Friday, June 14, 2019

Everything you need to know about E3

Cooper Hendricks
Staff Writers

The weekend of June 7, 2019, seems like a very promising showcase of Microsoft’s new games and work in progress builds of games soon to come.
     First, let’s start with Project Scarlett. Project Scarlett is Microsoft’s new and improved Xbox, which should have capabilities to reach 120 frames per second at 8k resolution along with raytracing. Which is just shocking, that is something that most people wouldn’t expect from a console designer, but it really means that the platform of console gaming is going to be drastically elevated.
     Then we have the new promises of several different games that are going to be released in the next year or so.
     First is the return of everyone’s two favorite sci-fi series, Halo and Gears of War. Halo Infinite is the first Halo game in 5 years if you exclude Halo Wars 2. It’s going to see the return of Master Chief and his struggles against a new enemy the like of which he’s never had to face. It will be released in the holiday season of 2020. Gears of War 5 will see the continued hardcore gore and violence that has become a staple of the series.
     Then we have the CD Projekt Red game CyberPunk 2077. The game will feature an expansive open world and interactions that will make each playthrough different. The choices you make and the actions you take will lead to various outcomes and possibilities. Everything in the game will be different and every choice you make only further draws you away from other peoples playthroughs of the game. It’s going to be released April 16, 2020. Also, Keanu Reeves is in it, so it makes it that much better.
     FromSoftware and George R.R. Martin are making a new fantasy game called Elden Ring. Which from the trailer looks like a blend of Lord of the Rings and the Dark Souls franchise. Which means that we’re going to get a gritty and difficult fantasy game. Other than that, not much is known about it.
     Minecraft makes an appearance again with a new dungeon crawler RPG. It is supposed to be an exploration of specific dungeons from the original game and you will fight your way through monsters and enemies. It’s guaranteed to do fairly well since the game was very popular and still is.
     Then there is the new sci-fi game by Obsidian called The Outer Worlds. Obsidian is known for there great storytelling and worldbuilding as seen with games like Fallout: New Vegas and South Park: The Stick of Truth. The Outer Worlds will take place on a planet in the far galaxy. Large Corporations are the reason for the expansion into the fringes of the galaxy and they have set up millions of points around the galaxy for travelers. You play as a custom made character who will either join the corporations or fight against their tyrannical rule over this world. The game looks to be like an amazing mix of Borderlands, Fallout, and Bioshock. It has the nineteen forties and fifties feel that is associated with Fallout, with the fun and chaotic side of Borderlands.
     Also, Battletoads got a revival? No one asked, no one cared. But it's happening. So, yeah.
Overall E3 looked very promising this year and I think that almost everyone is excited about the games that were announced.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Bringing it home: How the US-China trade war impacts you

Colin Keyes
Staff Writer

The President of the United States of America Donald J. Trump started a trade war with the People's Republic of China, currently ruled by Xi Jinping who has declared himself the leader of the Communist Party of China for life. The trade war between these two countries is getting more and more intense, each country is stepping up their tariffs on the other country last week the United States turned up the tariff up to a high 25% on the Chinese products which went into effect in mid-May when the most recent round of talks failed to garner a deal.
    On another note, the amount of worth the Chinese currency is down too 6.91 per 1 United States dollar. It was 1 Chinese yuan for 0.15 USD but not it has gone down to 1 Chinese yuan for 0.14 USD.    
    So what does this mean for you? This trade war will affect you in many different ways, but the most significant way is the increasing price of Chinese good that is in the U.S. Because of the tariff, the price of these products will rise immensely. Like if you own an iPhone, then the price of the product will rise because of tariffs that the U.S. put on China. New tariffs will affect all the products that are shipped from China and sold in the U.S.
    President Trump’s whole plan is to deal with China before they get too powerful. If they get too powerful, they will call the shots instead of the U.S. When the United States of American allowed China to join the World Trade Organization in 2001, this is when the Chinese economy started on its relatively short road to becoming a powerhouse. The question facing US officials now is whether or not China is already too powerful.

Tornadoes strike with increasing ferocity

Connor Fitzgerald
Staff Writer

Families are suffering throughout the United States as 500 tornadoes have been reported in 30-day period going into the month of June. A new record has been set of 12 consecutive days with at least eight tornado reports throughout the United States. These tornadoes are becoming such a normality because of the climate change problem that the U.S. faces. So many tornadoes are occurring because of the high pressured air over the mid-east of the United States which is pulling in warm air from the Gulf of Mexico.
    These powerful tornadoes are ripping apart houses and injuring loved ones from states like Texas to states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey on the east coast.
      Seven or more people have been killed in just a week span with many injuries. The major damage was in the middle region of the United States, strongly damaging Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois. Northeastern states such as Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey experienced severe winds, rain, floods, thunder, and lightening for days on end.
    Scientists state that tornadoes are nearly impossible to track because of climate change. Although they are harder to track than they were in previous years, researchers have noticed a pattern with the occurrence of tornadoes in a certain period of time. They found that tornadoes are increasingly clustered in short periods of time.
    Around 40 deaths have been blamed so far throughout the year of 2019. This is the highest the death count has been from tornadoes since 2014.

