health more if you do. If only we could find a way to change the smells from these acid-eating bacteria so that they don’t flock to your arms every afternoon. While we don’t have anything yet in terms of an effective mosquito repellent (unlike the ones you buy from Amazon because those don’t work at all), it doesn’t mean we never will. This study is only the beginning – maybe soon, we could say goodbye to those itchy red bites.


Be On Alert With Halloween Candy!
By: Ellen Grigoryan

With Halloween approaching, we're all excited to go trick or treating and have a sugar craze for the following weeks, but what if there are more tricks than treats this year? Instead of getting candy in our treat bags, we might be met with much worse, an addicting drug called Fentanyl disguised as candy.


This year, drug traffickers are using “rainbow fentanyl” and “brightly colored fentanyl” to trick children and get them addicted and dependent on a drug at a young age. This has gotten Parents all over the country scared for their children and the candy they bring home, even pushing some to ban their children from trick or treating. According to Congressman Dan Newhouse, the DEA has apprehended over 10.2 million fentanyl pills and 980 pounds of fentanyl powder between May to September of 2022. With all this said, “rainbow fentanyl” is something new and is rumored to be specifically made for the Halloween season and unsuspecting children.

Congressman Dan Newhouse proposes several solutions to this problem, most of which stem from illegal immigrants and border control, in his opinion. He introduced the Save Americans from the Fentanyl Emergency Act, which would make the sale of these substances a prosecutable offense. With many other similar solutions in the works, like enforcing the border, what we can do today is be extra careful while trick-or-treating, make sure we are double-checking any candy we consume, and lastly, not accepting any candy or substance of any kind from unfamiliar faces.

bottom of page