Remembering the Day of Days

Cooper Hendricks
Staff Writer

Thursday, June 6, marks the 75th anniversary of the Operation Overlord or Normandy Landings during World War II.
    This operation was the largest amphibious landing in history. It saw the combined effort of U.S., English and Canadian Troops who would all rush the beaches of Normandy, which were named Utah, Omaha, Juno, Gold, and Sword. 4,000 Allied troops lost their lives during the landings and the 156,000 survivors would go on to retake France and push into the German heartland.
    The most well known of these beaches was Omaha. Many of the troops died before even touching French soil. When the doors dropped on their landing craft, many were killed instantly. Some jumped overboard and drowned because of the weight of their equipment. Soldiers would have to make it past 300 yards of beach, only to reach large cliffs where German pillboxes rained down a hail of bullets. Companies were completely separated during the chaos of the battle when many soldiers would stay near the tank traps and logs that were meant to be obstacles. Omaha was a grueling and hard-fought battle and was only won thanks to the bravery of each and every American soldier.
    The beach landings were not the only way troops made it to the shores of France. Hours beforehand under the cover of darkness, a large group of elite paratroopers were dropped behind Germany’s Atlantic Wall at Normandy Beach. The job of these brave men was to drop behind the shores into fields and such, to destroy anti-air guns and artillery pieces as well as slow down any possible German reinforcements that should arrive. Many of the soldiers would not reach the ground alive. Soldiers would have to roam around the countryside and hope that the figures they saw in the dark were Allies and not German. The night operation saw many casualties and would not have been completed if not for the intense and rigorous training of the paratroopers as well as the command of men like Dick Winters and the renowned Easy Company of the 101st Airborne.
    D-Day has been ingrained into American culture as a sign of the bravery and grit of the Greatest Generation. It’s seen as a symbol of freedom taking a foothold in order to destroy the evil empire that was Nazi Germany.

San Francisco bans facial recognition 8-1

Ian Mendola and Jake Menz
Staff Writers

San Francisco, long at the heart of the technology revolution, took a stand against potential abuse on Tuesday by banning the use of facial recognition software by the police and other agencies.
    The action, which came in an 8-to-1 vote by the Board of Supervisors, makes San Francisco the first major American city to block a tool that many police forces are turning to in the search for both small-time criminal suspects and perpetrators of mass carnage.
    The authorities used the technology to help identify the suspect in the mass shooting at an Annapolis, Md., newspaper last June. But civil liberty groups have expressed unease about the technology’s potential abuse by the government amid fears that it may shove the United States in the direction of an overly oppressive surveillance state.
    San Francisco’s new ban may inspire other cities to follow suit. Later this month, Oakland, California, will weigh whether to institute its own ban. Washington state and Massachusetts are considering similar measures.

The U.S.S. Wasp is found

Cooper Hendricks and Colin Keyes
Staff Writers

The USS Wasp, a ship that served in both the European and Pacific Theaters during the World War II, has been found nearly seven decades after it was sunk. This United States Navy carrier was found at the bottom of the Coral Sea off the coast of Australia. The carrier was sunk by a Japanese torpedo and saw the death of nearly all of her crew.
    Microsoft's co-founder Paul Allen had started this in-depth exploration and had done several similar expeditions previously. His organization had located the wrecks of the USS's, Helena, Lexington, Juneau, and Indianapolis.
    The Wasp was built in 1940 and would continue its service until it is sinking in 1942, during the Guadalcanal campaign. It was the eighth ship to be named the USS Wasp and held over 2,000 sailors during wartime. This ship was the only operational U.S. carrier in the Pacific until the USS Enterprise was repaired after the battle of Midway.
    Rear Admiral Samuel Cox said that "Wasp represented the U.S. Navy at the lowest point after the start of WWII. Her pilots and her aircrew, with their courage and sacrifice, were the ones that held the line against the Japanese when the Japanese had superior fighter aircraft, superior torpedo planes, and better torpedoes," The first year of the war saw some of the hardest loses for the United States in World War II. With the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Guam, and many other islands taken by the Japanese, which caught the U.S. off guard. Many lives were lost because America did not think Japan would attack.

Ransomware attacks become more prevalent as Baltimore gets hit

Juliana Covino

Ransomware attacks on companies and individuals has become more prevalent over the past few years. Just recently, an attack cost the city of Baltimore $18.2 million dollars in restoration.
     Ransomware is a type of malicious software that gains access to a company’s personal files or systems and blocks every user from accessing those files. Attackers then hold the files hostage using encryption until the victim pays a ransom that is usually requested in bitcoin in exchange for a decryption key. The key, in turn, allows the user to regain access to the files or systems that were held by the software.
    Even though ransomware has been around for decades, it has become more dangerous than ever due to the simple nature of systems easily being corrupted and thus ransomed. Vectors, messages that carriers of harmful ransomware, have become unrecognizable and masked as urgent emails, friendly texts, and pop-ups. Additionally, ransomware has continued to be one of the biggest threats since 2005 due to its attacks on hospitals, large corporations, and even cities.
    The city of Baltimore was recently hit on May 7 was demanded to pay a ransom in bitcoins worth about $76,000 on the day of the attack. Baltimore’s Mayor,  Bernard C. “Jack” Young, refused to pay the large sum even though the estimated cost of recovery is actually higher than the ransom. Government employees were unable to access their emails for many days.
     In addition, multiple individuals attempted to create a new Gmail account as a workaround. However, Google’s security system flagged some of the accounts as suspicious and briefly suspended them as a result.
    The future of ransomware attacks is uncharted and unknown. It becomes increasingly clear that personal and private data is at risk in this technological climate. Teens and adults alike must become aware of the issue and privacy at stake.
     Even though companies only seem to be targeted, personal data can be seized along with a demand for payment. Furthermore, paying a ransom doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be granted access to your files. In conclusion, in order to be protected make sure to maintain in regular backups on external drives or with an external backup service and keep software updated with the latest security patches as well as staying informed.